Dateline: Running Cedar
Due to field conditions at 12:30, it was decided that the opening day game scheduled between the Angels and the Rangers would be turned into a practice with a scrimmage. This reporter decided that the bravery shown by Coach Goldstein and a few players decided to be saved for historical purposes as these people showed up despite a hurricane which just about finished off Coach Grossman’s house. Do not fear, a big tree fell near the beloved Coach Grossman’s home, but as luck would have it, just missed the house and landed in the grassy knoll just a few feet away.
Anyway, Coach Goldstein set up a diamond in right field and got in batting practice, grounder practice and pitching practice. At the 1:00pm game start only 5 Angels had showed up for play and since the game was called off one Angel had to leave for a family commitment.
However Coach Goldstein soldiered on. He made some shrewd deals with the Ranger’s Coach Allen and ended up with seven of the best players on the field. With official Umpire Jim Williams behind the plate, the Angels batted first. Michael led off the exhibition game with a shot to the second base. This was followed by a walk to Garrett. Later Michael and Garret scored and Michael was back up. This reporter could feel the Rangers pitcher shaking with fear. On the third pitch Michael nailed a line drive to the shortstop and happily, the ball dropped safely and two more runs scored. Full disclosure forces us to report that but on the field there was a base running fiasco. Rob who was on first thought the ball was caught and ran back to 1st. Meanwhile Michael was on first and Rob was telling him that he was out. While all this is happening Coach Goldstein is gently suggesting that Rob should proceed to second base (and you know how loud Coach Goldstein can be.) Rob subsequently starts towards second. By now, it is reasonable to suspect that the shortstop should have picked up the ball and walked over to second for the final out of the inning, but as luck would have it, he threw the ball to second and it rolled safely to the outfield. Rob was halfway to second when the second baseman retrieved the ball and he could have outraced Rob to Second, but he threw the ball to the shortstop who dropped it and thus allowing Rob to arrive at second safely to end the inning on 4 runs.
In the top of the Second the Angels’ bats were silent mainly because the Rangers pitchers walked most of the team. Taylor went down swinging again but it was nice to see this rookie, just called up from single A, learning what is good to swing at and what is not. After three more runs came in the Angels were retired.
At this point the Angels fifth player arrived. He had notified the Coach that he would be late for the 1:00 game. Coach Goldstein placed him at the end of the batting order and sent him out to play 1st base. Again without the Angels regular pitching staff Coach Goldstein made an unexpected call and sent the rookie Taylor to the mound. Although Taylor threw a few pitches that were short and walked 4 batters, he did strike out three, two of which were a called strike three.
The Angels came up to bat again and Robbie and Garrett and Michael all got hits. Well after the hits and some more walks the Angels had their four run limit and the Rangers coach had had enough. So the Scrimmage ended there, 11-1 Angels.
This reporter tried to get an interview with Coach Goldstein after the scrimmage. Coach Goldstein was busily packing up the gear but spared a few words. “I liked what I saw from the players we had out there, I just wish more had shown up, but I understand that some areas got hit hard by Isabel so digging out was a priority, and others had family obligations. It is tough to schedule family weekends when the game schedule keeps shifting.”
Remember the Next Practice is Monday at Hook Rd 1 (closest to the Tennis courts) and Coach Grossman is on a baseball scouting trip as he continues preparations for the Spring 2004 draft — he is always looking for new talent. After that Practice is on Wednesday at Hook Rd 2 (by the big bush at the corner of Hook Rd and Fairway.) And then Thursday night at Fox Mill Elementary School at the corner of John Milton and Viking Dr. (NOT Fox Mill District park!) See you there.
Coach Grossman was reached by telephone for a brief post-scrimmage interview. “I am extremely pleased by the results of this scrimmage. It’s early in the season, but I was glad to see Taylor looked good on the mound. I suspect we’ll be trying out quite a few young pitchers in the coming weeks. I hope all of our families survived the hurricane and I am especially thankful my own house was not damaged by the rather large tree that fell nearby. Special thanks go to Coach Goldstein for running the scrimmage.”