Son of a gun, satisfaction is all relative with the Chiefs

As Saturday’s morning sun kissed us in the living room of our Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, dancing through the two big windows to warm our weekend spirits, I offered the suggestion.

Our first Syracuse Chiefs baseball game of the 2015 season, perhaps, my dear wife Karen?

Great mind, yes, she’d been thinking the same.

Off we drove the two miles or so to NBT Bank Stadium, stepping up to the box office to purchase a pair of field box seats four rows up, just past the Chiefs’ dugout on the third-base side.

Down the ramp, we spotted a commotion, right in front of our home for the next several hours.

Sign this ball, please, sir?

Sign this ball, please, sir?

A Triple-A player, a man one step removed from playing in the leagues with the parent Washington Nationals, was signing a baseball in front of us. This caused quite a stir of motion on our side of the rail.

Who is it? No. 18!

Who is it? No. 18!

We wondered who might be continuing such a long hardball tradition as he walked toward the outfield, engaging fans and accepting a scorecard.

Please, mister?

Pretty please, Mister?

Yes, he signed it for the kid. Later, I figured out that No. 18, the man in the old school baggy uniform, was Tony Gwynn Jr. Now this outfielder truly is continuing a legacy. His father is a Hall-of-Famer. I spent a good portion of my life watching Tony Gwynn hit line drives in the gap to frustrate my New York Mets on the way to hitting .300 again for the San Diego Padres. Karen, too, appreciated Tony Sr. Although she grew up a Dodgers fan, Los Angeles native that she is, her family moved to San Diego when she was in high school, and his 20-year career there allowed her glimpses when she returned home to visit. (Tony Sr. passed away last summer at the age of 54, after a long fight with salivary gland cancer, a cautionary tale to young ball players who might still want to dip tobacco products, by the way.)

The Chiefs had another son of a major-leaguer in the starting lineup, too. Second Cutter Dykstra’s dad is Lenny Dykstra, who played center field for the World Series-winning 1986 squad of my New York Mets, before leaving for the Philadelphia Phillies. Lenny Dykstra, a solid player for , left a different post-career legacy, going through a public bankruptcy, and then being convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for financial fraud, grand theft auto and other crimes.

The two sons of big names helped create a nice buzz around this year’s squad, which has a big act to follow. Last year’s Chiefs had the best regular season record in the International League and made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. First-year general manager Jason Smorol devised an off-field strategy to regain trust and confidence and renew enthusiasm. They woke up the ballpark.

But rosters change quickly in Triple A, and that squad is gone.

That our flag was still there.

That our flag was still there.

This crowd was happy, loud enough, is somewhat less than robust in total number: 3,596 fans were in attendance, standing under the sun, temperature at 65ΒΊ F at 1:10 p.m.

The game did not go the Syracuse squad’s way.

The final score was 6-0 in favor of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nevertheless, a good time was had by most.

Smorol and his staff still know how to amp up the entertainment value with mascots and between-inning promotions.

Click on a photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo to engage an enlarged slide show.

One of the between-innings promotions is a bobble head competition for kids. I caught it on video.

What’s the last sporting event you’ve attended, and how did it turn out? What’s your favorite sport to watch live, and why? Which is your favorite photo, and why?


33 thoughts on “Son of a gun, satisfaction is all relative with the Chiefs

  1. Took my oldest to his first MSU basketball game last fall. It wasn’t a close game, but he had a great time. I’d better strike it rich in the next few years because I have no idea how I’ll be able to afford taking three of them to sporting events.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of places around here have children’s ticket prices, including Syracuse University and the Syracuse Chiefs. Also, Orange football also stlill has $99 season ticket prices for end zone seats, I’m pretty sure. That’s an incredible deal when there’s seven home games, like this season. Three families in a neighborhood could buy a plan like that and split it up! Does MSU have cheap plan for end zone seats, Scott?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I guess it was an Orioles’ game last year. I’m going again in June, though I suppose I can see the local Flying Squirrels before then. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a Seattle Mariner’s fan, even those I only live six miles from the stadium which hosts their farm team, The Rainiers. I’ve seen more M’s games than I can remember. Of course, the 2001 season will live in my mind forever. Their mantra that year: “It’s the eighth inning, we behind, so what.” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have outdone yourself, Mark! Both the story (Tony Gwynn Jr?!) and the ***photos***! Bravo, bravo. I’ve been to the Scranton/WB minor league field, but that was years ago. Sorry they kicked your tail πŸ˜‰


  5. These are great photos. The weather looks beautiful. I would rather go to a film or concert that watch a live sporting event. This could be that i like having a commentary and a comfy seat. I’ve been to wimbledon but it rained :(. I went to a handball competition that was a tester event for the olympic coppper box and it went on and on.. maybe i just haven’t found my spoet yet!


  6. Awesome post Mark – great pics, great commentary, excellent research and well personalized. I’m not a big sports fan, but your post was very readable. Like having a great meal, you sit back and pat your tummy because it’s full.


  7. I love family traditions where you and Karen think alike, the baseball player is part of a legacy, Tony son of Tony, and so glad he was signing baseballs for the younger folks who brought balls. Did you get one and ask for a signature, Mark? Smiles, Robin


    • I did not ask for an autograph, Robin. I am not one for that sort of thing. It’s my years as a journalist that taught me that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. I love when they sign for the kids!


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