A Valentin Family Affair at Parkview Field
In baseball, you can go years and years and have every day teach you something different and show you something you’ve never seen before. That’s the type of game it is. Jose Valentin is in his second season as a manager after a 16-year playing career, and so he’ll continue to encounter new situations at the helm of a team throughout this season, and in years to come.
In Wednesday’s game, one of those new situations was one Valentin had been anticipating for some time. He said he’d been looking forward to it–how could he not?-but that he didn’t know how he would feel when it finally hit him.
The odds of making it as a professional baseball player, that is, one who is paid to do it for a living, are slim. There are millions of little leaguers, thousands upon thousands of high school athletes, even fewer college athletes, and at the highest levels of baseball, only a select few who even make it as a draft pick or a non-drafted free agent. So what are the odds that Jose Valentin would coach against his own son, Jesmuel, an infielder for the Great Lakes Loons, Wednesday afternoon at Parkview Field?
“It was a little hard in the beginning,” Jose said following Wednesday’s win. “Today felt different than other days. You want to see (your son) doing well, but he’s playing for the opponent, so you’re hoping he has a good game, but hopefully he doesn’t get an (at-bat) where he does some damage against you.”
Jesse, as Jesmuel is known by many, finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, one of them intentional. Let’s call that a draw for game one of the series.
In the top of the seventh inning, Valentin called for an intentional ball four against his son, who was at the plate with runners at second and third. That was to set up the possibility of a double play, which, although it didn’t come to fruition didn’t matter by the time the ninth inning rolled around.
“It’s always nice to see your son do well after all the time you’ve spent with him, and trying to help him out and make him a good player. But now that I’m coaching against him, I have to divide myself between father and son and just be a coach and try to win. Late in the game, that’s the way I was feeling,” Jose said.
Jesse, who is a switch-hitting middle infielder just like his father, who played in the major leagues for 16 seasons, and was originally signed out of Puerto Rico by the Padres, also wears his dad’s number, 22.
“It’s nice to see that. I would like to see him do well and keep wearing the number that I wore during my career,” Jose said from his subterranean office at Parkview Field.
For now, the score stands: Dad 1, Son 0.
“I hope he has his best games all three days that he’s here, but I have to get a win.”
For the third time this season, the TinCaps won in walk-off fashion, defeating Great Lakes, 6-5, in front of 7,434 fans at Parkview Field Wednesday afternoon. Here was the scene as Alberth Martinez hit an infield dribbler, scoring Brian Adams from third for the game-winning run:
In all three of the walk-off wins this season, the man to drive in the game-winning run has been an unlikely candidate.
The first walk-off hit came April 26th, courtesy of Stephen Carmon, who had come in to the game as a ninth-inning pinch runner, winning the game with his only at-bat. Jeremy Baltz delivered with his only hit of the game for a win just two days later, and Alberth Martinez’s RBI fielder’s choice yesterday preceded an 0-4 stretch against Loons pitching. Martinez, unfortunately, is still stuck in an 0-18 slump, as the run scored on a fielder’s choice.
They’re not pretty wins, but the TinCaps will take them.
Listen to our TinCaps Report Podcast to hear post-game interview with Manager Jose Valentin and pitcher Joe Ross:
U2…take it away!