Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seal Blubber Bits - Heat wave edition

We offer up these tasty Seal blubber bits to gnaw on while you sip a cold beverage and stay out of the heat:
The newest Seal, Joe Sergent
  • How unlikely was today's thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 victory by the Seals? The Chico Outlaws brought in ace reliever Justin Segal to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning and try to protect their 3-2 lead. Coming into the game, Segal had only allowed 3 earned runs all season, spanning 32 appearances and 41 2/3 innings pitched. Of course, Segal gave up two earned runs on another clutch hit by Brian Rios and the Seals pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Reality Bites: If the Vipers play .500 baseball for the rest of the season, the Seals will have to go 13-3 in their last 16 games to tie the Snakes and force a one-game playoff or 14-2 to win the North Division second-half title outright. Put another way, if the Vipers go 13-5 in their final 18 games, the Seals won't be able to catch them even if they win all 16 of their remaining games. The  two teams face each other four times in Calgary August 26-29, so the Seals will have to win at least three out of those four games.
  • Victoria has acquired pitcher Joe Sergent from the Calgary Vipers. Sergent helped lead the Vipers to the GBL Championship last season, posting a 7-3 record and a 3.88 ERA. However, he has struggled this season and he only has a 3-2 record with an 8.47 ERA. Sergent is normally a starter, but his arm is not 100% healthy, so he has been mainly limited to relief duties in 2010. He threw on the side today and says he is ready for game action in the near future. The Seals do not have to release a player to activate Sergent, since rosters can expand from 22 to 25 men on August 15th.
  • Ex-Seal Austin Bibens-Dirkx is getting closer to completing his journey from Royal Athletic Park to Wrigley Field based on his performance since his promotion to the AAA Iowa Cubs on July 8th. Although he was shifted to the bullpen after his first AAA appearance with Iowa, he was moved back into the starting rotation on August 2nd and has won his last three starts. Bibens-Dirkx now has a 5-0 record with a sparkling 1.97 ERA and 1.09 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) in AAA. It's starting to look likely that he will become the first Victoria Seal to go on to make the big leagues -- perhaps as early as September 1st when major-league rosters expand. Bibens-Dirkx could help Chicago right now, especially since current Cubs reliever Andrew Cashner has a 5.68 ERA and 1.71 WHIP.
  • The Vancouver Canadians honoured recent Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson at Nat Bailey Stadium last week. This was a classy move by the Canadians and apparently there were a great many Expos fans in attendance.
  • ESPN senior writer Jim Caple was in Victoria this weekend to do research for a piece on the Victoria Seals. Unfortunately he witnessed the ugliest game of the season on Saturday night, so let's hope the article portrays the GBL and the Seals in a positive light. Look for the piece to appear on the ESPN web site in the near future.
  • Tom Hawthorn wrote a fascinating article recently in The Tyee on the history of women in professional baseball with a focus on British Columbia. I found the story of Mamie Johnson, a woman who pitched in the Negro Leagues for three seasons and posted a 33-8 record, to be particularly noteworthy. I also took great joy in reading about one of my favourite pint-sized ballplayers of all time, Casey Candaele of the Montreal Expos. Candaele's mother and aunt both played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and both are originally from Vancouver.