Editor’s Note: Contrary to reports, Mike Couzens has not been transferred from Fort Wayne to the AZL Padres. Rather, he was away this weekend to broadcast the U.S. Open Ultimate. Yes, that is a thing. So John Nolan is in off the bench. Mike will be back for tonight’s game.
The TinCaps continued to swing the bats Sunday, but it didn’t equal a third straight win. Fort Wayne lost to Great Lakes, 8-4. All 12 runs were scored from the second inning on, but if you saw or heard Sunday’s game, then you know the turning point came in the bottom of the first.
Corey Adamson was on second base. Maxx Tissenbaum was on first. No outs. And Diego Goris hit the ball off the 400 Club in straightaway-center field. Three-run homer and the TinCaps were on their way to another happy day at Parkview Field. But… that’s not quite what happened. Umpires Sean Allen and Masa Ichiki ruled that the ball hit below the yellow line on the fence and was live. Confused by what was going on, both Adamson and Tissenbaum ended up standing on third. Like in musical chairs, you can’t do that. Tissenbaum was tagged out. And then the threat of runners and second and third with one out was squashed when Chris Burke struck out and Adamson was picked off third. So despite a single, a walk, and a ball that should have been a home run, the TinCaps didn’t score.
It was hard to tell live — and even after watching our XFINITY Channel 81 replays for that matter –whether or not Goris’ ball cleared the yellow line. Remember, the 400 Club is a new addition to Parkview Field this season. The folks with the best view of it were actually those behind the 400 Club’s glass windows. They seemed to react as though they knew it hit off the window, and therefore was Goris’ third home run of the season. After the game our TV partner Kent Horman looked at the footage captured by INC and said it was pretty clear that the ball did indeed carom off the glass. So, just like that, the complexion of the game changed in the first inning.
José Valentín argued the call to no avail, and right there, ya just had the feeling that the TinCaps’ momentum from the previous two nights was zapped. Part of being a professional is overcoming the mistakes made by umpires. After all, as they say, “human error” is part of the game, right? But even Valentín acknowledged to the Journal Gazette that that was the turning point of the game.
“It completely changed the game right there,” Valentin said. “I don’t like to make excuses, but you know, who knows? It’s a different ballgame.”
Catch more from the TinCaps’ skipper below in Mike Maahs’ weekly conversation with Valentín:
Even with Sunday’s disappointing outcome, it was a tremendous Fourth of July weekend at Parkview Field. You go back to Thursday and the ballpark set a record for attendance with 8,780 fans celebrating America’s birthday. Then Friday night was another sellout of 7,401. Saturday saw 6,510 TinCaps fans and Sunday, a not too shabby 5,020. Through 10 home games in the second half, Parkview Field is averaging 6,757 fans. All in all, the stadium’s seen more spectators at this point of the season than it had a year ago. And last year established a franchise record for attendance.
So you’ve got all these great Fort Wayne fans coming through, big crowd night after night, for five seasons now, and the place remains nearly as immaculate as the cathedral a few blocks away. Personally, I’ve been to stadiums and arenas all over the country — both big-time, like the new Yankee Stadium and Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center, and small — and can’t think of anywhere cleaner. And as your mom would say about your bedroom, “This stadium’s not going to clean itself!”
Major kudos need to go out to the cleaning crew at Parkview Field. Led by Assistant Director of Maintenance Don Miller, the red polo-ed army works harder than anyone I’ve seen in Fort Wayne on a daily basis. They are literally doing the dirty work for thousands of fans to continue to have a first-class experience at Parkview Field. You may leave when the game ends, but they aren’t going home ’til about 6:00 in the morning. That’s 11 hours after first pitch.
I know one thing that Don and his team take special pride in is the cleanliness of the bathrooms at Parkview Field. The bathrooms are cleaned every nine minutes. That’s multiple times an inning! If you translated the amount of cleaner Don’s crew uses to keep these public bathrooms in better shape than your’s at home, you could literally drive from New York City to LA and back! (Note: I rarely use exclamation points in my writing, but how could you not there?)
The next time you’re enjoying your Parkview Field experience, take a moment to think about the people working tirelessly to make it possible. (While you’re at it, maybe try to make their job slightly less difficult, too, by tossing out your garbage instead of leaving it under your seat.)
To let you inside how my brain operates, I like to connect things that probably have no business being connected. For example, with the home run that wasn’t, you could say, “in a moment, everything can change.” Hilary Duff said that once, too, in a song. So Hilary Duff, take it away…