Saturday, July 28, 2012
Fans were encouraged to bring their dogs to the ball park for Bark at the Park Night Sunday July 21st sponsored by Pet Rescue by Judy. I went to Alfond Stadium, (801 Orange Avenue, Winter Park), where the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs played against the Sanford River Rats. This Collegiate Summer League game featured the most talented of the college players that could be drafted to the big leagues. Between the parking lot and the first base line, tents had been set up where vendors offered pet supplies for all the dogs that came out to the ball park. Dogs were everywhere. A retriever lounged in a kiddie pool wearing a red white and blue cardboard top hat. In ten minutes the game was going to start so I found a seat in the stands.
I could hear the announcer behind me and seconds later his delayed voice boomed and sizzled through the muffled sound system. A few fans had taken their dogs into the stands. As I sketched, the sun burst out from behind some clouds and I cursed myself for not having my baseball cap. I shielded my eyes with my left hand. The sun slowly set behind the left field fence with the clouds rimmed in orange. Then the outfield lights flickered on. There were several home runs and the score was much higher than most pro games. I paid close attention to the pitcher's wind up. A Pomeranian yipped in his owners lap.
I enjoyed the silly kids games between innings. Two boys had to place their foreheads on the end of a bat and spin around it 5 times then run to the finish line. One boy fell as he spun and they both stumbled off balance towards the finish line. Then there was the chicken toss, where rubber chickens had to be tossed into baskets. And of course the sixth inning stretch where all the fans stood and sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The announcer asked trivia questions like, What breed of dog do you get if you cross a Golden Retriever with a Poodle. The answer was Golden Doodle. The winner of the evenings raffle would win half the money from raffle ticket sales and a Winter Park Team autographed baseball.
Heat lightning flashed on the horizon in the clouds behind the outfield fences as the teams entered the 9th inning. A dog barked loudly when the catcher had to leap to catch a stray ball. The Diamond Dawgs won easily 12 to 7 against the River Rats. Peanut shells littered the stands as everyone filed out of the stadium. It's been a long time since I enjoyed the church of baseball.