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In the Cougars' Den: Bullpen stands, delivers camaraderie

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:19 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided by Kane County Cougars)
Cougars relievers Zack Godley (left) and Justin Amlung held their ground in a bullpen standoff against Burlington well past Sunday’s final out.

GENEVA – Cougars right-handers Justin Amlung and Zack Godley literally stood up Sunday to the longtime charges that baseball is dull.

If a sport with no clock can grate on some fans, perhaps they should try what Amlung and Godley did in a series finale against Burlington.

The minor leagues have produced bullpen stand-offs before, but this one extended 90 minutes beyond the game’s 2 hour, 52-minute running time.

Managers from both sides eventually mediated as Amlung and Godley tried to stay on their feet longer than a group of Bees, if only because Burlington had to board the bus back home to Iowa.

“It ended up going a lot longer than we had anticipated, but, I mean, it was a good experience. It was a good time,” Godley said. “It’s always a good thing to do to help the bonding experience with the guys.”

Godley earned a promotion to Advanced-A Daytona the day after the stand-off, learning the parent Cubs had given the nod shortly after recording his seventh save.

On Wednesday, Amlung pitched a season-high six innings in an emergency start for Juan Paniagua.

Point being: Bullpen stand-offs aren’t the stuff of Max “The Clown Prince of Baseball” Patkin. Over 140 games in what is the first full professional season for most in the Midwest League, they simply help break up the monotony.

Stand-offs seldom are announced or planned. Relievers take stock of their counterparts’ sitting tendencies after the national anthem and stay on their feet until someone relents. Sunday offered the rare stalemate. That it was getaway day ahead of the Bees’ 215-mile trip home added even more intrigue.

“We figured they would go maybe five minutes after the game, but then their coach ended up going over and telling them, ‘Hey, I don’t want y’all to move. I want you to stay here,’ ” Godley said.

Cougars officials said Minor League Baseball could not confirm whether the stand-off set any longevity records.

“Had to be close,” Amlung said. “We were standing for an hour and a half after the game.”

Those that didn’t join them still had a pulse on their teammates’ effort. The reserves who came from the Cougars’ first-base side dugout to play catch with right fielder Trey Martin realized Amlung and Godley weren’t providing a standing ovation, after all.

“It’s just kind of fun to see little jokes like that,” infielder Jordan Hankins said. “That’s just the type of team we are. We’re just really laid back, and we just play the game and we have fun. Just little things like that make us come together.”

Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or kdruley@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

Who’s hot Catcher Will Remillard, the parent Cubs’ organizational position player of the month for April, entered Friday batting .462 (24 for 52) since opening the season 2 for 19.

Who’s not Center fielder Jake Hannemann is hitting .237 (9 for 38) in his past 10 starts.

Star watch Yorkville resident Aaron Nieckula, the Cougars’ all-time winningest manager with 285 victories in four seasons, visited Fifth Third Bank Ballpark during this week’s homestand. Nieckula, now managing Double-A Midland in the Oakland system, was home as part of a three-day vacation.

The Cubs do not offer field staff similar compensation.

“Some organizations do that. I think it’s about half and half,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “I think we might be doing that, have something like that, maybe next year.”

Noteworthy

The Cougars outscored opponents, 84-39, in their recently-concluded 11-game home winning streak. ... Ten Cougars had at least 10 RBIs entering Friday’s game at Burlington. ... Right-hander Juan Panigua returned Thursday from visiting his ailing grandmother in his native Domincan Republic and pitched in the team’s extra-inning win against the Bees. ... Burlington squandered a 17-1 lead after five innings Wednesday, eventually losing to Clinton, 20-17, in 12 innings. ... Athletic trainer Jonathan Fierro’s father, John, served the Cubs, Phoenix Coyotes and USA Baseball in the same capacity. – Kevin Druley, kdruley@shawmedia.com

LEADERS IN THE KANE COUNTY COUGARS CLUBHOUSE (before Friday’s game)

BATTING AVERAGE Will Remillard, .366 Jordan Hankins, .284 Yasiel Balaguert, .280

HOME RUNS Jake Hannemann, 2 Jacob Rogers, 2 5 players with 1

RBIS Yasiel Balaguert, 23 Will Remillard, 21 Jacob Hannemann, 14

STOLEN BASES Jake Hannemann, 11 Carlos Penalver, 8 Trey Martin, 6

ERA Nathan Dorris, 1.59 Jose Arias, 2.13 Justin Amlung, 2.45

WINS Nathan Dorris, 4 Tyler Bremer, 4 Daury Torrez, 4

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