Suns GM drops new moniker on team

April 15, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

Poking some fun at Mother Nature, the Hagerstown minor league baseball team hopes to take the field at Municipal Stadium tonight with a new nickname, one general manager Kurt Landes hopes won't last past the new home opener.

"Until we have a complete game at home we will now be known as the Hagerstown Rain Drops," Landes said after Wednesday's doubleheader against Hickory was wiped out due to poor field conditions.

The postponements mean the Suns ... er, Rain Drops ... lose three home games as these will be made up on the road. Hagerstown and Hickory will play two games May 3 at 6 p.m., followed by a noon twinbill May 4. After a three-game series in Charleston, W.Va., the Rain Drops will head back to Hickory for another doubleheader May 8 at 6 p.m.


The Rain Drops are scheduled to open their home slate tonight at 6:35 against the Charleston (W.Va.) Alley Cats, who come to town for what baseball fans, and the Rain Drops, hope will be the first of a four-game series.

"All facets of the team and game operations Thursday will be under the Rain Drops banner," Landes said. "If we have time, we'll even get hats for the players."

Both teams were able to get in a sufficient amount of work in the cages early Wednesday, but when the tarp was rolled back it was found that the basepaths had absorbed far too much water.

"We talked about maybe getting one of the games played, but with some rain still forecast, it might have left the field a mess for Thursday," Landes said.

Now idle since Sunday when the Rain Drops completed a four-game split in Lexington, manager Mike Ramsey plans to use two pitchers tonight.

Kelyn Acosta (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will make his second start of the year and he'll be followed by Bryan Millikan, who will make his 2004 debut. Both are on a 75-pitch limit.

"We'll use two starters out there," Ramsey said. "If Acosta doesn't get through an inning we'll bring in a reliever and Millikan will start an inning fresh."

Ramsey said the team has gotten in its work each day during the rainouts in the cages.

"The pitchers, in general, have gotten in their work throwing," Ramsey said. "Missing three days isn't good for development, but you just have to deal with it. This probably hurts with the relief pitching because we still need to define their roles."

Landes said 3,000 tickets were out for the opener and that those, along with those not used Tuesday and Wednesday, can be redeemed at the ticket office for any future home game this season, preferably under the Suns banner.

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