Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Night at Keyspan Park

My husband Daniel is a college professor. When he's not teaching, he's likely to be found on a baseball field wearing an umpire's uniform. Readers of this blog know that my serious avocational interest is music. Well, for Dan, the equivalent of music is baseball. From March through October he officiates anywhere from 3 to 5 games a week for teenage and adult players. The difference between his serious avocation and mine is that he gets paid.

June 11 marked a significant umpiring event for Dan. That was the day he served as an umpire in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) high school senior all-star game. Each of the four umpires belonged to different umpire association. Dan was honored to be chosen to represent the Bronx Umpire Alliance.

The game was played Keyspan Park, NYC’s new minor league stadium, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Although the 7500-seat stadium was not nearly filled to capacity, the fans included a good group of spirited parents and friends as well as some college coaches - and at least one umpire’s wife. (That would be me, of course.) Although players and umpires alike behaved as though this were just another baseball field, I'm sure they were all absolutely thrilled to be at Keyspan. It's a beautiful ballpark.

Before the game began, I had plenty of time to roam around the stadium and take a few pictures. Situated in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, Keyspan Park is especially scenic. This shot was taken from a vantage point behind home plate looking down the first baseline. Beyond the right field fence is the old Parachute Jump ride, built in 1939 for the World’s Fair. It has an interesting history which you can read by clicking on the link above. The Parachute Jump is no longer operational and has been been declared both a national and a New York City landmark.

Beyond the Parachute Jump lies the Coney Island boardwalk and the Atlantic ocean. I've magnified a portion of the picture above so you can see the lights over the boardwalk and the ocean beyond.

The next picture was taken from the stands behind first base, looking toward second base at the scoreboard behind left field. The Keyspan sign above the scoreboard bears a replica of the roller coaster for which the Brooklyn Cyclones were named.

Approximately one mile beyond the scoreboard is Astroland Amusement Park which contains the famous Cyclone roller coaster, also a national landmark, which was built in 1927. It still thrills riders with its initial 85-foot drop and the violent jerks it delivers on the curves. Astroland is also home to the Wonder Wheel which is the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, soaring 150 feet into the sky. Built in 1920 and declared a NYC landmark in 1989, it has both stationary and swinging cars. (Click on that link, and watch til the end. This Ferris wheel may be scarier than the Cyclone!) Riders of the Wonder Wheel enjoy extraordinary views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Jersey Shore and the NYC skyline. Once again I've magnified a portion of my original picture. It shows the Wonder Wheel from a rather weird angle. You're looking toward the center support from a position you might take as you climbed into one of the cars. Looking behind the Wonder Wheel, you can see a bit of the Cyclone - the real one, not the replica on the scoreboard.

While I was gazing at the scenery, some of the umpires were having a pre-game pow-wow.

It rained a bit before the game, and everyone hoped that would be the end of the showers. However, towards the end of the first inning there was a pretty significant downpour. When the inning concluded, the umpires called a rain delay which lasted about 30 minutes and precipitated (pardon the unintentional pun) the later decision to conclude the game after eight innings. For those of you who would like to see more details regarding the game itself, I recommend the nice recap on the PSAL website, which also has some action shots of the kids. Here are my action shots of Dan.

... looking down the third baseline

... and now, signaling a home run that has just cleared the left field fence!

And here's our hero, heading to the locker room after the game. Please note, it was not raining.

Shortly after I snapped that shot, however, there was a sudden deluge. Groundsmen quickly moved in and covered the pitcher's mound and the home plate area.

Dan and I both got quite wet on our dash to the car. However, the rain did not dampen the thrill of umpiring at Keyspan Park. This will be a night to remember -- certainly the highlight of this season’s umpiring. So congratulations, Dan. I was very proud to be there and share this moment of glory with you. I wish you many more such games in future seasons!

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
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1 comment:

mbg said...

you should submit some of these shots to Reuters! Thanks for the recap and the shots, I wish we were at the game. Melissa