Checking in from the new Greenville hotel. We didn’t arrive until about 2-3 in the morning. We had a slight hiccup on the ride up but no big deal. Just part of minor league baseball – long bus rides.
Anyway, it’s a bit of an overcast day here in Greenville. I heard there is a threat of rain today but I’m not going to even check. We can’t have a washout on opening night.
Pitchers and catchers are off to the ballpark at 2:30. Position players will leave at 3:30. Flour Field (Greenville’s stadium) is a great park. I’ll try to take a couple pictures. It’s also the host of the 2010 SAL All-Star Game by the way.
Time to load the bus. I’ll check in from the park.
Here are some notes from my game notes today…
PREVIEW: The Shorebirds begin the 15th Anniversary season in Greenville, S.C. against the Drive (Red Sox). 2010 marks the fifth time over the last six seasons that the Shorebirds are starting on the road. Last season, the ‘Birds posted a 4-2 record against Lakewood and Hagerstown during their first road trip.
SIX FROM 1,000: As the Shorebirds enter their 15th year of existence, they are six wins shy of reaching 1,000. The ‘Birds have accumulated 994 wins since the franchise started in 1996. The Shorebirds are 994-949 over the last 14 years. The ‘Birds have posted a .500 or better record in nine of the 14 years.
PLAYOFFS? The Shorebirds have not qualified for the SAL playoffs since the 2005 season when Gary Kendall guided the ‘Birds to the semifinals. Hagerstown
defeated the Shorebirds two games to one. The Shorebirds have made six postseason appearance including the 1997 and 2000 championship runs.
17 YEARS OF MLB SERVICE: The new coaching staff of Ryan Minor (4 years), Mike Devereaux (12 years) and Troy Mattes bring 17 years of big league experience to the table in 2010.
FIRST ROUNDER HOBGOOD LANDS ON SHORE: The Delmarva Shorebirds have received the Orioles first round selection (fifth overall) Matt Hobgood. The last Orioles first rounder to suit up for the Shorebirds was Billy Rowell in 2007. Rowell was the Orioles first round selection (9th overall) in 2006. Both Matt Wieters (2007) and Brian Matusz (2008) skipped over Delmarva. After signing on June 27th (only weeks following the draft), Hobgood was assigned to Bluefield (R). The Norco, CA native finished 1-2 with a 4.73 ERA in eight starts (26.2 innings pitched). His last two starts were very promising. Against the Princeton Devil Rays, he allowed only four hits and a run in 4.2 innings. Then, against the Burlington Royals, he gave up a single hit in five innings.
BIG LEAGUER MIKE DEVEREAUX JOINS STAFF: Former Orioles outfielder Mike Devereaux begins his first season as a coach in the minor leagues. The Casper, Wyoming native played in 12 big league seasons for the Baltimore Orioles (1989-94, 96), Los Angeles Dodgers (1987-88, 98), Chicago White Sox (1995), Atlanta Braves (1995) and Texas Rangers (1997). He played in 1,086 career games. His finest big league season came in 1992 with the Orioles when he finished seventh in the MVP voted. He batted .276 with 24 homers and 107 RBIs. Devereaux was named the Orioles MVP that season. An interesting fact about Devereaux is that he hit the first homer by an Orioles player inside
Camden Yards on April 8, 1992 against the Indians. Devereaux stared at Arizona State where he teamed with Oddibe McDowell and Barry Bonds to lead the Sun Devils to a runner-up finish in the 1984 College World Series.
FULL CIRCLE FOR TROY MATTES: New Shorebirds pitching coach Troy Mattes has seen his baseball career come full circle. As a 20-year old in 1996, Troy Mattes suited up for the Shorebirds during their inaugural season (Montreal Expos). He finished 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 27 starts. He formed an outstanding 1-2 punch with Javier Vazquez (now pitching for the New York Yankees). The 34-year played in one big league season for the Expos in 2001. In eight starts, he finished 3-3 with a 6.00 ERA. Mattes was the pitching coach for the Bluefield Orioles during each of the last three seasons.
BUMBRY FOLLOWING IN FOOTSTEPS OF DAD: Shorebirds center fielder Steve Bumbry has large shoes to fill. His dad, Al Bumbry, spent 13 seasons as an outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles (1972-84). Al Bumbry was named the 1973 American League Rookie of the Year, hitting .336 with 11 triples and 34 RBIs. Al was named to the 1980 American League All-Star Team. He hit .318 with 53 runs-batted-in that season. The younger Bumbry, Steve, was drafted by the Orioles in the 12th round of the 2009 draft out of Virginia Tech. Steve hit .245 in 45 games for the Aberdeen Ironbirds last season. Bumbry hit .283 with a team best 10 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Hokies in 2009.