Pre-Game Meal: Special Edition (9/6/12)
by: Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti)
The ValleyCats held a special practice today before getting on the bus and heading to Auburn to play game one of this first-round series. Here are some tidbits from the two-hour practice today:
1.) Half of the practice was spent going over situational drills in a game called “27 outs”. Manager Stubby Clapp simulated different game situations by yelling out the number of men on, the inning, the score, and by randomly hitting it somewhere to see if the defense could make the correct play. One of the few hiccups came “in the ninth inning” with runner’s on first and second, one out and the ValleyCats were up two runs. Stubby hit a single to center field and Emilio King came home with the throw. It was a good throw and it maybe gets the runner (knowing how good King’s arm is it probably would get a runner), but Stubby was not happy with it. In that situation you want to go to second with the ball instead of home. Yes, you sacrifice the run, but the throw into second keeps the game-ending double play in order and you maintain the lead.
2.) Tri-City took batting practice as well. The batting practice hero goes to M.P. Cokinos. In his third round he hit three home runs in five attempts.
3.) Now that the season is finally over, we can finally proclaim Tyler Heineman as the 2012 New York-Penn League batting champion. Heineman hit .358 in his first season of professional baseball, absolutely crushing the competition in that category. But like he does most of the time, Tyler steered the attention towards his teammates. He thanked his teammates for giving him good counts to hit it in by getting on base in front of him.
4.) Lastly, I want to take the chance to thank all of you readers and ValleyCats/Astros fans. In the most recent MLB.com Blogs Central publication, ‘Cats Corner ranked 24th in terms of total viewership for the month of August among all the professional blogs (there is a difference between pro blogs, fan blogs, and beat writer blogs). Last month, ‘Cats Corner ranked 42nd. It’s an honor to be ranked in the top-50 to begin with, never mind squeaking inside the top-25. When Kevin Whitaker and I created this blog in 2010 I don’t think either of us fathomed this kind of popularity. We made a huge jump this month, our best month ever, and it’s all thanks to you guys! You’re the best! I’ll make sure we still produce the same quality of material you have grown to expect from us.