Rhineland Rivalry (Cologne Cardinals – Bonn Capitals 2:15)

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I returned to Cologne’s baseball stadium this Sunday to watch the Cardinals (2-10) take on the Bonn Capitals (10-2).

To cut a long story short: it wasn’t really a constest. Bonn won both games of the double header by mercy rule and it wasn’t even close. The Cardinals had a decent first inning in the first game, but then things fell apart rather quickly. Cologne’s starter Mika Kehls gave up 5 runs in the second and wasn’t really able to recover from there. His offense wasn’t picking him up and so the Capitals won by a final score of 2-15 after only 7 innings, capped of by a three run blast to left by Chris Nsien (box).

Things got even worse in the second game (which I didn’t attend) when Bonn pitching held the Cardinals to only 1 hit over 8 shutout innings (box).

Player of note – at least to me – was Bonn’s relief pitcher Maximilian Schmitz-Stercken, a tall righty with a devastating over-the-top delivery, who mowed down the Cards hitters in 2 innings of relief (2 IP, 2H, 1BB, 4K).

Cologne pitching seems to have looked better in the second game when Alex Rivers, who usually plays 2B, pitched 7 strong innings (7H, 4R, 1ER, 1BB, 7K). But that’s still not good enough against the strong Bonn offense.

Bonn firmly sits in 2nd place of the Northern Division (12-2) only trailing the Solingen Alligators, Kai Gronauer’s former team. Cologne (2-12) on the other hand will live with the threat of relegation, falling to 2nd to last only ahead of the Berlin Sluggers (1-11).

Around the games the atmosphere was very lively as the Cardinals were celebrating their summer festival. There were batting cages for visitors, a little league game between the clubs was taking place just next to the stadium, the food was awesome again, and they even had a stand where you could buy merchandise. I chose to buy a hat, which was only €15.

Since the distance between Bonn and Cologne is very close there were a lot of Bonn supporters in the stands. If I had to make an educated guess I’d say around 500 visitors were strolling around the stadium. Which is a pretty good turn out in my eyes.

I’m still undecided whether I should go to the next game on Sunday when the Cards and the Sluggers will try to look better than the Mets and the Marlins. Maybe I shoudl check whether games will be called after 15 innings. But I’ll definetely travel to Bonn when the Cardinals will visit the Capitals. Their ballpark looks very promising!

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