Recently we went to a baseball game and a fight broke out. A food fight, that is.
Former Saltsburg resident and longtime friend Jerry Clawson invited me to be his guest at a Pittsburgh Pirates spring training game.
He explained it was Slippery Rock Day at McKechnie Field in Bradenton and we would be traveling with Arch Brocious, of Dixon-ville, and fellow Slippery Rock grad Lou Sutton, a retired IUP track and field coach.
We checked in at a section in right field called the Boardwalk, which was built around the outfield at the park that was renovated last year.
The roped-off section was reserved for Slippery Rock guests and all received name tags noting that the university is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Dr. Cheryl J. Norton, the first female president at the Rock, was there to greet the guests.
Then I heard someone call my name, and when I looked toward the next section, there was Patti Simmons beckoning me to join her.
I didn’t know it was also IUP Day, and they were adjacent to the Slippery Rock party.
You can imagine the conversation that was exchanged in that area, especially with the heated sports rivalry between the two schools.
Meanwhile, batting practice was under way at the field and every so often a fly ball would land in one of the sections.
Patti, who works in the Development Office at IUP, was there with her husband, Bill, and was hosting the IUP party along with Bill Speidel, vice president for University Advancement.
It was good to see John Kennedy, who played football in the Chuck Klausing era and returns to Indiana on a regular basis for various athletic events.
Other friends and athletes in attendance included Mike Shelaheda, ’64; Ken Rometo, ’61; Ron Peters, ’65; Bob Jamison, ’63; J.C. Natale, ’66; and Larry “Sonny” Vosovic, ’64, who reminded us that he was a punter in ’60 and ’61.
George and Elaine Berringer, of Commodore RD, were also with the IUP crew, as were Ron and Joanne Steiner.
The Steiners were my neighbors when we lived in Rose Terrace on East Pike, and Ron was the head librarian at IUP.
Oh yes, the ballgame.
The Pirates came from behind to beat the mighty New York Yankees, and both teams had their starters in the opening lineup.
While walking to our seats, we ran into Ron “Slugs” Zuchelli, a former Indiana resident who now lies in Sarasota, and his son-in-law David Harper.
It was a great day at the ball park.