September 25, 2018

‘Well, Yeah,’ Why Wouldn’t Pensacola Boss Enjoy Record-Setting 15-Game Win Streak?

July 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

All too often when the Florida Panhandle is in the news it seems to revolve around an oil spill or a hurricane bearing down on the area.  A more pleasant “hurricane” has swept through the area this month in the form of a stunningly-hot Pensacola Pelicans baseball team.

The final game of a lackluster first half in which Talmadge Nunnari’s team was 20-28 and 9.5 games behind Shreveport-Bossier, LA in the Southern Division of the American Association was a victory, but there was little reason to foresee a league-record 15-game winning streak—it is now 16 of 18—which has vaulted the Pelicans to a six-game second-half lead.

I loved Nunnari’s reply to a question from The Pensacola News Journal whether the streak had been fun:  “Well, yeah”, replied the second year field boss, who took the Pels to the playoff finals last season.  “For me, the enjoyment of all this is seeing different players step up every night”, the onetime Montreal Expos player told The News Journal. Three of the 15 wins, which surpassed the mark of 14 set by Lincoln, NE in 2007, were 11-inning thrillers.

A Long Trail to First Major League Homer

What made Matt Watson’s first major league home run on Wednesday remarkable was the fact the 31-year-old outfielder, who was playing in the Atlantic League (Lancaster, PA) as recently as May 28, had only one at-bat since July 7, a span of two weeks on the Oakland Athletics bench.

“It was nice to finally get one,” Watson told The Associated Press. He has nearly 100 career homers in the minor leagues plus Japan and Korea.  Watson now has 78 major league at-bats (seven this season), with most of them with the New York Mets (2003) and Oakland (2005).

“He is very professional,” said Tom Herr, the longtime major league infielder now leading Lancaster.

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Faced With Drug-Related Suspension, Jon Weber Retires

How sad was it to learn that longtime Independent and minor league standout Jon Weber abruptly retired, believed to be a reaction to a 100-game suspension after a Major League Baseball release said the 32-year-old outfielder had tested positive for a third time for a “drug of abuse.”

Weber, who played in both the Frontier League (Canton, OH) and Northern League (Fargo, ND), frequently appeared in this column because of his baseball hustle and the fact the stocky left-handed hitter could not get a regular season major league opportunity despite knocking on the door at various times.  He hit .302 with 46 doubles, 14 home runs and 69 RBI for Tampa Bay’s top farm club last season, then was a spring training sensation when he hit .483 to lead the New York Yankees by more than 100 points.  He even was awarded the James P. Dawson Award as the World Champions’ top rookie although he was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA shortly before the season opened.  He played his last games for Toledo, OH, a Detroit minor league club.

(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blogs, www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com.  The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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