BY DOUG SMITH
Niagara Gazette — The baseball year concluded on a note of solidarity, when former Niagara Rapid Tony Clark was voted in as head of the players’ union.
It figures. As a Rapid, he was always angling for extra time off, but he did loft some mighty blasts out of Sal Maglie Stadium in its old configuration.
Other thoughts on the Year of the Diamond, 2013:
Better to Receive – Robinson Cano says he split for Seattle for the sake of his security. Base Paths would love to find out some day what sort of security you don’t get for $170 million.
Better Yet – No question here, it’s all about the Blue Jays, as the Bisons waxed all warm and fuzzy when Toronto picked the Herd practically clean during the stretch run, even with Toronto out of contention. Toronto did send some intriguing players as replacements, notably outfielder Blake Galen, but at this time of year, yard decorations remind Base Paths of the Bisons’ actual role: bird feeders.
Not So Seedy – On the other hand, Buffalo-born, Lewiston-raised Kevin Siegrist got a beakful when the St. Louis Cardinals divvied up their Series loot — $228,000, Base Paths figures. That would be a full share, and the Cards awarded 51 of ‘em, so it’s hard to believe Siegrist got less.
By the Book – With such game-enders as a pickoff and an obstruction call, the 2013 Series provided a primer on rules and strategies. If Base Paths had a nickel for every pinch runner he’s ever seen run the bases unwisely, he’d probably have a Series share himself.
Big Bang Theory – Taking the Earl Weaver philosophy to extremes, Grand Island High scored all 13 runs in one inning, after a two-out error, to win a playoff game from Sweet Home 13-3.
Sad Story – There were really no winners in the softball saga at Niagara University, which stonewalled the dismissal of the coach in mid-season. One or two straightforward answers would have averted quires of questions and speculations bordering on the libelous.
Fielding Plays – If all goes well, Niagara Falls High will move onto a weather-resistant baseball field this spring and should be very popular. Meantime, Sal Maglie Stadium, with its clogged drainage and unplugged lights, remains iffy as a site.
Ho Ho Ho – As 50-mph gales raked Niagara County Community College’s softball field, an infielder’s hat blew off her head and into the hands of the centerfielder.
Home Sweet Home – Jamestown and Batavia, the last vestiges of the lower minors in this part of the country, will stay put for at least one more New York-Pennsylvania League season. However, it seems at least 50-50 that the Jammers, who once played as the Niagara Falls Rapids, will head for Morgantown, WV, in 2015 – that’ll expand the NY-P’s reach to eight states. Five more and they can call it the Colonial league.
Called Up — Stan Musial, age 92. Earl Weaver, age 82. Umpire Richie Phillips, age 72. So different, yet so equally adept at their crafts.
Play well and don’t get hurt.
Doug Smith offers his takes on local ball with Base Paths, which runs every Monday during local baseball season and occasionally in the offseason. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.