Archive for July, 2014
Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Rochester Grangers lately made their annual summer pilgrimage to the diminutive Isle of the Turtle nestled at the confluence of Lakes Huron and Michigan. A small band of Rochester ballists and their acolytes arrived by caravan and flotilla to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this remarkable series. Led by legendary icon and ex-officio island czar Phil “Pops” Porter, the formidable Never Sweats were once again keen to defend their honor at Fort Mackinac, guardian citadel of the oldest base ball grounds in Michigan.
After a leisurely day spent shopping, biking and dodging road apples, the Grangers and their families made their way to the exercise grounds for the twilight affair. With a view from home plate overlooking the Straits, the stunning vista provided a most congenial backdrop. As a prelude to the match, the Straits Area Band performed a new anthem by Francis Scott Key to mostly favorable reviews, although its future as a dance number would appear to be dim. On hand to throw out the first ball was Governor Rick Snyder, who, after signing the head of Mike “Cueball” Johnson and perusing the base ball card of young scion Jackson “Lightning” Otlewski, announced his readiness for the exhibition.
On the hurl for the islanders was John “Ratso” Hiller, a barnstorming mercenary and rapscallion of some repute. Presiding over the festivities was local raconteur and man-about-town, Umpire John “Cowpie” Soma, whose contract for services allegedly stipulates payment by the word.
The Never Sweats drew first blood with an early tally to appease the hometown cranks. After knotting the score in the third, Grangers’ strongman Bob “Anvil” Wynne launched a double to the right field kudzu, scoring a pair of Grangers. Meanwhile, ace hurler Scott “Chooch” Westgate kept the Mackinac sluggers off balance with an assortment of pitches, allowing his defense to do their best work.
To avoid the onset of any late inning torpor occasioned by overindulgence, the Grangers had been cautioned by punctilious potentate Patrick “Barnraiser” McKay to eschew the gastronomic pleasures of Main Street fudge and other homologous confections. Taking heed, the notably nimble Rochester nine found themselves on the upward side of a five to one ledger after seven innings of play.
Not ready to go quietly into the good night, the islander hopes were momentarily lifted by a late rally which shaved the Granger margin by half. Then, with the game on the line and daylight on the wane, the Grangers showed their pluck and ginger with a pair of aces in the ninth inning to salt away a hard fought seven to three victory.
With nightfall approaching, the ballists could see ships and stars flickering in the distance as they made their traditional trek to Mary’s Bistro for a final round of sustenance and libation. In the morning, when at last it was time to bid Mackinac adieu, the Grangers commenced a journey homeward suffused with memories of rekindled friendships and shared adventures.