(free-form, artistic photo by Mickle. Focus, schmocus!)
Memorable moments from Monday night at Nat Bailey Stadium, when the Single A Vancouver Canadians, improbably, won their third straight Northwest League Championship, before a rollicking, capacity crowd:
- Some cruel wag yelling “Hit the ball to Buckner!”, in recognition of the infamous World Series error by Bill Buckner, now hitting coach for the visiting Boise Hawks. Ok, it was me. Sorry, Bill.
2. First groundball to Boise shortstop Danny Lockhart results in a throw that sails over the firstbaseman’s head. Second groundball to Boise shortstop Danny Lockhart results in a throw that sails over the first baseman’s head. Third groundball to Boise shortshop Danny Lockhart doesn’t result in a throw that sails over the first baseman’s head. Instead, he drops the ball.
3. Harmless grounder by the C’s Dawel Lugo hits the bag at first and caroms into short right field for a double. Only in baseball. “Looks like a line drive in the box score,” I yell.
4. Hero of the evening, C’s pitcher Tom Robson, another stellar product from the Langley/Ladner baseball system, exits the game in the seventh inning to a prolonged standing ovation, after blanking the Hawks on three hits.
5. Sweeping curve balls from Boise’s crafty, pint-sized lefty Mark Iannazzo have hometown hitters tied up in knots, reminding this grizzled old vet of famed reliever Elroy Face.
6. At the end, with the pumped crowd in an uproar, the young Vancouver Canadian players go wild, tossing their caps in the air, embracing and jumping up and down like, well, the kids they still are. Don’t tell them the Freitas Cup is some meaningless trophy for a Single A championship, light years from the World Series. “I couldn’t sleep well. I had the jitters all day,” says catcher Mike Reeves from Peterborough.
7. In the most heart-tugging moment of the night, the players – almost all Americans and Latinos – serenade the crowd with an off-key, raucous rendition of O Canada.