Category Archives: Binghamton Mets

Tim Tebow and Drew Pomeranz take part in Portland’s home opener

Tim Tebow

Drew Pomeranz

(Portland,ME) Lots going on as the Portland Sea Dogs opened their 25th home season with a 4-2 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Friday night.

The home opener is always special all by itself but when you throw in celebrity Tim Tebow and rehabbing Drew Pomeranz you’ve got plenty more.

Tim has been a crowd magnet everywhere he plays.  He’s also a media magnet!  Tonight’s game was scheduled to start at 6PM but I arrived early for a chance to watch Binghamton’s batting practice.

My earliness turned into my being part of 10+ media outlets interviewing Tim before batting practice.

Tim Tebow’s press conference

I had heard Tim talk on TV before, so nothing surprised me about the way he handled ten minutes of media questions.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously and appears to enjoy the interaction.

I couldn’t get close enough to activate my digital recorder, but it didn’t matter because I was chasing pictures.  Interviewed players provide the best picture-taking opportunity.

After the Tebow media session ended, there were Portland players available to talk to.  I had not planned to talk with players but moved in on an interview with Cole Sturgeon (Sea Dogs outfielder) and later did a solo interview with Danny Mars (another Sea Dogs outfielder).

Cole referenced the weather: “I am happy to be back home (Hadlock Field), although the weather takes some getting used to since I’m from Florida.”

Cole also talked about Tim Tebow.  Cole was born and raised in Atlanta (“I was a Falcons fan.”) but moved to Florida when he was fifteen.  “I know so much about him.  He’s a legend and getting to play against him is an honor.  It is amazing what he’s doing after taking ten years off from baseball.”

Danny Mars

Danny Mars hit over .300 last season in Portland.  I asked him about what it would take to get to the next level: “My hitting was pretty consistent last year.  I need to work on the little things like defense and baserunning.”  One thing he wasn’t working on was power hitting: “I’m not much of a power hitter.  I did have six homers last year, but I usually try to stay within myself at the plate and not try to do too much.”

I left those two conversations wondering if I might be able to arrange more of them (pre-game) in the future.

I have taken pictures at Hadlock for a few years now, so I have learned where the home pitchers usually warm up.  I positioned myself in the food pavilion along the right field line to await Drew Pomeranz. He showed up and I had several clean shots of him.

Then I moved into the area near the Portland dugout for pictures of him coming there before the start of the game.  I ended up with my best picture of Drew during his walk to the dugout.

Meanwhile, Tim had come back out from the Binghamton locker room and bee-lined it across the field to their dugout.  Tim had interacted with a few fans after batting practice.  There were plenty of autograph seekers near the Binghamton dugout. Many of his fans have UFlorida (Gators) connections.

Tim Tebow swings and misses against Drew Pomeranz

The players from both teams were introduced.  Biggest cheer?  Tim Tebow.  No question that many in the house had come to see him.  You don’t have to have exhaustive brain power to figure out why the New York Mets organization promoted Tim to the next level after a mediocre season: He draws crowds.  Binghamton, which had the lowest attendance in the Eastern League last year, will probably do a lot better this year.  Any EL city the Rumble Ponies visit will have increased crowds.

One thing I wish I had done would have been to interview a Binghamton player and find out what it was like having Tim on the team.

The question of who should throw out the first pitch for the Portland home opener had been discussed within the Sea Dogs organization.  Club President Charlie Eshbach had even prepared a list, but his long-time connection to the team made it certain that on the 25th anniversary, he should be the ceremonial tosser, and he was.

Cole Sturgeon leads off with a home run in the first inning.

Cole Sturgeon greeted the RB’s starter Andrew Church with a home run in the first inning.

Drew gave up four hits in 5 1/3 innings and got the win.

On one of Binghamton’s hits, Peter Alonso connected for a 2-run homer.  Drew claimed afterwards that he didn’t want to walk anyone, so he threw something straight where he might have used a curve and it got hit.

First baseman Peter Alonzo is the #4 Mets prospect.  He was selected in the second round in 2016.

I also got a look at the #17 Mets prospect, Jhoan Urena.

I enjoyed, as always, my visit to Hadlock.  I got there early enough that I was able to park without being charged!

I was able to view the game from a nice spot, with a chair, just beyond the Sea Dogs dugout.

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging the visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jhoan Urena

Jordan Betts

Tim Tebow press conference

Josh Tobias

Peter Alonzo – 4th Mets prospect

Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach

Sea Dogs bring equipment

Drew Pomeranz heads to the dugout before the game

Pre-game warmups

Drew warming up in the outfield

Tim in the dugout

Tim meets the press

Tim during batting practice

Tim shares a laugh with a Florida fan

Tim watching from the Binghamton dugout

 

 

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Malcolm Butler intercepted at Hadlock Field

Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler salutes the crowd at Hadlock Field with the SB trophy

Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler salutes the crowd at Hadlock Field with the SB trophy

Malcolm signs a football

Malcolm signs a football

Malcolm Butler intercepted at Hadlock Field

(Portland ME)  It was enough to draw me to Hadlock Field even with an iffy forecast.

The Portland Sea Dogs brought in Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler along with the SB trophy on Monday night.

What current Patriots’ fan will ever forget Malcolm’s startling interception with twenty-six seconds left?

That game was all but won by Seattle until Malcolm jumped the pass route near the goal line and won the SB for New England.

Malcolm arrived at Hadlock at 5:30PM and did some signing for the Sea Dogs in their dugout.  Then he was briefly interviewed by a local TV station.  After that he throw out the first pitch and then was given the SB trophy to lift up to the delight of the crowd.

Quit a bit of the crowd was missing at the start of the game because they were in the concourse waiting to get Malcolm’s autograph.

Gavin Cecchini - 1st round Mets pick in 2012

Gavin Cecchini – 1st round Mets pick in 2012

I checked out a couple of prospects while I was there.  I saw Mookie Betts at Portland last year in April.

The Binghamton Mets have two first-round selections (Brandon Nimmo – 2011) and (Gavin Cecchini – 2012) on their roster.

Most of the top prospects for the Red Sox are either at AAA Pawtucket of A Salem (Virginia).  I believe that Carlos Asuaje is Boston’s top-rated player at Portland.

The game ended up being called after two innings because of rain.  I was pleased to get my pictures before the rain became a problem.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Super Bowl trophy

Super Bowl trophy

Carlos Asuaje and Jantzen Witte

Carlos Asuaje and Jantzen Witte

Malcolm Butler salutes the crowd

Malcolm Butler salutes the crowd

Malcolm Butler

Malcolm Butler

Malcolm arrives at Hadlock Field

Malcolm arrives at Hadlock Field

Gavin Cecchini sets to throw to first

Gavin Cecchini sets to throw to first

Carlos Asuaje squares to bunt

Carlos Asuaje squares to bunt

Sea Dogs Keury De La Cruz

Sea Dogs Keury De La Cruz

Shortstop Gavin Cecchini

Shortstop Gavin Cecchini

Brandon Nimmo - 1st round Mets pick in 2011

Brandon Nimmo – 1st round Mets pick in 2011

 

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Rusney Castillo sighted at Portland as Binghamton forces Game Five with 11-4 win in Eastern League playoffs

Boston Red Sox prospect Rusney Castillo looks out from the Portland Sea Dogs dugout

Boston Red Sox prospect Rusney Castillo looks out from the Portland Sea Dogs dugout

Keury De La Cruz and Rusney Castillo

Keury De La Cruz and Rusney Castillo

(Portland ME) I hoped for better.

I decided to take in Game Four of the Eastern League playoffs because I wanted to be at Hadlock Field when the Sea Dogs reached the EL finals.

I also wanted to get a good look at Red Sox newcomer Rusney Castillo.

Well, the Rusney Castillo part worked out.  The other part fell apart after Portland starter Mike Augliera loaded the bases with Binghamton Mets in the fifth inning with no outs.

Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon twice signaled for relief thereafter and found none.  Mike McCarthy and Peter Ruiz?  Couldn’t have done worse.  Walks, hit batsmen, and hits, and before you knew it a 2-2 game after four innings was an 11-2 laugher two innings later.  The final score was 11-4.

It was a disappointment but there is tomorrow in this best-of-five series and that decisive game will be played at Hadlock Field.

Rusney Castillo played center field for the Sea Dogs

Rusney Castillo played center field for the Sea Dogs

I did get a good look at recently signed ($72 million) Rusney Castillo.  I would describe him as short, thin-waisted but powerfully built.  He never got on base in this game so I never got a chance to see any of the blazing speed he apparently has.

I am sure that Rusney is a little bit dazed by all that has happened.  He signed the big-money contract on August 23rd and then went to play in A ball in the Gulf Coast League.  Next he joined Portland.  That, so far, has meant two games in Binghamton (NY) and a seven-hour bus-ride to Portland for a 6PM game on Friday and a noon game today.  I suspect after tomorrow Rusney will move on to Pawtucket for the International League finals versus Durham.  At least it has given a lot of Red Sox fans a chance to see a highly-publicized player up close before he starts his career in Boston.  

Rusney smiled at the fans pre-game but didn’t sign autographs.  He seems to have bonded with leftfielder Keury De La Cruz during his short stay in Portland.

Fortunately for me, Rusney spent his in-the-dugout time down the end where the photographer’s were.  That gave this amateur plenty of chances to get a decent picture of him.  

Did it make a difference in the game?  I’m not sure but when I arrived, 1 1/2 hours before game time, the B-Mets were taking batting practice.  The team had just four hits in Friday night’s 6-3 loss.  Normally you don’t see a team taking batting practice before a noon game, but with elimination pending batting practice was called and it paid off with thirteen hits and eleven runs.  Maybe Portland should take BP tomorrow?

I succeeded in getting a picture of the B-Mets Brandon Nimmo.  Brandon was a first-round pick of the Mets in 2011.  The 21-year-old third baseman can hit.  He is from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Bad start dooms Slugger

Bad start dooms Slugger

Another happy fan gets the best of Slugger

Another happy fan gets the best of Slugger

I have noted the running skills of Sea Dogs mascot Slugger every time I’m at Hadlock.  I always like his chances when I see the size of his around-the-bases running opponent.  They’re always small but never small enough that they can’t beat the easily-distracted Slugger.  Today the very social mascot found a need as the race started to get some batting tips over by the Binghamton dugout.  But he did and off raced his diminutive, full-speed opponent to a big lead.  Slugger was great once he was underway on the bases but that early chat did him in.  Why would he need batting tips anyhow?  My suggestion to the Sea Dogs management would be that his uniform number should be changed from 1 to 2 because that is where he’s finished every time I’ve watched.

Rusney Castillo smiled but didn't sign

Rusney Castillo smiled but didn’t sign

Seriously, another good time at Hadlock. The visit arranged for me late Friday night by the always-affable Chris Cameron.  I really appreciate it.

A crowd of over three thousand was on hand.  The game was originally scheduled for 6PM.  Changing the time to noon avoided the showers forecast but probably forced some fans to miss the game.  

I was surprised by how quiet the crowd was.  I could understand it after the team was down 11-2 but not before that.  I think that the Sea Dogs could use the boost.

Sean Coyle was hit by a pitch.  I think on the forearm.  I predict that Sean will start 2014 at Pawtucket.  Playing second base isn’t going to get him to Boston any time soon but maybe he’ll be a multi-position player like Brock Holt and Mookie Betts.

Good luck to the Sea Dogs tomorrow in Game Five.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

singer of the National Anthem

singer of the National Anthem

Sean Coyle after getting hit by a pitch

Sean Coyle after getting hit by a pitch

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Brian Burgamy

Brian Burgamy

intense Sean Coyle

intense Sean Coyle

Keury De La Cruz

Keury De La Cruz

Heiker Meneses

Heiker Meneses

Rusney Castillo prepares to bat

Rusney Castillo prepares to bat

Catcher Carson Blair homered for Portland

Catcher Carson Blair homered for Portland

Brandon Nimmo

Brandon Nimmo

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Top Toronto Blue Jays prospect Aaron Sanchez sighted in visit to New Hampshire Fisher Cats game

 

The top prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) warms up

The top prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) warms up

Aaron Sanchez views the action from the Fisher Cats dugout

Aaron Sanchez views the action from the Fisher Cats dugout

(Manchester NH)  I saw the Binghamton Mets defeat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 6-0, on a Wednesday morning/afternoon Eastern League game.

The weather was beautiful with plenty of Manchester (NH) school kids on hand for the 10:35AM start.

New Hampshire is the AA minor league team of the Toronto Blue Jays.  With a little bit of homework I learned that the Blue Jays #1 prospect, pitcher Aaron Sanchez, was on the New Hampshire roster.

Pitchers are the most challenging to get pictures of unless they are pitching.  Otherwise they’re usually out in the bullpen far away from any pictures ……… unless they’re pitching the next game.  And that was the case today with Aaron. He was scheduled to pitch tomorrow (Thursday), so he warmed up briefly before the game and then was in the dugout.

Aaron was drafted in the first round by Toronto in 2010.  The 21-year-old can get over 95MPH with his fastball and is developing pitches to go with the heater.

Similar to Mookie Betts of Portland, Aaron should be at AAA before the 2014 season is over.

Greg Peavey pitched a 2-hitter for Binghamton

Greg Peavey pitched a 2-hitter for Binghamton

Even though Aaron didn’t pitch, I saw a pretty good pitcher in Binghamton’s Greg Peavey.  The Mets rightly pitched a complete game two hitter.

Fisher Cats starter Casey Lawrence served up a 3-run homer down the rightfield line to Brian Burgamy in the third inning.  That shot provided more than enough runs for Greg Peavey.

Third baseman Andy Burns is off to a nice start with New Hampshire so I took a number of pictures of him.

I was disappointed with the efforts of Fungo the mascot.  He tried to outrun one of the kid spectators and didn’t come close to getting the job done.  The big problem was the bad start.  The kid was so confident that he was looking over his shoulder as he went from third to home.

They had a shirt shoot that stirred plenty of excitement.  I have seen that done at the TD Garden but not at an outdoor event.

Shortstop Kevin Nolan made a nice stop and throw on a ball deep in the hole.

Andy Burns turns a popup into an adventure

Andy Burns turns a popup into an adventure

Andy Burns nearly misjudged a foul popup.  He came in for it and then started fading back eventually ending up on his back after he made the catch.  His teammates were merciless to him when he returned to the dugout.

I continue to recommend a visit to a minor league baseball game at the home of the Fisher Cats, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.  The prices are good and the entertainment is constant.  You can get close to the action and you may well see one of the future stars of major league baseball.

Thanks again to media relations boss Tom Gauthier for arranging for my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Kevin Nolan (SS) jumps and throws

Kevin Nolan (SS) jumps and throws

shirt shoot

shirt shoot

Aaron Sanchez in the dugout

Aaron Sanchez in the dugout

Andy Burns at third

Andy Burns at third

Andy Burns

Andy Burns

Andy Burns throws

Andy Burns throws

Aaron Sanchez warms up

Aaron Sanchez warms up

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Fungo loses again

Fungo loses again

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez

Andy Burns

Andy Burns

NH starter Casey Lawrence

NH starter Casey Lawrence

Binghamton catcher Xorge Carrillo eyes a popup

Binghamton catcher Xorge Carrillo eyes a popup

Andy Burns in on a bunt

Andy Burns in on a bunt

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