The start of the Winter Leagues is upon us! Serie Nacional 57 opens play in Cuba on August 5 with defending champs Granma hosting Villa Clara. Here are a few news items from the “off season”:
CHANGE IN LOCATION FOR SERIE DEL CARIBE 2018 – The host location for the upcoming Caribbean Series had been announced as Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. However, due to the ongoing social and political unrest in Venezuela, the Caribbean Confederation voted on June 14 to move the Series to Mexico. The Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP) then promptly voted to host Serie del Caribe 2018 in Guadalajara, Jaliso.
The location for the upcoming Series will be Estadio Charros in Zapopan, Jalisco State, a suburb of Guadalajara. This is the same stadium that hosted second-round play in the World Baseball Classic 2017, and is the home field of the Charros de Jalisco club of the LMP.
OPENING WINTER LEAGUE DATES:
INTER-LEAGUE CONTROVERSY IN MEXICO – the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), the Mexican summer league, has announced plans to operate a split-season in 2018 that will extend that league’s schedule into November. This will overlap with the beginning of the winter league schedule of the LMP, as well as cause conflicts among those players that currently play in both the LMB and LMP.
More to come on this hot topic.
Thirteen participants, volunteers and family members attended Alzheimer’s Night at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond on Monday evening July 31. As often happens when we venture to Dell Diamond, the game went extra innings with the hometown Express taking a walk-off 7-6 win in the bottom of the 11th on a two-out, two RBI double by 3B Will Middlebrooks.
In addition to the exciting game, many of us enjoyed the “$1 hot dogs and sodas” promotion on Harry Potter Night at the ballpark. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
Fourteen chapter members and guests met for an Italian lunch on Saturday and gabbed about the Astros’ dominance in the American League, Jeff Bagwell’s upcoming Hall of Fame induction and potential trade deadline deals.
Bill Gilbert brought an interesting trivia quiz in which all answers were members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (including soon-to-be and recently inducted members). Tom Thayer won the quiz and received a Baseball Hall of Fame trivia book as a prize.
Other topics included the practice of stadium naming rights, significant sporting events at the Houston Astrodome, the All-Star game and instances of east coast bias in baseball coverage (for example, ESPN.com’s headline about “Ex-Yankee Robinson Cano” winning the All-Star game). We also talked about Buck Showalter’s ability to build strong clubs that go on to the World Series without him. Orioles fan and baseball writer Ryan Pollack joked that he’s waiting for Showalter to depart.
The chapter continued its consecutive monthly meeting streak with this, the 128th consecutive month with a meeting.
Also, your humble reporter apologizes for leaving out a vital piece of information from the June 2017 meeting summary: Tom Wancho was the winner in Jim Baker’s manager quiz. Apologies for the oversight and congratulations to Tom!
The August meeting has not been scheduled, so look for information on the group email list and the Facebook page soon.
Our July lunch meeting will be held at the Macaroni Grill in the Arboretum area in Austin on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Jan Larson at email@example.com if you plan to attend.
Season Six of the BasebALZ program wrapped up on July 10 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in Austin. This “season” marked over two years that the Rogers Hornsby Chapter of SABR has been offering this program for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
We opened the season on May 8 with a record attendance of 13 participants and caregivers, plus nine volunteers:
Over the course of the six bi-weekly sessions, we presented and discussed topics targeted to the interests and memories of our participants. These included:
Recalling if anyone once used a slide-rule:
Talked about the world’s most valuable baseball card:
Sang some polkas:
Played “Stump the Experts”, where one of our participants presented a short bio of a ballplayer to see if our volunteers could determine who it was. This became a regular feature of each meeting:
Talked about a trip to “The Field of Dreams” in Iowa:
We recognized our program leader, Jim Kenton, with the presentation of an honorary “Doctor of Baseball Reminiscence” diploma:
Chapter member Dan Walsh wrapped up the closing session with a vote for the “All Star Team of the 1960s”:
A good time was had by all:
After a short summer break, Austin-based BasebALZ will start up again in September. In the meantime, our volunteers continue to make a monthly visit to the Veteran’s Administration in Kerrville to present BasebALZ there.
More information on the BasebALZ program is here.
Fourteen chapter members and guests dined at Salt Lick BBQ and watched the Round Rock Express beat the New Orleans Baby Cakes, 4-2, on Saturday, June 3.
The Express-Baby Cakes game included several players with Major League experience, such as Jurickson Profar (with the Texas Rangers), Will Middlebrooks (with the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and briefly with the Milwaukee Brewers), and Brandon Barnes (with the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies).
Jim Baker also noted that Baby Cakes third baseman Steve Lombardozzi is related to Domenick Lombardozzi, an actor most notably known for playing Det. Thomas “Herk” Hauk on HBO’s “The Wire.”
It was the 127th consecutive monthly meeting for the chapter. Jim Baker provided an interesting quiz on naming all 30 of the current Major League managers. Other questions included naming the managers with the most wins, most losses, highest winning percentage, and highest career postseason winning percentage. In addition, Jim asked us to name the five current managers who did not play in Major League Baseball.
Various topics of discussion included the Houston Astros’ hot streak, Edinson Vólquez’s no-hitter (first no hitter of the 2017 season), and the Texas Rangers’ struggle with one-run games this season, in sharp contrast with their record-setting performance in such games last season.
UPDATE: The July meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Macaroni Grill at the Arboretum (9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin).
Our baseball-themed Alzheimer’s reminiscence program, BasebALZ, opened “Season Six” on Monday May 8 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in Austin. We had thirteen participants, caregivers and guests in attendance, and we’re expecting more as this “season” progresses. Nine volunteers from the SABR-Hornsby Chapter and Alzheimer’s Texas were there to deliver and support the program:
BasebALZ leader Jim Kenton opens the session.
In a discussion of “Things from 1960 that we don’t use anymore”, we see if anyone can remember how to use a slide rule …
Season Six of BasebALZ will run through July. For more information on the BasebALZ program, click here.
Following our entertaining trip to the ol’ ballyard for our May meeting, the June Hornsby Chapter meeting will include a return trip to the Salt Lick BBQ and the Dell Diamond on Saturday, June 3 when the Round Rock Express take on the New Orleans Baby Cakes at 7:05 p.m.
Preceding the game, we will meet at the nearby Salt Lick BBQ for dinner at 5:30 p.m. A limited number of game tickets have been reserved at the discounted price of $12 each. If you plan to attend please RSVP with the number of game tickets you require and number in your party that will attend the dinner to Jan Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day).
Thirteen chapter members and guests enjoyed a gorgeous night for baseball and saw the Round Rock Express fall 5-1 to the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday, the group’s first outing to Dell Diamond this season.
A tight 1-1 game through 6 innings involved good pitching performances from Dillon Gee for the Express and former Major Leaguer Justin Masterson for the Dodgers. But the Dodgers tagged Tanner Scheppers for four runs in the 7th inning to secure the victory.
Meanwhile, Gilbert Martinez, taking his usual stroll around the ballpark recognized Wesley Wright, a relief pitcher in the Express bullpen. Wright, a lefty reliever for the Houston Astros for six years, has since pitched for the Blue Jays, the Cubs, the Orioles and the Angels. Wright pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Express.
Ryan Pollack (pictured below) represented the group well by twirling his way during the Chicken Dance. Jennifer Kaufman appreciates Ryan’s happy dance moves.
Prior to the game, many in the group joined for a barbecue dinner at The Salt Lick.
This was the chapter’s 126th consecutive month with a meeting.
Next chapter meeting will be a return engagement at Dell Diamond on June 3. More information will be forthcoming from Jan Larson.
(Photos by Gilbert D. Martinez)