Well, folks, it’s over. Humboldt’s best summer distraction
has come to a close and now we are all forced to confront the empty misery of
our Crabs-less existences. No more heckling, no more Crusty, no more dynamic renditions of "Go Big Red," no more band at all! Baseball has abandoned Arcata, not to return for 11 months. It’s always a difficult week after our boys head back
home. The town feels … empty. F Street is no longer a perilous route that only
the most courageous and resolute dare ford. We’ve no place to gather together
and bond as a community. It is a time for mourning and bereavement.
The Humboldt Crabs finished the season with a series sweep
against the Bay Area Blues, an all-star team on the eastern side of the bay.
Our boys ended up 37-10 on the year and unloaded 19 runs in the final game of
the season, an explosive display on par with the fireworks Saturday night.
The Blues had a nifty little patchwork thing going, where each player wore the jerseys of their league team. Friday night, they trotted out a lineup almost entirely composed of “Oaks” players. Only the center fielder and catcher were not, both hailing from the San Carlos Salty Dawgs (ridiculous name). Our Crabs were chaperoned by players from the McKinleyville Little League who ran out with the Crabs as they first took the field.
Eight-hundred-and-eighty-six people hunkered down for the Crab Grass Band's final night-show and they were exceptional (even though they didn’t play "Hey Baby" like I rudely!). Connor Blair had perhaps his best game of the season Friday, knocking in four RBIs, including a soaring two-run freeway ball.
Friday was the annual “can you throw a tennis ball over the back stop into a kiddie pool” game and, once again, the answer was … not really. Only three folks made it in, including the very last throw, which bounced as though it was in slow motion before plopping into the under-filled pool. What the prize was, I don’t know, but it doesn’t especially matter because trying to throw a ball into something is fun enough on its own.
Despite some apparently communicable bad fielding (Crabs were lights out for the first five or so innings before picking up the Blues' poor habits. Someone should seriously study if bad infielding is catching.) The Crabs hung on and won 12-6.
Saturday night was important for three reasons: 1) the Blues had their first and only series lead, 2) fireworks and 3) we had a bat girl! She was a huge fan favorite and someone donated money so that next year the Crabs can get a “BG” (Bat Girl) jersey.
The game really felt out of hand for a while when the Blues took a commanding one-run lead in the top of the first. A leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt (seeing a sac bunt in the first inning is kind of like seeing a raccoon in the daytime) set the Blues up for an RBI ground-out. Could the Crabs rally and overcome the lead? Did they have enough time? Nine innings flies by. The answer to both these questions was a resounding “yes.”
The Crabs' Bronson Grubbs answered with a leadoff double of his own. Grubbs almost immediately stole third and, before you knew it, he was sauntering home on a pass ball to tie the game. And from there on out it was all Crabbies, who cruised to a 9-4 victory and a 2-0 series lead.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! A bittersweet day indeed. Few things are more fun than matinee Sunday baseball, but it was the final Sunday. Crusty threw out the first pitch, a clawball with some real funk on it, and the band played the National Anthem. It was an efficient and tight performance; the best kind one can ask for.
Andrew Najeeb-Brush was tapped to start the last game of the year and threw seven strong innings, duping the Blues into hitting a hurricane of ground balls. It wasn’t until the fifth inning, when the Crabbies had a solid seven-run lead that the Blues had more than four batters see the plate.
Grubbs led the Crab charge on the offensive side, going 4-6 with three RBIs. McCarthy Tatum had two doubles and drove in four runs. Nearly all of the 12 Crabbies who stepped to the plate got a hit, and the Crabs scored a run in every inning of their 19-6 victory — the first time they'd accomplished the feat this season. It was a great sendoff for the players and fans alike. Crabs staff gave out shouts and awards after the game. The Top Shelf, my bleacher buddies, got a holler for signaling foul ball targets all season.
Awards were as follows:
Coaches Award – Johnny Mendoza
Offensive Player of the Year – Kellen Strahm and Koko Figueiredo
MVP – McCarthy Tatum (back-to-back champion)
Heckle of the Series
Saturday night, one of the fellas up in the announcers’ booth: “Attention [Crabs Fan]. There is no kiss cam at this ball park, please keep your lips to yourself.” PA heckles are hardcore.
Cheers and Jeers
Cheers to all the ballpark staff and volunteers for making the Crabs the best summer team in the damn world!
Jeers to the gals vaping on Saturday night — rulebreaking is lame! (And also no one’s recording your nonsense, don’t be so paranoid.)