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Alissa Scott/Recorder staff The Lynch Literacy Academy band played the Star Spangled Banner before the Mohawks game Thursday night.

Alissa Scott/Recorder staff Fans brought their umbrellas to the Mohawks game Thursday night, though it got canceled after the first inning.

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Rains don't dampen spirit of Mohawks fans

Friday, June 07, 2013 - Updated: 4:08 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

Recorder News Staff

A little rain didn't stop Mohawks fans from cheering on the tam at their home opener against the Utica Brewers Thursday night at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.

Though the game was canceled after the first inning, Brian Spagnola, president of the Mohawks, said he was glad to see the community come support the team.

"It's a little disappointing that we get this rain, but we still have a good crowd," Spagnola said. "I mean, we expected, obviously, it to be double this if it was nicer weather, but it's an exciting night."

The Lynch Literacy Academy band played a few songs as people settled into their seats, along with the "Star Spangled Banner" to begin the game.

As players were called out to the field, their " baseball buddies," younger fans that get paired up with the players, jogged out with them.

Stu Palczak's son, Jake, got to be a buddy this game and he said he was overjoyed.

"My son's a baseball buddy tonight," Palczak said. "He went out with the second baseman. The players are real nice to the kids so it's fun."

Mayor Ann Thane, who was supposed to host the event and traditionally throws the first pitch, didn't make it to the game.

Palczak, who sported a baseball mitt, said besides watching the game, it's a good place to socialize.

"Everybody loves coming," Palczak said. "You see a lot of people. Look at all the people it draws, even with the rain."

Despite the weather, fans said they enjoyed coming out to meet up with friends and, of course, for the baseball.

Ann Reynolds, of Amsterdam, said her and her husband, Joe, have been coming to the field for so long she can't remember when they began.

"I used to come here with my father when I was a little girl," Ann Reynolds said. "When you come here a lot, you see the same people all the time and you get to know them ... We just like baseball."

Brian Barnes, of Amsterdam, has been going to Mohawks games with his sons for six years, "rain or shine."

"It's tradition," Barnes said. "I've never missed a game. This is a huge community event."

To prepare for the first game, Rob Spagnola, recreation director, planted shrubs along the third-base line, where fans sometimes watch the game.

Laughing, Rob Spagnola said there was never a "blitz on the radar" that it could have affected people who watched the game from outside the gates. The area just looked messy, according to Rob Spagnola, so he spent "a couple hundred dollars" to spruce it up.

"We keep all our batting equipment right there and you can see it from the road, so I was just hoping the bushes would block it a little bit," Rob Spagnola said. "It just looks a little neater, that's all...I'm laughing because it's funny that someone would even think [there was a motive behind the bushes.]"

Spagnola said his brother, Brian Spagnola is against the bushes, but not for the reason some residents could be.

"The Mohawks don't even want the bushes there," Rob Spagnola said. "They're hoping to put seating there at some point."

Though the temperature stayed at a low 60 degrees and the rain eventually sent people home, Brian Spagnola said this game is symbolic.

"It kind of signifies that summer is here," Brian Spagnola said. "The Mohawks mean summer's here."

     

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