Results tagged ‘ Brian Ruggiano ’
The champagne, the goggles, the soaked jerseys…we’ve all seen it on TV. But it’s usually the Major League clubs that we watch. So what about in the minors? Are things the same? What really goes on in the clubhouse after a win? Well, here’s what happened in the Loons clubhouse following Wednesday night’s 4-3 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks.
To get the full account we’ll need to start where the celebration did, which was on the field after the newest Loon, outfielder Stetson Banks, caught the final out to seal the deal and give the Loons their first-ever postseason berth prior to the All-Star Game. The players rushed the mound, throwing hats, gloves and sunglasses along the way, as if they were graduation caps.
Bound All-Star Luis Vasquez, No. 40 seen jumping for joy, was on the mound to close it out for the Loons Wednesday night and tossed a hitless ninth inning, three up three down, to allow the celebration to commence as soon as possible. He earned his 13th save of the year and is tied for second league-wide.
Seeing how the win was a come-from-behind effort, Jerry Sands helped continue the Loons tradition and gave Manager Juan Bustabad a shaving cream towel to the face. A well-deserved gesture for the skipper that has his men at 41-24 with four games to go.
The team’s harassment of Busty continued as pitchers Allen Webster and Josh Wall surprise him from behind as he gave his playoff-clinching speech to the 3,435 in attendance at Dow Diamond.
And with the blink of an eye, the diamond was left all alone, with only dirty belongings from Loons players remaining, traded in without shame for the champagne that beckoned from the clubhouse.
That’s when the long-time baseball tradition took place. All of the players, coaches and trainers got involved in distributing the iced beverages, with the single goal of making sure that no one in the room was left without that cold and sticky feeling.
Bustabad managed to quiet down the group, only briefly, in order to give another speech to his guys. He mainly reminded them that the prize wasn’t the berth, but the eventual championship, and getting that ring at the end of the year. Cheers were coaxed, followed by more dousing.
Like any good party, when all of the liquids were depleted, a dance party broke out. Here shortstop Christian Lara encourages Jerry Sands to keep up the jig.
The final action of the night had Bustabad fulfilling his promise to his players. He told them earlier in the season that he would let them shave his trademark mustache when they clinched a playoff spot. Rubby de la Rosa did the honors, while Busty’s kid joined in on the mohawk craze at the hands of third baseman Brian Ruggiano.
The Loons will have to regroup on Thursday, as they close out the series with South Bend, before heading to Dayton for their last series of the first-half.
Last Monday, June 7, the Great Lakes Loons used their off-day to hit the links at the beautiful Bucks Run Golf Club with a number of friends from the Great Lakes Bay Region for the second annual ’Swing with the Loons’. The event is one of the Michigan Baseball Foundation’s major fundraisers and pairs each participating group with one Loons player for 18-holes of golf.
The following is a photo recap of the event:
Loons closer Luis Vasquez approaches this steep shot, getting special instructions from Larry Barco, one of his teammates in the MidMichigan Health group.
After a few swings and misses, Vasquez surrenders his club to the group, while laughing at his lack of skill. It’s ok though, because he’s got 11 saves and a 1.54 ERA.
Here, catcher Gorman Erickson and the Fabiano group follow one of their teammates tee-shots at one of the courses four par threes, all of which had a special hole-in-one prize waiting to be claimed.
On the Hole Four tee-box, Bob Rathbun soft tosses a golf ball to Loons slugger Jerry Sands who takes a swing under the beautiful skies. The ball landed in the water, but spirits remained high for the Chemical Bank team, who eventually finished second overall.
At the end of the day, it was pitcher Jordan Roberts and the Bierlein team who finished the day with the lowest score.
In second place was Jerry Sands and the Chemical Bank Team.
The third place finishers were the Fisher Companies Team, accompanied by Loons DH/1B Jaime Ortiz.
Thanks again to everyone involved in the event, it was a tremendous success!
The Stat Shift: The Loons began their series against Dayton hitting .263, second in the MWL, and dropped only to .264 at series’ end. Jerry Sands hit one homer to bring his league-leading total to 13; a hit in all four games extended his hit streak to a season-high 11 games. Also maintaining his hit streak throughout the series was third baseman Brian Ruggiano, now at 8 games.
Also going up was the team ERA, not as good a thing. It rose from 2.81 to 2.87, allowing Clinton to tie for first place in the category.
Prospecting the Competition:
Loons vs. the Reds No. 15 Prospect SS Didi Gregorius – The Curacao-native started at shortstop in all four of the games against Great Lakes and went .222 (4-for-18), scoring one run and three RBI.
Loons vs. the Reds No. 25 Prospect RHP J.C. Sulbaran – The Loons faced four starting pitchers from Dayton, but never Sulbaran, who started for the Dragons the day prior to the series on 5/12, pitching for his third win of the year through five innings against Fort Wayne.
Feel-Good Moment: Down one run in the bottom of the 14th inning with two outs, Rafael Ynoa and Christian Lara strung together two pre-scripted doubles to win the Loons longest game of the season. Full story here.
Career Game: The Dodgers No. 10 prospect RHP Allen Webster tossed a career-high 11 strikeouts against the Dragons on to notch his fifth win (second most in the Midwest League) of 2010. In the outing, Webster issued only one walk and one run on five hits over six innings.
Scoreless Innings: Reliever J.B. Paxson (1-1, 1.84) offered up two hitless innings in two appearances for the Loons this series. In only two of Paxson’s 10 appearances for the Loons in 2010 has the right-hander surrendered an earned run; that’s 12.2 scoreless innings out of 14.2.
Justin Miller pitched for five scoreless innings of relief in the 14-inning game three. Closers Luis Vasquez and Steve Smith also combined for five scoreless innings in the series.
Series Summary: What did we learn about the team? The Loons are capable of winning back-to-back games at home. The team did so in games two and three, the first time since sweeping the South Bend Silver Hawks from April 14-16. Despite this feat, the Loons reoccurring big-inning giveaway at Dow Diamond is still present, as witnessed in the series’ final game that saw Dayton put up a pair of three-run innings to rally for the win.
Glancing Ahead: The Loons are back today to face the Midwest League’s last place team, the 11-25 Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Rods rank 7th in hitting (.247) and 14th in ERA (4.07). The Loons went 2-1 against Bowling Green earlier this season, outscoring them 11-9. Great Lakes looks for its second home-series win in its seventh try this season.
37 down, 103 to go.
If you didn’t make it out to a game this weekend, then you missed one of 2010′s most unique on-field entertainment acts to visit Dow Diamond. The following is a photo recap of Team Ghost Riders performance that brought tricks from the South to Midland, Michigan.
The old saying is: you can’t tell how deep a well is by measuring the length of the pump handle – which in minor league baseball translates to: you can’t tell how good an entertainment act is just by looking at the trailer. But Team Ghost Riders’ ‘Wild Thang’ trailer certainly promised great things.
So here’s what happened. First, these four rams were let out onto the field. They ran around amidst all the chaos of baseball players warming up and fans screaming, and actually did a really good job of sticking together, like a school of fish or Def Leppard.
Then once the rams had harassed the players enough to need rescuing, out comes Wild Thang and his four little buckaroos. With the slight lift of his hand and one unintelligible yelp, Wild Thang sent the monkeys after the goading rams. The monkeys then guided the sheep dogs with their little spur boots to save the day.
Everything was over in two minutes, ready for the baseball game to resume. The antics left all the players with smiles on their faces, and every kid in attendance a craving to own a little cowpunching capuchin.
Here is Wild Thang and company, getting prepped for the Loons ceremonial first pitch. Wild Thang may have out-thrown them both, but the dog and monkey stole the show later.
The in-game performance was just a little teaser for what followed after the game’s conclusion; a herding extravaganza that sent the four rams to the top of the star-spangled truck, all perfectly choreographed to the score of Lonesome Dove.
At the very end, Wild Thang grabbed the microphone to host a Fireside Chat with the fans at Dow Diamond. He encouraged everyone to follow their dreams, like he did, and left us with a performance that affirmed the tired cliche: anything is possible.
On Saturday night, which was Wild, Wild West Night at Dow Diamond, the Loons staff pose with Wild Thang and the Maverick Monkeys.
So there you have it, Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. The pictures are fun and all, and do a good job of making the field look really green, but until you’ve seen the show for yourself (that is: a Loons baseball game with Cowboy Monkey Rodeo) then you’ll never be considered the tallest pig at the trough. Dive in!
I’m getting reports of loyal readers having trouble seeing the pictures, it’s mainly because of a flaw with Internet Explorer. I suggest switching to Firefox, which is a much more user-friendly web browser. It has less pop-up windows and less spam ads. Plus you can see the monkey pictures! What are you waiting for?
Baseball is a game loaded with transactions: players moving up, moving down, getting cut, going on the disabled list and coming off. The Loons have had six transactions since Opening Day, April 8. But most of the players don’t have their cars in Michigan, and the ones who do aren’t going to do long-term parking without knowing when they’ll return, so who gets the players to-and-from the airport? Well, thus far it’s been the front office interns.
On Wednesday, it was my turn to make the two-hour trek to Metro Detroit Airport DTW to pick up Loons third baseman Brian Ruggiano, who was returning to Michigan from extended Spring Training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ. Ruggiano was rehabbing out west, after straining his shoulder while making a dive for a ball earlier in the season.
A lot was talked about, from new inventions to Gulf stone crabs. But for this blog piece, I asked Brian to talk about the road: past, present and future.
On the Road, the Early Years: “My family used to drive to south Florida from Austin, TX every other year to visit relatives. We had a mini-van and we took out the middle-seat, and left the bench in the back, so the whole front part would be open and we would just lie down and sleep.”
When asked to cite a memorable road trip moment during his youth, Ruggiano could only think of the time that his sister, who’s stomach was easily unsettled, threw up on him. A memorable road trip for the wrong reasons I suppose. He gave me some vivid details, but I think I’ll leave it there.
“When we went to my grandparent’s ranch in West Texas, we’d always stop at this place in Fredericksburg, which is only an hour and a half away from Austin. My mom always thought it was a cute little town, real antique.”
He couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant they would always eat at, but nonetheless gave props to F-burg.
On the Road, the College Years: “We would plan our own trips over the winter breaks and one time me and a couple of guys went on a cruise. It’s not really a road trip, but we drove down to the Gulf Coast. My roommate and another friend of ours went on a cruise with a bunch of friends and there were like 99 people from [Texas] A&M on that cruise, 60 from our group, and it was a blast.”
The five-day cruise took Ruggiano to Cozumel and Progreso. He eventually won enough money to pay for the trip by playing Texas Hold ‘em in the cruise’s casino.
On the Road, the Future: “Well [our college team] went to the University of Kansas and I got to see the basketball stadium there, [Allen Fieldhouse] with the wood seats. It’s really neat in there. I wouldn’t mind seeing a basketball game in there sometime.”
On a more national scale, Ruggiano desires to see the typical American landmarks like Mt. Rushmore and Niagara Falls. Also on his list is the Grand Canyon, a site Ruggiano is almost ashamed he hasn’t seen after spending so much time in Arizona with the Dodgers.
“If I had to live anywhere, it’d be in Southern California, that’s for sure,” he said “In the San Diego area. I went there on vacation with my family and I really liked it.”
Back in Midland
Ruggiano made his first start for the Loons since 4/15 on Thursday morning and produced two extra-base hits. It must have been the stop at Leo’s Coney Island on the way back.