The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on April 18, 1993 · 13
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 13

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 18, 1993
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Sunday.April 18, 1993 FITNESSRECREATION Tliey 're basic and brutal, but to many cyclists time trials are the race of truth B6 "" - --J"- a The Ottawa Citizen Section B FITNESS RECREATION SCOREBOARD FANFARE KIDS' PAGE COMICS Here's The Pitch . . . And Basebalus Return is a Hit fi Rain doesn 't dampen ans' enthusiasm in home opener BY MICHAEL PRENTICE Citizen staff writer Baseball in Ottawa is a smash hit. The fans raved about the Ottawa Lynx home opener, despite the rain, and they loved the city's new $17-million ballpark. Traffic jams getting to and from the stadium, and a shortage of parking, were just about the only complaints as 10,000 fans saw history made Saturday night with the opening of Ottawa's first stadium built for baseball. "It's out of this world. It's beautiful," said 64-year-old Ray Robillard of the new city-owned stadium at Vanier Parkway and the Queensway. Asked what she liked best about it, Robillard's 65-year-old wife Beu-lah said: "We're getting baseball in Ottawa for the first time in so many years I can't remember exactly how long." In fact, it's 39 years. Brenda Hurlbert, at the game with her husband Ken, said: "It's a historic moment. It only happens once." Inside the ballpark, the crowd was greeted by boy scouts giving away Lynx calendars and certificates proclaiming fans were at the first home game of Ottawa's newest professional sports team. A Dixieland band playing Take Me Out To The Ball Game got fans in the mood for baseball. The stadium wasn't quite finished in time, despite the best efforts of construction workers, who were hurriedly clearing up as fans streamed into the park. Some luxury boxes weren't finished, and others were without furniture and fittings. But no one seemed to mind too much. Lynx owner Howard Darwin was beaming, and not only because he had at last realized his dream of bringing professional baseball back to Ottawa. Opening Day was a cash bonanza, with fans lining up to pay as much as $92 for a Lynx replica jersey or $80 for a Lynx windbreaker. In the luxury restaurant overlooking the field, diners got a break. They got an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, including prime rib of beef, for $20, including a view of the game. Because the stadium kitchen was only completed on the eve of the game, Capital Foods decided not to offer its regular menu. Instead, it brought in a sumptuous buffet from its main kitchens. About the only people who weren't happy were a dozen or so ticket scalpers from Montreal, who thought there would be money to be made. The scalpers were among those who purchased a few tickets offered for sale by the Lynx about 90 minutes before the game, which had been previously announced as a sellout. But there was little or no demand for tickets, partly due to the uncertain weather. Scalpers were asking as much as $25 each, but by game time they were lucky if they got face value. Fans had nothing but praise for the stadium, where every seat offers a near-perfect view and no one is far from home plate. Peter Strum, who has season tickets close behind home plate, said the stadium is super. "It's intimate. You're close to the action. Parking for $5 is half what I've been paying at Ottawa Senators games." And Strum said the price of admission is right. He is paying $8.40 a game for one of the best seats in the ballpark. "I can't go to a movie for that price. I pay $40 a seat for my Senators season tickets. The Lynx offer good family value." The stadium gates opened at 5 p.m. more than two and a half hours before the scheduled game time. That allowed fans to get there early and soak up the atmosphere. As it turned out, they had to endure a steady drizzle. Despite the early arrivals, there were traffic jams getting off the Queensway and approaching the stadium from Riverside Drive and Coventry Road. The jams were so bad OC Trans-po could not run its special bus service right to the stadium entrance on Coventry road. When traffic was at its peak about an hour before the game, Transpo buses from Hurdman station ended their journey on the Vanier Parkway, a short walk from the stadium. Most fans came by car. Some parked as far away as St. Laurent Shopping Centre, a 15-minute walk from the stadium, to avoid the $5 parking charge and the traffic jams. Even so, the stadium's 2,800 parking spaces proved to be inadequate. There are 1,800 spots in the main parking lot on the west side of the stadium and 1,000 spots in a second lot east of the ballpark. Both lots were full well before game time. Hundreds of motorists parked illegally on the muddy verges of Coventry Road. Congestion was bad at times on Coventry Road, which is being widened from two to four lanes. But it was worse on Riverside Drive. Drivers coming from Alta Vista Drive reported it took them 50 minutes longer than expected to get to the ballpark. , .... " - $c.i- "I , ' ' ,- . ... . ... . , - I , . 1 :J..i t - . . - . . Wayne Cuddington, Citizen Mike Mathile of the lynx delivers historic first pitch Power hitters take aim at Coventry Road BY DON CAMPBELL Citizen sports writer At Wrigley Field in Chicago, they talk about the home runs that clear the screen and land on Waveland Avenue. At Boston's Fenway Park, the big hitters are measured by the ones that clear the Green Monster. At Ottawa's new baseball stadium, the race is on to see which slugger becomes the first to clear the wall in left field and hit one onto Coventry Road. But as inviting as the task looks, Opening Night found no takers. Charlotte's Wayne Kirby christened the stadium with its ever first homer, a line shot that just cleared the wall in right But no one will talk about that one. Tape-measure jobs the 400-foot-plus drives that fans talk about for years are going to be measured to left. "It looks like a long way," said Lynx slugging first baseman Terrel Hansen, who hit 12 home runs last year with Tidewater and has one this year in a Lynx uniform. "You really have got to do some BP (batting practice) to see how the ball carries. It's going to take a couple of days to figure this stadium out. "But you have got to like any place where the wind's blowing out like this. It's a good sign for a hitter." Rain forced both clubs to cancel batting practice before the opener. And with more forecast for today, it's probably going to be sometime this week before hitters get a really good chance to size up a few long blasts at passing traffic. Early reviews were mixed: hitter's park or pitcher's park? No one will have the answers for at least a few games. The dimensions are pretty much standard with every new park: 404 to straight-away Gen s' V ' A C J- TiY tJX ,.rr4 K1 Dave Chan, Citizen Owner Howard Darwin, Ottawa fans cheer on Lynx in home opener tre, 375 in the power alleys and 325 down the lines. And players wont learn how the ball carries until the humid days of July and August "This park is on line with most in this league," said Knights manager Charlie Manuel. "I like it "And I'm going to like it a whole lot more if we're able to win a few games here over the course of the season." Throughout the opener, upwards of 50 fans braved the showers, lining the chain-link fence that protects traffic on Coventry, behind the 12-foot high blue wall. But it was all in vain. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people reach the street" said Charlotte infielder Jim Thome, not a favorite to be the first to do so. He has just 26 career minor league homers. "There's some big hitters in this league that can do it" Kirby holds the distinction of becoming the first to homer off Lynx pitching, home and away. His first came in the season opener last week in Charlotte. "I'm not really a home run hitter," said Mark Lewis. "I don't really have legitimate home run power." Kirby will be forever associated with Lynx for all wrong reasons Knights 4, Lynx 3 BY KEN WARREN Citizen baseball writer Wayne Kirby's name will forever be associated with Ottawa Lynx history. Not once, but twice. Kirby's sixth-inning solo home run Saturday the first long ball in stadium history broke a 3-3 tie and dampened the Lynx franchise home opener for 10,332 cold and soggy fans. Kirby is no stranger to historic home runs. In both expansion teams' openers 10 days ago at Charlotte's Knights Castle Stadium, Kirby welcomed Lynx ace Tavo Alvarez to Triple-A by homering to right. Saturday night, his home run came after left-handed reliever Doug Simons (1-1) seemed in complete control in a tie ball game. "It was a line drive and the wind was blowing out to right. Those are the kind of home runs you like to hit," said Kirby, the Knights' centre-fielder and leadoff hitter. "I really couldn't tell you what it is (about the two big home runs). Right now, I'm seeing the ball really well. But it's funny, after I hit the one (Saturday), somebody on the bench asked me how I felt breaking in two stadiums." Although the sellout crowd seemed to enjoy themselves throughout, they were hardly treated to a classic franchise opener notwithstanding. Perhaps because of the damp field, maybe owing to the constant drizzle, both clubs kicked the ball around quite a bit. The Lynx made three errors Saturday, giving them seven in the past two games. And if there's one early lesson to be learned from the first group of Lynx, it's that they have little chance when they play bad defence. Lynx starter Mike Mathile pitched himself in and out of trouble continually in his four innings of work, allowing three runs (two earned) and six hits. But he still left with the game tied, and Simons was in a groove before the Kirby knockout punch. "I felt good, I felt aggressive and I just hung one curveball," Simons said. "I knew it was hit well, but I didn't think it was gone. Rick (Hirtensteiner, Lynx right-fielder) said it scraped the back of the wall." J?8r Aw ijlOTTAWAJL HOW THEY SCORED Knights 4, Lynx 3 KNIGHTS 1ST: Ramos singles, advances to 3rd on Al-Ired single and scores on Cockrell single. KNIGHTS 1, LYNX O LYNX 1ST: Santangeb singles, advances to 3rd on Haney angle. Stairs singles, scoring Santangeb and advancing Haney to 2nd. Haney goes to 3rd on Hansen grouncbut, scores on Laker groundout. LYNX 2, KNIGHTS 1 KNIGHTS 2ND: Canale singles, advances to 2nd on Levis singte and scores when Montoyo drops infield pop-up. LYNX 2, KNIGHTS 2 KNIGHTS 3RD: Lewis walks, advances to 3rd on Allred single and scores on Cockrell ground out. KNIGHTS 3, LYNX 2 LYNX 4TH: Laker doubtes, scores when Lewis throws routine Bryant grounder into Knights dugout. LYNX 3, KNIGHTS 3 KNIGHTS 6TH: Kirby homers to right field. KNIGHTS 4, LYNX 3 TODAY: Knights Paul Byrd (1-0) vs. Lynx (Jonathan Hurst, 0-0), 2:05 P.M. After a shaky start, Knights starter Cliff Young a former prospect in both the Blue Jays and Expos organizations settled down. Young (2-0) eventually left the game in the seventh after yielding six hits and three runs. The Knights' bullpen allowed nothing the rest of the way. The Lynx went one-two-three in the bottom of the ninth. The meat of the order Terrel Hansen, Tim Laker and Scott Bryant went down on strikeouts, the latter two looking at called third strikes. After the Lynx rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first, the Knight received a freebie in the second. Third baseman Charlie Montoyo dropped an easy infield pop-up, allowing the Knights to tie the game. The Lynx never led again. MORE ON THE LYNX HOME OPENER: Please seeB2, B7 It was night of many firsts at the not-so-oP ballpark First pitch: Ottawa Mayor Jac-quelin Holzman, a pitchout, saved by Jim Durrell. First boos: See first pitch. First real pitch: 7:51 p.m., a called strike from Mike Mathile. First batten Wayne Kirby, Charlotte Knights. First souvenir Foul ball off the bat of Kirby into section NN. First out: 6-4 groundout, Tim Barker to Terrel Hansen. First hit: Knights second hitter Ken Ramos, a clean single to centre. First run: Knights Alan Cockrell singles to right to score Kirby from second in first inning. First great play: Hansen slides on a knee to snag Jim Thome's sharp ground ball to first for the final out of the Knights first. First Ooooooohh: On a long foul ball toward the Queensway by Knights Beau Allred. First Lynx hit: A ground-ball single through the box by Lynx lead-off hitter F.P. Santangelo. First Lynx run: Consecutive singles by Santangelo, Todd Haney and Matt Stairs to tie things 1-1. Longest at-bat: Lynx Scott Bryant in the first. Bryant went to the plate at 8:14 and didn't strike out until four minutes later. First strikeout: Bryant. First partial standing ovation: After a diving stab fit for This Week in Baseball back of second by Tim Barker on a liner by Kirby. First error: Lynx third baseman Charlie Montoyo drops an infield pop in Knights second inning, allowing George Canale to score from second. First trip to the mound: In the third, Lynx pitching coach Mike Parrott visited Mathile. First off-the-wall hit: A long double to straightaway centre by Lynx Tim Laker in the fourth. First double-play: A tailor-made 6- 4-3, turned by :1 V Mathile First pitch, loss the Knights in the fourth. First relief performance: Doug Simons spelled Mathile to start the fifth. First home run: Charlotte's Wayne Kirby, a two-out liner over the wall in right off Simons. First chants: "Go Lynx Go, Go Lynx Go" started by section LL with the Lynx batting in the sixth. First gate crasher: Two idiots who went over the fence and on the field to entertain fans at the end of seven innings. First heated argument: Charlotte manager Charlie Manuel over a successful pickoff at first by Lynx reliever Tim Fortugno. First win: Cliff Young of Knights. First save: Jerry Dipoto . First loss: Mike Mathile of Lynx. V

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