Change is necessary for growth. That statement certainly proved true for Mike Pinto and the Miners this week. He was sure to take a lot of criticism for trading all-star center fielder and franchise favorite Jereme Milons to Lake Erie, but before you jump on the Pinto bashing bandwagon you must understand that there are two sides to every story. Statistically speaking, the Miners offense was less than stellar in the first half. There were an unacceptable number of stranded base runners and they just weren't getting the job done. After a couple of embarrassing losses, Mike told the team they had 10 days to get it figured out or moves would be made. When it comes down to it some people stepped up and some didn't. Mike Pinto is serious about winning a Frontier League Championship and putting together a roster that can make that happen is his job and just like in corporate america if you are not doing your job, the boss is going to find someone who will.
I cannot, and will not, question the desire to win in the clubhouse. The 'want' was there it's just a matter of converting at bats to base runners and base runners to runs and that just wasn't happening. The fact of the matter is is that baseball is a business. If you are not in business to be the best then what's the point of showing up for work everyday? Its nothing personal.
Now, I will jump off my soapbox and tell you about what we got in exchange for Milons and Thomas Campbell. (Who I wish nothing but the absolute best to.)
Gordie Gronkowski is going to be an excellent addition to the Miners roster. He's a 6'6" power hitter that comes to us from Lake Erie where he won a Frontier League Championship in 2009. He had a great season at Gateway in 2010 and comes to southern Illinois on a mission. He is in southern Illinois as we speak working out on the All-Star break. He will not be with the Miners for the River City series because of a previous commitment, but will make his debut on Monday vs his former team, the Gateway Grizzlies. Athleticism runs in the Gronkowski family as 3 of his 4 younger brothers are all currently in the NFL and his youngest brother is a D1 baseball and football prospect. Kudos to his parents by the way who surely worked their tails off just to make enough money buy groceries for those five growing up.
The Miners also added Ryan Meade to the infield during the last road trip. He is coming off an impressive senior season at Lubbock Christian University where he hit .451 with 16 doubles, 16 home runs and 81 RBIs in 58 games. Not too bad. Also, from what I heard, he was making some pretty salty plays at first. With Matt Fields out of the line-up for the time being, he is a more than welcome addition.
Be excited about these moves. Be excited for the future of Miners baseball. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together quite nicely for what is sure to be a great second half of the season. Hope to see you all out at Rent One Park for a clash of the West division titans as River City rolls into town.
Congrats are in order for David Harden, Ryan Zink, Will Block, Nate Hall, and Sean Coughlin for being selected to the 2011 Frontier League All-Star team.