Wednesday, July 13, 2016
It seems almost inconceivable now, given the risk of injury and the overall unwillingness of most big leaguers to give up a precious day off. Back then, though, two years after a players’ strike wiped out the World Series, in-season barnstorming trips to minor league affiliates weren’t uncommon.
The Mariners, fresh off an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 1995 and contending again in ‘96, were set to play a doubleheader July 30 in Milwaukee. After wrapping up a homestand on July 28, they traveled to Appleton, where the Timber Rattlers had demonstrated their commitment to the Mariners by building a new ballpark two years earlier.
JOHN McLAREN, MARINERS THIRD-BASE COACH: The word was we weren’t going to be able to play but we’re going to try to give the fans something to grasp onto. Someone came up with the idea of doing a home run derby, so we went looking for hitters.
Rodriguez, who hit 14 homers in 248 at-bats in Appleton’s old ballpark in 1994, volunteered to participate. And by popular demand, Griffey was talked into competing, too. The Timber Rattlers countered with outfielder Luis Tinoco, hitting coach Joaquin Contreras and Ortiz, who was in the midst of a breakout season in which he batted .322 with 18 homers, 93 RBIs and a .901 OPS.
ORTIZ: I was hitting balls onto the highway, bro. Like, it was crazy. I could see they were impressed with what I was doing, and they were the guys in the big leagues. I was just playing A-ball. It was fun. I’ll never forget that.
[GARY HORCHER, TV REPORTER FOR WBAY, ABC AFFILIATE IN APPLETON]: Ken Griffey Jr. was standing by A-Rod when Ortiz started hitting his first couple shots. It was a different noise. Some guys, it sounds like a thunderclap, and other guys it doesn’t generate the same sound. This was like a hammer clattering against something really percussive. I remember everybody kind of winced. We looked over for Griffey’s reaction, and I remember Griffey kind of looking up and smiling. But A-Rod was going, “Oh my god!” I remember after one of Ortiz’s shots, A-Rod was like, “Look at that guy! I ain’t got a chance.”
RODRIGUEZ: I think we were all wondering why he wasn’t coming back with us to the Kingdome. We wanted to take him on the plane with us.
[MIKE GOFF, TIMBER RATTLERS MANAGER]: I can’t remember how many he hit, but I know he hit a bunch. He wasn’t just hitting them to right field. He was hitting them all over the ballpark, and it was a good-sized yard. It wasn’t a small yard. To hear that Alex said, “We should take him back to the Kingdome,” I think that’s bulls—- to be honest. I think some of [the Mariners] were embarrassed by what Davey did to them in that competition—and I loved every single minute of it.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I’m going with Heroin Hubs.
“We’re thrilled to be keeping Double-A, New York Mets baseball here in the community but with a new name that everyone in Binghamton can call its own. The new name will bring in a new era that proudly represents a crown jewel of the community.”
The Binghamton Mets were bought after the 2015 season by Florida-based Main Street Baseball, but the sale was rejected by the Eastern League after the buyers announced that they wanted to move the team to Wilmington, Delaware, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.
Instead, the team was sold to Georgia-based Evans Street Baseball, who will keep the Mets in Binghamton.
On Opening Day, April 7, Binghamton will launch a “Name the Team” contest.
Submissions will be taken through April 25, at which point the top six names will be revealed.
Fans will then be able to vote on their pick for two weeks.
The new name will be unveiled in October.
for his generous support.
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