It's been one of the craziest weeks in the history of the Joliet Slammers franchise.
The week was actually going quite normally until Friday. The team started the week on the road in Crestwood before a much-needed off day on Tuesday, the first day off for the team since June 5.
A seemingly routine three-game homestand against the Southern Illinois Miners started on Wednesday. The Slammers honored Joliet's own Bill Manner on Thursday with his own bobblehead night. Bill has been a Joliet sports institution for many years and has served as the assistant clubhouse manager at Silver Cross Field since it opened more than a decade ago. It was a great night and Bill threw out the first pitch, which naturally, was a strike.
But Friday is when things spun out of control at the yard. With the Slammers trailing 7-4 in the seventh inning, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Will County. The front office and grounds crew did a great job quickly getting the tarp on the field. They covered the tarp with sand bags and a couple "gators" all-wheel drive vehicles the team uses to move equipment. This guards against the wind blowing the tarp away.
Well, it does under normal circumstances.
In what's being called "Tarpocalypse 2012", the mighty winds ripped the tarp off the field and it begun to swallow up the Slammers grounds crew and front office. The video of the incident can be found here. The commentary you hear is a quite rattled broadcaster (me) trying to grasp what I was witnessing. Lightning had knocked me off WJOL but we were still broadcasting live on Ustream.
It now has more than 200,000 views on YouTube making it the Slammers' first viral video.
The fact that no one was hurt makes the whole incident amusing in retrospect but at the time everyone was quite scared. Slammers team President Bill Waliewski was actually stuck under the tarp after it had rolled off the diamond. But Kelli Drechsel, our alert Promotions Director, called attention to the fact Bill was missing and the crew was able to get him out from under the tarp with some assistance from one of the team's pitchers: Jake Renshaw.
All fans who attended Friday's crazy storm shortened game can redeem their ticket for a future game of their choice.
Currently the Slammers are in Rockford for a three game series with the RiverHawks but Joliet returns home Tuesday for the start of a six game homestand.
The 3rd and the 4th of July will feature a spectacular fireworks show after the game (barring any more Biblical thunderstorms). The Slammers are turning back the clock...to 2011, on Tuesday. Plus fans can purchase two hot dogs and/or two sodas for the price of one. It's also another Spikes' Super Students Night Presented by Aurelio's Pizza. Wednesday is a "Win It" Wednesday so if the Slammers win all fans in attendance win a free ticket to to the next Wednesday home game.
There are no fireworks on Thursday but it is another "Thirsty Thursday" at the yard. Fans can purchase draft beers for only $2. It's also Tuffy Auto Service Centers Night at Silver Cross Field. After the game all kids get to run the bases. Plus students can get a reserved seat to Thursday's game for only $5 if they show a valid Student I.D. at the Box Office.
I am very excited about this upcoming Friday game as it's a Friday Fright Night at the yard. Chicago television icon Svengoolie will be at the ballpark thanks to MeTV. After the game there will be yet another spectacular fireworks show.
The games Tuesday through Friday all start at 7:05 p.m. On Saturday July 7 the Slammers are getting started at 6:05 p.m. Fans will want to get to the park early as the team is giving out a Frontier Cup Replica Trophy to the first 1000 fans. Gates open at 5:05 p.m. After the game all kids get to run the bases.
All the fun this upcoming week concludes Sunday, July 8 at 2:05 p.m. It's another great giveaway as the team is handing out rally towels to the first 1000 fans. It's also a Senior Sunday so all fans 55 and older can purchase a reserved seat for only $5. After the game all kids get to run the bases and the Slammers will sign autographs as well.
For all Slammers games this season, fans can redeem the back of their ticket at Tilted Kilt Joliet for $10 off their bill.
We can't wait to see you at the ballpark and hopefully there won't be anymore insane thunder storms anytime soon!