Some Like it Hot, Questions, Baseball to Biology and Back
SOME LIKE IT HOT
No, the TinCaps haven’t been watching Marilyn Monroe films on their bus rides, but they have played exceptionally well in temperatures north of 100 degrees the last two nights. July 4th yielded an 8-1 victory, and last night Fort Wayne exploded for eight more runs in an 8-3 defeat of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
The start of the game was delayed about an hour as pop-up storms (no relation to pop-up video) swept through the area and brought some wind and rain to the ballpark. That didn’t seem to bother the TinCaps very much.
“After a long rain delay, they never hesitated. They went up there and threw the first punch,” said Manager Jose Valentin.
Starter Adys Portillo earned his sixth win of the year, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball. His Midwest League-leading ERA dropped to 1.65 from 1.76. It was also a monumental game in respect to his win total. Entering this season, he had picked up six victories in 46 starts. This year he has matched that win total in just 16 starts.
“It’s scary, but he didn’t have his best stuff, which is incredible,” said catcher Matt Colantonio. His fastball was a little up, and towards the end of his outing he started to look a little out of sync, but it was a great outing.”
The TinCaps provided four first-inning runs for Portillo, after they had given Frank Garces seven runs of support in the fourth inning on Wednesday.
“When you know that your offense is in the game and it doesn’t matter how many runs you give up, you can keep your confidence and make the pitches when you need them,” Valentin added.
In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear postgame comments from first baseman Zach Kometani, who drove in two runs in his first start for Fort Wayne since April 28th:
SAYS IT ALL
It may be hot here in Fort Wayne, but it’s not the only place experiencing brutally uncomfortable heat:
Caliente, to say the least.
@MikeCouzens RQ for IAR: Do the TinCaps have a locker-room prank player and who?—
Ken A. Bugajski (@drkensf) July 05, 2012
Hmmm…Well, I don’t really think there’s a prank player in this locker room–at least not that I’ve seen or heard about. I will say that whenever I head down to the clubhouse, it’s probable that I may run into someone–particularly Cody Hebner, in an impromptu dance.
If you ever hear “Teach Me How to Dougie” playing on the Parkview Field sound system, turn your eyes to the video board in a hurry. You just might see a video clip of him showing off his dance skills…
FROM BASEBALL TO BIOLOGY AND BACK
If you’re able to make it out to the ballpark, you might’ve noticed that I write a feature piece for each edition of our Game Day magazine. I’d like to share with you the latest, which features former Fort Wayne Wizard and current TinCaps Strength and Conditioning Coach Cliff Bartosh. Here’s the full text:
How a former Fort Wayne Wizard made his way back to the Summit City
It took two weeks for the phone to ring. Nearly 14 days had gone by before Cliff Bartosh found out he had been selected in the 29th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. Bartosh had aspirations of playing professional baseball, but wasn’t sure he’d be headed down that road. A phone call from late Padres scout Jim Dreyer changed Bartosh’s plans. He was scheduled to head to Texas Tech on a baseball scholarship, but instead chose to follow his dream and report to the Padres training complex in Peoria, Arizona.
“I started out as a first baseman and pitched a little bit (in high school). My junior year I might’ve thrown 12 or 13 innings for our varsity team. My senior year, maybe about 20 innings,” Bartosh said one afternoon while sitting in the home dugout at Parkview Field. “(Dreyer) said he never saw me pitch in high school, he only saw me take infield. So he only saw me throw the ball from first base, and he drafted me off of that. I didn’t know when the draft was.”
Cliff Bartosh’s life in baseball has revolved around other people dictating his path.
He made his way through the minor leagues with the Padres, and played at Memorial Stadium with the Fort Wayne Wizards in both 1999 and 2000. Although he was in the organization from 1998 until 2003, he didn’t make the big leagues with the Padres.
“After the ’03 season, (the Padres) sent me to the Arizona Fall League. I probably had the worst Arizona Fall League that anybody’s ever had in the history of that league. I just did absolutely terrible. (The Padres) end up with maybe a week left in the Arizona Fall League, and they take me off the 40-man roster and I’m picked up by Detroit. I go into the off season a Detroit Tiger. About December, I get a call from the Cleveland Indians saying, ‘We just claimed you off of waivers.’ I didn’t even know I had been placed on waivers,” Bartosh vividly recalls.
Cleveland, under then-General Manager Mark Shapiro, called Bartosh up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his major league debut on May 15, 2004, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In March of 2005, Bartosh was traded to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ronald “Bear” Bay, who currently pitches for the Padres Triple-A affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Bartosh’s destiny fluttered in the wind.
Bartosh pitched in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2005, but eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff, and by August of 2006 he hadn’t thrown a baseball in a year.
“I went home to Texas and my wife got a job teaching. I had no college at that point, and started going to school,” Bartosh says. “It’s weird because to that point, I had done (the baseball routine) for eight to nine seasons. It was the only quote-unquote job I had to that point. I had a wife and a son at that time, and I felt like I can’t just sit and wait for my arm to get better.”
While staying at home to be with his son, Bartosh took online classes at Dallas (Texas) County Community College. He studied government and history, and later transferred in 2008 to the University of Texas at Arlington, enrolling in the exercise science program.
“I got that degree when I was 30, and most guys (in school) were 18 to 22,” Bartosh says. “I got that degree and then decided, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a strength coach.’ I got an alternative teaching certification. I took some tests to get a science endorsement, an ESL endorsement and a health endorsement.”
He became Mr. Bartosh, teaching at a middle school in his hometown of Duncanville, Texas.
“I taught a class called ‘Skills for Success’. I really don’t know what it was about. I had a set curriculum that I was supposed to teach and I did. My wife made fun of it because there was a chapter in the book that was on how to use a microwave. I didn’t have to teach that one; I didn’t feel it was necessary,” he remarks with a grin.
It was after that stint, and some time spent as an 8th grade science instructor, Bartosh decided to pack up his house, his belongings and his life, and head in a different direction.
“I’m sitting there teaching, and I’m feeling like I’m not really making an impact on these kids. I have a house and I’m living very comfortably. The more I read the gospels, the more I realized we’re maybe not supposed to be that comfortable. In the book of Mark, there’s the parable of the rich, young ruler. Christ says, ‘Sell everything, give to the poor and follow me.’”
“I’ve got a good house, a great job that pays the bills and all that, and we decided that we’re gonna sell our house and I started reaching out to people in baseball and I was fortunate that the big league strength coach here in San Diego, Jim Malone, was a minor league coordinator in Cleveland. I sent them my resume and they were crazy enough to hire me,” he says, mesmerized.
In his first year as the strength and conditioning coach with the TinCaps, Bartosh has a connection with the players that not many do—he’s one of their kind. He knows what it’s like to give up the game-tying home run, or to feel like your pitches just don’t work. He’s been there time and time again, but on someone else’s calendar. He’s now deciding his own fate, and making a difference on his time. No longer Mr. Bartosh, he’s just Cliff.
“It was very refreshing to get rid of everything that ties you down to an area. So now that I have no ties anywhere, really. Someone asked me where I was going to live in the off-season. I have no idea. I really don’t know where I’ll end up. I’m enjoying this. This is great. You get to develop relationships with players, with coaches, with other staff and hopefully that leads to lifelong friendships.”
James Taylor…take it away!