Sunday, June 8, 2008

A fun way to get it started

Steve Delvecchio, North Shore Navigators Sports Information Department

Not that anyone doubted it for a millisecond, but the crowd at hand for the first ever New England Collegiate Baseball League game at Fraser Field was impressive to say the least. With a large crowd already seated and waiting for the action to begin, fans continued to trickle in throughout the first inning. Piping hot Chick-Fil-A sandwiches put smiles on the faces of those first one thousand fans lucky enough to have earned the privilege of enjoying them. Call it foreshadowing, or call it a coincidence, but the Navigators first game under the lights at Fraser Field was played under a beautiful summer sky. In contrast, the North Shore Spirit’s inaugural season at Fraser had to be put off due to inclement weather. For the sake of the Fraser Field legacy, we can only hope that this is the Baseball Gods’ way of telling us the Navs will be here for many years to come.

The continuing excitement amongst the crowd was extremely encouraging. The best part about baseball at this level is that there is no questioning the commitment of neither the players nor the fans. By the start of the game, roughly two thousand fans had filled the stands, very few of them knowing exactly what kind of baseball they were getting themselves into. My guess is that it was not a concern. That is what makes baseball at Fraser Field so special. Regardless of the reasons teams past have packed up and left after only a few seasons, there are always plenty of fans anxiously awaiting the return of baseball to Lynn. Tonight, in timely fashion, they were put at ease once again.

After the third inning, with the home town Navigators enjoying an early 1-0 lead, fans danced the Chicken Dance and enjoyed themselves as though they had been coming to this same stadium to watch the Navigators play for years. But it wasn’t the score that had everyone in such a great mood. Even after a shaky top of the 4th, spirits remained high. Needless to say there isn’t a whole lot that could have ruined this night for the true baseball fans that made their way out to the ball park to be introduced to their newest home team.

Although he would love to gaze around his new ballpark and see each and every seat filled, Navigators’ owner Philip Rosen field was pleased with the first ever Navigators game at Fraser Field.

“After a winter of preparation, the first game allows us to take a deep breath and get ourselves into gear,” Rosenfield said. “Now it’s baseball time. I hope we do this city proud by having a winning season and bringing a championship to the city of Lynn.”

Aside from the highlights that occurred on the field in the Navigators opener, the noise the crowd made all evening is worthy of praise. Using the steel structure underneath their feet to their advantage, the crowd slammed their feet in unison each time the Navigators rallied and knocked runs. Chants of “put the bat on the ball!” and “come on now, kid, do something!” made it clear that the new Navigators fan base took virtually no time at all to become comfortable with their new team. As if they had been watching them for years, fans already felt as though they could criticize and praise at will, and that is a fantastic sign going forward into the young season.

Taking a tight game into the 7th inning and leading by a run, the Navigators players and staff did all they could to keep the good times rolling for the large crowd in attendance. When public address announcer John Kane announced in the 7th inning that beer sales would continue through the 8th inning, rather than end in the 7th, he gave fans plenty to cheer about aside from the ballgame.

Although the crowd was everything it was expected to be and more for the 2008 North Shore Navigators season opener, a loss just wouldn’t have been appropriate given the beautiful summer weather and manner in which the fans received their team. Undoubtedly feeling pleased with the warm welcome they were given, the Navigators showed the same courtesy they were shown, defeating the Vermont Mountaineers 4-3 and running their record to a perfect 1-0 on a near-perfect night at Fraser Field.


Christine said...

My husband and I came out to Fraser for opening night, and we had a great time. I was happy to see that so many people came out, and got so excited about the team.

We don't go to Red Sox games, because it is just too darned expensive! So we spend our summers going to various minor/indie/college league games. The quality of baseball that we see is excellent, and the Navs were no exception.

I will be writing a full review on my blog, and it'll be a good one. We will definitely be back.

Steve DelVecchio said...

Im glad to hear you had a great time! Thats very encouraging because we try so hard to get fans to the games and make sure they have a good time. Hope you make it back and spread the word!


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