Yes, I have been a bit lax, the Fantasy Camp reunion was a few days ago. I would have posted much sooner had I had better news.
Apparently, for me, bats are afraid. My hitting was none too good during the Field of Dreams game or the PNC Park reunion mini-game, and my fielding was only slightly better than that. On the plus side, I did close it out by playing some nice middle infield with Laurie to end the PNC park game. I suspect it was just enough to convince me to attend the 2014 Pirates Fantasy Camp...
I have had a couple of days to reflect on my week, and it was a great week. Team Waner came together when it counted and played very good baseball. It was a real fun time even though I could not seem to get much going either at the plate or in the field.
Let me give a quick shout out to the members of Team Waner. Thanks to Richie Hebner and Bob Walk (our pro staff), Scott May (staff assistant), Dick Davis (Bradenton Booster), and fellow players Paul, Ty, Matt, Jerry, Jack, Nick, Mark, Laurie, Marty, John, and Julie. Everyone gave it their all and I hope that the team can reunite more or less intact for the reunion game coming up on June.
Here were my final batting statistics for the week:
.524 batting average
11 hits in 21 at-bats
3 runs scored
9 runs batted in
4 strikeouts (ouch!)
3 hit by
And some additional statistics:
26 plate appearances
slugging percentage (12 total bases in 21 at-bats)
.615 on base percentage
(16 times on base in 26 plate appearances)
I'll be signing off for a while to try to recover from my myriad of injuries, unless something really important happens. Go Bucs!
It was nice to play the second pro staff game of the day for a change instead of the eighth game of the day as I did in my first two camps, it left most of the day free. We didn't expect to do very well against the pros, and as it turns out that was exactly what happened. I played a couple of innings in the outfield and unfortunately dropped a fly ball hit by Omar Moreno, and at bat, I face Zane Smith who was really dealing. As per usual for this camp, I had the hardest hit ball of our game against Zane, but it was right back at him, and he flagged it down and threw me out at first.
Getaway day was pretty uneventful, and as I close out the narrative part of the blog for this year's camp, I am back amidst the snowy plains of Ohio.
I will post some camp summaries after I get a chance to recover a bit.
I was not sure what to expect heading into my first playoff game in 3 Fantasy Camp tries. Would we fall behind early and come back late as per usual in all our wins, or would be not sharp in the field or at bat and get drilled?
As it turns out, the answer is neither. Our morning playoff game was against the other division's first place Team Clemente (5 wins and 1 loss) on field 1, the team that we had lost to on Tuesday. The game was a well played game this time, as we opened up a 6 to 2 lead in the first half of the game and closed them out in the last half of the game to win by a score of 6 to 4 to advance to the Championship Game. At the plate, I had a single with 1 RBI, a ground out with 1 RBI, and another ground out. In the field, I played 4 innings in right field with no chances.
So in the afternoon, the Championship Game pitted Team Waner vs. Team Cuyler managed by Steve Blass and Bill Mazeroski. Unfortunately, our overachieving team fell short to a team with vastly superior talent, and lost by a final score of 11 to 4. At the plate, I had a single, a hit by pitch, and a strikeout, and in the field, I played 3 innings in right field with one running catch. For our final defensive inning, they put me in left field, but I did not make it through the inning, as I injured my finger trying to make a catch and had to leave the game.
Friday is the game versus the pro staff, which only lasts 3 innings. Which is good because I am not sure how much more my body can take.
The Wednesday double header action for Team Waner saw yet another improbable comeback and another split of the games played.
In the morning game on field 3, we trailed Team Stargell by a score of 7 to 2 entering the bottom of the 6th, at which point we scored 5 to tie the game. We then closed the door in the top of the 7th to set the stage for some hitting heroics by Nick Senuta to give us an 8 to 7 win. In this game, I had a bases loaded walk for 1 RBI, a single with an RBI, a hit by pitch, and another hit by pitch to put runners on 1st and 2nd right before Nick's hit. In the field, I played 4 innings in right field with no chances.
This win gave us a record of 3 wins and 2 losses, and due to our victories over opponents in our division, we clinched a playoff spot. (My first playoff game in my 3rd camp. I was thinking I would never be on a playoff team.)
So in the afternoon game 6 on field 2, both our team and Team Cuyler had wrapped up playoff spots, so the game had more of an exhibition game feel to it. We ended up losing a pitcher's duel by a score of 20 to 16. At the plate, I had a single with an RBI, a double with an RBI, and a ground out, and in the field, I played 3 innings in left field with no real chance to make any plays due to gusting winds, and I played 3 innings as catcher. Oh, and I should mention that Paul Speer, our star center fielder, hit a massive homerun over the fence. It may have been wind aided, but it was still a shot.
So our league play record here at camp ended up at an even 3 wins and 3 losses. Everyone on the team contributed, and so far the camaraderie and comebacks have been fun.
For Thursday morning's playoff game, we just need to get behind by 5 runs or so entering the 6th and 7th inning, and we will have the other team right where we want them.
Team Waner's record evened at 2 wins and 2 losses with an unfortunate loss to Team Clemente. Their pitching was very strong and we just could not get enough going to outscore them.
My own personal day was not very good as I struck out, scored a run as a pinch runner, beat out an infield single for 1 RBI, and struck out again. In the field, I played 4 innings in right field with no chances. I did back up a couple of plays to help our team out defensively, but in my opinion that hardly makes up for striking out twice, each time with a runner on third and less than 2 outs.
The evening cookout was fine, as I got a bunch of cards and balls signed.
Wednesday is the final day of the league play with a double header scheduled. It would be best for Team Waner to obviously win both games, so we shall see how it goes.
There was good and bad on day 2 of the Pirates Fantasy Camp for Team Waner.
In the morning game on field 4, we could not get much going in the way of offense and lost to Team Traynor by a score of 9 to 1. In the batter's box, I flied out, hit a single, and flied out again, and in the field, I played 4 innings in right field with one nice running catch.
So with a record of 1 win and 1 loss, we knew that the afternoon game was going to be critical. We trailed by 3 runs going into the bottom of the 6th inning against Team Vaughan, but the comeback kids made another appearance as we rallied in our last time at bat to win the game by a score of 13 to 9. At the plate, I had a single with 1 RBI, 1 run scored as a pinch runner, a strike out (real bad strike calls by the umps this week, they must have a group date or something), and another single. And in the field, again I played 4 innings in right field with no chances.
Wednesday is a single game, and it would be very important to get to a record of 3 and 1.
Well, the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Camp has officially begun. Sure, the opening banquet was on Saturday night, and that was all well and good. Sunday was when the real action started.
First up was the 5 inning evaluation game. I was put onto Team 5, and we played Team 7 on Field 3 (the turf field here at Pirate City). At the plate, this 2013 camp began with me getting hit by a pitch twice in my only two plate appearances of the game. In the field, I played 1 inning in right field with no chances, 1 inning in center field with no chances, and 1 marathon inning as the catcher. The evaluation game ended with our team on the short end of the stick, but it was only an evaluation game so no big deal.
After the game was over, I was drafted by Richie Hebner and Bob Walk onto Team Waner. I played for Bob Walk at last year's camp, and I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. (Even though we did not win a single game in 2012.)
In the afternoon, we played our first league game on Field 4 vs. Team Wagner. The game started out a bit rough as we fell behind in the middle innings, and found ourselves reaching the top of the 7th inning trailing by a score of 11 to 6. We were not to be denied however, as we scored 9 runs in the top of the 7th and then retired the Wagners in order in the bottom of the 7th to win the game by a score of 15 to 11. Personally, I played 4 innings in right field with no chances, and at the dish, I had a single and 1 RBI with the bases loaded, had another single, grounded into a fielder's choice (my hardest hit ball of the day, right at someone of course), and I walked and scored a run in the final inning. Unfortunately, I started getting some painful cramps in my calves when I was on the basepaths in that 7th inning, so it is fortunate I was able to hold it together long enough to cross the plate.
Double header Tuesday, hopefully the legs will hold out.
By the way, I would like to give a shout out to Kent Tekulve, the camp commissioner who, due to illness, was unable to be here for the start of camp. We are hopeful that he can make it down to Florida by the end of the camp. Get well, Teke.
The long wait for the 2013 Pirates Fantasy Camp is almost over. I look forward with anticipation to seeing Joe B., Teke, and the rest of the crew. My goal this year is to be on a team that does not finish in last place, who do I see or pay off to make that happen?