Steven Shell pitched a complete game shutout, and we ran into Kid Rock in a Nashville dive bar. Just another day in the PCL!
It was a morning game on Wednesday, and apparently Shell is a morning person. He pitched a four-hitter, only finding himself in trouble two times: the fifth, when Mike Wilson threw out a runner at the plate; and the ninth, when runners were at second and third with one out.
I asked catcher Josh Bard why Shell was so good yesterday, and he said “He hit my mitt.” Over and over again – Shell had pinpoint command, throwing 72 of his 102 pitches for strikes – and the strikes were on the black.
Also, his first pitch to Natural Born Rainiers Killer Trent Oeltjen was a high-and-tight fastball. I liked that – we don’t need a repeat of 2009 from Oeltjen (although he did smoke a double in the ninth).
The complete game shutout is a rarity in the PCL – Tacoma had just two last year, both in August. (Andy Baldwin at Round Rock; Brandon Morrow vs. Iowa). It was Shell’s first shutout since 2005, when he was in Double-A.
After the game and a nap, we went out to dinner with my man Doug Scopel. We filled up on very unhealthy Southern food, and then he (predictably) took us to a local dive bar. The joint was called Losers, and there were fewer than 50 people sitting around and having a beverage while three local musicians were playing in a corner, covering dreadful modern pop-country songs. We were about to get out of there when Kid Rock entered the bar. The dynamic had changed – now we had to stay.
Rock lives in town. He knew a lot of people in the bar, and he visited with them while downing some drinks. Showing impressive radar skills, a number of dolled-up rocker-girl types began streaming into the bar shortly after Rock’s arrival. Eventually Rock joined the three musicians for some country and blues standards, finishing with Bob Seeger’s “Night Moves.”
The Rainiers ace problem-solver Ashley Roth is on this road trip and she surreptitiously took an excellent photo while the bouncer was trying to halt all photography. Note the cigar.
I’m not a Kid Rock fan but I admire him after last night. He was just hanging out at his neighborhood tavern, being friendly to everybody, and he sang a couple tunes with the locals. Pretty cool, really. He did briefly take off his shirt, which was high on the unintentional comedy scale.
One person in our group was a big Kid fan, but he was too nervous to go say “hi.” I didn’t give him too much grief – I once met my favorite musician, and I was a stumbling nervous wreck. It was embarrassing.
Ok, some baseball links. And I promise to blog about the Rainiers tomorrow – unless something crazy happens again tonight!
- Here is my Rainiers game story for the TNT, with quotes from Shell and the skipper.
- Larry Stone posts a poll: which ex-Mariner do you want back? Most of these players are former Rainiers.
- This is awesome: Scott Ostler actually attended an Eric Byrnes softball game.
- John Shea says that Griffey’s naps are far inferior to Barry’s. Jayson Stark wrote about Griffey as only Jayson Stark can.
- Colorado Springs and Brad Eldred battered Albuquerque. Chris Nelson returned from the DL and homered. The Sky Sox are getting a fill-in starter from Tulsa.
- A new Salt Lake pitcher had a rude awakening in his Triple-A debut. Oswaldo Navarro has 9 hits and 9 RBI in his last five games for Round Rock. I did not make that up.
- Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner double-teamed the Zephyrs. Posey is now batting .355. Call him up already!
- Reno beat Omaha 4-2 as ex-Royal Billy Buckner tossed a gem.
That’s it for now – gotta go eat at Ted’s Montana Grill. I, for one, will not be missing my chance to celebrate National Hamburger Month.