Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13- Casper Ghosts

Today has been an especially unusual day, and I feel that the hat I’m wearing has some partial blame to it. I’ve always been a pretty superstitious guy, especially when it comes to baseball. I always jump over the chalk, I furiously brushed my teeth before every game like Turk Wendell and I always find patterns in the things that I do/wear when things seem to be amiss. Today is only the third day that I’ve worn this Casper Ghosts cap since I bought it back in August of 2011, and all three days have been especially trying.

The first day I wore it I ended up doing poorly on a photography assignment. Specifically, all of the photos I took were over or underexposed. The second day I wore was during Game 4 of the American League Championship series. The entire day I had been wearing my Detroit Tigers home cap in the hopes that the Tigers would tie the series with the Texas Rangers. It was going really well too; the Tigers and Rangers were tied at the end of the seventh inning. My friend Benji, a huge Tigers fan from Lansing, Michigan had been riding me the whole game for me to go home and grab my Ghosts hat for him to look at, but I wasn’t quite in the mood; at least until the Tigers came back from blowing a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth. I lived about a 9-iron shot away from the bar I work at, Max’s Tavern, so I ran home to grab it for the remainder of the game. Over the next three innings the Tigers had an effort to score a few times, but came up empty every time. Finally, in the top of the 11th inning, the Tigers turned to Jose Valverde to put a stop on the Rangers offense. He failed. The Rangers won the game 7-3 and I went home and threw the cap across the room. Today, the MLB Fan Cave Top 30 was announced and two of my friends (Tom Bentley- Mariners and Evan Wansbrough- Blue Jays) didn’t make the cut despite garnering a lot of attention over their campaign. I feel partially responsible for them not making the cut, but not because of the hat. The hat merely aided in the depression that followed.

For those who don’t know too much about this hat, let alone the team, the tale is quite interesting. The team was first established in 2001 when the Butte Copper Kings from Montana had relocated after the 2000 season. From 2001-2007 the Rookie League team was known as the Casper Rockies in honor of their Major League affiliate, the Colorado Rockies. Wanting to bring in new fans and revenue the team held a contest for fans to chime in and rename the team. This process had proved successful in 2003 when the Calgary Cannons had relocated to Albuquerque Dukes had moved to Portland to become the Beavers at the end of the 2001 season. (If you haven’t noticed yet the Beavers and Portland come up frequently in my Minor League hat posts) By an overwhelming 67% majority the fans had chosen the Isotopes as their team name. But I’ll go into more detail in a later post. Unsurprisingly, the fans had chosen the Ghosts as the new team name for the Casper Rockies to start the 2008 season. The team name stuck from 2008-2011, but the team itself did not as they relocated to Grand Junction for the 2012 season. Bad luck all around for everyone it seems.

Keeping with the bad luck theme I did some research and found some interesting choices for my marks. Just a heads up; trying to find jersey numbers for big names in one day in Rookie Leagues is not an easy task, but I think you’ll all approve.

#17- If you know the Rockies, then you certainly should know this number. In 2010 Todd Helton made a rehab trip to Casper for three games: two against the Orem Owls and one against the Ogden Raptors, both of whom have pretty sweet hats. It’s not uncommon for players to do rehab stints, but very few go as far down as Rookie League. In this case the Ghosts were the only nearby affiliate of the Rockies to be playing at home for Helton to get some practice in. Luckily for his sake, he did pretty well. In the three games he played Helton went 5-10 with a double, five RBI and two walks. Just imagine if he had a bad showing.

#40/50- I’ve kept this open for a moment until I can get confirmation of the jersey number, but back in 2009 the Rockies had signed free agent and four-time World Series champion Mike Timlin to a Minor League deal. Guess where he had to start out? Timlin played in two games and threw two scoreless innings for the Ghosts before immediately jumping up to their AAA affiliate the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Unfortunately the 43-year-old was released two weeks later. As far as the 40/50 is concerned, I’m pretty much making an educated guess as to which number he used since those were the two numbers he wore during his time in the Majors. He wore #40 from 1991-2000 and #50 from 2001-2008. Based on logic I would assume he rocked #50, but I’d rather play it safe until I get confirmation. So, if anyone knows the answer, it would be more than appreciated.

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