Mutz Listen, Anna’s on the Dean’s List, & Shorter Games?

The TinCaps are 2 and 5 after a 7-5 loss at Kane County yesterday in the rubber game of that series. Fort Wayne fell behind 6-0 after 2 innings, and showed some resiliency in clawing back to within a run at 6-5, but eventually came up short. Again, defense was an issue for the TinCaps. A pair of early errors led to a pair of unearned runs. Fort Wayne has now committed 15 errors in its first 7 games — 2 in 5 games, 5 in another, and only 1 game without any.

Among the bright spots, though … 18-year-old Franmil Reyes — the youngest player in the Midwest League — hit his 1st home run of the season. Ryan Miller highlighted a 4-run 6th inning with his second double in as many games; it plated 2 runs. Mallex Smith stole his Minor League Baseball-leading 9th base of the year.

With the loss, the TinCaps didn’t need to call on the services of their closer Nick Mutz, who recorded his first save of the season in Wednesday’s win. We, however, did call upon Nick’s services for our pregame interview. Listen below to hear what it was like for Nick to be released by the Angels organization last year and what it took to get signed by the Padres. He also shares his thoughts on being Fort Wayne’s closer, and even throws in a Masters prediction.

ANNA’S ON THE DEAN’S LIST

In case you missed it, during the first week of the MLB season, 2 more TinCaps joined the ranks of those who’ve gone from Fort Wayne to fruition: Dean Anna made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster and Vince Belnome was called up to Tampa Bay for a night when a Rays player went on paternity leave. This brings the count of former TinCaps and Wizards who’ve made the bigs at 120.

And last night at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox, Dean — who reached base for the first time last week when he was walked by former Wizard and current Blue Jays All-Star Steve Delabar — hit his first big league home run. Enjoy it below before MLB pulls it off YouTube.

This is why we love sports, right? Here’s a guy who’s 26 and had played 554 games in the minors (including 97 as a TinCap). He started last season as a backup for the Triple-A Tucson Padres, who averaged a whopping 2,818 fans a game. And now here he is playing for the most famous organization in sports. Playing next to the game’s biggest star in Derek Jeter. And shining. Here’s what he told MLB.com afterward:

“It’s kind of like, ‘Am I really running around these bases right now?'” Anna said. “It was a great feeling. I’m just happy to get the win. That’s really what it’s about around here. It feels really good to hit a homer in Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox.”

“Words can’t explain it, honestly. They really can’t,” Anna said. “All the history with these two teams and that happens. Again, I’m just happy to get that win. I got a good pitch to hit, and I hit it good. It was a great moment.”

Dean’s shot earned even more attention thanks to the call of Yankees (in)famous radio play-by-play broadcaster John Sterling. Infamous at least for the nicknames and puns he comes up with when Yankees hit homers. Case in point:

So now a guy from Illinois who played at Ball State and in Fort Wayne is a household name in New York. Gotta love it. Congrats, Dino!

MAD DOG

On the subject of media personalities from New York who can be absurd, we present Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Mad Dog rose to national prominence as Mike Francesa’s afternoon co-host on WFAN Radio for nearly 20 years. Now you may hear him in Fort Wayne or around the country on XM Radio. This year he’s also doing a 1-hour daily show on MLB Network. Here’s his reaction to the recent talk of baseball considering shortening games to 7 innings.

MUSICAL GUEST

Fleetwood Mac, take it away…

As always, thanks for reading and following on Twitter @John_G_Nolan. We’ll be on the air from Clinton, Iowa, tonight starting at 7:15 EDT for the first of three between the TinCaps and LumberKings. Hope you can join.

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