Thursday evening before Fall Break, the baseball team hosted a Halloween Intrasquad Scrimmage at North Park to end the season. It was open to families and children of Lamoni and the Graceland Community. Each team member showed up in costume before the game and spread out across the diamond, passing out candy to the children that attended, who were each dressed in their adorable costumes as well.
Antonio Godinez, a pitcher in his junior year, was dressed as Aladdin, shirtless underneath his girlfriend’s purple vest and sporting rolled up sweatpants with sandals. I asked him about his experience interacting with the enthusiastic kids who were trick-or-treating on the field. He expressed that he had a lot of fun, but added, “it’s just sad that not many of the children knew I was Aladdin or who he even was… It made me feel like an old man and I’m only 21!”
Once all the candy was passed out, the players split into two teams (still in costume), one taking the field, the other returning to the dugout. The boys had a lot of fun playing while also acting silly in their costumes, making both the kids and adults in the crowd laugh throughout the five innings. Besides the goofy and light-hearted entertainment that the players provided, a few of them were also taking turns as announcer, commenting on each play and character with witty puns and ridiculous back story. Throughout the innings, team members in wardrobe slipped in and out of the press box above the bleachers, balancing their time as players and announcers.
Michael Middleton, a Sophomore pitcher who dressed as the Black Power Ranger, did a great job in the first few innings as announcer before he stepped up to the mound. Bryn Redhead, a Senior first baseman in a gorilla suit, took his turn as announcer as well. Since he hasn’t been playing because of recent surgery on his hand, this gave him a way to be involved in the event. When I asked him about being in the press box, he shared that “not being able to play was a good opportunity to announce and see the game from a good angle.”
The game was full of laughs with jokes like “angel in the outfield” when Jamall Hudson, Senior, caught the ball in left field dressed in an angel costume. In another play, the catcher, sophomore Jose Mendez, made a hit and crawled to first base dressed as a baby (complete with diaper and binky), at which point he started crying for his mommy and was called out. Nick Scoville, a sophomore outfielder, was dressed up as a “blind referee”, walking around the field with sunglasses and a cane, and throughout the game made several horrible calls, at one point even calling “holding” on the defense during a play call. Later, sophomore third baseman Mason Nowell (dressed as a banana) was being chased by the gorilla until the beast was shot down by “Shooter” who was staked out in camouflage above the dugout. In response to the event, senior shortstop Angel Hernandez Jr., shouted “Sniper, no sniping!” dressed as Dora the Explorer. All of the costumes were great, but one of my favorites was Captain Underpants, portrayed by Nate Goff who is new to the team this year. It was a sight to see him fly around the bases with his red cape and lack of pants.
During the final inning, Aladdin took the mound as “A Whole New World” played through the speakers as he warmed up. The scrimmage ended with a lot of smiles and a team picture with all of the players in their costumes. I asked Godinez (Aladdin) and Redhead (Gorilla) how they felt about their experience in the Halloween scrimmage. “The game was a good way for us as a group to be on the field in a lighter setting,” says Redhead, “even better that we got to include the community, and we all hope they enjoyed it.” Godinez shared that “it was a fun experience to be a part of the Halloween game and interacting with the community before, during, and after. It really showed that the little things count and can bring everyone together.” As this was the first year for the Halloween scrimmage, I asked if it was going to become a yearly event during Fall ball to which Godinez responded, “I hope that they keep this tradition going and that I get to be a part of it again.”
Although Fall ball has come to an end for the baseball team, they are really looking forward to the start of their season next semester, and hope to see the Graceland and Lamoni community at North Park come Spring time to show their support.