Present And Accounted For

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LOUISVILLE, KY. – The first pitch from Louisville lefty Tony Cingrani to Jackie Bradley Jr. was a fastball.  It was taken for a strike, at 7:44 p.m., an hour and nine minutes after Bradley was supposed to see Cingrani’s initial offering.

Which happened to be nearly 13 hours after the Pawtucket Red Sox left T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. on a US Airways plane bound for Philadelphia.  They touched down in South Philly and shuttled from one terminal to another.  Immediately upon entering Terminal F, they discovered that their scheduled flight for Louisville was cancelled.

Thus began a day-long odyssey.  Much of it exploring the kiosks, newsstands and restaurants of Philadelphia International Airport.  Awaiting word on alternate plans, each of the PawSox was cast in what seemed for much of the morning and afternoon a sequel to the Tom Hanks movie, Terminal.

Finally, the team was summoned to Gate C29.  With athletic trainer Jon Jochim doubling as traveling secretary and coordinating a contingency, the PawSox were rerouted to Louisville — through Charlotte!

The second leg of the multi-city journey got underway and the team landed at roughly 3:44.  Its re-booked flight to Louisville was slated to leave at 3:45; was being the operative word.  Time of departure was pushed back to 4:15.  The wheels didn’t go up until 4:30 p.m. had come and gone.

About an hour later, at 5:43 p.m., the Sox disembarked in Louisville.  A couple of the city’s finest greeted them at the baggage carousel, ready to escort the team’s bus to the ballpark, about 15 minutes away.

Remarkably — and thankfully! — all the personal belongings made it.  Several PawSox had opted to wear their eyeglasses and pack their contact lenses.  Albeit still blurry-eyed, all collected their bags.  And off they went, led away by a police cruiser that never did sound its siren or flash its lights.

The traffic flowed freely and the bus pulled up outside the visitor’s clubhouse at about 6 p.m.

A long day had come to an end.  But a long night was just beginning.  More than three hours after Cingrani’s first pitch, Louisville closed out a 10-0 victory.

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