Saturday, July 4, 2009

Great Falls Voyagers 7, Missoula Osprey 1

July 3, 2009

The planets aligned for the Weisenheimer "Thunderstorm Baseball Tour 2009" on Friday night. There was not a drop of rain on a lovely, warm evening in Missoula, we circumvented the "wristband" rule and were able to buy and drink beer, we were part of a record Osprey crowd of 4,042, we got nine full innings of baseball into the books, and the wind died down enough to allow the fireworks to go on after the game. Unfortunately, errors and walks did in the home team as the Missoula Osprey lost to the Great Falls Voyagers 7-1.

Ogren Park at Allegiance Field is a lovely facility. Built in 2004, it has most of the amenities of modern small ballparks: ample concession stands, kids play area, beer garden picnic area, and the like. But it has something most ballparks don't -- an actual live team mascot living on the grounds. A family of Osprey live in an aerie on a tall pole out beyond the right field wall. They had a fish feast up there during the game. The team logo even depicts an Osprey carrying a fish. Too cool!

The park also features some short dimensions down the lines. It's only 309 down the line in left field and a mere 287 in right. There's a berm and a railroad bridge right behind the wall, so there probably wasn't room to make it much bigger. They try to make it not too cheap for home runs by making the wall 27 feet high at the lines. It slopes down to about seven feet by the time it gets to right-center.

The Osprey successfully annoyed me before the game. When I went to the beer counter to get a couple of Trout Slayer Ales for myself and my Sweetie, the official scorer, the young lady behind the counter informed me that I needed to get an ID bracelet before they'd sell me the demon alcohol. Incredulous, I inquired how old she thought I was and, in an Uncle Herb moment, stomped off vowing never to drink beer in Missoula again and write them a scathing review in the blog. Luckily the lovely Stephanie happened by and offered to go fetch beer and munchies for us. Missoula is the only ballpark on the tour with in-seat service, and Stephanie didn't seem to care a whit that I didn't have an ID bracelet. Nice save! (By the way, the Trout Slayer, by Big Sky Brewing in Missoula, is yummy.)

As for the game, Missoula starter Enrique Burgos didn't have much, getting shelled for five runs, three earned, on three hits in an inning and two-thirds. He walked three, hit another, threw a wild pitch,. and had an error committed behind him. Meantime, Terry Doyle of Great Falls turned in the best start of the trip. Doyle worked seven innings and gave up just one earned run on seven hits. He struck out 14 and walked only one. Great Falls won in a breeze. Box score.

The fireworks show after the contest was grand.

Homeward bound. Happy Independence Day!


Sweetie the Official Scorer said...

I'm worried about the Osprey, shooting off fireworks right on top of their nest! Hope they're ok. Quite dramatic and beautiful watching the osprey feed their family. We did wonder, if a player's homerun hits the osprey, does he win a free omelette?

Lisa said...

I have a question; Do you guys "root root root for the home team", or pick sides at all?

Sweetie the Official Scorer said...

I really appreciate seeing good plays, good pitching, and good talent potential on either team. That said, yes, we do get into it with the crowd when the home team does well! Although as unofficial 'official scorer', I suppose I try to maintain some objectivity! Ha. It's funny how many people ask me if I'm scoring in some sort of official capacity.

Weisenheimer said...

As an advance scout for the Pirates I maintain complete objectivity.