Friday night at Camden Yards proved to be a very entertaining time for this typist, although the many thousands of Red Sox fans who trekked down from New England would not agree because the Beantown boys could not hold a 5-1 lead they had only mustered with a five-run top half of the eighth inning.
The fans actually provided much of the enjoyment. The rest came because, as luck would have it, Tike Redman was all but officially making his Baltimore debut after paying a visit to the Atlantic League earlier this season. His return provided the meat this Independent Baseball writer needed.
Let me try to sort it out.
For those of you who do not know, Tike (pronounced TYE-k) Redman is a talented, 30-year-old outfielder. He had played 392 major league games before Friday, every one of them for Pittsburgh. But the last one was in 2005, and he has been moving around in the minor leagues since that time.
His journeys included spending a week in the Atlantic League in May, blistering the baseball at a .464 pace (13-28) in his seven games for York, PA. Fans of the Revolution may have a hard time accepting this as fact because all seven games were on the road, including a 5-for-5 game at Camden, NJ May 9. Then it was back to Baltimore's Triple-A club at Norfork, VA, where he had started the season.
Tike was announced as a pinch hitter Thursday, but his first actual game action was 24 hours later and he showed this observer he still can play, if ever a one-game trial means anything. Batting ninth and playing leftfield against Daisuke Matsuzaka (nice, easy way to get your feet wet, right?) Redman swung throught a high fastball in the second, singled sharply through the box in the fifth and showed he still runs well although Mike Lowell threw him out from third base his third and last time up. He left for pinch hitter Jay Payton after the Orioles had dramatically pulled back even, 5-5, in the bottom of the eighth.
But Tike Redman was back in the majors, hopefully for some time, and the trip to the Atlantic League did just what that league likes to do. It helps players tune up for another big league opportunity.
Now for those thousands of Red Sox-adorned fans. Don't think for a minute they just drive over from the Nation's Capital. My wife and I have proof a good percentage of them actually come from New England. We wanted to get a little lunch along the New Jersey Turnpike on our way from Connecticut. Harmless enough, right? Let me tell you it was virtually impossible to work your way through a food line because it was so deep with the Red Sox Nation. And every one of them was wearing the home team's attire.
The scene was duplicated, but in much greater proportions, once we got near Camden Yards nearly two hours before the first pitch. Everyone we saw was well behaved, but my oh my they were there in huge numbers. It was the largest crowd of the season to that point.
The Baltimore Chamber of Commerce had to love the envasion, with the cash registers clicking this entire weekend.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
WHAT TIKE REDMAN AND RED SOX FANS HAVE IN COMMON
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.