Well I need to get this post written! I just got to my room at a Motel 6 in Santa Fe. I was suppose to go to a game in Colorado Springs today but it was postponed because of snow. Anyway more about that tomorrow! Yesterday I went to a game in Grand Junction, Colorado, between Colorado Mesa University and Metro State (Denver). I was determined to get back to some good stories and people! When I found the stadium near the campus I thought it was going to be really nice, since the Colorado Rockies rookie team plays here. I parked my car, went to purchase my ticket and was a bit shocked at the price of admission, $10. This was NCAA Division 2 so I figured $5 tops, plus they charged $2 for a program. I went into the stadium, the set-up was very odd. The press box and announcers booth is on the first base side, like in a football stadium, I didn’t like the feel or the layout.
I found a seat on the top row below the press box and chatted a little bit with an older gentleman as the game started. I wanted to get a feel for him, he was nice enough but I wasn’t “feeling it” to profile him. Before or after the national anthem (I don’t remember) the PA announcer talked about sportsmanship and rules of conduct, I found that odd. I don’t recall that being said at any games before; if so, it never stood out but for whatever reason this time it did. During the first inning I heard some guys throwing out stats to the Metro State players and really getting on them when they came to bat. Sitting there listening, I thought to myself, security was going to have a talk with these guys. Sure enough, 5 minutes later a “rent a cop” was talking to them. When the cop was walking away, a Colorado Mesa player hit a line shot to the Metro State second baseman who missed played it. One of the guys that just received a warning, got up and started clapping and yelling to the Metro State player, “It’s alright, you tried your best, we are all winners”. He continued to yell, “You will get it next time, don’t get down on yourself”. I was laughing at this, the kid was toying with the “rent a cop”, I found my story!
I approached the guy that made me laugh, his name was Josh Adams and found out he was a senior from Hawaii. I asked if I could sit with him and his crew, he said, “sure”. I told him that he was very entertaining and relentless. He laughed and said that is what “The Pit” was all about. He explained that “The Pit” was a group or students (14-20) that came out to support the baseball team. Colorado Mesa has a very good baseball team, so it is easy to cheer for. Josh told me “The Pit” is the 10th guy on the field during home games. I laughed pretty hard quite a few times at some of their shenanigans (I am glad I could finally use that word). When a player on Metro State would strike out, all of them would stand up and chant “K” repeatedly while beating a drum until the player got into the dugout. When a player would watch a called strike, someone would yell “can I help you” and the rest added, “no just looking”.
These guys always sit between home plate and the visitors dugout. The entire stadium can hear them and it has to be hard on the opposing team. One thing I noticed is that they rarely get on the umpires and they don’t swear. Josh said, “The umpires are just doing their jobs and you have to expect that they will make an occasional mistake.” He also said, “If they did curse it won’t be good, like the day before there was a bunch of kids sitting with them.” What I liked about this group was that they all seemed to be very good nature college kids. If a Metro State player made a nice play, they made sure to acknowledge that. Josh said “We love baseball and if a player shows us up we respect that” and he loves the “gamesmanship”. He told me, at one of the games a mother of a pitcher on the opposing team came over to “The Pit” and she told them “That’s my baby and you’re going to hurt his feelings”. Josh said, “We were on him relentlessly but the kid pitched a ‘gem’ of a game losing to Colorado Mesa 1-0.” He had “mad” respect for him – or as he said, “that guy was dirty”! The mom videotaped “The Pit”. She was actually having fun and heckling them right back. They loved it. At the end of the game “The Pit” had to tip their cap to her and her son.
It isn’t always so pleasant. Another “Pit” member, Kaleo Nakano, said that players have “flipped them off”. One game, against a Christian College, the coach wanted to fight him in the parking lot. “The Pit” has caused some controversy with opposing teams complaining about the drum as an artificial noise maker, wanting a ruling from the NCAA regarding its use. Also, the Athletic Director has asked them to “turn it down” once Colorado Mesa gets an eight run lead, they abide by that. On this particular day only seven guys were in attendance. I was told that one of their biggest personalities, Eli, wasn’t there because he had the worst hangover of his life. Josh said, “It goes without saying that we like to indulge on the weekends and things can get a little out of control, this is college, ya know”. I loved their enthusiasm which reminded me of the Texas A&M student section. However, I am giving the nod to Colorado Mesa’s “The Pit”. They were better with some of the best one liners!
I talked with Mike Thrill, a pitcher for Metro State, about “The Pit”. He said, “It is hard to tune them out and they can get very annoying since they really do their research on the opposing players.” Mike explained that he tries to use it as motivation so he can show them up, or shut them up. I can appreciate that sentiment, Mike, but I think that is exactly what they want which is to affect the game some how. As far as doing their research, the pitcher in the second game of the doubleheader for Metro State worked for a car lot. That bit of info was used against him. “The Pit” would yell, “I need my car parked or I need you to get my car”, something to that effect. The coach for Colorado Mesa loves “The Pit” and gave them all team ball caps. I can see why some fans of the opposing team would get upset with them, but I think the best thing to do is indulge them giving it right back to them. They really made the game very entertaining.
Well, it’s cutoff time, but want to say, “That doubleheader was a lot of fun.” If I ever write a book, I will work in more of the “shenanigans” of “The Pit”! Keep at it boys, I had a good laugh. In observation, other fans enjoyed it too seeing how many came up to you guys after the game!
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