NORFOLK, Va. – With college football season and the start of the NFL’s regular season slate just days away, it signals the end of baseball season. And if any baseball fan in coastal Virginia has hopes of catching a game before our national pastime hibernates for the winter – this is the week to do it.
The Triple-A Norfolk Tides will host five games vs. the Charlotte Knights in less than 48 hours. Due to rain delays and rescheduling – the Tides will try to squeeze-in some 39 innings in roughly 43 hours between Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon.
Tuesday, the Tides used a 10-run inning and pounded out 17 hits to roll past Charlotte 15-3 in the completion of a suspended game from August 1st in Charlotte, a game in which the Tides led 3-0 when the game was delayed due to rain in the bottom of the third inning. The game resumed at 8:45 p.m. after a three hour and 41 minute delay.
Game two of Tuesday’s doubleheader, a contest the Tides lost 3-2, began at 11:35 p.m. and ended at 1:56 a.m.
The two teams were back in action Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. for another doubleheader.
Thursday, Norfolk hosts Charlotte at 12:05 p.m. in the series finale.
“I don’t think our guys are looking at these games thinking ‘lets just get through it – I’ll swing at the first pitch so we can hurry up and go home,” Tides manager Ron Johnson told News 3 Wednesday. “They’re playing for a lot right now. What’s going on with the rebuild of our Major League team – there’s opportunity to play in the big leagues. We are professionals and we took the money – so we have to perform.”
In addition to a potential call-up to the Baltimore Orioles, parent club of the Tides, there is also a playoff spot up for grabs for Norfolk.
The Tides entered Wednesday’s doubleheader one-and-a-half games out of first place in the International League’s Wild Card standings. Columbus and Indianapolis are tied atop the standings, with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Norfolk both a game and a half behind.
“We’ve controlled our own destiny from the first game of the season,” Johnson said about his team’s playoff chances as the Tides embark on their final 14 games. “I don’t think one game is any more important than the other. They’re all important and there’s a lot riding on things for everybody on this team, but I don’t want them to look at it that way. This game is too hard to put outside distractions on yourself and try to perform.”
Norfolk has made the International League postseason 20 times, most recently during the 2015 campaign.
Following the completion of its marathon series vs. Charlotte, Norfolk hosts the Durham Bulls (Triple-A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) to finish out the home portion of the Tides regular season schedule beginning Friday, August 24 and ending Monday, August 27.