Connections with Kane County
It was a nice series-opening win for the TinCaps over the Kane County Cougars last night. Corey Adamson and Brian Adams each homered, and Joe Ross turned in 5 2/3 innings to pick up his third win in four starts. Here’s the video recap, including an interview with Adamson:
Fort Wayne and Kane County only meet once during each regular season, so there’s not much time for the players on each roster to familiarize themselves with their opponents. The same goes for the managers, too.
Jose Valentin, Fort Wayne’s manager, took a look at the Kane County roster yesterday and saw a name that he thought brought back some memories: Mark Johnson.
“I thought, ‘No way,’” he told me yesterday during batting practice. “I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was him.”
During their three years together in Chicago, they played under Jerry Manuel, who is now an analyst for MLB Network. The 2000 season was the most successful as a team, when they went 95-67, and finished first in the AL Central.
While Valentin isn’t one to be outwardly all to emotional, when he saw Johnson yesterday for the first time at Parkview Field, he embraced him in a big hug. It was a nice moment for Valentin, and it showed how the bond of teammates, even more than a decade later, still holds strong.
NOT THE ONLY VALENTIN IN THE MIDWEST LEAGUE
As the TinCaps bus rumbled through the night Wednesday into Thursday from Bowling Green, Kentucky, back to Parkview Field, Jose Valentin got a phone call that he’d been hoping to receive for quite some time.
On the other line was his son Jesmuel, who goes by Jesse, telling him that he he had been moved up within the Dodgers farm system, away from the purgatory that is playing in extended spring training at the Dodgers facility in Phoenix and up to Midland, Michigan, the home of the Midwest League’s Great Lakes Loons.
Valentin was beaming yesterday as he shared the news during batting practice, excited that a May 8-10 series in Fort Wayne is right around the corner. Jesse was drafted last June in the supplemental first round (51st overall) by the Dodgers. If not for hand surgery that held him back in Arizona, he likely would have opened the season with Great Lakes. Like his dad, Jesse is not only a middle infielder, but a switch-hitter, too.
Believe it or not, they won’t be the only father-son duo in the league this year. Great Lakes Manager Razor Shines has his son, Devin, on his roster.
Here’s a peek at the jerseys the TinCaps will be wearing tonight as they take on the Cougars:
They’ll be up for auction if you’re so inclined to take one home with you.
Carly Rae Jepsen…take it away!