As expected, the San Diego Padres exercised their 2022 option on relief pitcher Craig Stammen who enjoyed a solid 2021 campaign, his fifth in that southern California oasis. In the year he turns 38, he’ll be working for new skipper Bob Melvin as his third Padres manager during his half dozen seasons.
I recently had lunch with Craig in Yorkshire which is in his Versailles school district. I mention this because it was fascinating to watch him interact with almost every customer, several of whom had been school chums with him at Versailles High School. The dialogue naturally included some baseball but was dominated simply by old friends catching up. When I departed, Stammen remained. He was again relishing being one of the boys back home, and the folks at E & R’s were delighted to see him.
With the World Series concluded, some attention has shifted to the pending new Major League Baseball labor agreement that would ensure no interruption of play within the next few seasons. There are many predictions of impasse between the players and owners but that’s not what the veteran hurler sees.
“I’ve been in on many zoom calls from our union, and watched the public comments from both sides. Both realize what’s at stake and I think they’ll get a deal done. Not only do I feel the season will begin on schedule, I don’t think we’ll miss a day of spring training,” was Craig’s informed opinion.
Meanwhile, 32 year old Fort Loramie outfielder Jared Hoying is now finally in the “World Series” of the Korean Baseball Organization, the Korean Series, where his KT Wiz were regular season champs. They’ve since had two weeks off as the four clubs immediately behind them played off in a “step up” format for the right to meet the Wiz in a best of seven title series. KBO has ten teams.
After a stint with the Toronto Blue Jays organization including a brief time with the big club, Jared signed to return to South Korea at their mid-season. KT needed a “thumper” in the middle of the lineup. Hoying set a half season goal of ten homers and fifty RBI, and delivered 11 and 52. He’s not happy with his .239 batting average but sees that as secondary to his power mission. He remains an outstanding defender, baserunner, and teammate, according to media reports. Yes, those are available in English. Mykbostats.com will update you.
KBO teams are named after their owners rather than home cities, usually major corporations. Jared’s first foreign employer was the Hanwha Eagles, named for a conglomerate that is best known for manufacturing dynamite. The Wiz is owned by Korean Telecommunications (KT) Corporation which has over 16 million wireless subscribers in a rapidly expanding market.
Both Stammen and Hoying have been headlining January fund raisers in their home areas. Both gatherings were COVID casualties 10 months ago. Versailles will wait until 2023 to resume while Loramie will return on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
Sidney stadium popular
Sidney Memorial Stadium was chosen by the OHSAA to host two of this weekend’s 56 statewide football playoff games. Division III visits on Friday with Tippecanoe and Bellbrook, a pair of schools for whom Sidney is not any form of midpoint. On Saturday it’s Division VII and the very logical geographic choice for Marion Local and Riverside.
There were some complaints online about Tipp and Bellbrook both being sent north but several of those opinions also endorsed the Sidney site because of the seats being closer to the field due to no running track. The facility opened in 2004 and hosted the playoffs that very first year with St. Henry sweeping the pair assigned to Sidney.
I’ve been a pro hockey fan since 1965 when I went to my first Dayton Gems game at Hara Arena. Rosters used to be almost entirely Canadian with a few Americans sprinkled in. Ever since, there’s been a great evolution, maybe even a revolution.
The NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets touted two aspects of their roster at the opening of the new season last month. The team claimed the youngest roster in the NHL with an average age of 25.71, and players hailing from ten different countries including Canada, USA, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.