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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Minor game

OK, it's a slow Saturday in the blogosphere...

Thursday night, I went to a AAA baseball game between the Louisville Bats and the Toledo Mud Hens. My university had organized a group trip, so the tickets were cheap and even the Provost was in attendance.

I sat next to one of my recently graduated master's students and we were sandwiched between two philosophy professors and their partners and friends. Our row kept the beer guys fairly busy, so we didn't sit around and talk about Habermas or anything -- even though one of the philosophy profs is a genuine expert on the German social theorist.

We were also entertained by a very exciting baseball game. Toledo hit several early homers and had a 9-1 lead by the fourth inning. They couldn't hold it and the home team closed to 9-8 by the 8th. It was one of those warm/humid pre-rain games, which is very conducive to homers and scoring. No, really, it is.

Anyway, by the bottom of the 9th inning the Bats trailed 11-8 again as the Mud Hens scored 2 insurance runs in the top half of the final frame. Thus, the stage was set for a dramatic last inning comeback.

And the home fans who stuck around for more than 3 hours were rewarded (the philosophy profs were long gone by the 9th). With 2 outs and 2 men on base, Bats leadoff hitter Jermaine Clark hit a 3 run homer to tie the score. The very next batter, shortstop Felipe Lopez, hit another homer and the home team won 12-11!

A couple of interesting notes: The Mud Hens had a centerfielder named, get this Bull Durham fans, Nook Logan! Logan had a homer among 3 hits in the game, and stole a base. From his past stats, he doesn't look like a future major league star.

Also, Joe Vitiello hit 2 homers for the visitors. Vitiello has long been a favorite of mine. I'm a KC Royals fan and Vitiello used to be a top prospect in the organization. He won a AAA batting title in 1994 for the Omaha Royals (he hit .344 and slugged .526...and he walked in 15% of his plate appearances), but has only about 750 at bats in the majors over the last decade. He's hanging on, hoping for another chance and I hope he gets it.

Finally, the Bats had two real major leaguers in their lineup, both on DL rehab assignments: catcher Jason LaRue and outfielder Austin Kearns. I look for the latter to be a star player, if he can stay healthy, and he hit a homer and stole a base in the game.

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