Ok, such as Western North Carolina went without rain for most of the month of August, the Blog has gone just as long without an entry. That drought ends today with Asheville wrapping up their three-game series with the Greenville Drive and begining their final series of the regular season against Augusta on Saturday before the playoffs begin on August 3rd.
Hey Now You’re An All-Star…
Even Smashmouth thinks thats a lot of star power
This week the post season all star roster was announced and to nobody’s surprise the Tourist had a fair share of representation. Joe Mikulik earned manager of the year for the second straight season and Michael Mitchell, Helder Velazquez and Darin Holcomb all earned All-Star honors. On top of that domination, Jhoulys Chacin was tapped as the best right hander in the league despite leaving to High-A Modesto shortly after the All-Star break. The Tourists have more star power than the Democratic National Convention, all we need now is some Sheryl Crow.. oh wait here she is…. You can click here to hear the Tourists congratulations to there stars…
all star final .mp3
Did you say Dalmations..or Domination?
101.. that’s the amount of runs Darin Holcomb has batted in this season. While the term
“101” might indicate either an introductory course for Biology or English class, Holcomb is the one doing the teaching in the SAL this season. Voted as the league MVP on Tuesday Holcomb’s numbers are atop the leader board in nearly every offensive category. His 46 doubles is one shy of the Asheville franchise record set by Hal Magert in 1937 and a six RBI night on Thursday pushed Holcomb up 101 driven in on the season. It ha been sheer dominations for the 12th round selection by Colorado. Holcomb has gone quietly about his business leading the Tourists into the playoffs and hopefully into the championship series. So while 101 might mean a Disney dalmation to some, for Holcomb it is another day at the ballpark and a season that has been anything but spotty.
Asheville has endured two big losses -some would call spankings or whitewashings – at the hands of the Columbus Catfish. Clearly Columbus is not the same team the Tourists beat seven of eight times in May as the Catfish are now tied with Asheville for second place in the second-half standings and are fighting for their post-season lives. However Asheville has received giant production from unexpected sources such as Brian Lapin (three homeruns in the past three games) and Brent Bowman.
“Brian Lapin delivers the Championship Bulldog Power”
For Lapin it is a relief to see the Fresno State product pick up the pace and recover from injuries that he endured at the beginning of the season. Perhaps the emergence of Lapin can be better summed up by the famous cartoon character He-Man: “By the Power of Greyskull, I have POWER!.” The Rockies and Lapin knew that all along.
As for Bowman, the Tourists are able to float along without Jeffrey Cunningham who is still recovering from a strained muscle. Bowman was called up from Tri City during the last homestand and has been making solid contact ever since. With Bowman in the lineup, Joe Mikulik has been able to use Darin Holcomb as the number three hitter and gives the skipper what looks to be a solid RBI style bat.
The pitching is a whole different concern and we will reserve judgment on Australian Shane Lindsay until his next couple of outings. Lindsay in a limited debut for Asheville had an impressive 2 2/3 innings pitched on Saturday and delivered explosive mid- 90’s fastballs before leaving in the third inning.
To sum up some sentiments around the Park, here for everyone’s pleasure once again is the Comic strip. Enjoy. For the full readable version click here
Disclaimer: – There is no wining or crying tone in this article. Read it with a grin or in the words of Jack Black from the Movie High Fidelity it is “intended for a conversation stimulator man!”
You might not remember, or maybe you do. It was not all that long ago. June 15th the Tourists entered the latter innings against Hickory needing some magic to pull out a first half championship. David Christensen delivered a prolific three-run blast and Joey Williamson held down the fort coming out of the bullpen as the Tourists won 8-6 to lock up a 2008 playoff birth over the Charleston RiverDogs.
It almost didn’t happen. Almost. A slippery slope to go down but lets assume for an instant that the team with the best record in baseball (68-39) had to go into a one game playoff against the RiverDogs. Toss aside the fact that the Tourists had handily beaten Charleston in six of eight games. The rules state that the tiebreaker to determine the first half champion is not a reflection of head-to head matchups, but instead it is a one-game playoff the next time the two teams meet.
Forget for a moment how ridiculous that rule is. Rules are there for a reason right? Or better put from John Goodman’s character in the movie The Big Lebowski “This is not Nam, there are rules”
So, what if the Tourists did not win on June 15th? Imagine for a moment if the Tourists and the RiverDogs had tied to end the first half of the season. Marvel Comics used to have a titled called “What If?” where the writers would creat all sorts of crazy scenarios and the heroes all ended up dead or turned evil or the X Men would lose their powers and finish the book as barista’s at a local coffee shop. So in the same theme as those comics here is your What If?
The Team goes into a funk, losing 7 of the next eight and 14 of 15 prompting everyone to start pointing fingers at one another.
The Entire team shaves their heads in protest of the archaic tie-breaker rule.
The Bus breaks down in the middle of July heading from Savannah to Charleston for the one-game playoff, causing several players to question the meaning of life and the plausibility of a higher power.
While waiting for AAA (the automotive service not the level of baseball) the team’s bald skulls get sun burnt so badly, three players are forced on the DL and Trainer Chris Dovey quits with the words “Rubbing bald heads with aloe vera is not in this job description”
The scheduled one-game playoff is rained out forcing the teams to play a doubleheader the following day. The “playoff” game is now a seven inning contest in front of 450 fans.
The New York Yankees send both Phillip Hughes and Carl Pavano for rehab appearances forcing Asheville to face two Major League arms in the playoff game. Both big leaguers hurl three innings and Jonathan Ortiz closes the game with a scoreless seventh.
Bruce Billings goes the full seven innings for the Tourists allows one run, a solo homer to Jesus Montero and the Tourists lose 1-0.
Okay, so some of that is out of the question, but truth be told the Tourists will face Phillip Hughes and Carl Pavano in the game tonight, in what could have been, may have been a playoff game. What if….What if…
“The Fans Chant… ‘I am Cunningham’ to the tune of Iron Man…”
Asheville rallied from an 8-2 deficit – with four runs in the ninth inning – to win in walkoff and dramatic fashion in the tenth inning on Wednesday. Jeffrey Cunningham was the hero this time joining Brian Rike, Darin Holcomb and Helder Velazquez as Tourists’ with walkoff hits this season. Lets take a quick look: The homer can be heard here…
Helder Opens It up – Opening Day against Lexington Helder Velazquez hits a ball over
the centerfielder’s head in the 11th to plate Michael Mitchell and Asheville wins 5-4. Craig Baker pitched the top of the inning with two strikeouts to pick up the win…
Brian Rike walksoff – Cinco De Mayo celebration a 5-4 victory over the Savannah SandGnats. Rike smacks his 7th homer of the season to “announce his presence with authority.” The Tourists were on the verge of losing three consecutive games against the Sand Gnats unitl Rike’s prophetic blast. An RBI sac fly from Warren Schaeffer and an RBI single from David Christensen in the eighth set the stage for Rike’s coupe de grace… Rike’s homerun heard here…
Rike Walkoff 5.5.08.mp3
Holcomb’s Doubles Do It – A 2-1 win over Hickory that featured a pitching match up
between Chacin and Duke Welker. Neither starter allowed an earned as David Christensen hit his eighth homerun of the season in the seventh to tie the game and Holcomb Doubled in Michael Mitchell in the bottom of the tenth. Holcomb was credited with a single but could have had a double if he touched second base. Bruce Billing followed up the win the next day with a seven strong innings as the Tourists take two of three form Hickory.
The Comic Continues – This time radio broadcaster Eric Little makes his comic debut. For the readable version just click here
Asheville won both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday, with Connor Graham tossing another seven inning shutout. The Tourists hold the best record in baseball at 61-33 and the comic continues… for the readable version click here… and for last night’s Sitel “call of the game”, Darin Holcomb’s homerun click here.
The Comic coming back in full force… for the readable version just click here…….. Asheville trying to bounce back from the extra-inning loss to Lake County on Friday.
Thats right! The comic will be making a comeback and to get a clear, readable version of today’s version simply click here… enjoy