|Edition No. 10||
May 10, 2012
Here are the standings through five weeks of play:
The Wahoos continue to tear it up, but the Bums have closed the gap a bit. Of course, that was before Tuesday night, when Ted’s charges amassed about 150 points, including Josh Hamilton’s four-home-run, 8-RBI, 18-total-bases night, which contributed just short of 40 points to the total. Hamilton established a new American League mark for total bases, surpassing the old record of 17. Hamilton is a phenomenal athlete.
As grand a night as the Wahoos had on Tuesday, May 8, the Bombers scored even more points, accumulating a total of 168.1 points for the evening. Mouse’s boys had 66.6 hitting points and 101.5 pitching points, and would have had even more except that his four starters who had quality starts, Dempster, Romero, Burnett and Danks, each failed to get a win, which would have added significantly to his team total for the night.
I know we haven’t kept track, but does anyone think that a team has ever scored more than 168 points in a single night? If so, post something on the Message Board about this, because this would be interesting to know. If not, then I suggest that we consider the Bombers’ total of 168 as the high-water mark for the league, and we will keep track going forward.
Is Mouse’s team really that good, or are his boys all pulling together to make up for the loss of Mariano Rivera for the season?
And speaking about Mo, I understand that he is thinking about making a comeback instead of retiring from baseball. Does anyone else think that this is a really bad idea? I hate the fact that Mariano sustained this injury, because it would have been great if he had finished out his career with a fine season in 2012, and then ridden off into the sunset as a shiny paladin. My fear is that he will try to come back next season, not be the same Mariano because of his age and his weakened limb, and then end up retiring on the Yankees’ terms instead of his own.
And now a word or two about Derek Jeter. As of today, he has a total of 50 hits for this year, and is batting at a clip of .388. For his career, he now has 3138 hits, No. 19 on the All-Time list, and within striking distance this season of at least eight other players on the All-Time Hits list (estimating 150 more hits this year):
He is 38 years old. Assuming that he wants to keep playing, how high up the list might he go before he hangs up his spikes? I think it is a fair bet that he will end up in the top five when everything is said and done.
It will be fun to watch.
The 2012 Trip to Miami was stupendous, in a word. The bestest ever. And it is our goal to make every year’s Trip the best one yet, so next year let’s plan on all 13 of us heading to Arizona to see a game at the Bob, or whatever they call the joint these days. We have plenty of space to put people up for free, what with B.T.’s luxuriant condo in the heart of Scottsdale and Itchie’s spacious digs in North Tucson. Start tucking away a few sheckles a week between now and next season, and everybody will be able to go.
For 2014, Linda has suggested that we celebrate our 30th year of the Hot Stove League by taking in a World Series contest. I think that this is a marvelous suggestion. The planning may be a little bit trickier since we will not know what city we will be going to until a few days before the Series begins, but I think it is a worthwhile goal to try to check this one off of everyone’s bucket list.
Speaking of trips, Shamu has suggested a second 2012 “Trip,” this one to Werner Park in Omaha to see the Stormchasers play a game. I think that this is a capital idea. It is a terrific little jewel of a ballpark, and it would be great to get a bunch of the boys together, especially since so many of you missed the opportunity to spend time with the five of us in Miami. How many of you would be available on either June 29 (Friday) or June 30 (Saturday) for this little outing? I would even offer to bring the grill out to the ballpark for a little pre-game tailgating, if anyone would be interested. Shamu, you need not respond, as it goes without saying that you are interested.
And speaking of Stormchasers games, I went to one last Friday with my sophomore son, Will, age 16, who is as good of company as there gets at a baseball game. As we watched the Stormchasers beat the Oklahoma City Redhawks by the score of 4-2, we covered such varied topics as Best and Worst Popes, Jered Weaver, Copernicus, Galileo, Josh Hamilton, the Crusades, and favorite ballpark mascots. And by the way, these were all topics broached by him. The lad has intellectual curiosity in spades, a trait that he inherited from his grandfather Jack Ernst, who coincidentally would have been 86 years old today. He is a joy to attend a baseball game with—and can give Shamu a run for his money in consuming ballpark food products.
Sadly, the Mount Michael baseball team flamed out at the end of the school season, losing several close games in a row, including the first District game last Saturday, against a tough Waverly team, with Joe taking the loss. Although he pitched well, a couple of fielding miscues and a couple of timely hits by the Waverly nine sent the Knights down to defeat by the score of 6-5, keeping the Mount Michael team from making it to State for the first time in their three years of Spring ball existence.
Two days prior to the Waverly loss, the Knights lost a heartbreaker in the bottom of the 7th to a very talented Ralston team, at Orville Smith Field, after scoring 3 runs in the top of the 6th and 4 runs in the top of the 7th to take a 7-5 lead. Joe started on the mound in that game but was relieved in the 4th inning with the Knights down 3-0. In the top of the 7th, he had a clutch hit with 2 outs and 2 strikes to ignite the Mount Michael rally. In the bottom of the 7th, the lefty reliever walked the first hitter, gave up an infield single to the second, walked the third hitter, but got the fourth hitter to pop up to center field, scoring the run and making it 7-6 with one out.
In high dramatic fashion, the coach signaled for an intentional walk to load the bases, setting up the double play or the force-out at home. After getting a 2-and-2 count on the next hitter, our lefty threw a wild pitch which went all the way to the backstop, seemingly allowing the game to be tied up. However, our gritty catcher sprinted to the ball and made a stupendous throw to the covering pitcher, nailing the runner from third by about a half-inch. Now, instead of the score being tied, Mount Michael still has the lead at 7-6, with two outs, and a full count on the batter. In other words, one strike away from victory. What happened next was absolutely mind-boggling.
What happened next was that the coach decided to intentionally walk the hitter with the 3-and-2 count, loading the bases. What happened next was that the pitcher unintentionally walked the next batter, on four pitches, walking in the tying run. What happened next was that the pitcher gave up a hit that our center fielder dove for and just missed catching, allowing the winning run to the plate.
The intentional walk of the hitter with the 3-and-2 count to load the bases was not done to create a lefty-lefty matchup, because the next hitter, the one that was unintentionally walked, was also a righty. He also had just hit a double in his previous at-bat. So what was the rationale for the walk? I can only assume that our coach mistakenly thought that there was only one out at that time, instead of two outs, and that he was still trying to set up the double play or the force-out at home.
A very tough game to lose, particularly because the team had it within its grasp. Little did I know that old Will was out in the bullpen warming up at the time, and I’m not quite sure why the coach didn’t bring him in after our lefty started issuing walks in the bottom of the 7th. In stark contrast to his first varsity pitching experience of the season, reported on in an earlier issue of this organ, Will told me after the game that he was hoping like crazy that coach would bring him into the game in the bottom of the 7th, with the game on the line. Easy to say after the fact, but I think Will really meant it. He seems to thrive on pressure when he is on the bump.
Anyway, after a short break, the Mount Michael baseballers will begin their Summer Legion season. Since we have three “Legion babies” back from college to rejoin the team this year, we should have an excellent chance at improving upon our Spring season record, and hopefully make it back to State to defend the crown.
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That’s it for this issue. Carry on.