In the words of George Costanza, “I’m back, baby! I’m back!”
It’s great to be be back with you here on It’s All Relative after a three-day All-Star hiatus, during which I returned to my native New York to spend some time with family and friends. Feeling refreshed, I, as I hope you are, too, am ready for the second half of the season to begin.
In case you missed John Nolan’s posts from the All-Star Game down in Dayton, you can read them here:
Here are some TinCaps headlines as we head into the second half:
Adys Portillo’s Return: The 21-year-old Portillo, who was promoted from Fort Wayne to Double-A San Antonio in July of 2012, is back with the TinCaps for a three-game rehab stint. He injured his triceps in his throwing arm (right) during spring training, and was added to the Fort Wayne roster last week. He pitched on Saturday and gave up four runs (two earned) on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings against West Michigan. He’ll start again tonight, with Walker Weickel scheduled to come in as a piggyback pitcher.
Bye Bye Baltzy (and Hancock): The TinCaps lost two of their best players as the All-Star break rolled around, with outfielder Jeremy Baltz and starting pitcher Justin Hancock being promoted to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore. No word yet on who their replacements will be, but they are certainly big losses to the Fort Wayne squad. Baltz, who hadn’t played in a game since May 28 when he was placed on the disabled list, is still tied for the team lead with 33 runs batted in. Hancock, meanwhile, has a team-best 5-1 record and a Midwest League-leading 1.73 ERA.
Que pasa, Madrid?: Closer Roman Madrid has walked at least one batter in each of his four outings, and in his last stint (or regular-season action) had his worst outing of the year, allowing three runs (two earned) against West Michigan, in a game Fort Wayne clung on to win, 8-7. In the Midwest League All-Star Game Tuesday in Dayton, Madrid faced four batters and the sequence went walk, single, walk, two-run single, and then he was removed from the game. Prior to these last five outings, Madrid had been near perfect. He still has only allowed four earned runs in 32 1/3 innings and has a 1.11 ERA and 12 saves in 14 tries, but he’s just lacked his usual command lately. Something to keep an eye on.
More Changes Coming?: With the loss of shortstop Stephen Carmon to injury, the TinCaps have bounced back and forth between using Maxx Tissenbaum, who Jose Valentin called his first-half MVP, and Diego Goris at shortshop. Manager Jose Valentin has said he would like to use Tissenabaum at second and have Goris as a backup player, with the same going for Felix Cabrera, who plays second on occasion, but is hitting .161 (5-31) in 10 games. We’ll have to wait and see what the Padres decide to do.
VIN SCULLY: VOICE OF THE YANKEES?
The year was 1964. Scully was in New York with the Dodgers, who were playing the Mets. Jim Bealle, an executive at the advertising agency BBDO with close ties to the Yankees, invited him to lunch.
At the time, corporate sponsors—and by extension, the admen they employed—held heavy sway over teams’ broadcast operations. Eleven years earlier, when Scully, at age 25, became the youngest man to call the World Series, it was an executive from the ad agency Maxon who called to tell Scully the job was his.
Now Bealle had some news to share: The Yankees were looking to replace Mel Allen, their longtime play-by-play announcer, at season’s end.
“He said, ‘Would you be interested if there was an opening?’ ” Scully said. It was not a formal offer, and there was never any direct communication between Scully and the Yankees. But Scully said it was understood by both men that the job would be his if he wanted it. “It was a very thinly veiled offer,” he said.
There was good reason for the Yankees to want Scully in their booth. He wasn’t just a star. He was a New Yorker through and through: born in the Bronx, raised in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan and educated at Fordham University. His Dodgers broadcasting debut came in 1950, when they were still the Brooklyn Dodgers.
So what happened to Scully, who is now in his 64th consecutive season calling Dodgers games that he stayed with the Dodgers?
I guess you’ll have to read the rest to find out!
Randy Houser…take it away!