Thursday, September 07, 2006

Agony of defeat

OK, let me make one thing clear- it wasn't Kennedy's fault that the Spirit only got 4 measley hits through the first eight innings. Not one bit. But with that said, Kennedy's mismanagement of the pitching staff added sting to a 9-5 game 2 loss that was a lot worse than the score indicated. The Spirit led briefly in the 4th before completely melting down and falling behind 9-2. A spirited 9th inning rally made it 9-5 but it was too little, too late. Click here for the full game log

Burning Questions... no screw that, burning comments:
Kevin Rival really struggled in relief. He gave up an inherited run, let another man on, then barely got out of a jam to keep it 4-2. Fair enough. Take him out, right? No. He gives up two more hits in his 2nd inning of work... then gets out of hit. Fair enough. Take him out, right? No. Let's wait until he absolutely tanks it, giving up a few more to make it 6-2. THEN he's left in to finish THAT inning once it's already 6-2!

The same situation happened with Jared Trout, who also sucked. He was left in to fall on his sword until the game got out of hand at 9-2. Without this bungling management of the pitching staff, we have a close ballgame going into the ninth.

There exists the chance that this was the last Spirit home game ever. I don't even want to think about that possibility right now...

On to Quebec for game 3...

Keep the faith...




bent gonely said...

i don't like to squawk because it is baseball after all and stuff happens to every team -even the great ones. having said that i feel like the spirit were unbelievably flat tonight -- the best example of that for me was that quebec scored 2 runs on a wild pitch and the 2nd run was scored by fast (not) eddie lantigua. i'm sure they'll wake up for the next game. they've been great at bouncing back all year.

oh yeah -- that ploy of Kennedy's
where he argues that the guy missed third base is getting old --
that's about the tenth time over the last 2 seasons that he's tried it -- you have to know that that many guys haven't missed the base

and -- i think we'll ok but all of a sudden you have to rely on sam smith?? how good is he?? who knows?? he's been here 2 weeks and now are whole season depends on him.

finally, my opinion is that all signs point to nick not being here next year.i feel like i see it in his demeanor and intensity. i feel like the city of lynn has worn him out. i'm not saying that the team won't be here- he'll try to sell it before he pulls the plug -
but i feel that if he was going to be here next season he would have told us by now.
hey- maybe veeck will buy the team---- FUN IS GOOD

Joe Grav said...

If that happens I'm starting Pride Fans HQ

Joe Grav said...

I, too, am nervous about having to rely on Sammy Smith..since my one time seeing him he was rather mediocre....

SoSayethI2006 said...

Quit cryin you pussys.
Get over it, 2morromw is another day

wooden said...

Indeed. It's 1-1, not 0-2. It sucks that a .500 team gets HFA for a Game 5 -- if there is one -- but apparently the owners thought the odds of a team winning both halves was so low that it wasn't necessary to reward such a feat, not to mention the travel costs.

RustyKuntz said...

If Veeck bought the team it would be the best thing to happen to the city of Lynn, the man is a genius, and if you need proof pick up a copy of "Slouching Toward Fargo" and read for yourself...but then again he'd probably move the team to Lawrence where the city is waiting with open arms to host a team and build it a state of the art ballpark

wooden said...

Lawrence? That's very funny. How about Holyoke? Maybe Enfield, MA, too?

Joe Grav said...

I have a terrible sneaking suspicion.

Attendance was listed as 980 for last night.

That's total BS! there were at least 1,800 people there.

I know we talk all the time about INFLATING attendance figures..

any chance Big Nick is DEFLATING them as justification for getting out of town?

And Rusty, George Steinbrenner is a very successful owner with deep pockets and a will to win. I still wouldn't want him to own the Red Sox.

RustyKuntz said...

I'm not sure what you have against the Veeck group, they're publicity machines, they take an active role in the community, they guarantee that the team will be around for a while, the have a sense of humor (which you have to admit is sorely lacking in Spirit-land)

and in terms of Lawrence's viability in hosting a team...considering that the surrounding Merrimack Valley is one of the most prosperous regions in MA, I think that it could be an economic windfall for potential owners, and as this article shows, the Can-Am league is already very aware of the city/regions interest

Baseball now a key part of mayor's downtown development plans

View as a multiple pages
Mayor Michael Sullivan calls his vision "the ultimate baseball experience."

Fans ordering a pre-game pizza or dinner on Merrimack Street followed by a ride on a water shuttle across the Merrimack River to a ballpark on East Island or another spot in the city's canal district.

Set with a background of century-old mill buildings, a ballpark at such a location would taken on the charm of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Sullivan said.

This is a vision Sullivan wants to make a priority in his next 31/2 years in office - to have a minor league baseball park built in a city rich with baseball history and racked with baseball fever.

There's been plenty of outside interest in putting a team in the city. Those parties have even targeted a couple of potential sites that would be ideal for baseball playing fields - one of them on an island in downtown Lawrence.

So far, nobody has stepped up to the plate to build the park that would be necessary to complete Lawrence's field of dreams. At least at this point, no land deals have been negotiated that would make that possible.

But Sullivan last week declared that getting a future minor league baseball team to locate in Lawrence before his second four-year term expires in January 2010 is "a top priority."

"This is something I really think we could make happen," Sullivan said. "I'm more excited to know that this product now is so much better for the city because of so many things happening - so many pieces falling into place that make it more attractive than it was several years ago."

Get in line - football and soccer are already on the way

The incentives for siting a ballpark in downtown Lawrence have improved dramatically since the leaders of an independent baseball league that includes teams from Brockton, Lynn, Worcester and Nashua, N.H., visited Lawrence in the summer of 2003.

A revitalization of the area is building toward a business boom. There is Northern Essex Community College's $20 million expansion plan expected to bring 1,200 new students to the area. The Gateway Project is bringing more downtown parking and better access from Interstate 495.

Mill buildings on Merrimack Street are filling with condos, restaurants and businesses. A boat ramp is planned on the southern bank of the Merrimack River behind Sal's Pizza and Italian Restaurant. A new transportation center at the corner of Union and Merrimack streets offers parking and a modern train stop.

And the recent completion of the $8 million renovation project at Veterans Memorial Stadium already has been targeted by semiprofessional sports teams. A semiprofessional football team recently signed a contract with the city to use the stadium for its home games. A similar arrangement is expected with a semipro soccer team next year. This just adds to the momentum for getting a minor league baseball team, according to Sullivan.

New leadership in a revitalized Planning Department that had its funds frozen by the federal government two years ago is now equipped to play a leadership role in such a project, Sullivan said.

"If the league approached us in 2003 and we were this far along with so many things happening, it would have been a great site for the city to purchase," the mayor said of the island property that intrigued officials of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.

"The main obstacle continues to be finding the land. But I think we have enough private individuals working together with an aggressive Planning Department to make it happen," he said.

Build it and they will come

Can-Am commissioner Miles Wolff said he'd love to have his league put a baseball team in Lawrence, especially at the island site.

"We looked at that canal site and think it would be a beautiful entrance way to the city," said Wolff, a longtime career baseball man who once owned the Durham Bulls, the North Carolina baseball team that was romanticized in the 1988 baseball film "Bull Durham."

"What makes Lawrence unique is all of that downtown: the mills, the canal, the bridges and the river. An architectural firm could really make a stadium fit in that city," he said. "If the city really wants it, it can happen."

The problem in Lawrence's case is private developers own the property off Island Street and another site on Marston Street - both of which have excellent access from Interstate 495.

If a baseball stadium gets built in Lawrence, it will be because of some kind of partnership between the city and private developers, according to Pedro Arce, a financial consultant and North Andover resident who initiated the talks with Wolff three years ago.

"Getting site control of an area suitable for a ballpark is the missing piece," said Arce, a former Lawrence School Committee member who now chairs the Workforce Investment Board. "We're surrounded by cities that have done it. If Brockton, Lynn and Lowell can do it, what's stopping Lawrence?"

Kevin Costner's role in this

A couple of years ago, Arce was planning a family vacation to Quebec City when he had a telephone conversation with Wolff, who was commissioner of the then-Northeast League, which had league offices and a baseball team in Quebec.

Wolff invited Arce and his family to see a game in Canada. Wolff visited Lawrence a couple of times, cementing a relationship that has spurred the local baseball talks for several years.

During the conversations, Wolff did a little research on Lawrence, learning that it was home of the Lawrence Millionaires, the independent minor league team that played during the mid-1940s at O'Sullivan Park on Water Street, which later became home for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

"Miles told me there was a guy on the Lawrence Millionaires whose name was Crash Davis - the name of the character played by Kevin Costner in the movie 'Bull Durham.' Davis played for the Durham Bulls too," Arce said.

Wolff still owned the Durham Bulls when the movie was being made 20 years ago. But that was years after Davis, a North Carolina boy, played infield for the Bulls. He also got to play several years in the major leagues for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics.

"Ron Shelton, the screen writer, was looking through league records and learned about Crash, and said, 'What a great name for my leading character,'" Wolff recalled.

The real Crash Davis played second base for the Lawrence Millionaires. The character played by Costner was a catcher.

City officials and local baseball buffs may one day credit that Crash Davis trivia with helping to bring baseball back to Lawrence.

The Yankees could be coming

Wolff doesn't think Lawrence could draw a major league-affiliated franchise because the Boston Red Sox have one close by in Lowell - The Spinners.

Planning Director Michael Sweeney said city officials haven't ruled that option out. There's been some discussion about the chances of having a New York Yankees affiliate in Lawrence.

"That would really create a stronger rivalry between Lawrence and Lowell or local Red Sox and Yankees fans," said Sweeney, who prides himself as a Yankees fan. "But our goal is not team-specific, but to bring minor league baseball to the city. This is the kind of thing that adds to a community. It's something that would make some people plunk down $400,000 for a condo."

The city's acting chief economic development director, Thomas Schiavone, said landing a minor league baseball team "will enhance the new image of Lawrence."

"This isn't just a wild idea hatched by somebody," said Schiavone, who noted the mayor wants to assemble an organizational team later this summer to elevate the level of previous talks. "The fact that the commissioner of an independent minor league came here twice and expressed the viewpoint that Lawrence is a great place to put a team and also identified a couple of potential sites is more than talk."

Wolff said the city shouldn't go overboard and expect that a minor league baseball team would be a key economic engine for the community

"There's no sure profit in minor league baseball. It's got to be viewed as good for the community," Wolff said.

A ball club does well if it draws 2,000 to 2,500 a night over a home schedule of 46 games.

Minor league baseball has boomed in local communities over the last two decades, popularized in part by "Bull Durham," he noted. Wolff considers it one of those quality-of-life improvements.

"It's one of the few things a whole family can do together. The kids can run around. Momma loves to chat with friends. It's family affordable entertainment," Wolff said. "If there's a whole redevelopment plan going on, it's an attractive entertainment option that really helps downtown development. It's one of those things that give you momentum."

Anonymous said...

Page 21 of today's (9/8/06) Boston Herald has a story that mentions North Shore Spirit owner Nick Lopardo by Scott Van Voorhis

RustKuntz said...

I'm still not sure how a team would do in boston, maybe in cambridge/somerville, but not boston.

however if that group wanted to name the team the "Braves,Americans or Pilgrims" I'd have to be on board

Joe Grav said...

They're publicity machines because they're attention whores that will do anything, including degrading the game of baseball, to get publicity. I'd rather not stoop to shit like having the Bad News Bears play on our team, or having gimmicks like Fans Score the Game Night (although our official scorer is so terrible, the fans would probably do a better job).

Joe Grav said...

On ethical grounds I refuse to buy the Herald; what does the story say

TonyTheTiger20 said...

joe, the herald is free for us (theres free issues right at out stuart BC bus stop).

but i agree that on ethical grounds it should not be read unless under extreme circumstances. like you accidentally glace at a word while slipping it in ur bird cage.

RustyKuntz said...

Joe, seriously read that book, there's no degrading of the integrity of the game going on there...but c'mon its Indy baseball, if you want it serious just go to Fenway

Joe Grav said...

Oh because that's so easy to do right?

Just because it's independent baseball doesn't mean it has to be a farce. Worcester doesn't do anything farcical, neither does Quebec (well, they have farcical things but in other ways)- and both of those franchises are doing well...

RustyKuntz said...

well I'll just agree to disagree with you, I followed a Goldklang owned minor league team out west, and it was the most fun I've had being a fan in my life. the promos were creative, the fans were excited, the product on the field was good, the beers were cheap, the food was good, etc etc. their promo people are creative and bring good publicity to not just their teams but the leagues as well. maybe i'm drinking the Veeck Kool-Ade, maybe you're drinking the Lopardo brand who knows. I've enjoyed following the Spirit this year, and I wish them the best of luck, but I know that I had a lot of fun at the Rox game I went to this year too.

Joe Grav said...

I don't doubt that the team would/could be more economically successful. But we could go back and forth on this forever, sooo...

I just read page 21 (and page 21 only) of my free herald before throwing it in the trash.

hmmmm.... why would big nick be concerned if he was going to fold up shop??

wooden said...

The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune was an amusing effort at journalism, much less sportswriting, and proof that at $10 an hour, you get what you pay for.
I particularly enjoyed the pipe dream of Lawrence getting a Yank-me affiliation -- don't suppose either the city official or the reported have ever heard of t-e-r-r-i-t-o-r-i-a-l rights. Moreover, why does this idiot think that (A) the Can-Am league would place a franchise next to one that's getting hammered by not one but two affiliated teams (B) the Atlantic League would considering setting up shop in Lawrence when it failed in Nashua?

wooden said...

Joe - I read that as Nick's now got two interested suitors, which is precisely what he'd want if he were looking to sell

Joe Grav said...

I sure hope it's two suitors.

I wonder who the dumbass is who wants to come in and butt heads with Lynn, the neighbors,et al.

I think the only way for this franchise to be successful is to get a new stadium in the Beverly/Salem/Swampscott area. It can happen, but I don't think Big Nicky wants to spend that kind of dough at this point-- so it's gonna have to be someone else

wooden said...

Joe -- I don't get this reference:
"I wonder who the dumbass is who wants to come in and butt heads with Lynn, the neighbors,et al."

Joe Grav said...

Basically I'm wondering why anyone would want to buy the team from Nick & keep it where it is now, considering the past failures

wooden said...

That's easier than a drunken sorority girl -- the cheap lease (although I'm sure the city would say that it won't be transferable) but more importantly: the cheap infrastructure.

Nick bitches and moans about all the money he spent fixing up Fraser field, but neglects to mention that the $4M he spent (allegedly) is a drop in the bucket compared to the $15-$20M that a new stadium would cost, not to mention the HEADACHE of getting one built. Fraser Field is existing and the neighbors have no right to complain (I just want to bitch-slap those assholes in Revere who complain about air traffic from Logan, as if this were SO unexpected).

Simply put, it's a whole hell of a lot cheaper for a new owner to lease Fraser field than to attempt to build a new stadium elsewhere which will costs tens of millions to build and hundreds of thousands to get the paperwork necessary. Nick knows this and will make sure to sell his franchise accordingly. Even if he sells for pennies on the dollars that he claims to have spent, he'll make out. Remember what Papa Veeck said about ballclubs -- the real money is in SELLING them, not buying them.

Joe Grav said...

about the people in Revere.


There's nothing I hate worse than people complaining about, like, life going on outside the bubble of their homes.

"What? build a new beautiful school for the kids to go to? And wake up to the sound of jackhammers in the morning? No way!"

DaveCo said...

lmao...this was an interesting read (all the comments).

I think that you guys are being too negative....Smith will do good,the offense will pick up, and this team WILL be around next year. Wether it's Mr. Loprado owning it,I hope he still does,or someone else. All the signs that I see point to us being here next year.
--more parking and stuff since Manning Field is almost done
-- there's been much talk over the summer about stuff happening next year at Fraser. (concerts,another boxing thing,etc.)
-- A source told me that they already hired interns for the winter/spring. HOWEVER,that source could be wrong....but most likely isn't.
-- 3-out-of four years in the playoffs and 2 of thoise times,so far,we've gone to the finals. That's great wat we've accomplished as a team these past 4 years.

I also seriously doubt Nick would leave Lynn,move the team to another city and build a new stadium. He's put so much money into Fraser-but,as stated,it costs a lot more to build a new one. I think he'd just be too stuborn. He might sell,but I don't think this team is going anywhere for at least another year.

All I have left to say is something I've said in the past--work on the sucks. Yes,i know SOME people read this....sorry,but please market this team a bit better. TV ads,banners on western ave/boston st....stuff like that

PS: Thanks for the stop-by last night was very,um,interesting.