Timeout with Tambo: Former Bulldog is on his way to living every young baseball player’s dream
By BILL TAMBURRINO
Nick Vincent had a great season pitching for the San Antonio Missions. The former Ramona Bulldog right-hander played on the winningest team in the minor leagues and he was a big part of their success.
Vincent went 8-2 with a 2.27 era. He appeared in a club record 66 games and struck out 89 batters in 79-1/3 innings during the regular season. He was selected for the Texas League All Star Game and pitched one inning. Believe it or not he
improved upon those stats in the Texas League playoffs. He pitched six innings and struck out 11. He did not give up a walk or a run for a perfect 0.00 era.
San Antonio won the Texas League by beating Frisco Rough Riders for the South Division Championship in four games. The Missions then swept the Arkansas Travelers in three games for the Texas League championship. The series featured a 20-inning marathon game. The San Antonio Missions are the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.
The Texas League is famous for two baseball traditions. A bloop single that drops between the infielders and outfielders has been called a Texas Leaguer since the 1890s. Nobody knows why, but it has. The Texas League is also known for its marathon bus rides.
“Our longest trip was from San Antonio to Springfield, Mo.,” said Vincent. “It was every bit of 12 hours. I am glad that we only travel to play teams in the North twice a season.”
Vincent had to make several adjustments making the jump from Single-A ball in Eugene, Ore., and at Lake Elsinore to the Texas League. In Eugene, the players live in a hotel.
In A-Ball they live with host families. In Double-A players live on their own. The caliber of baseball also improves.
“The hitters are much more disciplined,” said Vincent. “They don’t swing at as many pitches. And you see them more often. We only play the North teams twice in each half of the season. So the hitters in the South get to know you a lot better.”
The stats show that Vincent got to know them pretty well, too.
His parents and brother got to see him pitch often at Lake Elsinore, but they only got to make it to San Antonio a couple of times during the first half of the season.
“Players move up a lot during the second half of the season in Double-A,” said Vincent. “It is a long drive to San Antonio especially if there is a chance that I could have been called up to Tucson.”
Vincent is not going to play winter ball this year. He is going to stay at home, work, work out and get ready for the next step.
“I will lift lightly until November. I will lift hard in November and December. In January, I will cut back on the lifting a bit and start throwing.”
If Vincent is placed on the Padres 40 man roster, he will report to Spring Training in Arizona. The Padres Triple-A affiliate is in Tucson. The pay will be better. The travel will be better and the caliber of play will be better and Nick Vincent will be closer to realizing the dream that every boy who has ever played the game of baseball has had.
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