Cardinal baseball, from the girls
Catching Up With Bombs, Pags and the Walrus
Okay, first things first: I know Brett Wallace doesn’t like that nickname, so I am not going to repeat it (again)….but it made for a catchy title this morning while I was adequately caffeinated.
My local AAA ballpark was hopping this weekend, full of former Cardinals. The Colorado Springs Sky Sox were in town for a series against the OKC Redhawks and one glimpse at the Sky Sox roster had me grabbing the kids for the Friday night festivities.
My kids love Joe Mather — I admit, they probably caught that bug from me – and Joe is now with the Colorado Rockies organization playing with the AAA Sky Sox. As usual, Joe was not an eager autograph hander-outer, and he burst from the dugout pregame without so much as a look towards the stands to his right where a small minion of mostly older men were waiting with baseball card catalogues.
The kiddos are accustomed to this as getting Joe to venture towards the stands has challenged them before, but they’re persistent – and having me prodding them on with confidence that Joe would LOVE to sign for them seems to boost their persistence.
This time we had a special memento for Joe to sign – a photo that he took with us the last time he was in town (as a Memphis Redbird, still part of the Cardinals family.) With a little help from Mom, my kids did finally coax Joe over and as hoped, we got a smile out of him when he saw their 8×10. I snapped another quick photo of the three off them before Joe had to get his game face back on, and we had ourselves another Mather story to add to their baseball memories.
We alone cheered on the Sky Sox that evening, three lonely voices in the crowd, but the kids were having a blast with it. The Sox lost. And no, they don’t wear high socks. (I know, I know… someone needs to nudge the Sky Sox and tell them that high socks should be mandatory with a name like Colorado Springs SKY SOX.)
Sunday offered another chance to head back to OKC’s Bricktown Ballpark and test out some new camera equipment on one of my favorite subjects: ballplayers. Former Cardinals? Even better!
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Colorado Sky Sox roster (and why would you?) you’ll be surprised to know that Joe is playing among friends. Matt Pagnozzi is catching and Clayton Mortensen is a pitcher. As an added bonus, former Redbird Brett Wallace (now with the Houston Astros) was manning 1st base for the OKC Redhawks after being sent down to AAA earlier in the month.
Ah, the Astros… but that’s a different subject. ;) (My local OKC Redhawks, former Texas Rangers AAA ballclub, became the AAA affiliate of the Astros this season.)
This weekend’s fun gave me a good reason to dig up a little information on these former Redbirds and share some photos of the boys.
So, here ya go!
First, of course, we start with Joe Mather (“Joey Bombs”):
Joe Mather (buddy of Brendan Ryan, remember?) played with St. Louis in 2008 and 2010. His 2009 season was hampered by recovery from surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, injured September 2008.
Joe played with AAA Memphis from 2007 through 2010.
In November of 2010, Joe was selected off waivers by the Atlanta Braves and played in 55 games with the club before being granted Free Agency June 23rd.
On July 7th, Joe signed as a Free Agent with the Colorado Rockies. Since joining the Rockies, Joe has batted .346 with 5 home runs and .928 OPS in 36 games.
Matt Pagnozzi (“Pags”)
Matt was drafted by the Cardinals in 2003 and made his first appearance with AAA, catching for Memphis in 2007. In 2010 Matt hit .242 in AAA and during his service with the big club in 2010 (15 games) he batted .359 with his first Major League homerun.
Matt became a Free Agent in November 2010 and signed with the Colorado Rockies.
This season Matt is batting .262 with 3 homeruns while catching for the Sky Sox (44 games).
Brett Wallace (if he has a new nickname, I’d love to know what it is. For now, I’ll just say he is NOT the “Walrus”.)
Brett was drafted in 2008 by the Cardinals and was playing in AAA Memphis in 2009. On July 24th, 2009 Wallace was part of the trade with the Oakland Athletics that brought us one of my personal favorites, Matt Holliday.
In December 2009, Brett was traded again, to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Then, in July 2010, Wallace was traded to Houston where he made his Major League debut July 31, 2010. In 2011, he played 101 games with the Astros before his recent move back to AAA (OKC Redhawks). His 2011 MLB batting average is .268 with 4 homeruns.
It was a great weekend of baseball. And great to see Joe.