Results tagged ‘ Ben Mondor ’

Homestand Recap (7/25-7/31): Honoring and Beating the Best

by Ryan Young

The PawSox closed out July with their best homestand (of at least five games) since 2013. Pawtucket went 6-1, beating two of the top teams in the league, Rochester and Scranton, three times apiece. The PawSox even kept hope alive in the playoff race despite looking up at the toughest division in Triple-A.

And it wasn’t just about beating the best…The PawSox also honored the best with their Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction on Friday, one of the highlights of another eventful summer week at McCoy.

Winning Ways:

The PawSox found several different ways to win their six games last week. In fact three of the games featured come-from-behind victories, while the other three wins came in shutouts.

Brennan Boesch captured Pawtucket’s second straight comeback win to begin the homestand with a walk-off, 11th-inning blast.

Boesch homered again in the third offense-driven win of the week on Saturday, but Chris Marrero had maybe the most impressive jolt of the season. His 20th home run of the season (which at the time tied for the league lead) left the entire ballpark.

Marrero is the first PawSox player to tally 20 home runs in a season since Mauro Gomez had 24 in 2012.

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Jantzen Witte also had a great week at the plate for Pawtucket as the third baseman recorded a double in five separate games.

I spoke with Jantzen about his recent success, what stands out about Triple-A and his former teammate at TCU, Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter.

As you heard me discuss with Jantzen, there has been an incredible amount of roster turnover this season for the PawSox. Witte has stayed on the active roster since he was promoted from Double-A Portland on April 18, but this is a rare example.

In fact, of the 55 players who have been on Pawtucket’s active roster at some point this season, only four have remained on it for the entirety of the season (up to this point): Chris Marrero, Kyle Martin, Roman Mendez and Robby Scott.

Scott and Mendez contributed to the first of three shutouts that the PawSox dealt in a three-game span last week. The pitching staff delivered pair of five-hitters (Wednesday and Friday) and then a one-hitter on Sunday to wrap up the week (Pawtucket’s first nine-inning one-hitter since May 27, 2009.)

Mendez has tossed 19.2 straight scoreless innings.

Heath Hembree closed out all three shutouts, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced.

Heath Hembree

Hembree has struck out 16 of the 30 Triple-A batters he has faced this season. That’s almost difficult to comprehend.

It was an incredible feat to sweep the RailRiders and shut them out twice in the process. Scranton been swept only one time all season…way back in April. Pawtucket helped Lehigh Valley catch the RailRiders in the IL North standings.

Hall of Fame Night:

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Just before the series with Scranton started, we had our Inaugural PawSox Hall of Fame inductions in a terrific pregame ceremony on Friday evening.

Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and the late PawSox owner Ben Mondor made up the first Hall of Fame class. After Boggs, Rice and Ben Mondor’s widow, Madeleine, each spoke, the 2016 Pawtucket team took the field to pay its respects. A IMG_4693ceremonial first pitch from all three honorees followed.

Boggs and Rice then posed for pictures with fans.

Boggs played two full seasons for the PawSox in 1980 and 1981. He missed out on winning the batting title by one at-bat in 1980 before claiming the title the next season. The story of the final day of the 1980 season is incredible and I dug up a couple articles from that day that retell the incredible story:

Boggs Story 1

Boggs Story 2

That is as close to an “unbelievable” end to a batting title race as you will ever hear. Yet, speaking of inconceivable thoughts, I present to you the following sentence from the first article about the future MLB Hall of Famer without comment:

“Boggs knows exactly what obstacles are built into his upward mobility–he’s not fast, hits with no discernible power and is not blessed with great quickness afield.”

Other Guests at McCoy:

Aside from the Hall of Famers, there were several other special guests at McCoy last week.

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel made a rehab start (even if he only faced three batters due to a pitch limit) on Saturday. It was one of the quickest rehab stints you will ever see, but it was fun to have him throwing 98 MPH at McCoy.

Mason Williams returned to McCoy but he has been a guest at the ballpark on several occasions throughout his life. The Scranton outfielder grew up in Pawtucket. He played little league in Darlington and frequented McCoy Stadium before he eventually moved to Florida for High School.

Williams made his debut as a player at McCoy in May of last season before he was called up to the Yankees later in the month. From what we can tell, he’s the first Pawtucket-born player to make the big leagues. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed his season. Williams finally made his way back to the RailRiders last month and I asked him about coming to McCoy as a kid.

 

Sadly, Williams injured his ankle later that day. Hopefully he’ll return to the RailRiders and then to the Bronx in short order.

We also had thousands of guests (also known as fans) at McCoy throughout the week. One lucky group got an appearance from Deven Marrero, who took pictures, signed autographs and gave out some advice.

Other Notes and Thoughts:

Soccer Stars

Puerto Ricans Christian Vazquez and Henry Ramos have bonded off the field. In fact, Ramos’ daughter is Vazquez’s goddaughter. The two are frequently seen playing soccer with a cast of other PawSox. (Pictured below, the duo is joined by Rusney Castillo, Ali Solis, Roenis Elias and William Cuevas.)

On the baseball field, Vazquez has shown more power at the plate lately but his offensive game is still a work in progress. The Pawtucket catcher has eliminated a leg kick that he used earlier in the season, simplifying his batting stance so he uses his hands more.

From Further Down on the Farm

Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon all made their way from Salem to Portland this season. And, of course, Benintendi just made the jump all the way to the big leagues.

I asked Red Sox Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Greg Norton, about the prospects when he was at McCoy last week.

 

Boston decided not to deal away any of its top hitting prospects this Trading Deadline, but the team did make on deal on Monday:

Lights Out

As Josh detailed in our last post, Pat Light was traded for pitcher Fernando Abad on Monday. He is so great to work (and a pretty darn good closer as well) with and we wish him all the best in the Twins organization.

 

He had quite the debut for Rochester against the PawSox this week.

 

The lights turn back on at McCoy tomorrow, as we begin a six-game homestand with a pair of postgame fireworks shows. We hope to see you there or speak to you on the PawSox Radio Network.

The Governors’ Cup Returns to Rhode Island

After waiting 28 years, PawSox fans have been rewarded. With a 4-1 win over the Charlotte Knights Thursday evening, the Pawtucket Red Sox proved they were the best team in the International League in 2012 and won their first Governors’ Cup in nearly three decades.

Not only was the win over Charlotte the club’s first championship since defeating the now defunct Maine Guides in 1984, it was also the first post-season series sweep in franchise history. You could make a strong argument that the PawSox played some of their best baseball of the entire season during the playoffs. Here’s the proof:

  • Pawtucket finished the post-season with a 6-1 record.
  • The pitching staff combined for a sparkling 2.01 ERA (14 ER/62.2 IP).
  • In the last six games, Pawtucket starters combined to go 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER/39.1 IP).
  • In seven playoff games, PawSox batters combined for 10 home runs, 10 doubles, and three triples.
  • The PawSox outscored the Knights 13-3 in three games.

Here’s what it looked like on the field Thursday night following the final out.

Enough can’t be said about the work of manager Arnie Beyeler. The second-year PawSox skipper constantly dealt with a changing roster that, in total, featured 69 players — one shy of the franchise record.

In two years in Pawtucket, Arnie has won a North Division title and now a Governors’ Cup. From my time spent around Arnie and our 1-on-1 conversations (both on-air and off), I can tell you that he is the perfect example of how hard work pays off.

After more than five months and 150 games, it’s awfully difficult sum up a season and fully appreciate all that happened. Let’s face it, there has been plenty to celebrate in 2012 in addition to a Governors’ Cup championship:

  • Mauro Gomez was named International League MVP.
  • Jose Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway were named post-season All-Stars.
  • We were able to watch Will Middlebrooks crush it for all of April.
  • People in Pawtucket fell in love with Pedro Ciriaco before anyone else.
  • PawSox team president Mike Tamburro was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.
  • Lars Anderson and Jason Repko each made SportsCenters’ Top-10 Plays.
  • The beautiful statue Ben Mondor was unveiled inside Mondor Gardens.
  • Big Leaguers like Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford, and Cody Ross all wore a PawSox jersey.

The remaining members from the PawSox Opening Day roster (left to right): Tony Thomas, Che-Hsuan Lin, Alex Wilson, Will Inman, Alex Hassan, Jason Repko, Nate Spears, Tony Pena, Jr.

The PawSox have a chance to add another highlight to the list with a win Tuesday night in Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game against either Reno or Omaha.

Both on-air and in this blog, it has been a pleasure bringing PawSox baseball to you in 2012. Your loyal readership always gives me a reason to type and constantly reminds me how fortunate I am to be in this position.

Over the years you’ve listened to some of the most talented broadcasters in baseball come through Pawtucket, and living up to the standards they set has been the greatest — and most fulfilling — challenge of my career.

Thank you for making PawSox baseball on the radio part of your summer and for bringing me with you in the car, in your home, and everywhere else in between.

What a way to start my stay in Pawtucket.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Arnie Beyeler, Mike Tamburro, and PawSox general manager Lou Schwechheimer getting drenched during the trophy celebration on the field.

Mike Tamburro on Joining the IL HOF

Earlier this week the International League announced that PawSox team president Mike Tamburro has been inducted into the IL Hall of Fame.

Tamburro joins Ben Mondor, the late owner of the PawSox, Joe Morgan, the former PawSox manager, Jim Rice, the former PawSox outfielder who is the last player to win the IL Triple Crown (in 1974), and Wade Boggs, the former PawSox third baseman who won the IL batting title in 1981, as members of the Pawtucket Red Sox in the IL Hall of Fame. Mike will be inducted in special ceremonies prior to a PawSox home game at McCoy Stadium this season.

I recently had a chance to sit down with Mike and chat with him about joining the Hall of Fame and how things have changed since he joined the club in 1977.  -AG