Reconsidering the Cold

Somehow, on Saturday evening at Parkview Field, it was colder than the night before when snow flurries pestered pitchers and batters alike. Somehow, though, Fort Wayne scored more runs and tallied more hits on Saturday night, as the TinCaps defeated the Lansing Lugnuts, 17-8.

The 17 runs scored for Fort Wayne were the most in a game for the franchise since June 24, 2003 at Beloit, and fell just one run short of the franchise record of 18. Meanwhile, the TinCaps 21 hits were their most since the 2011 Parkview Field season finale on September 2nd against South Bend, and also fell one shy of a Fort Wayne franchise best.

It was a pretty good night for the TinCaps at the plate, but reliever Ruben Mejia, who struck out no more than five batters in any single appearance last year with Fort Wayne struck out seven Lansing hitters yesterday. Not only that, he struck them all out consecutively.

Ruben Mejia left opposing hitters in the dark on Saturday. (SWIKAR PATEL - THE JOURNAL GAZETTE)

Ruben Mejia left opposing hitters in the dark on Saturday. (SWIKAR PATEL – THE JOURNAL GAZETTE)

“He was really feeling his slider today. I don’t care who was in the box, nobody was touching his slider. He had a great game and a great performance,” catcher Dane Phillips told me after the game.

Phillips had himself a day at the plate, going 4-for-6 and coming within a double of the cycle. It’s only happened once in Fort Wayne history, back on May 27, 1993 when then-Wizard Rene Lopez did it against Beloit.

“I’ve never gotten the cycle before. I’ve gotten close before. The last time I got close, I got a single instead of a double,” Phillips said in the clubhouse after the game. He did that again yesterday, by starting his day with a single, following up with a mammoth home run to right and then hitting a two-run triple to right. He grounded out in the seventh, and singled in the eighth.

After today’s game the TinCaps will head south to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the high temperatures over the three-day stay are projected to be 72, 72 and 63. Sign me up, right? Not too fast.

“If the cold weather keeps bringing these hits,” Phillips said, “maybe I’ll want it to be cold. We’ll see.”

PODCAST

Hear Manager Jose Valentin’s postgame comments from Saturday’s win:

FROM CLEANING BATHROOMS TO PLAYING BACKSTOP

I encourage you to take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with the great story of Braves catcher Evan Gattis. He expected to begin the year at a level no higher than Double-A, yet now he’s in the majors.

“Gattis, who is from Forney, Tex., was a high school baseball star and expected to be drafted in 2004. He was not, and instead he signed with Texas A&M. That was when the serious self-examination started. The disappointment of not being drafted weighed on him, he said.

“I was afraid to fail,” said Gattis, who is 6 feet 4 inches and 235 pounds. “People would say I was a guy with a lot of talent, but a failure.”

Gattis also said he had some fear of failing a drug test. “That, too,” he said, “but I wouldn’t have been the first kid going to college to have smoked pot.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last February that Gattis entered a drug rehabilitation facility after finishing high school. (He declined to discuss that during an interview.) That fall he started at Seminole State Junior College in Oklahoma, but he injured his knee and left after a year and a half. His baseball career appeared over.

Gattis moved to Colorado and made pizzas and then worked as a ski lift operator. He moved back to Dallas and worked as a janitor with his brother, Chase. Then it was off to New Mexico and California and more odd jobs.

“Just living life,” he said.”

Here is the link to the full article from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/sports/baseball/braves-rookie-evan-gattis-went-from-janitor-to-clean-up-hitter.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

MUSICAL GUEST

The Head and the Heart…take it away:

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

MCsig

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