09/25/2008 9:23 AM -
Kansas City had to be the biggest underdog to prevail in postseason playoffs. Fargo, ND is a perennial contender, and the RedHawks’ 62-34 regular season record stamped Doug Simunic’s club once more. Gary, IN had been in the Northern League finals the last three seasons, winning two of the three.
Guess what? The T-Bones swept Fargo, taking the last game on the road, then after losing the series opener at home, swept three in a row including both games in Gary although All-Star closer David Trahan gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth before squirming his way to a 5-3 win in the clincher.
Owner John Ehlert gets my MVP vote. The day of Game 2 of the title series, he registered the first hole in one of about a 20-year career, then in the grand golfing tradition bought a drink for everyone. This was everyone at Community America Ballpark, mind you, and the fourth inning gesture to the crowd of 1,252 just may have inspired the T-Bones, who were down a game and trailing 7-1.
Within two innings, Craig Hurba and Bo Hart had clubbed grand slams, with Hart’s blow giving Kansas City an 11-7 lead. They won 12-7, and never trailed again in any game. This is the same Bo Hart, by the way, who was an overnight sensation in St. Louis in 2003 when the 5-foot-11 second baseman came up from Memphis for his first big-league opportunity, and had multi-hit games in seven of his first eight games.
Ehlert’s generosity is not likely to soon be forgotten, and this is a team that already is one of the most beloved in the Indy game, averaging 5,850 fans per game all season.
(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes on Independent Baseball. Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, order his newest book, The Independent Minor Leagues: 2007 Season in Review, enjoy his blogs (www.IndyBaseballChatter.com and www.IndependentBaseballClassifieds.com ) or comment to RWirz@aol.com. The authorhas 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)