I'll start with the good news.
This Sunday, August 12, at KeySpan Park, the Cyclones will give the first 2,000 fans at least 21 years old a replica of Ebbets Field. There's a photo of it on the Cyclones Web site, and it looks hot.
More good news. On the field yesterday, the Cyclones shut out Mahoning Valley, 2-0. Mahoning Valley, for geography buffs, is in Niles, Ohio.
In Ohio, Cyclone Dylan Owen notched his sixth win with a three-hit performance. His five innings of shutout ball lowered his ERA to 2.05. Relievers Daniel McDonald and Stephen Clyne, both 2007 draftees, polished off the Scrappers in the final two innings, allowing just a sole hit.
The New York Mets selected Owen in the 20th round of the MLB 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.
His success with the Cyclones isn't as surprising when you look at his college record. Before joining the Cyclones this season, he pitched for Franklin Marion University. Its Athletics Department reported that "Of the 77 hits he [Owen] allowed this season, only eight were for extra bases and he did not surrender a home run. He leads Division II in ERA and strikeouts. His lone loss came in the season opener."
His college accomplishments earned Owen first team recognition on the 2007 Rawlings/ABCA Division II Baseball All-America Team; Rawlings also selected him as their National Pitcher of the Year. Plus, Owen was the NCBWA Pitcher of the Year and made the 2007 National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association Division II All-American first team.
Even more good news. The Mets won! Down 3-0 to the Braves in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets tied the game on three singles and a walk and then won it in the bottom of the eighth on Moises Alou's fifth home run.
The Mets had a close call in the ninth with Billy Wagner pitching. After surrendering two singles, he walked ex-Met Chris Woodward to load the bases with no outs. Luckily, Wagner got the next batter, Jeff Francoeur, to ground to Wright at third. Wright's throw to the plate beat Chipper Jones. One out. The other Jones, Andruw, then grounded into a double play. Game over. Mets won!
A Mets star of the game was Shawn Green, the subject of criticism of late in some Mets discussion boards. He went 4 for 4. And recent addition Luis Castillo upped his Mets average to .344 with 2 for 3 hitting. Coincidentally, Castillo now has the same batting average as the man he replaced, Ruben Gotay.
The Mets needed this win as the Phillies also won.
The bad news. Jason Vargas lost his seventh as the Fresno Grizzlies swept the Zephyrs. In five innings he gave up five runs, upping his ERA to 5.52.
Omar, why does Vargas' career seem to be regressing?