With skydivers, motorcycles, a grade school choir singing the national anthem, a speech by Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland and an appearance by the Bonner Springs VFW color guard, the Kansas City T-Bones kicked off the 13th regular season Friday night. And they did it with a 4-2 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs.
Set against a cloudy sky, the game never saw any rain. CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan., was almost filled, despite the cooler temperatures Friday night. Attendance was 6,330.
The T-Bones’ performance was notable for good pitching from starter Fernando Hernandez, who went five innings, and great work from reliever Joe Van Meter and closer Kris Regas..
The T-Bones jumped out to an early first-inning 1-0 lead, then fell behind in the fourth inning, 2-1. It was in the eighth inning that the T-Bones finally pulled ahead, 4-2.
Brian Erie reached second base on a hit and a wild pitch in the eighth. Then Ryan Cavan hit the ball to the shortstop, and Erie tied the game on a bad throw to first. Adam Bailey next hit a double to score Cavan. Joe Rapp then singled to right and Bailey scored.
A rally by the Saltdogs in the ninth inning fell short.
A notable addition to this season opener was a new scoreboard at the stadium that highlighted players’ statistics and showed some replays.
The T-Bones had their usual fan-pleasing antics, throwing T-shirts to the audience, giving away chicken salad sandwiches if an opposing player was struck out, dancing to the “YMCA” song, and generally being so entertaining that the fans don’t seem to care too much whether the team wins or loses, or at the very least, the entertainment softens the blow when the fans’ favorites fall behind.
While located in Kansas City, Kan., the T-Bones’ audience gave its greatest applause of the night not to a play by the T-Bones, but to the announcement that the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-0.
More of the same fan-pleasing entertainment is planned for Saturday night, when the T-Bones and Saltdogs will meet at 7:05 p.m. at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan. Fireworks are planned after the game. For ticket information, call 913-328-5618 or visit tbonesbaseball.com.