September 9-10, 2007 September 10, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Player Moves: Tons of player moves in the past two days, perhaps none more ridiculous than Matt Beech being “traded” to Camden in exchange for Randy Dicken. While not completely lopsided, it’s not a real fair deal either.
Lancaster has added P Jason Benson, while Camden has also added INF Brent Metheny and P Rolando Viera.
Benson has experience in the Central and Can-Am Leagues, Metheny has played in the Mariners and White Sox organizations, and Viera pitched for the Bears in 2003 and 2004.
Also, Camden has released P Ryan Costello.
Weekly Fluff: I mean, ummm…legitimate Patriots feature. Yes, that’s what I meant.
Anyway, here’s a much longer version of what you’ll see in the Democrat this Thursday. As it stands, it’s at about 1,200 words, which is much larger than I’m supposed to write. So this is going to get cut up quite a bit, but I figured you’d want to hear from everyone, so here goes…
Having overcome injuries and mediocre play during the first half, the Somerset Patriots have locked up a playoff spot and will begin their quest for a fourth Atlantic League championship in Bridgewater next Tuesday.
Not that the 126 regular season games played had no meaning, but the most meaningful at-bats of the season will take place when the first-half champion Camden Riversharks come in to Somerset on the 18th to begin the playoffs.
The Patriots are a veteran team, with tens of thousands of professional at-bats between them. So, before the 2007 playoffs start, here’s a look at what selected members of the team listed as their most memorable at-bat in professional baseball.
(Note — At-bat totals are from when the players were asked, approximately two weeks ago)
Travis Anderson, C. Professional at-bats: 1,314
“Probably my first one in pro ball. I struck out, but I was excited to be playing in organized ball, so it was pretty cool. That’s probably the one that stands out the most.”
Elliott Ayala, INF/OF. Professional at-bats: 2,043
“It would have to be my first professional at-bat, that would have to be my most memorable one. There was also one when I played in the Hall of Fame game because there was kind of a big league atmosphere. They brought us up to play against the Florida Marlins in Cooperstown, that was in 2001. Those two are probably the most memorable.”
Jason Belcher, C. Professional at-bats: 2,019
“It’s one that probably isn’t recorded, it was in spring training. It was a game-winning home run off of Dave Veres, the closer for the Chicago Cubs, in Spring of ’03. It was a three-run homer to beat the Cubs in Arizona. (Carlos) Zambrano started for them and Ben Sheets started for us, and I came in and hit the game winning home run. That has to be the most memorable one that I have.”
Pat Boran, UTIL/PR. Professional at-bats: 1,216
“I guess probably the first at-bat of my professional career. There were obviously a lot of nerves, and I had started the season on the DL, so it was about three or four weeks into the season. It was a four pitch walk, which turned out to be pretty anti-climatic. But it’s a big moment for any professional player, so I would say that would be it.”
Danny Garcia, 2B. Professional at-bats: 2,194
“My first at-bat in the big leagues. My very first at-bat was against Mike Hampton, and I saw two pitches. He threw a first pitch fastball, middle away, for strike one. Second pitch, was the exact same pitch, and I hit a soft line drive up the middle and got a base hit. It was a little bit off the end of the bat, (Marcus) Giles dove for it and missed it. I was ecstatic.”
“I was a little bit nervous, I was excited. It was all pretty abrupt. I got there the very first day, and Art Howe came up to me and said, ‘I hope you’re ready to play, you’re in there tonight.’ So it was pretty abrupt, I didn’t have too much time to think about it.”
Brandon Larson, 3B. Professional at-bats: 3,202
“There’s a few that stand out. My first big league home run, obviously. There was a home run I hit in Houston, where all my family got to see me hit a home run in the big leagues. The one that kind of stands out wasn’t even in pro ball, it was in the College World Series in 1997. I hit a two run homer off of Matt Anderson to put us in a tie in the eighth inning, it was 4-4, and we ended up winning the game. He was the first pick (in the draft) that year, and they brought him in to close the game, and I ended up hitting a two-run bomb off of him. There’s a lot that stand out, but those are the ones that stand out the most.”
Todd Leathers, 1B. Professional at-bats: 1,708
“There was one last year off of Bridgeport, a walk-off (home run) off of (Eddy) Ramos. He got me earlier in the year, and you know how emotional he gets, so as a hitter you can kind of take that a little personally to see a guy out there all emotional. It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, and I got a good 2-0 pitch and I hit it out. I kind of got back at him somewhat, so I’d have to say that one.”
Mike Lockwood, OF. Professional at-bats: 3,362
“For me, it would probably be in the PCL (Pacific Coast League) Championship in Triple-A. I hit a home run, I think it was in the fourth or fifth inning, and we were down 1-0 at the time. It gave us the lead, and we ended up winning that game and we won it all. There was a big crowd, and it was a lot of fun. We had a good team and a good group of guys, so it made it even better.”
Josh Pressley, 1B. Professional at-bats: 3,317
“I remember my first at-bat ever, it was in the Gulf Coast League. I faced the guy, and I struck out on three pitches. Then, in my second at-bat in the same game, I got hit in the leg and came out of the game. So my first two at-bats consisted of four pitches, three of which were strikes — I struck out on three pitches — and I got hit and taken out of the game. So I didn’t even finish my first game, so I remember those first two.”
“I remember my first at-bat in Major League spring training too, I faced Billy Koch. My approach was going to be to swing early, because I knew he threw real hard and he was probably going to come at me with a fastball. He threw me three straight sliders and I struck out. I remember that at-bat pretty well.
Jason Romano, OF. Professional at-bats: 3,381
“That’s a hard question, I’d have to say it would be my first Major League home run. We were in Cincinnati, and it was a pretty close game. A friend of mine was pitching, Brandon Claussen. Doug Davis was pitching for the Brewers, and I remember getting a 1-0 fastball, I turned on it and hit to left field. As I hit it, I knew I got it pretty good, and as I rounded first I saw it go over the fence. It was a dream come true to hit a home run in the major leagues, and that run around the bases was a big relief and it was just an awesome feeling.”
Alan Zinter, 1B/OF. Professional at-bats: 5,889
“It’s got to be my first Major League home run. That’s obviously a dream come true, so it’s the one that sticks out in my mind out of all those. When it’s in the air, and it’s going out, you can’t explain it. It’s a great feeling and a great accomplishment, you can’t even put it into words. It was off of Scott Williamson in Cincinnati, it hit the facade and fell into our bullpen.”
Big League Pitcher To Camden: An “L. Pote” showed up as a pitcher in the boxscore for today’s game in Camden. A quick Google search shows this has to be Lou Pote, who has 129 games of MLB experience with the Angels and Indians.
He was on the 2002 World Series team for Anaheim, but did not appear in the playoffs, last pitching in the big leagues on July 19th that season.
The 36-year-old righty was 4-4 with six saves and a 3.56 as a big leaguer, and allowed one walk and two hits in his two inning Riversharks debut.
He spent 2005 and 2006 in the Rangers system and was teammates with half of the 2006 Somerset Patriots in Edmonton this year. – Mike Ashmore