Friday night was the Marauders home opener, and I went with 2 friends.  They played the Charlotte Stone Crabs (the Baby Rays) at McKechnie Field.  It was an early start (6:30) so the ceremonies started even earlier than that.  Marty the Marauder showed up in a ship (the same one that the Pirates used at their Fan Fest last month), along with people dressed up as Hernando de Soto’s crew.

I only recognized 2 players as returnees from last year, Calvin Anderson and Robbie Grossman.  All the other guys seem to have been promoted, traded or released.  When we got to the stadium, players were at the gate, handing out magnetic schedules, and a lot of the staffers were doing their jobs while wearing costumes representing promotional days. One guy was dressed as Hulk Hogan for Wrestling Night, someone else wore a Gators jersey for Wingfest and College Football Night, and an older gentleman wore a beer stein as a hat to represent Thirsty Thursdays ($1 beers).  I didn’t see a costume for tonight’s game, which offers $1 tickets and $1 hot dogs.  Dad and I are going to the game, and he’s happy about the $1 hot dogs.  Their dogs don’t agree with me, so I’ll pass on the cheap hot dogs and will stick with my usual: the hot tepid pretzel.

As for the game, they crushed the Stone Crabs, 13-0.  The defense was crisp, and the barrage of hits was led by major-league catcher Chris Snyder, who is rehabbing with the Marauders.  Snyder went 3-3 with a run scored before being lifted for a replacement.  Just looking at him standing next to a “real” Marauder you could see that he was a grown-up rather than a kid.  He just carries himself differently.

Fireworks followed the game, and we all left happy.  Here is a photo gallery from Bradenton.com.

Unfortunately, the Stone Crabs won by a score of 14-1 on Saturday night, to improve to a 2-1 overall record (Marauders are now 1-2). Hopefully the Marauders can win tonight and both teams will be 2-2 to start the season.

As for my Mets’ home opener on Friday, they lost to the Nationals.  R.A. Dickey split a fingernail, which is not good for a knuckleballer.  He tried to go on, but the ball was eminently hittable, so the Nats took advantage.  The Mets did come back to win on Saturday night, and their record is now 4-4.

LGM! times 2.

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