01 Sep

wild pitches

Former Mississippi Braves Freddie Freeman (no surprise) and J.C. Boscan (pleasant surprise) are among the Atlanta Braves’ September call-ups. Freeman likely will take over first base next year. Boscan, who’ll be the third catcher down the stretch, is getting a well-deserved courtesy call-up. He has logged 14 years in the minors. He was a key figure in the M-Braves’ championship run in 2008. Remember the “I Smell Blood” t-shirts? He’s a good defensive catcher and a good guy. His perseverance has been justly rewarded. … The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011 includes four baseball-connected figures: Former Mississippi State ace Jeff Brantley, Delta State coach Mike Kinnison, former Southern Miss coach Corky Palmer and Con Maloney, who some might think is an odd choice. Well, like him or not, the outspoken Maloney was an iconic figure in Jackson as the owner of the Texas League Mets and Generals in the 1980s and ’90s. The franchise likely wouldn’t have been here 25 years had he not stepped up to buy it. He also led the group that took ownership of the independent Senators, who would probably still be playing at Smith-Wills Stadium had the M-Braves not moved into Pearl. Maloney also launched the popular Maloney Trophy Series, in honor of his father, featuring small college powers Millsaps, Belhaven and Mississippi College. … Louisville native and former East Central Community College star Marcus Thames had an awesome August for the New York Yankees. He hit six homers in a six-game stretch at the end of the month and is hitting .310 with 10 bombs overall. The Yankees signed him to a minor league deal in the off-season after he slumped with Detroit in 2009. Looking for a right-handed power bat, the Yankees found it. … Former Meridian CC standout Cliff Lee has not been the difference-maker Texas was looking for. Lee, roughed up by Kansas City on Tuesday, is 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA in his last five starts for the Rangers and 2-5, 4.69 since they acquired him from Seattle. What’s up with that? … And former M-Brave Jeff Francoeur, apparently found wanting by the New York Mets, is on the move to Texas, where it’s hard to figure how he fits in. Maybe there is real concern about Josh Hamilton’s injuries. Still think that someday, somehow, Francoeur will make a return to his hometown Atlanta for a stretch drive. It may be a few years, but it could happen.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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