Silver Sox off to a solid start | NevadaAppeal.com

Silver Sox off to a solid start

Darrell Moody
Appeal Sports Writer

It was certainly nice to see somebody other than Barry Bonds get some major highlight time on Tuesday night.

Jason Schmidt struck out 16 batters in a 2-1 win over Florida on Tuesday, setting a new San Francisco franchise mark and tying the all-time mark of Christy Matthewson set back in the early 1900s.

When you think of all the great pitchers to don a New York or San Francisco Giant uniform over the years, it makes Schmidt’s perforfmance stand out even more.

In the modern era, you had guys like Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry during the glory years. As great as Marichal was, he never struck out 16. Perry’s 15 was the previous best until Schmidt came along.

Schmidt, if he can stay healthy over the next several years, has an opportunity to be one of the best ever in team history. He was one of the better acquisitions that management has made in recent years, and has been the team’s ace much of his time in San Francisco.

Schmidt has a nice fastball and slider, and a real bulldog-type attitude when he’s on the hill.

• The first weekend of the Golden Baseball League was a smashing success at the gate for the Reno Silver Sox,

The last two nights have been somewhat of a disappointment, as the crowds haved been between 900 and 1,100, which is a tad below of what the team needs on a daily basis to survive.

Yuma is averaging nearly 2,800 fans per game, but we all know there is nothing to do in Yuma, so you might as well go to a ballgame.

The Sox management is certainly gearing things toward the family with many things for the kids to do when they don’t want to watch the baseball game.

The botom line, however, is the product you put on the field. Right now, the Silver Sox are a player or two away from being a dominant team. Scott Schneider, who has Triple-A experience, and Nate Sevier, who has Double-A experience, form a potent 1-2 punch.

Even though the season is young, general manager Dwight Dortch said he has been getting some phone calls each day from players wanting to try out. Dortch also said that manager Les Lancaster also has been working the phones in an efort to get better players here.

Dortch admitted that the roster could change once this year’s draftees sign and teams start to release players. He does expect more movement later in the year when the Mexican League concludes.

Currently, the Sox have no hitters coming off the bench. No doubt Lancaster could use one or two better hitters. Caleb Maher is struggling through five games as is Evan Sobel, but quite honestly, Lancaster has nobody on his bench any better.

The GBL’s 22-man roster limit must be frustrating to every manager in the league. With the teams essentially playing everyday, all the rosters are top-heavy with pitchers. When you get into an extra-inning game like the Sox did on Tuesday night against Fullerton, managers are put in a position where they can’t do too much.

• While we’re on the subject of the GBL, I see the league falling into the same trap as other independent leagues do in regards to umpires. As I understand it, the league is using only two umpires this year, down from three a year ago, and they are all local.

No offense to the gentlemen in blue who have worked the first five games, but if you are trying to put out a first-class operation like the GBL claims to be doing, this isn’t the way to go. You need to have umpires, and with only six teams, you just need 12, that travel to each site in the league. The guys I would be looking at are the ones that just came out of umpire school or work four-year college baseball on a regular basis.

That’s the way it’s done in professional baseball. The Western Baseball League used traveling umpires its first season, but abandoned that because of costs. The WBL then went to a regional approach. I certainly think it would be better if Reno umpires worked sometimes in Chico and vice versa, so visiting teams aren’t seeing the same five or six guys all the time.

• The GBL is full of former players who have gone on to managing and coaching. Reno has Lancaster and Mike Hartley, both of whom pitched in the majors, and Fullerton has ex-Cardinal and Padre shortstop Garry Templeton as its field manager with ex-Dodger Charlie Hough calling the pitches. Ex-Giant Darrell Evans is running the Long Beach Armada and Terry Kennedy manages the San Diego Surf Dawgs.

Those names alone might put a few more people in the seats, which is what I’m sure the GBL officials are counting on.

•All in all, I see the caliber of ball in the GBL ranging from low Single-A to high Single-A. I’ve seen some nice hitters and pitchers, and I’m certain there are guys that will be picked up by a major league organization before the season is over.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281