Game 1 of 4
Dollar Hot Dog night is important stuff. If I don't get 2 Tuesday night tickets in my annual bundle, I end up having to trade with other members of my season ticket partnership. Both of my daughters enjoy Dollar Hot Dog night, and hey...I happen to enjoy a few hot dogs from time to time as well. We were promised less than desirable weather tonight, including but not limited to gallons of rain, but when $1 hot dogs are involved, a rain delay is just another excuse to sit inside and eat a few more.
I'm not sure how Felix Perez feels about hot dogs, or rain delays for that matter...but Chihiro and I had our share of hot dogs, plus a 1 hour 7 minute rain delay with the most violent rain and wind I've ever seen at Louisville Slugger Field, and Felix Perez went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the visiting Buffalo Bisons.
Didi Gregorius did his part in the first inning, with a dandy of a line-drive solo HR in deep right field to give the Bats an early lead. The Bisons responded in the 3rd, when Lucas May led off the inning with a double, was advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by starting pitcher Chris Schwinden, and eventually scored on a 2-out RBI single by Mike Baxter.
The score was locked at 1-1 and hey, even Chad Reineke was having one of his better evenings...through his 5 innings of work, he had only allowed 1 run (earned), 5 hits, one BB and 5 strikeouts (4 of them swinging). Schwinden was holding his own well after the Gregorius opening potato, having allowed only that 1 run (earned), 6 hits, no walks, one HB and 5 strikeouts (all of them swinging). The game was moving along at a brisk pace, when at 8:22pm (only 1:17 into the game), the bottom of the 5th, with 1 on and 2 outs, the rain hit hard, the tarp went on, and stayed on until 9:29pm. By that time, Schwinden (as well as Reineke) could not have been expected to continue the game...Schwinden was relieved by Jenrry Mejia, who retired Neftali Soto to end the 5th.
Mejia stayed in for another inning, while Reineke was relieved by Will Ohman, Nick Christiani, and Donnie Joseph...all 3 of whom pitched 4 scoreless innings, with 3 combined hits and 8 combined strikeouts. Relieving Mejia for the Bisons was Dylan Owen, who opened the 7th with a leadoff single to Willie Harris. Harris advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Denis Phipps; the next batter was Gregorius, who was intentionally walked on the 3-0 pitch, and Harris crossed the plate on a line drive single over 2nd base by Henry Rodriguez. Neftali Soto also walks to load the bases for Felix Perez. Perez is already 3-for-3 tonight with a double and two singles, and would have made an RBI groundout to 1B Adam Loewen, but Loewen bobbles the ball...Loewen is charged with an error. Perez still gets an RBI, and Rodriguez also scores (no RBI) and the Bats are quickly up 4-1, they maintain this score through the end of the game.
So, finally Felix Perez becomes the story behind the game, for the first time this season...and not because of his side-splitting walkup music. Not to be confused with the Venezuelan Felix Perez that played in the Cubs organization in 2010-2011, this Felix Perez is the Cuban outfielder who was infamously suspended for a year by MLB in the spring of 2009, after nearly signing a $3-3.5 million deal with the Yankees that fell apart when it was discovered he had lied about his age. Perez rebounded from this and signed a Minor League contract with the Reds in May of 2010 for just over a half-million dollars. Following a rapid ascent through the Reds' system through 2010 and most of 2011, Perez arrived in Louisville in August of 2011, playing in 9 games with a disappointing .206/.250/.235 to finish the season. Perez is one of the more consistent performers on this year's roster, currently rounding out at .272/.319/.362 with 48 strikeouts and 15 walks in 268 AB (by comparison, Bill Rhinehart is .241/.321/.383 with 57 strikeouts and 30 walks in 261 AB).
That being said, my kids and I know when he's up when we hear "Chacarron Mocaron" which is too hilarious not to share. He's an international man of mystery, for sure...but without a drastic improvement in his offensive numbers, he remains blocked by others at the Major League level and can only hope for inclusion in a trade deal during the offseason to carry his career to the big leagues.
My pick was not so exciting, a 2006 Topps 52 Dustin Nippert RC. Dustin was a 15th round pick in the 2002 amateur draft and was a mainstay in the Diamondbacks organization for 6 seasons from 2002-2007, appearing in 41 games for the club from 2005-2007 with a combined 2-3 record and 6.43 ERA. Dustin was traded to the Texas Rangers in the spring of 2008 for Jose Marte, and performed somewhat better for the MLB club, with a 12-13 record and 4.91 ERA in 78 games from 2008-2010. Interesting Dustin Nippert fact is despite his lackluster career performance, he managed to make postseason appearances for both clubs; the Diamondbacks NLCS in 2007 (2 games), and the Rangers ALDS in 2010 (1 game)...with a career postseason ERA of 5.40. Also interesting, Dustin was sidelined in a scary incident on July 19, 2010 when an Austin Jackson line drive hit him on the side of the head so hard, it ricocheted past 3rd base into left field. He walked off the field on his own accord (and did so smiling). Tough kid, granted free agency by the Rangers in December of 2010 and signed a contract with the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) Doosan Bears in March of 2011, and is still on their roster as a starting pitcher.
I attempted, with no success, to trade this card with Chihiro for the Damon RC.
Official Program #3, featuring Kristopher Negron
Official Scorecard #3, featuring Corky Miller...and autographed by Corky Miller!!