When Bowie first baseman Preston Palmeiro rocketed Carson Teel’s pitch into the Harrisburg bullpen for a three-run homer to put the Baysox up 5-0 in the second inning, I had the feeling I’d been here before.
An unmistakable case of déjà vu washed over me.
Nine years ago, Tanner Roark took the mound on a Saturday afternoon at then Metro Bank Park with the Senators down 2-1 to Altoona in the Western Division Championship Series. Harrisburg was hoping to force a fifth and deciding game the next day.
Instead, Roark was torched for three home runs early to put Harrisburg in a 7-2 hole and end the future Major League pitcher’s outing after just 2.1 innings. The Senators would mount a comeback late but ultimately fall 10-5 to end their season.
As a spectator then, much of that day was spent realizing and relishing it was the last baseball I would watch on City Island until the next April.
Saturday was much of the same at FNB Field.
Teel played the part of Roark, although the southpaw lasted five innings. It was long enough to give up three home runs and ten hits which both tied the record for the most allowed by a Harrisburg pitcher in a single playoff game.
In the end, the scoreboard showed the Baysox rolled to a 12-5 victory eliminating the Senators. But for me, it was one last day to enjoy the 2019 season.
One last time to appreciate Luis Garcia’s infectious smile and joy for the game. One last time for me to slow-jam the floss during Dante Bichette’s walk-up song. One last time listening to Terry Byrom on the radio. And one last time sitting down with Senators manager Matt LeCroy after the game.
I’ll miss it all terribly.