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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Enlighten


Spinners Vermont vs. Lowell
Lake Monsters (16-31), 3
Spinners (23-23), 4
L: Cory Van Allen (1-2)
W: Travis Beazley (2-2)
H: Jean Guillen (5)
S: Josh Papelbon (7)

I adore Class A baseball. There’s something infinitely appealing about the naïve nature of the players. You know very well they yearn for the riches that their major league counterparts rake in, but in this emergent stage they show that they must temper themselves to instruction and adhere to their club’s philosophy.

LeLacheur Park is a place of whimsy. The tiny confines must loom large to freshly drafted players inured of metal bats and makeshift fields. Here they pursue their dreams as they track down fly balls or chase down grounders, rough edges yet to be polished through countless repetition of these tasks that will, with the refinement of time, turn into mundane undertakings.

Until then, however, fans can expect errors like Luis Sergovia’s in the second inning. With two out and two on, the Spinners shortstop flubbed an easy pop fly that more properly should have been caught by the left fielder. This allowed two runs to score. The inning continued with Richard Caputo’s RBI single up the middle to give Vermont the early lead.

The Spinners didn’t respond with a run until the bottom of the third. Second baseman Michael Chambers led off with a line drive single to right field and would score on a Paul Smyth ground ball single to left field. Whenever Smyth came to bat, a video clip of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty would play on the Jumbotron (using the term “jumbo” loosely), where the spastic actor hollers, “Smite me, o mighty smiter!”

With two out and two runners on, left fielder Zachary Daeges knocked in a three-run homer to grant his team a lead they would not relinquish. If Daeges keeps his pace of .343 batting average, .459 OBP, and .493 slugging, he might find himself joining Bubba Bell in Wilmington.

The Lowell Spinners have as many promotional events on the field as the White Sox do. The best interlude was the on-field “Chicken Dance” with Jonathan Papelbon, Hazel Mae, Dan Roche, Tina Cervasio, and Tom Caron guiding the crowd through the Jumbotron . If major league clubs ever got their clutches on this videotape, I am certain their view of the rookie shutdown closer would change, and not for the better. The opposition could just imagine the eldest Papelbon flapping his arms like a chicken, rendering him innocuous. Conversely, it could work to the rookie closer’s advantage, for it could double over batters in laughter and make their eyes tear with hilarity.

There was a similar ho-down to “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” which should be made illegal. This ditty is simply too reminiscent of Yankee Stadium and the festivities at any Red Sox affiliate should not be contaminated with its filth.

The sound booth went to town with movie clips that mocked the visitors’ names. For Francisco Guzman, the visiting right fielder, they would play a snippet of Will Ferrell from Elf where Buddy savors the name “Francisco.” When Lake Monsters shortstop Jeremy Goldschmeding took the plate, Mike Myers (the actor, not the left-handed relief pitcher) as Goldmember would pop into view on the screen. “I love gold,” Myers intoned. The ploy worked on the infielder judging by his line of 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.

Josh Papelbon’s entrance music is the same as Mark Loretta’s (“Lowrider” by War), but was not selected because of wordplay. The younger Papelbon has an extreme sidearm delivery. Rather than the twirling motion of a Byung-Hyun Kim, Papelbon drives his lower body towards the plate in his follow-through. With a perfect one and a third inning, the underhanded pitcher tallied his seventh save of the season.

As I walked back to my car, a small boy skipped along the sidewalk with his father, chanting “Papelbon, Papelbon, Papelbon” as if it were his mantra. It doesn’t matter to which one he was referring, if he even knew. He found his Zen in baseball, in the city that begot Jack Kerouac.

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