Thursday night, I went to watch the Newark Bears play the Quebec Capitales because I missed baseball. It was a nice night, but the game drew another sparse crowd.
The Bears celebrated Irish Heritage Night, so we got a different-than-usual selection of music to listen to before the game started. We were also treated to the performance of three national anthems: Ireland’s and Canada’s preceded the Star-Spangled Banner.
The team also recognized Mike Ness’ no-hitter by playing a short video clip of the final out and the on-field celebration. The PA announced “re-created” a play-by-play call that never existed, since the Bears are one of the few professional teams that do not broadcast their games. (Here’s a link to a longer video from the game http://vimeo.com/45648593)
Newark got another strong starting pitching performance Thursday night. Brian Parker wasn’t quite as good as Ness – he allowed one run on six hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out seven – but he certainly pitched well enough for his team to win.
The bullpen let them down. Anthony Pluta came on to start the eighth with the score tied 1-1, and couldn’t find the strike zone. He loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batsman, then walked in a couple more batters and allowed a third run to score on a wild pitch. Newark rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut their deficit to 4-3, but Joe Haumacher came in for the ninth and gave up a two run homer to Sebastien Boucher. That was the ballgame.
Saturday, the Bears were supposed to hold a “Broadway Meets Baseball” fundraiser for Covenant House, with a performance of “Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway” prior to their game against the Capitales that night. It sounded like a fun, if a bit unusual, entertainment blend. Unfortunately, the Bears ended up postponing the “Broadway” portion of the evening, and the baseball game was watched by an even smaller crowd than the one on Thursday.
Mike Petrowski made his first start of the season for the Bears, and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in four innings. Three relievers combined to give up another three runs on seven hits over the final five innings. It didn’t really matter, because the Bears couldn’t score any runs against Quebec’s pitching. Quentin Davis had a three-hit game, but that was really the only Newark highlight.
Quebec reliever Guillaume Duguay made his second appearance of the series to close out the game for the Capitales, and for the second time Newark’s public address announcer introduced him as Guillaume Leduc. (For good measure, he mispronounced the name, too.) I didn’t notice if Duguay had a visible reaction on Thursday, but he did on Saturday. At least it made me laugh.
The Bears made several player moves over the past few days. One that may be of interest to Mets fans is the signing of Howard Johnson’s son Glen. A 23-year-old infielder, Glen went 2-for-22 in 11 games for the Rockland Boulders earlier this season, and he’s 1-for-5 in his first two games for the Bears.
Newark is home again on Monday (6:35 p.m.) and Wednesday (11:05 a.m.) to host Rockland, but I don’t think I’ll make it to either game. I probably won’t see the Bears again for another two weeks, and I’m not sure how many more games I’ll get to before the season ends.