The first thing I recommend doing upon arriving in Canberra is tweeting “Canberra, I am in you” or some variation thereof. The various Canberran attractions are very keen to entice you in their direction.
So after a morning spent roaming the Keepsakes exhibition and admiring the war propaganda posters (esp. Lindsay’s Quick!) I ventured off to meet Teri (whose entire family are Cavalry-involved in some form or another) and see Game 1 of Brisbane Bandits @ Canberra Cavalry.
I feel quite close to the Cavalry and the Blue Sox, because while I’ve been away, the streaming broadcasts from those teams have been the most time-zone friendly, the most reliable and the most like sitting down to watch a game with a knowledgable friend. Yes, even when there was only one camera angle.
So needless to say, I was looking forward to meeting the Cavalry baseball crowd. Suz had promised to show me how the stringing codes worked, I was looking forward to meeting Chris Coleman of ChargeTV* and Bob (@spektrall) and generally getting the feel of The Fort, as I’ve been told by many folk that it is delightfully cosy.
Over the course of the two games, I learned that Canberra fans join in and cheer. There was audible singing of the national anthem – in fact, when the sound went down during the national anthem, the crowd only hesitated for a second before really rocking it out to compensate.
I was not singing alone at any point of the Sweet Caroline and there’s a Fort-specific tradition of the crowd acknowledging the scorers during the song. I think it’s the only place I’ve been where the scoring and PA staff are explicitly brought to the crowd’s attention (as ground announcer Persey takes the place of the ‘other’ mascot during the traditional mascot race).
I was lucky to see the home team win both nights in Canberra.
The first game was not a great night at the office for Brisbane’s Takashio who gave up 7 runs in the first two innings. Ouch. It would have been tough for the Bandits to come back from that and they didn’t manage it, especially as the Cavalry put on another 3 runs in the third to take the score to 10-0. Apart from the game getting lopsided, my hit-list of entertaining baseball was in large part met, with some gorgeously athletic fielding, homeruns, chaos on the basepaths, weird fielding fails and a bit of a rally from the Bandits. (Boxcore | Recap)
We had a fairly long rain delay on the second game, during which I pined for the opportunity for an infield tarp-slide (one day it will be mine!) and had a brief on-air chat with Chris Coleman while waving at the people in Brisbane and Melbourne via the magic of iinet streaming. Once the game eventually got underway, it was a much quieter and less-flashy affair, with the wet ground making fielding pretty tough for both teams. Brisbane didn’t manage to get on the board at all. With the standings coming into this series as they were, each game was too important to be putting up duck eggs. (Boxscore | Recap)
Both days I had a long chat with Don (I think) in the coffee van (he called me pretty! *preen*) and had myself a decent beer and something to eat.
Overall, I really enjoyed going to the baseball in Canberra. The Cavalry fans were outrageously hospitable and the ground is full of cheerfulness, friendliness, family-feeling and a cheering crowd. Next time I am there, I promise to Gangnam Style like a champion with Sarge.
* I have also been listening to Chris’ Strikezone podcast since episode 2 or 3. (Now available via ABC Grandstand’s Sport Specials). I’ve recently begun listening to it via the ABC radio app, which I love and am now cheerfully recommending to all and sundry. I don’t know how one goes about getting a podcast onto Tune In Radio, but it is my preferred app for listening to any and all podcasts. Tune-In Radio is also pretty handy for listening to some of the MILB radio broadcasts should that kind of thing be your jam generally, or should you want to listen for a particular player on a particular day.
This is a photo of Jack Murphy, because I think there’s a rule that you have to talk about Jack Murphy when you talk about the Cavalry? It’s probably in the by-laws somewhere. He’s kind of a bit dominant and he hit the home run that won the Cavs the Asia Series in 2013 and it’s heaps of fun to watch him play and he has really nice hair.
**When I first met B. ”Shitty” Knight (supporting character in the hockey web-comic Check Please!) he reminded me of Jack Murphy for superficial reasons (flow and ‘stache), but now, with Shitty being sad that he couldn’t triple-major on a hockey scholarship it’s actually worth mentioning this out loud. Because, Princeton.
*** Yes, this is a rec for Check Please. I am as confident as it is possible to be that the main characters are going to have a college hockey gay romance. Don’t follow that link if a college hockey gay romance will make you sad and unhappy or outraged and angry.