As mentioned a few weeks ago, we will
continue to keep you up to date with all St. Catharines Metros, Central Ontario Major Baseball League, and Ontario Senior
Baseball matters over the course of this off-season.
The "news" this week, is that the C.O.B.A.
Major Managers and Coaches will gather this evening, for their final 2008 League wrap-up meeting. The managers will
tie off some of the loose ends that arise during the season, and address any issues that need to be tackled, while they are
still fresh in everyone's mind. The highlight of the night will be the enjoyable task of voting for all the League award
winners and All-Stars. The winners will be announced at the League Banquet set for later this fall.
ON ANOTHER FRONT:
In keeping with the theme of "looking
back at 2008", the folks at metrosbaseball.ca have been busy updating the "Archive" part of the website. This is the
section that contains all of the historic information, and news from the past 24 years of the Metros. The link to this
section is near the top of the Home page, just under the Banner.
We have recently updated all of the statistics
in this section, to now include the numbers from 2008. This makes for very interesting reading, as we can see every
player that has ever appeared in a Metros game, or pitched an inning in a Metros uniform. Twenty-four years worth of
stats, on just two pages.
To make it easy for you, click here to access the All-Time Batting Stats...and here to view the All-Time Pitching Stats.
In addition, we have also updated the
Career and Single-season "Top 20' pages...more interesting reading for those of you with the time to indulge your curiosity.
Have you ever wondered who the best players in Metros histroy are? How do our current players stack up? Are any
of our players from 2008 nearing any All-Time records? What is the best season by a Metros player? What are the
All-Time Metros records, and who holds them? You can get all those answers and more.
For the All-Time Career Top 20's,
just click here, and for the list of the greatest single-season numbers ever, click here. The complete list of Metros All-time records can be found here.
Well, you've got lots of reading to do,
so we'll let you get to it...talk to you next week.
Winning a championship is a hard thing
to do...at any level. Even making it to the finals isn't easy, especially at the Senior level, where there is so
much parity. It is for that reason that we thought it would be a good idea to recognize the teams that accomplished
those feats in the summer of 2008. Sincere congratulations go out to the following teams for their great showings
when it counted...
Windsor Stars Oshawa Royals
Thornhill Reds Whitby Canadians
Port Hope Flyers Exeter Express
Leamington Seniors Forest Dragons
Erindale Cardinals Glanbrook Grizzlies
Thornhill Reds Markham Pioneers
Windsor Stars Troy Jet Box
S.W.S.B.L. Strathroy Royals
Tillsonberg Red Sox
N.D.S.B.L. Rose City Thorns
G.T.B.A. Leaside Leafs East
N. Duff. Clearview
Orioles New Lowell Knights
Congrats, once again, to all the Champions
Judging by his first two starts for the
Brock University Badgers, we're thinking that Jason Ermers is enjoying his first go-round in the O.U.A. The Metros'
ace lefthander has won both of his starts thus far in the Badgers season, and has done so in style...with complete-game gems.
In his first start on September 6th, against
the McMaster Marauders, Ermers went the distance on a 5-hitter. He allowed just 1 unearned run, and struck out 6.
Next time out, on September 13th against the 3-time O.U.A. Champion Western Mustangs, he tossed a 1-hitter, allowing another
unearned run and collecting 9 K's. Throw in a scoreless inning of relief on August 29th against McMaster (striking out
2 of the 3 batters he faced), and Mr. Ermers has put together quite a season line.
For the 2008 fall season, Jason Ermers
has pitched 15 innings and allowed 0 earned runs on 6 hits, while striking out 17. Move over, Johan Santana!
Check out our new video feature at the
bottom of this page. A little piece of movie magic, courtesy of Writer/Director Ron Shelton...and Kevin Costner.
It features a certain word that Metros manager, Kerry Hedden would never use when arguing with an umpire.
You can't operate a team with the
profile of the St. Catharines Metros without a lot of help from a lot of people and organizations. So, we thought this
would be a good opportunity to acknowledge these "friends of the Metros" and their contributions. The Metros are greatly
indebted to the following "Top 12"...
1. Our corporate
partners. We couldn't have paid the bills that arose over the course of the 2008 season without
the generosity of the following companies / organizations:
The Celtic Club - St. Catharines
Hank Kinzy and Associates - Detroit
Buckner's Source for Sports - St. Catharines
The Red Hot Chilli Pepper - St. Catharines
Valiant Machine and Tool - Windsor
2. Our game day
door prize donators. We raised a lot of money over the course of the season, on the in-game door prize
draws. A special "thanks" goes out to these businesses / individuals for their generous donations:
Pete's Pizza - Merritt St., St. Catharines
Front Row Sports - Front St., Thorold
Elios Shoes - Front St., Thorold
Duff's Pizzeria - Facer St., St. Catharines
Giant Tiger - Scott St., St. Catharines
Al Montgomery - Niagara-on-the-Lake
Discount Car Rental - Burlington
Rawlings Sports Canada
Ashlee Sorochan - Burlington
3. The City
of St. Catharines and the Parks and Recreation Department. Community Park is still one of the finest facilities
for baseball anywhere in the province and the Metros are proud to call it "home". Special thanks to Chris
Nye, and all of the young people that maintain the field, and work so hard to meet our needs
during the season. Also, a big "thanks" to Val French at the Seymour-Hanna office of Parks and
Rec., for her help in keeping the books straight, and in scheduling and re-scheduling the park. With all the rain
we had this summmer, it put a strain on both Chris and Val, but they were always helpful and very cordial in all our
dealings. Great job.
4. The St.
Catharines Standard, Niagara This Week and LocalSports.com. Thank you for getting our name and
stories in front of the public. It really helps when we have people at our games and the stories you wrote about us,
in large part, are responsible for that. Special thanks to Bill Potrecz of the Standard for
his feature articles and column inches dedicated to baseball in general...and to the Metros in particular.
5. The other
teams in COBA and across the province. The reason we draw fans to our games and interest is at its highest
in years, is because we can offer them a great baseball product. And we can't do that without the team in the other
dugout. The opposition you give us each week is second to none...and the teams we played in the various provincial tournaments,
provide us with a high level of competition that we must strive to equal. Thanks to you all.
6. The O.B.A.,
C.O.B.A. and the Senior League Executive. The various governing bodies put in countless hours in an effort
to make our senior series and the COBA Major Baseball League what it is. We'd like to especially acknowledge the contributions
of Mr. David Huctwith (our C.O.B.A. representative) and Mr. Glenn Turner (League
Convener)for their guidance and help. We'd also like to thank the members of our League Executive
- Mike Steed, Bob Wood, and Bruce Evans (Burlington), Rick Ellis and Larry Wood (Glanbrook),
Charlie Holman and Shawn Kowalshyn (Dundas), John D'Angelo (Mississauga North), Steve Breitner (Etobicoke), Greg Cranker and
Tim Gasparotto (Erindale), George Moore and Matt McCandless (Milton), David Smallhorn and Rob Fisher (Oakville), and Ron
Lutz and Blake Frost (Brampton). Thank you all for putting the interests of the League before the interests of
your respective teams. An additional thanks to Mark Walters (St. Catharines) for his time
invested in putting together the regular season schedule, to Larry Wood (Glanbrook) for his
work on the playoff tournament schedule, and finally to Anthony Lutz, for his fine work on maintaining
our league website.
7. The Coaching
Staff of the Metros. Your knowledge of the game, dedication to this team and respect and friendship you show the
players is inspiring. Kerry, Carey and Mark...you all did an outstanding job.
8. The Metros
Players. Its a huge sacrifice to commit to a team like ours. We played 45 games over 4 months
this season, and it sometimes seems like we're playing every day for a month (actually sometimes we almost do). To
get to these games, sacrifices have to be made...families, work, holidays, and leisure time all suffer. Thanks
for making this sacrifice. And thanks to the families of our players for being so understanding.
few people who went above and beyond the call of duty. The list of people who help out the Metros, both in-season
and off-season, is long and getting longer. But is is people like these that make us a viable franchise and help
us to maintain a high caliber of operations year after year. You folks are the best!
Door Prize Donations - Tim
Collins, Brad Namtzu, John Ermers, Al Montgomery, Jason Rabjohn
Meeting Room Organization - Brad Namtzu
Spring Indoor Workout Organization
- Carey Spiece
"Metromania" Organization and Hosts
- Kerry and Sandi Hedden
"Metros' Christmas" Organization
and Hosts - Mark and Debbie Walters. Meal - Margaret Walters
Our Team Captain - Joe Roach.
10. Hap Walters
Tournament Volunteers. Wow...what can we say about the people that help us out at the "Hap Walters".
The countless hours you gave us to, once again, make this one of the top tourneys in the province was awesome.
Thank you to all of the following people for whom everyone involved in the tournament owes a debt of gratitude...
Ron Zimmerman, Matt Zimmerman, Todd Erskine, Carl Spano, Rocco Spano, Justin Montgomery, Bill Gardiner, Andrew Sorochan, Ashlee
Sorochan, Sandi Hedden, Debbie Walters, Graham Bailey, Heather Bailey, Jason Rabjohn, Dan Estey, Ian Horner, Carey Spiece,
Kerry Hedden, as well as all the Metros players who made runs for "stuff" during the tourney.
And a special acknowledgment to Mark Walters for all his hours and work in organizing, convening,
and overseeing the entire operation.
11. The Umpires. You can't play a game without umpires, and this year especially, they gave us a tremendous season...both
at home and on the road. There were very few disputes...and it must be said that the caliber of umpiring has improved
tremendously, right along with the caliber of play in the C.O.B.A. Major Baseball League. Thanks for your hard
work and dedication. And a special thanks to the people behind the umpire scenes...the assignors. Scheduling umpires
is a thankless chore, but the Metros can always count on the co-operation of Nancy Legros for her
fine work on our home games. Also, a tip of the cap to Grant Ziliotto, who does the same
job for the rest of the league. That's a lot of games to keep track of, but Grant does a good job supplying
us with umpires all year long.
12. The Fans.
We consistently draw more fans to our home games than any other team in COBA, and would venture a guess that our attendance
would be in the top 5 of any Senior team in the province. We estimate that over the course of our 13 home games this
season, we had more than 2000 people in attendance. That may not seem like a lot...but to us, your presence in the stands
is like gold. Thanks! We promise to continue to play competitive and entertaining ball in 2009, and hope to see
you back at the park next summer.
We're sure there are people we've missed,
and if you are one of these overlooked parties, we sincerely apologize. To the folks we did mention, once again, Thank
You! Thank You! Thank You! See you all in 2009...
As promised last week, here's a brief
recap of what the Metros did (and didn't do) during the summer of 2008. A kind of snapshot of the entire season...broken
up into monthly segments.
For the 9th year in a row, the Metros won their season-opening game, with a 7-0 whitewash of the Milton Red Sox. Ace,
Dustin Turner and 18 year-old rookie, Taylor Boyle combined on a 4-hitter, while Andrew Sorochan and Justin Czorny led the
way at the plate. In fact, the entire month of May featured
many shutouts (both for and against St. Catharines), as the Metros' early-season play was inconsistent, to say the least.
After dropping a 9-0 decision to Erindale, the Metros rebounded with a 9-5 win over Glanbrook, before absorbing their worst
home loss in 4 years...to Dundas 12-0. The shutout trend continued the next night, as Rob Nixon made his first start
of the season a memorable one...a 1-hitter...in an 8-0 victory over Brampton. The Metros finished off the month with
a big 17-5 win over Mississauga North. The Metros finished the month of May at 4-2.
The month of June started the way May finished...inconsistently. After a 6-1 win over Oakville on the 2nd, the
Metros dropped back-to-back home games to Milton and Burlington (leaving their home record at 1-3). The Burlington game
was, yet another shutout loss...7-0. But the amazingly resilient Metros, responded with perhaps their best-played
game of the season just 3 nights later...a 9-1 victory over Erindale in Mississauga. Jason Ermers continued his 2-year
domination of the Cardinals in that game, going 6 innings and holding the powerful Cards to just 6 hits and 0 earned runs.
Then came the Oshawa Tourney...a weekend that the Metros would like to forget. On Friday, the Metros' Dustin Turner
struck out 14 Newmarket Hawks, but the Hawks still managed to win the game 6-1. The next day, things did not improve,
as they lost to the Kingston Ponies (3-1) and Windsor Stars (6-2)...ending their tournament early. The Metros managed
just 17 hits and 4 runs, in the 3 games. The Metros took out their frustration on the Dundas Chiefs, and ended the month
with back-to-back wins...5-2, and 4-3...to end the month (once again) 4 and 2. Add in the 3 Oshawa tournament losses and
the monthly total is 4-5.
The Metros fortunes started to turn around as the month of July began. On the 2nd, St. Catharines came up with an important
and impressive win over the 1st place Burlington Brants...8-4 in Burlington. This win seemed to give the local squad
some momentum, heading into the London Lakeside Tournament on the first weekend in July. After losing the opening 2
games of the tourney (7-2 to the host team, and 3-1 to Oakville), a quirk in the schedule allowed St. Catharines the opportunity
to continue on...and they took full advantage. They pounded Woodslee 7-1, behind Dan Estey's 3-hitter...before a very
big 5-4 win over East York put the Metros in the semi-finals. They then received the bye into the finals, and demolished
a tired and beat-up Oakville team, by the score of 10-2. Rocco Spano was voted the tournament MVP, while Jason Ermers
was named the top pitcher in the tourney. When the Metros returned to league play, they had a big home-and-home series
with the Etobicoke Rangers, and both teams played great games...with Etobicoke winning 4-1 in St. Catharines, and the Metros
winning 2-1 in Toronto. In that 2nd game, Rob Nixon carried a no-hitter into the 7th-inning, before a controversial
safe call on an infield grounder ended his quest. He finished with a 2-hitter. After clubbing Mississauga 17-6
and dropping a 6-2 decision to Gord Robertson and the A's (leaving their home record at 3-5), the Metros entered the "Hap
Walters Tourney" with plenty of confidence. Unfortunately, the Erindale Cardinals ended that very quickly, with a 15-3
dismantling of the home team. The reeling Metros, then played probably their worst game of the season, as
they lost to the Windsor Athletics 4-3, ending their chance to advance in the tourney. However, the local boys
gathered themselves and salvaged the weekend, with a very impressive 6-0 victory over the defending Ontario Champions, the
Oshawa Royals. Dustin Turner was, once again, magnificent in this one...with a 3-hit shutout. The month finshed
the way it started, with an impressive victory over the Burlington Brants...this time 8-4. The record for the month
of July finished at, for the 3rd straight month, 4-2 in league play, and 8-6 including tourneys.
The first event every August is, of course, the Elimination Tournament. The Metros finally, put it together...at least
enough to win a couple of games and make it to Sunday. Once again it was Dustin Turner, leading the way. Dustin
put on a show against the powerful East York Bulldogs in game 1, with a complete game (over 2 days) shutout, 2-0. Turner
allowed 2 singles and 0 walks, while striking out 8. In game 2, Rob Nixon followed that impressive performance with
one of his own, as St. Catharines defeated Etobicoke 7-2. Nixon went the distance, allowing 6 hits and 1 earned run,
while Brad Namtzu had the game of the year offensively. Brad led off the game with a double and scored the first run,
hit a 2-out 2-run single in his next at bat, and made the defensive play of the tourney, to snuff out a potential Etobicoke rally
in the 6th inning. Unfortunately, the Metros could not maintain their momentum, as the Oshawa Royals got some revenge
with an 8-3 win, before Newmarket ended their tourney, by the score of 4-1. The good showing at Elims seemed to put St.
Catharines on a roll, when they returned to C.O.B.A. play, as they rolled off 7 straight wins in August, to clinch the Johnson
Divison title, and the Anson Buck Trophy emblamatic of the top team in the overall league, during the season.
The wins (over Mississauga 13-1, Oakville 7-5, Brampton 10-3, and 5-3, Etobicoke 3-1, Milton 4-0, and Erindale 3-1) left the
Metros with a final record of 19-8 in the league. The playoffs, were a situation of trying to just finish the season,
unfortunately. After the Royals decided to take 2 pitchers (Turner and Ermers) to Nationals, catcher Wade Hill suffered
a season-ending knee injury, and 2 more players (Tylor Prudhomme and Rob Nixon) returned to school, the Metros didn't
have quite enough left to finsh the job. They went 1-2 in the C.O.B.A. Playoff tourney, thus ending their 2008 season.
The Metros' final record over the course
of the entire season (including regular season, tournament and playoff games) was 26-19. The final team batting
average was .287, and their final team E.R.A. was a sparkling 2.97.
ONE MORE THING...
Hey, for those of you that are too young
to remember the antics of Bill "Spaceman" Lee, we have a special treat. At the bottom of this page, on our "Showcase
Film Board" we have an interview with the man himself. Bill Lee was an "original"...