Thursday, July 3, 2008

Solo night out...

Well, Beth's out in Chicago having a great time training with the triathlon blogging crew. Roxy the dog and I are back here hanging out.

Tuesday night, I had a softball game. With all the rain, I didn't think it would happen, so I went out for a bike ride on my loop I've established (13 miles) and ended up over 15 mph again. Slowly but surely improving the speed and climbing abilities on the bike. We ended up losing the game 3-2. I pitched the whole game and gave up 2 runs in the first on a couple of cheap bloopers beyond the infielders. We battled back to tie it 2-2 in the 5th. But, in the 6th they regained the lead when a guy I walked came around to score when we had some throwing errors.

Offensively, I went 2-for-3 with an RBI without hitting the ball more than 55 feet. At bat one was a crap pop-up back to the pitcher (got fooled), at bat #2 was a hard hit grounder that went off the diving 1st basemen's glove and scored a run. 3rd time up I got on with a bunt down the third base line. I always tell Beth I'm a "punching Judy" when it comes to hitting. I equate my hitting to that of Jason Kendall.

Okay, enough of the boring softball. Tri training is down to 10 days until triathlon #1. This morning was a swim with 100 wu, 6x200 on 4:30, 2x100 on 2:30 and cool down. That 2:00/100 yd pace is starting to feel more comfortable. Perhaps I'll break through to a faster pace as the summer goes on.


Now to the big, juicy news. So, with Beth out of town, I had to find something to occupy myself with tonight. I'm on my own, it's a beautiful night so what do I do?

- Go out to the I don't drink
- Call up my buddies and hang out....not really an option since all my good friends from college live all over the mid-Atlantic area instead of down the street.
- Stay home and watch TV...the Pirates are on, but I did that on Monday night after dropping Beth off at the airport.

So, the solution? Drive the 90 minutes over the mountains to Altoona, PA to watch the Pirates AA affiliate the Altoona Curve play. For $5 and half a tank of gas, I had a great night! This might have been an even better deal than the $35 all you can eat seats!!

I know I'm a baseball geek to drive 90 minutes and sit by myself to watch a baseball game, but I can't help that I love baseball. This gave me a chance to check out the state of the Double-A team (which was about as mediocre as I expected). Other than the nice weather, the other deciding factor in my going to the game was the starting pitcher for the Curve--Yoslan Herrera--the 29 year-old Cuban defector the Pirates signed two years ago. I wanted to see if he was a total bust or if there was some hope for him.

I came away with mixed thoughts. Yes, he did pitch 7 innings and only give up one unearned run. But, his fastball is still only in the upper 80's (he was out of baseball for two years and they keep saying his low 90's fastball will come back...I'm not buying it). He did have some good curve balls and change ups to keep the batters off-balanced and not crushing ALL of his offerings. But, I don't know how he'll do at AAA and maybe someday at the majors.

This was a big night for Herrera as the Pirates management is trying to figure out what they have in him. I knew they were considering bringing him up to Pittsburgh with some of the injuries. What I was surprised at was to see Frank Coonelly (President of the Pirates), Neal Huntingdon (GM), and Kyle Stark (Director of Player Development) all sitting behind home plate presumably to watch Herrera. I don't think that this is a common occurrence to have all the big wigs at the same minor league game.
Other impressions from the Curve:

-They're old.....a lot of 24, 25, and 26 year olds playing for them as opposed to the 21-23 year olds for the Binghamton Mets.
-The middle infield of Luis Cruz (24 yrs old) and Shelby Ford (23) look like they could help out in the near future. Beyond this, not much else. James Boone was the leadoff guy, but he didn't have a good night and he's already 25 and has fought through a lot of injuries over the last few years. Since players usually progress one level per year, that's putting most of the Curve players at 26-28 by the time they reach the big leagues--already almost on the downslope of their "prime."

Last summer I was bored one day and made this elaborate spreadsheet I entitled the "State of the Pirates" where I looked at the Pirates drafts since 2002 and also the minor league depth and age of the players. It was depressing. I may do that sometime this month, and I think it's going to not be good again. I'll keep you posted.

Okay, time for bed. Thursday, I'm going to try to do all three training starting with a swim when I get up (NO alarm tomorrow since no school).


Jennifer Harrison said...

Beth is going to be eating hummus, spinach and avocados now all the time!
Glad you are having fun w/o Beth and enjoying some AA baseball!!
Oh, and regarding running NEXT to Beth on the track in lane 2. O, if I could have, I would have! Couldn't do it. I was not there to "PUSH" Beth...oh no, I was just trying to draft and hang on! :)) Jen H.

Beth said...

I can't believe you went to Altoona!!! Actually - I can...I know you love baseball but what I can't believe is that you didn't at least get some nachos!!! :)

Glad you had a fun night...and I hope you got to sleep in this morning!! :)

Kim said...

Wow O, you are to baseball, as I am to track and triathlon. Seriously, in your heart, you are the apitmoe (blogging has taught me I know how to spell even less than I thought I did) of the all-american baseball fan! That's awesome though. I'm glad you are keeping busy without the Mrs. around!

Maijaleena said...

So was the food better in Altoona or in Pittsburgh? Ha Ha.