Edition No. 10
May 14, 2008
Wow, what a week! The HSL has nine teams score over 400 points for the week and one team surpasses the 500 point plateau! The Blues put up 196.5 points on Wednesday to vault to the top of the standings and finished the week still breathing the rarified air at the top. ( More to follow on his breakout day.) The Senators are guarding their hold on the cellar spot tighter than the Taliban hold on Sadr city and there was minimal change in the standings among the other teams. There were some great player performances this week, some not so good performances , a couple of milestone achievements, and some eye-catching player moves. I hope you found the week as entertaining as I did.
Some of these performances you might expect from the players with “potential” but who would have guessed Joey Votto was good for three home runs in one game. Did he know that his performance would cost Jon Lieber his roster spot on the Highlanders? Lieber started the game for the Cubs at 1:05 p.m. and the Highlanders cut him at 1:45 p.m. before he even got to the “showers”. Ruthless Curby!! And let’s not forget about the Skipjacks own Brian Bannister, his 20th round pick, throwing a 38 point gem!! Talk about “falling in a pile of cash”!
I do not know who has the highest single day point total, but the Blues 196.5 on Wednesday, May 7th, has to rank right up there. Coupled with the fact that it propelled him to first place, it only magnifies the “team effort” and boy was it a “team effort”. Here are his point totals for the day:
And that is how you manufacture an outstanding night! Great job Jon, and may Edinson Volquez continue to have 34 point nights!
The past week marked a few milestones in baseball lore…Greg Maddux finally got win No. 350 on his fifth try, the ninth pitcher to do so, and his catcher in the game was making his major league debut!...We saw Chien-Ming Wang (6-0, 3.00 ERA) go head-to-head with Cliff Lee (5-0, 0.96 ERA) marking the first time since the 1800’s that two undefeated pitcher’s with more than three starts faced each other in May. Lee got the win for those of you who are still reading…Gavin Floyd toyed with a no-hitter for the second time in a month only to have it broken up by Joe Mauer’s double with one out in the ninth inning…Who’s strategy will prevail this year, the Cubs who have only one bench hitter and a bucket full of SP/RP’s or the Tigers who are stockpiling bench hitters?...Who is the only High School player in history to be a Parade All-American in football, basketball, and baseball and chose baseball as his professional career?...Hint, he was a Yankee.
Have a great trip and continued success to all!
I had a great trip to North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday, including a visit to Duke University and to Five County ballpark in Zebulon, North Carolina, home of the Carolina Mudcats, a Double-A franchise of the Florida Marlins in the Southern League. If you ever get a chance to go to Five County Stadium, take it.
It is a beautiful and quaint little ballpark that was built specifically for the Mudcats, and hence has a decidedly fishy theme (i.e., Cattails Restaurant, “catfish on a stick,” etc.). Most intriguing to me was the team mascot, “Muddy,” a five-foot tall playful and mischievous catfish who tools around the ballpark on an ATV, pranking umpires, players and fans alike.
People who really love mascots, such as Stretch, can even sign up to be a “Muddy Buddy,” which would be a feather in anyone’s cap.
Anyway, although it was colder in Zebulon than the Omaha I left behind, I stayed warm in my new Mudcats jacket and watched the Mudcats dig themselves deep (6-0) into a hole against the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds) before rallying in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 9-7 win. I was able to see former Senator draft pick Cameron Maybin patrol center field for the Mudcats, but after a pitiable performance at the plate, I can understand why he was sent down by the parent club for more seasoning at Double-A. Still, Maybin figures to be an MLB star of the future.
Walking up to the gate at game time, for ten bucks I was able to secure a seat behind home plate that was closer to home plate than is the pitcher’s mound. I loved looking at the program and trying to spot some ex-major leaguer who is now coaching for these minor league teams. There always seems to be a spot for an ex-major leaguer. At this game, I found former White Sox pitcher Chris Bosio listed as the pitching coach for the Mudcats. There were probably others, but Bosio was the only one that I recognized.
The best part of the game, though, was watching the Mudcats pitcher, Aaron Thompson, a tall and rangy lefty who reminded me of “Meat,” the character played by Tim Robbins in Bull Durham. In the first couple of innings, when he was mostly winning the pitching battles, he was stomping around the mound like a cocky rooster. However, when he started to tire and the visiting Lookouts started to smoke his “meat” pitches all over the ballpark, he began talking to himself and pulling his hat down over his eyes and generally losing the battle to stay focused on his pitching. After getting severely tattooed by the Lookouts, he left the game after 5 innings down 6-1, and looked to be the sure loser until the Mudcats forged their nifty comeback.
One of these days we need to steer our HSL trip over to a Double-A baseball game. There’s nothing like sitting in the third row behind home plate and watching these young players before they become spoiled multimillionaires.
B.T. is way too modest to boast about his offspring in this venue, but I am certainly not too modest to brag about my nephew in this or any other publication. Last Saturday, Scott’s oldest child received his law school diploma at the Lied Center, and assuming that he studies as hard as Sir Charles and Big Guy for the bar examination, will soon be practicing law at the Wolfe Snowden law firm in Lincoln. However, not only did Jesse receive his sheepskin after three hard years of work, he graduated “with distinction.” Finally, a smart lawyer in the family!
I know you will want to congratulate Scott on Jesse’s accomplishments, and for advancing one child off the family dole to self-sufficiency.
Hope you enjoyed reading The Mousetrap as much as I did. Next up: McBlunder’s The Seventh Inning Stretch.