The Importance of Having Cedric


Mullins
Cedric Mullins (photo courtesy of the Bowie Baysox)

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).”

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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.”  MLB.com 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