Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jay Groome Injury Update

Twelve days ago the #1 prospect for the Boston Red Sox made his season debut. It wasn't pretty

Jay Groome recorded just six outs, gave up seven hits, walked three, surrendered one long home run and allowed nine runs to score. His ERA sits at 60.75. Groome was pulled in the second inning with a sore lat. He was placed on the seven day disabled list three days later. Nine days later we are still waiting on Groome to make his next start.

Could Monday be the night? The Greenville Drive host Greensboro and have yet to name a starter. It would be exactly two weeks from his first start.

I reached out to the Greenville Drive yesterday and they expressed that Groome was still dealing with a sore lat and no timetable has been set for his return.

As for his debut, the numbers do look awful but he looked much better than his numbers suggest. The ball explodes out of his hand and three of the hits he gave up were infield hits where he got the best of the hitter.

These bad breaks may have caused him to get frustrated leading to some wildness and leaving the ball up in the zone. Below is a video of his first pitch of the night up close. You can see why the Red Sox are high on him.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jay Groome Makes Season Debut Tonight

I will be making the trip up to Greenville, SC tonight to cover the Greenville Drive and the season debut of Jay Groome.

Groome is listed as the Red Sox #3 prospect, only Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers are listed ahead of him.

 Groome threw just 6.2 innings last season after being drafted by the Red Sox in the first round. Groome struck out 10 guys in those six plus innings while giving up two runs.

 The Greenville Drive is loaded with top Red Sox prospects. Here are just the Top 40 Red Sox prospects that are currently on the Drive roster:

Red Sox Prospect RankingPositionProspect
#5Third BaseBobby Dalbec
#14PitcherMike Shawaryn
#19PitcherShaun Anderson
#21PitcherDarwinzon Hernandez
#26PitcherStephen Nogosek
#31Left FieldTyler Hill
#32CenterfieldLorenzo Cedrola

Follow me on twitter @ThePeskyPole for pictures,videos and observations from Groome's season debut

Friday, April 7, 2017

Don Rickles and the Los Angeles Dodgers

Don Rickles passed away yesterday at the age of 90. He was one of those guys that my grandfather liked which means I liked him too. This story told by Frank Sinatra perfectly sums up Don Rickles and his sense of humor.

Don Rickles was also a huge Dodger fan and became good friends with Tommy Lasorda. They were such good friends that apparently late in the 1976 season, with the NL West already clinched, Don Rickles dressed in a Dodgers uniform and sat in the dugout for the entire game. That was until a Dodger pitcher was getting roughed up and Lasorda had Rickles head to the mound to take him out. Rickles told the story like this:

"Sorry, fella," I told the pitcher. "You're through.""You're not the manager," he shot back."You're not even a coach. You can't pull me out of the game.""Give me the ball," I demanded."You're crazy," he said.Meanwhile, home-plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt, a great veteran, headed out to the mound."What's going on here?" he asked. When he got in my face, he saw who it was and said,"I'll be damned. Don Rickles! Don, any chance of getting me two tickets to see Dean Martin in Vegas?"
Did this really happen or was it just a really good story? Tommy Lasorda only mentioned Rickles dressing up as a ball boy for a game but never anything about using him to make a pitching change. 

This game was also said to be played in late September on Fan Appreciation Day. Usually teams have Fan Appreciation Day on their last home game of the season. That would have been October 2, 1976 for the Dodgers. 

Looking at the boxscore of that game, the Dodgers would lose and three Dodger pitchers were used but none of them were taken out during the middle of the inning. Of course, maybe that pitcher refused to let Rickles take him out. 

The home plate umpire on that day was not Harry Wendelstedt but Bob Engel. Wendelstedt was not behind the plate or even umpiring any of the last six Dodger home games of the 1976 season. So did this story really happen? Probably not, but it's great to think it did. Rest in Peace Don Rickles.

Tebow and the Fireflies Have a Blast on Opening Night

The Columbia Fireflies opened their second season on Thursday night and it promises to be nothing like their first season. Tim Tebow has arrived.

I arrived 90 minutes before first pitch with media credential in hand. I wasn't alone. Reporters and camera men were camped out in front of the Fireflies dugout waiting for Tebow to appear from the clubhouse. The throng was noticeable especially to the Augusta GreenJackets who were in town for the opener.

GreenJackets' shortstop Brandon Van Horn noticed the reporters and stood side by side with them for a second looking intently towards the Fireflies clubhouse and then sarcastically asked,  "What are we all hoping to see?"

Tim Tebow gave everyone what they were hoping to see when he came to the plate for the first time in his professional baseball career. Facing lefty Domenic Mazza, Tebow worked the count to 2-1 and then blasted the pitch to left field for a two run homer. It was a surreal moment. News of his homer soon spread all over the country. Columbia, SC was the center of the sports universe.
Here is his complete first at bat:

Tebow wasn't the only story. This Columbia Fireflies team should be entertaining this year. Gene Cone who played his high school baseball and college baseball in Columbia, SC batted lead off and walked four times scoring two runs.

Michael Paez from Coastal Carolina's national championship team started at shortstop and hit a towering two run homer to left. Paez would go 2-4 on the night.
Desmond Lindsey, who turned down the chance to play for the North Carolina Tarheels, is the Mets #4 prospect which makes him the highest rated prospect. He started in centerfield and went 0-3 with an RBI.

Sandro Fabian was the highest rated prospect on the GreenJackets' roster. Fabian is listed as the 19th best prospect in the Giants organization.

He started the opener in right field while batting second. Fabian would go 2-5 on the night with a double and three RBI.

The story of course was Tim Tebow and his homerun in his first plate appearance of this strange new adventure. Domenic Mazza was the the guy to give up the most famous minor league homerun since Crash Davis went deep for the all time minor league record. Yes, I know that wasn't real but this Tebow homer didn't feel real either.

Mazza was drafted in the 22nd round in the 2015 draft by the San Francisco Giants. Why is that significant? He was pick #666 in that draft. Who else would Tebow homer off of? Kevin Costner homering for the Asheville Tourists sounds much more realistic.

Tebow would get four more trips to the plate. He would ground out to shortstop in his second at bat, strike out looking his next two times up and strike out swinging his last time up.

Tebow would finish the night 1-5 with a a homer and two runs batted in. His team, the Columbia Fireflies, would win the game by a very fitting football-like score of 14-7. Are you serious?
Below is Tim Tebow's full post-game press conference where he talks about his homer, the strike zone and his role as leader on a team made up of guys who were barely ten years old when he won the Heisman Trophy a decade ago.