June 20 thru 23
- Lugnuts 3 games, Rattlers 1 game
- Lugnuts are 3-1 (.750)
- First place, one game ahead of the Whitecaps, the Silver Hawks, and the Battle Cats
- Tim Grieve and Jose Amado have been assigned to the Lugnuts
- Modesto Villarreal, Juan Robles and Carlos Beltran have been reassigned to Spokane; among others, they join former Lugnuts Rick Pitts and Craig Sanders
New (half-)season; new attitude. Let’s hope this lasts.
Amado was traded to the Kansas City organization by the Mariners during the course of Friday’s game; the Rattlers benched him at that point and the next day he switched sides of the field. He’s a Midwest League All-Star, a third baseman with power. The intention seems to be to use him at DH and let Cepeda continue to practice those long throws to first.
Grieve pitched at Eugene, then a Kansas City farm in the Short-Season A Northwest League, during the 1994 season. He was probably the best pitcher in the league; 7-1, 1.55 in 58 innings. I presume he was hurt last season, because I can’t find any evidence that he played professional baseball.
While I was gone, BWL put up their Lugnut smokestack decoration across from the ballpark.
Olds Park will host next season’s Midwest League All-Star game. Can’t say I’m surprised; the last few have been played in new ballparks during the stadium’s second season. Obviously this is policy.
The (lousy) photograph’s from 2006. The decoration’s still there.
As things turned out, manager Brian Poldberg played Amado mostly at third, shifted Cepeda to short to cover for the injured Mark Melito, and used Escandon as a utility infielder for the rest of the season. I’ll have more to say about Jose Amado later.
Tim Grieve‘s father, Tom, played in the major leagues for a decade and spent another decade as the Rangers’ General Manager. Tom’s now part of the Texas broadcast team. Tim’s younger brother, Ben, would earn the American League Rookie of the Year in 1998, but had what nearly everyone considers a disappointing career. (It wasn’t really that bad; I always thought his teams and the press had unrealistic expectations.)
Two points about brother Ben: It’s clear that the son of a major leaguer may have good “baseball genes.” It’s also clear that a kid who grows up in major league ballparks will have better coaching than most high school players. I’ve always wondered whether some of the hype, and the high draft choice (Ben was baseball’s second pick in 1994, by the Athletics), weren’t partly artifacts of that coaching. While I’m sure the talent evaluators make allowances for these things, it seems to me they might mistake something learned for a native talent. Just a theory. Take it as you will. And I’m aware it doesn’t explain Ben’s rookie season.
Tim would appear in three Lansing games before being promoted to Wilmington. He’d retire from playing after the 1998 season, and take a job as an area scout for the Tigers. He still holds that job. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he followed his father into baseball’s front offices.
In the event you’ve just stumbled onto this entry, here’s an explanation of what I’m up to. With an index!