The career of center Shaquille O’Neal has come to an end, and he went out in style. Shaq invited the media to his house, and he treated them to lunch and a laugh-filled press conference.
O’Neal played for six franchises, and he was a winner everywhere he went. However, his lasting legacy will be the incredible personality that he had. It was awesome to watch him joke his way through a “goodbye” press conference.
Oh, and one more basketball note: Dirk Nowitzki is really, really good at basketball. And Miami is spinning with that reality right now.
Now, some baseball in today’s Facts.
- We talked about Renny Osuna in yesterday’s blog, and he came through yet again. But, Osuna would not have been the hero without Tommy Mendonca’s big blast in the ninth. Mendonca has been great in the late innings this year. He has hit five of his 12 homers in the eighth inning or later, and he has a .302 batting average in the “late innings.”
- It looked very bleak for the ‘Riders going into that final inning. Frisco had mustered only a walk in four innings against the Northwest Arkansas bullpen. Both Mendonca and Mike Bianucci, who led off the ninth with a single, had been 0-for-3 prior to the frame. The single and homer extended both men’s road on-base streak to 23 games, which spans the entire season.
- For what it is worth, Osuna was also hitless in three at bats when he gave the RoughRiders their first lead of the game in the tenth inning. His long ball was the catalyst to the club’s sixth extra-inning win and 11th comeback victory.
- Jake Brigham had to labor through his outing yesterday, but the righty found a way to gut through five innings. Over his last three starts, Brigham has not had his best stuff (9.26 ERA), but he still has worked through five innings in ten of his 11 starts this season.
- Jose Felix’s shoulder injury, which put him on the disabled list yesterday, will give Robbie Diaz and, likely to a slightly lesser extent, Elio Sarmiento a chance to shine. Diaz figures to get a few more starts that Sarmiento during the process, but that’s just my educated guess. Diaz has hit well while in Frisco, boasting a .308 average. During his month-plus in Triple-A Round Rock, Diaz hit .346 in 13 games.
- The RoughRiders just cannot catch a break in the standings. Despite a pair of narrow victories in the first two games of this series, the ‘Riders have not gained any ground on San Antonio. The Missions have won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion at home against Arkansas. Frisco remains seven games back of San Antonio with 18 left in the first half. The Missions’ magic number is 12.
- On the flip side, Tulsa leads the North by one game on Northwest, two on Arkansas and three on Springfield. If the ‘Riders were in the North, they would be in first place.
- Programming note: Aaron Goldsmith will blog from Tulsa tomorrow here in the Insider Blog. He will chat about life on the road in the Texas League along with some news and notes.
- Aaron has also begun to load some videos to our Twitter account, and I will do my best to link those to the blog. Here is his chat with strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon from yesterday, and here is his talk with newly activated lefty Corey Young.
Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 tonight. Enjoy!