The heat wave was still coming on strong when we went to Waterloo, Iowa for our two-game trip. We left extremely early because we planned on stopping in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the field from “The Field of Dreams,” on the way. After a few dirt roads surrounded by cornfields we arrived at the field. Everything looked the same as it was in the movie: the house, the field, the bench. I have probably seen The Field of Dreams a dozen times and it is my second favorite baseball movie, behind #61. We walked on the field and out to the outfield where the corn was. Just like the ghost players disappear in the cornfields at the end of the day, we took turns taking pictures disappearing into the corn.
We got to Waterloo and we hung out in their extremely nice locker rooms until game time. That is not being sarcastic…the visiting locker room is pristine with nice big steel lockers, a flat screen TV, a training room, and a coaches office. When we went out to the field, I got interviewed by a local reporter about the heat and how to prepare yourself for the hot days on the field. I believe it’s all about water intake. If you do not start chugging water when you get up, you will be toast by game time. The game was good. We came back from a 6-run deficit in the 7th and 8th to win the game. We got back to the hotel and I fell asleep at midnight with the lights on. That was my earliest bedtime of the summer!
Breakfast was at of course, Burger King! I usually sit in the back of the bus, but this time I made the tactical choice to sit in the front. If you sit in the front, you get off first, order first, and get your food first. It paid off big. Gotta love 2 p.m. checkout days! We got back to the hotel at 10:30 and I slept.
The game was a bit more frustrating this time around. The one Northwoods League rule that has gotten us in trouble this year is the 35-pitch rule. If a pitcher throws 35 or more pitches in an inning, he cannot come out to pitch in the next inning. Earlier in the year, Nick Sutherland threw exactly 35 pitches and had to come out after the 2nd inning. This time around, Rusty Shellhorn, arguably our best starting pitcher so far this year got in trouble. One hitter had an extremely long at bat and got a hit, and he walked 2 more and gave up one hit. He was about 25 pitches into his first inning without recording an out. We got two relatively quick outs and he had a runner on first with 34 pitches in the inning. We decided that our best chance to keep him pitching was to try to pick off the runner from first. The first throw over was a perfect throw and a bang-bang play that the umpire called safe. After that, we tried picking the same guy off about 14 more times, unsuccessfully. I played first so Rusty and I got a lot of boos from the stands, but that was the situation we were forced into. We even tried to throw away a pickoff move, where Rusty threw the ball 10 feet away from me, hoping the runner would try to advance to second so we could try to throw him out. The ball bounced perfectly off the brick wall, but unfortunately the Bucks did not fall for our trap. Rusty decided to throw his 35th pitch and eventually got out of the inning, unable to return for the 2nd. It hurt to use our whole bullpen from the 2nd inning on, and we brought in two position players (Matt Maribal and Jordan Owen) to finish off the game. Unfortunately we lost the game, splitting the series with the Bucks.