Wild game yesterday at Frederick as Battlin Bob,Ryan and I braved the rain,a delay and borderline nausea from me to watch the final first half visit from the Lynchburg Hillcats.
With Mr.Rain falling all night and raining reasonably heavily two hours before game time,it was questionable if the game would even be played.
But we decided to give it a shot and the game was delayed 35 minutes,but that gave us a chance to
chat for a few minutes with Jared Hughes and Eric Krebs through the drizzle.
Jared asked our thoughts on the upcoming drafts and wondered about some of the possible Pirate selection at the second pick and of course we tossed a few names such as Georgia high school shortstop Tim Beckham,Vanderbilt first sacker Pedro Alvarez and Florida State catcher Buster Posey.
Both Hughes and Krebs confirmed what I have always thought when they both said that they really didn't know much about anything outside of their team and when you even give it a cursory thought,that makes all the sense in the world.
Players are so focused on what they do and their small team bubble that outside of travel time,when would they have time to listen to the online talk and even then that is if they even would want to.
Battlin Bob then began to talk about Captain Dave and Daniel Moskos to the guys and I tried to explain that the Pirate fans really did not have real anger toward Moskos and that it was not about Moskos and that it would have been any player selected in the slot that was not named Matt Wieters.
And that really was not about Wieters,who most of the people raging about him could not have picked him out of a police lineup-it was about the perception that Pittsburgh fans have lived through for years that saving money was more important than attempting to take steps towards winning.
I think they understood or they were too nice to tell me I was full of crap!
The other Hillcat that we always talk to is Mike Crotta and I spoke briefly with Mike and exchanged handshakes,but his time was more limited as he was starting the game against the Keys.I was able to add some autographs during the extra delay as well.
Anyway ,the sun was popping out and the game was on and for three and a half innings it was a slaughter.
In favor of Lynchburg!
Steve Lerud crushed a Jeff Moore fastball for a three run homer in the first inning and Jamie Romak added a two run shot in the third to add to a single run in the fourth for a 6-0 Lynchburg lead!
Lerud looks to be improving in his second Lynchburg stint,but I am not quite ready to give him real prospect status yet,while Romak has little to prove in his second year at Lynchburg and should be challenged at Altoona and soon!
Crotta was cruising along,the lead was large and things were looking up,but the cloud that goes by the name of Matt Wieters was on the horizon to lead off the fourth for the home team.
The wind was reasonably stiff,but it was blowing right to left,in other words the ball was carrying well to left,but poorly to right.
So Wieters then slams a home run to right that cut through the wind and kept on trucking until it was out of sight and the snowball was gathering steam.
The damage didn't seem too bad though after the next two batters exchanged a hit and a out,but Hillcat first baseman Tony Mansolino dropped a routine pop-up (which the Scorer calls a hit,I swear that the games official scorer must have been straight from Teeball) and Crotta lost his poise as every ball off a Key bat was pounded with authority.
Mike would not survive the inning and the lead was on life support at 6-5.
The Keys had batted around and would do the same thing in the following inning.
How often do teams bat around in consecutive innings?
Kyle Pearson walked 4 of the 5 batters that he faced in the fifth and at one time threw 11 balls in a row and 12 balls in 13 pitches and his relief from Charles Benoit was no better as he hit a batter and allowed a run scoring single.
But the game is still 9-6 Frederick with two runners on,get the batter and the game is close,right?
Except the batter is guess who? Wieters.
Benoit gets ahead with a swing and a miss and then Battlin Bob yells "Hey Wieters,way to swing for the fences again!!" with it punctuated with a laugh.
This was roughly akin to saying excuse me,Mr.Jordan,you really clanked that last jumper.
Tempting fate is rarely my bag,but the Battler Bob lives to walk the edge,I suppose.
This time,he tumbled off that edge-two pitches later,BANG!
Long homer to left,3 run shot-game over.
So,Battlin Bob adds another memorable night at the ballpark to his list and I add another topic to the teasing the Battler file!
Note to fans,I can live without getting Wieters to sign his Frederick card,if he leaves for Bowie-TODAY!!!!!
After that mess,the game was pretty much over for the final of 14-8,but we did stick around as after Wieters struck his latest missile,Eric Krebs ran to the clubhouse and I asked him "You aren't going to pitch to him like that are you?"
Eric's reply was "I haven't pitched against this team all year" and then interrupted his jog to the clubhouse with a laugh and "but the way this is going,I'll see them in a minute"!
So we stayed around to see Eric,who has great numbers from the Lynchburg pen with an ERA at exactly 2 after his two flawless innings of work yesterday that saw him face 6 batters,retire all six,strike out the last four of the Keys that he faced and even retire Wieters on a grounder to third.
I only wish that Eric would not have struggled with his injuries,because his stuff is electric and could have been a real top notch starting prospect,but I still see the possibilities of a strong bullpen arm in his future.
All and all,it was great being at the ballpark and a great time was had.
After all,a bad day at the ballpark beats the best day at work...
On the signing front.
I was able to add some of the Lynchburg position players that I missed the first time in,most notably Jim Negrych (Thanks to Battlin Bob for the help there).
Negrych is currently hitting around .350 for the season.
The Keys ran out pitchers Scott Mueller and J.P.Martinez out to sign stuff to kill time during the delay,but didnt give them anything to sign!
A misstep by the usually on the ball Keys staff.
I was able to get Mueller to sign his 07 Aberdeen card and opened my just released 08 Frederick set and had Martinez sign his card from the set.
I really didnt have much for the Kannapolis Intimidators in their only visit to Hagerstown,but was able to add their top two prospects in outfielders Jose Martinez and Sergio Morales.
Both players were rated in the White Sox top ten prospects.
Good thing that I was able to get Martinez on the first night,as he was injured on the first night and was on crutches thereafter.
I also was able to get Jason Rice to sign a few cards.
Jason was in Kannapolis during their 06 visit and I talked quite a bit with him during that series,but I had no cards for him,so we were able to rectify that this time around.
The reason that I had little for Kannapolis is that the White Sox short season team in Great Falls refused to make a 2007 team set and that trickles down.
When I asked them why,the response was "we got tired of having 1000 of them sitting around".
Then print 500 then!!
Krebs and some other guy:Ryan Heimberger