Fisher Cat Notes & Quotes: September 19 Edition

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FCATS Notes and news logoLet’s All Get Back Together and Do It Again: And it will be done better at Delta Dental Stadium next year. According to Team President Mike Ramshaw, $5.6 million is earmarked for improvements to the stadium this off-season.

“We’re replacing the lights with LED lights,” Ramshaw said. “We’re also replacing the speakers, extending the netting and creating women’s locker rooms. We’ll regrade the foul lines, move the bullpens off the field and pad the bottom of the lower field seats where they’re exposed to play.”

Several of these improvements are for safety reasons. The extended netting will provide safety for fans from foul line drives while the on-field bullpens in service this past season allowed little room, with a player having to guard the pitcher and catcher from getting hit by a batted ball. Padding the rail and lower on the front-row seats on the foul line will allow the ball to bounce truer.

The Fisher Cats closed out their season yesterday with an exciting 1-0 win over the Harrisburg Senators despite being out-hit 7 to 3. Harrisburg pitcher Luis Reyes no-hit the Cats through six innings but a pair of singles by Addison Barger and Phil Clarke were sandwiched around a base on balls, a wild pitch and a double play. Clarke had the winning hit in the 7th inning.

For those who dislike the New York Yankees, you’ll be pleased to know that their early-season insurmountable lead has evaporated to 4.5 games over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Fisher Cats’ parent club. Several former Cats play for the Blue Jays.

The Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, also sport a number of players who spent part of the year with the Cats. Call it a baker’s dozen with the Bisons at the moment, led by pitcher Hayden Juenger (3-1; ERA 3.00), and hitters Rafael Lantigua, Spencer Horwitz and John Aiello.

The Fisher Cats had a disappointing season in wins and losses but the truer measure of success is developing players to get promoted. For that reason, it’s good to see and hear fans “staying in the moment” and staying positive. Baseball is entertainment.

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Cam Eden. Photo/Kristin Basnett

Strange Days Play: Fisher Cats center fielder Cam Eden played a ball off the wall on Wednesday night that had inside the park home run written all over it. The top of the brick wall has a bevel to it just to the right of dead center. Eden played the pinball perfectly, holding the batter to a double.

“I don’t practice intentionally off that spot, but I will work on it during batting practice,” Eden said. “That was my college roommate Darell Baker who hit it. I wasn’t sure what angle it was going to come off, but I try to give myself as much room as possible.”

Eden will head back home this week, home being Sacramento, California. Eventually, he’ll get down to the Blue Jays training complex in Dunedin, Florida by mid-October until the beginning of November. He’ll work at a baseball training facility about 45 minutes from his hometown at other times. “New Hampshire has been different,” he said. “It has lots of history, though I’m not sure what it would be like with snow.”

Reminded of the combo of shortened days and winter weather, the outfielder will take Sacramento, thank you very much.

Eden easily led the team this year in stolen bases with over 30, and he spoke to the art of the theft.

“It’s still a work in progress for me, each level I go up I learn more, but for me the biggest thing is to take a big lead,” he said. “Some of it has to do with taking the risk of getting picked off.  I believe I’m quick enough to get back.  Secondly, it’s picking pitches, trying to get an off-speed count. Obviously, it’s slower, but the location is usually down with an off-speed pitch. Any base stealer thinks he’s going to be successful on any pitch, but for me, I look for the batter to be behind on the count. I’m thinking a fastball isn’t coming on an 0-1 count.”

Of importance too, is a pitcher’s tell, or giveaway of intention. “We had a pitcher the other night who would only throw to first when he set his hands high,” Eden said. Once he came to the belt, I knew he wasn’t going to throw over.”

Red Sox fans will long remember right-hand pitcher Luis Tiante, El Tiante, as having the best pickoff move in baseball for a right-hander. A pitcher must set his hands before throwing to first, but with Tiante, the set could come high, low or something in between before he whirled and threw to first. The National League umpires didn’t know what to make of it in the 1975 World Series, but they let his motion stand without calling balks.

Eden set goals for himself in the spring of a .275 average and 50 stolen bases but that was when he started the year in Low A Dunedin and then High A Vancouver before coming to New Hampshire. Eden’s final average settled around .220.

It feels like most minor league players set goals, and this can be viewed as both good and bad. It’s good to have something to shoot for, but bad in not reaching self-imposed goals can lead to disappointment. As long as the Cats have Mental Performance Coach Raul Pimentel, no one will remain disappointed for long.


About this Author

John Angelo

John Angelo’s humor has appeared in “Publisher’s Weekly,” “Writer’s Digest,” and “American Bookseller.” He is a frequent contributor to the “New Hampshire Business Review.” For a Christmas concert at his Catholic grammar school, the nuns told him to mouth the words and that he’d better not make a sound under any circumstances.