NORTH ADAMS -- Today’s game won’t count in the standings. It won’t count toward season stats. It’s an exhibition. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not important.
When the North Adams SteepleCats play host to Great Britain’s national team, some think there could be plenty to play for -- exposure.
"Oh definitely. These scouts don’t go to Great Britain and look at them," Julian Santos said. "There can be a guy there that throws just as hard as anybody out here, and they don’t know because he’s from Great Britain. I’m sure there will be a lot of scouts here to check them out, see what they got."
If anyone on the SteepleCats would know, it would be a Miami Hurricane. They played Team Canada this spring, and the SteepleCats have four, including Santos, on their roster.
The last time the SteepleCats played a national team was in 2010 when they beat Team Canada, 2-1.
Manager Bryan Adamski said two scouts have contacted him about being on hand for the home stand, but he didn’t know how much the Great Britain game factored into those decisions. What Adamski or anyone else doens’t know is exactly how many scouts will be in attendance.
But that isn’t what Adamski is thinking about leading up to the game. His mind is on the game.
"It’s a different team, but our game’s going to stay the same," he said. "If
Adamski will send Robert Baroniel Jr. to the mound for the SteepleCats. So far this season he has a 7.11 ERA in six and a third innings pitched. It will be his first start for the SteepleCats.
"I’ll probably look them up a little bit before I get out there," Baroniel Jr. said. "But nothing really different. I’ll just take the same approach. It’s my first start this year, so I’m excited to show what I can do."
Baroniel will be facing a lineup similar to the one Great Britain will send to the plate in the World Baseball Classic. While that region of the world isn’t known for its baseball, Tyler Palmer, who also plays for Miami, knows there are quality players on the roster.
"If you play on a national team, obviously you’re a good baseball player," he said. "There’s some good talent on that team."
The game, aside from the possibility for an increase of scouts in the stands, is also a chance for the players and coaches to take a breath as the mid-point of the season nears. After a spring full of baseball that ran straight into the summer season, playing a game with no bearing on the standings is a welcomed relief.
"It’s a serious game, but it is an exhibition," Adamski said. "It’s like a deep breath, and the pressure’s off, so to speak."
In the end, the game will be one the SteepleCats remember for a long time.
"Yea it’s exciting because you don’t play a national team every day," Santos said. "It’s something that you can live and tell your kids someday that you played a national team. That’s pretty cool."