BLOGGING from the BULLPEN: An Entry From Craig Baker and Company
“Sunday FUN-day, No Run Day.”
Speaking for the ‘bullpen’ I don’t think we could have started this blog entry on a more momentous day. Sunday is our favorite day of the week because we do not have conditioning prior to the games on Sundays! I know it doesn’t sound like it is THAT great, or THAT important, but to us it means the world. A majority of the Sundays we also don’t have to shag batting practice for the hitters, and to the ‘bullpen’ that means A LOT.
There are actually some harrowing stories we have from the days
that we DID have to shag batting practice on Sundays but we will get into that on another day. As for today’s game, we will do our best to give you an idea of what we see from deep down the foul lines of these minor league parks that you may or may not hear of every day.
Shaggy? Shagging? Shag This! Not Today Baby!
Today’s game took place in Augusta, Georgia. Many of you know Augusta as the home of the Master’s Golf Championship (which by the way you can not see a single speck of the golf course from the street), but to the bullpen, it is know as the home of the Augusta Greenjackets.
Augusta’s Finest Patio and Bullpen furniture
We are located down the left field foul line on our broken plastic chairs and warped wooden benches in the dark corner of the outfield. We will do our best to give you an inning by inning recap of what took place in the bullpen on June 22nd, 2008.
– Today we did some minor cleaning in the bullpen picking up the empty energy drink cans and gum wrappers from previous days.
The Burning Question is what type of gum?
After we were all in our seats for the game, we began to watch the Tourists offense work their magic while trying to keep the heckling fans at bay as they walk into the park. A lot of times fans will yell at us the most on ‘Thirsty Thursday’ or the Friday and Saturday games, but today was no exception and they let us know what they really thought of us as they walked by the chain link fence toward the entrance of the ball park.
– Generally in the second inning we talk about things that we may have seen on television or events happening throughout the baseball world. Today our focus was on the ‘pregnancy pact’ happening in Massachusetts (of course while at the same time watching Connor masterfully pitch against the Greenjackets).
From those topics, we branched into a whole slew of other topics ranging from marriage and families, to careers and our thoughts on each issue…
Also a No Spin Zone, Fox would be proud
– Today’s third inning was more of a sad inning for the bullpen. We have noticed a bird set up its nest next to the outfield wall the past couple days and has been nurturing its eggs everyday. After speaking to the other team’s left fielder, we found that the nest was no longer intact and it appears as though the eggs were gone. Last night, a few of the player’s noticed a stray cat walking around the left field area (yes stray cat’s spend some time around the minor league ball parks) and we feel the nest being destroyed may be at the hands of the cat. Our hearts go out to the bird and its family; it is a shame that they had to go through such tragedy.
– The fourth inning is generally a time when the long relievers will begin to mill around and drink their energy drinks. As of late, almost all of our relievers have been drinking Monster energy drinks, but from time to time we will mix it up and try something new…
Two out of three Bullpeners prefer the low carb variety
The fourth inning is a good time for all of the relievers to ‘shake the dust off’ and start stretching because they can be called on at any time (A lot of times our starters like to leave us down there for much longer though, very inconsiderate of them right?). Today we recognized how well Connor was pitching so the urgency wasn’t too high today until later in the game.
– During the fifth inning is when the bullpen starts to get really anxious to get into the game. We all want to pitch all the time but as part of the bullpen we know when it is our time to pitch and what we have to do when we get in there. A lot of times we continue to stretch and talk about different hitters and such.
Many times, this is while the fans tell us what they think of our families, loved ones and the team. It generally isn’t for the faint of heart.
…. “There is not a ‘Your Mom comment’, we have not heard”
– In the middle of the sixth inning our late relievers like to open up their energy drinks and get the stretching routine going. This can be a pretty nerve racking time but we do our best to keep it loose with jokes and light heartedness. You can’t take it too seriously or you’ll be too uptight to perform. With the game moving along pretty well and our team on top, no one was especially nervous today. We like to keep it pretty confident down in the corner of the outfield.
– If not before now, the seventh inning is generally the time for the relievers to do their work. If you can imagine what a little kid placed in timeout being released to go play is like, you have a pretty good idea of the bullpen atmosphere. Our bullpen is a pretty selfless group and you will find us rooting one another on once one of us is out there.
Gotta Have WA
We don’t have anything against the starters, we love them too, but when you spend hours with the same people everyday you either grow tired of them or become closer. In this case, we have definitely become a much more, tight knit group.
– If a reliever hasn’t been put into the game by now we are generally excited because it’s a good indication we are winning, but also because our starter (like Connor today) is doing exceptionally well. So it is a win, win situation for us in the event that this happens. One thing I would like to mention about today’s game though, is that Joey Williamson made a comment about how quick the game was going. If you have ever spent more then two minutes down in the bullpen, you would surely know that you NEVER talk about the pace of the game because the baseball god’s never sleep.
Joey Delivers the Kiss of Death on the pace of the game
They will drag that game out as long as they like to prove their point. NEVER TALK ABOUT THE PACE OF THE GAME!
– The ninth inning is often the most exciting time in the bullpen because we get to ‘finish’ the game. The ending of a game has a lot more to do with the games than what the box score will show. Often times a late rally from a team, even if they lose, can give them confidence and get their momentum rolling into the next day. Whenever the bullpen can close the door on a game it is a good indication of positive things for the team. Today Escalona was able to get the job done and keep the Greenjackets from building any real momentum for tomorrow.
Well hopefully this wasn’t too long and monotonous for those of you that read it, but that is a pretty general look into what the bullpen gets to see and do in the deepest, darkest parts of most ballparks around the S.A.L. league. There is much more to be covered from game to game but hopefully that should be enough for now. Of course feel free to have any questions you’d like answered. Also, any suggestions you might have for the blog or for us down in the bullpen are suggested and welcome!
Now For the Rest of the Story
Connor Graham got what he was owed on Sunday with an eight inning shutout performance. Graham had not picked up a win since May second despite several solid starts of similar fashion. The offense put together four consecutive hits in the third inning and David Christensen delivered the Sitel call of the game (can be heard here….
Christensen 7th.6.21.08.mp3) with his seventh homerun of the season in the fourth. The Tourists shutout Augusta for the second time in this series and have a chance to take the rubber match tonight with Cory Riordan on the mound.
Augusta has been a fine host to the Tourists and the city appears to have an even brighter baseball future with Ripken Baseball looking to build a downtown facility. The one knock on the ballpark is the food is just plain AW- awful. We know complaining about the food is not a big concern for many fans back home (just shut up, eat the hot dog and get fat and lazy like every other broadcaster please. And say the score and inning more often please no one cares about your eating habits) but this complaint has been well documented by the fans and has been addressed publicly by the team, if you are really interested here is the link regarding everything Augusta, including the hockey puck hamburgers.
I mention this only because the lack of tasty ball park food here has lead us to an addiction to Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” soups on the go. These things are fantastic and I am upset no one told us about them sooner. They heat up in one minute and can be held and sipped around the office or ballpark like a cup of coffee. Toss the damn
Frappachino/Coolata $6 coffee thing out the window. The Soup at Hand is easily the best invention since Velcro.
Better than the Lunchable? Perhpas…
We will be eating one for lunch everyday for the rest of the season. No need for Chinese take out. Honestly, these need to become trendy before they stop making them like what happened to the TV show Arrested Development or even Crystal Pepsi.
“Was I that bad? BRING ME BACK!”
The Comic Strip will be making a comeback along with a new section of blogging with the bullpen.