Going into only our second homestand, it’s hard to believe we’re already 23 games into the summer! The Ottawa Titans have played just six of their last 23 matches at home, so if you’re wondering what happened to baseball in 2022, have no fear! The boys of summer are back this weekend, bringing an impressive winning record with them: 16-6, sitting second in the Eastern Division. Before Thursday’s rainout, the Titans were on a seven-game winning streak, which they hope to continue this weekend against the last-place Empire State Greys.
Friday night kicks off the first of two series at home and is also Breast Cancer Awareness Night, so the Titans will be wearing pink jerseys that will be auctioned off post-game. Proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Action Ottawa. Saturday is the first Country Night of the season, and while we aren’t quite sure what exactly that means, we can probably bet on country music and cowboy jokes. Sunday’s day game is “Support our Troops Appreciation Day,” where the team will be paying tribute to current and retired armed forces personnel. Wednesday, June 15, is the next fireworks night—which I 100% recommend.
The team are still working out some bugs in the stadium, so I recommend getting to the park early if you’re hoping to enjoy some local beer and classic baseball food. Concessions during the first home games were not quite yet up to speed, but the food is good once you get it! Lois and Frima’s ice cream is back, offering a variety of cold and sweet summer treats. Gabriel’s Pizza has their own dedicated concession this season, and the main concession is selling jumbo hotdogs, poutine, and popcorn, among other things. All of the beer is local, so you can grab your favourite Beau’s, Vimy Brewing or Stray Dog in tallboys from the concessions or on draught in the Hop Yard. After the games on Sundays you can also hang out in the Hop Yard and finish your brew in the sun after the game. The concessions all take debit, but having cash on hand is always fastest.
Who to watch
After so few home games, I have to admit that we are still piecing the team together in our minds. There haven’t been many roster moves since the home opener, and the team’s winning record is definitely the reason why. Despite the fact that, as a new expansion team, we had no returning players, the Titans seem to have put in the hard work during the off season to load our roster well.
Third baseman A.J. Wright was an early standout and continues to impress on both offense and defense. He leads the team with a 0.395 batting average and six home runs, with 20 RBI. He has also stolen four bases, something we haven’t seen from a third baseman in Ottawa… ever? He has incredible speed and is reliable in the hot corner, with a laser throw to first. He’s someone to keep your eye on this season, and could make the All-Star Team at this rate.
Will Zimmerman in the outfield is only 5’8″, but holy moly can that guy run. He leads the team in stolen bases (seven) and can seemingly track a fly ball anywhere in the outfield. Keep your eye out for some truly impressive leaping catches.
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The starting pitchers have been solid up front, with Zac Westcott leading with five wins and over 30 innings pitched. Zac has pitched in a few of the higher scoring games, so his ERA of 3.86 is higher than other starters, but he can obviously rely on the Titans’ offense to pull through for the wins.
During the opening homestand we saw some great stuff from Canadian veteran Evan Grills, who has some excellent off-speed pitches, and Tyler Jandron is leading the rotation with 35 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched. Jandron is third in the league for strikeouts and going into this weekend has a 3-0 personal record.
The Titans inaugural season schedule is certainly a challenge, with no home games on long weekends or Canada Day, which were some of the best-attended games in past years. Luckily, they are at home for most of July and August, so by the end of June we’ll all have seen enough of our boys in action to get into the spirit. There are some special dates to put into your calendar now: Bark in the Park is happening monthly this year, with games on June 25, July 28, and August 26, and the Titans will participate in Capital Pride with a Pride night on August 23. The All-Star break is July 19–21, and at this rate there will be a Titan or two on that roster.
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Advance tickets are $11 or $15, and can be bought online or at the box office. Expect to pay $2 more on game days, regardless of where you buy them. Parking is now through Indigo parking, so there are QR codes throughout the lot to pay easily by phone.