An afternoon at the ballpark
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
With a cold beverage in one hand, a hot dog in the other and nestled comfortably in section 205, Row M, Seat 5 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, I couldn’t have felt more relaxed.
I stayed that way the entire game — even with the guy seated next to me bellowing for a home run on every at bat; even with the two kids in front of me jumping up and down screaming for sno-cones and cotton candy (yeah, more sugar is just what they needed) all afternoon; even packed in with 8,959 other baseball fans in attendance.
It’s how I spent my day off Sunday, and it was great.
I had extra incentive to go. Not only did I want to check out the stadium for the Durham Bulls, only a two-hour drive away, but I had the chance to see a friend of mine play for the opposing team, the Buffalo Bisons.
Brad Snyder, a fabulous athlete at Bellevue High School in Ohio, whom I covered when I worked at the Bellevue Gazette, was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians. He’s made his way up to the Triple-A Bisons and is one step away from playing in “The Show.”
I was able to watch Snyder play at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium in Kannapolis when his then-Lake County Captains played the Kannapolis Intimidators a couple years ago.
Snyder got promoted to the Kinston Indians and I was able to catch quite a few of his games at Grainger Stadium.
I was able to talk with Snyder by the dugout prior to the game to “catch up.” He’s a great player and a classy guy, just what baseball needs.
There were a handful of former K-Tribe people at Sunday’s game, including Jonathan Van Every, who blasted a pair of home runs, and former manager Torey Lovullo, who is now the manager of the Bisons. Both Van Every and Lovullo sure made things interesting on Sunday.
Van Every ripped one of his shots over the Blue Monster wall in left. I was hoping for a ball to strike the giant bull (the one from the movie, Bull Durham) to see the tail go up, but no such luck.
But I did get to see Buffalo catcher Yamid Haad get tossed after arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Josh Miller. It was mildly amusing. As Haad was in Miller’s face, the rim of his helmet bumping Miller’s head, the umpire motioned to his head about the helmet. Haad immediately took it off, which only enabled him to get his face closer to Miller’s during the heated exchange.
Later in the inning, Van Every was beaned in the back. That led to Lovullo, coaching at third base, to lose his cool a bit. While he was being restrained, both benches emptied.
There were no punches thrown. I think it must have been too hot for that.
Oh, Durham won 5-4. And Snyder went 1-for-4 while also making one spectacular catch by the Durham bullpen and throwing out a runner at home after snagging a fly ball.
All in all, it was a great day.
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217 or by email at Kevin@wdnweb.com.