The Blog is Back Baby!
The second half of the season began Thursday with a 5-2 loss and the first-half champion Asheville Tourists are back in action after the All-Star break. That to means the blog has been resurrected as the team plays an arduous five game series against Augusta to open up the second half.
As the tourists roll into town there is a feeling that this team has a target on their back. Joe Mikulik agrees, and you can hear his entire post All-Star game interview by clicking here:
Even after losing six out of seven down the stretch and being involved in one of the most nerve tweaking pennant chases in recent South Atlantic League history, the team still has the swagger as they roll into Lake Olmstead Stadium tonight.
So what is there to look for here as we move forward? With seven All-Stars and a playoff position already set in stone, what can we expect from the second half of the season? Well, here are a couple of things that have crossed our paths in items to look for:
- Development – The Tourists certainly are not set to kick back on their laurels and eat Cheetos while dancing to the cupid shuffle. (The cupid shuffle is one of those songs played in most ball parks that tells people how to do the dance and subsequently is popular because everyone does the dance. See Macarena for more info. If you are not familiar, here is the link to it…
- Joe Mikulik and the Doug Linton will keep a constant eye on development and ability as the second half rolls along and some of the Tourists have a lot to look forward to and to work on. So for those who think “well they already won the first half of the season, so what’s the point?” Let us all keep in mind that winning, while good, is not necessarily the penultimate goal for everyone here. The goal is to advance and to advance means to get better as several players have done over the past few weeks including hot streaks by Kevin Clark, David Christensen and Lars Davis coming around nicely.
The North vs. the South – Yeah the South got kicked in the teeth during the All-Star Break in a 13-4 breakdown in Greensboro on Tuesday. League rumblings had everyone talking about how much better the Northern teams are. Here in the Blue Ridge we try to bring numbers to back our stuff up so, here we go –
Asheville is currently 14-8 against Northern Division opponents. First half champion of the North Lake County went 5-3 against the South.
Overall the South posted an 80-68 record in the first half against the North which would leave some to believe that the South had more wins against the North. Some people would look at those numbers and think “gee, the Southern teams defeated the Northern teams more times than the Northern Division teams defeated the Southern Division teams.” If only we could get John Madden to say it, then it would sound ridiculously true.
There are a couple of outliers in that mix of numbers. For instance, Kannapolis in the South played 59 of their 70 games against the Northern Divison, by far more than any other team. The Kannapolis club went 24-34 as the lead representative for the South. Kannapolis is one of the weaker teams in the division and may not be the best advocate for the Southern Division. However the North has a similar situation with the Hickory Crawdads. They played a similar amount of games with a similar result thus almost nullifying Kannapolis and their record. What we are left with is the South having four teams that posted 40 or more wins with the North coming in with just one. The 41-29 first half champion Lake County Captains. A congratulations to them, but a reminder, 41 wins in the Southern Division would get you third place and pat on the back.
Andrew Groves – The Groves Tribute Mix Click here –
The Tourists have been fortunate to maintain pretty much the same roster from opening day with the exception of Spence Nagy retiring and Andrew Groves being sent to Tri-City. Groves struggled here but was a fan favorite and a quirky guy who everyone liked having around. With that in mind, groves inspired us with his quote “it’s about to be Groves time” which led to the birth of “The Mix” During pregame at McCormick Field and during some of the latter innings on the Tourists broadcast the Mix can be heard as an inspirational tool. It pretty much contains highlights, themes and quotes from the world of the Tourists, baseball and life in general. The mix can be heard here..
and it is constantly changing as the season goes along. Groves pitched in Tri-City last night and struck out three batters in an 1 1/3 scoreless. There may be a time when Asheville will see Groves again.
That’s all we got for today, the blog had taken an extended hiatus, but will be back with regularity along with the Thoughts from the Bus comic strip. Till next time –