The Newark Bears opened the 2013 Can-Am League season with a 6-4 loss to the Rockland Boulders on Thursday night. Newark’s Mike Ness allowed five runs on six hits and a walk over six innings, but three of those six hits were home runs. D’Angelo Jimenez was the star of the game for the Bears, putting together a three-hit night and driving in a pair of runs while scoring one.
We’ve finally reached the end of 2012. On both a personal level and for the baseball teams that I follow, it wasn’t really a good year.
I’ve watched my father’s health decline throughout the year. I don’t usually get too personal on here, but my dad’s the one who taught me about baseball and took me to my first games – I can’t really talk about the game or look back on 2012 without thinking of him.
I didn’t know Gary Carter, but his death was a loss for me and many other baseball fans as well as those who did know him personally. Carter was one of the rare few members of the 1986 Mets who tried to do admirable things off the baseball field as well as on it, and he will always be my favorite baseball player.
Moving from the sad to the frustrating, the New York Mets collapsed again after a strong start to the season in 2012. Only the disaster that was the Miami Marlins saved the Mets from finishing in last place in the National League East. The team’s finances continue to be the most interesting story surrounding the Mets this off-season, and the biggest trade that Sandy Alderson made sent the Mets’ second-best player to Canada for talented prospects who aren’t likely to help before 2014 or later.
The Newark Bears muddled through another losing season, finishing the year 30 games under .500 and with the lowest attendance in the Can-Am League.
Yep, not really a banner year anywhere.
But even so, there were bright spots. For the Bears, Mike Ness had a magical afternoon on July 11th when he pitched a no-hitter against the eventual league champion team despite a defense that committed six errors behind him.
It took 50 seasons (and a missed call by an umpire), but the Mets finally got their own no-hitter on June 1st.
And if Johan Santana was amazing that night, R.A. Dickey was amazing all season long. Despite an offense that seemed to go days between scoring runs in the second half, Dickey became the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola and their first Cy Young Award winner since Dwight Gooden.
Dickey’s one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on June 18th was the best baseball memory I’ve had at Citi Field. That night, he became the first pitcher in all of baseball to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988.
David Wright set new franchise records for RBIs and hits – I was in the ballpark when he set the RBI mark in April. During the off-season, he signed a contract extension that will likely allow him to retire as a Met, so we can watch him extend and set more franchise career records.
Jonathon Niese and Ruben Tejada took steps forward, and Matt Harvey made a positive impression once he was promoted from the minor leagues. And if Ike Davis‘s overall numbers for 2012 aren’t especially pretty, he did finish strong after a terrible start.
And on a personal note again, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made who I’ve gone to baseball games with, who have helped me with my autograph or baseball card collections, or who’ve just spent time talking baseball with me here, on Twitter or on Facebook.
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things…. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
This year’s almost gone, and next year promises another pile of good and bad things for us. Let’s try to enjoy the good ones – such as those magical performances at the ballpark, or times spent watching the game with friends or family – and not let the bad ones spoil the rest.
What stood out for you in 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013?
In mid-August, Newark traded their ace pitcher Mike Nessto the New Jersey Jackals to strengthen them for their playoff run. Newark received reliever Marc Rutledge and two players to be named later. In addition, Ness’ contractual rights reverted to Newark at the conclusion of the 2012 playoffs.
Thursday night, I went to watch the Newark Bears play the Quebec Capitales because I missed baseball. It was a nice night, but the game drew another sparse crowd.
The Bears celebrated Irish Heritage Night, so we got a different-than-usual selection of music to listen to before the game started. We were also treated to the performance of three national anthems: Ireland’s and Canada’s preceded the Star-Spangled Banner.
The team also recognized Mike Ness’ no-hitter by playing a short video clip of the final out and the on-field celebration. The PA announced “re-created” a play-by-play call that never existed, since the Bears are one of the few professional teams that do not broadcast their games. (Here’s a link to a longer video from the game http://vimeo.com/45648593)
Newark got another strong starting pitching performance Thursday night. Brian Parker wasn’t quite as good as Ness – he allowed one run on six hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out seven – but he certainly pitched well enough for his team to win.
The bullpen let them down. Anthony Pluta came on to start the eighth with the score tied 1-1, and couldn’t find the strike zone. He loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batsman, then walked in a couple more batters and allowed a third run to score on a wild pitch. Newark rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut their deficit to 4-3, but Joe Haumacher came in for the ninth and gave up a two run homer to Sebastien Boucher. That was the ballgame.
Normally, I don’t mind missing midweek day games very much. Today, I would have liked to have been at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.
Mike Ness pitched the second no-hitter in Newark Bears history, the first since the team moved to the Can-Am League. And he did it against the league’s best team, the Quebec Captiales, who entered play today with a 33-17 record.
Ness struck out eight and walked only one while earning his sixth victory of the season. He managed a shutout despite his defense making six errors behind him, which is almost as remarkable as the no-hitter. (Three of the errors occurred in the third inning, and one each in the fourth, sixth and seventh.)
Center fielder Quentin Davis went two-for-four with an RBI in his first game back from the shoulder injury he suffered on June 1st when he tried to make a diving catch against the St. Paul Saints.
Maybe the return of Davis and Ness’ no-hitter can serve as catalysts for the Bears to start a winning streak. At 17-35 and 12 games out of second place, it’s probably too late to expect them to make a playoff run… but getting out of last place and playing winning baseball from here out are both achievable goals.