The opening to the 2nd half of the season, or “lower half” as it is known by the locals in the locker room, has started real well for the Lamigo Monkeys. We opened up 8-2. We won 7 games in a row, until tonight where we were “boat raced” by the Elephants. Our starting pitching along with our hitting has really come together. Although we are still missing our two superstar hitters, some players are taking advantage of their time on the field and making the best of it. They are making great plays in the field as well as hitting in clutch situations.
Once again made a stop into Taipei on the off day. Finally got to check out all the sneaker stores I’ve been waiting to find. I met a Brooklyn born Korean store owner of Born Trouble in Ximen named Andrew. He gave me the exclusive tour of all the sneaker and clothing shops around Ximen. His store is just a month old, but has a lot of unique street wear that is only available in the US. Please be sure to check out his blog and store here.
-The gatorade that we drink at the field is called Pocari sweat. Its like a gatorade ice flavor
-Most players do not wear cups here. I have no idea why, but doesn’t make sense to me.
-The cleats that are used here are mostly patent leather and have a different spike pattern than those in the US
-The cheerleaders are only at our home games and only on the weekend
-I finally had the suction cup treatment done to me today. Hopefully I don’t bruise too badly.
-The MVP of the game is supposed to by a fruit type drink for the entire team the next day. Steve Hammond supplied us with a watermelon drink on Sunday.
-Garbage trucks drive around playing ice cream truck music. I was saddened when I rushed out of my apartment one of my first weeks here to get a snowcone, and was greeted by a smelly garbage truck.
-The managers do not meet with the umpires prior to the game to exchange line up cards or discuss ground rules.
-Supposedly from what I heard, umpires here are rated each game, and can be fined or punished for making incorrect calls.
Thanks for checking out the blog. Sorry for the short post. Not much to detail this week other than we have been winning which is always nice. Please comment and leave any questions in any language. I want to hear back from you all and make the blog more interactive.
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The first half gets under way tonight in Chayi against the Elephants. When I joined the team in late May we were a couple games out of first place. Once June came around we had a lot of injuries and went on a bad losing streak. I believe we only won 4-5 games in June. I’m glad that the season is split into halves. It gives our guys hope and a fresh start to go forward trying to win a championship.
This past week I went back into Taipei, this time with my “physio” athlete trainer Patrick Hung. Patrick is one of two athletic trainers on the team who take care of the entire team. I told “patty-cake”, as the foreigners call him, to show me parts of Taipei a normal tourist wouldn’t think to go. We started on the red line of the MRT and headed to Guandu. There was a magnificent temple there where many locals come to pray. I wanted to take video to show the act of worship here, but I did not because I didn’t want to be disrespectful to anyones privacy during worship. It was very interesting though. There are individual rooms and statues for different types of worship. People will burn incense and bow and pray to their respective statue for certain help. Fruits, food, and other perishable goods are brought to the temple to show thanks. They also burn faux money in a fireplace for prayer.
Our next stop was to a natural preserve which was a huge mangrove park. There were crabs everywhere. These crabs were special and had one large claw and one small one. We then headed to Danshui which was like a large daytime street market. The air was filled with fresh cooked food ranging from pork, chicken, and squid. Many kids roamed around the boardwalk and played carnival style games. Ice cream seemed to be the biggest seller there. Everyone had cones with multi-colored ice cream over a foot tall.
We then jumped onto a ferry and boated over to Bali. We rented bikes and rode about 10 miles to Shihsanhang. There was an amazing museum there which gave a rich history of the area and architecture. There was a lot of artifacts from the aborigines, which helped cultivate the area we were in.
This past week the Monkeys as a team visited a temple to take part in a ceremony to wish us luck going forward with the season. I’m hoping for less rain. We were rained out for four days straight last week trying to get our final make up game in.
This weekend we had a three game series with the Elephants. They finished the first half playing extremely well and are looking to make a push in the second half as are we. In our first game Ken Ray threw a complete game, but was the tough luck loser as the Elephants scored on a safety squeeze. He only gave up three hits in the game. We lost Friday 1-0.
Steve Hammond took to the mound on Saturday in Kaoushung and threw a gem. He went the distance and threw a nine inning shutout for us. We won 1-0.
On Sunday it was my turn to try to compete with our starters magnificent starts. I threw eight innings giving up two runs and we won 7-2. Our hitters gave me a lot of support with a handful of home-runs. Our defense was great behind me and my catcher called a great game. It was a huge team win especially to take two out of three games on the road. Thanks to all the fans for coming out to all the games. It really makes playing in front of them very exciting. They are cheering non-stop. I apologize for not being able to sign too many autographs after the game. Our team makes us get on the bus as soon as possible so that we can get on the road since we had a five hour drive back. We truly love all of your support, cheers, and signs.
Please share my blog with all your friends and fans. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I’m very excited for the second half and to help our team make it to the playoffs.
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Highlights from my last game Click HERE
Today is Christmas for all amateur baseball players around the country. I remember in 2004 leaving the NCAA Kinston regional after going two and out against UNC Wilmington we headed back to Knoxville on Sunday night. Monday morning was the draft. I hung out with Patrick Hicklen at Chili’s waiting on a call from area scouts to see when we were getting drafted. On that day the Oakland A’s selected me in the 13th round, pick number 397.
During BP today I talked to many of my teammates asking them what they remembered about their draft day.
Pitching coach AJ Sager was 23 playing golf when he got a call from the San Diego Padres. Five days later he joined the Spokane Indians.
Brendan Wise was at the dentist with his high school coach. His father called him and asked why he wasn’t drafted yet, and as he hung up the phone the Tigers called through.
Josh Rainwater was playing MVP baseball on Xbox at home in Louisiana. He had a draft party with friends and family and was selected in the 4th round.
Casey Fien had a party as well, but didn’t get the result he wanted. His friends stuck around through the first 15 rounds, but then scattered after that. He was eventually drafted in the 20th round. Although he wasn’t drafted where he would have liked to be, he made it to the big leagues and has done extremely well in the minors.
Larry Parrish, our manager, remembers having an area scout from Louisiana in a three-piece suit come to his house and push the idea of the Montreal Expos being a new franchise team with stern rules to their team. His father told him to go ahead and sign with them.
Best of luck to all my friends who are planning to get drafted. Get out there, sign, and start your playing clock. Your age is your biggest factor in this sport.
Congrats to Armando on throwing a perfect game!
THE CALL. It won’t affect the outcome of the game, rather it gives
credit to a feat that by all measures is one of the toughest things to
do in sports. The guy deserves to have a perfect game to his credit.
Nothing has ever been done like this before, but that’s because nothing
like this has ever happened before. The Tigers win the game no matter
what the call is and I suspect Jason Donald won’t cry too much to have a
hit taken away. Armando deserves to have his name in the books and
not have people say, “Well, he threw one, but it didn’t count.” That’s
crap. Not to mention the kid has been as classy as humanly possible. Perfect game means
Joyce admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga. Please direct
your hatred to the real culprit, Bud Selig. Replay would have easily
fixed this call. Selig is behind on issues including replay, revenue
sharing, steroids, and speeding up games.
Hens have had a crazy road trip, being in Syracuse and Buffalo for 9 days, come home to play 4 including a 1030am kids day game, now back on the road to Rochester and Lehigh Valley. Bats are heating up and we have been winning some good games. Just have to keep pitching and keeping the ball down in the zone. Location, location, location. The term never gets old as you play this game at the higher levels.
Shoe of the Day worn to the field: Nike Safari Pack