College men still kids when it rains
Boys of summer had a blast during long rain delay
By Donny Henn
The Rochester Honkers and the Alexandria Beetles put on a great show Monday afternoon at Mayo Field.
And then they finished a baseball game.
The Honkers’ remarkable 17-2 win over Alexandria was anticlimatic for the fans who stuck around during a 2 1/2-hour rain delay, which turned a matinee game into an early evening show.
The most entertaining part of this 5 1/2-hour production might’ve been during the long delay, when the rain-inspired antics of the players from both teams kept the fans laughing.
Most of the 1,268 attendance at the start of the Northwoods League game were small children, with groups taking advantage of Sterling State Bank Kids Buck Day, and the college players knew how to play to this audience.
The boys of summer showed that they still like to play in the rain, even if the bats and balls are put away. While nearly an inch of rain fell in 90 minutes, the players spent most of that time on the field doing slips, slides, piggyback races, line dances and some rather elaborate skits.
It started with a Beetles player coming out of the dugout during the hardest rain with his clothes on upside-down. He did a goofy dance that ended with a flop in the mud, to the delight of the crowd, and a contest of ‘shenanigans-in-the-rain’ was on.
The Beetles and Honkers took turns performing in a sort of vaudeville of one-upsmanship, all scored nicely by every imaginable song about precipitation blaring from the stadium loudspeakers.
There was the Beetles’ bobsled routine, with four players sitting in the mud and mimicking every move of the front man. There was the Honkers’ Ryan Hill pretending he was a fish, flopping in the mud as he was reeled in to the dugout.
There was the Honkers’ human bowling ball routine, the Beetles’ runway model routine, the Honkers’ all-star wrestling routine, and the Beetles’ fake duck hunting, which starred two actual ducks that had landed in center field.
There were water balloon battles between the dugouts, and war scenes with bats as rifles and rosin bags as hand grenades. There was the Beetle’ daring raid of the Honkers dugout to ‘kidnap’ a Honkers bat boy.
There were song-and-dance numbers. Hill, Drew Hoisington and Derek Norris did a nicely synchronized Hokey Pokey, and Hill came back to homeplate for a solo on "Macarena."
There was Hill again, turning the tarp covering the pitchers’ mound into a giant Slip-n-Slide.
"That was the funnest rain delay I’ve ever been part of," said Hoisington. "That’s the type of thing you don’t really get the chance to do during the college season.
"Being in summer ball is about improving and trying to get better, but it’s also about having some fun."