Completely Unreliable Game Report: Conn. at Brooklyn

During the Media portion at this past weekend’s Live Event, one topic addressed by the panel members was the relevance of the traditional game report.

On this subject, the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman said something to the effect of: “This is our first year at the Herald without proper game repots. We figured that our time and resources were better spent elsewhere — analyzing the game, etc.”

Allow me, first, to echo vigorously Silverman’s comment. I’ve said it before, will say it again, and will probably have it inscribed on my tomb at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France, after I die: “The traditional, pyramid-style game report is a Snooze Fest of gigantic proportions.”

*Although, owing to the location of my tomb, the inscription will read more like the following: “Le rapport de match traditionnel du modèle-pyramide est un Snooze Fest des proportions colossales.”

But allow me to offer, secondly, a revolutionary thought: what if, instead of being written “pretty soon after the game” by a “paid reporter” who “watched the whole game attentively” — what if, instead of all that, a game report was written three days after a game by a bespectacled fellow who drank, like, three beers during said game and is generally prone to forming irrational attachment to fringe players?

Well, in that case, it would probably very much resemble the following.

The Game I’m Talking About
It happened this past Sunday night, August 8th, between the Connecticut Tigers and Brooklyn Cyclones of the short-season New York-Penn League. The latter team is a New York Mets affiliate; the former, shockingly, is affiliated with the Tigers.

Connecticut won 6-3. I mean, just in case that sort of info is important to you.

Why I Went There in the First Place
The answer to this question is a little bit of the “N’doy” variety, but still fair. Anyway, here are three reasons:

1. Because I was in New York already. (Live Event in the hizouse.)

2. Because minor league games are cheaper, and generally more accessible, than their major league counterparts.

3. Because it gave/gives me the opportunity to front like a prospect maven. (Which, if you’re gonna front, fronting like a prospect maven probably isn’t the worst. Fronting like a doctor? That’s pretty bad.)

What the Weather Was Like
Silly good. Sunday was a hot day in New York — and humid. But on account of MCU Park is right by the frigging ocean, there was this great breeze.

Pop quiz: How many baseball stadia are right by the ocean? San Francisco’s AT&T and San Diego’s Petco Parks are the only two I can think of. (The latter is on San Francisco Bay, but whatever.) As for minor league stadiums — fuggedaboutit.

What the Crowd Was Like
The box score says that 8,047 were in attendance — this, in a stadium with an official listed capacity of 7,501.

If this is true, then I’m forced to assume that the one or two thousand empty seats around the park were occupied by the Ghosts of New York Baseball Past. And they all paid.

What the Crowd Was Also Like
Like all the tweets from Sh*t My Dad Says being read aloud, simultaneously, over and over.

You and Me and Almost Everyone We Know
“Hello, my name is [blank] and I’m a baseball nerd”: that’s essentially what you’re saying when you visit FanGraphs. But it’s okay, friend; this is a safe space.

Anyway, because you’re a baseball nerd, you probably do something similar to what I do — which is to look at the stat sheets of both teams before you go to a game.

That’s what I did before this game, too. And this is what I said:

OMG, Look at These Frigging Guys
The Cyclones have three players with stupid-good stat lines. Regard:

Name		POS	Age	PA	Slash		BABIP	
D. Ceciliani	CF	20	220	.375/.425/.565	.457
C. Vaughn	RF	21	225	.330/.404/.546	.333
R. Sandoval	SS	23	210	.309/.396/.565	.369

Some Notes and Observations About Those Guys
• Of the three, Ceciliani had the hardest-hit ball during the game, a real-live line drive to right field in the first inning. It was, in the parlance of Baseball Men everywhere, a real “at’em ball,” but well-hit nonetheless.
• Ceciliani wears the top of his shirt unbuttoned, a la — and perhaps in homage to — Mike Napoli.
• Vaughn looked less than steady on a fliner by Connecticut’s Les Smith in the Bottom of the 6th. In this case, MiLB’s play-by-play is entirely accurate: Les Smith doubles (4) on a fly ball to right fielder Cory Vaughn. No, maybe the ball wasn’t “to” Cory Vaughn; but it was also “pretty damn close” to Cory Vaughn.
• Sandoval didn’t really distinguish himself in any way. Also, he’s 23, which makes him less exciting.

What a Smart Person Says About Those Guys
After the game, I asked Rob Castellano — the Official Prospect Maven of Amazin’ Avenue — about this troika of young youngins.

He replied kindly and promptly, as follows. (Note: I edited out the dirty parts.)

The first thing you should know is that I’ve nicknamed that trio The Magnificent Three. Because they’ve been magnificent.

Vaughn is the most visible of the three, being the son of former big league slugger Greg Vaughn. He was drafted in the fourth round this past June, signed quickly and was assigned directly to B-town. Ever since, he’s been mashing the ball; just over mid-way through the NYPL season, Vaughn currently leads the league with twelve homers. [This is] the same league that boasted a high of seven bombs in 2009. However, back on July 13th, ESPN minor league analyst extraordinaire Keith Law had a somewhat notorious tweet amongst Mets prospect mavens, declaring that in his eyes Vaughn was thriving off lesser competition, that he “can’t hit legit pitching.”

Vaughn certainly looks the part of a major leaguer as far as athleticism and tools go but after a somewhat up and down college career at San Diego State (yes, with Stephen Strasburg), he certainly needs to prove himself at higher levels before he can be considered the real deal.

Ceciliani has been the toast of the NYPL in 2010. He’s clearly the best player out there and he’s showing little to no weaknesses: Beyond batting roughly .375, he’s walking, he’s hitting lefties, he’s stealing bases at a decent clip, he’s playing great D and, though he has just one homer, he’s hitting tons of XBHs (currently he’s third in the NYPL in that category). He just set the Cyclones single season record for triples with nine in just 41 games. (The NYPL leader in that category in ’09 was seven in 73 games.) He’s top five in OBP, SLG, XBH & stolen bases while leading the league in AVG, triples & runs. The ’08 fourth-rounder out of an Oregon community college hails from the same hometown as Jacoby Ellsbury and interestingly fits a very similar long-term profile as the Red Sox outfielder. A promotion up to Savannah or even St. Lucie is more than overdue but Mets brass has always really valued a winning team across town in Brooklyn, — even more so than player development, apparently.

While the other two gets most of the ink, Sandoval has been nothing short of outstanding, swatting nine bombs while batting .330 all from the shortstop position, though his defense needs work as he’s already committed eleven errors. Sandoval has a very interesting back story: originally drafted by the Mets in 2007 out of a Cali. junior college, Sandoval opted to instead transfer to baseball powerhouse Long Beach St., in the hopes of boosting his draft stock. The opposite occurred, as Sandoval saw sporadic playing time among a roster full of top prep players and went undrafted in his final two years of school. Determined to make it, Sandoval shelled out $3,000 to play in the independent Arizona Winter League where he was spotted by none other than Brooklyn manager Wally Backman. After learning of his story, Backman contacted Mets Farm Director Adam Wogan and Sandoval was promptly signed as an undrafted free agent and is currently excelling as the Cyclones leadoff hitter. The kid refused to hang it up and actually paid to play. That’s awesome.

Less-Than-Stirring Conclusion
The post is over now. Go clean your room or something.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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