by Dave Daly
Sorry, I’m excited. Baseball comes just once a year. It lasts for six months or so, but when it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Well, until next year.
The Ducks ended last season rather unceremoniously. Especially considering they won the 2016 Eastern Conference championship. That’s the beauty of baseball. Unlike politics, when you lose in baseball you can still be on top next year and nobody is dwelling on pitfalls of the past. Buckner’s Blunder, The Curse of the Bambino and Cleveland fans incessant defense of Chief Wahoo notwithstanding.
So what’s new for the Hevea Hitters this year? Seeing as baseball changes slower than the tectonic plates shift, not much.
There are some interesting rules being introduced to speed up extra innings that should expedite overtime play. I am not happy about this. I compare additional innings to a bonus in my paycheck. Give me all the baseball, painstakingly slow, minute after minute! I long to be at a game that goes 15 or more innings. I want to see backup outfielders pitching in the bottom of the 17th. You probably don’t, and I respect that. Baseball isn’t just for me.
With patrons who want an up-close experience in mind, Canal Park has improved fan safety netting along the first and third base-sides. If you’ve ever been worried about taking a ball to the dome, the Ducks got you covered. Very rarely, I’ve seen some close calls when a foul ball line drives into the stands. I’ve also seen a seagull poop on a lady at AT&T Park. Hi ho.
Let’s talk roster. Remember Francisco Mejia? Our favorite catcher and inevitable major leaguer had a few uninspiring at-bats with Cleveland during the 2017 playoffs. He’s now a Columbus Clipper, which is a slight bummer for us ducklings, but we must regale in is expected rise to the big show. Bobby ‘Batter Up’ Bradley is back in Akron this season and aims to make it his last in the minors. Bradley has shown great potential as a slugger, but consistency dogged him last year. Yu ‘Show Me the Change Up’ Chang, shortstop and no stranger to a deep hit, will also be returning to Canal Park after Cleveland optioned him early in March to their AA counterpart. Old and new faces abound!
Akron starts the season April 5 on the road against the Curve in Altoona, PA. After that they face the dreaded Rumble Ponies in Binghamton, NY. Word on the street is Tim Tebow may be on the Ponies’ roster, so that’s something! Remember when Tebow took a knee during football games and no one’s conservative Dad gave a shit?
Our polymer-feathered friends finally bring it home for the season opener against the Trenton Thunder on Friday the 13th. Better dress up like your favorite horror movie heroine or hellion. Watch for black cats. Don’t walk under ladders. Break a mirror? Yikes! Adhere to shibboleth behavior on this most sacred eve. The boys of summer are back and Canal Park beckons.
Yours in Baseball,
Akron Rubber Ducks Opening Homestand at Canal Park
Friday April 13 through Thursday April 19
300 S. Main Street, Akron, OH 44308
For more information on dates, times and tickets visit akronrubberducks.com
No players have agreed to use the nicknames Dave Daly has christened them in his articles. They’re pretty good though.