May 24, 2011 at 11:59am
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK >>>
Let the Weekly Volcano be the first to congratulate the Tacoma Rainiers (20-26) for winning three games in a row for the first time this season.
Why are we the first to congratulate the team on this achievement? Well, depending on when my illustrious editor decides to post this blog, the game might not even be over. But here it is, the top of the eighth inning, and the Rainiers are up 15 to 3. That's safe to call, right? Right?
-Barring an unforeseen comeback (boy, paint my face red if that happens), starting pitcher Luke French just won his first game of the season. Sure, the Rainiers are forty-six games into the season and French's ERA is a bit south of stellar, but that doesn't matter now. One of our best pitchers from last season just pitched a fine - if not above average - game. Revel in the niceties as they come, people.
-The Rainiers are starting, just starting, to look like a strong team. They've won eight out of their last twelve games. They've crawled out of last place for the first time since April 14. Even at Cheney where they've previously struggled, the team has won four out of their last six games. Is it too early to start talking about a second half revival where they make a run at defending their PCL Championship? We think not.
-A large part of the team's recent success is due to the long ball. Sunday, Dustin Ackley hit a two run home run to break up a 2-2 tie. Yesterday, Mike Carp and Alex Liddi both hit home runs in the sixth inning to give the Rainiers a lead. Any competent baseball analyst could tell you exactly how many more home runs the Rainiers are hitting in clutch situations now as opposed to the beginning of the season. But I'm no competent analyst. More of a lazy one, actually. So you'll just have to trust my gut.
- Finally, I watched the season finale of Bob's Burgers Sunday. I know, I know, this has nothing to do with the Rainiers' recent success. But it does have something to do with Minor League Baseball. Cartoon Minor League Baseball, but baseball nonetheless.
In the episode, a minor league pitcher uses some of Bob's burger grease to more effectively throw a pitch he called the ‘Split-Finger Squidooch'.
The episode made me think. You don't hear that much about spitball pitchers these days. In fact, the only one I can think of is Gaylord Perry. And even he liked to make people think he was throwing a spitball more than he actually liked to throw them.
Curious, I emailed my friend Eric Nusbaum over at the baseball blog Pitchers and Poets. I asked him if anyone -- in the Minors, the Majors or otherwise -- is well-known for throwing doctored pitches these days. Eric responded quickly.
"Spitballs are pretty much dead," Nusbaum told me. "Some guys get caught doctoring balls sometimes, but as far as I know, it's not a regular thing anymore."
For now, I'll have to trust Eric's word. But if anyone knows more about spitball pitchers, especially recent ones in the Minors, I'd love to hear what you have to say.
FOR RHUBARB: The Rainiers Minute Collection
Off duty rules.
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Looks delicious! Thank you Jackie for share ^^
Banff National Park is a breath of fresh air. A small mountain town with world class facilities...
Too many cover-bands play at The Swiss.
Wohoo! Love this and great work! From one Assyrian to another I congratulate you and am rooting...