Suns fans welcome new season

April 16, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Scorecard and pen in hand, Randy Taylor of Hagerstown was among the many fans Friday excited to be watching the first home game this season of the Hagerstown Suns.

"I am all ready to go," said Taylor, 33, who attends about 30 games a year.

"We'll have a good year," he predicted as the game began. "We have got a good team and we will do a good job."

Later, when the situation looked bleak, with the Suns trailing 6-0 in the fourth inning, Taylor announced he was not ready to quit on the team yet.

"You can't judge a season by one game," said Taylor, who was among the 2,854 fans who turned out for the team's home opener.


Going into Friday's game against the Greensboro (N.C.) Bats, the Suns had a record of 5-3. They lost to the Bats, 12-4.

During the game, a crowd of young boys, some holding mitts, stood by the fence along the third base line, hoping to catch a foul ball.

Early on, when a foul ball was hit down the third base line but remained inside the fence, the group congregated anyway, hoping for compassion from the ball boy. When he rejected their requests to toss them the ball, he was promptly jeered.

Standing near the crowd was Dennis Buck of Hagerstown and his two children. Buck said he wasn't hoping for a foul ball so much as he was waiting for the line to buy food to thin out.

He attends about 12 games a year, some with his children and some without, he said.

"I love this park," he said. The set-up of the stadium allows fans sitting in the center stands to be closer to the pitcher than in most minor league baseball stadiums, he said. The result is the fans can observe the "nuances" between the pitcher and the catcher, he said.

Among those observing the nuances and not hesitating to comment on that and other parts of the game was Bill Shubert, 31, of Hagerstown. Shubert applauded and shouted encouragement to the team frequently.

Shubert said he is a big Suns fan, making about 20 games each year. "I like baseball overall," he said.

Also watching the game was Hagerstown City Councilman Alfred Boyer, who has been pushing for the construction of a new stadium for the Suns. Suns owner Winston Blenckstone has implied the team will leave Washington County if a new stadium isn't built.

While Boyer said he is not a big baseball fan himself, he knows the value of the team and the sport to many residents.

"There are many in the community who would be sad if we did not have this," Boyer said, pointing to the crowds.

The Herald-Mail Articles