GreenJackets' fans come for atmosphere

Time to enjoy some baseball

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James Butler enjoys baseball, but that's not why he bought season tickets.

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While parents stand around and chat, impatient baseball fan Ryan LaManna (left), 4, tries to peek over a wall as Dustin Rowell, 4, jumps in the air to get a better look before the start of the GreenJackets home opener against the Charleston RiverDogs.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
While parents stand around and chat, impatient baseball fan Ryan LaManna (left), 4, tries to peek over a wall as Dustin Rowell, 4, jumps in the air to get a better look before the start of the GreenJackets home opener against the Charleston RiverDogs.

"It's the atmosphere," Butler explained Friday afternoon.

Butler, who sat behind home plate with his wife and children, was among the early crowd at Lake Olmstead Stadium before the opening home game of the GreenJackets' season.

An hour before the first pitch, the setting sun cast bright light on the field. Ushers helped the trickle of fans find their seats. Music thumped loudly.

Mel Rourk, of Grovetown, has been coming to baseball games in Augusta since the stadium had wooden seats. Her husband of two years, Randy Rourk, has been coming just about as long.

"I love the game; I love the GreenJackets," Mel Rourk said.

Stephen and Krystle Harden enjoy sports in general, but, like Butler, they come for the atmosphere. About 45 minutes before the first pitch, their daughter Mackenzie, 5, had space to climb over the bleachers and burn some energy before the game.

The Hardens are Braves fans but like attending GreenJackets games better.

"It's cheaper and closer to home," Krystle Harden said.

By 7 p.m., the bleachers' shadow had reached the outfield. Players stretched and sprinted. Women in green shirts and khaki shorts weaved through the growing crowd carrying trays loaded with cold beer and french fries.

In the bullpen, a pitcher wound up and released a white blur that smacked into the catcher's glove with a loud crack.

"I'd hate to take that in the face," Lee Mauldin, 12, said to his friend, Joel Myes, 11.

Lee plays for his home-school team, the Crusaders. Joel likes pickup games.

A hush falls over the crowd before The Star-Spangled Banner is played. Cheers greet the last cymbal clash.

The GreenJackets take the field, and the first batter for the Charleston RiverDogs comes to the plate.

Strike one!

The crowd cheers.

SEE PHOTOS

See galleries of photos from Friday's GreenJackets' home opener at spotted.augusta.com.

Comments (4) Add comment
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Whyisit01
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Whyisit01 04/17/10 - 08:05 am
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LOL it's the first home game

LOL it's the first home game so naturally the crowd was there, but it will not last. This gave people something to do last nite. We all know the stands will be less full at home games as the season continues. A stadiun downtown LOL.

Ayetidiosi
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Ayetidiosi 04/17/10 - 08:24 am
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Keep your Augusta bashing

Keep your Augusta bashing self to your own local papers.
The GreenJackets will draw the same with or without your hate filled guesses.
Do you have ANY redeeming qualities, black supremacist?

Whyisit01
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Whyisit01 04/17/10 - 12:22 pm
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Looks over at Aye's avartar

Looks over at Aye's avartar and just LOL @ his/her black supremacist comments. LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL..... oopz

Frankie-B
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Frankie-B 04/17/10 - 10:15 pm
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Loved opening night! The

Loved opening night! The wife and kids all had a great time. Loved the crowd, too. Every type of folk there, from every strata of society. Stands will be a bit less full when it gets stupid-hot outside, but so do the stands in Atlanta. Why & Aye should put it all aside, go to the game, and have a beer together.

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