Catching Up with…Andrew Robinson

Without baseball on the horizon, I’m using this time to connect with former Senators (all of them can be found here).

We will relive some of their fondest memories and find out what they’re up to now. This week we’re headed out once again to the bullpen for Andrew Robinson.

Robinson was signed by the Nationals as a minor-league free agent after the 2015 season. The reliever made 73 appearances with the Senators over the 2016 and 2017 seasons pitching to a 2.68 ERA and pocketing 22 saves.

Photo courtesy Sam Getty / Harrisburg Senators

Mayflies: What are you currently doing?

Andrew Robinson: I’m married to my wife Cassie, and we live in Newnan, GA (about 45 minutes south of Atlanta). We got married in November 2017 after my last season with the Nationals. I’m working for Home Depot at the Store Support Center (Corporate Office). I’m in merchandising in Outdoor Garden, and my categories are Hardscapes (Pavers, Bagged Rock, Etc.) and Lawn Accessories (Landscape Fabric, Edging, Etc.). Basically, we manage these categories for all ~2000 US stores. I have been with Home Depot since September of 2018. As far as hobbies go, I’ve picked up cooking on my Big Green Egg. Although, you may already be aware of this if you follow me on Instagram. 

MF: What is your fondest memory of playing in Harrisburg?

AR: My fondest memory playing in Harrisburg was getting to know and hanging out with my teammates. There are quite a few that I still talk to on a regular basis, and we have become great friends. Also, Harrisburg was always a great atmosphere to play in. I’ve played in many stadiums (and by many, I mean all active AA stadiums along with many A and AAA stadiums) over my eight seasons in professional baseball. Harrisburg is up there in terms of atmosphere. It was always a fun place to play, and that mostly has to do with the people in the stands. There is nothing better than playing in front of a full stadium. As far as the city, I VERY much miss Little Amps coffee. I love coffee, and to have a great local roaster right there was something that I quickly got used to.

MF: Going back to the beginning…why baseball?

AR: I’ve always loved baseball. For as long as I can remember, I always told people that I wanted to play professional baseball. Obviously, that is a dream for many kids, but I was actually lucky enough to live it. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason I fell in love with the game at a young age, but my best guess is that it has to do with the Braves. I was a HUGE Braves fan as a kid. I had the pleasure of growing up watching three Hall of Fame pitchers on a daily basis, and I think that started it all. 

MF: What was your greatest or favorite day in baseball?

AR: This is a tough one for me. I’d like to say the day I was drafted, but honestly, I was on the golf course that day. Not because I didn’t care, but very much the opposite. It was my senior year at Georgia Tech and my last chance to be drafted. It was either get drafted and go play professional baseball or get a “real job.” This was the third time I was sitting through the draft where I was eligible, and I just couldn’t watch again. I found out that I was drafted when one of my teammates and best friends (Deck McGuire) called me to say congrats. I had no idea. 

When thinking about my actual playing career, the championships that I was a part of stand out for sure. I was lucky enough to win three championships over those eight seasons. The first was my very first season after getting drafted. We won the New York Penn League in 2010. Second, we won the California League in 2012. My last was the Eastern League in 2015 with Bowie (Sorry!). 

MF: What factors went into your decision to stop playing?

AR: Well, I got old. Obviously, I’m not that old when it comes to life, but I was older for where I was in baseball. After the 2017 season with Harrisburg, I signed with the Dodgers. It was a tough offseason, and I signed pretty late even after coming off two good seasons. Unfortunately, there were not many teams looking to sign a 30-year-old reliever maxing out in the low 90’s. Baseball is getting younger, and pitchers (especially relievers) are throwing harder. Anyway, I went to spring training with the Dodgers and did not pitch well at all. I got released during spring training. At this point, teams are cutting players, so it is even more difficult to sign with an affiliated team. My only option was independent ball. I did not want to go that route because I was 30, married, and had a degree from Georgia Tech. I chose to move on. 

Thanks to Andrew for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions.

Posted in Catching Up with... | Tagged | Leave a comment

The greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history: Nos. 20 to 16

Welcome to the fifth in a series of posts ranking the greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history (otherwise known as when baseball returned to City Island in 1987).

The first half of the countdown (Nos. 40 through 21) can be found here.

So without further ado…

20. Brad Fullmer –  For the Win (Sept 11, 1996)

The road to a championship is as much about getting hot at the right time of the year. The 1996 Harrisburg Senators are proof of that.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a talented squad that earned everything they accomplished, but the Senators were an afterthought coming into the postseason. They won four of five from Bowie to end the regular season, yet still finished with the lowest win total among the four playoff teams.

“Everybody was saying we backed into the playoffs,” Brad Fullmer told The Patriot-News’ Andy Linker. “But when we finished the year well against Bowie, I was thinking, ‘Hey, maybe we can take some people by surprise.'”

First up for Harrisburg was the Trenton Thunder, then a Boston affiliate, who had surged to an 86-56 record, twelve games ahead of the Senators in the South Division. It didn’t matter much as the Senators dispatched the Thunder in four games.

Next up was the Portland Sea Dogs, who also won more than 80 games that season. Once again, that didn’t seem to matter. Harrisburg seized control of the series by taking the first two games in Harrisburg before heading to Maine, looking for their third Eastern League title in 10 seasons.

Up 2-1 in the series, the Senators went on the offensive early in Game 4. Nursing a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Harrisburg’s advantage swelled to three as Fullmer, with Jose Vidro on second with two outs, drilled a long ball off Portland starter Will Cunnane. For Fullmer, it was his third homer in the four games against the Sea Dogs.

That was all the runs the Senators needed as they clinched the title with a 6-1 victory over the Sea Dogs. The win completed a worst-to-first finish that hadn’t been accomplished in the Eastern League since 1987.

19. Glenn Murray –  Backs Against the Wall (September 14, 1993)

It wasn’t often the 1993 Senators had their backs against the wall. After all, this was a team that went an astounding 94-44, finishing 19 games ahead of the second-place Canton-Akron Indians. But that was the situation the Senators found themselves in after Canton topped Harrisburg in the opening two games of their best-of-five championship series at RiverSide Stadium.

Win or go home.

After beating the Indians 5-2 in Game 3, Harrisburg needed to keep the pressure on in Game 4 to have any hope of claiming the title.

After the first two batters of the game were retired, Glenn Murray stepped to the plate to face Canton starter Mike Dyer. The power hitter worked the count to 2-2 before teeing off on a Dyer offering over the left-field wall to give Harrisburg the critical 1-0 lead before Canton even batted. The home run was the first allowed by the Canton staff in its nine postseason games.

But it wouldn’t be the last, as Tyrone Horne added a round-tripper for Harrisburg on the way to a 10-2 victory that tied the series and forced a deciding fifth game.

“The advantage they had, they lost,” Harrisburg manager Jim Tracy told Linker. “We have momentum, but there are nine innings left for the championship.”

18. Trovin Valdez – Unlikeliest of Heroes (Sept 7, 1997)

Hiram Bocachica, left, and Trovin Valdez holding the EL trophy

What was the bigger surprise in Game 1 of the 1997 Eastern League championship series? Light-hitting Trovin Valdez delivering the big blow to Portland’s chances or that Valdez was even penciled into the lineup each night?

Valdez had been finishing the season at Class A West Palm Beach when Harrisburg’s Ed Bady went down with a strained right hamstring in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Instead of going home to New York City, Valdez was a necessary component for the playoff-bound Senators.

But in the Southern finals against Bowie, the then 23-year-old Dominican struggled, batting .056 on only one hit in 18 at-bats. Yet, Harrisburg manager Rick Sofield kept sending Valdez out there every night.

In the opening game of the best-of-5 series against Portland, the outfielder substantiated his skipper’s faith.

Valdez turned a tight 3-1 Harrisburg lead in the sixth inning into an insurmountable 6-1 advantage when he turned on a pitch sending it over the short wall in left field.

This is a batter that, at that point in his career, had hit only eight home runs in 1,614 plate appearances. I’ll save you from doing the math – that’s one every 201.75 times he stepped to the plate. And none came in his previous 13 regular-season games with Harrisburg that year. Heck, Valdez only had two extra-base hits, both doubles, in his 47 plate appearances with the Senators.

But there he was on a team he wasn’t supposed to be on, in a lineup he wasn’t supposed to be in, hitting a three-run home run on a hit-and-run, no less, to seal the deal in the crucial first game of the championship series.

17. Steven Souza, Jr. – The Natural (September 4, 2013)

Photo courtesy Kyle Mace

The Harrisburg Senators and Erie SeaWolves were two evenly matched teams during the 2013 season. The squads battled down to the final day of the regular season to see who would finish as the top seed in the Western Division as they finished only a game apart in the 142-game schedule.

So it was no shock to see the teams deadlocked 4-4 headed to the ninth inning in the opener of their best-of-five Eastern League semifinal series.

Erie had moved ahead in the seventh when Brandon Douglas beat a throw home on a fielder’s choice grounder and survived a massive collision with Senators catcher Brian Jeroloman. But Harrisburg scratched across the equalizer in their next at-bats on a Billy Burns’ sacrifice fly to set up the dramatic final frame.

The SeaWolves turned to their closer Melvin Mercedes, who had 23 saves that season, to get three outs. In four previous appearances against the Senators, Mercedes hadn’t allowed a hit, let alone a run.

Steven Souza, Jr. changed that quickly with one swing of the bat on an 0-2 count as he led off the frame with a solo home run to power the 5-4 win and gave the Senators a 1-0 series advantage.

16. Glenn Davis – Double Dip (Sept 6, 2002) 

It was little more than a foregone conclusion that Akron, which led all of the minor leagues with 88 regular-season wins, would easily handle the upstart Senators in their first-round playoff series.

Victories by the Aeros in the first two games of the series only added to that belief.

But Glenn Davis single-handedly jumpstarted the Harrisburg offense in Game 3 and brought the Senators back from the dead. Davis, who was a late-season acquisition from the Yankees organization, became the first Senator in the modern era to homer twice in a playoff game.

First, he tied the game at 1-1 with a long solo home run off Akron starter Jamie Brown’s first pitch of the second inning. Davis drove Brown’s final pitch even farther over the right-field wall for a two-run homer in the fifth inning to cap a four-run rally that gave the Senators a 6-1 lead in front of a raucous 5,158 at RiverSide Stadium.

“That first one, it was a fastball that I got on top of,” Davis told Linker. “The second one was a slider. I hit that one pretty good.”

The performance and victory would keep the Senators’ hope alive for another day (see #22) and yet another (see #21).

Posted in Greatest Home Runs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Catching Up with…Brian Jeroloman

Without baseball on the horizon, I’m using this time to connect with former Senators (all of them can be found here).

We will relive some of their fondest memories and find out what they’re up to now. This week we’re gearing up behind the plate for Brian Jeroloman.

Jeroloman was acquired by the Nationals in a 2013 trade from the Pirates organization. The catcher played in 166 games with the Senators over parts or all of the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons with Harrisburg slashing .210/.322/.285 and throwing out 32% of would be base stealers.

Photo courtesy Will Bentzel / Harrisburg Senators

Mayflies: What are you currently doing?

Brian Jeroloman: I work for the New York Yankees. I live in West Palm Beach, Florida, so I’m back where I grew up, which is really nice. I love it. I’m a scout in South Florida, and it’s a lot of fun.

Last year, I coached at the University of South Florida. It’s a mid-major Division I baseball school, and I got to coach there with my older brother. He then got an opportunity to go to my alma mater at the University of Florida, so I left USF and joined the Yankees.

MF: What is your fondest memory of playing in Harrisburg?

BJ: I would probably have to say I really enjoyed Matt LeCroy. There are few coaches like him. It’s hard to find a coach that’s a good motivator and a good communicator. It isn’t easy, and that’s something that he was the ace of spades in. He made it really easy coming to the ballpark with all the different personalities that every team has. He knew how to communicate with each person.

2013 was a great memory. That was a challenging year for me as I got traded a couple of times that year. As a catcher, it’s not fun to be traded. I had been with Toronto for seven years; then, I went to Cleveland. That was Terry Francona’s first year. I was there in Spring Training. As a catcher, it takes like a month and a half to really get to know your pitchers and communicate with them. At the end of Spring Training, they traded me to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I’m in Triple-A. We have a great team with guys like Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, and Jose Contreras was on that team. Overall, it was a phenomenal team, and we were winning a lot in a great city. I was there about a month and a half, and then I got traded to the Nationals. So I go to Triple-A Syracuse with guys like Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Tanner Roark. Mentally, it was a tough year because of the consistent changing of pitchers.

I’m in Syracuse for about a month, and then Wilson Ramos came back from an injury. (Washington Assistant GM) Doug Harris called me in and asked me if I’d be willing to go to Double-A. I wasn’t fond of that. Because I had been there in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and had been an All-Star those years. So it was just like ‘What else do I have to prove at that level?’ Doug was as first-class as they come, talked to me for a while. He really changed my mindset completely. It was the right move to make, and that’s where I got to see LeCroy.

The team was winning. We had Steven Souza, Brian Goodwin, Nathan Karns, Blake Treinen, and Robbie Ray. It was a great group of guys that really enjoyed playing the game, and we had a lot of fun.

When I look back, I really love 2013. It was a great staff with Paul Menhart and LeCroy. It was a great group of kids that were hungry to play the game. And we were winning, which made it so much easier.

MF: Going back to the beginning…why baseball?

BJ: Mine is a unique story. The easiest answer is my brother played it. I started playing baseball illegally when I was two years old. My brother was four or five, and I was playing on his T-ball team. It was against every rule, but I could catch so they put me at first base.

My brother was the person I always looked up to, but it wasn’t just that. Baseball is so intriguing because every day you step on the field, even when I was 32, I was still learning something every day. There could be a play that you have never seen before. It’s all these puzzle pieces, and you’re trying to put it together, but it’s a never-ending puzzle.

I remember my dad grew up with Walt Weiss (former AL Rookie of the Year, 14-year MLB veteran, and Colorado Rockies manager) and knew him growing up in Suffern, New York. So my dad took us to a game in Miami at then Joe Robbie Stadium, and I got to see Walt play a game in front of all those people. It was just one of those feelings that I’m going to play here one day.

It’s a unique road. I was a second baseman until I was 15 years old. I had a really great high school coach who transitioned me to a catcher. That’s when things really started clicking. Once you get confidence in the game, the game becomes fun, and that’s where your talent really starts to kick in.

MF: What was your greatest or favorite day in baseball?

BJ: I’ll give you three that stick out. Getting the opportunity to play on Team USA in 2005 was a special moment. I knew the significance of that. The players on that team were unbelievable. There was Max Scherzer, David Price, Sean Doolittle, Mark Melancon, and John Jay. Top to bottom, it was such a good team. It was an opportunity to represent your county, and that was a special moment. It lets you know you’re doing stuff right.

Another one was getting to play against my brother in college, the person I looked up to the most. It’s not very often your brother is coming up to bat, and you’re catching. We swept them all three games we played because I still talk smack with him about that.

Everyone can say getting the call to the big leagues. It was unfortunate for me the night before I got called up, I broke my wrist sliding into third base. That’s a great moment, but when you find out you’re hurt, you really can’t do much, so that’s not up there. I would say my third is playing in the National Championship series. We had to beat Florida State, our biggest rival, at our home to go to Omaha. That was a special feeling.

MF: What factors went into your decision to stop playing?

BJ: There was a lot. I’m not going to say I accomplished as much as I wanted to, but I did everything I guess I could have. I was in the major leagues – it was a great feeling. I got the opportunity to represent my country. I played for 11 seasons and 12 years.

When you’re a catcher, and you’re hitting 30, people would ask me about my body. I’d be like my body feels great, but then you think I’ve had surgeries to both my knees, on a hip, and of course, I had the collision. I’m like, what am I doing? When I have kids one day, I want to be able to walk with them.

I always told Doug (Harris) that if I got hurt again, I’d be done. That Spring Training, I hurt my oblique, so I missed three weeks. It just came to a point where it was time to move on. I don’t have any regrets. The one thing I can always say, and I don’t want to make this sound cheesy, is the one thing that was important to me was when I put my jersey on, whether it be in the minor leagues, majors, or college, I never took that for granted. That’s why I’ve stayed in the game of baseball. It’s the one thing in life that I truly, truly love.

Thanks to Brian for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions.

Posted in Catching Up with... | Tagged | Leave a comment

The greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history: Nos. 25 to 21

Welcome to the fourth in a series of posts ranking the greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history (otherwise known as when baseball returned to City Island in 1987).

Part 1 covering homers 40 through 36 can be found here.
Part 2 covering homers 35 through 31 can be found here.
Part 3 covering homers 30 through 26 can be found here.

So without further ado…

25. Oreste Marrero – Punching Bags Times Two (May 23, 1993)

In the grand scheme of things, Oreste Marrero’s seventh-inning solo home run off London reliever Brian Warren didn’t really affect the outcome of the 9-1 Harrisburg victory or change the course of the Senators’ record-setting season.

But it did spark one of the most memorable moments on City Island.

The 1993 Senators were used to going through teams like a buzzsaw. Their 100 victories and Eastern League championship prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. That didn’t mean opposing teams had to like it, but none made the mistake the London Tigers did that Sunday afternoon.

Losing 4-1 to Harrisburg in the seventh, Warren surrendered a three-run homer to Cliff Floyd on his first pitch and a Marrero solo shot later in the inning to turn a tight game again into a laugher. Since Warren couldn’t beat Harrisburg on the diamond, he tried another tack. The reliever buzzed a fastball high and tight by Mike Hardge’s head igniting a 12-minute bench-clearing brawl.

The fight was as lopsided as the games between the two teams had been.

Starting pitcher Joey Eischen roughed up two opposing players by home plate. Glenn Murray and Curtis Pride tag-teamed Tigers manager Tom Runnells, blindsiding him along the first-base line. And Tyrone Woods took on anyone who had a London uniform.

“The way I analyze it,” Harrisburg manager Jim Tracy told The Patriot-News’ Andy Linker, “we got to beat them five times this weekend, not four.”

“I don’t know what those London boys were thinking,” said Bill Madlock, the former four-time National League batting champion who was in attendance to play in a postgame softball game for Alzheimer’s research. “Those guys are just babies compared to Harrisburg.”

24. Jason Camilli – The Extra Point Makes Seven (September 19, 1999)

In a quest to become the first team in the Eastern League’s 77-year history to win four straight titles, the 1999 Senators found their backs up against the wall down 2-1 in the best-of-five championship series. You couldn’t tell they felt any pressure by the way they began the elimination Game 4.

Milton Bradley led off the home half of the first inning with a no-doubter that ricocheted off the scoreboard in right-center. It went downhill from then for Norwich starter Jason Beverlin, who had led the EL with 15 victories.

Harrisburg batted around, punctuated by No. 9 hitter Jason Camilli driving a full-count pitch over the wall in left for a three-run home run to give the Senators a 7-0 lead.

However, it wasn’t enough of a cushion as the Navigators chipped away at the lead until they took a 9-7 lead. But have no fear, Harrisburg came back to win 10-9 and set up a Game 5 that will live in infamy.

“It’s nice to get off to that big lead,” Camilli told Linker. “But then they started chipping away. It was, ‘C’mon, this can’t be happening.’ Then we got back to doing what we can do.”

23. Chris Stowers – Getting the Upper Hand (September 9, 1998)

Pitting one of the Eastern League’s best pitchers, Akron’s Jim Brower, against Harrisburg’s young and inconsistent lineup in the opening salvo of the Southern Division finals did not appear on paper like a recipe for success.

Throw the paper in the wastebasket.

Brower, who did not allow more than five runs in any of his 23 regular-season starts, was strafed for seven runs in three innings as Harrisburg raced out to the early lead and held off a couple of Akron threats to prevail 9-5.

Already ahead 2-0, Chris Stowers broke open the game with a three-run homer that capped a four-run second-inning rally. Two singles from Andy Tracy and Chris Schwab, followed by a doubled from Francisco Morales, plated a run and set the table for Stowers.

The 24-year-old outfielder lined Brower’s 2-1 pitch over the right-field wall pacing the Senators to a 6-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“We faced one of the better pitchers in the league, and we came out swinging,” Senators manager Rick Sweet told Linker. “Normally, we don’t score a lot of runs, but if we’re going to score a lot of runs, we’ll take them.”

22. Glenn Davis – One-Man Wrecking Crew (September 7, 2002)

The Akron Aeros led not just the Eastern League, but all minor league baseball, with 93 victories during the regular season. Two one-run games over Harrisburg gave them the 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series, putting them on the precipice of the finals.

But then Game 3 gave Harrisburg a glimmer of hope (more on that game in a forthcoming countdown). And Game 4 had the Senators believing in the upset when Glenn Davis continued to put the team on his back.

The first baseman, hitting .450 with seven RBI in the series, ripped a three-run home run to right in the second inning to ignite Harrisburg’s 5-0 victory over Akron.

“I’m taking a nice, easy swing,” Davis told The Patriot-News’ Tim Leone. “I’m just looking for a good pitch to hit, and I’ve been hitting really well.”

21. Valentino Pascucci – The Next Day (Sept 8, 2002)

After Glenn Davis scorched Akron for four homers in the last three games, Aeros’ reliever Albert Garza had enough when he intentionally hit the first baseman with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth in Game 4. It was just another sign that a magical season was slipping away from Akron as Harrisburg forced a deciding Game 5 the previous day.

Angry glances and words were exchanged, but that was all Akron could muster in response to the shift of momentum swinging the series back to Harrisburg. The beaning did little to slow down the Senators in the do-or-die game.

Valentino Pascucci gave the Senators a 1-0 lead when he led off the second inning by driving Mike Spiegel’s 1-1 pitch over the centerfield fence. The 6-foot-6 slugger wasn’t done with the Akron starter either.

The next inning, he came back up with one on and two out still facing Spiegel when he drove the offering over the left-centerfield wall. Jeremy Ware followed with a shot of his own as he crushed Spiegel’s next pitch, but by then, Pascucci had done all the damage the Senators would need as they skated to a 5-1 victory to reach the Eastern League finals.

Posted in Greatest Home Runs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history: Nos. 30 to 26

Welcome to the third in a series of posts ranking the greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history (otherwise known as when baseball returned to City Island in 1987).

Part 1 covering homers 40 through 36 can be found here.
Part 2 covering homers 35 through 31 can be found here.

Just like Casey Kasem, I’ll be counting them down from 40 to 1 as we make our way to the top of the list.

I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but the odds are good I’ll be kicking myself later for leaving off a dinger or two. That also goes for ones that you might remember more fondly; after all, sometimes it’s about the memories and what they mean to you.

I am also positive my rankings will upset some and infuriate others. Hopefully, though, this will be a fun little exercise that helps us all re-live the most significant home runs in Senators’ history.

So without further ado…

30. Cliff Floyd – Roll On Down the Highway (June 19, 1993) 

Before Turn Back the Clock Night at Reading’s Municipal Stadium, the Phillies held a pregame home run hitting contest featuring the winner Boog Powell, Willie Montanez, and hometown favorite Rocky Colavito.

Perhaps Reading forgot to replace the home run derby pitcher as the Senators strafed the Phillies 19-4 on 24 hits, including three long balls to maintain the best record in baseball.

Already ahead 10-0 in the fifth inning, Harrisburg’s Cliff Floyd unleashed on Eric Hill’s 2-2 pitch sending the ball deep into the night. The mammoth home run cleared the stadium’s outer brick wall and landed amongst the passing traffic on Route 61.

The solo shot for Floyd, his 21st of the season, tied the modern team record for homers by a Senator with Wes Chamberlain. The USA Today Minor League Player of the Year would add five more on the season for Harrisburg.

“My motto is to go up to the plate and swing as hard as I can,” Floyd told The Patriot-News’ Andy Linker. “Not wild and crazy swings, but nice and hard and aggressive.”

29. Chris Stowers – Put Me in Coach (Sept 6, 1998)

Maybe the Senators don’t win their third straight Eastern League championship if Harrisburg manager Rick Sweet stuck with his original lineup. Tied with the Trenton Thunder in the playoff push with two games to play, Sweet considered resting Chris Stowers after playing in all but seven games during the long season.

Instead, Sweet changed his mind and penciled Stowers into the two-hole of the Harrisburg batting order. The outfielder, fortunately, proved the offensive catalyst for the Senators’ Sunday tilt in Portland.

Stowers started a two-run rally with a double that would increase the Senators’ lead to 4-1 in the third inning. Four frames later, the then 24-year-old led off with a solo home run against Sea Dogs reliever Mick Pageler to push the advantage to four runs.

Harrisburg would go on for the 7-1 victory to clinch at least a tie for the Eastern League’s final Southern Division playoff spot. Hours later, the tie dissolved into an outright stake of second as Trenton lost 14-4 to clinch the Senators’ seventh trip to the postseason in eight seasons as the Montreal Expos’ Class AA affiliate.

28. Tyrone Woods – When Opportunity Knocks (September 10, 1993)

All season long manager Jim Tracy knew the right buttons to push for his 94-win Harrisburg Senators. He wanted his team to take care of business when it had the opportunity up two games to one on the Albany-Colonie Yankees in the Eastern League semifinals.

After waiting out a nearly two-hour rain delay to start Game 4, the Senators didn’t exactly take their manager’s pregame talk to heart. The Yankees jumped on Harrisburg starter Reid Cornelius for a pair of first-inning runs to stake the early 2-0 lead.

But Harrisburg had an answer. Slugger Tyrone Horne led off the top of the second inning with an infield single bringing Tyrone Woods to the plate.

The 24-year-old had struggled to find playing time in the outfield all season, but with promotions to Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, and Curtis Pride, Woods suddenly became a vital cog for Harrisburg in their championship quest. The Florida native began the game leading all hitters in the playoffs with a .583 average.

Woods remained hot, smoking a 1-0 pitch deep over the Heritage Park left-field wall, taking one bounce before hitting the clubhouse roof.

“I know now I’m going to be in the lineup,” Woods told Linker. “When I come through the doors, I’m in the right frame of mind.”

The homer evened the score and settled the Senators who went on to clinch the 8-4 victory sending them to the Eastern League finals for the fourth time in seven seasons.

27. Vladimir Guerrero – A Sign of Things to Come (May 1, 1996)

Photo courtesy Will Bentzel / Harrisburg Senators

Vladimir Guerrero hadn’t played in five days due to a minor injury to his finger when the Montreal Expos promoted him from Class A West Palm Beach. The Dominican prospect didn’t need much time to shake off the rust in his first action back on the diamond on City Island.

In the nightcap of a doubleheader on his first day, Guerrero singled in the first then crushed a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“It just goes to show that everything we’ve heard about him is true,” Senators manager Pat Kelly told Linker. “I saw him take one at-bat in spring training. You hear everybody rave about him, how great he is. You just don’t know what’s going to happen the first time a guy steps to the plate in double-A. But, boy, everything he hit was hard…He stands in there, and he looks like a hitter, so it was impressive.”

The Senators promptly reeled off 19 wins in its first 25 games with Guerrero in the starting lineup.

26. Brad Wilkerson – Lucky Number Nine (Sept 8, 1999)

Despite winning three straight Eastern League championships, Harrisburg entered the 1999 playoffs as the prohibitive underdog. The Senators had the worst record of the four teams, and their first-round opponent, the Erie SeaWolves, had been in first place every day since May 28.

Seven innings of Game 1 did little to dispel that myth as the Senators trailed 6-2 with only six outs left. But then Harrisburg mounted the first of two rallies that would change its fortunes.

Andy Tracy led off the frame with a solo homer to center off Scot Shields. The Erie right-hander induced a Brian Schneider groundout, but Jeremy Ware chased Shields with a single up the middle. Cody Salter was summoned from the SeaWolves’ bullpen to face Brad Wilkerson and quickly found himself in an eight-pitch battle with the Senators’ outfielder.

The ninth pitch of the at-bat was the decider as Wilkerson deposited the Salter offering deep over the wall in right to cut Erie’s lead to 6-5.

“That was a great at-bat,” Senators’ manager Doug Sisson told Linker. “That gives you a little lift there.”

As for the rest of the game, well, we’ll get to that later in the countdown.

Posted in Greatest Home Runs | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catching Up with…John Simms

Without baseball on the horizon, I’m using this time to connect with former Senators (all of them can be found here).

We will relive some of their fondest memories and find out what they’re up to now. This week we’re staying on mound for John Simms.

The Nationals selected Simms in the 2013 11th round out of Rice University. The right-hander made 67 appearances (including 49 starts) over parts or all of the 2014, 2015, 2016,and 2017 seasons with Harrisburg pitching to a 3.88 ERA. Simms also ranks sixth in team history with 242 strikeouts.

Photo courtesy Sam Getty / Harrisburg Senators

Mayflies: What are you currently doing?

John Simms: After playing in 2018, I looked around, talked to other organizations about where they saw me for the next season. That was when I realized that my time in baseball was coming to an end. I’ve always said baseball will tell you when it’s time to go, but you have to be willing to listen.

Since my last game, I went to Driveline in Seattle to train, got married, went back to school at Rice University to get my degree, got my degree, and got a dog. Recently I started working at a medical device company. We specialize in orthopedic total joint replacements. I began working at their Houston location a few weeks after my graduation from Rice University, and a few weeks before coronavirus shut down hospitals in Houston.

MF: What is your fondest memory of playing in Harrisburg?

JS: As far as a baseball life is concerned, I spent quite a bit of time in Harrisburg. During that time, I met some amazing people. First and foremost was Allison and Jimmy Creighton and their daughter Faith, who were my host family for my last two years. They are an amazing family that made my time in Harrisburg much better.

Anyone that knows me also knows that I loved to explore different places before and after games. But that really centered around coffee and food before and after games while I try and wind down and relax away from the field. A few of my favorite places had amazing people that I got to know. As a coffee ‘snob’ (according to my teammates), I found a home at Little Amps coffee, thanks to Peter Leonard and Aaron Carlson. I also found a few friends along the way. One of them was Tom McGrath, who was the cocktail director at Cork and Fork (forgive me if he isn’t there anymore) but Tom was awesome for letting me squeeze an order of food in before close and then hanging out and talking for longer than most people should want to.

As far as baseball is concerned, let’s just say that three out of my four groomsmen were road roommates from my time in Harrisburg. And my highlight was definitely starting the 2018 AA All-Star game in New Hampshire and finding a way not to get shelled and escape with a clean inning.

MF: Going back to the beginning…why baseball?

JS: Baseball has always been the sport I gravitated to. Specifically, pitching was more fun to me than anything else I ever did. The days after weren’t always fun, but actually competing was the most difficult yet rewarding challenge. I always enjoyed trying to beat hitters by thinking one step ahead of them. I always had a knack for understanding what a hitter was trying to do or couldn’t do. Now attacking that weakness was a different story because the higher I went, the ability to exploit a weakness got harder and harder to do. It also made the challenge that much more rewarding when games went well.

MF: What was your greatest or favorite day in baseball?

JS: My greatest day is probably not a realistic thing for me to identify. But I think there are a handful of games that mean more. I was the type of pitcher that had to get emotional to “lock-in” to the game. Anger and sadness were usually the easier ones to tap into well. Frustration could go either way for performing well or poorly. So my best games where I was completely locked in, also had something emotional wrapped around it. Whether it was the last day of the 2014 draft realizing that two of my closest friends had their dreams of playing pro ball shattered even though I believe even to this day that they were good enough. Another game I remember is the game I pitched after Hurricane Harvey had ravaged through my hometown of Houston while I was thousands of miles away. My final game for the Chiefs also stands out since I pitched well against the PawSox even though my hip was in agonizing pain all morning. Those games are etched in my mind as games where everything went right even while things around me weren’t always right.

MF: What factors went into your decision to stop playing?

JS: I asked for my release from the Nationals because I did not see a path for me to the major leagues with the Nationals. They obliged because otherwise, someone deserving from AA would have had to get sent down. AAA couldn’t keep me either because a player in MLB came off the DL and sent a trickle-down effect to the minors, and I was the guy without a home.

After that, I went to Driveline in Seattle to train while trying to stay ready for any potential calls. When I went there, they did a bio-mechanical analysis of my mechanics. They identified a potential area of improvement in my back leg directionality. We worked on it for a month, and during that time, I heard back from teams saying that they didn’t have room but might circle back before next year’s spring training. At that time, I realized that the reason there was a back leg issue was because of my hip surgery in 2014. When we tried to fix the problem, my hip screamed out in agonizing pain. With the pain, no fix in sight, and no concrete desire from other organizations, I heard baseball tell me it was time to move on with my life.

Thanks to John for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions.

Posted in Catching Up with... | Tagged | 3 Comments

The greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history: Nos. 35 to 31

Welcome to the second in a series of posts ranking the greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history (otherwise known as when baseball returned to City Island in 1987).

Part 1 covering homers 40 through 36 can be found here.

Just like Casey Kasem, I’ll be counting them down from 40 to 1 as we make our way to the top of the list.

I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but the odds are good I’ll be kicking myself later for leaving off a dinger or two. That also goes for ones that you might remember more fondly; after all, sometimes it’s about the memories and what they mean to you.

I am also positive my rankings will upset some and infuriate others. Hopefully, though, this will be a fun little exercise that helps us all re-live the most significant home runs in Senators’ history.

So without further ado…

35. Tony Blanco – Over the Green Monster (August 11, 2007)

Tony Blanco spent four years in the Red Sox system after initially signing with the team in 1998 as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

Presumably, he dreamed of one day starring for Boston while bombing baseballs over the famed Green Monster at Fenway Park. But that never happened for Blanco as the organization released him after the 2002 season.

However, five years later, as a Harrisburg Senator, he had the chance to fulfill that dream during the 2007 season.

On August 11, the Senators and Portland Sea Dogs played the second game of a minor league doubleheader dubbed the Futures at Fenway at Boston’s famed ballpark in front of an announced crowd of 34,746.

Fourteen minutes into the game, after walks to Brandon Powell and Josh Whitesell, Blanco launched a three-run home run over the fabled Green Monster in left field to give the visiting Senators the early 3-0 advantage. Yes, four relievers combined to blow three different leads, as the Senators lost 12-11, but Blanco already had his big league moment.

34. Brad Fullmer – In the Driver’s Seat (September 9, 1996)

Up 1-0 in the best-of-five 1996 Eastern League Championship Series, the Harrisburg Senators had a small cushion for error. But don’t tell Brad Fullmer that.

“This was a crucial game,” the left-fielder told The Patriot-News’ Andy Linker. “There’s pressure on both teams, but we needed this game, and we needed to be ahead 2-0 going up to Portland.”

Fullmer let his bat do the talking on the field as he rocketed a two-run homer in the first inning off Sea Dogs’ starter Livan Hernandez to give Harrisburg a 3-0 lead. It was precisely the kind of start the Senators needed since it was also the last hit they managed in the game. Hernandez and reliever Robbie Stanifer retired 23 straight batters after Fullmer’s homer.

But the three runs were enough as Harrisburg hung on for the 3-2 victory to move the Senators within one game of their second playoff title in four seasons and third since baseball returned to City Island in 1987.

33. Ron Johns – Capping Off a Perfect Day (June 17, 1987)

In a game where Harrisburg shellacked the Albany-Colonie Yankees 26-9 on 26 hits, there were bound to be more than a few individual performances that stood out. I doubt anyone would have bet any money on the newest Senator to have a day that has yet to be topped in team history, though.

The Montreal Expos acquired Ron Johns from the St. Louis Cardinals in a late May trade for local Mechanicsburg product Ben Abner. Johns, a former third-round draft pick of the Cardinals, was playing in only his third game on City Island when he left a sensational impression on the Senators’ faithful.

Hitting out of the cleanup spot, the then 24-year-old singled in his first three at-bats in the second, third, and fourth innings. That was already a stellar day at the plate for Johns, but then it became legendary.

His next three at-bats followed with a solo shot, a grand slam, and a two-run homer to become the first Senator to hit three home runs in a game and finish a perfect 6-for-6 with five runs scored and nine RBI.

“I was dreaming tonight,” Johns told The Patriot-News’ Skip Hutter. “I never had a game like this. I hit two home runs a couple of times, but not three, not even close to it.”

“They were all fastballs I hit out. The first two times up, I couldn’t get the bat around. After that, I was having no problem.”

32. Crash Brown – A Historic First (April 11, 1987)

Professional baseball had been absent from Harrisburg for 35 years when the Senators took the field for the first game of the 1987 season in their newly built $1.4 million RiverSide Stadium. A sell-out crowd of 4,083 fans came out in full force for its return to City Island.

They clapped, stomped, and even helped Nancy Wambach finish the National Anthem before the game. The one thing they couldn’t do was will the Senators to an opening day victory as the Vermont Reds won handily 11-5.

But that didn’t mean the spectators had nothing to cheer about on this glorious day.

The Senators struggled against Vermont starting pitcher Glenn Spagnola managing to eek only a few balls out of the infield until the fourth inning. Trailing 9-1, Craig “Crash” Brown turned on a pitch, driving it high and deep over and beyond the left-centerfield fence.

Sure, it didn’t put much of a dent into the Reds’ lead, but Brown’s solo shot was much more than that.

It was the team’s first home run in modern history.

31. Andy Tracy – A Record-Breaker (August 12, 1999)

Andy Tracy’s pursuit of the Senators’ single-season home run record was quick and to the point. Less than a week before, Tracy was sitting four behind Izzy Alcantara at 23 home runs, but then the Bowling Green State University product went on his latest tear.

Three long balls in four games left Tracy on the precipice of team history as Harrisburg traveled to Binghamton for a weekend series.

He wouldn’t need the series to end the drama. He wouldn’t even need a game. Just one at-bat is all it took.

Tracy gave the Senators a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run opposite-field homer off rehabbing MLBer Bobby Jones breaking Alcantara’s two-year-old franchise record.

The home run helped propel the Senators to a 10-4 victory, their 13th win in 16 games to move one game ahead of Bowie for the Southern Division’s second and final playoff spot with 23 games remaining in the regular season.

Tracy would go on to hit to nine more regular-season home runs to finish with 37 on the season. Twenty-one years later, that record still holds.

Posted in Greatest Home Runs | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history: Nos. 40 to 36

Welcome to the first in a series of posts ranking the greatest home runs in Harrisburg Senators modern history (otherwise known as when baseball returned to City Island in 1987).

Just like Casey Kasem, I’ll be counting them down from 40 to 1 as we make our way to the top of the list.

I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but the odds are good I’ll be kicking myself later for leaving off a dinger or two. That also goes for ones that you might remember more fondly; after all, sometimes it’s about the memories and what they mean to you.

I am also positive my rankings will upset some and infuriate others. Hopefully, though, this will be a fun little exercise that helps us all re-live the most significant home runs in Senators’ history.

So without further ado…

40. Chris Rahl – King of the Home Run Derby (July 10, 2012)

 

At no point should anyone think putting a cocktail party, a live concert, an elementary school carnival, a Cirque du Soleil performance, and a home run derby together would be a good idea. Yet, that’s what the Reading Phillies pulled off successfully when they hosted the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Game festivities.

Take everything you thought you knew about home run derbies and throw it out the window. Deadspin called it “drug-induced” and a “fever dream of a competition.” Off the Bench thought it resembled the crazy rules of Calvinball, that beautiful game played by a little boy and his stuffed tiger. After seeing it in action, I’m more prone to compare it to the old MTV Rock N’ Jock softball games where there were mud wrestling rings and palm trees in the field of play.

It was all of those things and more.

Even the winner, Harrisburg’s own Chris Rahl, didn’t have a plan before stepping in the batter’s box. “I have no idea,” the outfielder said. “I looked at the sheet, and I looked at some of the scoring breakdowns for some of the things. We pulled it up on YouTube and saw exactly what was going to be on the field.”

Rahl’s big hit during his two-minute round was a shot to dead center worth a whopping 100 points when it ricocheted off the crane sitting beyond the outfield wall. It was an advantage that no batter after Rahl could repeat, and it secured the victory for the Senators’ outfielder.

“Its one of those things I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Rahl said. “It was a lot of fun, I had a great time.”

39. Jon Tucker – The Foreshadow Knows (May 30, 1999)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Vaunted Norwich closer and Eastern League saves leader Joe Lisio surrenders a walk-off grand slam on a two-out, full-count pitch to a Harrisburg batter. That may sound familiar because the same scenario will also happen four months later in a much more crucial situation. (But more on that further along in this countdown.)

Lisio entered the ninth inning for the Navigators protecting a 5-4 lead before two singles and two walks tied the game up, loaded the bases, and brought Senators’ first baseman Jon Tucker to the plate.

Tucker, who to that point in the season, was hitting a meager .184 average with runners in scoring position, fell behind 1-2 in the at-bat before drawing two balls to push the count to full. The next pitch, Lisio’s 33rd of the inning, rocketed off Tucker’s bat as he drove the offering the opposite way over the left-field wall to give the Senators the 9-5 victory.

“I just wanted to hit a line drive,” Tucker told The Patriot-News’ Andy Linker.

38. Brad Coon – On the Brink of the Playoffs (September 5, 2010)

Photo courtesy Will Bentzel / Harrisburg Senators

Deadlocked with the Bowie Baysox with two games to play for the final playoff spot, Senators center fielder Brad Coon picked the perfect time to have a career day. The then 27-year-old finished 5-for-5, including a solo home run to kickstart the Harrisburg offense on its way to a 13-3 victory over Binghamton.

In the top of the third inning, Coon launched a solo home run, his sixth round-tripper of the season, to break the scoreless tie and open the floodgates. The Senators went on to send twelve batters to the plate, including Coon again for a two-run single as Harrisburg put up an 8-spot in the frame.

The win, coupled with Bowie’s 1-0 loss to Richmond, left the Senators with their destiny in their hands up one game with one to play for their first playoff berth since 2002.

37. Valentino Pascucci / Matt Cepicky / Scott Hodges – A Baseball Turkey (April 23, 2001)

Altoona reliever Geraldo Padua was summoned from the bullpen to start the eighth inning protecting a 2-1 Curve lead over Harrisburg. The right-hander retired the first two batters before running into trouble through the heart of the Senators’ batting order.

Padua got ahead on Valentino Pascucci 0-2 before the first baseman evened the count and fouled off a pitch to stay alive. The next offering, Padua’s fourth straight slider, came in faster than it went out as Pascucci rattled a long ball off the third tier of billboards in left field to tie the score at 2.

Before the applause could barely die down, Matt Cepicky drove the next pitch, a fastball, over the wall in right-center to give the Senators a 3-2 lead. Scott Hodges followed suit as he also deposited the first pitch of his at-bat over the fence.

Three straight pitches. Three straight home runs.

“When Val hit his home run, I thought their pitcher was going to want to get ahead in the count,” Cepicky told Linker. “Nine out of 10 times, he’s going to want to put one in there because he doesn’t want to get behind. … You’re looking for something to drive.”

36. Jeff McAvoy – The Reliever Walks it Off (May 24, 2002)

When pitcher Jeff McAvoy was called on to hit during the 2002 season with the Harrisburg Senators, it marked the first time he had batted in a game since high school. He had gone five seasons between college at Western Carolina and Ole Miss, and the minor leagues at Cape Fear and Jupiter without picking up a bat.

Harrisburg manager Dave Huppert sent McAvoy up to the plate three times that season. Still, I’m sure the now Miami Marlins Vice President of Player Personnel only remembers one of them 18 years later.

The Binghamton Mets plated two runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game up at four and force extra innings. McAvoy, the fourth Senators pitcher, came into the game to pitch the top of the 11th inning. He did his job on the mound, holding Binghamton scoreless on one hit over three frames.

But Harrisburg was unable to scratch across a winning run either. So as the game went deep into the night and with nobody left on the bench, McAvoy had to bat for himself.

With one out in the 13th, the Palmer, Massachusetts native sent the remaining fans home happy from RiverSide Stadium as he homered off Rene Vega to lift the Senators to a 5-4 win.

It was, and remains, McAvoy’s only hit of his career.

Posted in Greatest Home Runs | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Catching Up with…Danny Rosenbaum

Without baseball on the horizon, I’m using this time to connect with former Senators (all of them can be found here).

We will relive some of their fondest memories and find out what they’re up to now. This week we’re signaling for the southpaw for Danny Rosenbaum.

The Nationals selected Rosenbaum in the 2009 22nd round out of Xavier University. The left-hander made 35 starts over the 2011 and 2012 seasons with Harrisburg pitching to a 3.61 ERA.

Photo courtesy Will Bentzel / Harrisburg Senators

Mayflies: What are you currently doing?

Danny Rosenbaum: My wife Alexis and I bought a house in West Orange, New Jersey. We moved to NJ about three years ago for a new career opportunity. I am a sales engineer for a great company called Ketchum and Walton Company, focusing on selling noise control products. I also do some pitching lessons and clinics during the offseason.

Before I moved to NJ, I co-owned a baseball facility in Cincinnati all the years while I was playing and for a year after I retired. I really love passing the knowledge I gained throughout my baseball career to young athletes to help them both on and off the field. I miss being around the game sometimes, and teaching kids helps me cope with that.

MF: What is your fondest memory of playing in Harrisburg?

DR: This is a tough question. I really enjoyed every moment of it. I love my teammates, my coaches, and the fans. The stadium was awesome. So many great things happened there. I met so many great people and formed so many relationships that I still talk to today, like the two of the previous interviewees, Sean Nicol and Neil Holland. Sean was my roommate in 2012. Yes, I LOVE competing and 100% miss competing at that level, but being with my teammates is probably the #1 thing I miss most.

Playing moments – One of the first games I pitched the game against Trenton in 2011 when Harper hit a walk-off 2-run home run over the batter’s eye for the 3-2 win…WOW. 2011 we made the playoffs, and the island flooded, which forced us to play all our games in Richmond. I also had my first professional hit playing with the Senators.

MF: Going back to the beginning…why baseball?

DR: It definitely came from my dad and his side of the family. My dad, my uncle, and my grandpa all grew up playing baseball. I loved the game ever since I could remember, and I was always good at it. I was always practicing with my dad. Whether it was going down to the basement to hit off the tee or going to a park and work on fielding. If I wasn’t with my dad, I was always outside competing with friends or teammates, imitating some of my favorite players like Ken Griffey, Jr. I couldn’t get enough of it. And if I wasn’t playing or practicing, I was probably watching the Reds, or I would be studying my card collection. I love the competition. I played other sports like basketball and soccer, but baseball was my first true love.

Growing up, I was never a pitcher. I would only pitch if we were up or down a lot. I really didn’t start pitching until I was about 14 years old. All my friends hit their growth spurt early on, and I was a late bloomer. So my basketball career ended when I was a sophomore. At that point, I was really able to focus on baseball and especially pitching. My velocity started developing along with my off-speed stuff. At that point knew I had a chance to play at least at the next level (college). By the time my senior year rolled around, I had started to have some pro scouts attend my games. I had realized my ultimate dream of playing at the professional level was absolutely obtainable, and I wanted it more than ever.

MF: What was your greatest or favorite day in baseball?

CB: There are too many moments to solidify just one. Draft day, my first professional game, my last…the list goes on and on. But there is always one that sticks out. In 2014 in big league camp with the Nationals, we went on the road in Tampa to play the Yankees. I was supposed to pitch towards the end of the game after the bigger name guys got their work in. Ross Detwiler started and ran into the trouble in the first and then again in the second. They told me to get going and warm up quickly. The next guy got a hit, and I was told that I had the next hitter. It was 1st and 3rd with one out, and I jogged in from the bullpen.

I did not know who I was facing until I started warming up on the game mound. Keep in mind this is also my first hitter of the spring. I see out of the corner of my eye someone swinging, and I knew I had seen that swing hundred of times. It was “The Captain” Derek Jeter, and it was his retirement year. I was told probably about five times that there was one out. I usually never get nervous, but come on.

Well, I threw a sinker…ball one. Next pitch…4 seamer in…strike one. Next pitch…curveball…ground ball double play. I started walking around the mound like there were two outs, while everyone else was running off the field. It was so great because my work was done for the day!

MF: What factors went into your decision to stop playing?

DR: In 2014, I had Tommy John surgery. I was traded to the Red Sox before spring training started in 2015. I spent most of the year rehabbing and then was sent on my assignment after the all-star break. My arm just never felt right again. I tried everything, and it just continued to hurt. I then went out to the Arizona Fall League that year and pitched really well. I got an invite to big league camp with the Red Sox in 2016.

Right at the beginning of camp during live BP, I got hurt again. I did not pitch the rest of the spring and ended up getting released. They thought it was just inflammation, but I ended up having a bone chip in my elbow. I had a couple of tryouts while I was home and unfortunately did not have any offers besides playing indy ball, and I promised myself if it came down to that, I would stop playing.

Being hurt was extremely difficult on me mentally because I had never been hurt, never went on the DL until I had surgery. I did not want to rehab again, and I felt like baseball was becoming more of a job than just going out and competing and having fun. So, a couple of days before I thought I was going to play indy ball, I woke up the next morning and told my wife I was done. That was a tough day, but I felt like it was the right thing to do, I do not regret anything during my playing career. I gave it all I had and then some.

Thanks to Danny for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions.

Posted in Catching Up with... | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Team of the 2010s

Here is the Senators Team of the 2010s as voted by you the readers…

1B Tyler Moore, 2B Steve Lombardozzi, SS Danny Espinosa, 3B Anthony Rendon

OF Michael Taylor, OF Steven Souza, OF Chris Rahl

C Sandy Leon, UT Adrian Sanchez, DH Bill Rhinehart

RHSP Stephen Strasburg, LHSP Tommy Milone, Reliever Aaron Barrett

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment