Saturday’s Loss, The No No-No Club, The Consequences of Caring

Jose Valentin didn’t struggle to find his thoughts after Saturday night’s loss for Fort Wayne, it’s just that they came with a sense of apparent frustration.

The TinCaps went up 2-0 in the first inning against South Bend in the opener of  a three-game series, but ended up on the losing end of a 9-3 final score. Matt Wisler started the game and threw five innings, allowing one run. He left in line for the victory, the score 2-1 at the time of his departure.

“He deserved to get a win, and we didn’t help him out,” Valentin said. “Our pitching staff has been great all year…They either keep us in the game or give us a chance to score some runs. Our offense (does not) help at all.”

The TinCaps have the league’s second-lowest average, hitting .237 as a club. Valentin has placed a particular emphasis on getting runners home once they’re on base. Saturday night the TinCaps were 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Over the last seven games, the team has gone 6-63 (.095) with runners in scoring position.

“We are the best team in (batting practice). In the cages, unbelievable,” Valentin said. “But when we get to the game, we are a different team. It’s tough.”

The TinCaps are now 28-34, with eight games remaining in the first half. Today they face one of the more talented pitchers the Midwest League has to offer, Archie Bradley. The 19-year-old was selected seventh overall last June by the Diamondbacks. He’s faced the TinCaps twice this year and in 11 innings, he’s given up six hits, four earned runs, walked six and struck out ten. While he’s got maybe the best curveball in the league, he’s proved hittable in his last two starts. Over his last 9 2/3 innings, he’s given up nine earned runs and taken the loss his last two starts. Could today be his third? You can find out by joining us at Parkview Field, listening to the radio broadcast on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com, or watching on TV on XFINITY Digital Cable Channel 81. First pitch is at 3:05.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, you can hear Jose Valentin’s full comments from last night:

THE NO NO-NO CLUB

When New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana threw his no hitter against the Cardinals earlier this season, that left just one club in Major League Baseball without a no-hitter. That would be the parent club of the TinCaps–the San Diego Padres. Tyler Kepner of The New York Times digs deeper:

“The Padres have no championships and just two World Series appearances since their debut as a mustard-and-brown expansion team in 1969. They sit in last place in the National League West this season, and no pitcher in club history has more than 100 victories.

Yet three Padres starters have won a Cy Young Award — Randy Jones in 1976, Gaylord Perry in 1978 and Jake Peavy in 2007. Other standouts like Kevin Brown and Greg Maddux have pitched for them. Still, not one has thrown a no-hitter for San Diego.”

As a Mets fan, I don’t know that it’s possible to explain the feeling when I saw Santana’s no-hitter. There’s the sense of relief, that the lack of a no-hitter isn’t hanging like a storm cloud any more. There’s also the shared agony between fans that has existed for so long–especially with the Mets–that can be forgotten about, at least for a night, as your favorite team makes the national headlines for something positive. That said, I understand where Padres fans are going through.

Kepner talked with Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who’s in his 40th season with the team.

“His contemporary on the Southern California airwaves, Vin Scully, has had better luck with no-hitters. Since 1950, when Scully started in Brooklyn, the Dodgers have thrown 13 no-hitters.

From Coleman’s perspective, Scully might see even more in his career, given his youth. Coleman is more than three years older than Scully.

“I’ve got him by four years,” Coleman said. “He’s a kid!”’

THE CONSEQUENCES OF CARING

As someone who follows sports and sports media, I haven’t read a lot of Bill Simmons. I’m not really sure why, but I just haven’ t. However, this past Friday as the team was on the bus back from West Michigan, I came across his latest piece, which deals with fandom and its associated emotions, on Grantland. 

“I always assumed my kids would care … but you never know with this stuff. My son’s favorite celebrity right now? Michael Jackson. He loves Michael and werewolves, in that order, so you can only imagine how he feels about Thriller. I never, ever could have predicted this. That’s parenthood. You roll with the whims of your kids. At the same time, there had to be some trick for hooking my daughter on sports beyond the old standby of “taking her to games and seeing if she likes it.” After she turned 5, I asked a few friends with older children for tips. The same suggestion kept popping up: You can’t necessarily make them follow your team, but you can steer them away from your least favorite teams. Good advice.”

His daughter is just getting into sports, and she’s about to experience something we all go through, whether sports-related or not: disappointment. Simmons is in the car with his daughter, who’s crying after her beloved L.A. Kings just lost a big playoff game.

“Remember that scene when Forrest Gump finds out about his son, digests the news, then worries that the boy is just as stupid as he is? For two terrible seconds, he’s thinking to himself, Oh, no, I hope I didn’t ruin this kid. That’s how I felt when I watched my daughter sobbing. Why did I do this to her? Why would I pull her into this fan vortex where you’re probably going to end up unhappy more than happy?

Then I remembered something. Sports is a metaphor for life. Everything is black and white on the surface. You win, you lose, you laugh, you cry, you cheer, you boo, and most of all, you care. Lurking underneath that surface, that’s where all the good stuff is — the memories, the connections, the love, the fans, the layers that make sports what they are.”

Sometime’s it’s more than just a game.

But back to the car…and the crying:

“You don’t even care about the Kings,” she hissed. “You only care about your stupid Boston teams.”

“That’s not true,” I said. “I care because they’re your team.”

“But you don’t REALLY care, you’re not a Kings fan.”

“That’s true.”

“Then you don’t understand,” she decided. “You don’t understand what it’s like. You have NO idea.”

But that’s the thing about sports … I do.”

Anyone who’s rooted for a team, had a favorite player or gone to a memorable game–we can all relate. If there are tears, though, hopefully they’re tears of joy.

MUSICAL GUEST

Timbaland…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

1 Comment

You may be the first/only person to ever tell Timbaland to “take it away” haha

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