If you have been reading my blog, you will remember my story from May where I talked about meeting Frank Viola III, who is making a comeback to baseball through a conversion to a knuckleball pitcher. You can read it HERE
After Extended Spring Training, Viola was sent to the Lansing Lugnuts in the Blue Jays’ farm system. After barely a month there, he was promoted to High-A Dunedin on Wednesday. Last night, he made his first start as a Dunedin Blue Jay.
I really enjoyed watching him pitch, he did well, especially for the first time with a new team, in a new town and in the blistering heat and humidity of Florida after a month in the cool of Lansing.
Looking at the line for a knuckleball pitcher is much different than the line of a “normal” pitcher. As Viola told me, “I pitch to soft-contact.” This means that a knuckleballer doesn’t throw for strike outs, but more for pop-ups and easily fielded balls.
Viola had 6IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 0SO, 0HR, 1.5ERA
As Baseball Ross would put it, “It was a Quality Start.”
Baseball Ross and I like to sit in the front row and in Dunedin, a row that is exceptionally close to the action. With taking pictures if I can get close to the net, then I can use the camera to focus “past” it so that it doesn’t show up in the pictures. (As you can see above.) I am learning to take video with my Nikon. It’s a little different to focus so I was leaning a little closer to the net than I usually do. I was so engrossed in videoing, that I didn’t react in time…then THIS happened. Lesson learned.
Dunedin is a small town and as such, the Fourth of July is a “big deal”. They had their “Hometown Fourth” party, tickets to the game were free, leading to an attendance of 4,173. After the game there was a concert until dark when there was a twenty minute fireworks display.
Life doesn’t get much better than this, good pitching, good baseball and a small hometown celebration. America the Beautiful.