We’re in America, so I’m speaking American

WOWO radio guy Jim Shovlin and Nate Freiman’s dad told me they
enjoy reading the blog and couldn’t wait for another entry… Be
careful what you wish for. It’s been almost a month since I wrote anything here. Hosting an All-Star Game will do that.

How was the All-Star stuff? A lot of work, but it was fun. Especially when Jerry Sullivan turned into Mel Gibson from “The Patriot” in squiring Nate Freiman to the batter’s box for the Home Run Derby. Because, really, what can TinCaps fans get behind if they can’t cheer for TinCaps and America? Not surprisingly, Freiman hit 12 homers in the first round. You can check out the slideshow here. What you didn’t see was that there was an American flag cape which was never worn. Disappointing but true.

In the game, Jerry Sands of the Great Lakes Loons homered to the opposite field and ended up winning the MVP award. When he hit the home run, it didn’t even sound like he hit it on the barrel. That’s some legit power. In fact, Sands was promoted to Double-A after the All-Star break and hit a home run in his first game with Chattanooga. By the way, I may be forfeiting my right to a secret ballot, but I voted for Bo Greenwell to be the MVP, who had three hits.

As far as other All-Star Games, there were six former TinCaps on the California League All-Star team, which is especially impressive because it’s the California League vs. the Carolina League, meaning the number of players voted to the All-Star team is half that of the Midwest League. You might click the link above and see five Lake Elsinore guys on the roster, but RHP Anthony Bass was a late addition.

Meanwhile, five Fort Wayne alums were in the Texas League All-Star Game and former TinCaps INF Matt Clark won the Texas League Home Run Derby… hitting off none other than Roger Clemens. And C Luis Martinez was the game’s MVP. And J.B. Shuck, a former Ohio State Buckeye (who I saw in the Great Summer Collegiate Lakes League) made a key play. Small world.

At Triple-A, Ernesto Frieri was the only alum to make the All-Star Game.

Current TinCaps stuff:

  • Edinson Rincon was batting just .220 entering June. He hit .326 in June.
  • Jonathan Galvez was hitting .243 with 8 extra-base hits entering June. He batted .288 in June with 8 extra-base hits, including his first 2 home runs of the season. And his defense is much improved. He’s battling some ankle soreness right now, but he should be back soon.
  • Rico Noel is fast. He was just added to the roster after being drafted in the 5th round out of Coastal Carolina University. He led Division I baseball with 56 stolen bases this year and legged out a three-run triple last night with relative ease.
  • Jose De Paula went five scoreless innings last night. He’s been outstanding in 3 of his 4 starts this year.
  • You look at the TinCaps’ record and see 40-37. Not bad, not great. Fairly standard. But it’s been total Bizzaro World at times. This year, the TinCaps have hit grand slams in back-to-back games (and lost both games); have seen their pitcher go seven hitless innings, not figure in the decision and the team still win the game; have made six errors in a game at Dayton and have seen the Dragons commit six errors in a game at Parkview Field. The TinCaps have won two games this year on game-ending wild pitches. They also came within one strike of being no-hit for the first time in franchise history.

Someone e-mailed me the other day and asked me (among other questions) what my least-favorite part of this job is. Official scoring is easily it. If I ever write a book, there will be a long chapter on this. If you’re not familiar, the official scorer is basically the stat person, the person who rules whether a play is a hit or an error, etc. I am the one who schedules the official scorers at our home games. Here are a few facts about this subject:

1. The official scorers are supposed to score games just like the umpires: unbiased, call it like you see it, get the call right.
2. Generally, official scorers do just that.
3. Pitching coaches always want everything to be errors to keep ERAs low.
4. Hitting coaches always want everything to be hits to keep batting averages high.
5. No matter what the call, no matter if the game’s at home or on the road, coaches believe they are being hosed by the official scorer. The conspiracy theories are more far-fetched than the ones hatched by Kramer and Newman. I’ve never been around a group of people who think people are out to get them more than baseball coaches, as ridiculous as that sounds.
6. Because I work in the press box, coaches assume I am the one in charge of the official scoring. They also usually assume I don’t know what I’m talking about if I disagree with them, because I don’t work on a field staff (despite their Clemens-like misremembering during the re-creation of the play in question). This leads to conversations where I’m always wrong, no matter what. If anybody can admit when he’s wrong, it’s me. I don’t need any help. I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I was once asked this question by a coach: If a wild pitch brings a run home, then the hitter at the plate gets a base hit without an additional run scoring, could he get an RBI because the hit WOULD HAVE driven in a run?
7. I don’t care about individual scoring calls. I just don’t. A-ball stats just aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things and one ruling by an official scorer doesn’t make or break a player’s season or career. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Rasheed Wallace may have become the authority on this subject when he said, “Ball don’t lie.” Good players will make it, the rest won’t.
8. To sum up, official scorers have a tough job, I let them do it without interfering, and to do anything else for the sake of padding stats is something I won’t do.

July 2 ramblings:

  • The trade deadline is less than a month away. Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi tells us what the deadline is like for a major-league general manager.
  • Get off the phone at the game. Or else.
  • Albert Pujols is skipping the Home Run Derby. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • Why does Brett Favre insist on throwing footballs at his high school every year in July? If he were anybody else, he’d be that creepy guy who still wears his letterman’s jacket at the age of 53.
  • Minor-leaguers can have trouble keeping their weight up throughout the season. That might be surprising, but it shouldn’t be. Not to be melodramatic, but hotels on the road aren’t always close to healthy restaurants (or sometimes restaurants as a whole). The players still go to the gym just about every day on the road, so they’re still burning a lot of calories before the game. Then when they get to the park, they’re in long pants for around six hours in 90-degree weather, so they can sweat off a lot of calories. If you don’t replace that by eating a lot, you lose weight, often muscle.
  • The same goes for radio guys. I’ve lost around 10 pounds since the season started and I work out (and eat) quite a bit.
  • It’s Day 2 of NBA free agency and I’m already tired of it. There’s a distinct possibility that if LeBron leaves, Cleveland may be swallowed up by Lake Erie by the time we get there next week.
  • Independence Day is two days away. In addition to being one of my favorite movies at the age of 12 and a country song that really doesn’t have anything to do with the Fourth of July, it’s one of the greatest holidays of the year. Let’s see… the weather’s warm, you’re grilling outside and blowing things up AND thinking about how much America rules. I don’t really see a down side to this.
  • I’ve gotten two e-mails today from people who said they hope I get some time away from the ballpark for the holiday. I hope that too, but I also hope I win a bajillion dollars in the lottery.
  • I’m reading a book about the U.S. Constitution. I’m not finished with it yet, but it’s been incredibly interesting so far. We didn’t have a federal government during the American Revolution. Isn’t that unbelievable? (Yes, I’m a nerd. But you’re the one reading a nerd’s blog, so what does that make you?)
  • The weather has been awesome over the last five days. Not too hot, not too cold.
  • I had a couple of friends come over to Dayton for a game and I’ll get to see the family next week at Lake County. It’s nice to see some familiar faces and have something bordering on a normal life every once in a while.
  • Speaking of friends, you need to get familiar with Dave Hutte. He and I went to college together and they broke the mold when they made him. Thank goodness. He was born in Wisconsin and spent something like two decades in the Green Bay Boys’ Choir. He has notebooks of song lyrics he wrote himself. He started a band in college called The Dave Hutte Experience and held concerts in his apartment living room. In other words, he’s every woman’s wildest dream. Anyway, one year on July 4, we were working for our school TV station, running the broadcast of the Independence Day parade. We were playing frisbee around the production truck/trailer. Someone threw the frisbee to Dave Hutte, who was standing in the doorway of the trailer. The throw was high, so he tried to jump and grab it. He jumped, all right… right into the top of the metal door frame. He immediately started bleeding all over the place, so we took him into City Hall, where he tried to patch himself up. It wasn’t horrible, but it was pretty clear he needed stitches. So, of course, when we called for help, one of the ambulances which was supposed to be in the parade comes to pick him up. Can you imagine being an EMT, you’ve washed and waxed the ambulance, you’re pumped up to be in a parade, and suddenly some dope cuts his head on the TV truck so you can’t be in the parade? That’s Dave Hutte for you. Amazingly, he was healthy enough to go to a free Huey Lewis and the News concert that night. Awesome. Anyway, these days Dave Hutte provides entertainment by posting things on your favorite social networking sites (through his BlackBerry, which he should not be allowed to own). I feel like it’s my obligation to give you Dave Hutte’s best updates.
    So, before I close this out, here’s the newest Watson Files regular feature…

Your Dave Hutte status update:
Dave Hutte just saw a rat in his garage!

Now for your musical guest, Grand Funk Railroad!

Happy Independence Day!


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