Before I get to the game I wanted to include the controversy over the PA announcer ejection from last game. The League Commissioner, Kevin Outcault, weighed in with the following on the Our Sports Central board:
After reviewing the umpire ejection report, a fairly unique one given that we haven't had an Announcer ejected before, and discussing the event with the folks in Reno and the GBL Supervisor of Officials, here's what we are going to do:
- Mike will issue a public apology at the Reno/Chico game tonight to the umpire crew.
- He will no longer use sound bytes or annoucements aimed at the umpires of any type during the game.
- To gain a better perspective of the skill needed to be a professional umpire, he will then take the field for the first inning on the 3rd baseline as the third umpire. He will be in complete umpire uniform and make easy calls, if any. Any close plays will be called by the professional umpires on the field so the integrity of the game is not affected. He will then return to the press box at the end of the inning.
Well, I was there to see it and, with shaky voice, Mike did apologize and did the job at third base. He even continued to announce players with a wireless mike over at third.
I picked up the Reno Gazette Journal this morning and found that the story was picked up by several news outlets and even made it's way onto ESPN.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/minorlbb/news/story?id=2898132 .
The managers weren't receptive to it accoring to their comments in the RGJ:
Mark Parent (Chico): "I say you leave things off the field off the field and things on the field on the field. But I don't own the league. They obviously have reasons why they do things. I've never heard of that happening (ejecting a P.A. announcer) before. I've been around a long time. I guess it happens but I've never heard of it"
Les Lancaster (Reno): "I personally don't think it should be done because it is minor league baseball. To me you're making a mockery of the game. But in independent baseball everything is possible. From that standpoint, it is a good idea. I also think it (the announcer umpiring) shows up the umpire (who ejected him). I think it should be just let go"
My take? Well I think I made it clear I didn't agree with the ejection. But the league agreed with the umpires that this incident crossed the line. So from that perspective, I see the logic of having Mike umpire. There were safeguards in place that he could be overruled by the actual umpires if there was a close call so it didn't affect the game. And it did get national media attention so at least people hear about the GBL. Of course, you always run the risk of people also dismissing the GBL as a circus side show when they hear this especially after Canseco and his horrible pitching or the new Armada team name also make national news. Hopefully the baseball purists will also see the number of players sold to the pros and the level of baseball being played here. But as for the umpire decision, I think it is innovative punishment. Now we need to do the same for fans that heckle a guy who is having a bad day and tell everyone in the stands how they could do it better. Let them face Nick Singleton or Nick Moran a couple of times while the player who had the bad day heckles them. I'd pay to see that :)
Speaking of Nick Moran, there was a game last night and he pitched pretty well. Steve Jones also did well for Chico. I may have to start keeping score at these games since the boxscores aren't in the paper for the second day (odd, since they were for the exhibition game but not the regular season?) and not on the Silver Sox website yet either. But these guys did strike out quite a few...I just don't know how many.
Reno went down early 2-0 but tied it up on a Victor Hall blast. That is the second time in two nights a member of the Sox outfield sent one deep to tie a game with one swing. Hall is supposedly the guy with the least power so I think J.J. Johnson needs to send one deep to gain the trifecta. Doing so at Peccole is no easy feat. Look at the dimensions. I'm a D-backs fan as you know and Pecolle is bigger than Chase down the lines (340 vs. 330) and only 7 feet shorter to straightaway center (400 vs. 407). It makes for more extra basehits but homeruns are a little harder. Still, the Sox have 3 in 2 days so that is nice.
Reno ended up going ahead on a two-base error committed on a Travis Tully grounder to Chico SS Jesse Kovacs. And, the Reno bullpen did its part making the lead stick behind strong performances by Josh Evans (wearing #16, not the #19 in the program), who got the win, and Marshall Plouffe, who got the save. Reno is on the board with their first win of the year!
The game ended with a fireworks show which was pretty good. The game also ended with a couple of cool moments I observed that really show this team has some quality individuals on it:
1. I saw Travis Tully sit on the field to watch the fireworks after everyone else left. I think it is nice that a pro ball player still thinks watching fireworks at the ballpark is a cool thing.
2. Big thanks to Victor Hall, Nick Moran, Jose Rodriguez, and Adam Nikolic who ran the guantlet of kids (including mine) to sign autographs for about 20 minutes after the game. The kids all line up behind the dugout so they knew what they were getting into.
Announced attendance for the game: 2216.
Another great night by the Silver Sox on the field and Dwight Dortch's crew off the field. We had a blast.