Monthly Archives: May 2012

Asheville Tourists baseball: A playoff feeling in May

Playoffs? In May?  Well, not quite…but the three game series between the Asheville Tourists and the Charleston RiverDogs sure felt like it.  Big time clutch hitting, some outstanding fielding plays and some hard-nosed baseball between the leaders in the South Atlantic League‘s  South Division made it feel like September.  But then, there was some ghastly pitching and horrendous fielding thrown in just to remind you we are talking minor league ball…low A ball to be specific.  But still, if you like baseball, McCormick Field is definitely the place to spend a few hours this season.

The division-leading Tourists hosted the second-place RiverDogs in a very interesting three-game series that very important since it was the ONLY meeting of the first half between the teams, and the opener provided thrills a-plenty.  On Monday night, we witnessed a game that was as strange (“remarkable” stated ESPN 1310’s Seth Stewart) as most of us have ever witnessed.

How can I describe a 27-run, 27-hit, nine-error (yes, I said nine) game and do it justice?  Let’s simply say the Tourists jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings.   In the fourth, Charleston scored three in their half and Asheville answered with two, and added another in the fifth.  So, the T’s led 9-3 going into the sixth…but that’s where the fun began.  If your idea of fun is having the best-fielding team in the league commit four errors in an inning (yes, Asheville did just that)…and give up 8 runs to take an 11-9 lead.  Asheville responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.  Yes, 14 runs in one inning.  One of the wildest pitchers to appear in McCormick Field in a long time, Charleston’s Mariel Checo (5-1, 3.27 ERA…so how strange was this for him?) took the loss and Asheville’s Nelson Gonzalez was credited not only  with a blown save, but also the win (3-1, 4.30).  Oh, yeah, the game lasted 2 hours and 57 minutes, NOT counting a 39 minute rain delay…just for fun.

And that was just the first game.  Game two began Tuesday night and ended Wednesday early in the afternoon.  Mother Nature decided, with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, to pound the Asheville area with heavy rains, and, with the promise of more to come, this game was suspended  only to be continued Wednesday morning.

In an 11:05 a.m. start for Education Day, in front of 2,903 loud kids,the T’s lost 19-6, and Charleston tied the series at a game apiece, setting the stage for the rubber game, which was played 39 minutes after the last pitch of the first one on Wednesday.

A win in the series finale would give Asheville a 3-1/2 game lead over Charleston while a loss would narrow the lead to just 1-1/2 games, so there was a bit of tension felt in the press box as well as on the field.  Charleston’s Evan Rutckjy (1-2, 9.90), a 6’5″ Canadian pitcher, began the game with an ERA of 7.11, but for the first three innings he looked like one of the best pitchers in the league.  the Tourists managed to hit the ball against him…but he still took a no-hitter into the fourth.  Luckily for Evan, his RiverDogs scored four runs, giving him a commanding lead as the T’s came to the plate.  Six hits and eight runs later, Asheville showed the RiverDogs why they are the team to beat in the SAL this season.  Asheville’s Dan Winkler (7-2,5.03) pitched through a shaky first inning and made it through five to pick up the win.

Resilient, tough, determined…that sums up the Tourists for 2012.  Skipper Joe Mikulik has the team thinking they can win every game (well, maybe not game two of this series) and they play hard until the final out.  The Tourists ended up with a 10-5 victory and took two-of-three from the RiverDogs.

Asheville is leading the league in hitting and they showed why during this series.  They were 6-11 with runners in scoring position in this crucial game.  Their league-leading defense turned a beautiful double-play to kill a rally.  And relief pitcher Ken Roberts came through once again.

Team batting leaders include Tyler Massey (left), who, in his fourth season with Asheville is having a breakthrough season (.336), Sam Mende (.324), Delta Cleary (.320) and  Harold Riggins (right) ( 9 home runs and 43 RBI) give opposing pitchers nightmares.

Playoff baseball in May?  This was as close to it as you’ll ever see.  Two teams hitting the ball, playing exceptional baseball at times and neither team giving in.  Let’s hope they meet again in early September in what could be a great series.

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NCAA conference realignment continues making news

NCAA conference realignment continues to make news.  Two years ago, I wrote an article strongly suggesting there could be five or six 16-team conferences for the big boys…and that’s it.  A case could be made for four by really weeding out some schools, but seriously, enough is enough.  (And for this article, I will not comment on the goings-on in the Colonial, CUSA and possibly other smaller conferences…just the major ones!)

Two years later, continuing the past two seasons of upheaval in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC, the realignment merry-go-round is still moving.  The latest rumor: Clemson, Florida State and Miami leaving the ACC to join the Big 12.  My take: Let it happen.  I say, let’s just get the commissioners together and hash this thing out once and for all.  Get conferences and teams realigned and get started making new rivalries.

The ACC is in flux and, apparently, so is the Big 12 (who definitely would love Notre Dame to join).  The Big East may be stronger…or weaker…than ever.  Yeah, Boise State and San Diego State DEFINITELY belong in the Big East (East of Japan) Conference.  But back to the real point – realignment is still on the drawing board.  We will be getting a BCS four-team playoff in 2014. The SEC and Big 12 have already scheduled a game between their two top teams for January 1, 2014.  Mark my words…it’ll be in New Orleans or Dallas.  And, should a team be invited to the Plus-Four Playoff from either (or both) conferences, the next-best team will go to the new “bowl” game.

I have no problem with that other than now the ACC is probably looking to partner with another conference…possibly the Big East…to play a game also.  This is just going to continue to water down the competition.  The bowl games, which already we have way too many of, will suffer and could face elimination somewhere down the road.

I refuse to write another word about college conference realignment until it gets settled out.  That may be never.  In the column I wrote two years ago, (which, unfortunately is no longer available since I changed blogging companies) I did have some correct moves…and some pie-in-the-sky moves (non so radical as the Boise and SDS move to the Big East, though).  Mostly, it was set with geography and natural rivals in mind.  And yes, I did have Notre Dame going to the Big Ten Conference.

My original post had many changes, but upon review, the proposed 16-team leagues would just be unfair.  Take the proportional money Texas makes and, if you would add, let’s say the University of Houston to the Big 12, the Cougars would be woefully underfunded and undermanned.  Same thing if UH was added to the SEC.  Louisville would be in the same boat. The reality of the situation is this…schools will forever look out for themselves.  If Boise could have kept their football program in the Mountain West and be paid the same as they will be in the Big East, logically would they move? No.

The reality is the big boys have way too much money and there will always be a have-have not situation.  I really don’t know the answer looking at the situation two years later.

Many people have asked me if Mizzou is a fit for the SEC.  Looking at the big picture…no.  But many Tigers fans live in the southeast part of the state (the Boot Heel)…and they are physically closer to Arkansas, Kentucky and Vandy than they are to COLUMBIA, MO…home of the Tigers.  As for me, they will be visiting Tennessee and South Carolina this season…each just a short two-hour drive from my home…so I like the move.  Financially, the athletic department says they will be better off as well.

The situation will remain fluid.  Conferences have always expanded and contracted…it’s just that today, with round-the-clock coverage on the ESPN family of networks, we cannot get through a week without some talking head bringing the latest rumor to light.  Twitter has allowed us to have instant information…for good and bad.  The world is a much quicker place than it was even two years ago.  For now, sit back and just let the players play and we’ll see where the teams end up.

At least there is light at the end of the tunnel for the football members…at least the Plus-four playoff will help get everyone through the season upcoming.  Just a hunch…an SEC team will again be in the BCS Championship game in January.

Panthers Sign Kuechly; Open Minicamp Today

Charlotte – On May 10, the Carolina Panthers reached an agreement with first-round draft choice Luke Kuechly on the eve of the team’s rookie minicamp.

Kuechly, the former Boston College linebacker who is the NCAA’s all-time leading tackler, agreed to a four-year contract worth $12.58 million, all of it guaranteed, according to a league source.  He was the ninth overall pick in last month’s draft, and at this time is the highest draft pick to agree to terms.

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A 6-3, 242-pound native of Cincinnati, Kuechly (above) averaged 15.9 tackles last season and 14.0 tackles over his three-year career, both NCAA records.

The Panthers will have 58 players in town this weekend for the rookie minicamp.  The camp includes their 7 draft picks, 12 undrafted free agents, 7 players under contract with less than one year of NFL service time, and 32 players trying out.

Here are the players who will be in Charlotte this weekend.

Number/Name/Pos./Ht./Wt./DOB/Exp/College

15 Adams, Joe WR 5-11 179 11/22/89 22 R Arkansas

97 Ah You, C.J. * DE 6-4 265 07/07/82 29 4 Oklahoma

90 Alexander, Frank DE 6-4 271 12/17/89 22 R Oklahoma

54 Andrews, Will * LB 6-0 228 R Montana State – Northern

53 Asiedu, Mike * LB 6-3 221 05/25/90 21 R Wesley College

10 Avila, Michael * WR 5-9 170 11/03/88 23 R San Jose State

42 Barnes, Anthony * CB 6-1 194 01/29/88 24 1 Northfolk State

16 Bell, Dalton * QB 6-2 207 03/09/83 29 1 West Texas A&M

5 Bersin, Brenton WR 6-3 210 05/09/90 22 R Wofford

72 Blackwell, Will G 6-3 310 01/24/89 23 R Louisiana State

11 Brown, Jarrett * QB 6-3 225 09/21/87 24 1 West Virginia

60 Browning, Bryant G 6-4 313 06/26/88 23 1 Ohio State

62 Byers, Jeff C 6-4 301 09/07/85 26 1 Southern Cal

26 Campbell, D.J. S 6-0 200 07/24/89 22 R Cal

66 Chandler, Nate DT 6-4 294 06/01/89 22 R UCLA

98 Charles, Kenneth * DE 6-3 266 02/23/89 23 1 Stephen F. Austin

91 Cohen, Landon * DT 6-3 300 08/03/86 25 4 Ohio

75 Cooper, Jon * C 6-2 291 10/01/86 25 3 Oklahoma

32 Corto, Jon * S 6-1 212 09/03/84 27 5 Sacred Heart

31 Davis, James * RB 5-11 218 01/01/86 26 3 Clemson

56 Denson, Brandon * LB 5-11 230 07/22/87 24 1 Michigan State

79 Edge, Terence * G 6-2 295 02/01/89 23 R UAB

14 Edison, Dominique * WR 6-2 201 07/16/86 25 2 Stephen F. Austin

9 Green, Jared WR 6-1 188 04/01/89 23 R Southern

21 Harris, Dominique * S 6-2 213 04/14/87 25 1 Temple

63 Jones, Aaron * T 6-4 360 12/07/87 24 1 Holy Cross

29 Jorden, Ben * FB 6-2 250 03/15/88 24 R Appalachian State

28 Kay, Ricky * FB 6-3 243 05/13/89 23 1 Central Florida

17 Kemp, Wes WR 6-3 223 09/18/89 22 R Missouri

59 Kuechly, Luke LB 6-2 242 08/20/91 20 R Boston College

49 Lloyd, Tarren TE 6-6 256 01/25/89 23 R Utah State

18 Manno, Chris WR 6-1 196 08/28/85 26 1 Hofstra

78 Maxwell, William * G 6-1 294 12/31/88 23 R Georgia Southern

7 Medlock, Justin K 5-11 201 10/23/83 28 1 UCLA

39 McCarty, Princeton RB 5-7 197 07/03/88 23 R Idaho

74 Murray, Pat * C 6-3 316 10/31/86 25 1 Truman State

37 Nelson, Jonathan S 5-11 195 05/06/88 24 1 Oklahoma

57 Nixon, David * LB 6-3 225 03/16/85 27 4 Brigham Young

24 Norman, Josh CB 6-0 190 12/15/87 24 R Coastal Carolina

8 Nortman, Brad P 6-2 209 09/12/89 22 R Wisconsin

44 Oordt, Schuylar * TE 6-7 246 05/26/87 24 1 Northern Iowa

45 Pellum, Romeo * CB 5-10 179 02/27/89 23 1 Hampton

33 Poole, Tauren RB 5-10 209 10/19/89 22 R Tennessee

93 Powell, Carlton * DT 6-3 312 08/14/85 26 1 Virginia Tech

20 Powers, Preston * LS 6-1 258 09/26/87 24 1 Mississippi

73 Ramsey, Andre * T 6-5 322 07/24/87 24 1 Ball State

92 Reed, Nick * DE 6-1 248 09/01/87 24 2 Oregon

70 Reynolds, Matt T 6-4 305 05/31/86 25 R Brigham Young

38 Rowells, Lyndon RB 5-9 207 03/08/88 24 R Humboldt State

61 Silatolu, Amini G 6-3 311 09/16/88 23 R Midwestern State

85 Smith, Greg TE 6-4 245 01/13/88 24 1 Texas

36 Sullivan, Reggie CB 6-2 210 02/24/85 27 1 Johnson C. Smith

34 Torrence, Devon * CB 6-0 190 05/08/89 23 1 Ohio State

72 Van Bergen, Ryan DE 6-4 290 03/18/89 23 R Michigan

4 Wallace, Rico WR 6-3 210 05/25/90 21 R Shenandoah

55 Webb, Nick * LB 6-4 245 10/06/86 25 R Weber State

65 Wells, Justin * G 6-6 318 01/06/88 24 1 St. Augustine

40 Williams, Jonathan * RB 6-0 204 09/21/88 23 1 East Carolina

* denotes player tryout player

Carolina Panthers: 2012 Draft Review

The Carolina Panthers were one of the National Football League‘s big surprise teams during the 2011 season, but entering this year, all eyes will be on them. Rookie of the Year quarterback Cam Newton proved to be well worth the number one pick in the draft last year, but the Cats may have even topped themselves this year.

First round pick (overall No. 9) Luke Kuechly left Boston College following three outstanding seasons. He was the most prolific tackler in major college football history. NFL analyst Mike Mayock said, “I call him Clark Kent, and he can turn into Superman on Saturdays and Sundays. He’s one of the cleanest players in this draft. His instincts and his pass-coverage ability might be the best of any linebacker I’ve seen come out of the draft.”

ESPN analyst and two-time All-Pro linebacker Tedy Bruschi loved the first round selection. “He’s smart. He’s instinctive. This guy is going to be a star.”

Carolina general manager Marty Hurney’s draft strategy has always been to take the best available player, regardless of position. Kuechly (left and below) was rated higher on the Panthers’ board than any other player, including several defensive linemen, the perceived biggest need on the team.

His versatility was lauded by Hurney and head coach Ron Rivera after the draft. His primary position at BC was middle linebacker, but he also played outside at times.

The Panthers already have a proven middle backer, Jon Beason, and he too has played on the outside. During the 2010 season, Beason moved outside due to the loss of Thomas Davis to the second of three knee injuries. This allowed the Panthers to put their three healthiest linebackers in the lineup together (Beason, James Anderson and Dan Connor).

Luke Kuechly was the Panthers’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft

In 2012, this will again be the goal.  Beason, Anderson, Davis and Kuechly will be the top four.  Beason and Davis are still recuperating from injuries that cost them nearly the entire 2011 season, so adding a healthy, young linebacker like Kuechly was important to the team. Connor, the Cats’ third-leading tackler in 2011, signed with Dallas as a free agent in the off-season.  Depth, obviously, is something that the Panthers now have at linebacker.

In the second round, with the 40th pick, the Panthers choose a 314-pound offensive lineman from Division II Midwestern State. Many fans may not have been familiar with Amini Silatolu (left and below), but if you followed any of the mock drafts, the name should be.  Pro Football Weekly ranked Silatolu as the 22nd-best prospect entering the draft and Peter King of Sports Illustrated rated his selection as the best offensive pick of the entire draft. King stated, “GM Marty Hurney got a great value here. He’ll bring an attitude and versatility to the Panthers and should be a 10-year starter wherever Carolina needs him.”

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay also said Silatolu was a great pick. He called him the most impactful player in the Panthers’ draft. “I think he is a phenomenally talented offensive guard. Should be a starter Day One.”

Mayock was also very high on Silatolu.  “That is a good football player, my beast from Midwestern State. He’s tough, nasty, a finisher. He’s a little bit raw. He’s a gifted player, but he’s raw. But I’m telling you right now that he’s a starting guard with Pro Bowl potential. This is a good move by Carolina.”

Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State was the second pick by the Panthers

The Panthers offensive line should be stronger this year.  Jordan Gross will be at left tackle, Ryan Kalil at center, Jeff Otah at right tackle (as well as Byron Bell who replaced the injured Otah for much of last season).  Bruce Campbell, acquired in a trade from the Oakland Raiders, adds more depth.

Right guard Geoff Hangartner returns after starting every game last year. He will be joined by Silatolu, Mike Pollak, a free agent with starting experience (Indianapolis Colts) and Garry Williams, who started 11 games at right tackle in 2010, and who was set to start at right guard last year before being injured.

Depth, again, is an outstanding thing to have, and the Panthers have that on offensive line. Getting five of the best lineman together as a unit is the objective. My thoughts are if Silatolu does not start to open the season, he still will get a lot of playing time and will gain valuable experience. Look for him to be a starter by early October.

In the fourth round (No. 104), the Cats chose Frank Alexander (left and below), a defensive end from Oklahoma. The 6’4″ 271 pounder was a good choice. Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network described him as one of the top 12 value picks of the entire draft. “Alexander has great arm length and inside quickness and he seems to have a knack for making plays. The ex-Sooner should be able to contribute to the Panthers defensive right away.”

Analyst Bucky Brooks of nfl.com said, “Alexander gives the Panthers another hard-working edge defender to add to the rotation. He offers some pass-rush ability as a situational player.”

The Panthers already have Charles Johnson, a pass rusher who has proven track record (20.5 sacks over the past two seasons). Defensively, the Panthers need improvement if they are going to make noise this season and contend for a playoff spot. The team averages less than two sacks per game since the beginning of the 2010 season, and that must improve.  Facing outstanding quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Matt Ryan twice, plus one game against Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Philip Rivers, will be a challenge.  It is easy to see why the D-line needs to get pressure on the quarterbacks. And…to warm up for the regular season, the Panthers scheduled games against Houston Texans (Matt Schwab), New York Jets (Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow) and the final pre-season game at the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger).

Frank Alexander from Oklahoma was the third pick by the Panthers

Having a second pick in the fourth round (No. 105), the Panthers may also have chosen a gem in the rough. Joe Adams (wide receiver, Arkansas) according to Pete Priscoe, senior NFL columnist for CBSSports.com, was the Panthers’ best pick and did so without noting his exceptional ability as a punt returner. “Fourth-round receiver Joe Adams is a nice player.  He has the look of a good slot receiver.”

The former Razorback (left) was described this way by Brooks: “Adams adds an explosive dimension to the Panthers’ passing game. He will contribute as a No. 3 receiver initially before occupying a bigger role down the road.”

Fifth round pick (No. 143), cornerback Josh Norman (right) from Coastal Carolina, was McShay’s choice as the Panthers’ most intriguing pick, saying he could be a steal.  Priscoe called Norman a “Third-Day Gem”: “(He) comes from small-school Coastal Carolina. He impressed during the season, but didn’t have a great Senior Bowl week. Some scouts think it was too big for him. But he has the ability if he can adjust.”

And Brooks said he, “is a terrific pick for the Panthers. He is a natural corner with outstanding length and athleticism. His superb ball skills will certainly improve the Panthers’ ability to create turnovers.”

In the 6th round (No. 207, a Compensatory selection), the Panthers took a flier on 6’2″ 213- pound Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman. This is a huge need for Carolina and Nortman (left) has been a steady, reliable punter for the Badgers, with a strong leg and consistency.  He routinely kicked more than 45 yards and is accurate in placing the ball inside the 20-yard line.  Every now and then, however, he has a tendency to let the ball get away from him and shank one off to his left, but this is a problem that the Panthers’ coaching staff will address.

“Nortman is a strong-legged prospect capable of punting for distance or touch. He addresses a huge need for the Panthers,” according to Brooks.

Round 7 (No. 216) saw California free safety D.J. Campbell (left) become a Panther. Brooks’ analysis of the last pick for the Panthers: “Campbell could emerge as a surprise for the Panthers. His size and athleticism helps him function in the deep middle.” And that’s a place where opposing quarterbacks will definitely be attacking .

Experts have given the Panthers draft grades ranging from mostly B’s to an A-. That’s the great thing about a draft…you really cannot analyze it until a few years down the road. If what I have written here comes through, the 2012 NFL Draft will be one to remember for the Panthers.

Minor League Report from the Press Box

Asheville, NC – Tonight the Asheville Tourists will begin a scheduled seven-game home stand…make that eight-game home stand because we will play a doubleheader tonight to make up a rained-out game from an earlier road trip.

Yes, that’s minor league baseball at its best.  We host the West Virginia Power for the second time this season (with one more series scheduled at home) and we will make up one of their scheduled home games here at Historic McCormick Field.  We are doing this because the Tourists will not be returning to Charleston this season.

Only the South Atlantic League (SALLY) officials can tell you why a team based in Charleston, WVA has to travel three times down to Asheville, while we do not play a single game against another North Carolina-based team, Kannapolis.  Charleston is 294 miles or roughly 4 hours and 47 minutes (according to MapQuest) from Asheville.  Kannapolis, 125 miles or about 2 hours and 15 minutes away.

To me, this makes no sense, but, when you work in minor league baseball, a lot of what happens makes no sense.  So, you better have a good group of people to work with…and a good sense of humor.

Working, as I do, in the press box during minor league games can be tedious…or a lot of fun.  It depends on who you are working with, and I got lucky.  For three hours (sometimes more) a night, four of us cut-up, crack wise and generally have more fun than you should at work.  All while doing four jobs professionally!

The Asheville Tourists are the low Single-A minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and this is my third season working up in the press box.  I run the scoreboard, so, yeah, it is an important job.  At times I try to keep the Tourists in the game by not putting an opponent’s run on the board, but within seconds, someone reminds me that we just can’t do that, so the real score goes up.

But seriously, knowing that the third base coach (usually the manager) relies on the scoreboard being accurate – especially the balls and strikes count – inherently brings a little more pressure on the scoreboard operator.  It is easy to get distracted and miss a pitch or two.  Most of the time the home plate umpire will actually catch it and signal to the pitcher – and really to us – the correct count.  When I see that, it is immediately put up on the board.  The count is very important to the manager because he is basing his decisions on what he sees on the board.  He generally does not look at the home plate umpire to check the count because the scoreboard is a lot easier to see.

So, when I get distracted by the actions of fans in the stands, or an attractive woman, or get caught up in conversation with my fellow press box workers, that’s NOT a good thing.  But rarely does one pitch go by before the scoreboard is updated.

The Asheville Tourists Press Box sits atop Historic McCormick Field

I get to work with two radio personalities up in the box.  Our public address announcer is the programming director and an on-air personality for a local rock station and has been working for the Tourists for 13 seasons.  The video board is run by a local sports show co-host and board operator who has been working for the team for several seasons.  And next to me sits the official scorer, usually a former sportswriter, and a very knowledgeable baseball (and sports) personality.  Further down the box is our radio play-by-play man who is in his third season, like me, and he relies on the official scorer to keep him aware of the right calls – hit or error, wild pitch or passed ball – on the plays.

We all work in concert to make sure the fans are entertained and have the right information, especially if they are keeping score in the stands.  And, while we definitely take our jobs seriously and do perform them professionally, if you were to just sit in the box for a few innings you’d probably wonder how we can do this night after night.  It’s easy…because we are all good friends and we can talk about just about any subject.

Television and movies come up early and often every night.  Without discussing it beforehand, a couple of weeks ago Dish Network introduced their new whole-home DVR box called, “The Hopper”.  You’ve seen the commercial where four guys are talking about, “The Hoppah”, as they say in their Boston accents.  Each guy says, “Hoppah” and within seconds the wife, in another room says, “Hoppah”, as does a kid in another room.  Finally grandpa in his room tells everyone to “Shut Up!”…and one of the guys watching the game with his buddies gets the last word in…”Hoppah!”  Of course, it goes without saying that the first one-hopper back to the pitcher on Opening Night brought out the best in us.  Our PA announcer started simply by saying “Hoppah!” and we all followed.  This has become a nightly occurrence, leading to more Bostonian-accented phrases.  “Two hoppah”, “choppah”, and even an opposing pitcher, Bruce Harper became, yes…Bruce Hoppah.  Not to mention the newest member of the Washington Nationals, Bryce Hoppah.

More times than I can remember, lines from various television shows and movies are introduced…and repeated until a full-on discussion of said show or movie ensues.  “Family Guy” is a favorite because, not only do we all know just about every line ever written by Seth MacFarlane and friends, we can pick up lines depending on what is happening around us.  Family Guy’s resident Lothario, Glenn Quagmire’s lines are repeated all game.   A cute girl walks past the press box and one of us will, in Quagmire’s voice, say, “Aw right!”.  You have to be there to appreciate it.

We all take our jobs seriously, and have a lot of fun doing it.  We know there are thousands of fans out there depending on us to give them the correct information during the game…especially when to cheer and get loud!

Going into tonight’s home stand, the Tourists are just a half game back of Charleston (SC) in the South Division.  The first half of the season ends in mid-June…another fun thing about the minor leagues…two halves of the season which usually gives you two different champions who meet in the playoffs.  Hopefully the T’s can continue to hit the ball and play exciting baseball for the fans…especially the ones up in the press box.

I will continue with some updates later on in the month!

Marty Nicholson is the author of “Justice For All! The History of the Justice Center”.  You can buy it direct from FriesenPress!