Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Marauders Lose 8-6 in Ten Innings to Palm Beach

It was a heart breaker. What else can I say??

The Bradenton Marauders took on the Palm Beach Cardinals this evening at McKechnie Field in Bradenton and unfortunately they came home the losers. The final score was Palm Beach 8 and Bradenton 6 in 10 hard-fought innings. You can view the final box score here.

Despite the final score there was one bright spot and two highlights. The bright spot was first baseman Calvin "Big C" Anderson hitting his first home run of the season. It was a towering blast to center field that cleared the 408 foot marker and kept on going. Calvin has had trouble connecting with the ball so far this year. It seems like when he gets behind on a count he tenses up and starts swinging at sloppy pitches. That didn't seem to be the case tonight.

One of the highlights of the game was the incredible throw by left fielder Quincy Latimore to catcher Tony Sanchez in the bottom of the ninth resulting in Palm Beach runner Thomas Pham being out at the plate. It was a hellacious throw. There is no other way to describe it.

Quincy was on the warning track in left center field probably 375 feet or so from home plate. He caught a high pop fly and tossed it home. The trajectory of the ball was flat as it raced from left field toward home. Pham had tagged up on third and was running like he was shot from a cannon for home just 90 feet away. Quincy's throw came in on the money. Tony Sanchez caught it, braced himself for the impact, and like any good catcher held onto the ball despite the impact. Pham was out and there was no question about it. It was a major league throw from the outfield for Quincy and a major league catch by Tony Sanchez.

The other highlight of the game occurred in the top of the 10th inning when Palm Beach player Xavier Scruggs hit a double to left field with a runner on second base. From my seat it looked like the ball was fair despite it being almost exactly on the left field line. I swear I saw it bounce to the right (toward the field) of the line. However Marauders manager P.J. Forbes had a better view of the hit and challenged it with the umpires. From what I could see P.J. was essentially polite in his discussion with the umpires. It was nothing at all like last summer when Sarasota Reds manager Joe Ayrault was regularly ejected from games for going in the face of the umpires. I will never forget the hot, sticky, humid Sunday afternoon when Joe was ejected for yelling in the face of the umpire calling him "a blind motherfucker" and then kicking dirt in the umpires face. PJ did nothing like that but was still ejected. Joe Ayrault taught me last summer that if you are going to get ejected from a game at least do it with some drama! PJ needs to learn that.

As you can see in the box score the Marauders committed four errors and you can't win a game doing that. Worst yet was shortstop Brock Holt who committed two errors on the same play! He had one error for his bobbling of the incoming hit, and then had a second error on his throw to second.

Not playing on the field at all tonight were Marauder super stars Jeremy Ferrell at third base and the incomparable Starling Marte in center field. Their absence from the playing field had a demonstrable negative effect on the outcome of the game. I realize that these are the Minor Leagues and players are supposed to get playing time to develop. However when the race for the top is close you'd think they would keep the best players in a while longer until the race is more settled. Not so tonight and it showed with a loss. Maybe PJ had time to re-think this after he was ejected from tonight's game.

Despite tonight's loss, the Marauders still have the best record in the Florida State League and are leading the FSL south division. I hope they can keep that up.

My heckling was off big time this evening. For whatever reason I just didn't have it in me. Hopefully tomorrow I will as the Marauders again face the Palm Beach Cardinals. I will certainly try my best, especially after this loss tonight.

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