The Shorebird who seems to be having the best time of it at the plate thus far is this week’s Shorebird of the Week. Fresh off a stellar 6 – RBI performance on Sunday at Lakewood, Joe Mahoney has leapt to the top of the South Atlantic League charts for runs batted in. What’s also surprising on the young season is that Joe leads the team in steals with 3! That’s a number already topping his 2008 total of 2 stolen bases.
Granted, last year was nothing special for the 22-year old first baseman from New York by way of the University of Richmond. He only hit .222 in 95 games with 7 home runs and 61 RBI while whiffing 96 times. All told his .624 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) was nothing to write home about.
But Joe came into 2009 noticeably thinner and it’s beginning to show at the plate as he’s legged out two triples on the young campaign. Better still, it took over 20 at-bats before SAL pitchers recorded their first strikeout of Joe, so his batting eye is appreciably better too. Perhaps 2009 will be the breakout year expected of Joe when he was drafted in the 6th round back in 2007.
In the meantime, I’m bursting with anticipation of our home opener! This year I may be able to leave the winter coat at home as the league mercifully set our opener a full 13 days later than last year’s chilly, rainy, and damp 14-inning debacle. If it wasn’t the coldest I’ve ever been at a ballgame it was pretty darn close.
So hopefully you’re reading this AFTER you’ve enjoyed a thrilling home opener won by our Shorebirds. Or it could be a blowout loss; regardless baseball is back in town!