Red Sox taking full advantage of home field

by Brantford Expositor

Originally appeared in Brantford Expositor July 10, 2013 by Brian Smiley

About the only opponent the Brantford Red Sox can't beat at home lately is Mother Nature.

After having last Friday's Intercounty Baseball League game postponed due to wet field conditions, Wednesday night's game at Arnold Anderson Stadium against the London Majors was postponed due to rain.

In winning five straight IBL championships and six of the past seven, the Sox haven't lost many games. And at home, the team's record has been phenomenal — not counting its recent dismal record versus Mother Nature.

Starting in 2010 – the latest date available on Pointstreak to track wins and losses – the Red Sox put up a record of 19-7 at home through the regular season and playoffs

In 2011, they were 19-8 before things really heated up a year later.

In winning their fifth straight championship a year ago, Brantford was 24-1 at Arnold Anderson Stadium, losing just once, 9-4 to the Barrie Baycats on May 30.

From the team's 7-4 loss at Arnold Anderson Stadium on Aug. 10, 2011, to its next loss to the Baycats in 2012, Brantford won seven games in a row, including the playoffs.

After that May 30 loss last season, Brantford reeled off 22 straight home wins – including the post-season – before losing 7-5 to the London Majors this year on May 22.

That is the only loss the Sox have suffered at home in 2013.

“I think it's just a good atmosphere,” said manager Adam Clarke of why the team plays so well at Arnold Anderson Stadium. “It's one of the best atmospheres in the IBL.

“Every time the guys come to the yard in Brantford the guys are ready to put on a show for the fans. It's such a good venue that the guys amp up their game.”

Winning at home for the Sox isn't easy. Clarke feels that when other teams come to play in Brantford, those squads are a little more prepared than when they play in other parks.

“We've had such a good run,” he said. “I think teams get amped up to play us and they're excited to play us and experience the field and the feeling of playing a game in Brantford against the Intercounty champions.”

Some of those opposing teams that come here have younger players or players who are fan favourites when it comes to being hounded by Brantford's rabid fans.

Clarke said the catcalls from fans may or may not help provide the home team with an advantage.

“It depends on who the ballplayer is,” he said. “Some of the guys who have been here and done that, they don't let it affect them. Some of the other guys it might affect them but it depends on the player.”

While the 22-game win streak at home is highly impressive, it doesn't match any of the records set by teams in North America's four major sports leagues.

In baseball, the New York Giants won 27 straight games in 1916 and in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins posted 27 consecutive wins at home from 1971-74.

The Detroit Red Wings hold the NHL record of 23 straight wins in 2011-12 but the overall record in North America's four major sports belongs to the NBA's Chicago Bulls.

From the end of the 1995 season and into the 1996 season, Chicago won an amazing 44 games in a row at home. It didn't hurt that those Bulls had Michael Jordan in his prime.

Obviously the Red Sox have a way to go to match any of those records – since the loss to London this season, they've won 10 straight – but they're not looking at that record.

The only one that means anything to them is passing the 1959-63 Red Sox and 1927-31 Galt Terriers as the only team to ever win six straight IBL championships.

AROUND THE HORN . . . Red Sox shortstop Lee Delfino and his fiancee, Rebecca Hamilton, are the proud parents of a baby boy, Hudson, who was born early Wednesday morning . . . The Red Sox are back in action on Friday when they host the Kitchener Panthers in an 8 p.m. game at Arnold Anderson Stadium . . . Last Friday's home game against the Burlington Bandits that was rained out has been rescheduled for Saturday. The Red Sox will give up their home date and play Burlington in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.