ASS THE WAY I LIKE IT; KICKED
By Slidell Montgomery
The Dogs came back home last Monday with an air about them. They had, the night before, delivered the Mahoning Valley Scrappers the ass whupping they had coming. The ass whupping the Dogs knew somebody had coming. It had been too long. They had put up only five runs in their previous five games, losing the last four of those, and were hitting less than .240 on the season as a team. The two most recent losses had come at the hands of the Scrappers, at their park in Niles, Ohio, to the tune of 9-0 and 5-1.
For the last game of the road trip, however—hardly a getaway game seeing as how both teams were headed back to Batavia for three more—the ‘Dogs had, on this Monday, their mojo-of-the-mound, Carlos Cabrera, heretofore aloof to defeat, working for them. Cabrera went into Monday’s game 4-0 with a ridiculous ERA of 0.51. And for the first night in a while the ‘Dogs bats
arrived at the park with the rest of the team. Despite Cabrera’s absorbing his first touching up yet (surrendering 3 earned runs over 5 innings in a winning effort), the ‘Dogs let ‘em have it for a 9-run, 14-hit walloping, winning 9-3.
“On the bus back from Ohio last night they got their first real ‘that’s the way to kick their asses speech’, said ‘Dog’s public relations/radio announcer/dynamo Jonathan Meyer, “[pitching coach] Warren Brusstar stood up, toasted them and said ‘Tonight we kicked their asses’. It was great.”
Meyer suggested that the sudden spike in the ‘Dogs offensive production could be due in part to a recent visit by mothership-Phillies’ organization traveling coach and former big league journeyman Milt Thompson.
“He’s primarily a base running and outfield throwing specialist, you know working the cut-off angles and that,” said Meyer of Thompson, who played outfield for six teams in the National League between 1984 and 1996, having probably his best year with the Phillies in ’87 when he hit .302 with 9 triples and 46 stolen bases, “but he thought he could help with their hitting so he made a couple suggestions. They went off last (Monday) night.”
So, Tuesday the ‘Dogs were home and coming off one of their strongest batting performances of the season. Cafiero had gone into Monday’s game in Niles trying to claw his way closer to .200 and went 4-for-5 with 2 RBI leveling him off at the two-bill mark. Luis Rivero came in hovering just above the .200 mark, enjoyed a 3-of-5 game, scored twice and raised his average to .237.
Rangy right-hander Lee Gwaltney, out of Louisiana Tech, took the pill on Tuesday for his first start of the ’02 campaign. He was rock-solid in three scoreless innings, handing the ball and a 1-0 lead to Michigan man and righty Bobby Korecky. Korecky kept things correct despite hitting a couple snags in the sixth, when the Scrappers, having already scored two runs, threatened with runners at the corners and one out. But Korecky was able to serve up a double play inducing pitch to some Scrapper batter and he was off the hook.
The ‘Dogs partied it up for five runs in the bottom six after third baseman Barthelemy reached on an error and was followed by a barrage of offensive from catcher Mark McRoberts, right fielder Andre Marshall, dh Luis Rivero and leftfielder Chris Roberson.
Korecky cruised with about an eight or ten pitch seventh. He then turned it over to lanky right-hander Jeremy Rogelstad, a Californian, for the duration, who held fast despite the hint of rally from the Scrappers in their 2-run eighth, facilitating an 8-4 win for Koreckybehind another 14-hit performance.
Who knows, if Thompson’s pointers stick and the pitching holds the ‘Dogs might get a good run out of the rest of the summer. Go out early and catch a pre-game
‘Dogs warm-up hivetoss around. Batting practice/fielding warm-ups look like a Fifties propaganda film touting the glories of macro-system ingenuity in the American workplace. At home plate there is backstop netting that domes three-quarters of the immediate sky above the plate. Within this netting stands the guy taking batting practice. He gets several cuts at the pitches coming from Manager Ronnie Ortegon who is standing on a ramp, protected by more netting, about forty-five feet from the plate. Over on the third base line one of the coaches is hitting ground balls to Rob Cafiero and Ryan Barthelemy, both over at first base. Along the first base line, not even halfway to the bag is yet another coach hitting grounders to shortstops Nielson Abreu, Carlos Rodriguez and others. Meantime there are players practicing their base running in conjunction with the results of the hitters at the plate. To protect the players taking fielding practice and to avoid dangerously distracting those in the batting cage the coaches on the baselines wait for the pauses of only a few seconds between pitches to hit balls to the fielders.
And that’s just what’s going on in the infield.
As of the afternoon of July 17, 2002 the Muckdogs are 14-14, four games behind Pinckney Division leading Auburn.
- Upcoming ‘Dogs Home Games:
- 7/22, 24- vs. Jamestown
- 7/26 vs. Auburn
- 7/31, 8/1,2- vs. Hudson Valley
Noteworthy Road trips:
7/27-29 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones
Coney Island, Brooklyn (Cyclones games sell out early, call ahead)
Cafiero reading when he should’ve
In last issue’s Muckdogs installment Rob Cafiero’s name was repeatedly (read: consistently) spelled “Calfiero.” After receiving much mail from Muckdog fans taking exception to this we feel compelled to change our position on the spelling to the more popular and, as it turns out, correct spelling “Cafiero.” Our apologies, Rob. As recompense, the Muckdog column writer’s name will be misspelled in this issue. Also, in some of the even less edited editions of our last issue (fortunately distributed only to the less significant reaches of our circulation area) Mr. Montglomery described Mr. Cafiero as “belligerent, contrary and inebriated.” Mr. Cafiero is, in fact, lucid, affable and chatty. We regret any inconvenience.