Scotland, Tabor enjoy game at the Metrodome
Some say a tie is worse than losing.
For Scotland and Tabor Legion baseball players, they wouldn't agree.
Playing under the bright lights of the Metrodome in Minneapolis Tuesday night, the two teams' two-hour time limit expired after seven innings, forcing the game to end at 3-3.
"Our kids really enjoyed it," Scotland co-head coach Brian Vaith said. "They said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Scotland coaches Brian Vaith and Dennis Kronazil, along with their wives, helped orchestrate the planning for the trip about three to four weeks ago.
"We wanted to do this for the kids, but we're trying to get some enthusiasm back to try to boost the Legion program. We don't want to see baseball die in our small town," Vaith added.
When Scotland asked Tabor coach Jason Humpal to tag along, he quickly agreed.
The price of the game, which started at about 11 p.m. after the Minnesota Twins fell to the New York Yankees 10-2, was $400 an hour just to rent the dome.
However, before the two teams took the field to play, three of Scotland's players were special guests on Qwest Twins Live. During the Twins' game, center fielder Carlos Gomez robbed Yankees' slugger Alex Rodriguez of a grand slam over the center field fence, and Jason Vaith, Skylar Bloch and Michael Kronazil assisted Twins' announcer Bert Blyleven and Ron Coomer on how to play a ball hit at the fence.
While taking the first-base dugout, Scotland's players stumbled upon Yankees' manager Joe Girardi.
"He was still in the dugout when we got down there," Vaith said. "Four or five of our players got his autograph."
Because Twins' outfielder/designated hitter Jason Kubel has relatives in the Tyndall area, Tabor players were hoping to meet the hard-hitting lefty. Even though the Twins were quick to exit the third base dugout, and no Tabor players were lucky enough to meet any of the Twins, Humpal said his team still had a great experience.
"Some of the kids haven't even seen a game there before," he said. "Even though they didn't get to finish the game, they still had a great time."
Once the game did get started, both coaches made sure to get all of the players who made the 300-plus mile trip in the game. Scotland started Brian Bartlett, and he pitched the first three innings, while Tabor threw Logan Tycz, who pitched the first five innings.
Humpal said the game at the Metrodome was only the team's fifth of the season. He added that seven games have been canceled due to rain, and he's had three different teams call to cancel because they couldn't field enough players.
After Bartlett exited, Seth Fuhrer pitched the fourth and the fifth, and Jason Vaith pitched the final two innings. Scotland's outfielders told their coaches that when Blyleven talks about how easy it is to lose the ball in the Metrodome roof, he isn't exaggerating.
"They said if you take your eye off of it, you can never find it again," Vaith said.
At about 1 a.m., the two teams walked off the field at 3 apiece, disappointed the game was over, but happy with the experience. There were a total of 103 fans who made the trip with the two teams to watch the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"(The kids) were so full of pep and energy after the game, you would have thought it was 10 in the morning, they were so excited," Vaith said.