FOR THOSE who don’t know, newly minted Fisher Cats manager Mike Mordecai was involved in one of the most famous games in major league history: Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, a.k.a “The Bartman Game.”
Mordecai, who was officially announced as the Fisher Cats manager for the upcoming season on Thursday, played for the Florida Marlins when they faced the Chicago Cubs in that NLCS — a series that seemed to turn when spectator Steve Bartman attempted to catch a foul ball in the eighth inning of Game 6 and erased any chance Chicago outfielder Moises Alou had to make the catch.
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead at the time, and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Many of you know the rest of the story. Instead of being four outs away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1945, the Cubs gave up eight runs in the inning and lost 8-3. Florida won Game 7 the following day, and then went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series.
“I still hear from Cubs fans,” Mordecai said. “Jason Leblebijian (a Cubs fan and former Fisher Cats’ infielder) ribbed me about ruining his childhood.
“From speaking with Moises Alou, he doesn’t think he would have caught the ball, but he was aggravated he didn’t get the chance. I was a role player on that team … a versatility guy is what I liked to call myself.”
Maybe so, but he did come up with a big blow in that eighth inning when his bases-clearing double against reliever Kyle Farnsworth gave the Marlins a 7-3 lead. It was a bit of redemption for Mordecai, who made the first out in the eighth inning against Cubs starting pitcher Mark Prior.
“When I faced Farnsworth I was a little looser (than in his first at-bat) and the adrenaline was flowing because we were back in the game,” Mordecai recalled. “I knew he threw hard and the ball ran a little bit. I was thinking, ‘Just one more run and we have a two-run lead. I’ll take that.’ I felt like if I could fake a bunt on that first pitch and draw the infield in a little bit I might hit a blooper off the end of the bat and that might be the difference.
“I missed a really good pitch when I led the inning off against Prior. Didn’t put a good swing on it. I worked the count in my favor (against Farnsworth) and put a better swing on a 2-1 pitch and hit a ball to the left-center field gap off the wall. That was an exciting time.”
Back in the days when things were better, if a high school athlete complained about some tough love from their coach the athlete’s parents would ask, “What did you do wrong?” In today’s world the parents immediately pick up the phone and register a complaint with the school’s director of athletics.
Absent an egregious incident, if a school administration determines a coach is worth hiring, that coach should also be worth backing when faced with parent complaints. There are some NHIAA schools that still do it the “old-school way” and it’s no surprise those schools have athletic departments that run the smoothest. A little backbone can go a long way.
Three basketball games that highlight this week’s schedule:
Division III girls (tonight): Monadnock (7-0) at Fall Mountain (9-0).
Division III boys (Tuesday): Hopkinton (7-0) at Campbell (6-0)
Division I girls (Friday): Bishop Guertin (6-0) at Pinkerton (7-0)
North Conway Country Club came in at No. 45 on Golf Advisor’s recently released list of the top 50 golf courses in the United States. The rankings were based on six categories: value, conditions, layout, pace of play, friendliness and off-course amenities.
North Conway is one of three New England courses that made the list, but the only course in New Hampshire. Fox Hopyard in East Haddam, Conn., was ranked No. 24; and Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass., was No. 12.
A quick Google search reveals that some mathematicians have estimated the odds of an adult male bowling a perfect game (a 300) at 11,500-to-one, so you can imagine how unlikely it would be for brothers to each bowl a perfect game on the same night.
That’s what happened earlier this month, when Sean and Eric Kilburn each made 12 consecutive strikes and rolled a 300 at Yankee Lanes in Keene. The brothers, both of whom are Keene residents, produced 57 strikes in three games.
B.J. Gagnon, a former shortstop who was the Class L Player of the Year following his senior season at Spaulding High School (2000), was officially hired Thursday night as Spaulding’s varsity baseball coach. Gagnon also played football for Spaulding, and played college baseball for Bryant University.
Gagnon coached the Rochester Post 7 American Legion Baseball team to the state title in 2013 and 2015. He guided Post 7 for seven seasons before he resigned following the 2015 season.