Some notes from a swift trip to the 607:
- Wilmer Flores’ double to deep right-center had to be the highlight of the B-Mets’ 1-0 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. I’m (for the millionth time) no scout, but I enjoy watching Flores hit the ball. By aesthetics, at least, he has a really nice swing, and he hits the ball harder than you’d expect from a guy who looks young even by 21-year-old standards.
Flores played second base on Tuesday night. He looked OK there but didn’t get a ton of chances. Flores says he feels most comfortable at third base, but everything I heard from people who have been watching him suggested he’s been at least passable at second and first this year in his first season off shortstop. If he can hang at second, he should at least have a Major League career. He just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago, so there’s plenty of time for him.
- B-Mets’ pitching coach Glenn Abbott is a great talker. Abbott, a veteran of 11 Major League seasons and an Arkansan with a bouncy twang, shared some stories from his 40-plus year career in baseball. Among the highlights: Abbott was the pitching coach for the Huntsville Stars in the Southern League in 1994 when Michael Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons.
Abbott intimated that Jordan was known as something of an easy out (he hit .202 with a .289 OBP, after all) but a tireless worker. Jordan apparently showed up early every day — including on the road — to work on base running and playing the outfield. Michael Jordan, the best athlete of his generation, just started playing baseball one year and was good enough to be a bad but not inconceivably bad hitter at Double-A — a level at which baseball players are impossibly good by normal human standards. That on its own is impressive. But it’s somehow both incredible and not at all surprising to learn that Jordan brought his remarkable competitiveness to the sport. Jordan, with three NBA MVP awards on his mantel, left basketball to essentially become Rudy for a year.
- Greg Peavey threw seven shutout innings to earn the win for the B-Mets. I don’t know from Peavey, but his fastball sat around 93 on the stadium gun and he didn’t seem to have much trouble throwing his breaking ball to both sides of the plate for strikes. His stats say he hasn’t struck out many hitters above low-A ball, but he did fan six in the game. And Peavey’s shown great control in his first two Minor League seasons. He has a 5.13 ERA for the year, but he’s only 23 and I wonder if he’s the type of guy who could dial up his fastball a bit (and tally more strikeouts) and prove effective in a relief role down the road.
- Before the game, we stopped at Lupo’s Char-Pit — as we did last year — on Catsmeat’s advice. I got a chicken spiedie, which looked like this:
A spiedie is just chunks of marinated, char-grilled meat on a soft, split-top white roll. It tastes like a summer barbecue: Hot and fresh, simple and delicious. There’s some barbecue sauce and hot sauce on the counter f you want it — and I do. But the meat’s the focus here, as it should be.
- My hotel room had a Speakman Anystream shower head. It is the best type of shower head. They come in a few different shapes and sizes, but in my experience they’re consistently great across the board. At my first apartment in Brooklyn we had terrible water pressure, so I went into a local hardware store and asked the dude if there was anything I could do about it. He took me to a back room — no joke — and sold me a Speakman Anystream with its flow restrictor removed. Thing was like a tsunami. I brought it home and put it on our shower without telling my roommate about it, so when he turned on the water later the blast nearly took his arm off.
I know no one asked, but I really can’t say enough about how great this thing is. I’m not a paid Speakman spokesman or anything; it’s just incontrovertible fact. Look at all the glowing reviews on Amazon. This is what the Speakman Anystream in my hotel room looked like: