When the Intimidators are at bat, a dark-haried figure watches from the press box, which is directly behind home place, just up the stairs.
Jeff Manto is the hitting coordinator for the Chicago White Sox. He is continuing his journeyman ways as he roves around among the teams in the White Sox organization, working with players, watching for stance, proper posture, and if they swing.
“At this level, you swing at everything,” he said, in a soft Pennsylvania accent. “As you get higher, you can take your time.”
He watched intently as the Intimidators took the bat, occasionally making notes in a leather-bound notepad.
Next to Manto in the booth sat his son, Jeffrey, 10, who was learning how to keep score and stats. Jeffrey would ask about a play and Jeff would tell him how to record it.
I said earlier that Manto is continuing his journeyman ways with the White Sox organization. He played pro baseball for 16 years, ending his career with the Colorado Rockies in 2000. He was on the road, playing for the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees and even a stint in Japan.
He said he got tired of the road when he retired.
“I knew then I would be better as a coach and a trainer,” he said.
Read more about Jeff Manto’s career here.
Easter weekend was a big start for the Intimidators.
After a stormy Friday night, which forced the second game with the Asheville Tourists to be rescheduled, the I’s played a doubleheader Saturday night, and swept the Tourists, 3-2 and 4-1, respectively.
This came after a pitcher’s battle on Opening Night Thursday, that forced 10 innings, which the Intimidators won after infielder Tyler Kuhn’s walk-off single brought in the runner, 1-0.
Sunday afternoon—Easter Day—has brought the baseball fans out to the Cannon. A later afternoon game, but the die-hards are out in force, although not as exuberant as they were Thursday night, when pitcher Greg Infante was pulling a no-hitter for most of the game.
But Sunday was a different story.
The Intimidators made some costly errors in the fourth inning which the Tourists capitalized on, bringing in four runs and another in the fifth inning, and holding the I’s scoreless.
Tourists win 5-0, but Kannapolis takes the series, three games to one.
The Intimidators hit the road this week to play a four-game series against the Lexington Legends in Kentucky, then a three-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. They will play against at home Tuesday, April 21.
– Post by Ben McNeely