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What an Opening Day

By sstorm Published: April 4, 2008

Hi there Aeros fans. Welcome back. I don't know about you, but thank goodness it's time for another baseball season. The off-season just seems to get longer and longer...

Well, here we are after a five-hour drive in lovely Harrisburg, Pa.

Funny, but on an Opening Night where so much was going on, technically, nothing happened.

After playing for some three hours (the last two in a steady rain), the Aeros season opener against the host Senators ended (at least temporarily) in a 5-5 tie heading into the 10th inning.

Moments after the Aeros scored a two-out, ninth-inning run to tie the game without the aid of a hit, managers and umpires gatherd on the infield dirt and suddenly waived off play by deeming the field unplayable.

So, just like that, it was over...But really it's not.

Either way, it was shaping up to be a weird day for the team from the get go.

Moments after first-year manager Mike Sarbaugh managed to drag himself out of bed to deliver the day's lineup to the island that Commerce Bank Park rests on, he turned around headed straight back to the team hotel. Suffering from a suspected case of food poisoning, he would miss his Double-A managerial debut.

Aeros pitching coach Tony Arnold and hitting coach/acting manager Lee May Jr. said Sarbaugh was feeling - and looked - so bad, they doubted he'd even be able to listen attentively to the game on the radio.

Yet for all Sarbaugh missed - he hasn't really missed anything now that the teams are scheduled to complete the opener Friday at 5:05 p.m. followed by the regularly scheduled game at 6:05 p.m.

Of course, that's as long as it doesn't continue to rain, which rumors have it doing all day Friday. As for me, I can't decide what kind of omen this is for the season.

But I do know this much: regardless of how well Arnold tried to spin it, Aeros starter Chuck Lofgren probably had the worst first game of a season in his life.

The talented left-hander fell behind in the count constantly, giving up seven hits while walking five in just 3 1/2 innings.

Lofgren's saving grace was twofold: No. 1, the Senators left 8 men on base, somehow managing to score just twice and No. 2, put bluntly, he owes reliever Jeff Stevens big-time.

With Lofgren facing his second bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, the strike-throwing right-handed Stevens came on and quickly induced an inning-ending double play. Proving his effiency was no fluke, Stevens cruised through three more innings.

Want to make an educated guess as to my vote for this year's version of Jensen Lewis?

But too bad Stevens couldn't have pitched two more frames.

That's because veteran Bubbie Buzachero (yes, the guy who was kicked off the team after punching a teammate in the face and breaking his nose just before the 2006 playoffs leading to both missing the entire postseason) issued a pair of walks followed by a pair of singles (while mixing in a wild pitch) as Harrisburg tagged him for three runs while taking a 5-4 lead.

Luckily for the vistors, former Akron pitcher (there are three Aeros from last season on the Senators roster this year) Jim Ed Warden couldn't find his control either. Two walks and a pair of wild pitches later, Akron had tied the game and sent the action into extra innings.

So, that's where we stand.

Both teams will likely use bullpen guys to finish up Thursday's game. Who that will be for Akron man wasn't known immediatley after the game, as Arnold and May Jr. wanted to get Sarbaugh's input first.

That is, if the poor guy's still alive.

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