First Half Report: The Whitecaps finished last in the Midewest League East Division with a record of 26-43, the worst in the team’s history. The club is on pace to score it’s fewest runs in a season (currantly 570 in 2003) and to have the highest ERA (4.04 in 1999). Offensively, the only standout is third baseman Wade Gaynor (pictured) who hit .269 with 20 extra-base hits. On the mound, Giovanni Soto led the way with a 5-4 record and 2.05 ERA. Pitching prospect Jacob Turner and first baseman Jordan Lennerton have been promoted to the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Florida State League, and made room for some 2010 draft picks on the ‘Caps rosters. Coming to West Michigan are infielder Tony Plagman from Georgia Tech (where he hit 21 homers), catcher Robert Brantly from Univ. of Cal-Riverside (hit .373 with 20 doubles and 11 homers), and first baseman Clay Jones from Alabamba (hit .313 with 17 homers and 66 RBI’s for the Crimson Tide). Hopefully these guys an contribute and help to aviod the Whitecaps falling on their face again in the second half.
2010 Midwest League All-Star Game: Representing the Whitecaps in this seasons All-Star game were 19 year old pitchers Jacob Turner and Giovonni Soto. Turner pitched the third inning, giving up one double and retiring the other three hitters. “Whenever you make an all-strar team, it means you’re doing something right,” Turner told the Grand Rapids Press. “It felt all right. It was one inning. Nothing spectacular and it wasn’t terrible. I just went out there and did my thing. That’s what you have to try adn do.” The lefty Soto came in to pitch a shutout inning in the sixth. He gave up one infield single and struck out one. “I felt proud because I’ve never been on an all-star team”, stated Soto. “And I feel I pitched well.” Their efforts help lead the East Division to a 6-2 victory over the West for the second year in a row, and fifth time in the last six years.
Whitecaps Hall of Fame: Voting has now started for the 2011 class of the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. This years ballot features current Detroit Tigers Joel Zumaya and Ramon Santiago, as well as Detroit’s head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny. Heather is the first female head groundskeeper in Major League history, and used to run things at Fifth-Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. You can cast your vote HERE.
Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
Happy Father’s Day to all the grandpas, dads, father figures, and expecting dads. My grandpa loved baseball and passed that down to my dad, and then to me. Thanks to both of them for that, and for so much more. Thanks to my kids for giving me another generation to pass that love onto. They are the greatest kids in the world…
Photos property of MIB
Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Windy City Thunderbolts: After a fun weekend at camp the kids and I decided to catch a Beach Bums game on our way back home. We were all pretty tired, but the game gave us a chance to relax and enjoy some baseball. We’ve hit at least one game every season since the team came here in 2006, and they’re all pretty fun. Not much of a crowd for a Monday night, but enough going on to keep us entertained. In the game, the Bums won 8-3 on the back of two hits by Matt Brown, who also had a stolen base. The team had four stolen bases in the game altogether including two by J.T. Hall. Ryan Platt got the win for TC on the hill. We’ll try to get to another game here this summer, but next on our slate are the Whitecaps next month on Star Wars night. Can’t wait for that one…
Photos property of MIB
Well, the Sault Little League finally provided us with our team jerseys last week. Our lucky four-year run with blue came to a eye-clashing end. This year we pulled…orange. Makes me feel like I’m coaching in the Calinornia Penal League, or that maybe one of the local prisons should have been our sponsor. Oh, well, we’ll still have a lot of fun, and even though they’re not profesionals, they still don’t tank plays for personal reasons…
Photos property of MIB
After 21 long seasons, veteran coach Don Myers finally calls it quits. Myers coached 915 games for the Lake Superior State Lakers and was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1991. Coach Myers was also very intrumental in establishing the Bud Cooper Golf Classic, which help increase scholarships for LSSU women’s athletics, increasing fund-raising revenue for Laker softball and running a successfull winter skills clinic. He was only the third coach in the history of the softball program.
“If we were the first school to play softball in the Upper Penninsula, and I think we were, then I think we were on the front line of the sport in the U.P.” Myers stated to LSSU Sports Information. “That credit goes to Bud Cooper. He was a visionary and could see that softball was a good sport for women and growing fast. That was back in 1976, and I think they played 12 games back then.”
Now the Lakers play a tough 45-50 game schedule, mostly on the road, and spend their spring breaks touring Florida.
“The toughest challenge is recruiting. It’s difficult to sell and athlete to come as far north as they can to play a warm-weather sport. Our attempt has been to try to rectruit athletes and work them into positions. We havn’t had the luxury of recruiting by position like Grand Valley and Ashland does. We look for athletes, and our job is to mold them into position players where we need them the most.”
Myers has seen the GLIAC double in size in his two plus decades at the helm of the Lakers. He was a catcher at the University of Tulsa in his collegiate career. I want to thank him for all he’s done for Laker Athletics. He gets a lot of respect from the community, and it wasn’t an easy job.
Photo courtesy of Lake Superior State Athletics
First of all, I’d like to congratulate Armando Galarraga on pitching a perfect game. Second of all, I’d like to state with regret that I didn’t watch the game. Nope, not a single inning. I was actually on my way home from coaching my kids Little League game when I turned the Tigers game on the radio. That one word buzzed my ears and caght my attention: perfect. The volume automatically went up, and the kids got sushed a bit. Thank goodness they were stuffing their faces with Dairy Queen at the time to keep them a little quieter than usual. I was just in time for the 9th inning. One out. Two outs. Yeah! Three outs! Didn’t happen. The announcers were going a bit nuts, and couldn’t believe Galarraga’s luck. When they saw the reply themselves, they couldn’t believe the horrible call. Indian Jason Donald was safe, and Jim Joyce had just cost Galarraga his official perfect game. Not being able to see the play myself, I grapped the cell and made the call to my dad downstate, who I know would be watching. “How bad was it?”, I asked. “It wasn’t even close!”, he stated. Wasn’t even close. When I made it home and finally saw the replay myself, it occured to me that the announceers were right, my dad was right, the Tigers were right, and the 18,000 fans at Comerica were right. Donald was out by ‘a mile’. Joyce was the only human on Earth who thought the guy was safe. Even Donald new he was out, looking at the umpire in disbelief himself. A very classy move, I might add, not celebrating what he wrecked. Galarraga retired the next batter for his one-hit victory, that somehow seemed like a loss. Joyce got an ear-full from the Tiger players and manager Jim Leyland. Leyland, however, took the high road after the game and everyone had settled down a bit. Leyland talked about the human elemet of baseball, but let it be known that it WAS a perfect game. Galarraga knew in his heart, that what he accomplished, too, stating: “I got a perfect game. Maybe it’s not in the book, but I’m going to show my son the CD.” After watching the replay, Joyce even conceded that he blew the call stated that, well: “I blew the damn call.” He even apologized to Armando.
I admit, after the game I as fuming a bit myself. I almost couldn’t wait to get on the blogosphere and rip Joyce. After all, he deserves it, right? How can he think the guy was actually safe, when it was so obvious. If it was a close call, then it would be a different story. You could maybe understand. I also don’t believe in ‘giving’ the pitcher a call on a close play. If he really would have been safe, then so be it. What it comes down to, though, is that everyone can make a mistake. It’s too bad that Joyces blunder cost what would have been the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers’ history. This will be Joyce’s legacy now. I don’t think it’s right that someone changed his Wikipedia page to dub him ‘the worst ump in Major League Baseball’, or that they put him dead on June 2. That’s going a bit too far. I think that part has been removed, though, but the conroversial call section was added. One of the worst things that could come of this, is that fans will be screaming for instant replay for just about everything now. It will surely make things interesting in the baseball world for the next few days, anyway. There-I’ve vented.
Photo courtesy of the AP