Friday, April 09, 2004

The day after opening day... 

Sadly mostly missed in the excitement of game 1 of the Battle of Ontario IV was the Ottawa Lynx's season opener. April signifies that wonderfully contradictory time of year where I find myself occasionally wearing a tuque and fleece to a baseball game, and then shorts to a hockey game a day or two later. While I didn't make it to last night's game, I did make it to this afternoon's second game of the season, which indeed required thermal layer to fend off the chilly breeze that cut through the beautifully sunny afternoon.

The field has yet to reach its mid-season green lushness and it's always a strange experience to be worried about staying warm rather than staying un-sunburned, but the ball is as enjoyable as ever. From the moment I walked into the stadium, until the moment we left the stadium, I had a smile on my face. While my sports concentration will be mostly on the Senators during their run, being at the ballpark today reminded me how much I had missed it over the winter. Though I've been watching much of the early MLB action, nothing matches the experience of seeing the game in person.

Now to the game. Former Tiger, Padre, Astro and Brave Sean Bergman got the start for the Lynx. He faced former Cardinal Bud Smith who is trying to work his way back from a pair of shoulder surgeries. Bergman was solid over 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. Smith lasted only three innings, giving way to Shane Bowers with 2 on, with none out in the 4th. Bowers promptly allowed Jose Leon's second homer in as many games, a 3-run shot to dead centre to go with his 2-run homer from the previous evening. That broke open a 2-1 game and the Lynx cruised to a 6-2 win.

The game's result is representative of the expectations put on the team this year. The Lynx have back 12 players from last year's playoff team. They've added Chad Mottola, the 2000 International League MVP. They have Darnell McDonald back for a full season after missing most of last year. They have Mike Fontenot making the jump from AA Bowie after hitting .325. They've also added former Yankee utilityman Clay Bellinger. Add those guys on top of the solid core returning from last year and this should be a fun team to watch.