Baseball Hits an Eclipse


On August 21st 2017, in the
small city of Keizer, Oregon America’s national pastime
experienced a game interruption of literally cosmic proportions.
“That was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.” ” That was
amazing, That was absolutely amazing. I’m at a loss for
words.” On this day, the Moon
blocked out the Sun, creating the first total solar eclipse to
cross the entire US in nearly a century. This was also the first
“Eclipse Delay” professional baseball has ever seen. [Announcer: “And it looks like
we’re going to go into the
delay. Get ready folks.”] “Solar
Eclipse delay at Volcanoes
Stadium!” [crowd cheering] None of these events
happened by chance however. While the forces of the universe
were already set to provide the main attraction,
this unique viewing experience was the product of great
teamwork by the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Minor League Baseball
team and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.
Over the course of a four-day home series, representatives
from NASA Goddard and LRO set up shop in Volcanoes Stadium. There
were on-the-field science presentations, NASA videos
playing on the jumbotron, and a variety of learning
opportunities taking place in booths on the concourse,
creating one of the most unique science-sporting events in the
country. Noah Petro, the Deputy Project Scientist for LRO, even
got to fulfill a childhood dream by throwing out the ceremonial
pitch. If you were a fan of baseball, lunar science, or just
eager to have a clear view of a total solar eclipse, this was the
place to be. “What are you looking forward to today? Is
there something you’re really excitied about seeing?” “I
definitely want to see the corona and I’m looking
forward to totality.” “What made you decide to come
to the Volcanoes stadium today for the eclipse?” “Well I really
want to see the eclipse and I also love baseball, so
it’s kinda a two-in-one.” And on August 21st, after the
top of the first inning, the moon and the sun did not
disappoint. [Announcer: “Take off your
glasses!”] [cheers and screams] After totality had passed over
the park, Noah tossed a ball all the way across the country to a
similar event being held at the Charleston
Riverdogs stadium – creating what could be described as a
“transcontinental eclipse double-header.” [Jumbotron:
“Great throw Noah!”] And while eclipse onlookers got
great views of this rare event from the ground, the LRO
spacecraft took a picture from space that
day – showcasing an incredible view of the Moon’s shadow on the
Earth. For both spectators and scientists alike, this total
solar eclipse event was not just a hit, but a grand slam homerun. [Singing: “Take me out to the
ball game, take me out to the crowd. Buy
me some peanuts and Cracker Jack I don’t care if I ever get back,
so it’s root, root, root for Volcanoes – if they don’t
win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes
you’re out at the old ball game!”]

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