June 4th, 2011
It’s a warm, sunny morning here in Tulsa, Okla., and while Brian is back in Frisco getting his usual Saturday morning massage and facial, this seemed the perfect opportunity for me to hijack the blog. In all seriousness, Brian has done a fantastic job on the blog this season (and will continue to do so), but we both agreed that it would be fun for me to check in with you while on the road a couple of times each trip.
If you didn’t catch last night’s game in Springdale, Ark., you missed out on what will probably be the most lopsided win for the ‘Riders we’ll see for a while. In the fifth inning my phone vibrated with a text from my wife that simply read “13-1???” And that wasn’t even the final. At the end of nine innings, the RoughRiders thumped the Naturals 18-5, setting their season-high in runs scored. It marks the most runs Frisco has scored since July 4, 2009 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. when they crushed the Cardinals 18-4 (happy Independence Day, Cardinals’ fans). The win also represented Frisco’s first road series sweep since June 25-28 of last year at Corpus Christi. Lastly, Mike Bianucci drove in 1/3 of Frisco’s runs while Carlos Pimentel went a season-high seven innings and earned his second win of the season. (My scorebook from last night above).
WHY TULSA IS SO GREAT
Well, there are a number of reasons. ONEOK Field is my favorite in the league, the drive back to Frisco is a short one, and the team hotel is one of the best in the league. But the number one reason is because of the picture to the right (photo credit: Aaron Goldsmith). Yes, there is a Panera Bread within walking distance from the hotel. If you’re like millions of Americas you enjoy the endless coffee, free WiFi, and soothing music Panera has to offer. However, odds are that you take for granted the fact that you can drive to Panera virtually whenever you want. When you travel with a minor league baseball team, your lunch options are limited to restaurants within walking distance of the hotel and, in many cases, the options are limited and uninspiring. Not the case in Tulsa. I’m the happiest guy in this Panera right now.
A STAR HAS BEEN BORN
If you follow the ‘Riders on twitter (@ridersbaseball), or are a “fan” of the team on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some of the videos we’ve been posting lately about an hour before first pitch each night. I’m happy to report that under my direction, RoughRiders’ Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon has developed into an overnight multimedia sensation. Our video with Eric the other day has over 100 views, which I think has caused him to now hire a talent agent. He’s new to twitter (@ericlmcmahon) and we plan on doing a weekly “Trainer’s Tip” video segment with him each week. Eric is a great guy who loves what he does and will be a fantastic addition to the team’s video coverage – as long as his agent doesn’t ask for too much.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
The first time the ‘Riders traveled to Tulsa last season (June 5-7), the final game of the series was canceled because of wet grounds and was never made up. It was a clear, warm afternoon, but no baseball was played because the field wasn’t covered the night before when it poured rain. The infield took so much water that it looked like a wet sandbox. I remember that road trip well because instead of driving back to Frisco on the bus with the team, I flew home to St. Louis where I was married days later to my wonderful wife Heather.
Tonight is the first of three against the Drillers … Brian is on with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m., first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Talk to you then!