What a treat it is to open my Sunday newspapers and pour over the weekend in sports.
As is the case for me so often, the baseball boxscores drew my initial attention today. This was an especially joyful morning for checking up on a number of the Independent Baseball grads now in the majors.
My friend Joe Yotch had tipped me off that Curtis Pride, a three-time member of the Indy Nashua (NH) Pride who I had written about in last week's Independent Baseball Insider column, had homered for the Angels Saturday at Fenway Park. Sure enough, Pride's two-run, seventh inning blast had given the Angels a temporary 5-3 lead. It was the 37-year-old's 20th major league homer, but his first since July 6, 2003 when he got a round-tripper for his only hit in 12 at bats for the New York Yankees.
Saturday's blast had put onetime Atlantic League (Camden, NJ) product Jered Weaver in position to run his major league record to 8-0. Alas, the lead did not hold up.
Another note about Pride, which I did not get to in the column. Curtis, who was born 95 per cent deaf, and his wife, Lisa, now have a charitable foundation called "Together with Pride", partly in tribute to their one-year-old daughter Noelle Angel, who has the same degree of deafness as her dad.
Now back to the boxscores.
Chris Coste, who is getting more key playing time with Philadelphia now that former backup catcher Sal Fasano has been shipped off to the Yankees, had another big day in the Phillies' 12-3 home romp over Florida. The onetime Prairie (Brandon) and Northern Leaguer (Fargo, ND) had a single, double, walk, run and two runs batted in. His average is up to .339, which is an unbelieveable feat for the 33-year-old rookie because of his slow start.
Sticking with catchers, Eliezer Alfonzo (St. Paul, Northern League) drove in his 24th run and kept his average at .300 even though his Giants lost to Pittsburgh. And Mike Rivera (Atlantic City, NJ, Atlantic League, and Springfield, IL, Frontier League), also is at .300 after his pair of singles and an RBI helped Milwaukee double up the Reds, 6-3.
Brothers J.D. and Stephen Drew were hitless, but their Dodgers and Diamondbacks, respectively, turned in victories. J. D. had played at St. Paul and Stephen at Camden.
And so it was, just another day in baseball paradise for these onetime Indy leaguers. What fun for us fans, too.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
SUNDAY PAPERS BRING JOY TO INDY FANS
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.