|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Remembering 201209/13/2012 4:35 PM ET
By Matt Rogers / Corpus Christi Hooks
The season ended a week ago.
The sting of a playoff sweep at the hands of Frisco itches more than it hurts. Remember what mama said: “When it starts to itch that means it’s healing.”
What will I remember about the 2012 Corpus Christi Hooks?
Sure, there were the franchise-record 81 wins and Texas League South Division second-half championship. Keith Bodie winning manager of the year. Postseason baseball returning to Whataburger Field. Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart and top position player prospect Jon Singleton - along with others - providing a glimpse of the Astros’ future.
I’ll remember the way Jose Martinez orients himself to the first-base bag when fielding a ground ball.
And Bodie canvassing the dugout before games, making eye contact with each of his charges, bumping fists with many.
And Jake Goebbert calling 90 percent of Hooks season-ticket holders to thank them for their support.
I’ll remember Ben Orloff talking to himself between hacks in the cage, and the way he established himself as the latest in a long line of Corpus Christi wizards at shortstop.
And Austin Wates’ catch to rob Nate Freiman of a home run on May 5. It’s worth yet another look
And, to the crowd’s delight, the impromptu dance-off between Andy Simunic and Enrique Hernandez the night the lights went out, Thursday, August 23.
That short-circuited a solid start by Rob Rasmussen vs. Midland and delayed the Hooks’ playoff clincher by a night, but who would argue that it wasn’t sweeter to wrap against long-time nemesis San Antonio?
I’ll remember the diminutive big-game lefty reminding us a 92-mph fastball is more than sufficient if you know how to pitch.
And future major leaguer Brandon Barnes and his testimony through tattoos and beautiful wife and daughter.
And Bodie’s mound visit music, The Godfather - Waltz. Enjoy
I’ll remember the firm of Sogard, Chapman and Stoffel. Those guys could shorten games like hot water shrinks 100 percent cotton.
And Singleton’s (and Cosart’s) patience with each and every interviewer and question.
And Ross Seaton striding through the doors of the clubhouse after another win, pitching charts under his left arm from preparing for the next day’s start, exclaiming, “second-half Hooks!”
I’ll remember catcher Jay Fernandez - “The People’s Champion” Caller-Times writer Greg Rajan calls him - thrown into the fray at third base back in mid-June. The cat-quick 220-pounder more than met the challenge.
And over 100 player moves.
And “Tortuga” (Spanish for turtle), team barber Erick Abreu, becoming the winningest pitcher in Hooks history. He’s booked 23, including a team-best 10 in 2012.
I’ll remember three aces: Cosart, Seaton and Jose Cisnero, who blew away 116 in 108 innings before promotion to Oklahoma City.
And how much deeper and more talented the rotation became with in-season acquisitions of Rasmussen, Asher Wojciechowski and Matt Heidenreich through trades involving ex-Astros Carlos Lee, Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ, David Carpenter and Brett Myers.
And home-grown Texas Tech-ex Bobby Doran, who also stepped up down the stretch as part of a vaunted six-man starting scheme.
I’ll remember the joyous news from receptionist Dora Mederos and sponsor services maven Elisa Fogle that they’re expecting sons.
And Hooks GM Michael Wood and his penchant for late-night nachos. And kettle chips all around in the pressbox.
And 12-year-old Breeana Bodie, Keith’s daughter, teaming with Goebbert on a message about Turner Syndrome
And then there are our official scorers. More ‘70s music trivia with Lee Goddard. And the state of youth baseball in Portland with Mayor David Krebs. And A&M Kingsville updates from George Vondracek. And living and dying with Carroll Tigers coach Lee Yeager during another run to state.
And balky body parts as cleaning manager Mike Shedd (knee) and maintenance manager Mark Rushton (back) will tell you.
And losing Matt Hicks - albeit to the Texas Rangers - in late June. And Michael Coffin picking up the ball and crossing the goal line.
And the faces of kids as they bound up the grand staircase, in a hurry to collect autographs, queue up at the concession stand or be first in line at a KidZone attraction.
They’re certainly not immune to the itch.
Oh, yeah... that sting... what’s it itchin’ for?
The 2013 season.
Until then, we drive by or think of Whataburger Field, reflecting on the past and pining for April. Or, at least February, when the high schools, Islanders and Javelinas take their turns.
There she sits, a super-sized jewelry box holding precious memories.