Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson


2010 Season Opens…Quietly
May 28, 2010, 15:24
Filed under: Uncategorized

The 2009 GBL Southern Division Champion Tucson Toros opened up the 2010 season at Hi Corbett field again on May 19th.  I’m obviously behind the power curve once again this season, but did want to share some observations and thoughts about the new season. 

Subdued Home Opener.  After wearing Toros baseball regalia to work at my church (where they tolerate such things, knowing how I love the game) on May 19th, at least I was excited about the kickoff of the 2010 season.  Funny thing, though, the management for the team seemed to be content to usher in the new season with minimal fanfare.  There was a mariachi band playing on the concourse, and of course both teams were introduced in the fashion we’re accustomed to seeing in MLB playoffs…but that was it for special events.  It was so low-key you’d have thought it was a regular game in mid-season.  There was no noise to recognize the championship accomplishments of the team in their rookie season.  In fact, hoopla is distinctly absent in this young season.  The opportunities independent ball presents to be wild and crazy are overlooked and it seems only the die-hards are back in the Park each night to cheer on this surprisingly different Toros team.  And, while I am clearly a fan of the GAME itself, I can’t help but think that management is missing out by not actually messing around more with goofball antics for fan entertainment.  The interns have instituted one new between-inning game (musical chairs) and Jay Zucker and staff are offering fans an opportunity to win a Cessna (with flying lessons) at season end…but that’s about all.  Okay…I do think the Cessna looks great sitting on the concourse, but come on guys, open yourself to creative fun – to playfulness!

Who??  One of my good baseball friends and I love to attend Spring Training games (or have loved…seeing as how they’re now a thing of history in the Old Pueblo…see link for Arizona Illustrated story on the final Spring) and we could often be heard asking “Who?” every time a team swapped a young minor-leaguer into the game.  This year’s Toros are a lot like that.  After a championship run last season, the Toros returned with very few of last year’s players.  Returning are:  C Luis Apodaca, RHP Brian Daly, LHP Jason Hanna, LHP Jason Jacome (doubling as pitching coach this season – and currently on the inactive list), LHP Toby Nordman, SS Ryan Priddy, 1B Cristobal Santana (more on the name change in a second), and LF Lino Garcia.  RHP Emiliano Fruto – who started last season on our roster, but left for Yuma before the season kicked off – returned to Tucson as our new closer (he used to be a Sidewinder, too).  Lots of new names to learn – and the team is still settling in…we’ve seen some great play, some great pitching, generally better fielding, and decent hitting.  And we’ve seen some bad pitching, some bad fielding, and that general look of a team that is still learning how to play well together.  To date, the Toros have completed two series (both in the opening homestand) and are one game into their first road trip.  The Toros opened the year with three wins (but lost the fourth as the Capitals prevented a sweep) over the Edmonton Capitals…and they haven’t won a game since.  The Calgary Vipers swept us at Hi Corbett…and the Yuma Scorpions added more of the same in the game last night.  Team leaders at this point:

BattingLino Garcia, .367 ave. (30 ABs, no HR, two RBIs, seven strike outs).

RBIsCristobal Santana – six RBIs (.250 batting ave., 32 ABs, nine strikeouts)

Homers:  Several guys have one homer each:  Cristobal Santana, Josh Womack (CF), Jose Valdez (2B), and Ryan Priddy.

Overall Team Stats (to date):

Pitching:  4.27 ERA (third best in GBL), 44 runs allowed, 63 Ks, 32 walks allowed

Batting:  .247 ave. (next to last in GBL), 33 runs scored

Standings:  Toros have 3 wins to 5 losses for a .375 average.  Only Tijuana is lower than us in our division.

What’s New?  There have been some changes in the GBL this year.  First of all, Long Beach is no longer fielding a team.  After cutting out of the 2009 season (in part because of the swine flu’s impact on the economy), Tijuana rejoins the GBL this season.  The big change is the addition of a team from Maui, Hawaii! The Warriors (Na Koa Ikaika) haven’t had a home game yet…but I know of a few Tucsonans who are already planning to join the Toros as they fly out to Hawaii for a long stand in Maui in July!  Maui is currently just ahead of Tucson in the standings with a 2 and 3 record. 

Eri!  Perhaps most intriguing to me this season is the Japanese female knuckleballer playing for the Chico Outlaws!  The talk of the town (and apparently already a fan fave in Chico), 18-year old Eri Yoshida is quite possibly the biggest news around the league this season.  (http://www.chicoer.com/outlaws/ci_15171990 )  I know it’s unreasonable, but I know I’ll be wildly disappointed if the Toros do not see her during their series against Chico in June!  Eri’s debut is set for tomorrow night in front of a home crowd at Chico (v. Tijuana).

What’s in a name?  Well, if you’re the ballplayer formerly known as Mayobanex (Mayo) Santana, quite a lot…  In completing his paperwork for US citizenship this year, Mayo officially changed his name to Cristobal in honor of his deceased older brother and baseball mentor.

Now Streaming!  Toros home games are now available on-line off the Toros website.  SimplyBits has set up a stationary camera for the webcast which also features the play call by Katfish Kelly on 1490AM.   

Maybe They Need Us!  Anyone who follows baseball in Arizona is aware that the AZ Diamondbacks have had a very disappointing season.  After a horrible year last year, the team started well, but soon fell into what appeared to be the old 2009 pattern of losing game after game.  The DBs have owned the NL West cellar for much of the season.  I thought it interesting, then, that the DBs broke a particularly long losing streak with a win the same night the Toros won their home opener.  The DBs matched our wins, game for game, until we lost on Saturday (May 22nd) in that massive extra-inning affair.  The Toros have lost everything since…and so have the Diamondbacks.  Okay – it’s a coincidence!  And a silly one at that!  But I couldn’t help but notice…

The Toros return to Hi Corbett on Tuesday, June 1st after this series in Yuma.   Tuesdays are now “Toros Teens Tuesdays” at the ballpark.  Reportedly there are “Special events for teenagers all night” in the Teen Pavilion.  Come on down and check it out!  Game time is 7pm.

(Disclaimer – for all Toros away games [and some home games I miss] this blog will be composed from information gleaned from the official GBL stats site at http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/schedule.html.  Additionally, this posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Toros, the Reno Aces, Diamondbacks, PCL, MiLB, MLB, Golden Baseball League, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, SK Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Are you one of the fans making the trip to Maui in July?

Comment by foodlovelanguage

Unfortunately, no…I’ll be making a quick trip to CA to visit the Fam during that timeframe. But next year…you betcha!

Comment by windersblog




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