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Feeling Salty

I’m coming to you live from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, where tonight your Wichita Wingnuts will be taking on the Saltdogs out of Lincoln, Neb.

I’m not saying I’ll be getting tired of seeing the same teams come into the L-D, but here are the first seven home opponents for the Wingnuts this season:LincolnSioux FallsSt. PaulLincolnSt. PaulSioux FallsSt. Paul

Exciting, isn’t it? Those are all opponents from the American Association North Division, and it makes sense that most of the Wingnuts’ games are against North Division rivals. I’m just saying it wouldn’t kill me to see some new faces once in a while.

Actually, Lincoln does have one new face — Pichi Balet, who played for the St. Paul Saints last season and has some pretty good independent league seasons under his belt. Unfortunately, I can’t really stand Balet. Something about him. He was one of two players last season that I just did not like — the other was Josh Patton of Sioux Falls. The guy dogged it ALL the time. Good player, but if you’re going to act like you’re entitled, you probably should be playing in the majors.

The repeated opponents will also prevent me from interacting much with the other team’s radio guys. Longtime readers of this blog know about my fallout with the St. Paul guy, who last season called me a homer for a first-year independent league team and apparently has yet to recognize the idiocy in that statement. And the Lincoln guy dislikes me because I poked some harmless fun at him for taking grounders last season. But I enjoyed that on a completely non-mean level.

The Wingnuts have had some lineup changes recently after going with pretty much the same batting order during the first 13 games. Joe Muich has moved up to fifth from seventh, Mike Thompson to eighth from sixth, and Dustan Mohr and Kelly Hunt have each moved up a spot, now hitting Nos. 3-4, respectively. And Brenan Herrera, formerly of the No. 2 spot, is hitting near the bottom of the order now.

Not sure why manager Kevin Hooper has opted for a lineup change. Part of it is that Herrera is battling a sore hamstring and his at-bats should be minimized so he doesn’t worsen it. Josh Horn has taken over the No. 2 slot, at least for now. I’ll talk to Hooper about the lineup changes after the game and have a note on it Sunday.

One commentor asked if the Wingnuts might be interested in Ken Harvey, who was recently released by the Kansas City T-Bones. It’s hard to believe Harvey is only 31 — it seems like he’s been around forever. And he kind of has — he made his major league debut in 2001 but injuries have prevented him from repeating his early success.

My first guess would be that the Wingnuts probably don’t have an interest in Harvey. But I suppose he could be an option — American Association roster rules mandate that four “veterans” (players with at least five years of pro experience) can play on a team, and Wichita currently has three. So he would fit, but I think Wichita is  happy enough with its first base/designated hitter combo of Steve Pearson and Kelly Hunt and won’t give Harvey a look.

Finally, tonight is a little bit sad because I’ll be without my press box cohort Joel T. Lomurno. The Thunder general manager is in Phoenix to attend Central Hockey League meetings and won’t be back until Sunday. That will make the press box a less entertaining place for yours truly tonight. Joel’s a funny guy, as evidenced by the “favorite quotes” section of my facebook page. See you Sunday, Joel.

And see you soon, Wingnuts fans.