Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Desperatley Needed Win
The Friday game ended in a 1-1 tie. Games that end in a tie in the IBL are determined via home run derby. This idea is hard for me to accept but it is exciting for the fans and I was pretty tense myself. During the game we had five hits, three came from Ryan Crotin. Then he helped us win in Home Run derby to earn our second victory. It was great to get another desperately needed win. The picture below show’s our elation.

Painful Loss
Sunday’s game was brutal. It impacted me more than any game thus far, it was devastating. It was a seesaw battle throughout the game. The game only went six innings because the umps called the game due to darkness. There are no lights at this new field and games start at five pm. So if play is prolonged there is a chance for a game to be called on account of darkness.

In the bottom of the sixth and final inning we were down 8-7 and we proceeded to load the bases with no outs. Now I am almost positive we have at least a tie game as it is very rare to get out of that type of situation unscathed…but it gets worse. They switch pitchers and the new pitcher proceeds to throw three consecutive balls. So now we have bases loaded, no outs and a 3-0 count. At this point I am willing to wager a substantial sum that we will win this game. It is too painful for me to recount the specifics that follow. It is enough to say that we joined the very rare company of teams that were not able to score a run in the situation.

The loss was extra tough on me because I was the losing pitcher. I am trying to adapt to a revamped style of pitching that Kenny is encouraging me to employ. I don’t trust the approach and ended up walking four guys in just over three innings and as often happens the walks came back to haunt the team. Without going into the details of how my style is being changed the essence is that I threw nothing but fastballs and my groundball to flyball ratio was 7-1. Batters went 2-12 off me which is good, I just have to trust the style of pitching and not try to be so fine, the walks are a killer.

It is hard to lose game by one run but when you lose the game due to errors, bonehead plays and walks it really hurts. As an example, the fourth inning Netanya run comes to mind. With runners on first and second a ground ball is hit to the second baseman. He picks it up and throws to the shortstop covering second base. The runner who was on second notices the short stop not paying attention and runs home. Kenny was not happy and the Short Stop was benched on the next game. The run should never have scored but I am equally to blame as the runner initially got on base via a walk that I issued.

Pitching on Sunday

Big Win
Last nights game was beautiful! For some reason it all came together for us. Our hitters that usually struggle hit well. Alper pitched a shut out and it felt good to cruise through a game for a change. Baseball is a crazy game! Ryan Crotin and Ben Dashevsky our two consistant hitter go 0-6 while the rest of our line up, who combined is batting around 150, goes 10-21, go figure. So we have won two of our last three games and tonight we have Abel on the mound against the hot hitting Miracle.

Israeli National Anthem

Fans at Gezer

Out at Home

Discussion with Kenny

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Status update

Pioneer update
We are eight games into the season and have only one victory. I don’t like losing. We are a below average hitting team. For us to win consistently we will need to stay away from mistakes and pitch well. We have made too many physical and mental errors and it has cost us. Ken Holtzman hit a breaking point this week, kicking the fence, throwing his hat down and cussing up a storm. Losing when we play well is tough but giving games away by playing poorly is unbearable. The good news is things are getting better.

Personal update
As for my personal performance thus far, it too is getting better. I have pitched in three games. My first outing was a disaster. Adrenaline and nerves got the best of me and I ended up walking five guys in two innings resulting in three runs. The good news from that outing was that I hurt myself, the opposing hitters did not hurt me. I came in doubting I had the stuff to compete with the hitters but it turns out that I do. I just have to pitch and not throw. Yesterday I came in to the game in the sixth inning to face a lefty. There was a man on third and two outs. I struck the batter out with a nasty slider. Today I faced the undefeated Blue Sox. I pitched two innings and went through there line up effortlessly, they did not get a hit. Thanks to some tips from Kenny and me executing on pitches they did not hit the ball out of the infield.

Today's Schedule
Today will be a busy day. It is 7:00 AM and after writing this blog entry I will stretch and do a mild workout. Then I will eat breakfast and get some physiotherapy on my arm by our trainer at Kfar Hayarok, the compound housing the players. I would love to get a massage today but will not have time. I have a meeting with one of our players who has some team issues he needs wants to discuss with me. Then I am driving to downtown Tel Aviv to pick up Kenny Holtzman at his hotel and bring him to Kfar Hayorok to work with some of our pitchers. By the time I get back from driving Kenny back to his hotel I will have to start preparing for tonight’s game. Tonight we play Raanana, like the Pioneers they are struggling; we have to win this game.