As good sports go, Dan Mason rates so highly he deserves some sort of medal. Or maybe some intense therapy.
The general manager at Triple-A Rochester, Mason slept in a tent in the home bullpen for six nights last season until the Red Wings ended their losing streak. He was the object of pity but stayed true to his word no matter how uncomfortable he became, no matter how noisy the passing trains.
Rochester ended its affiliation with the Orioles after 42 years and signed with the Minnesota Twins, but Mason still can't catch a break. The Ottawa Lynx, with a few of the same players he used to cheer, are setting him up for more abuse.
Mason lost a wager with Ottawa general manager Kyle Bostwick concerning which team would win the season series. The Lynx clinched it by taking three of four games from Rochester last week, so Mason must serve as Ottawa's batboy on Aug. 19.
The fact that Mason is, well, vertically challenged has left him open to lots of teasing.
"I need to go out and get some reflective tape," Bostwick said, "so the umpires and players will be able to differentiate Mason from any of the other batboys working these games."
"I want to see him hustling to pick up those bats," said Lynx infielder Joey Hammond, who appeared in 35 games with Rochester last season. "He doesn't need to worry - we have a small and an extra-small uniform he can try on."
The wager was called "Border Bat Boy Battle," and Mason must pay up during a noon game against the Syracuse SkyChiefs.
"I think I've hit a new low for my career," he said. "Last year, these guys forced me to sleep in a tent for six nights. This year, they're turning me into a batboy. They must not like me."
Last Monday's 5-1 victory, with John Stephens tossing six shutout innings, sealed the deal for Bostwick.
"Good batboys are really hard to find," he said. "We're going to have to put Dan through his paces to make sure he can pass the test. I've told Dan to work on his strength and speed. He's going to need it to keep up with his 12-year-old counterparts."
Bostwick has a better reason to boast. His Lynx entered yesterday 62-58 and two games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a wild-card berth in the North Division of the International League.
Last season, the Red Wings were 55-89 and finished last, 36 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They had the worst record among Triple-A teams for the second consecutive year.
Rochester management, frustrated with the losing and lack of talent being supplied by the Orioles, bolted for the Twins. Their team was 57-64 and tied for last place in the North Division before yesterday.
But who's bragging?
Matt Riley struck out 10 over five innings, allowing two runs, but didn't get the decision in Ottawa's 4-3 loss to Rochester on Saturday. ... Sean Douglass allowed two runs in six innings Friday and didn't get the decision in the victory over Rochester. Darwin Cubillan notched his 13th save. ... Going into the weekend, Stephens was 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in his past nine starts dating to June 20. He had 51 strikeouts in 54 innings. ... The Lynx's four-game winning streak ended Wednesday with a 2-0 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Catcher Raul Cassanova, in his first at-bat with the Lynx after rejoining the organization, flied out to end Wednesday's game. ... Catcher Geronimo Gil was 9-for-17 over five games. ... Napoleon Calzado had two hits in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He also scored twice and drove in a run. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI Friday and Saturday but committed four errors at third base in the second game. ... Aaron Rakers gained his first Triple-A win in relief Tuesday. He struggled after joining the team from Double-A Bowie, but going into the weekend, he hadn't allowed a run in three straight appearances while facing the minimum 15 batters.
Outfielder Ruben Rivera was 1-for-15 in August heading into the weekend. ... The Baysox went to extremes in back-to-back games, losing, 20-4, to New Britain on Aug. 3 and defeating Binghamton the next night, 15-2. ... The 16-run loss was the worst in franchise history. Arundel High's Brandon Agamennone allowed nine runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings but improved to 2-2 Wednesday with two perfect innings. ... Juan Diaz hit his team-leading 11th homer in Saturday's 4-2 loss to Erie. Mike Paradis (5-8) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. He was much better last Monday, holding Binghamton to two runs over seven innings. ... Infielder Jerome Alviso was released after throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings Aug. 3 in an emergency appearance.
The Keys fell out of first place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League by losing twice Friday, 9-7 and 3-1, to Wilmington. The first game was suspended Thursday after two innings because of rain. Mike Huggins hit his 12th homer. ... Outfielder Val Majewski hit safely in 13 of his first 17 games with the Keys, but had only two multi-hit games. ... Going into the weekend, reliever Scott Rice hadn't allowed a run in his past eight appearances covering 8 2/3 innings. ... Sendy Rleal hadn't permitted a run in 15 of his past 16 appearances. During that stretch, he is 0-1 with a save and an 0.52 ERA. ... Cory Morris has won his first three starts with the Keys since advancing from lower Single-A Delmarva.
The Shorebirds, who began the night two games out of the wild-card lead, were 58-58 after Saturday's 8-3 win over Capital City. Gera Alvarez hit a three-run homer. ... Daniel Cabrera (3-8) struck out nine over six innings and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced in Friday's 9-0 win over Capital City. Dustin Yount hit a three-run homer. ... Having a season to forget, Ryan Keefer fell to 5-12 Thursday after a 5-1 loss to Capital City. He retired the first nine batters in a game that lasted 1:36. ... Catcher Ryan Hubele went on the disabled list, and the Orioles signed Chris Carter and sent him to Delmarva. Carter was batting .364 with five homers and 36 RBIs with Kalamazoo of the independent Frontier League. He homered Saturday. ... Carl Makowsky hadn't surrendered a run in his past 11 outings covering 14 1/3 innings, going into the weekend.
Outfielder Lorenzo Scott of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League batted .457 in his last 12 games before going on the restricted list so he could play football at Ball State. ... Joe Coppinger struck out 10 in five innings, the most by a short-season Single-A Aberdeen pitcher this year, in Thursday's 3-2 win over Hudson Valley. ... Bryan Bass won Thursday's game with a two-out single in the ninth. Matt Tate posted his first victory since June 19, 2002, two months before undergoing ligament replacement surgery. ... Brian Finch, the Orioles' second-round draft pick this year, hadn't pitched since July 20 because of forearm stiffness, but he reached 94 mph during Thursday's appearance. ... Nick Markakis, this year's top draft pick, went 7-for-19 with three walks, four runs, two doubles and two stolen bases in five games last week.