Ever since the Futures League added a Worcester team, I have wanted to go see a game. When I learned my next door neighbor for many years, Jake Rosen, was playing for the Brockton Rox against Worcester at Hanover Insurance Park, I made plans to go. Jake was the starting shortstop and batted 9th this past Thursday, July 19th.
I got in touch with Jake a few days before the game, and he told me that I could interview him if I got there about an hour before the start of the game. We walked to the Holy Cross football field away from the pre-game music.
Check out the full interview below:
After the interview we watched Jake warm-up we had great seats right next to his team’s dugout.
Before the game started, my dad bought me some chicken tenders with fries which was delicious. On our way back to our seats, we stopped at the Bravehearts press box. We knocked on the door, and announcers J.R. Suyemoto and Donny Porcaro invited us in and gave us a place to sit after I handed them my business card. The game was broadcast live on Facebook as it always is and saved on the Bravehearts Facebook page.
The game was starting soon, and we were getting settled in the press box. Paul Lambert shared the line-up cards with us so we could follow along.
In the meantime, Jake and the rest of the team were just about ready for the game.
Rox LF Charlie Maxwell led off the game with a single, but the Rox lineup was relatively quiet in the first few innings. The Bravehearts were also kind of quiet at the plate in the first couple innings, but C Brett Coffel hit a big double in the 2nd inning, and the Bravehearts had 1st and 2nd in the 1st inning despite failing to score a run. Worcester didn’t really get going until the 3rd inning. Their leadoff hitter, 2B Mariano Ricciardi, walked to begin the inning, and DH Chris Rinaldi drove him in with an RBI double. 3B Dustin Harris drove Rinaldi in with a long single, and after Mack Cheli, their star hitter, singled, SS Eddie Haus hit another single to load the bases. Coffel struck out, but Kirk Sidwell drove in a third run with his single and the bases remained loaded. However, Joseph Pesce grounded it to the pitcher, who threw it to the catcher (Jack Kelly) to start a 1-2-3 double play and prevent the Bravehearts from scoring more runs.
Brendan Connelly, a Brockton Rox reporter from WATD (a South Shore radio station), walked in and sat next tome in the press box. He told us that he also works at the Boston Herald as a high school sports reporter. I told him about my Herald radio experience and how I am going to help cover my high school’s sports teams this year.
He helped us by giving us insight on some of the best Rox players and the team overall. Brendan also told us that the Futures League was a Summer League that featured elite college baseball players, and that some of the league’s top players get drafted into the MLB. It would be really cool if Jake was drafted by an MLB team and I really enjoyed watching him from the press box.
The Bravehearts made it 4-0 in the 5th inning, when Brett Coffel singled for his 2nd hit of the day and Joseph Pesce knocked Coffel in with a single of his own. They scored a 5th run on a Mack Cheli sac fly with men on 1st and 3rd. Eddie Haus tried to get another rally going when he hit an infield single on the next at bat, but the Rox ended the inning before the Bravehearts could get another man on base. The Rox scored their first run in the 7th after Jack Kelly tripled and scored on a sac fly.
But after a crazy 3-run 7th, a home run by Joseph Pesce in the 8th, and a dominant performance throughout the game by the pitching staff (including 7 strong innings thrown by starter Joseph Mancini), the Bravehearts won, 9-1.
Even though the Rox lost 9-1, seeing my neighbor Jake Rosen hit and play in such a big stadium was incredible, especially from the press box. Jake hit a hard grounder up the middle in his second plate appearance but was robbed of a single on a close play. Although this was not a great night at the plate for Jake, his defense was strong throughout the game. Late in the game when I went back to my seats on the first base line, I saw Jake prevent an infield single by a speedy Braveheart:
Being focused on one player, I learned of another golden baseball player tradition, never step on foul line when walking on or off the field.
I noticed Jake avoiding the line every time he walked on and off the field. I asked him after the game if he did it on purpose and he said, “Of course, rule of baseball…”
I did a little digging on this superstition and found this story from MLB Pitcher Mel Stottlemyre who last stepped on a foul line in 1987. Here’s what happened per The Baseball Almanac:
“The first batter I faced was Ted Uhlaender, and he hit a line drive off my left shin. It went for a hit. Carew, Oliva and Killebrew followed with extra-base hits. The fifth man hit a single and scored and I was charged with five runs. I haven’t stepped on a foul line since.”
I really enjoyed my first Futures League game and I owe special thanks to Jake Rosen, J.R. Suyemoto, Donny Porcaro, Brendan Connelly, and Paul Lambert, all who made the experience that much better.
I definitely plan on going again because the Bravehearts do a great job at making the game fun even between innings like letting kids run on the field and pie eating contests. My younger brother Ryan who is a gamer, loved the video game music after each play.
Check out my video about this experience:
Stay tuned for more baseball posts soon.