“We Want a Ring”

That’s what second baseman Tyler Stubblefield told me before the game today.

Today’s game will determine who from the Eastern Division will go on to battle the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Midwest League championship series, which will begin Wednesday in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Yesterday Fort Wayne lost, 7-4, to Lake County, in part because of a five-run second inning put on by the Captains. It was an error from Stubblefield that opened the door for three unearned runs to score in that inning.

“When they scored three runs, I was a little disappointed,” Stubblefield said. ” It’s a play that I make a lot and it just so happens yesterday in a crucial situation. It happens. Errors are errors, they’re gonna happen and the only thing I can do is go out there tonight and hopefully have the same ball hit to me.”

It’s the second time in four years that the TinCaps have gone to game three of the Eastern Division championship series. In 2009, when Fort Wayne won the title, Robert Lara hit a walk-off home run against Great Lakes at Parkview Field, propelling the TinCaps into the finals and an eventual sweep of the Burlington Bees. This year marks the fourth time in the 20-year franchise history that the team has made the Division Championship series, with the ’97 and ’98 Wizards getting swept both times.

James Needy makes his second postseason start for the TinCaps tonight. He went in game one last round against Lansing, hurling five innings in a Fort Wayne win. They’ll certainly hope he can bring them to a win tonight, too. Whichever team loses will not play again until April, so there’s a lot on the line.

I hope you can join me on the radio tonight, starting at 6:45, on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, we hear from both Jose Valentin, who I talked with before yesterday’s game, and Tyler Stubblfield, who will be my pregame guest tonight:

VALENTIN

STUBBLEFIELD

NO HOLDS BARRED

I broke a personal rule of mine today. I’m not happy to admit it, but I did. I patronized an establishment that uses a “z” where a simple “s” will suffice. At the team hotel here at Lake County, while there are many food options around, there are not a ton that have coffee. Sheetz happens to be two doors down from the hotel, so I figured it’d be a safe choice. There is a McDonald’s across the street, but the crosswalk is a ways down the street, and I can’t be risking my life for some caffeine.

For coffee, it’s ok to bend the rules.

So I wanted coffee, I got coffee and had to look at “coffeez” every time I took a sip. I simultaneously shuddered in grammatical discontent as I swallowed each ounce of the wonderful hazelnut flavor. I apologize profusely to all of you for abandoning my principles in the name of coffee. Never again.

MUSICAL GUEST

Hot Hot Heat…take it away!

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

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