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Walking Back On

Tonight is the final game of Wichita’s season-opening seven game homestand, and regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game against Sioux Falls, the homestand can only be defined as a success. The Wingnuts can’t hit the road with a record worse than 5-2, and a 6-1 start would be outstanding for a team with a new manager and a cast of new players.

Joe Muich ended last night’s game in the 13th inning with a walkoff homer, the second game-ending homer for the Wingnuts last season. Last year, they didn’t have a single such home run. Wichita is already 3-0 in one-run games, too…but I won’t spoil my lead note for the Sunday notes column. So pretend I didn’t just tell you that.

We had the first comment of the season last night. And I need more comments. I thrive on them. Let’s make this a little more interactive, can we? A commentor asked what happened to Byron Embry, last season’s closer. Well, I can tell you that Embry has decided to hang it up after 12 professional seasons. He peaked in Triple-A, making it to that level with the Royals and Mariners, but never reached the majors. Embry compiled a 28-34 record with 77 saves and a 3.41 ERA.

So Embry is done with baseball, and reporters everywhere are weeping. Or celebrating, depending on your viewpoint. It’s a little of both for me. I loved talking to Embry because he would always come up with a juicy quote — including one about hitting his own mother if she disrespected him or one of his teammates. But my relationship with Embry was a little volatile because he didn’t like when I printed the quotes he made when he was a little fired up. But generally, we got along and it’s disappointing to see him give up baseball.

There was an interesting incident in yesterday’s game between Fort Worth and Sioux City. Here is the account from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Things turned a bit interesting in Crow's final inning when he hit Carlos Arroyo with a pitch. Arroyo didn't take the plunking sportingly and threw a bat toward Crow. Cats catcher Kelley Gulledge immediately stepped in front of Arroyo as both teams wound up on the field. No punches were thrown.

So Fort Worth’s Aaron Crow, a first-round MLB draft pick last year who didn’t sign with the Washington Nationals, had a bat thrown at him. That much we know. But we have no comments from Crow or Arroyo or either manager. That seems odd to me. But I guess that could mean it wasn’t a big deal. From what I hear, the bat didn’t come remotely close to hitting Crow. But still, I wish I knew more about this.

That’s all for today. Sioux Falls’ J.D. Reininger had a pulled tooth yesterday but is back in the lineup today for the Canaries. Speaking of lineups, here they are:

SIOUX FALLS (2-4): 2B Joe Anthonsen, 3B Trevor Lawhorn, CF Beau Torbert, DH Cory Harris, LF J.D. Reininger, 1B Patrick Reilly, RF Ben Van Iderstine, C Paul Smyth, SS Tim Hutting. LHP Jino Gonzalez.

WICHITA (5-1): CF Nick Blasi, SS Brenan Herrera, LF Greg Porter, RF Dustan Mohr, DH Kelly Hunt, 3B Mike Thompson, C Joe Muich, 1B Steve Pearson, 2B Josh Horn. RHP Will Savage.