Baseball is a sport that seems to lead to arguments.
Which is why a Twitter post a couple of weeks ago caught my interest.
A tweet from a Twitter user named Diane Firstman (@dianegram) had five questions that are ‘argument starters’ for baseball fans.
Every person who answered seemed to have a different combination.
So, I decided to ask members of the Burlington Bees for their opinions.
Here are their answers:
Batting around (9 batters or 10/more batters)?
Manager Jack Howell: “Nine. I just say we batted around, because everybody got an at-bat.”
Infielder Justin Jones: “I think the guy that leads off has to bat again.”
Pitcher Parker Joe Robinson: “I agree with that.”
Pitcher Kyle Tyler: “I think the leadoff guy has to bat again.”
Striking out the side — does it have to be a 3-batter inning, or can a runner reach base?
Howell: “When he struck out the side, it was 1-2-3. When you strike out the side, it’s boom-boom-boom.”
Robinson: “I think it’s striking out the side when you strike out three batters in an inning.”
Jones: “You can still strike out the side and give up 10 runs.”
Robinson: “It’s not as impressive.”
“Play catch” vs. “Have a catch”
Howell: “You play catch. And a new term that’s been thrown about is ‘catch play.’ ‘He did a really good job in his catch play today.’”
Robinson: “Play catch, for sure.”
Jones: “Play catch.”
Outfielder Francisco Del Valle: “Same.”
Tyler: “Play catch.”
Fair pole or foul pole?
Howell: “Foul pole.”
Robinson: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘fair pole.’ Even though it makes sense — it’s fair if you hit it. Everyone has referred to it as ‘foul pole.’”
Del Valle: “Agreed. Foul pole.”
Tyler: “Foul pole.”
Plural of RBI?
Howell: “RBIs. ‘He had four RBIs.’ I put it in my report all of the time. I’ll say it tonight on our report, ‘Fitzsimons had four RBIs.’”
Jones: “I put the S on the end.”
Del Valle: “I don’t put the S on the end.”
Robinson: “I put the S on the end.”
BACK TO THE PROCESS
Howell did the math on what he thought the Bees would need to get into the playoffs for the first half.
He figured if the Bees could get to 40 wins — 10 over .500 — they would get the second first-half playoff spot in the Western Division.
The Bees fell one short of that, finishing in a tie with Cedar Rapids, but losing the tiebreaker because the Kernels led the season series with the Bees, 6-4.
“I was always watching,” Howell said. “We would get to nine over .500, and then we would shoot down to seven. Get to nine, go down again. I said all along, if we would get to 10 over, we would win.”
The Bees went into the final series of the first half at Peoria with a magic number of two — any combination of Burlington wins and Cedar Rapids losses totalling two would clinch the playoff spot.
The Bees won just one game, while Cedar Rapids swept Clinton.
Howell preached “the process” to his team all throughout the first half as the Bees stayed in either one of the top two spots all the way through. The Kernels, though, surged into the second-place tie by winning 14 of their last 18 games, a stretch started by a 4-0 win over the Bees on May 30.
“We didn’t even think about all this,” Howell said. “You heard me talk about process, process, process. Not results, process. But you get down to the last two or three weeks, and you think, ‘OK, this is something we should consider thinking about.’
“I think toward the end, we went away from the process and started trying to win, and I think it got us a little bit. But I will say, with the way Cedar Rapids was coming, I think we had to think that. They were doing extraordinary things, so that meant we were going to have to turn it up a notch.”
Howell thought his team was in good shape after winning two games of a three-game series at Kane County right before the Peoria series.
“In one way, it was frustrating,” Howell said. “But in another way, it lets you know to stay with the process. Stay with the process, and the results will happen.”
FUTURES GAME AGAIN
Jo Adell (2018) will be playing the All-Star Futures Game on July 7 in Cleveland as part of the All-Star Game festivities.
It is the second consecutive appearance in the event for Adell, who was 1-for-4 in last year’s game.
Adell, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization and the No. 4 prospect overall by MLB.com, is batting .364 with five home runs after missing most of the first half of the season because of ankle and hamstring injuries suffered in spring training. He is batting .311 in his minor-league career, including hitting .326 in 25 games for the Bees last season.
THE MONTH THAT WAS
A look at the Bees’ numbers and facts from June.
Batting average: .210
Notes: Catcher Harrison Wenson led the team in doubles (6), RBIs (13) and OPS (.912). … Infielder Justin Jones led the team with three home runs. … Bees starting pitcher Jose Soriano had a 1.93 ERA for the month, while Kyle Tyler had a 1.93 ERA. Tyler was 3-0 for the month, while Hector Yan was 2-0.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Batting average: .196
Opponents’ batting average: .284
Opponents’ ERA: 4.40
Notes: Both of the Bees’ wins were in rain-shortened games — 3-2 at Peoria on Sunday and 9-1 against Quad Cities on Tuesday. Tyler was the winning pitcher, and credited with a complete game, in both games. … Connor Fitzsimons batted .429 for the week.
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Cedar Rapids (6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Community Field, 5:05 p.m. Thursday and 6:35 p.m. Friday at Cedar Rapids) — The Bees and Kernels tied for second place in the Western Division in the first half, but the Kernels won the tiebreaker with a 6-4 edge in the season series. The Kernels are 4-6 in the second half, including a 2-4 home record.
• Peoria (6:30 p.m. Saturday and next Monday, 2 p.m. Sunday) — The final visit for the Chiefs, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, to Community Field this season. The Bees are 5-3 against Peoria this season, including a three-game sweep at home in April.
The Bees are 25-17 at home, 17-21 on the road. … The Bees have seven wins in 10 extra-inning games this season, most in the Midwest League. … They are 21-12 in one-run games, also the most wins in the league. … Yan is second in the league with 83 strikeouts. … Opponents are hitting .203 against Soriano, .220 against Tyler.