Editor’s note: Last year, we published a story about the possibility of Connecticut gaining a minor league baseball team. Lo and behold, it happened, and in celebration of the Knowledge Green’s one-year anniversary, we sent our contributor Jessica to a New Britain Bees game to find out what actually goes down. Here’s her report.
I’m not really a sports gal.
I couldn’t tell you the difference between a linebacker and a point guard. (Two different sports, right?) Though having grown up in the city next the Bronx (Yonkers), there was no avoiding the fanaticism of the Yankees, and I’ve been dragged to my fair share of baseball games.
That being said, as I headed to New Britain Stadium to watch the New Britain Bees, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Minor league baseball is even more of a mystery to me. Honestly, I was expecting a wide-open field with some bleachers, like your average high school baseball field (especially considering the cheap ticket price of $15).
So when I pulled up to the fairly large stadium, I was pleasantly surprised. Parking was $5 and plentiful. Eager fans of all ages scurried inside the gates.
The stadium was very clean. The yellow and black color scheme was kind of harsh, but, hey, those are the team colors. I thought about grabbing a burger at the concession stand, but after glimpsing what they looked like, I opted for popcorn. They had Yuengling on tap, so bonus points there. However, I had to remind myself I was on assignment.
I had chosen section 105 on blind faith, and it was the perfect spot to see all the action. Though, judging by the way the stadium was set up, just about any section seemed to provide a good view.
The weather was absolutely perfect, but the Bees’ mascot Sting might not have agreed from inside his heavy costume. You wouldn’t have known by his perpetual ardor, though.
There were a ton of empty seats, yet there was still a decent amount of people there for a Tuesday night. And everyone who was there was really into it. Kids paced impatiently as they waited for the game to begin. Different groups of faithful Bees fans shared playful banter back and forth, revealing that they were regulars to the games.
The Bees faced off against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The game started off slow, until the Barnstormers scored some runs in the second inning. Luckily the Bees soon caught up and took the lead. However, their glory would soon halt after their initial two runs. By the seventh inning, the Barnstormers were winning 8-2.
There was a constant fervor from the fans surrounding me. Chants and cheers erupted throughout the game. From where I was sitting, the players could easily hear their fans, who were constantly shouting out words of encouragement to every player. I didn’t hear any negativity being slung. The players responded by throwing balls out to the crowd after every inning. Adults and kids alike rushed to grab the souvenirs, and were all too happy to share with one another if they were the lucky catcher of more than one.
Every so often a horn would blast, followed by a crowd cheer of “swarm” (instead of the commonly heard “charge”). One boy didn’t seem to get the concept, and an elderly gentleman made it a point to reprimand him for incorrectly shouting “charge.” Overall, I was impressed by the camaraderie and positivity, and couldn’t help but get swept into the competitive spirit.
By the eighth inning, things began to look bleak for the Bees. Any feelings of competitiveness started to fade, and time began to move like molasses. At this point, I was more mesmerized by the lovely sunset than the game.
I did enjoy the silly races that went on between the innings, like the one between Batman, Spiderman and Superman, even though Superman seemed to forget he was racing midway through.
As the game progressed, Bees fans would not give up hope. They continued to cheer, many of their tones still laced with optimism.
At the end of the eighth inning, one mom forced her son to leave, the utter disappointment evident on his face. The disappointment wasn’t because they were losing, but because he was still clinging to the hope that they’d come back and win, and he would miss it. It made me wish that they would in fact lose, just so he wouldn’t feel so cheated.
By the ninth inning — three hours of my life later — the Bees were still losing. While I was ready to leave, I couldn’t help but anticipate a tremendous comeback. Alas, it didn’t happen; they lost 12-2. If it had been a Yankees game, fans would have stormed out furiously, yelling at each other, ready to kill. These fans, however, seemed to accept the loss in stride.
Overall I’d say that if you are a big baseball fan, or if any of your kids are, it’s 100 percent worth it to check out a Bees game.
If you’re more like me, well… just bring a lot of money for beer.