Archive - Sports Article
August 17th, 2011
Mike Hazen‚Äôs role with the Boston Red Sox may have expanded, but make no mistake: he‚Äôs still very much in touch with what‚Äôs moving and shaking down on the farm.
Promoted to vice president of player development prior to the season, a position that involves overseeing the minor-league operation and amateur scouting, Hazen spoke Wednesday about some of the storylines that have crept up over the past 4 ¬Ĺ months as they relate to the Pawtucket Red Sox.
PAWTUCKET ‚ÄĒ McCoy Stadium is always a pretty upbeat place. It‚Äôs a standing rule that Pawtucket Red Sox employees greet customers with smiles on their faces. Club President Mike Tamburro‚Äôs optimism and good nature extend all the way down to the most part-time of team employees.
When the PawSox are in first place, a position they have maintained for the past week, then baseball really becomes fun around the local ball park.
PAWTUCKET ‚ÄĒ The Columbus Clippers showed Pawtucket last night why they are heavy favorites to successfully defend their Governors‚Äô Cup championship trophy next month.
In a meeting of the International League‚Äôs two best teams, Columbus got a grand slam home run from Luis Valbuena in the second inning off PawSox starter Felix Doubront and seemed headed for an easy win until Pawtucket broke through for two runs in the bottom of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate. Reliever Josh Judy got Jose Iglesias to ground into a close force play at second base to preserve a 5-2 victory.
Lawrenceville, Ga.- If there has been any cause to put the Sharpie-strong stamp on the notion that the 2011 Pawtucket Red Sox are peaking at the right time, it was out in full prominence after Monday night‚Äôs 7-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field.
With the win, decided after the bat rack and bullpen both got the better of their Gwinnett counterparts in the eighth and ninth innings, the PawSox completed their best of seven eight-game road trips at 6-2. They are also 10-3 in August at the halfway mark of the month.
END OF THE CAMP -- During the Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Tennis Camp‚Äôs pizza party and awards ceremony at Slater Park in Pawtucket last Friday, award recipients and staff members posted for a group photo.
It didn‚Äôt take long for Dave Belisle and his Cumberland American Little Leaguers to become immersed in the ‚ÄúChristmas in August‚ÄĚ fervor that typically surfaces in Williamsport, Pa. around this time each year.
Street & Smith‚Äôs SportsBusiness Journal publication has issued its annual Top 10 ranking of minor league markets in the U.S.
The Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa. market in central Pennsylvania earned top honors for the second year in a row, according to SBJ Research Director David Broughton, who researched and wrote the article. San Bernadino, Calif. finished second with the Pawtucket/Providence area coming in a solid third.
Here‚Äôs the top 10 list:
1) Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa.
2) San Bernardino County, Calif.
3) Providence-Pawtucket, R.I.
4) Reading, Pa.
5) Portland, Maine
PAWTUCKET ‚ÄĒ In this town, Pawtucket Country Club is to golf as Fenway Park (or Yankee Stadium) is to baseball.
Legends have long resided on this plush piece of greenery located on the city‚Äôs border with Seekonk. Caddy master Jim Tanner has been working the room since 1952. You can still find him downstairs almost any day of the week, taking care of clubs and caddies.
The Cumberland American team that waltzed its way to Bristol, Conn., had gone missing in action.
Sure, the pitching and defense were still present, but the merciless offensive attack that became the theme of Cumberland‚Äôs state title run was nowhere to be found. The Rhode Island champions dropped two of their first three pool-play games in the New England regional tournament, standing perilously close to the end of a memorable summer.
But just when manager Dave Belisle‚Äôs club needed them most, Cumberland‚Äôs bats awoke from their ill-timed slumber. The rest, as they say, is history.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. ‚ÄĒ For the first time in 19 starts this season, Matt Fox, the lone PawSox ambassador to the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game, made it through a full seven innings Sunday afternoon.
Every segment after that constituted a long-awaited combination of a package, wrapping paper and a radiant bow addressed to his relievers. Fox upped his pitch count from 79 to 90 as he tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, then returned to the mound for a nimble ninth that ended with Brandon Hicks stranded on first base and the Sox victorious over the Gwinnett Braves, 5-0, at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. ‚ÄĒ On paper, the PawSox four-game enterprise against the stingy Gwinnett Braves pitching staff ought to have gotten gradually easier after they got the better of Julio Teheran on Friday.
Manager Arnie Beyeler wanted no such notion inhabiting his clubhouse, as evidenced by his thoughts between Friday and Saturday night‚Äôs bouts and the outcome of the latter game.
BRISTOL, Conn. ‚ÄĒ It was only fitting.
The shutdown pitching. The relentless hitting. The comeback.
They were all on display in Saturday‚Äôs New England regional final. And that is why the Cumberland American players circled Breen Field in jubilation, their championship banner in tow, with Kool & the Gang‚Äôs ‚ÄúCelebration‚ÄĚ blaring over the sound system.
Next stop: South Williamsport, Pa.
Down three runs before taking a swing, Cumberland erupted in an eight-run bottom of the first inning that set the tone for its 13-7 victory against Andover (Mass.) National.
LAWRENCEVILE, Ga. ‚Äď The PawSox mustered just enough to deny the International League‚Äôs winningest pitcher, Julio Teheran, another decision Friday night. The Gwinnett Braves ace, who entered with a 12-2 record and a sparkling 1.11 ERA, nearly preserved a 2-1 lead through seven innings, but instead left with a 2-2 deadlock at hand.
‚ÄúI thought hockey was tough.‚ÄĚ
BRISTOL, Ct. ‚ÄĒ Dave Belisle, who along with his dad Bill Belisle, was part of 26 state titles won by the Mount St. Charles Academy hockey team the last four decades, couldn‚Äôt help but make that analogy on Thursday night. Those five words were the first to come out of his mouth after the Cumberland American manager watched his squad hold on for an 8-7 semifinal win over Fairfield American in the New England Championship of the Eastern Regional Tournament.
BRISTOL, Conn. ‚Äď While his two-run homer in the fifth inning proved to be the eventual game-winner on Thursday, that wasn‚Äôt the main reason that Dave Belisle was smiling.
It was what Chris Wright did as a reliever - particularly in the bottom of the sixth - that had the Cumberland American manager beaming with the most pride after his team‚Äôs hard-earned 8-7 semifinal victory over Fairfield (Ct.) American in the New England portion of the Eastern Regional Tournament.
FOXBORO ‚ÄĒ Gerard Warren had an explicit instruction for his agent this offseason.
‚ÄúI told him, ‚ÄėCall me after you talk to New England,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Warren said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to burn any bridges, but that‚Äôs pretty much what it boiled down to. I told him I wanted to come back to New England because I knew what the purpose was here.‚ÄĚ
Patriots coach Bill Belichick announced on Monday that the team had re-signed Warren, a veteran defensive lineman who started 10 regular-season games for New England last season, registering 3.5 sacks.
BRISTOL, Ct. ‚ÄĒ Must-win game? No problem for Cumberland American.
CALL shook off the sting from back-to-back shutout defeats in pool play and earned a spot in today‚Äôs semifinals of the New England Regional Tournament by pounding winless Barre (Vt.) Community, 12-4, on Wednesday morning at sun-drenched Breen Field.
FOXBOROUGH ‚Äď Chad Ochocinco is changing his ways. And he‚Äôs not making any apologies for it.
To those Twitter followers who claim that the Patriots wide receiver has toned down his activity, Ochocinco has a clear response.
‚ÄúYou have to do it the Patriot Way, the way things are always done here,‚ÄĚ Ochocinco said after Tuesday‚Äôs practice at Gillette Stadium. ‚ÄúOne thing about this city, man, and their sports, all they do is win. So that stuff that I did in the past, there‚Äôs no need for it.‚ÄĚ
FORT MILL, S.C. ‚Äď Say this about the 2011 Pawtucket Red Sox ‚Äď this club appears dead serious about making a push for the Governors‚Äô Cup playoffs.
The PawSox made relative quick work of the host Charlotte Knights Tuesday en route to sweeping both ends of a doubleheader. Pawtucket completed the suspended contest with a 6-1 victory before taking the second game by a 5-1 count.
The pair of wins enabled Pawtucket to sit in first place by 1 ¬Ĺ games over Lehigh Valley as the second-place IronPigs battled Norfolk Tuesday.
BRISTOL, Ct. ‚ÄĒ Suddenly, the offense is a concern for Cumberland American manager Dave Belisle.
‚ÄúVery concerned,‚ÄĚ Belisle stressed after CALL managed just two hits in a 3-0 loss to defending New England champion Fairfield (Ct.) American Tuesday afternoon at Breen Field. The defeat leaves Cumberland American at 1-2 in pool play and in must-win territory heading into Wednesday morning‚Äôs contest against Vermont‚Äôs Barre Community.