Archive for June 2nd, 2008

The Burning Bus

Photo of Delhi bus crash for sensationalistic purposes only.

Road trips are huge in any sport. To have a realistic shot at a championship, a team has to be able to win on the road. Sometimes your team comes home after a few wins, riding into town like the conquering heroes. Sometimes they drop a ton of games and slink back home to the only comfort they have left – sleeping in their own beds.

But the Clarinda A’s of the National Baseball Congress may very well be taking cabs back home, or walking, after their primary mode of transportation spontaneously combusted in the wilds of Missouri:

The bus caught fire from a tire blowout on Interstate 29 near Faucett and was extensively burned, said Ryan Eberly, manager of the Clarinda A’s. There were no injuries and all 25 team members were able to safely evacuate the bus, Mr. Eberly said.

[stjoenews.net]

I once moved all of my possessions from Denver to Virginia, and I can say without reservation that the highways of Missouri are by far the worst I have ever driven on. I was towing my car behind a moving van, and it jounced through so many potholes that it had almost come off the trailer by the time we hit St. Louis. So it comes as no surprise that a mechanical mishap would overtake the A’s in the Show Me State.

Fortunately, everyone is safe, though they will have to replace the team’s equipment. But the burning bus has led me to discover something that was in my backyard the entire time I lived in the midwest – the National Baseball Congress. The Congress was the brainchild of Wichita, KS businessman Hap Dumont, who entertained dust-bowl era fans by bringing in Satchel Paige and his barnstorming team, and his semi-pro baseball tournament has been played continuously since 1931 in his hometown.

Best wishes to the Clarinda A’s – I hope some local Iowa businessman sees his way clear to buy some new equipment to replace what was lost.

[Hat tip: Walkoff Walk]

Photos of the Elusive Minotaur

Bus Leagues correspondent Will G. took a pilgrimage from his home in Brooklyn last week in hopes of photographing the elusive Minotaur, also known as Clayton Kershaw. We are a blog with a minor league focus, but during the first season of a player’s call-up, we definitely like to follow them and see how things turn out.

Here’s Kershaw pitching against the New York Mets in Shea, with Will’s commentary:

On the DiamondVision. It was the second consecutive walk, to Castillo in the bottom of the third, that precipitated the visit. Pitching coaches hate that.

Bottom of the third. Reyes walked, Castillo walked, Wright walked. Reyes is about to score on Beltran’s sac fly to center. Could’ve been a lot worse; Beltran hit it pretty well.

Kershaw at rest.

Kershaw in action. Kind of like an ’82 Topps card.

Bottom of the fourth. Three straight singles, two fielder’s choices, and a walk, and that was all she wrote.

Chan Ho Park would get the final out, no further damage done. There was a small smattering of applause for the Minotaur.

Looks like a nice night out at the ballpark. Even though the Minotaur had a rough outing, it must have been nice to actually see how the legend compared to reality. Thanks again for the great pics, Will!

[Will’s flickr photo set]

Breaking News: Jay Bruce Is Good At Baseball

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. – Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction (1994)

Yes, I realize that Jay Bruce has played but six games at the major league level.  Yes, I realize that the only players with higher or equal slugging percentages over their first six career games are Mike Jacobs, Craig Wilson, Sam Horn, and Mitchell Page.  Yes, I realize that he will not hit .591 for the entire season.

But hot damn, The Deal is off to quite the start, isn’t he? 

I first thought about writing this post the other day, following Bruce’s hot start in the first two games of the year.  Then I looked closer at the stats and thought to myself, “An 0-3 in his third game?  No homeruns?  Not as impressive as I thought.

Apparently, and I of course did not know this at the time, Jay Bruce can read minds, and my thoughts displeased him.  He responded by hitting his first major league homerun a day or two later – not just any homerun, either, but a walkoff that beat the Braves in the tenth inning – and added another four-bagger on Sunday in a 6-2 Reds win.

This is why we nicknamed this kid The Deal (although at the rate he’s going, he might have three or four more by the time he’s done).

(Oh, and what’s the deal with that Pulp Fiction quote up top?  Tell me it’s not fun to imagine Bruce saying that to the catcher every time he comes up to bat.)

This Week In Bobbleheads, Part 2

Monday, June 2
None

Tuesday, June 3
Long Island Ducks – Quackerjack (Go Green) Figurine (Mascot)

Wednesday, June 4
Greenville Drive – Clay Buchholz Statue
Lakewood BlueClaws – Kyle Kendrick (Made the Phillies)
Philadelphia Phillies – Jimmy Rollins (NL MVP)

Thursday, June 5
Lakewood BlueClaws – Cole Hamels Figurine
Los Angeles Dodgers – Takashi Saito

Friday, June 6
Lexington Legends – Abe Lincoln
New Hampshire Fisher Cats – David Ortiz
Oakland Athletics – Kurt Suzuki
Peoria Chiefs – Derrek Lee
Pittsburgh Pirates – Richie Hebner
Portland Sea Dogs – Josh Beckett

Saturday, June 7
Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki
Hagerstown Suns – Elizabeth Schulze (Conductor)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Brian Poldberg
Tulsa Drillers – Matt Holliday Figurine

Sunday, June 8
None