The first four days of June was a very exciting time in Hagerstown Maryland, the home of the single A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The four game series between the Suns and the Columbia Fireflies brought a record 22,578 fans to the Municipal Stadium, a record for a 4-game series, with 6,351 watching along with me on Saturday night. This was the second largest crowd to attend a game in Hagerstown. For anyone that has never had a chance to see a game in Hagerstown, the stadium seats 4,600, so it was a packed house to say the least.
All of the commotion was for one man – Tim Tebow. While he isn’t really much of a prospect and has probably not been mentioned on Prospects1500.com before, this series was something that could only happen in Minor League Baseball. I have never witnessed the type of excitement that many of the fans had to experience Tim Tebow playing baseball. Every single time Tebow emerged from the dugout, be it to bat or run to left field, the fans went nuts. A couple seated up the third baseline, decked out from head to toe in Florida Gator blue and orange had arrived at the stadium at 2:30 for a 6:05 start in hopes of getting the chance to meet Tebow and maybe be lucky enough to get a picture with him or an autograph. They had plenty of pictures, but even though Tebow signed for about 10 minutes before the game, were unable to get the autograph they were looking for.
As far as baseball goes, Tebow went 1 for 4 with a base hit to right. He did make solid contact in all four trips to the plate and missed a home run by less than 10 feet, but he has a long way to go if he is to progress past single A.
While the experience was clearly all about Tebow, I was able to see a pretty good game. As you can see in the picture above, the lineups featured some top prospects, Prospects1500 Mets and Nationals Top 50 ranking in parentheses. CF Desmond Lindsay (#4), SS Andres Gimenez (#14), 2B Luis Carpio (#17), C Ali Sanchez (#24), and SP Harol Gonzalez (#39) for the Fireflies. As well as DH Nick Banks (#6), 3B Anderson Franco (#10), CF Blake Perkins (#25), RF Daniel Johnson (#33), LF Telmito Agustin (#37) and 2B Jake Noll (#50) for the Suns, so some quite a few players we could potentially see in the show over the next few years.
Harol Gonzalez turned in a solid performance holding the Suns to 2 earned run over 7 solid innings and got some support from Andres Gimenez and Ali Sanchez who each homered to account for all 3 Fireflies runs. The Suns bullpen had to scramble but turned in 6 1/3 solid innings to keep the Suns in it and allow a little rally to end up with a walk off win in the bottom of the 9th inning. Telmito Agustin knocked in the tying run and then scored the winning run for the Suns.
The reception Tim Tebow received was incredible. I don’t know that I have ever seen someone that was cheered no matter what they did. Hagerstown did a fantastic job of hosting an incredibly packed house and an exciting baseball game was played. Not much more you could ask for on a Saturday night.
Photos from Municipal Stadium, Hagerstown, MD – Ryan James/Prospects1500
Matt Hammerling covers the Arizona Diamondbacks prospects for Prospects1500. Hailing from Southeastern Wisconsin, he plays in 20-30 fantasy baseball leagues a year including multiple dynasty leagues. Besides fantasy baseball, he enjoys tailgating, growing his beard, getting into bands 8 years after they're cool, and hanging out with his dog Monk. Follow him on Twitter at @AZdbProspector.