Aeros Notebook for Game Three of the Eastern League Championhip Series
WHERE'S THE GOODS?: Many Aeros fans attending Friday's Game Three of the finals left the Infield Outfitters team shop at Canal Park were vocally disappointed after realizing there wasn't much merchandise left in the near-bare store.
Not only was there little merchandise left over from the regular season to chose from, but the biggest gripe was that there were no Eastern League Championship Series shirts for sale.
Typically a norm in the past for the perennial playoff team, only a handful of black shirts with red lettering were printed for front office workers, but not even ushers - much to their dismay. In addition, the playoff-clinching navy shirts that began being sold late in the regular season once the Aeros clinched a playoff spot, were already sold out.
"I come in here to buy a shirt and there's nothing," said Rob Roskie from Uniontown, who was wearing a worn and gray 2005 Aeros championship T-shirt. "How can there be nothing when the team's in the middle of the playoffs? They wonder why fans don't come out like they used to. Well, here's one pretty good reason."
Aeros CEO and president Greg Agganis explained that faced with having to order at least seven dozen shirts at a time from the manufacturer, he chose instead to be creative.
"We're thinking of doing a shirt after the season that says 'three-time Eastern League Champions'," Agganis said. "Then we'd sell it during the off season and into next season."
Of course there's one caveat to that thinking, as the Aeros must go on and win out to claim their third title, first. YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!: A frustratingly inconsistent strike zone by home plate umpire John Conrad left players from both sides shaking their heads during and after many at-bats, unsure of exactly where the zone was all night.
But Aeros right fielder John Drennen took his complaining a little too far after grounding out for the first out of the eighth inning. Drennen was ejected by Conrad after he complained as he walked back to the dugout, and was unaware that he's even been tossed for a minute or so.
The event wouldn't matter so much had Connecticut's decisive run not scored in the ninth inning after new left fielder Cristo Arnal and shortstop Carlos Rivero collided on a ball hit to shallow left.
After Drennen left the game, Jerad Head moved from left to right and Arnal (a middle infielder) was pressed into outfield duty. When the ball dropped (likely because Rivero wasn't sure about Arnal's defensive abilities), Defender's pinch hitter Tyler LaTorre earned the game-winning RBI double. THANKS FOR COMING: A walk-up crowd of over more than 1,000 people bolstered the attendance at Canal Park to 4,252 Friday - a solid playoff crowd, especially for a Fall high school football night. In addition, the crowd was boisterous and engaged, following along with the game despite an early scoreboard crash that left the board frozen and possibly out for the remainder of the series. UP NEXT: Game four of the Eastern League Championship Series pits Aeros left-hander Scott Barnes (0-0, 0.00 ERA in the playoffs) against Defenders left-hander Ari Ronick. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park.