The I-Cubs Have Hit a Sandberg; Not Much Else
Whenever the Iowa Cubs finally win a game they will be the last team in the Paciifc Coast League to do so in 2010.
This afternoon they dropped their 4th straight to Nashville, 4-2, on a sunny blustery day in Des Moines. The team managed only eight runs while being swept by the Brewer wannabes.
The flags were waving like pretty girls on parade floats all day and Jason Dubois rode the wind way out of the ballpark into the parking lot beyond the leftfield wall to give the I-Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 2nd. It was his 70th career homer for the team, a total which has him second on the club's all-time career list. The only thing worse than being second on a minor league team's career HR chart is being first. Dubois needs 21 more to pass the forgettable Joe Hicks. Later in the game he made a tumbling catch in left, looking like a fleeing gunshot victim as he made the play to end the top of the 4th before he, naturally, led off the bottom.
Micah Hoffpauir made a similar play in RF that became a sacrifice fly and tied the game in the top of the 3rd.
Hoffpauir was also involved in a play that offered a chance to see the team's manager, #23, do some managing.
Perhaps being overly aggressive in an effort to shake the team's dormant offense awake, Sandberg eagerly beckoned the slow-footed Hoffpauir to 3rd in an attempt to stretch a run-scoring double into a triple with two outs in the home half of the 3rd. He was out on a close play to end the inning.
The other obvious button Ryno pushed worked better. His hit & run call in the 2nd resulted in a stolen base for an otherwise dead to rights Bryan LaHair when Marquez Smith whiffed at the pitch and Nashville catcher Ben Johnson threw the ball into center field, but that was as far as LaHair got.
Casey Coleman got the start on account of Ted Lilly's aching back and looked solid. It took him only 78 pitches to log six innings. Only two of the three runs he allowed were earned and he walked nobody while fanning four, three of them looking on a nice breaking pitch.
Sandberg patiently signed autographs before the game until 1:00 with a 1:05 start scheduled. It looked like a majority of the fans queued up for a signature were old enough to remember him from his playing days. He still looks in fighting trim in his uniform.
Most of my attendance was from the left field corner which is where the wind was blowing everything. The Dubois homer slalomed around the foul pole on its way to Kenmore, er, the parking lot, and both the hot dog & t-shirt bazookas recorded casualties in our picnic seating area. The hot dog gun bounced one off the back wall and took out a guy's brand new beer and a couple frames later a t-shirt made a direct hit on a tub of popcorn. It takes such measures to draw even momentary attention to the game itself. Such is the investment in winning and losing at the minor league level.
Next in town are the Memphis [F]Redbirds and our old friend Rich Hill, who used to do some of his best work at this ballpark, is slated to pitch on Thursday afternoon. I'll have to pass on account of work, but if Lilly actually does pitch on Wednesday night I'll try to be there.