One of the unique aspects about the game of baseball, and to an extent hockey, is that the professional aspect of the sport actually has many levels. In football, either you play for the NFL, or you play for some tiny wannabe league. In basketball, it is the NBA, the D-League, or nothing. Only in baseball, where you have Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors themselves, do you have these different levels of teams. Of course, it is the goal of every player to make it up to the bigs, and to never look back.
Not only are there four different levels of baseball, they are all interconnected. With all of the levels being affiliated, all members of the 'farm' teams (A, AA, AAA) are actually owned by a major league team. In Columbus' case, all of the Clippers are actually owned by the Cleveland Indians. This means that the Indians can call players up, send them down, and do as they wish to them. This also means that only the Indians can trade players between teams. While this is useful, as it expands both the player pool and the fan base, it does have its consequences.
Now, this facet of the game is very important for Columbus, as Cleveland likes to trade people like crazy. For starters, this caused Columbus to gain three new players early in the week, while losing two that they had. Interestingly enough, these players were actually in the other dugout the night before, and had to face their previous team just one night later. Then the Indians made another trade on Thursday, which caused the Clippers to lose a few more people. Basically, Cleveland's trades resulted in the Clippers losing not only 5 players, but losing some of their best starters. This is the curse of minor league baseball, and something all teams have to deal with.
Without their best players, the Clippers were left with nothing to hold onto. This was clear from the very get-go, as the Clippers could not stop the Gwinnett Braves for even a minute. In the first inning, pitcher Zach Jackson allowed eight hits, while getting no strike outs. He also managed to allow seven runs, one of which was a home run. In the second, he didn't fair much better, as he allowed three hits, three runs, and another homer – which, by the way, was sent soaring by Alvin Colina, just like the first one.
Nothing, it seemed, could help Columbus out. Even after changing pitchers, the Clippers found no momentum to their game. They would often leave a man on base, and would only occasionally get a few on at once. No matter what they were doing, they just couldn't get anybody home until it was far too late. The Clippers were being killed so badly that midway through the game, a fan found my site while searching for “Columbus Clippers Mercy Rule”.
Even though their team gave them nothing to cheer about, the 10,100+ fans that packed Huntington Park (making it the 18th sellout of the season), had other things to entertain them; four times during the night, The Bucket Boys played their music. This crew basically sits on milk crates, plays old five-gallon buckets, and creates an intoxicating rhythmic beat. Frankly, their skill and talent was astounding, and I was quite impressed. Needless to say, every time they played, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
The Great Race
Tonight, there were actually two races to watch. During the 3rd inning gap, there was the first ever “Caddy Race”. This race, which drummed up advertising for the Nationwide Golf Invitational, consisted of two men running around the bases. On the way, they needed to stuff their golf bags with golf clubs that were littering the field. Golden Jeff beat White Jeff in a rush towards the finish line. As for the hot dog race, Relish won easily after tackling the other dogs near the entrance to the diamond. Of course, Mustard and Ketchup got their revenge, as they tackled and wrestled with Relish at the end. The win gives Relish 6, while Mustard and Ketchup both have only 1 win to their name.
W: Jo-Jo Reyes (2-1) 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
L: Zach Jackson (4-8) 1.1 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO