New Hampshire Fisher Cats – April 15

I knew the first day of my trip, April 14, would be a tough one to beat. Why? Rather than try to summarize it here in a sentence or two, here are all the details in blog form.

All caught up? Good. On to day two.

Like the baseball nerd I am, I woke up the morning of April 15 and ran to the window of my hotel room to see the view:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-gray-day

Yep, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium was still there.

The tarp wasn’t new — I’d watched it go on the night before — but the dreary-looking day was. After enjoying temperatures close to 75 degrees on Monday, it was now in the 40s with rain in the forecast.

Fortunately, I had all day to work on my blog and enjoy my hotel. As I said yesterday, the Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Downtown is outstanding. It ranks very high on my all-time favorite hotels list (what, you don’t have one?) and it’s the perfect choice for baseball fans. In my previous post, I talked about the hotel’s proximity in relation to the Fisher Cats ballpark, so I won’t be a broken record. Instead, I’ll tell you that the hotel is within walking distance of a ton of places to eat, and if you’d rather stay close, its on-site restaurants (Pavilion and The Patio) are outstanding.

In fact, everything I’ve experienced about this hotel has been awesome. You saw some photos in my last blog post, but here are some others that show just how great my suite was. Here’s the living room area (with ESPN on TV, of course):

hilton-garden-inn-manchester-downtown-suite-living-room

And the entrance/kitchen area:

hilton-garden-inn-manchester-downtown-suite-kitchen-area

Some more facts about the Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Downtown: It has free parking, free Internet and an indoor swimming pool and athletic center. Its downtown location is perfect for not only the baseball game, but also for those interested in checking out the city’s other attractions or taking a jog along the banks of the Merrimack River. Each hotel staff member I encountered was hugely friendly and, while I don’t know when I’ll get back to Manchester, I definitely know that I’ll make this hotel my choice again.

After breakfast, I returned to my room to hear the sound of rain smacking off the windows — not exactly a promising omen for the evening’s 5:35 p.m. game:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-rainy-window-hotel

I settled down at the desk and started working on my blog, which is what I did for most of the day. And, yes, I made frequent visits to both my windows to look down at the ballpark. Sometime after lunch, I noticed action on the field in the form of two New Hampshire players playing catch in the pouring rain:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-players-catch-from-hotel

Throughout the afternoon, I watched on Twitter as a ton of major league and minor league ballgames in the Midwest and on the east coast were canceled due to rain and cold weather, but the Fisher Cats still hadn’t made an announcement about that evening’s game. Part of me hoped this meant they planned to play, but a bigger part of me knew this idea was largely unrealistic. Either way, the team announced late in the afternoon that the game was still on, so I packed up my camera gear and walked into the park about 4:15 p.m. At that time, there was no sign of the Fisher Cats, and a single Rock Cats player was stretching by himself in the light rain:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-rain

I was still almost certain there’d be no game this evening, but there’s no better place to be than a ballpark — even when the weather’s bad. I climbed up to the park’s suite level and took this shot looking back toward the main gate:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-wet-concourse

While I was in this spot, I took a series of panoramas that show the rainy scene:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-rainout-panorama

If you’d seen my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I was supposed to be interviewed on the Fisher Cats radio broadcast during the game. I escaped the rain for a bit to meet the team’s broadcaster, Tom Gauthier, in the press box. This was the scene as I waited to cross paths with him:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-press-box

The radio booths are on the left side, facing the field, and you can see various notable newspaper front pages and pictures of Eastern League alumni decorating the walls. The black trays on the right side contain each team’s roster, game notes and the starting lineup — great reading material that I always grab when I’m in any press box. I eventually met Tom and he invited me to join him for the fifth inning — or, the “theoretical fifth inning” as we called it. We also decided that if the game was indeed rained out, I’d join Tom during the fifth inning of the following day’s matinee game.

Once I’d talked to Tom for a few minutes, I went back down to the wet concourse and watched some New Britain players play hacky sack. Not something you see at the ballpark every day:

new-britain-rock-cats-players-hacky-sack

It was now about 20 minutes before first the supposed first pitch, the park was still almost empty …

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-nearly-empty

… and so was the home dugout:

northeast-delta-dental-stadium-rain-delay-dugout

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., a small group of Fisher Cats (including catcher Yusuf Carter, the key figure in yesterday’s blog post) came out to get warmed up. Just as I made my way down to field level to watch the proceedings, one player came out and said something to the group — obviously, telling them the game was canceled. It didn’t take long for them to quickly retreat to the dugout and eventually the clubhouse. Designated hitter Brad Glenn (#44) and Carter seemed just slightly happy that they didn’t have to play in the rain:

yusuf-carter-brad-glenn-fisher-cats

Within a minute or two, the field was empty but a moment later, a pair of Fisher Cats came out to play catch in the drizzle:

fisher-cats-rain-delay-catch-1

I watched them for a few minutes …

fisher-cats-rain-delay-catch

… before deciding to get out the rain and make the short walk back to my hotel. I was back in my room by 6 p.m., so I had the whole evening open. I filled it by grabbing dinner at Outback, which is less than 10 minutes from the hotel, and then crashing in front of ESPN until bed — while keeping my fingers crossed that the weather wouldn’t affect Wednesday’s morning game.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, I’d love to tell you how you can support my future baseball road trips. If you shop on Amazon or MLB Shop, your purchases can help fund my trips without costing you an extra cent. Please take a moment to look at this page and thank you in advance for your support!

2 Comments

I loved the phrase “there’s no better place to be than a ballpark — even when the weather’s bad”. Rain is definitely not a baseball fan’s best friend.

Thanks. Yeah, as much as I’m not thrilled when there’s a rainout, it’s still cool wandering around the park. It beats sitting at work!
Malcolm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: