Posts Tagged ‘Red Braden’

Era of Baseball in Fort Wayne to End as Another Begins

Three more games. That’s all that’s left in the history of baseball at Memorial Stadium.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left in the regular season home schedule of the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Three more games. That’s all that we’ll see the “Wizards” take the field in Fort Wayne, barring a miraculous run to make the playoffs.

In 1993, local old-timers like Red Braden ushered in an era of baseball in Fort Wayne. In 2008, a local up-and-comer who was a 2007 first-round draftpick will effectively bring that era to an end.

Memorial Stadium

Jarrod Parker, the ninth overall pick in 2007, will take the mound for the visiting South Bend Silverhawks during Thursday’s Memorial Stadium finale against the home team Fort Wayne Wizards.

Parker is 11-5 during his first professional season. He has a 3.59 earned run average over 23 starts. In 112.2 innings, the former Norwell High School star has struck out 110. Last year, Parker helped lead the Knights to a 35-0 season, which included bringing home the Class 3A state baseball title, and Indiana’s Mr. Baseball in addition to several other accolades.

Wynn Pelzer (9-5) will start for the Wizards. In 28 games, Pelzer has a 2.84 ERA while allowing 107 hits, 28 bases on balls and 97 strikeouts in 114 innings.

The Fort Wayne Wizards have put together many great events and promotions for the week. It was kicked off with the naming of the All-Time Wizards on Sunday. Today, they announced the all-time Memorial Stadium team of players who came through Fort Wayne either as a visiting team or a home team. That list includes Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Adam Dunn, Johnny Damon, Jake Peavy, and Billy Wagner among others.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left before the physical reminder of fifteen years worth of memories meets its fate with a wrecking ball. And the Wizards are senging it out with style.

After the last game, fans will be allowed to run the bases as they usually do. Limmer said they also will be given an opportunity to throw a “final pitch” from the pitcher’s mound. Front-office personnel considered having a ceremony to turn off the lights, but wanted the fans more actively involved.

And the chances are, Corey Kluber’s selection as last week’s Midewst League Pitcher of the Week will be the last in the grand history of the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Midwest League poses little challenge for him. On Aug. 19, Kluber had the week’s best start, striking out 11 batters over eight one-hit innings against Lansing. Unfortunately, the game was a pitcher’s duel that Fort Wayne lost in the 10th. Pitching against the same Lugnuts five days later, Kluber exacted a bit of revenge, and the win, this time with 10 strikeouts and four hits allowed over five innings.

Three more games. And tomorrow, one of the most recent breakthrough former Wizards, Chase Headley will field questions from fans in a live chat on padres.com at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left. And bloggers are memorializing Memorial Stadium in which he ask’s the Journal Gazette’s Ben Smith to tell us how he feels about it.

Three more games. And then several months during the offseason. That’s all that stands between this moment and opening day of a new era of baseball  in Fort Wayne. That’s when the first pitch will be thrown by a player from a yet-to-be-named Fort Wayne team from the mound at the ballpark at Harrison Square.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left before a hometown hero takes the mound in Fort Wayne. It’s ironic that it took fifteen years, but how fitting that it will be such a person to send the stadium out and effectively be the usher to the end of one era and the gatekeeper to the beginning of another.

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