In case you were unaware (I’m not sure how much it was bruited around outside of New England), there was an event called Futures at Fenway today. It was a double-header, the morning game featuring the single-A Red Sox affiliate and the night game featuring the triple-A Red Sox affiliate. They could do this because the Sox are on a west coast road trip and the channel that televises their games could therefore show a game at 2pm, a game at 8 pm, and the regular Sox game at 10 pm, and because this is Red Sox Nation, a lot of people would go to both minor league games (they were on the same ticket), and most people would watch at least parts of all 3 games on TV.
The reason I bring this up is because the first game, the NY-Penn League matchup, was the Lowell Spinners vs. the Oneonta Tigers and I, being the sick kitten I am, watched it to see what there was to be seen.
I took notes on the game and a lot of them had to do with the Spinners, and the fact that Dave McCarty was announcing, but what I took down about the O-Tigs is as follows:
Tom Thornton out of Marlboro, MA starting for the O-Tigs. Oh gross, he’s a Notre Dame kid. I will now take a moment to resent Brad Lidge for little reason.
Crudnuggets, Ronnie Bourquin (out of tOSU) is playing third but Jeff Kunkel (out of U of M) isn’t starting. Ronnie Bourquin has ham hands. I’m guessing he gets moved somewhere else if he advances beyond this level; probably first base if they’ve got room to stash him there.
Best name so far: Deik Scram, the leadoff hitter for the O-Tigs. It;s pronounced Deek Skram. I love it.
Ha ha, Ronnie Bourquin got pump-faked into running for home, got stuck in a rundown and was the last out of an inning-ending double play. Yeah, good Buckeye fundamentals. I realize that a lot of guys would have gotten stuck in that play and I have absolutely no basis for trashing on Buckeye fundamentals, but it looks pretty in type, so I’m gonna go with it.
Thornton has a real high kick. His arm… he’s not coming way over the top with it? Almost a 3/4 slot. McCarty points out that when he throws his changeup he fans his glove a little. In fact, McCarty managed to pick this up after seeing him throw the changeup, uh, twice. Ruh roh.
Thornton’s delivery is a little jerky too, but at a different point [than that of Spinners starter Kristofer Johnson]. For Johnson the pause comes right when he lifts his front leg up and his glove and ball hand are still together. Thornton’s pause is inconsistent, sometimes he doesn’t do it, and it comes when his pitching arm is extended backwards and his front leg is in the air. Because of this it looks a little awkward when he comes down on that front leg; the stress on his knee looks slightly above average. He comes down on it hard and there’s a slight twist to it. The twist probably offsets some of the shock of coming down that hard but it can’t be good for the tendons in there; the knee is not a joint that’s really meant to move in any direction other than straight up and down.
Almost everyone on the field is wearing high socks. Minor league baseball is hotness.
Esposito, #23, of the Spinners, hits a ball hiiiiigh off the Monster. Good for him, in another ballpark, even a ML ballpark, that’s gone. McCarty notes once again that Thornton had thrown the changeup and fanned his glove. Although it’s not too likely that Esposito picked up on that, it’s possible he did, since the information was there for the taking. Maybe one of his coaches tipped him to it. Either way, not good, kid’s gonna hafta clean that up right quick, even in a short-season league.
Oh, 9th inning, pinch hitter, it’s Kunkel! Sweet! I haven’t seen him play since the Wolverines season ended, of course. This is wicked cool. Won’t be able to tell much about his swing from one at-bat, of course, but it’s encouraging to see him get in here. Nothing quite like playing at Fenway, I reckon. Although this is gonna be rough. He’s facing BabyPapelbon, and there’s nothing Boston likes so much as a Papelbon right now.
Kunkel ROBBED of a hit by a great LEAPING catch from, um, the shortstop, number 7 I think. Amazing balletic leaping catch. Jeter would be lucky to get so far off the ground.
O-Tigs lose, but it wasn’t a blow out or anything like that. Wish I coulda gone; I had an offer of tickets, but I ended up working this morning so I wouldn’t have been able to go. Alas.
You’ll notice I am pointedly not paying attention to what Verlander just did. I swear to cats, if someone says anything that rhymes with the words “Fi Plover Purse”, I’m going to beat them with the Papelbon scream page.