The Way it Goes, Life on the Road, Reflections on the Hall

SOMETIMES THAT’S THE WAY IT GOES…

Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field in Dayton, things were going well…until they weren’t. The TinCaps had kept the Dragons off the scoreboard through five innings, and were holding a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth inning. That lead stretched to 5-1 by the time the seventh inning rolled around, but the Dragons were just getting started.

Dayton scored once in the bottom of the seventh, and six more times in the bottom of the eighth, securing a come-from-behind, 8-5, win over the TinCaps. The big blow of the six-run inning was a grand slam hit by Beau Amaral on a 3-2 pitch from Chris Nunn. The TinCaps lefty had just come in to the game to relieve a struggling Trevor Gott, who was eventually charged with five runs.

Yesterday’s game was a reminder that, as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”, and that the Dragons are playing their best baseball of the year right now. That was Dayton’s fourth walk-off win of the season and fourth grand slam hit this month. Perhaps the most surprising part of it all was that Amaral had just one home run this season prior to yesterday’s game. The Dayton roster also has Jesse Winker, the MWL Home Run Derby champion, and Seth Mejias-Brean, who is second all of professional baseball this month in OPS at 1.234.

After all that, today is a new day and Joe Ross is on the mound for Fort Wayne. Ross has looked good in his last two starts, going six innings in both and only allowing two runs total, both in the latter start. Although his second half has been tough, it looks like he might be turning it around. Here’s how Ross’ first half looks compared to his second half:

FIRST: 3-2, 2.71 ERA in 12 starts. 56 hits allowed in 66 1/3 innings

SECOND: 1-3, 6.39 ERA in 5 starts. 38 hits allowed in 25 1/3 innings

He’s been much more hittable. Opponents average against him has risen from .232 to .362–a massive jump. We’ll look for the answer as to what the difference has been on tonight’s broadcast.

I’ll be joined by John Nolan tonight at 6:40 for the start of our broadcast, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 ET. We hope you can join us on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.

PODCAST

To hear which team TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin thinks is the best in the league, how he’ll manage his six-man infield, and who will be the go-to closer with Roman Madrid on the disabled list, listen to today’s podcast:

LIFE ON THE ROAD

I went out and did a little exploring today, finding a nice jogging trail along the border of Dayton and Kettering, a neighboring town.

Running in the shade...always a good idea.

Running in the shade…always a good idea.

Also please excuse my terrible photography, but this is the University of Dayton campus:

Seriously, I'm not good at taking pictures.

Seriously, I’m not good at taking pictures.

And later in the day had lunch with John and some former Dragons colleagues at a nice spot, 5th Street Wine and Deli, in the cultural hub of Dayton, the Oregon District. We can assure you we were only there for the deli part. Since I’m not the type to take a photo of my food and post it online, I’ll post a picture of someone else’s food that was posted online:

This is actually what the sandwiches look like. Grilled to perfection.

This is actually what the sandwiches look like. Grilled to perfection.

I recommend you make a stop there if you ever find yourself in downtown Dayton.

NO LIVING INDUCTEES

An odd moment this past weekend in Cooperstown, NY, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum–there were no living inductees added into the hall.

For the first time since 1965, there was no breathing inductee to deliver a speech, tell a joke or remember advice from his first manager.

Instead, in a rain-delayed and sparsely attended ceremony that underscored the lingering damage that performance-enhancing drugs have inflicted on America’s national pastime, the three men who were enshrined have been dead since the 1930s. Two were better known to historians and aficionados than fans. Several living players have Hall-worthy statistics and might have lured a huge crowd to this village, which was founded by James Fenimore Cooper’s father and boosted by the myth of baseball’s invention here.

But Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, who were all in their first year of eligibility for election but tainted by their involvement in or connection to baseball’s steroids era, were firmly rejected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America earlier this year.

Despite being raised in New York, I’ve only been to Cooperstown once, and I would really like to go again. It’s a small, quaint place that carries so much history and beauty, especially at this time of the year right on the shores of Otsego Lake.

My favorite Hall of Fame speech is from Giants broadcaster Jon Miller, who received the Ford C. Frick (born in Wawaka, IN) award, the league’s top honor for broadcasters. Just watch the first 90 seconds (click here to see the speech) and listen to the way he inflects on the word “french fries”. Fantastic.

MUSICAL GUEST

Ben Harper…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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