Game 1 of the Eastern League Playoffs

dscn9451.jpgYesterday, most minor league teams played the first game of the postseason. The Eastern League’s Western Division second half winners, the Bowie Baysox, won Game 1 of the best of five series against the Harrisburg Senators. Those two teams will play again in Bowie tonight before moving to Harrisburg for the rest of the series.


Former Oriole Scott McGregor after throwing out the first pitch

It was a nice night for a game, as the rain held off – for the most part – until the game was over. The first pitch was thrown out by Oriole great, Scott McGregor, and before the National Anthem, a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of Erie SeaWolves player Chace Numata who passed away on Monday after a skateboarding accident.

The Baysox scored first in the bottom of the 1st with a sacrifice fly by Carlos Perez that scored Ryan McKenna. The Senators tied it in the 6th, and scored a second run shortly thereafter. The Baysox answered those two runs with a second run courtesy of Yusniel Diaz who hit a home run to left field in the bottom of the 6th. In the 8th, Preston Palmiero tripled in Jesse Valentin, then Palmiero scored on a sacrifice by T.J. Nichting. A Ryan McKenna single a couple batters later brought Cedric Mullins home, giving Bowie a 5-2 lead. The Senators scored one more run in the top of the 9th, but Bowie maintained the lead, winning the game 5-3.

Interestingly, the game featured three sons of former major leaguers: Jesse Valentin and Preston Palmeiro on the Baysox, sons of Jose Valentin and Rafael Palmiero, and Dante Bichette, Jr., son of Dante Sr. and older brother of Bo. A fourth major leaguer’s son, Ryan Ripken (Cal’s son), also plays for the Baysox. And let’s not forget that the brother of former Oriole and current Yankee Zack Britton, Buck Britton, is the Baysox’ manager. Baseball is definitely a family affair.

I’m totally looking forward to Game 2 tonight!

~ baseballrebecca


Dante Bichette, Jr.


Preston Palmeiro








Life Size Bobbleheads

img_1629On August 3, in addition to handing out Jamey Carroll bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans, the Harrisburg Senators will induct Carroll into their Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame – or, as they call it, The One & Only World Famous, Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame. I have not been there yet (2019 road trip?), but The One & Only World Famous, Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame currently includes: Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd, Bryce Harper, Matt Stairs, Brandon Phillips, and Stephen Strasburg.

I really haven’t explored the concept of life size bobbleheads, but it seems like they really aren’t that rare. For example, the Orioles have a life size bobblehead of the Oriole Bird at their Spring Training stadium in Sarasota; the Angels have their life size Mike Trout bobblehead; and the Dodgers have those life size bobbleheads outside the stadium. And is the life size Tommy Lasorda bobblehead still at the Dodgers’ Spring Training Facility in Arizona?

I think this calls for a full-scale Baseball Sociologist investigation. Let me know if you’ve seen other life size baseball bobbleheads and where!

~ baseballrebecca

Baltimore Orioles Spring Training

Another Brother Plan?

File:Spencer Kieboom takes batting practice, July 13, 2018 (cropped).jpg

Spencer Kieboom with the Washington Nationals in 2018 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

As the Minor League Baseball season is about to begin, we have another brother team to watch this season. Brothers Spencer and Carter Kieboom are both in the minors for the Washington Nationals: Spencer in Harrisburg, Carter in Fresno. Recently, the Washington Post wrote a great piece about the brothers and their baseball family.

We’ve been hearing about Spencer, 28, since 2012 when the Nats selected him in the 5th round of that year’s MLB Amateur Draft. Spencer spent half of 2017 and one month in 2018 with then then-AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Syracuse Chiefs. On May 19, 2018, we was called up to the Washington Nationals, where he played 52 games, hit 13 home runs and had a .232 batting average. Carter, 21, was drafted by the Nationals in the first round of the 2016 draft. Last year, he spent the first half of the season with the single-A Potomac Nationals before being promoted to the double-A Harrisburg Senators.

Lest we worry that Spencer is regressing by being sent to double-A this year, MASN Sports reported that several players (including Spencer, Joe Ross, and Erick Fedde) are starting the season in Harrisburg because “the organization wants to keep a few experienced players closer to Washington in case a last-minute call-up is needed.” Hopefully this will be the case. The Bowie Baysox open their season at Harrisburg this week, and then host Harrisburg for their home opener on April 11. So, we should at least get to see Spencer in action soon.

~ baseballrebecca

One . . .

1 - Taylor - Hburg

Michael Taylor with the Harrisburg Senators.


One more day to prepare for the annual festivities surrounding Opening Day.

One more day to dust off our jerseys, shirseys, and t-shirts and get ready to rep our favorite players.

One more day to review the schedules and make our game-watching plans.

One more day to save money for all the baseball expenditures we will undoubtedly incur over the next few months.

One more day to dwell on the miserable outcome of last season (unless you’re a fan of that team that won the World Series) and remember how to hope once again.

One more day to forgive our (former) favorite team(s) for trading or failing to sign our favorite players.

One more day to study-up on our (new) favorite team(s) and get ready for the season.

One more day to shake off the off-season blues.

Happy One Day Until Opening Day!

~ baseballrebecca

The Importance of Having Cedric

Cedric Mullins is batting .315 this season with the Bowie Baysox. But that’s not the whole story.

The Bowie Baysox are 60-55 and in first place in the Eastern League Western Division. So far they are 3-5 this month, though they have outscored their opponents 49 to 43. But that’s not the whole story, either.

Last night, the Baysox hit five home runs, scored 14 runs, and beat the Harrisburg Senators 14-2. The Senators, for their part, hit two home runs. Most of the home runs scored in the game can be attributed to Cedric. Yet only one of those home runs was hit by Cedric himself.

This is the story: Last night the Bowie Baysox played the Harrisburg Senators. It also happened to be a night in which a group of boys, approximately 10 to 16 years old, were in attendance at the Baysox game. They were loud and exuberant and they immediately took a liking to the Baysox’ leadoff batter Cedric Mullins.

In the first inning, they began chanting, “Ced-ric Mul-lins” followed by the rhythmic clap, clap, clap-clap-clap so often heard at baseball stadiums. In response, Cedric hit a home run, immediately putting Bowie on the board.

So the boys kept chanting Cedric’s name; it did not matter if the rest of the players were not named Cedric Mullins. After Mullins’ lead off home run, the next batter, Baltimore Orioles rehabbing infielder Ryan Flaherty, singled. The boys chanted. After the next batter made an out, the rehabbing Anthony Santander homered, and the boys chanted.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

Then Bowie’s D.J. Stewart homered.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

By the end of the first inning, the Baysox were leading 4-0. For nearly every batter, the group of boys chanted not the batter’s name, but Cedric Mullins’ name. The chanting continued into the top of the second inning, even though the Senators were batting. The young men continued to show their love for Cedric Mullins. So Raudy Read and Drew Ward each hit home runs – for the visiting team.

Baysox 4, Senators 2.

As the game progressed, the boys’ interest in both the game and Mullins ebbed and flowed. But in the bottom of the sixth, as the game got more interesting, their attention again turned to Cedric Mullins after Austin Wynns walked and Erick Salcedo singled. Before his name was even announced, the chanting started all over again, as loud as it had been in the first inning.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

With men on first and second, Mullins singled on a ground ball to Harrisburg’s right fielder, Yadiel Hernandez. Wynns stopped at third, Salcedo at second.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

The next batter, Flaherty, walked; Wynns scored; Salcedo to third; Mullins to second.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

Austin Hays to the plate.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

The bases are loaded.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

“CED-RIC MUL-LINS … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … CED-RIC MUL-LINS … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”,

And then Austin Hays hit a grand slam. And the small crowd in the stadium went wild. One by one, they crossed the plate: Salcedo, then Mullins, then Flaherty, then Hays.

Baysox 12, Senators 2.

“Aus-tin Ha-ys (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) …”

The chants may have changed by the end of the game, but with Cedric Mullins, and his fan club’s adoration, the Baysox might never have hit those five home runs last night (nor might the Senators have hit their two). The importance of Cedric Mullins to the outcome of yesterday’s game, and the Baysox’ 2017 success, cannot be overstated.

“Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) … Ced-ric Mul-lins … (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).”

Minor League Baseball in Times of Crisis

Harrisburg minor league stadium flooded 9/8/2011

The minor league stadium in Harrisburg, PA, was flooded on 9/8/2011. How will MiLB respond to this lastest natural disaster? (photo courtesy of 3B Tim Pahuta via Twitter)

“Our game, besides being a national pastime, is a social institution with social responsibilities that include responding to an unimaginable crisis such as this in a timely and significant manner.”  ~ Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball, September 2001

For the past week or so, there have been numerous articles written about “the healing power of sport” and the “healing power of baseball.” and other news outlets are paying tribute to the events of September 11, 2001, in a variety of ways.  (I won’t repeat those here, but have included several links.)  What many such articles have neglected to include is the role of Minor League Baseball at the time.

I have always been interested in the response of minor league baseball in times of crisis.  Situated in both small and large towns throughout the United States and Canada, Minor League Baseball (MiLB), perhaps more than Major League Baseball, has a close relationship with the communities in which they play.  They represent Selig’s “social institution” at the local level.  Each year MiLB The National Anthem at the Bowie Baysoxand MiLB teams donate more than $9 billion to local and national charities.   According to the MiLB website:  “Support and participation in charities has helped The Minor Leagues establish a strong presence and active role in communities across the United States and Canada.”  Here are just some examples of Minor League Baseball lending a helping hand in recent years: 

In May 2011, when tornadoes and flooding devastated parts of the southeastern United States, the MiLB Charities Association and 50 minor league clubs joined together to lend assistance.  Between May 16 and May 30, MiLB donated 15% of all online sales to the effort.  By August, $60,000 had been collected and was presented to organizations selected by the Hunstville Stars, Birmingham Barons, and Memphis Redbirds.

When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the MiLB season was just winding down.  Nonetheless, MiLB instructed its members to work with the Red Cross and use their ballparks as collection locations.  Teams quickly mobilized to assist in relief efforts.  The Pacific Coast League, for example, collected $200,000 worth of cash and goods in their communities.   The Iowa Cubs, who evacuated New Orleans ahead of the storm along with the New Orleans Zephyrs, collected almost $30,000 for the relief efforts through silent auctions and cash donations.  The Oklahoma Redhawks, who hosted the Zephyrs the day after the hurricane hit, collected 75,000 water bottles and shipped them to Baton Rouge. 

And, of course, there was an overwhelming MiLB response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  For example:  On September 13, 2001, the Brooklyn Cyclones announced that fans could donate refunds for cancelled NY-Penn League ChampionNational Anthem at the Potomac Nationalsship games to a relief fund for families and victims of the terrorist attacks.  The next day, the Rochester Red Wings gave away 1,000 miniature American flags to people who stopped by the team’s offices, and also collected donations to assist American Red Cross efforts in Washington, DC, and New York City.  That night, the Durham Bulls held a candlelight vigil and along with local media kicked-off a “Relief for America” campaign which collected over $500,000 in two days.

There are countless other examples from that tragedy and other disasters.  The participation of Minor League Baseball and other community organizations is crucial in times of crisis.  They act as places of refuge and agents of assistance.  They have the power and resources – and the responsibility? – to organize a response from the members of the community and assist in the healing process.

~ baseballrebecca