• Charlie Greene

Spring Training Report 15

Updated: Mar 9

Hello Bisons Booster Club members, family and friends,

This is your Booster Club First Vice-President reporting from West Melbourne, Florida, after watching the New York Mets lose to a Washington Nationals split squad team, 5-0. TRIVIA QUESTIONS: 1. What records did Danny Jansen set as a Blue Jay in 2019? 2.  What happened in Major League baseball's only 26 inning game? Answers below. WEATHER REPORT: The temperature at 7:23 AM when I took our collie on a one mile walk was 51 degrees with a wind chill of 48 degrees caused by a 15 mph wind out of the NNW under mostly clear skies.  The temperature at the start of the game at 1:10 PM in Port St. Lucie was 64 degrees.  By the middle innings, it had raised to 66 under mostly clear skies until the 9th inning when dark clouds rolled into the area. The wind blew in from center field at 18 mph, but even though we were sitting behind home plate it did not hit us in the face because it bounced off the wall behind us and hit us in the back of our necks. SPORTS PAGE: The Blue Jays lost again today, this time to a Red Sox split squad by a score of 5-2. At bat for the Jays: Santiago Espinal SS was 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts. .286. Cavan Biggio 2B hit a single in 1 of his 3 times at bat and recorded his second stolen base of the spring while striking out once. .211. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B hit a single in 1 of his 2 plate appearances. 286. Andy Burns 1B hit a single in his only trip to the plate. .294. Patrick Kivlehan PR-DH drove in a run. 267. Billy McKinney RF went 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts. .278. Anthony Alford CF was 0 for 2, both strikeouts.  .150. Jonathan Davis CF walked, stole his first base of the spring and struck out in his other trip to the plate. .167. Caleb Joseph C hit a single and his first home run of the spring, driving in 2 runs. .267. On the mound: Travis Bergen pitched one inning in which he walked one batter and struck out one batter. 0.00. Neither former Bison on the Red Sox roster, Collin McHugh and Kevin Pillar, made the trip to Dunedin. The only former Bison to appear in the game in Port St. Lucie was right handed relief pitcher Jeurys Familia who took the mound for the 5th inning.  After giving up a home run to the leadoff hitter of the inning, he then gave up 3 consecutive singles, but none of those players scored because he struck out the next 2 and had the final batter fly out to right field. Former Bison infielder Asdrubal Cabrera did not make the trip with the Nationals team because he was playing in a Nationals split squad game vs the Marlins. Attendance: 6,494, over half of whom left by the end of the 5th inning because of the chilly winds. Former Bisons in other games played today: For the Tigers: Daniel Norris pitched 3.1 innings allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits with 2 strikeouts. For the Nationals in their other split squad game; Asdrubal Cabrera 3B had 1 hit, scored 1 run and walked once. For the Red Sox in their other split squad game: Kevin Pillar RF went 2 for 3 with a run batted in. For the Yankees: Geo Urshella 3B was 1 for 4 with an RBI and catcher Josh Thole walked in one of his 2 times to the plate. For the Pirates: Luke Maile DH went 1 for 4 with an RBI. For the Brewers: Eric Sogard 3B was 1 for 3. For the Cubs: Ryan Tepera pitched the 5th inning, giving up 2 hits and striking out 1 batter. The Mets have honored catcher Mike Piazza by naming the street used to enter the stadium Piazza Drive, with the official address now 31 Piazza Drive.  Mike and his wife Alicia were in attendance for the ceremony. Bisons RHP Nate Pearson continues to hold down the #7 spot in the list of 100 Major League prospects.  He has been assured that he will begin the season in Buffalo.  In his spring training games, his fastball has been clocked up to 104 mph.  I hope Sahlen Field has a radar gun that can go that high.  Pearson's array of pitches also includes a plus slider and an above average change-up. The #29 rated prospect is Jordan Groshans, a SS who probably will begin the season in A-level Dunedin.  At #61 is Simeon Woods a RHP who at age 19 is expected to slide through the Blue Jays system from A level all the way to AAA sometime during the season.  Finally, one of the players expected to make the 100 list in the near future is Alejandro Krik, a catcher who will start at a lower level team in the Toronto system.  With 3 players among the top 100 prospects, the Jays sit in the middle of the teams with prospects.  The Rays have the most with 8 and the Brewers have the least with 0. Transactions: The Mets optioned outfielder Tim Tebow to their minor league camp. 12 teams, including the Mets, optioned players from the Major League camp to their minor league camps, but none of the players were former Bisons and the Blue Jays did not report any options. IN OTHER NEWS: My wife and I were the only folks from our neighborhood that were out in the middle of the street at 11:50 PM last night to watch the successful launch of  a SpaceX Dragon  1 capsule filled with supplies for the International Space Station.  It will take 3 days to deliver science experiments, cargo and supplies to the crew aboard the space station.  A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at exactly 11:50 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  Exactly 8 minutes later, there was a sonic boom as the rocket returned to earth so it can be used again. This will be the last time SpaceX uses it Dragon 1 capsule.  The aerospace company will retire the capsule to make way to its newer spacecraft: Dragon 2.  The updated space craft will be certified to refly up to 5 times  as opposed to Dragon 1 which was only certified to refly up to 3 times. Some of the science experiments being flown up include: high tech shoes to investigate how to improve shoe performance through a microgavity environment, studies of the human intestine on a chip, tests to improve 3-D printing in space, growing human heart cells and ways to improve conserving water by using better shower heads. Today marks the beginning of Bike Week in Daytona.  Over 500,000 motorcycle riders who are not deterred by the coronavirus will spend at least part of the week in Florida.  David Jahn, a Lutheran pastor colleague of mine, who serves the largest Lutheran congregation in Brevard County, offered a prayer for safe and joyful riding  to bikers who stopped by the church between 10:00 AM  and noon today.  He is the owner of a Honda NC700X cycle and has offered the Blessing of the Bikes for 10 years.  He has been riding cycles since 1981 and enjoys rebuilding old bikes.  Although not involved in the bike blessings, the pastor of the congregation we attend while in Florida also is an avid bike rider.  He and Pastor Jahn occasionally take long bike trips together. With Bike Week commencing, the overhead signs on Interstate 95 now remind drivers to Watch Out for Motorcycles. Many Floridians and visitors to the sunshine state will welcome Daylight Saving Time when it returns tomorrow because it means they can spend more time at the beaches, but it also means that I will be walking my dog in the morning and students will be coming to schools while it is still dark outside. The mayor of Orlando announced yesterday that 5 major conventions, including one that would have brought visitors from around the world, have been canceled because of the virus scare resulting in a loss of at least $153 million for business in the city. TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. During the 2019 season, former Bisons catcher, Danny Jansen, as a Blue Jay, connected for 13 home runs, 1 shy  of Will Smith for the most among rookie catchers.  His home run and RBI total of 42 were the 2nd most in a season by a Toronto rookie catcher all-time. 2. In Major League baseball's only 26 inning game played in Boston on May 1, 1920 between the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Braves, Braves second baseman Charlie Pick made the last out of the 25th inning to go 0 and 11 in the contest, a record that remains unequaled.  The game took only 3 hours and 50 minutes, but was called at 6:50 PM, an hour before sundown.  The field was growing dark, making for poor vision. BACK PAGE: After worshiping at church on Sunday morning, I will drive the 60 miles south to Port St. Lucie to watch the Mets play the Astros.   I will report on any unusual expressions toward the Houston team. Charlie Greene, First Vice-President, Buffalo Bisons Booster Club

Hello Bisons Booster Club members, family and friends,

Here is another bonus report from Paul Synor. I attended yesterday's game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves in the Braves new facility - Cool Today Park - in North Port, a city of about 73,000 and growing rapidly, about 20 minutes from our place in Venice. Cool Today is the Park's sponsor and is an air conditioning company. The Braves moved here last March from Orlando where they had been since 1998. This $125 million complex sits on 80 acres, seats 6,200 and is the only spring training facility in the country that's open to the public year round. It's Tomahawk Tiki Bar and restaurant is open 7 days a week.

Once spring training concludes, the Florida State League's Florida Fire Frogs, a high-A affiliate of the Braves, play their 70 home games at this site from April to September. Over 100 non-baseball events were held at the Park in 2019 with more planned for this year.

While Sarasota County technically owns Cool Today Park, the 30-year contract to operate it is exclusive to the Braves. The field itself recreates the precise dimensions of MLB Trust Park in Atlanta, with identical walls and foul territories.

The Braves souvenir program, Fast Pitch, costs $5, is 120 pages and includes articles on 2, prominent current Braves - Ronald Acuna, Jr and Ozzie Albie's - several retired Braves all-stars and 2 future stars - Mike Soroka and Max Fried.

Ticket prices range from $15 in the open-air, centerfield Pavillion to $75 for Batter's Box seats next to the Braves dugout. These are increased by $5 for premium games. Outside the Park in the Home Plate Plaza, giant 5 foot high numbers honor former Braves for their contributions, excellence and dedication to the game. These are Henry Aaron (#44), Dale Murphy (#3), Bobby Cox (#6), Chipper Jones (#10), Buffalo's own Warren Spahn (#21), John Smoltz (#29), Greg Maddox (#31), Phil Niekro (#35), Eddie Matthews (#41), Tom Glavine (#47) and icon Jackie Robinson (#42).

Forgive me for spending so much time on the ballpark. However, the game was underwhelming. The Rays and Braves played to a 1-1 tie with a total of 7 hits for both teams. The only ex-Bison on either squad is RHP Ben Rowan who is a non-roster invitee of the Braves.

Paul Synor


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