One Down, 139 To Go
As I signed off of the broadcast last night, I jokingly said, “One down, 139 to go for the Fort Wayne TinCaps”, but there was a little bit of a serious note to what I said. Yesterday’s win was great, but it’s a long season and today the energy of Opening Day won’t be there, and it’s an entirely new challenge for the team.
I overheard a conversation on the bus while riding to the park yesterday, as two players chatted about Opening Day.
Player 1: I’m really excited for Opening Day, it’s gonna be great, but cold. (Ed note: Gametime temperature was 55 degrees)
Player 2: Yeah, but it’s tomorrow (meaning Friday–today) when it’s going to be hard when the crowd is smaller and you don’t have the adrenaline to rely on.
Player 1: Oh, yeah. You’re right.
A short, but to-the-point conversation there.
Whether it was a strong wind blowing out to left field last night, raw power or a jolt of adrenaline, the TinCaps got what they needed last night in a 5-2 win over Great Lakes. Joe Ross was stellar, dealing five shutout innings and allowing just one hit. In his seventh Midwest League outing, it was a far cry from his first–a seven run, 1 1/3 inning performance–back on April 7, 2012.
The TinCaps got two home runs–one from CF Brian Adams and another from DH Mallex Smith. Oddly enough, in Fort Wayne’s first game at Great Lakes last year, they also hit two dingers. SS Jace Peterson hit one and the other came off the bat of 2B Travis Whitmore.
As the excitement of day one trickles into day two, the number of eyes and ears on Fort Wayne’s game tonight may increase because of one name: Max Fried.
The lefthander, who celebrated his 19th birthday on January 18th, is scheduled to start today for Fort Wayne. The Padres selected him seventh overall in the draft last year. Here’s the Padres.com story from the draft:
“It’s loose, athletic, 6-foot-4, a downhill delivery and good arm action,” (Padres assistant General Manager of Player Personnel Chad) MacDonald said. “It’s the way it’s supposed to look. We were tickled to death to get our lefty at seven.”
Fried has a fastball that sits in the 90-91 mph range, though he can reach higher at times. He also has a very good curveball, which is regarded by many as a plus pitch.
Fried previously pitched for Montclair Prep, which is also in California, but when the school ended its athletics program, Fried then joined forces with pitcher Lucas Giolito, whom he had befriended at Area Code tryouts the summer prior and was picked by the Washington Nationals nine spots after Fried.
“Being a Southern California boy and being drafted by a Southern California organization, there’s no better place I’d rather be, especially with it being a pitchers’ park,” Fried said on a conference call Monday. “I felt at home there, I felt it was somewhere I was able to be myself than other places I wasn’t.”
So now it’s time to see how that excitement translates into performance. Will it be a 2012 Ross-esque outing, or more of the 2013 Ross we saw yesterday? Who knows? Maybe it’ll be somewhere in between.
To those of you who tuned into the broadcast yesterday (Thanks, Mom!) you may have caught my pregame conversation with second-year Manager Jose Valentin. For the other four of you who didn’t listen, here’s that chat in full:
Also, if you’d like to listen you can go to TheFanFortWayne.com and click “Listen Live”. First pitch tonight is 6:05 ET.
Ever wonder what broadcasters do in between innings? If I’m not sprinting to the bathroom (great genes), researching a fact online or checking a box score from other games, I’ll glance at my phone every now and again to make sure no one’s called to tell me I’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Hey, you never know..oh, wait, that’s the New York Lottery’s slogan. Anyway…here’s what happened to Reds TV broadcaster Thom Brennaman yesterday when he dropped his cellphone out the window of the press box:
Krewella…take it away!