2011: A Chiefs Odyssey – Kevin’s Number 9

You’re about a month off, Jason, as I hadn’t started my undying loyalty to Dunkin’ Donuts until later on in the season.  I likely kept the franchise in business for the last few months of the season, however.

Time for Number 9, number 9…

Er, sorry, where was I?

#9 – The House Is Rockin’

August 12 was a seemingly innocuous Friday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.  The Chiefs were home to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the first game of a four-game series (that would turn out to be a two-game series because of rain).  Syracuse was essentially out of the playoff race, while the Yankees were hanging on in the standings by the skin of their teeth at 62-57.  But a funny thing happened on the way to an essentially meaningless game in the standings – the biggest crowd of the year showed up in the Salt City.  12,716 people were in attendance – the Chiefs’ seventh-largest home crowd since 1961, and their fourth-largest that didn’t involve a guy named “Strasburg.”

(Side note: A Google search for “Strasburg” first brings you to this website – http://www.strasburgchildren.com/.  The website is currently under construction – how is this ahead of baseball’s top pitching phenom?  Though I suppose you could say Stephen Strasburg is “still under construction” of sorts, too.)

Anyway, I’d guess there are a number of reasons for the large crowd.  In no particular order, some of these are:

– Lockheed Martin night…apparently there are a large number of employees and a large number of baseball fans at this company.  Who knew?

– It was a Friday night game.  Weekend games, obviously, tend to draw better.  Plus, you gotta get down on Friday.

– 81 degrees and no threat of inclement weather.  Yes, believe it or not, there were Chiefs games without rain this year.

– The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Baby Bombers, as our main in-studio host and producer Ty Doyle calls them) were in town.  This tends to bump up attendance numbers, as the Yankees are likely the most popular major league team in Syracuse.

– Finally, the pitching matchup, and the reason I’d anticipated this game so much in the first place: Brad Peacock against Manny Banuelos.  It was a matchup of two of Baseball America’s Top 50 midseason pitching prospects – Peacock at #42, Banuelos at #13.  And while Banuelos struggled a bit, the Chiefs’ right-hander delivered.

Syracuse took an early lead on a bevy of extra-base hits.  Steve Lombardozzi led off the game with a triple, Chris Marrero doubled him home, and one more extra-base hit gave the Chiefs a second score.

It looked like the Chiefs would need no more than two runs with Peacock’s stellar performance.  He struck out two hitters in the first, all three in the third, and nine total in 5.2 innings.  He exited with a 3-1 lead, after Jesus Montero blasted a solo home run in the sixth.

But it soon seemed that Peacock’s work would be all for naught.  Scranton loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth inning against J.D. Martin.  But a Jorge Vazquez double play and Terry Tiffee strikeout ended the frame with the Chiefs ahead by one run.  Syracuse then tacked on some insurance in the 8th.

A Jeff Frazier sacrifice fly and Corey Brown two-run single extended the lead in a game the Chiefs won 7-4.

Was the game itself worth of Top 12-dom?  Probably not, though it was an exciting contest on the field.  But the matchup of two hot prospects so thoroughly dominated by the Chiefs and the season’s largest crowd combined for an electrifying night.  Besides, 12,716 new Brad Peacock fans can’t be wrong.

I have to say, Jason…I don’t anticipate this post being the last time we see Mr. Peacock on this countdown.

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