Power outage forced postponement of game

Power outage delays Johnstown game

Teams will play Thursday night at 7pm

An electrical malfunction in downtown Johnstown coupled with issues inside the stadium forced tournament officials to postpone the Johnstown / Boston game from Wednesday night until Thursday night at 7pm. It was to be the new Boston franchise's first ever game at Point Stadium, as both the Astros and Johnstown's Martella's Pharmacy were looking to improve to 3-0. No day games will be played at the Point while repairs are made to the electrical system, so tomorrow's morning and afternoon games will all be played at the Iron Horse Sports Complex in Windber, beginning at 10 am.

Click here to visit a gallery of images from the power outage delay.

The BASE Astros getting pumped up for the game Boston BASE Astros Johnstown decided to try
Human Bowling during the delay

The trouble occured while the Somerset Roof Garden Chorus was singing the national anthem. After some feedback, their microphone cut out due to what many believe were just minor audio problems. However, it then became apparent that all electrical power to the stadium had been lost. The Boston Astros were in the midsts of their energetic, pre-game pump-up routine and were just about to break their huddle and run onto the field when they were intercepted by the umpiring crew who delivered the bad news: the game was being delayed.

Members of the Johnstown Police moved spectators away from the light tower behind the first-base dugout. Smoke soon started to appear, coming from underneath the seating area. The acrid cloud had a distinct electrical odor. According to players and umpires, the first-base dugout (being used by Boston and officials) filled with thick smoke.

The local fire department as well as electrical provider Penelec were called to the site to assess the damage. It appears that the situation began outside the stadium, but that this transferred through the grid to the aged equipment in the stadium. The light standards were not replaced during the stadium renovations and have been a source of problems for the tournament in the past. Several games have been delayed due to lighting failures, but this situation was different.

Astros player talking with fans during the delay Johnstown's Pat Gully entertained
his teammates during the outage
The police moved spectators away from the
affected light stand and dugout.

The delay lasted until about 8:30pm when tournament officials decided to postpone the game until the following night in the interest of public safety. Without lights at the stadium, it was important to disperse the crowd before nightfall. Additionally, smoke continued to occassionally bellow from near the first-base dugout area. Finally but not least important, there were safety concerns about playing a competitive sporting event with insufficient lighting.

Since the power was out, AAABA president George Arcurio III used the loud-speaker from a Johnstown Police vehicle to make the annoucement to the crowd. The postponement of the game means that Philadelphia and Altoona will not play on Thursday. The New Orleans / Columbus and Chicago-Metro / Youngstown games will both be played at the Iron Horse Sports Complex in Windber at 10am, with the winners advancing to a double-header at Iron Horse beginning at 1pm.

George Arcurio III (right) with umpires Smoke coming from
underneath the grandstand
George Arcurio III

During the 90 minute delay, the two teams found ways to amuse themselves. Boston took some time to re-warm-up for the game, but also spent time chatting with the local fans and leading the ambassadors in The Wave. At the prompting of several Boston players, the ambassadors even sang a few versions of 'Sweet Caroline'.

On the Johnstown side, former Martella's catcher Pat Gully's hijinks got his teammates laughing (see photo above). The team also threw a frame of human bowling before breaking out into other games in the outfield.

Things were less fun for tournament officials who were busy coordinating between various local agencies and the two teams to determine the best course of action. The decision not to play complicates the schedule and--worse yet--will likely come at a significant monetary cost for the tournament's organizers. The AAABA tournament is the only one in the country that pays for all the meals and lodging for competing teams. By delaying the Philadelphia and Altoona games, the Johnstown Oldtimers will now have to house and feed at least one team for more days that originally budgeted. However, with public safety at the forefront of their concerns, postponement of the game was the only option available and the correct one to make. Tickets for Wednesday's game will be honored on Thursday night.

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