• Charlie Greene

Spring Training Report 4

Hello Bisons Booster Club members, family and friends,

This is your Booster Club First Vice-President reporting from room 228 in the Holiday Inn in Dunedin, Florida after watching a Yankees split squad team defeat a Blue Jays split squad team 4-1. TRIVIA QUESTIONS: 1. What was special about Anthony Alford's first Major League home run? 2. Who played for the Montreal Expos for just three seasons and was an All-Star each year? Answers below. WEATHER REPORT: The temperature at 6:50 AM when I started my 2 mile walk down the Pinellas Trail and back through city streets was 70 degrees under partly cloudy skies. The temperature at the 1:07 PM start of the game was 78 degrees with a 17 mph wind blowing in from right field under mostly cloudy skies. SPORTS PAGE: (All batting averages and earned run averages are from prior to today's games.) Blue Jays batters in today's home game: Randel Grichuk DH grounded out twice. .333 Joe Panik 2B flied out to CF and struck out. .000 Vlad Guerrero 3B hit a single and grounded out to shortstop. .250 Andy Burns replaced Guerrero in the 5th inning and flew out to left field in his only at bat. .400 Teoscar Hernandez RF hit a single to right field and grounded out to the second baseman. .250 Reese McGuire C hit into a double play and struck out. .000 Anthony Alford CF struck out twice. .167 Santiago Espinal SS singled and hit a home run, the Jays only run. .500 On the mound in the home game: Nate Pearson struck out all 3 batters he faced in the 1st inning. 0.00 A.J. Cole gave up a single and a walk in the 4th inning. 0.00 Phillippe Aumont was charged with 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 5. 0.00 Zach Jackson alowed one double in the 9th inning and struck out 2 batters. 0.00 Attendance: 4,436. The Blue Jays in the split squad on the road fared much better defeating the Phillies 13 to 6 in Clearwater. Blue Jays batters: Billy McKinney RF had 3 hits, scored 2 runs and drove in a run. .000 Bo Bichette SS  went 0 for 3. .200 Cavan Biggio 2B walked and scored a run. .400 Danny Jansen DH had a hit, scored a run and walked once. .000 Rowdy Tellez 1B went 2 for 3 with a run scored and 4 runs batted in. .500 Patrick Kivlehan 1B was 0 for 1. .400 Caleb Joseph C  was 1 for 3. .000 Patrick Cantwell C in one time to the plate had a hit, scored a run and drove in a run while walking one other time. Forrest Wall LF went 1 for 3 with a run scored. .333 Reuben Tejada 3B was 0 for 2. .000 On the mound: T. J. Zeuch walked one and struck out one in 2 innings on the mound. 0.00 Jordan Romano  allowed a hit and struck out 2 in one inning. 0.00 Former Bisons in other games played today: For the Pirates: Luke Maile C went 0 for 2. For the Cardinals: Brett Cecil pitched the 6th inning and was charged with 2 earned runs on 2 hits with a walk and 2 strikeouts. For the Red Sox: Kevin Pillar RF was 2 for 4 with a run scored and a walk. For the Marlins: Jon Berti 2B went 2 for 3 with a run scored. For the White Sox: Edwin Encarnacion DH was hitless in 3 times up to the plate. For the Dodgers: Justin Turner 3B walked and had a hit in his other plate appearance. Transactions: On February 23rd, Baltimore sent former Bisons SS Richard Urena outright to Norfolk. On February 24th, the Blue Jays assigned LHP Marc Rzepczynski to Buffalo. IN OTHER NEWS: The only way to obtain game notes prior to every Blue Jays spring training game at TD Ballpark is by holding a cell phone to a symbol at the Guest Relations booth which makes it very difficult to read the information even when it is enlarged.  Here are some of the items I gleaned from today's notes: The 2020 spring training season is Toronto's 44th in Dunedin.  The Jays have trained here since their inaugural season in 1977.  Of the 30 MLB clubs, only 3 teams have been in their current spring training city longer than the Jays, Detroit in Lakeland, Philadelphia in Clearwater and Pittsburgh in Bradenton, and Toronto is the only team to have played in the same stadium for all of their home spring training games. The Blue Jays spring training schedule includes 34 games in Florida consisting of 16 home games and 16 away games.  Their final two spring training games will be played against the Yankees in Montreal from March 23-24.  Included in the 34 games are 4 split-squad dates. Toronto currently has 6 players in Major League camp (25-non roster) and are carrying 36 pitchers (12-NR), 6 catchers (4-NR), 14 infielders (7-NR) and nine outfielders (2-NR). *********************************************** Despite the electronics on the new scoreboard, it does not show pitch speeds, but it does show entertaining videos during the inning breaks. Today, I had a chance to greet the Beer Man vendor from Buffalo who lives in Dunedin during the winter and returns to Western New York after the end of the spring training games. With high protection screens now extending nearly to the foul poles, the new attraction at games is watching coaches, players and umpires trying to throw foul balls over the high screens to the fans in the seats, sometimes with success and other times not so. There are only 22 miles between TD Ballpark and George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa where the Yankees play their Grapefruit League games. While doing my around the field walk this morning, I noticed that the Jays improvements include an area behind the right field fence in which people can stand to watch the game on 2 levels and sit on individual seats behind those 2 levels. The Blue Jays  in cooperation with the Jolley Trolley and the City of Dunedin provide a free park and ride service before and after every Toronto spring training home game in Dunedin.  Baseball fans and spectators are encouraged to park their cars at one of two free parking lots in downtown Dunedin and ride a trolley to TDBallpark.  The service is free for game-day ticket holders.  The promotion runs from 90 minutes before games and for one hour after the game ends.  Riders can pick up the trolley at any stop along the route and ride for free by showing their game-day ticket.  A couple from Canada who are staying at the Holiday Inn, where we are, fly here, do not rent a car, walk to near-by shops and restaurants and ride the free trolley to the games and back to the hotel. Tampa players Austin Meadows who was to start and Brandon Lowe missed the Rays game yesterday because they had to evacuate the spring rental house they and their wives are sharing due to brushfires in the Port Charlotte area.  The players came back to the stadium during the game and reported that the fire was being put out, but they do not know yet if they will have to find a new home. The Diamondbacks reported that they were unaware of left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner's recently discovered side career as a rodeo participant.  Bumgarner performed under an alias name and won $26,560 in a team-roping competition in December.  Arizona has signed the 30-year-old to an $85 million, 5-year contract. Bausers Bar, a little more than half the way down the Pinellas Trail to the ballpark continues to welcome dogs who can drink (water) free.  Folks who park in their lot for games also get a free beer. TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. Former Bison Anthony Alford became only the 3rd player all-time to have his first career home run result in a walk-off win in the 15th inning or later, joining Old Hoss Radbourn (1882) and Valma Thomas (1957). 2. Rusty Staub was an All-Star for Montreal each year from 1969 through 1971.  He also made All-Star teams for Houston in 1967 and 1968 and for Detroit in 1976.  Staub hit .300 or better five times and amassed 2,716 hits in his career. BACK PAGE: On Wednesday, we are back at TD Ballpark for the Blue Jays game vs the Tigers, weather permitting.  Steady rain is in the forecast as a cold front moves in to the Western side of Florida. Charlie Greene, First Vice-President, Buffalo Bisons Booster Club

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