If you had told me four months ago that I’d still be writing about the Lake County Captains this late in the year, I would have laughed. Yes, I’m an optimist, but the first half of Lake County’s season led even the most eternal of optimists to shake their heads. The team won 27 out of their first 70 games — that’s a .386 winning percentage. They were, to be blunt, bad.
They about broke-even at home, going 18-17 in the first half while playing on the new field at Classic Park, but could not pull it together on the road. As they explored the Midwest, the Captains went a paltry 9-26.
Yet, somehow, they turned it around. And here I am, in the middle of September, writing a recap about a season that ended on Saturday, the 13th, when that same under-.400 team played for the Midwest League Championship.
If the Midwest League season ended today, the Lake County Captains would make the Eastern Division Midwest League playoffs with a 24-24 record in the second half. Despite a paltry first half, the Captains have rallied to put together a much-improved second-half team.
Impressively, it’s not so much that the Captains have developed a much-improved roster in the second half – it’s that their usual roster has stepped up in the second half to deliver stronger and more effective results.
Among those players stepping up to the plate (pardon the pun) and coming into their own is catcher Richard Stock, who is in his second year with the Lake County Captains. Stock was called up from extended spring training in Arizona in May 2013 to join the Captains, where he stayed throughout the rest of last season, and found himself back on their Opening Day roster this past April.
It’s safe to say that Jobu was not suffering from a quarter-life crisis during the Lake County Captains’ Friday night salute to the 25th anniversary of the classic baseball film, “Major League.”
In fact, a crisis is the farthest thing from what happened at Classic Park last weekend.
Drawing the second-highest crowd of the season, with final attendance numbers coming in at 9,069 fans, the Lake County Captains joined with Cleveland sports’ greats and movie stars alike to pay homage to Cleveland sports’ history, to “Major League”, and to the characters that brought the film to life and have kept it treasured in the hearts of baseball and non-baseball fans alike for the past 25 years.