BASEBALL TRADITION TAKES TWO STRIKES

Rochester’s International League baseball team – for one game only on Thursday night – were the Plates instead of the Red Wings.

No big deal. It was the capper to a popular promotion honoring garbage plates. (I do wonder why the team wasn’t tagged the Rochester Kodaks for at least one game in the distant past).

Here’s a bigger deal – the Yankees will NOT be wearing their familiar and time-honored at home for the first time since 1915. And the Yankees will for the first time have the names of the players on the back of their jerseys.

Major League Baseball, as part of Players’ Weekend August 25-26-27, has mandated that all players will have uniforms with nicknames on the back of their uniforms.

The MLB news release read, “Just imagine if this happened years ago, with the sight of Bambino, Joltin’ Joe and The Mick over their numbers.” (Sad that Iron Horse was not mentioned; that Gehrig guy was pretty good).

I’m sure many Yankees fans aren’t buying this major break from tradition. I’m also sure that MLB licensed merchandise sales will soar. The nickname jerseys already are available on-line for a mere $199.99.

A few of the nicknames chosen by the Yankees: KRACKEN Sanchez...THE MISSILE Chapman...SIR DIDI Gregorius...ALL-STARLIN Castro...RED THUNDER Clint Frazier...ALL RISE Aaron Judge (not because of his rising strikeout rate)...TOE Torreyes...DUB Sabathia...A-A RON Hicks...and, my favorite, chosen by Brett Gardner, GARDNER.

BARTOLO COLON ISN’T THROUGH YET

When the Minnesota Twins signed 44-year-old Bartolo Colon in early July and assigned him to Rochester, many of us were hoping the portly pitcher would be starting for the Red Wings against Columbus on Plates Night Thursday night at Frontier Field. The Red Wings would’ve been featured on every TV sports show in the land.

Colon made one unimpressive start for the Red Wings in a loss in Allentown, Pa., before being promoted to Minnesota.

Wednesday night, in his fifth start for the Twins, he pitched seven shutout innings in a 6-0 victory at the Milwaukee Brewers.

Colon was horrible earlier this season with the Atlanta Braves: 2-8 record, 8.14 ERA in 13 starts.

He has been okay for the Twins: 2-1 record, 4.02 ERA in 5 starts.

Colon now has 237 career wins in the major leagues. He has expressed two goals before he calls it quits:  Top Juan Marichal for most victories by a Dominican pitcher (243) and pitch in the majors when he is 45 years old -- as his late mother requested.

I don’t think he’ll reach either goal, but he’s already exceeded the expectations of most people – including me.

Colon wasn’t around to boost the attendance on Plates Night, but he has helped Rochester’s push for a playoff berth by earning a spot in Minnesota’s starting rotation and keeping an extra quality arm on the excellent pitching staff of the Red Wings.

RATTLERS VS. OUTLAWS TALE OF THE TAPE

The Rochester Rattlers will play at the Denver Outlaws Saturday, 4:40 p.m., in the semifinals of Major League Lacrosse. The Florida Launch will play at the Ohio Machine in the other semifinal.

Rochester earned the playoff berth with three straight clutch victories to end the regular season 8-6.

Here’s the Tale of the Tape:

Records – Denver 9-5 (4-3 home; 5-2 road)...Rochester 8-6 (4-3 home; 4-3 road)

Goals for – Denver 199 (five 2-point goals)...Rochester 182 (two 2-point goals)

Goals against – Denver 174 (seven 2-pointers)...Rochester 171 (three 2-pointers)

Ground balls – Denver 506...Rochester 505

Shots – Denver 675...Rochester 600

Shots on goal – Denver 418...Rochester 375

SOG percentage – Denver .619...Rochester .625

Faceoffs – Denver 236-of-429 (.550)...Rochester 230-of-410 (561)

Power play – Denver 9-for-39 (.2308)...Rochester 9-for-34 (26.47)

Penalty killing – Denver 35-for-48 (72.92)...Rochester 30-for-42 (71.43)

Average home attendance – Denver 9,212...Rochester 2,191

Denver top scoring threats – Eric Law 13 games played, 32 goals (one 2-point goal)+29 assists = 52 points...Michael Bocklet 13GP, 37G+11A=48...Matt Kavanaugh 10GP, 24G+9A=43 points...Jeremy Sieverts 14 GP, 13G (two 2-point goals)+13 assists=28 points...Zach Currier 9GP; 11G+15A=26 points.

Rochester top scoring threats – Jordan Wolf 9 games played, 29 goals+15 assists=44 points...Ned Crotty 12GP, 8 goals (one 2-pointer)+24 assists=33 points...Jeremy Boltus 10GP; 20G+0A=20 points; Jordan MacIntosh 8GP, 17G+3A=20 points...Ty Thompson 10 GP, 16G+4A=20 points...Ryan McNamara 7GP, 11G+4A=15 points.

Denver goalie – Jack Kelly, 14GP, 9-4 record, 11.82 goals-against average; .548 save percentage.

Rochester goalie – John Galloway, 13GP, 8-5 record, 11.57 GAA; .541 save percentage.

The Rattlers were 2-0 vs. the Outlaws in the regular season: 16-15 in Denver May 27...18-12 in Rochester July 20. Wolf missed that game due to injury. John Ranagan and Jordan MacIntosh each scored four goals. The Rattlers lead the all-time series 9-8.

JUDGE AND STANTON SINCE THE HOME RUN DERBY

New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge and Miami veteran Giancarlo Stanton were the two favorites to win the Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game. Stanton was upset in the first round by Gary Sanchez and Judge was the overall winner in dominating fashion.

Before the Home Run Derby:

Judge – 84 games; .329 batting average (99 for 301); 75 runs; 13 doubles; 3 triples; 31 HRs; 66 RBI; 61 walks; 109 strikeouts.

Stanton – 86 games; .277 batting average (90 fot 325); 60 runs; 18 doubles; 26 HRs; 58 RBI; 39 walks; 88 strikeouts.

Since the Home Run Derby:

Judge – 25 games; .172 batting average (15 for 87); 11 runs; 1 double; 4 HRs; 12 RBI; 22 walks; 40 strikeouts.

Stanton – 25 games; .267 batting average (24 for 90); 24 runs; 6 doubles; 13 HRs; 27 RBI; 17 walks; 25 strikeouts.

SHORT SHOTS

ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell was impressed. On Thursday night he tweeted, “Outstanding: The @RocRedWings are the Rochester Plates, a tribute to the city’s garbage plate tradition.” And that was before he knew the crowd at Frontier Field was 13,281.

Good news for the Red Wings as they battle Lehigh Valley for the International League’s fourth and final playoff berth: Slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins was promoted on Thursday from the Iron Pigs to the Philadelphia Phillies. He leads the IL in slugging percentage, OPS, home runs, RBI and total bases. He’ll probably be voted league MVP and deservedly so.

The Peterborough Lakers (17-1-0) and Six Nations (14-3-1) dominated this summer’s indoor Ontario Major Series regular season with a combined 31-4-1 record. Peterborough was led by Rochester Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc (9-1 record; 6.91 goals-against average; .835 save percentage) and former Knighthawks star Shawn Evans (league-most 103 points – 29 goals and 74 assists – in 16 games). Peterborough led the six-team in attendance at 27,236 for nine home games.  The other five teams had a combined attendance of 14,397.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WWE’s Alexa Bliss (26)...Jason Hayward (28)...JaMarcus Russell (32)...Matt Moore (33)...Drew Butera (34)...Tyson Gay (35)...Chamique Holdsclaw (40)...Derek Fisher (43)...Chis Gedney (47)...Rod Brind’Amour (47)...Troy Percival (48)...Deion Sanders (50)...Vinny DelNegro (51)...Brett Hull (53)...Kevin Mack (55)...Louis Lipps (55)...Doug Williams (62)...John Cappelletti (65)...Junior Kennedy (67)...Jimj Kiick (71)....Rod Laver (79)...Bob Cousy (89). Sam Elliott (73) is invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, August 10

Andre Drummond (24)...Marcus Foligno (26)...Ramon Humber (27)...Wilson Ramos (30)...Matt Prater (33)...Gino Torretta (47)...Riddick Bowe (50)...John Starks (52)...jockey Mike Smith (52). Antonio Banderas (57) is invited to the birthday party.

Friday, August 11

Jockey Jose Ortiz Jr. (25)...Patty Mills (29)...Pablo Sandoval (31)...Colby Rasmus (31)...Melky Cabrera (33)...Robert Geathers (34)...Edgardo Alfonzo (44)...Mike Lodish (50)...Marc Bergevin (52)...Craig Ehlo (56)...Hulk Hogan; Terry Bollea (64)...Otis Taylor (75).

Saturday, August 12

Tyson Fury (29)...Jiri Novotny (34)...Plaxico Burress (37)...Chris Chambers (39)...Antoine Walker (44)...Todd Marchant (44)...Pete Sampras (46)...Greg Manusky (51)...Lynette Woodard (58). Casey Affleck (42) is invited to the birthday party.

Sunday, August 13

Johnny Gaudreau (24)...DeMarcus Cousins (27)...Jerry Hughes (29)...Ryan Villopoto (29)...1994 Rochester International LPGA champion Lisa Kiggens (45)...Elvis Grbac (47)...Shayne Corson (51)...Cris Dishman (52)...Mark Lemke (54)...Jay Buhner (53)...Betsy King (62)...Bobby Clarke (68).