RPR Invades the Bethesda Big Train's Nationals NightPosted on June 30, 2014 by Ryan Sullivan
Saturday night the fine people at the Bethesda Big Train were celebrating "Nationals Night" and were gracious (or crazy) enough to invite the Red Porch Report to make an appearance. Due to circumstances beyond even Greg Maddux's control, Andrew and Phil were unable to make an appearance, leaving yours truly alone to represent Ball Hogs Radio.
In an effort to get better acquainted with the Bethesda Big Train, I arrived a few hours before the game to interview President and General Manager Adam Dantus. During our conversation, Adam explained the history of the Bethesda Big Train, their goals as a non-profit organization, and how they construct the roster each season. If you can tolerate the loud country music in the background, our interview is certainly a worthwhile listen.
Next, legendary Big Train manager Sal Colangelo graciously sat with me to discuss the job of managing a summer league team. Sal made a particularly wise observation when he stated that summer league games are often won or lost in the 6th through 8th innings, when starters tire and bullpens are exposed; it makes sense as these pitchers have already thrown 100+ innings during their college season and have grown weary. Please make sure you give this interview a whirl, it's a must-listen.
Afterwards Sal was nice enough to call over a few players to share a few minutes after batting practice but before their pregame meal. Remembering what it is like to be a hungry college student, I kept the conversations short, but both players could not have been nicer.
The first player I interviewed was former DeMatha Stag and Maryland rising freshman catcher Justin Morris. Morris was one of my favorite prospects in this recent draft, but unfortunately fell to Arizona in Round 35. Morris especially caught my attention when I asked him what he learned from the various pre-draft workouts he attended and he said "there's a lot of good players out there."
Secondly I was eager to interview Maryland sophomore infielder Brandon Lowe, recently named to the Freshman All-American team. While I was only able to speak with Brandon briefly, he recounted the historic Terps' 2014 season, told me the toughest pitcher he faced this year was Clemson's Daniel Gossett (Oakland, 2nd round) and the Maryland pitcher he would least want to face is lefty Ben Brewster.
As part of the festivities of Nationals night, and primarily because the Big Train are friends of the Red Porch Report, assistant GM Eddie Herndon graciously invited me to throw out the First Pitch prior to the game. I was fortunate enough to throw out the First Pitch earlier last week, but after leading the team to a dominating 3-1 victory on Tuesday evening, they shrewdly invited me to pitch again Saturday night.
One might expect my nerves and anxiety to subside on my second attempt, and you would be as correct as the O.J. Simpson jury 20 years ago -- I was straight knee-knocking nervous. Of course it might have had something to do with the fact that Tuesday I was throwing a knuckleball to Tim Yandel who was wearing a glove, and Saturday I was throwing to a glove-less Homer, the Big Train mascot. So I uncorked a mid-40s "heater" toward Homer, which unfortunately grazed his left paw -- I guess it is not easy catching a baseball without a thumb. After retrieving the baseball and receiving my first standing hug from a dog mascot, the Big Train took the field for their 19th game of the summer.
Once the game was underway the fans were treated to an outstanding game between the 1st place Big Train and the 2nd place Baltimore Redbirds. University of Maryland sophomore Taylor Stiles started for Bethesda, pitching 5 innings and allowing 1 unearned run on 4 hits and 1 walk against 5 strikeouts. This outstanding performance, in addition to the offense scoring 2 runs in each of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings, staked Bethesda to a large early lead. As Sal Colangelo prophetically mentioned pregame, the top of their lineup spurs the offense, and Saturday, Stephen Alameis and Logan Farrar combined to go 5-8 with 3 runs scored and 4 runs batted in to help send the home fans happy with an 8-6 win.
In conclusion I want to thank the Bethesda Big Train organization for including the Red Porch Report in their celebration of Nationals Night, in particular Eddie Herndon for allowing me to throw out the First Pitch. Also, I want to thank Adam Dantus and manager Sal Colangelo for sharing a few minutes with me, along with and Big Train players Justin Morris and Brandon Lowe, to talk some baseball. The Bethesda Big Train is excellent family-friendly local entertainment and I cannot encourage you enough to watch a game before the season concludes next month.
Check out our interviews right here:
"Bethesda Big Train - Adam Dantus"
"Bethesda Big Train - Sal Colangelo"
"Bethesda Big Train - Justin Morris"