Padre Steve: Soon to Be Sports Blogger…Could it lead to the Big Leagues?
This has been an interesting few days. I got a chance to get some rest over the weekend, saw some baseball games, spent time talking to Chicago Cubs and a Philadelphia Phillies scouts on different nights, spent some time talking with Tides Pitchers David Pauley and Radhames Liz in between innings. Both are interesting folks, Pauley and his wife just had a baby and Liz is one of the few pitchers in the Major League 100 mph club. Both are nice guys and I hope that both do well. I think that Radhames has a good chance; he seems to have his control back and can throw a ball of fire. Last night I went to the game and had almost my full cast of characters in place. Elliott the Usher and I had our usual running commentary during the game, Barry the Scorekeeper was back after visiting his family and going to a wedding over the weekend out of town. Chip the Usher was in his appointed place, Marty the Card Dealer, Mandy the Tides Store Manager who by the way is leaving us for another job, congrats but you’ll be missed kid. Ray and John my Vietnam Veteran of America friends who pour the beer behind home place had just returned from the organization’s national conference. The only person missing was Kenny the Pretzel Guy. Heck I even had my buddy Elmer the Shrink as a guest. It was a great night even though the Tides lost. Today I was able to see the score in between patients and the Tides won 8-7 to split the series with the Chiefs.
I came in to work this and got my usual large 24 ounce coup of Southern Pecan coffee with 4 French Vanilla creamers and four packs of Splenda from Pat down at the Dancing Goat. I got changed, did my duty turnover and got busy, but not nearly as busy as last week. It has been a good day, some good ministry, a lot of hard work doing some writing for our residency program and some nice times on the wards with some great people, staff and patients alike. However, in between rounds of my ICU a coworker ask to talk to me about helping with a project that she is working on. I went to my office and when I opened the door I saw water spreading out across my lowest bidder carpet. I look up and the words “oh crap” or something synonymous passed through my lips. My ceiling tile near the sprinkler system was sagging down, water coming at a steady drip from it as the tile itself was cracking under the weight of the water that it had soaked up. Now this is not the first time this has happened, last time it happened after hours and was a soggy mess, the rotten tile looked like really bad oatmeal gone really bad. I was not impressed so immediately I put in a call to facilities saying “I need you guy’s STAT, my ceiling is leaking and looks like it about to crash.” It took a while for the guys to get here and when they did they looked up and said, “Sir move all your stuff, this could get ugly.” I already had moved almost everything to the high ground and rapidly moved the last box. He brought down the tile and oh what a mess. Fortunately after they looked they knew where to go to fix the problem, now I only have some residual drips from the insulation around some ductwork. Thankfully that is done and hopefully by tomorrow my ceiling is fixed and I can arrange to have my carpet cleaned by our housekeeping folks. Praise God for Grace the lady who cleans my office and waters the plants that would die if not for her great work. She found a second garbage can to put in the middle of the room to contain the residual drips from the ceiling and vacuumed the crap from my floor. It appears that the Deity Herself ensured that things broke my way in what could have been a nasty mess.
The past week was also interesting as I have two opportunities to do some blogging as a Sports blogger. Maybe it will be a step to being on ESPN’s Around the Horn, sitting next to Woody Page. Who can tell right? Evidently my stuff is getting seen and at least some folks like it. I have been invited by the Virginia Pilot, our local Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake newspaper to have a blog dealing with Baseball, general sports and life. I was approached last week by the Most Valuable Network an independent sports network located at www.MVN.com to do something similar for them. I received approval from my boss and legal to go ahead. These blogs will be up by the end of the week or maybe the weekend. I will post the links to the stories on these sites to this site. The blogs will primarily focus on baseball and life and will likely on MVN be entitled The View from 102, The Church of Baseball. The Virginia Pilot will likely be Padre Steve’s View From 102Baseball Life and Faith. Once they are set up I will post the links here. The articles will all be sports and life related and will occasionally delve into the heretical sports of football and basketball and will not be located on this site which will remain fully up and running as it does now.
Jeff Fiorentino Connects in July against Charlotte
There is nothing in the world like a home run. From the crack of the bat there is a sudden silence and then, if you are the home team a deafening roar as the crowd reacts to the ball sailing over the fence. Now home runs like this happen every day in baseball, but the “in the Park” home run is something special. You don’t see many of them. Thus when they occur, the effect on the team and the crowd is electrifying. I saw my first inside the park home run tonight as Jeff Fiorentino of the Norfolk Tides hit a tailing line drive to left field which eluded Syracuse Sky Chief’s Left Fielder Jorge Padilla. The ball then went to the wall where it was picked up by Padilla . Fiorentino raced around the bases nearly overtaking Tides Second Baseman Justin Turner and easily beating the relay in to catcher Jhonatan Solano. Fiorentino also scored a run in the first and singled in a run and later scored what turned out to be the winning run in the 8th giving him 2 hits, 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored and took his average up to .330 on the year moving into third in the International League. The Tides won the game against the Chiefs 8-6. The highlights of the game including Fiorentino’s home run are here:
In the park homers are rare and most of the ones hit in baseball history came during the 19th Century Era or the “Dead Ball Era” between 1901 and 1919 during which ballpark outfields were much deeper and more spacious than today’s parks meaning that if a ball got by an outfielder there was a good chance that a batter could get around the base paths and score. In the modern era Hank Aaron had only one. A few players have hit them, but they are so rare as to be called “the most exciting play in baseball.” Just to give an example of players in the “500 Club” who have hit inside the park homers, Babe Ruth has ten, Willie Mays six, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Junior three each, Sammy Sosa two while Harmon Killebrew and Hank Aaron each have one. Other players to have hit them in recent years include Emilio Bonafacio who hit one on opening day, Howie Kendrick of the Angels who hit one on May 9th and Carl Crawford hit one in Tampa Bay on July 20th. Only one has been hit in an All-Star game and that by Ichiro Suzuki in 2007 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Roberto Clemente has the only “walk off” inside the park grand slam. The last by a Norfolk player was in 2005 by Anderson Hernandez.
Here is a video link to Tigers Curtis Granderson’s 2005 inside the park homer against the Yankees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRaYNtbANA
As I said this was the first inside the park home run that I have ever seen and it was simply an amazing thing of beauty to watch. Patently the Deity Herself ensured I got to see one of these just as I had seen a no-hitter back in 1975. I had been up talking with Elliott the Usher about strategy, players and baseball trivia when Jeff Fiorentino came up to the plate in the bottom of the 6th. I told Elliott that I had to go down to get a picture so I went down by my seat and crouched down in a good catchers stance to stay low and balance myself behind the screen at home plate as I always do when talking my shots. The first pitch was a ball so I readied myself for the next. When Fiorentino hit the ball I knew it would drop for a hit, when it got by Padilla I knew that it was extra bases and when I looked up and saw how fast Jeff was running I knew this was something special. I went back up to Elliott the Usher and we did our high five. We had a scare in the 7th when the Sky Chiefs score two that were charged to starter David Pauley, but somehow, despite losing the lead I knew that the Tides would come back. In the 8th they did. Blake Davis had an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by shortstop Ian Desmond. He advanced to third on a passed ball. Fiorentino came up again and singled to drive in Davis to tie the score. With Brandon Snyder at the plate Chiefs pitcher Jack Spradlin attempted to pick off Fiorentino but threw wide of the base, Fiorentino alertly advanced all the way to third. Snyder then doubled to score Fiorentino to give the Tides the lead. Melvin Dorta hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Snyder. Alberto Castillo came in to close the game sealing the Norfolk win. Sunday evening Radhames Liz (0-2, 6.00) will make his first start for Norfolk since being promoted from Double-A Bowie where he had been sent down to work on control issues in June. Liz has the distinction of being the only current Minor Leaguer to be in the Major League Baseball 100 mph club having done so when called up by the Orioles in 2008. It should be an interesting game.
Bartolo Colon Pitching at Norfolk 19 July 2009
Tonight the Tides beat the Knights of Charlotte 4-3 defeating Chicago White Sox pitcher Bartolo Colon. Colon who has pitched in two All Star Games, won the Cy Young Award in 2005 with the Angelsby going 21-8 with a 3,48 ERA and is in the 100 MPH club was pitching in a Rehab start against the Tides. He was rocked on the second pitch of the game by Tides Shortstop Blake Davis who went yard to the right field picnic area. The Tides scored a second run that inning and in the bottom of the 5th nJeff Fiorentino who hit a three run shot last night went yard again with a two run blast off Colon. Colon took the loss while Andy Mitchell pitched 7 inning for the Tides improving to 8-2 on the year. I was fortunate to get two great photos tonight one of Colon pitching and one of Fiorentino’s home run.
Tides OF Jeff Fiorentino Going Yard Against Bartolo Colon at Norfolk 19 July 2009, this would be the winning hit