Thursday, May 20, 2010

Play ball!

And so it begins...first up for the Seals will be Na Koa Ikaika Maui (Mighty Warriors of Maui), one of the new kids on the block. This early in the year, it's pretty hard to say just how this series will go, but that's why they pay me the "film star" money. OK...maybe not, but at least I'll give it a shot.

Like the Seals, the Maui team has a couple of players who have dabbled in pro ball but none have any big League experience like their Victoria counterparts. For Maui, Rex Lundgren is an infielder who played in the Rockies system last year for the Tulsa Drillers, hitting only .238 but brings a good glove to the infield. Gered Mochizuki played some independent ball in the Frontier and Appalachian leagues where he hit a respectable .302 before signing with the Mets last year. To the benefit of the Mighty Warriors, he was released from the Mets spring training and is now ready to debut in the Golden League. Both Rundgren and Mochizuki played high school ball in Hawaii which is consistent with owner Rick Berry's plan to load up on local talent from the islands. Case in point, another solid player is Mark Okano, who has posted a solid .277 batting average in his GBL career who was born in Honolulu and currently resides in Hawaii. Another solid (non-local) player is Fehlandt Lentini who hit a venomous .366 (.389 in the playoffs) with Calgary last year; the Seals would be wise to pitch carefully to this lad who has also played at the AAA level.

Without any real stats to base it on, I'm not sure how this will go, who is on a roll/who is not, but let's take a quick look as some keys to the game:

1) Coaching - Two ex-MLBers are going at it in Bret Boone and Cory Snyder so it should be fun to see how these two fare behind the lines. It is Boone's debut while Snyder has had some previous experience in the GBL managing the Roadrunners.
2) Experience - As mentioned, the Warriors have no players with MLB experience while the Seals have a couple. This should give the Seals an edge in what I hope will be a charged atmosphere at RAP for this opening series.
3) Pitching - I like the Seals pitching additions (including a coach) and even not knowing that much about what Maui brings to the table, I think this will help the Seals. In fact, the opening day starter will be Jason Kershner who is one of those Seals with MLB experience. In what is definitely a hitter's league, any pitching edge is a good thing! On the flip side, can the pitchers hit? I suspect we'll see a bunt or twelve...
4) Intangibles - It is opening night for the Seals so fan interest and emotion will be high. This should boost the Victoria boys, but being the first game ever for the Warriors will also pump up Maui - especially with so many local lads on board. Weather will also be interesting. Forecast for Friday is 11 degrees with showers in Victoria while the Maui crew is missing a partly cloudy day that tops out at a balmy 30 degrees. I hope they packed their fleece longjohns!

Prediction - Victoria takes 3 of 5

In the words of Ed Grimly, "I must say, I'm so excited!".

Darth's Fun Fact - Rex Rundgren is famous music legend Todd Rundgren's son and he is half brother of the lovely Liv Tyler...pretty cool house to grow up in. I kid you not!