Five-for-Five, Perseverance, Voices of Summer
It wasn’t that the TinCaps lacked the opportunities to score on Friday night, it’s just that they didn’t convert them. They hit a paltry 3-16 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss to the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The game represented a chance for a three-game sweep at Parkview Field, something Fort Wayne hadn’t done since the opening series of the 2011 season against the South Bend Silver Hawks. Twice Friday the bases were left loaded, and in a moment reminiscent of many first-half games, Jace Peterson was left on the bases in a key situation. In the bottom of the ninth with Peterson in scoring position, Mike Gallic and Yeison Asencio went down, unable to bring him in.
Let there be no gloom, though, because the TinCaps hold a two-game lead in the Eastern Division, and have won all five series they’ve played in the second half.
Tonight they venture to South Bend for the start of a three-game set as Matt Wisler will try for the first back-to-back wins of his career. His three wins this season have all come in Ohio (one in Dayton and two at Lake County).
In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Manager Jose Valentin as he addressed the media after last night’s game:
Although it’s become cliche to tweet blurry, Instagrammed pictures of your 4th of July weekend fireworks, I saw this nicely framed photo from last night’s ballgame. Good shot, @skibbesj:
Steven Skibbe (@skibbesj) July 07, 2012
THE EPITOME OF PERSEVERANCE
Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is profiled in The New York Times, in a piece that details the hellish conditions he battled through as a baseball player growing up in Japan:
“It was a generation,” Kuroda said through an interpreter, “when coaches believed you should not drink water.”
Born in 1975, Kuroda is one of the last of a cohort of Japanese players who grew up in a culture in which staggeringly long work days and severe punishment were normal, and in which older players could haze younger ones with impunity.
Summer practices in the heat and humidity of Osaka lasted from 6 a.m. until after 9 p.m. Kuroda was hit with bats and forced to kneel barelegged on hot pavement for hours.
“Many players would faint in practice,” Kuroda said with the assistance of his interpreter, Kenji Nimura. “I did go to the river and drink. It was not the cleanest river, either. I would like to believe it was clean, but it was not a beautiful river.”
That makes a six-hour bus ride seem pretty easy.
THE VOICES OF A D.C. SUMMER
The Washington Post gives a few thousand words to one of my favorite MLB radio teams to listen to: Dave Jaegler and Charlie Slowes of the Washington Nationals. Getting to tune into their games is a little bit like joining a club; there are inside references, entertaining dances , and plenty of laughs to be had along the way:
“There are 30 teams and two radio guys per team, that’s 60 jobs,” Jageler says. “You’re more likely to be U.S. senator than a play-by-play announcer.”
They turned engineer Jack Hicks into an omnipotent on-air persona they called “The Jack of All Things,” added a mythical staff of interns who leapt into action whenever one of them came up with some obscure statistic, and, of course, Slowes came up with his trademark call of “Bang, zoom go the fireworks! A curly W is in the books” when the team won.
Now the “curly W” is part of the Washington lexicon, and “Bang, zoom go the fireworks!” has outlived the actual fireworks, which were curtailed after the D.C. fire marshal raised objections. “Now, they use a submarine horn,” Slowes says a little morosely. “What can I do with that? ‘There goes the horn, another curly W is in the books’? I don’t think so.”
If you’re ever in Washington, D.C. or if you have the MLB Audio Pass, that’s a pair you will definitely enjoy listening to.
John Mayer and Keith Urban…take it away!