Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blind man rules: Breaks go to Hammerheads

Adam Everett

Jupiter 8 at Fort Myers 4

W: D. McCall (4-2, 3.93); L: C. Devries (7-7, 2.79)
HR: JUP: L. Morrison (8), S. Cousins (6), S. McDougall (6). FTM: D. Berg (5), E. Tintor (5).

Home plate umpire Jason Cooksey awarded a win to the Jupiter Hammerheads Monday night. He is either legal blind, or he was paid off by Jupiter. I believe it was the latter, as his buddy, Kelvin Bultron appeared to be in on the deal.

Cole Devries took the start for the Miracle and the fact that he didn't actually throw the ball down in disgust and stalk off the field shows what a true professional he is. It all started with Cooksey's inability to tell the difference between a ball and a strike.

Cooksey awarded walks to the first two batters Devries faced. Logan Morrison then laced a line drive to left to load up the bags. Vasili Spanos' line drive scored Scott Cousins and the Miracle took Greg Burns out at home on the play. I'm surprised he actually called the Marlins' prospect out, despite it being clearly obvious that he was, in view of the events yet to come. Kevin Randel then flew out to left and little Yancarlos Ortiz, playing at 3rd base, made one of the gutsiest defensive plays I've ever seen at that position to keep Morrison pinned at 3rd. Spike McDougal (what a great name!) flew out to right fielder Eli Tintor to retire the side.

Mr. Tintor has a bit of a sore throat and is feeling a little under the weather. I found that amusing as I am feeling the same way and I haven't been kissing on him at all. I think it's just the nasty, rainy, weather has us all feeling a bit on the crappy side.

Logan Morrison would take Devries deep in the top of the 3rd going over the right field wall to make it 2-0 Hammerheads. Following a ground out to Spanos, Randel singled out to center. McDougall then fouled out - except that no - Cooksey called it a home run. Aside from the fact that everyone on the first base side of the stadium could clearly see it was a foul and aside from the fact that the ball was found in the field BEHIND the bullpen, clearly and well to the left of the foul pole, Cooksey ruled it was a home run. Jeff Smith argued but to no avail, getting himself tossed. The crowd of 1,326 - all 325 that were sitting on the first base side, plus the other 1,001 that were sitting in sections 113 and 114 all argued with the umpire. Happily, he does not have the power to eject the fans. However, just to show his disapproval of the way the crowd was now behaving, he allowed Jacob Blackwood to walk. Chris Hatcher ground into a force out and Guillermo Martinez was called out on walks.

(On a side note, Cooksey first ruled McDougal fouled, but then changed his mind after Jupiter field manager Brandon Hyde walked over to remind Cooksey he'd paid him off to call the game in favor of the Hammerheads.)

Derell McCall replaced Kyle Winters in the bottom of the stanza. Winters probably decided he didn't want to be on the same field with Cooksey - although Cooksey was ruling the Marlin's favor - and refuse to go back out.

Adam Everett ground out, before Steve Singleton knocked a line drive to right to get on board. The blind man then gave Wilson Ramos a walk. Whit Robbins hit a single to load the bags. Edward Ovalle then tried for a grand slam, but instead went down one, two, three, on strikes. Juan Portes would be hit by a pitch to force in a run, and Danny Berg would go down swinging.

Cousins singled then moved to 2nd on Burns sac bunt. He advanced to 3rd on Morrison's ground out and Spanos singled to score Cousins.

It had started to rain by this point and much of the 1,001 fans in section 113 and 114 tried to cram themselves under the shallow overhang up in the rafters.

Matthew Williams came out for the fifth inning and would keep the Hammerheads off the board.

Wilson Ramos singled in the bottom of the fifth and Whit Robbins put one over the left field fence that was immediately ruled a foul ball, and instead settled for double to center to score Ramos.

Despite being under the weather, Eli Tintor nailed one over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season. It would be a solo shot, off reliever Brad Stone who had just come in to take over for McCall.

Blackwood and Hatcher both singled in the top of the seventh and, one out later, Cousins belted a ball over the center field wall to add three more to the Hammerhead's total. There would be no discussion this time, as there isn't a foul pole anywhere near center field.

Danny Berg would get this home run in the bottom of the 8th to keep him tied with Tintor for five each.

Devries was give then loss by Cooksey and McCall got the win. Ramos was 2-for-3 in the game with a pair of walks and a run, Berg and Tintor were both 2-for-4 with home runs (which meant a run and a run batted in for each). Robbins was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Singleton was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a run.

The Miracle take All-star Tuesday off and then head out on the road for a four-game set at historic Jackie Robinson Stadium against the Daytona Cubs.

News Press

Justin Morneau Former Miracle Justin Morneau defeated a tired Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the final round of MLB's All-Star Home Run Derby, but it was Hamilton who was the story of the night. Hamilton hit a record 28 home runs in the first round of the contest before running out of gas. That broke Bobby Abreau's mark of 24 home runs set in the 2005 derby at Detroit's Comerica Park.

"It does seem kind of unfair that he didn't get to win the whole thing," Morneau was quoted as saying an an associated press article. "Anyone who was here won't forget that performance."

Morneau, the first Twin ever to win the Home Run Derby, hit a total of 22 home runs during the contest. He hit 8 in the first round to tie Astros first baseman Lance Berkman for second place behind Hamilton. He'd slug another 9 over the wall in the second round.

"I think it's good for kids growing up in Canada to see there's something we do other than play hockey, and we can do it at this level," Morneau was quoted as saying on twinsbaseball.com.

Morneau, Joe Mauer - another Miracle Alumni - and pitcher Joe Nathan will represent the Twins in Tuesday's MLB All-Star game at Yankee Stadium in New York, NY. The game will be aired on the FOX network and fans can vote online for the game's MVP. Visit www.mlb.com for more detials.

* The First Miracle Mystery Night Question was "Who stole 2nd base?" The rather lame answer "The lead off hitter" was guessed by an out-of-towner who won a number of prizes from various local establishments. This was another promotion where pieces of paper were hung on the wall all over the stadium.

* I waited about an hour and half - and was trampled on by innumerable kids - to get Adam Everett's autograph. Sort of makes me pine for the good old days when RonDL was rehabbing for the Miracle. However, I did get to hear the whole story of how Anthony Slama got his dog, David Bowie. As for the Johnny Cash music..."I love Johnny Cash," Slama explained.

* There was a 15 minute rain delay to start the game, and portions of the contest were played in a light drizzle. The joke in the clubhouse was "I'm not playing any more games with the tarp on the field!"

* Rochester Red Wing slugger Randy Ruiz was named the Twins minor league player for the month of June. Ruiz hit .360 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 29 games and had a .437 on-base percentage over that stretch.

* Tyler Robertson says he has not yet heard back on the results of his MRI. I reminded him the internet is holding it's collective breath on this one and that bloggers are over the place are quite concerned his arm is going to fall off. "Noooooooooo!" he laughed. "It's nothin' like that." Rene Tosoni has now adopted Robertson's hair style - or perhaps I should say lack there of. Tyler keeps his head shaved, and I can't for the life of me, imagine what he would look like with hair.

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