My company has a softball team in the soon-to-be world famous Reading-Berks Business Softball League (RBBSL). Sadly, we were eliminated from playoff contention a couple weeks back after a tough loss to the squad from EnerSys. Last Monday, we assembled at Cacoosing Meadows for our final game of the season, another tough battle against the accountants of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher. On the field next to us, it was a battle between EnerSys and the Reading Phillies (their front office). As rec. league softball goes, it was huge game — the R-Phils won 10-9 and punched their ticket to the post-season while sending EnerSys home for a long winter.
After the game, I was chatting with my buddy from the R-Phils and he informed me that the R-Phils had just announced some big news…
…Pedro Martinez would be making a rehab start for the R-Phils on Wednesday, August 5th.
Baseballtown was a buzz. A future hall of famer was about to grace the mound at FirstEnergy Stadium. I was in the middle of a ridiculously busy week at work. But I decided I’d take a short break on Wednesday night so Tim and I could check out Pedro on his comeback trail.
By the way, do you see the guy pictured just below Pedro on the R-Phils website? That’s Mike Zagurski. He’s had a cup of coffee in Philadelphia and boasts a spotless MLB record of 1-0. A couple weeks back, my softball team faced off against the R-Phils on the night of the MLB All-Star game. It was also MiLB All-Star break so Zagurski and a couple other professional R-Phils players came out to Cacoosing Meadows to cheer on their softball team….and to heckle mine. Well, mostly, I think they were there to heckle us. And they heckled us, and heckled us…and then they heckled us some more. Ultimately, we lost the game by one run. But the silver lining is that I can now say I’ve been heckled by someone who has pitched in the major leagues. Not too shabby.
After our softball game, I ordered a ticket to the game online. Entry was free for Tim (0-4 is free at the R-Phils). It was a good thing I ordered it online because, for the first time in team history (or so I’m told) the R-Phils completely sold out. As the sign says, they even sold out of standing room only tickets.
We actually got lucky, on the way home from work to get ready to head to the game, my buddy called and said he had four extra tickets. Someone had given them to him, but he already had tickets. He ended up giving them to us so we’d have reserved seats and wouldn’t have to battle the crowd for General Admission seats or standing room. It was defintely a good thing, because check out how crowded it was at the game…
As we arrived, they were announcing the starting line-ups.
“And pitching for your Reading Phillies, warming up in the bullpen, Pedro Martinez.”
We headed straight to the bullpen, and got there in time to watch about two pitches before Pedro was officially “warm.” So we walked back toward the grand stand with Pedro, his catcher and pitching coach Steve Schrenk walking right down the foul line along with us.
Notice that Pedro is wearing No. 41 rather than his usual No. 45. In that last photo, Schrenk’s pullover is covering up Pedro’s number. Based on a close analysis and comparison of Schrenk’s and Pedro’s career numbers, it probably wouldn’t have killed Schrenk to give up No. 45 for a night. Although, it obviously didn’t kill Pedro to give No. 41 a test drive.
The R-Phils took the field and Pedro did some more warming up:
And then it was time, Austin Krum stood in and Pedro delivered his first pitch in Double-A baseball since he was a 19 year old kid in 1991 pitching for the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League:
The At-Bat would not go well for Krum.
However, things would go much better for Edwin Nunez in the first inning:
Nunez hit a bomb that landed inside that yellow circle up there.
The rest of the inning went much better for Pedro:
- K – Austin Krum
- K – Reegie Corona
- HR – Edwin Nunez
- K – Chris Malec
Totals: 3 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
All the while, Tim was enjoying a chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:
By the way, here was our view:
Next, the R-Phils came to the plate. Did you pay attention to the Phillies-Blue Jays Roy Halladay trade talks? One name you might have heard tossed around was Dominic Brown. Well, in the bottom of the first, Brown absolutely crushed a ball to tie the score up at 1-1:
Building on his early total of three strike outs, Pedro kept dealing in the top of the second:
- K – P. J. Pilittere
- K – Richie Robnett
- ground out – Edwar Gonzalez
Totals: 5 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
Between innings, the R-Phils kept us entertained with the antics of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor:
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor throws hot dogs into the stands much to the delight of the fans. However, on this day, thrown hot dogs were not enough to satisfy the capacity crowd. We wanted more Pedro. And in the top of the third, he delivered again:
Top of the third results:
- K – James Cooper
- K – Marcos Vechionacci
- ground out – Austin Krum (Pedro hustles over and covers first)
Totals: 7 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
In the bottom of the third, it was D-Bro time again — and he delivered again…
…not a home run this time…
…a solid double. This guy is looking good.
Tim was pretty excited for two reasons…
1) he had his glove and he was ready to catch a foul ball — but none came anywhere near us, and…
2) Our Arby’s Roast Beef batter was at the plate. If Brian Stavisky could hit in D-Bro from second base, we’d all win free roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s — unfortunately, Stavisky didn’t come through for us.
After someone else did Stavisky’s job (no free roast beef for us), Pedro was back to the mound in the top of the fourth.
By the way, ever heard of Reegie Corona? He plays for the Trenton Thunder. However, last February-March, as a result of the Rule 5 draft, he played for our Seattle Mariners. I never saw him bat on TV during the spring, so I didn’t know about his crazy wide stance. Check it out:
…but the important thing is that Pedro had his payback on his Double-A arch nemisis, Edwin Nunez:
Top of the fourth results:
- K – Reegie Corona
- K – Edwin Nunez
- single – Chris Malec
- ground out to S.S. – P. J. Pilittere
Totals: 9 Strike Outs, 2 Hit
After the top of the fourth, something funny happened that I thought was noteworthy. After the ground out to end the inning, Stavisky (the R-Phils first basemen) rolled the ball back to the pitcher’s mound. Third basemen Neil Sellers ran by the ball to the dugout. Then, he turned around and back to the mound and grabbed the ball. I was watching him and I figured he wanted the ball to keep as a keepsake from his game backing up Pedro Martinez. But he went and grabbed the ball and threw it to a fan above the dugout. I thought that was pretty cool. He knew someone would want that Pedro-pitched ball.
Anyway, I took one last picture of the field, it was a beautiful night for baseball…
…but, as I said, I was crazy busy at work this week. So we cut our night short after four innings so I could go home and work, work, work. But it was an excellent four innings of getting to see Pedro pitch some minor league ball. And the R-Phils did an excellent job playing host to a huge crowd for the night.
Pedro ended up having two more strike outs over two more innings. He gave up a couple more tuns, one of which was unearned. We’ll see how he holds up when he makes it to Philadelphia. I was watching the gun throughout the night. I saw one pitch clock in at 91 mph. But he seemed to throw mostly curves and change ups that were in the 60s and 70s. In fact, he had one curve that was 64 mph.