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Suns open season on cold night

April 05, 2007|By KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

While the pitchers were warming up in the bullpen, the crowd was warming up under blankets.

For fans who waited months to hear the words, "Play ball," Thursday's weather was foul.

Sunshine and patches of blue sky greeted the Hagerstown Suns players who took the field against the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium for the first time this season.

"Let it snow," one vendor at a hot dog stand quipped.

Lance Duvall, 20, of Myersville, Md., and his sister Valerie Duvall, 18, wore white-trimmed red hats as they sat with their father and a friend at a picnic table in the stadium's concourse area.

"Well, you know, Opening Day, it's pretty warm out - being sarcastic and all - and we figured Santa should pay a visit since the holiday's coming up," Lance Duvall said.

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Temperatures were in the 30s for the game, and some players stuffed their hands in parkas as they were introduced. Others wore head wraps underneath their caps.

Kim Herr, of Lancaster, Pa., stood against the railing in front of seats near home plate. The wife of Suns manager Tommy Herr, she said Opening Day has a special feel.

"Yeah, there's an excitement. I think everybody's excited to start the season," said Herr, who had a blanket wrapped around her legs.

Less than a full inning into the game, only four people had bought ice cream at Tonya Pappas' Dippin' Dots stand, the concessionaire said.

Two of them were the "nutty kids" accompanying Donna Barnes.

"Oh, I think they're crazy for eating this. We're going to get the hot chocolate," said Barnes, of Smithsburg.

Dribbles of ice cream from 7-year-old Jennifer Barnes' Oreo Dippin' Dots decorated her gloves as she ate. When asked whether she was cold, she responded, "Not really."

Huddled in a walkway near the first-baseline by the bleachers, 28-year-old Kelly Jacobs of Hagerstown wore a blue sweat shirt with the hood pulled up. She was shivering with cold as she cradled a cup of hot chocolate.

Jacobs said she was very cold.

"I just wanted to see the Suns play. The home opener - that's the best game," Jacobs' husband, Scott Jacobs, 34, said.

The Jacobses said they normally go to a handful of games a year. The weather for Thursday's season opener caught them a bit off guard.

"No blankets. We weren't prepared," said Kelly Jacobs, who sipped her hot chocolate as she took in the first plays of the 2007 campaign.

Less than two innings into the game, snow began to fall.

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