August 2009

What to do during a long rain delay?

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       August 27, 2009: Pitcher Felix Ventura (36) of the Greenville Drive plays a 
       game of pepper with teammates during a rain delay at Fluor Field at the 
       West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
I don’t particularly care for rain delays, and we’ve certainly had our share of them this year.
So I have to find something to do while I’m waiting.
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       August 27, 2009: What do you do to kill time during a rain delay? If you 
       are outfielder Ryan Lee (21) of the Kannapolis Intimidators you get out a 
       bat and practice your putting while the tarp is on the field. After an hour 
       delay the game was played at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, 
       S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
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       August 27, 2009: A Greenville Drive staffer helps pull the tarp off the field 
       at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. The game was delayed 
       an hour by rain. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com

Taking in the sights from home plate

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       August 27, 2009: A youth baseball player takes in the view from the field 
       before a game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo 
       by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
Just another cute kid photo.

Smoltz shows everyone he still has it

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       May 31, 2009: John Smoltz (29) of the Boston Red Sox talks to the media 
       after pitching a rehab assignment for the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate 
       of the Boston Red Sox, in a game against at Fluor Field at the West End 
       in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com

John Smoltz thumbed his nose at everyone who snubbed him yesterday by making a fine debut with the Cardinals.
Of course, John is too much a gentleman to ever really thumb his nose at anyone, but you get my drift. He showed ’em. He still has it.

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Here’s what Matthew Leach of MLB.com had to say: “John Smoltz dazzled in his Cards debut, shutting down the Padres on three hits over five scoreless innings while setting a club record with seven straight strikeouts.”
“He struck out nine, including seven in a row at one point — a number that according to some outlets is a club record, though the Cardinals could not confirm that. Smoltz also beat out a double-play ball to keep a pivotal rally going, and scored his team’s first run by hustling home from second on a single.”
In another story, Leach quotes Cards coaches who believe Smoltz was unsuccessful during his stint with Boston because he was tipping his pitches to opposing batters.
“Among the various explanations for the five shutout innings Smoltz pitched — highlighted by nine strikeouts — was that he and the Cardinals believe he may have stopped tipping his pitches to opposing hitters, particularly when he pitched from the stretch. The Cardinals’ staff had the right-hander make an adjustment following a bullpen session he threw on Thursday, and the results were hard to argue with.”

Kelly keeps impressing — at two positions

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       August 13, 2009: Shortstop Casey Kelly (23) of the Greenville Drive prepares 
       to tag Daniel Pertusati (12) of the Greensboro Grasshoppers who is 
       attempting to steal during a game at Fluor Field at the West End in 
       Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
Now I think I’ve finally seen everything.
First, I get to photograph a professional pitcher who throws both lefty and righty. Now, I get to photograph an All-Star pitcher who dominated the Sally League . . . moving to shortstop for the remainder of the year.
What next? A bat boy who doubles as the closer?
I can’t remember any time I’ve seen a professional ballplayer spend half the season pitching and half at short. Happens all the time in high school, but not the pros.
So it was fun watching Casey Kelly — a first-half Sally League All-Star as a pitcher — move to shortstop for the Greenville Drive this month.
He said he misses playing every day when he’s a starting pitcher only getting on the field every five days. Gotta admire that . . . but you have to wonder if you would do the same thing with the success he’s had on the mound . . .
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       July 29, 2009: Casey Kelly (23) of the Greenville Drive, a top Boston Red 
       Sox pitching prospect now playing shortstop, chats with Lakewood 
       BlueClaws third baseman Travis Mattair (14) during a break in the action 
       in a game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo 
       by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com

Reaching for an out . . . or a souvenir

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       August 13, 2009: First baseman Ben Lasater (23) of the Greensboro 
       Grasshoppers robs a fan of a souvenir as he grabs a foul ball during a 
       game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom 
       Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com
Almost caught up . . . Here’s my favorite photo from the past couple of weeks.

I’m a sucker for silly mascot photos, too

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       August 13, 2009: Greenville Drive mascot Reedy Rip’It dances with a local 
       dance group from “Jazzercise” before a game at Fluor Field at the West 
       End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images.MiLB.com
 . . . I’m a sucker for those silly mascot photos, too.

Yeah, I got a little behind in blog entries . . .

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       August 1, 2009: Second baseman Ted Obregon (15) of the Johnson City 
       Cardinals high-fives a young player before a game at Howard Johnson 
       Field in Johnson City, Tenn. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam 
       Images/MiLB.com
Yeah, I got little bit behind on the blogging.
This time of year is always a mess for me, with a frantic attempt to edit and post all the photos that I’ve taken during the summer.
As you can see from the previous several posts — all entered at about the same time — I’m trying to clear out my notebooks. And I’ll try to do better for the rest of the season.
But . . . I always have time for those cute kid photos . . .

Gose sets a record for stealing bases

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       July 29, 2009: Greenville Drive second baseman Zach Gentile (7) applies 
       the tag too late as Anthony Gose (24) of the Lakewood BlueClaws steals 
       his Minor League-leading 57th base in the fifth inning of a game at Fluor 
       Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
The Minor League’s top base stealer was in Greenville with the Lakewook BlueClaws. Anthony Gose stole his 57th base that night, and then promptly got caught in a rundown between second and third as he tried to pick up 58.
He later set a team record, and as of this writing he is up to 64.
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       July 29, 2009: Minor League stolen base leader Anthony Gose (24) of the 
       Lakewood BlueClaws is caught off second base as he attempted to steal 
       his 58th base in the fifth inning of a game at Fluor Field at the West End in 
       Greenville, S.C. The Drive’s Will Middlebrooks applied the tag. Photo 
       by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com

Just another cute kid photo from the ball park

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       July 25, 2009: A young boy on his father’s shoulders sways to the music 
       as the crowd sings “Sweet Caroline” between innings of a game at Fluor 
       Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam 
       Images/MiLB.com
By now you know I’m a sucker for cute kid photos. Here’s another.
Greenville was having a backwards day, where all their events were turned inside out, so “Sweet Caroline” was being sung by the crowd early in the evening. Early enough for the light to be just right.

Former USC players working in Carolina League

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       July 17, 2009: LHP Tom Milone (26) of the Potomac Nationals, Carolina 
       League affiliate of the Washington Nationals, in a game against the 
       Kinston Indians at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Photo 
       by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com
On my big summer road trip I not only saw former Clemson pitcher Trey Delk, I ran into a couple of former University of South Carolina players, too.
I was fortunate enough to run into pitcher Tom Milone and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Both were playing in Woodbridge, Va.
(As of this writing, Chisenhall has been promoted to Double A.)
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       July 17, 2009: Infielder Lonnie Chisenhall (8) of the Kinston Indians, 
       Carolina League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, in a game against the 
       Potomac Nationals at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. 
       Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com