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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Greensboro Grasshoppers kick off season

The Greensboro Grasshoppers’ season has begun, and Guilford students have wasted no time getting downtown to support the city’s minor league baseball team. After an exhibition game against the Florida Marlins, which the Grasshoppers won 8-7, the season officially began on opening day April 8.The season, which lasts into September, alternates between stretches of home games and away games. Starting April 24, the Grasshoppers will play home games every day for eight days in a row, usually at 7 p.m. According to the Grasshoppers’ Web site, the April 24 game will include a “fireworks extravaganza,” which is not an unusual sight at Grasshopper games.

“I’ve been to all the Grasshoppers’ games this season,” said sophomore Adrienne Sibrizzi. “My favorite player is (left fielder) Kyle Jensen. It’s (a lot of fun) to go to the game, sit on the lawn, and watch the fireworks go off every time we hit a home run.”

Lawn tickets are only $6, and seats cost a mere $8. Typical of sports stadiums, the food is expensive. Nachos and pretzels go for $3, while a large soda is $4.50. The gift shop has a variety of affordable options. Most interesting are used Grasshoppers’ bats for $20.

Each trip to NewBridge Bank Park, the Grasshoppers’ home stadium, offers something different. April 26 is “Money Off Monday” when lawn tickets will be only $5, and hot dogs and 12 oz. beverages will be $1. Every time the Grasshoppers play at home on a Thursday, it’s “Thirsty Thursday” with $1 Natty Greene’s beer for sale.

The stadium is inundated with advertising, including bizarre games between innings. The emcee tries to lead the crowd in a regular call and response of “Woo wooo!” and, depending on the energy in the game, the crowd responds.

In one spectacle, three people raced around the field dressed as different sausages, and the winner received 10 pounds of Neese’s sausages. John’s Plumbing sponsored a “musical toilets” (rather than musical chairs) competition, and later, kids competed to build the “Fisher’s Grille burger” while dressed as the burger buns.

The April 15 Thirsty Thursday game against the Delmarva Shorebirds saw a large turnout from Guilford students, who enjoyed the game even though the Grasshoppers lost 6-4. The announcer stated that 7,362 fans were in attendance.

“Woo wooo!” yelled senior Raji Ward after the Grasshoppers scored a run in the seventh inning to bring the score to 6-3 on April 15. “Count it!”

Even students who aren’t old enough to buy cheap Thursday beer enjoy Grasshopper games.

“It’s always nice to see athletes run around in tight pants and swing bats and hit balls,” said sophomore Hugh Griffis. “Baseball is totally rad.”

Four other Guilford students were seen in a massage train sitting on the lawn during the game, and it was almost a surprise not to see someone from campus climbing on the jungle gym inside the stadium.

“Going to a Grasshoppers’ game is a great way to spend a summer night,” said junior Olivia Bailey, who was at the April 15 game.

Of course, Guilford students aren’t the only people who get into the game.

“Pitcher’s got a big butt!” yelled one middle-aged fan sitting along the first baseline while Shorebird Matthew Hobgood wound up to pitch.

Even if you find baseball boring or need to compare it to dodgeball to understand the rules as one Guilford student was overheard asking, the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ games are still an entertaining, light-hearted social experience. With tickets so cheap and regular fireworks displays, there is no excuse to avoid attending the countless home games left in the season.

“I got a picture with the mascot, so it was really all worth (my boyfriend)’s six dollars,” said senior Sarah Campbell. “I refused to leave without getting a picture with ‘Guilford’ (the mascot), who definitely looks more like a Muppet than a grasshopper, but I’m quite pleased nonetheless.

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