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Fisher Cat Notes and Quotes: September 19 Edition

Let’s all come back together and start again: And it will be better done at Delta Dental Stadium next year. According to team president Mike Ramshaw, $5.6 million is earmarked for stadium upgrades this offseason.

“We’re replacing the lights with LED lights,” Ramshaw said. “We are also replacing loudspeakers, extending nets and creating changing rooms for women. We will be re-grading the foul lines, moving the relievers off the field and padding the bottom of the lower field seats where they are exposed to play.”

Many of these improvements are for security reasons. The extended net will provide security for fans against the foul lines while the infield bullpens in use last season left little room for a player to prevent the pitcher and receiver from being hit by a batted ball. Padding the rail and lowering the front row seats to the foul line will allow the ball to bounce more faithfully.

The Fisher Cats capped off their season yesterday with a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Harrisburg Senators despite losing 7-3. Harrisburg pitcher Luis Reyes did not hit the Cats in six innings, but a pair of singles by Addison Barger and Phil Clarke was sandwiched around a base on balls, a wild pitch and a double play. Clarke had the winning shot in the 7e inning.

For those who don’t like the New York Yankees, you’ll be happy to hear that their insurmountable early season lead has evaporated to 4.5 games over the Toronto Blue Jays, the parent club of the Fisher Cats. Several former Cats play for the Blue Jays.

The Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, also sport a number of players who spent part of the year with the Cats. Call it a dozen bakers with the Bisons right now, led by pitcher Hayden Juenger (3-1; 3.00 ERA) and hitters Rafael Lantigua, Spencer Horwitz and John Aiello.

The Fisher Cats have had a disappointing season in terms of wins and losses, but the true measure of success is in developing players for promotion. For that reason, it’s good to see and hear fans “staying in the moment” and staying positive. Baseball is entertainment.

Cam Eden. Photo/Kristin Basnett

Strange Days Game: On Wednesday night, Fisher Cats center fielder Cam Eden played a ball against the wall that had a home run written all over it inside the park. The top of the brick wall has a bevel just to the right of dead center. Eden played pinball perfectly, holding the batter in doubles.

“I don’t intentionally practice there, but I will work there during batting practice,” Eden said. “It was my college roommate Darell Baker who hit it. I wasn’t sure what angle it was going to take, but I try to give myself as much space as possible.

Eden will be returning home this week, her home being Sacramento, California. Eventually, he will travel to the Blue Jays training complex in Dunedin, Fla. from mid-October through early November. He will work at a baseball practice facility about 45 minutes from his hometown at other times. “New Hampshire was different,” he said. “It has a lot of history, although I don’t know what it would be like with the snow.”

Recalled the combo of shortened days and wintry weather, the outfielder will take Sacramento, thank you very much.

Eden easily led the team this year in stolen bases with over 30, and he talked about the art of stealing.

“It’s still a work in progress for me, every level I go up I learn more, but for me the most important thing is to take a big lead,” he said. “Part of it has to do with the risk of getting caught. I think I’m fast enough to come back. Second, it’s about picking locations, trying to get an off-speed count. Obviously it’s slower, but the location is usually down with off-speed terrain. Any base stealer thinks he’s going to make it on any pitch, but for me, I’m looking for the batter to be behind the count. I think a fastball doesn’t happen on an 0-1 count.

Saying the launcher or revealing the intention is also important. “The other night we had a pitcher who only pitched to first when he put his hands up,” Eden said. Once he got to the belt, I knew he wasn’t going to throw it overboard.

Red Sox fans will long remember right-handed pitcher Luis Tiante, El Tiante, as having the best recovery move in baseball for a right-hander. A pitcher must place his hands before throwing first, but with Tiante the set can be high, low, or something in between before he spins and throws first. National League umpires weren’t sure what to make of it in the 1975 World Series, but they left his motion in place without calling a denial.

Eden set goals in the spring with an average of .275 and 50 stolen bases, but that’s when he started the year at Low A Dunedin and then High A Vancouver before coming to the New Hampshire. Eden’s final average was around 0.220.

It feels like most minor league players set goals, and that can be seen as both good and bad. It’s nice to have something to aim for, but failure to achieve your set goals can lead to disappointment. As long as the Cats have mental performance coach Raul Pimentel, no one will be disappointed for long.