Even without electricity, T-Bones sizzle
With the local electric company having trouble providing power recently at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the Kansas City T-Bones turned to Eddie Pearson and a few of his buddies.
During a pre-game power outage June 19 that stalled the first pitch nearly two hours, the Kansas City T-Bones and Joliet Jackhammers turned to all kinds of methods to entertain themselves and the fans. But the most novel idea that came out of the delay was an impromptu home run derby. Five of Kansas City's biggest power hitters went up against four from Joliet, and Pearson came out on top.
The Kansas City designated hitter banged out five dingers, two more than his nearest competitors. Pearson showed the majestic power that has made him a fan favorite in a contest that was new even to KC manager Al Gallagher, who's been in the game for decades.
"I've had delays like that before, but I think that's the first time we've had a home run derby for the fans," Gallagher said. "That's just the way it is around here, it's all for the fans."
The fans had plenty to watch during the lengthy power outages, as the lights flickered on momentarily three times before dying again. Some of the Joliet players got their hands on a large, inflatable novelty baseball and began shooting it into a trash bin, basketball-style. Joliet outfielder J.D. Foust, aside from being one of the Northern League's top hitters, proved himself to be the Jackhammers' best jump shooter, as well.
Over on the Kansas City side of the field, T-Bones outfielder Greg Jacobs and first baseman Charles Peterson practiced their pitching form. Peterson dropped down and threw submarine-style, a la former Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry. Also in top form was the T-Bones' big red steer mascot, Sizzle. He roamed the field and stands, high-fiving kids, flirting with pretty young ladies and engaging in plenty of good-natured harassment of the Joliet players. And he did it all while wearing a heavy suit in 90-degree weather.
While there was scattered grumbling from the crowd, which sometimes had a hard time accepting the fact that the game couldn't be started without electricity, the T-Bones staff did its best to keep the mood light. Free T-shirts were thrown out into the crowd and, when the power did flicker back on, the music was always appropriately humorous. Whenever the power tried to come back on the public address staff was ready with songs like the "Electric Slide" or "Electric Avenue."
But the highlight of the delay antics was certainly the home run contest. Pearson went last and as soon as he stepped into the box the lights came back on. But Pearson took his powerful cuts anyway, one of which landed a ball just short of the Kansas City clubhouse in deep right. The crowd roared for Pearson, almost as loud as it roared for the restored electricity. Surprisingly, few people left until well into the game, even though it started nearly two hours left.
"We have the greatest fans in the world," Gallagher said. "Probably a few were mad because the lights went out, but most understood that's out of the control of the baseball team."