The plan was for the four of us to meet outside of BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem on Friday to take in a Dash baseball game.
I was excited. I'd never been to the stadium, which opened nine years ago. I'd seen plenty of minor league baseball games at old Ernie Shore Field, but never at BB&T Ballpark. It was just one of those things I'd always figured I'd get to, but never did. So I was finally getting my opportunity.
Oh, yeah. I was also excited about the four of us getting together, too: Larry Lyon, Jim Buice, Kevin Brafford and myself. Three of us were former sports editors at The Dispatch while Kevin had his byline on plenty of sporting events that he covered for the paper over the years.
The only trouble was, the weather didn't cooperate. About an hour before game time, a deep, dark thunderstorm brewed up, fulfilling its forecasted 40 percent chance of rain for the day. The bottom fell out for about 10 minutes or so, and then slowly dissipated in the guise of a friendly rainbow.
Game on. Or not.
The four of us met at the entrance, then walked to the concourse to get some food. On the way, we marveled at the construction on I-40, which borders the ballpark on the southeast side. The highway is totally torn up and unpaved. It looks like a stagecoach trail. We then found some seats where we could eat, catch up, and watch baseball.
Game time arrived. The tarp, which had been rolled up when we arrived, was now back on the field. Uh-oh.
But something else was off kilter and it took a moment to sink in. The stadium lights, which are usually turned on hours before game time, were still unlit. And the scoreboard was inactive. Nothing. Blank.
A power outage.
In the meantime, we talked. We talked about sports. We talked about getting older (two of us are looking eyeball to eyeball at 70). We talked about our families. We talked about sports. We talked about vacations. We talked about journalism and the state of the newspaper business. Then we talked about sports again.
The sun came out. The sky turned blue. The temperature stabilized in the high 70s. It was a perfect night for baseball.
Except there was no game. The stadium eventually had its power restored around 8 p.m. or so, but the decision to call the game had already been made. We lingered for a while, still talking about sports, but then an usher came by and told us they were kicking us out of the ballpark by 8:15.
We hadn't seen a single ball player in uniform the whole time we were there. Oh, my.
We resolved to try this again in August, using our tickets as rain checks. Or power checks. None of us could ever remember going to a baseball game that had been postponed because of a power outage. I guess there's a first time for everything.
I hope I don't forget where I put my ticket.