Game 143, 4 September, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Norfolk Tides (Baltimore): 6
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay): 10
Season: 61-82; Home Stand: 1-0; Games Remaining: 1
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun
Game Score: Harris 39; Season 39 (1 start, 3 innings)
Tm OPS: Game 1.095; Season .686; Difference .409
Folks like me who just sit up in the stands don't get to know the ballplayers. Nevertheless, we do form opinions based on what we see them do and hear about them. For the last two years, we've simply had fun watching J.P. Arencibia play the game. We can't say we were surprised when he used his "star of the game" interview to announce that he was retiring from baseball. Ken Tanner (the announcer) didn't seem to want to believe him. I do. Later on, or perhaps it was before the game, he made a few comments to the press. He was quoted in the Herald-Sun:
“I’m going to be straight up with you. I played six years in the big leagues, last year I led this league in home runs and I did good in the big leagues when I got there and now I’m back in Triple-A,” said Arencibia, who before the game was presented with his second straight “Good Guy” media award. “If I’m going to have to play in Triple-A (again next year), I’m no longer going to play baseball. I believe that I’m a major league player.Last year he was mostly a first baseman and designated hitter. This year he was mostly a catcher and designated hitter. He was a good ballplayer on what is, let's face it, a third-rate ballclub. Plus he had to catch a knuckleballer in development. What we liked about him is that he simply seemed to be having fun out there. And from time to time he was inspired.
“If I’m not in the big leagues, I’m going home. I’m 30. I’ve played enough. I’m not going to keep chasing the dream.”
Take yesterday. He had a very, very green young pitcher who'd just jumped from Single-A to Triple-A (Greg Harris) and he was having a tough time of it. J.P. was out there talking him through it every couple of minutes. That Harris got out of it with just three runs scored was a major accomplishment. At bat Arencibia was superb. His home run was pretty. His second hit, a single, was, in broadcaster Scott Pose's word, "buggywhipped" up into the wall. It was a pretty, pretty swing we just wish he'd had more of this year.
Not to put words into his mouth, but seems to me that J.P. is saying that he isn't Crash Davis, he's a major leaguer. If he's not seen that way, then it's time to find some other way to have fun.
J.P.: We loved watching you play baseball. We liked seeing you in a Durham Bulls uniform. Good luck. Thanks for helping us through these last two years.
Outside the game —
- The Biscuits are into their playoffs.
- Today's Charlotte/Gwinnett game is for the South Division Championship. Standings
- If the Bulls win today, they will not end up being the worst team in Durham Bulls history ... just tied for that honor with the teams from 2005 and 2006