Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Bees Split Series with Tucson
July 4, 2012, 14:52
Filed under: Uncategorized

Over the years here in Tucson, I’ve seen a bazillion different baseball players play professional ball.  With my somewhat lousy memory, not all of those players stand out in my mind.  There’ll be guys, like Jesus Merchan, who once played here as a Tucson Sidewinder while I was an usher whom I don’t clearly remember.  But there are some who left an indelible impression on me.  And when I saw that last night’s starter for the Salt Lake Bees was going to be LHP Greg Smith, my first thought was, “If that’s who I think it is, you better tell Daniel Robertson to be careful at first base!”  I typically can’t recall the handedness of most pitchers (even those on our current team) without glancing at their stats, but with Smith in my mind it IS always Left Hand Pitcher Greg Smith.  That’s because, in all my years watching baseball in Tucson, Greg stands out for his incredible pickoff move to first base.  Never seen anything like it (and Broadcaster Tim Hagerty said that Smith holds a record with the Athletics for pickoffs in The Show).  Fortunately, I think D-Rob got the memo on Smith before last night’s game.  Unfortunately, Merchan did not…he was picked off first in the third inning.  (As it happens, Smith played for the Sidewinders a year before Merchan did.)  Even if the T-Pads didn’t give Greg much of a chance to show off that fine PO move, he did shine in his outing against the Pads last night.  He took the mound for eight complete innings…and tossed only 85 pitches!  In spite of that, the game was actually very close through those eight innings.  Tucson took a first-inning lead on a solo home run by Jedd Gyorko…Salt Lake put up two runs against our starter Bear Bay in the third…Tucson went ahead by a run with two in the fourth (Jeremy Hermida hit a sac fly to score Jedd; Nick Hundley hit an RBI double to score Matt Clark)…Salt Lake went ahead again with two runs in the fifth…and then the Bees added (what looked like) an insurance run in the seventh against reliever Mark Hamburger (the run was unearned because of a fielding error charged to Hermida).  Tucson down by two, but there was still time.  How lovely, I thought, that the season’s biggest crowd (over 10,600 fans showed for the game, which featured a Star Spangled Spectacular fireworks display afterwards) should see such a great baseball game!  And then Neil Wagner came in to pitch the eighth inning…got through it with only one hit allowed, and so returned for the ninth.  Neil got two outs and then lost his feel for the strike zone, walking two batters and then allowing two singles that scored three runs (there was a massive collision at the plate, in which Nick was bowled over and lost the ball, giving the runners a bit of a leg up on the bases).  Manager Terry Kennedy brought in Jason Ray to get the final out.  But now the Bees were up by five runs and the T-Pads had only three outs to work with.  When D-Rob kicked off the ninth with a single against Bees’ reliever, Kevin Jepsen, I thought we might just be mounting a comeback, but Jepsen K’d the next two batters and ended the game with a fly out by Sawyer Carroll.  Bees win to split the series with Tucson.  Final Score:  Tucson 3; Salt Lake 8.

Food For Thought.  The San Diego Padres have had a pretty tough season.  And I’m not one who thinks that any ONE change can make a significant difference in the season for a team, but how crazy good is it that our Parent Unit has won each of the four games its played since they recalled Yasmani Grandal to catch for them?  Looks to me like that kid has somehow lit those Padres on fire.  Just sayin’…

Here in 2013 – Probably Gone in 2014.  This is not a surprise…we’ve heard over and over again from GM Mike Feder that he’s been unable to find a potential owner for the T-Pads who would keep the team here in Tucson.  But still, after the great news about the Tucson Padres’ returning to play here in Tucson next season, it was hard to hear the news that there is an active ownership bid from a group in El Paso, Texas.  Yes, I’d heard that El Paso was a possibility, but I didn’t realize that, in addition to the recent stadium bill that was approved there, a viable ownership group was making moves.  Good (though depressing) article in today’s paper:  here.  In a conversation I had with Mike Feder on Tuesday night, he said that approval of this plan will require a “Super Majority” of the PCL ownership groups because it will represent a totally new PCL community.  Still, the T-Pad’s current owner is very motivated to sell…and I don’t see a lot of other options opening up to save the team for us.  Drat.

Transactions and Injury Report.   During last night’s game, Tim Hagerty had a question from a fan about our current roster.  The roster didn’t show C Brad Davis and she was curious to know what happened to him.  Although this hasn’t shown up in the online Transactions I review, it turns out the organization has released Brad.  Ah heck!  So, Nick Hundley will be our primary catcher, backed by Rocky Gale.

On the Road Again!   The T-Pads are in Las Vegas (Blue Jays AAA affiliate) for five games in 4 days (doubleheader on Friday, July 6th).  One off day and then it’s time for the All-Star Break, July 9 – 11.  Remember, you can follow ALL Tucson Padres games this season on Tejano 1600 AM!!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


2 Comments so far
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No wonder there was an effort to get the focus on 2013, knowing that this El Paso deal is taking shape.

I would not be surprised at all to see the team leave for that market.

Comment by Jodi Goalstone

It’ll be interesting to see what the PCL ownership groups do when asked to approve the move to El Paso. I’m not sure everyone thinks El Paso is a good (and safe) choice for the newest PCL town…but really, I’m not sure they’ll have much choice if there is a new owner for the T-Pads making moves in that direction. Sigh.

Comment by windersblog

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