What Happens When You Mix Willy Wonka & Baseball?

Willy Wonka

Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three…

Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look, and you’ll see into your imagination.


At LewisGale Field, we don’t dabble in golden tickets. And we’re certainly not in the business of creating a chocolate waterfall or everlasting gobstoppers (although they’d come in handy during extra innings.) But tonight, one magical hot dog will become like a coveted Wonka bar.

500 dollar hot dog

Peter Ostrum, the actor who played Charlie Buckett, quit acting and became a veterinarian. True story.

Inside a special hot dog, one lucky fan will reveal a voucher for $500, immediately making it the most delicious hot dog of all time. Frankly (no pun intended), I’m trememdously disappointed that I’m not eligible for this grand prize.

The whole idea raises some interesting questions though. For example, will it be a Charlie Buckett type who purchases just one or two dogs who experiences the joy of the “golden hot dog,” or will the gluttonous Augustus Gloop-type, who purchases another hot dog every time an out is recorded on the field, who will prevail. Perhaps Veruca’s father will buy out an entire concession stand. Anything’s possible.

Mr. Turpentine

For a student to teach his teacher is presumptuous and rude… Am I making myself clear?

It’s not a stretch to say that the orginial “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is one of my 10 favorite movies. Gene Wilder, saracastic, brilliant, and mysterious, is just magnificent. The songs are catchy, fun, and deep. The Oompa-Loompas, bizarrely, are as wise as they are peculiar. Plus, the movie features the two most unforgettable forgettable characters ever: Charlie’s crabby teacher, Mr. Turpentine, and the candy store owner who charms viewers with a great tune at the outset. The candy man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

candy man

I’ve always been a little sad that I’ve never stumbled into a candy story when the owner was just letting kids run wild and eat as much candy as they want.

Oh, wait, this is a baseball blog? My bad… The Salem Sox take on the Lynchburg Hillcats tonight at 6:05, with Salem hoping to surge back above the .500 mark for the year…

Broadcast begins at 6 PM, and today’s fresh batch of game notes are below…

So much time and so little to do!

(Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.)

UPDATED: Here’s tonight’s lineup

image (12)



April 27, 2013 6:05 PM Lynchburg Hillcats (11-9) vs. Salem Red Sox (10-10) Game #21

LewisGale Field                      Salem, VA                   Home Game #12

Probable Starters: RHP Navery Moore (1-2, 7.27) vs RHP Mike McCarthy (0-0, 3.77)

Streaking into Saturday: While Salem’s three-game winning streak ended on Friday, numerous individual streaks continued for the Sox.  Catcher Blake Swihart walked in the second inning to perpetuate his consecutive games on base streak to 10 games. In addition, Brandon Jacobs and Garin Cecchini each reached twice on Friday, extending their streaks to nine and eight, respectively. Meanwhile, Keury De La Cruz singled in the second to give him a six-game hitting streak, in which he’s hitting .375 (9-for-24) with five extra-base hits and 10 RBI.

Delving Deeper: Not only has Garin Cecchini reached base safely in eight straight games, but incredibly he has reached base multiple times in each of those contests. Since April 18, Cecchini is hitting .448 (13-for-29) with six extra-base hits, 10 walks, and just four strikeouts, giving him an outrageous .590 OBP, the best in the Advanced-A level in the past nine days. For the season, Cecchini’s .361 average is third-best in the league, and he also has the third-best on-base percentage and the fourth-best slugging percentage.

Small Dude, Big Pop: Second-baseman Sean Coyle may not look like a preeminent power threat, but the 5-foot-8 infielder has belted five jacks in just 50 at-bats so far this season. Entering tonight with a five game hitting streak, Coyle has recorded hits in 11 of his 12 games played this season, creating a .320 average that is currently seventh in the league. His five home runs are tied for fifth, but his ratio of one homer for every 10 at-bats is tops in the league. Consequently, he’s #1 in slugging percentage at .720; nine of his 16 hits have gone for extra-bases. Coyle is also five-for-five in stolen bases this season and a perfect 21-for-21 stealing bases in his Carolina League career.

KDLC: Although he did not drive in a run on Friday night, Keury De La Cruz still enters Saturday’s play as the league leader in RBI, with 17 in 19 games played. Before Friday, De La Cruz had driven in multiple runs in four straight games, a 10-RBI in four day stretch after he had driven in seven runs in his first 14 games. De La Cruz’ biggest game came on Tuesday, when his second inning grand slam served as the highlight to Salem’s 8-1 win. Only two other Carolina Leaguers, Potomac’s Randolph Oduber and Winston’s Jeremy Farrell, have hit slams so far this season.  Of the 20 round-trippers that De La Cruz smashed last year, one was a grand slam (at Augusta on May 11). De La Cruz also enjoyed a two-HR, seven-RBI game on August 16 in Asheville.

A Rotation Sensation: While Henry Owens has not pitched since Tuesday, he continues to rise up statistical leaderboards while enjoying his days off. The superb lefthander, coming off a dominant six scoreless inning performance on Tuesday, is now seventh in the league with a 1.71 ERA. Perhaps more impressively, Owens is #1 in WHIP (0.86) and #2 in opponent’s batting average (.160) through his first four starts.  Meanwhile, on Thursday night, Mike Augliera became the fourth three-game winner in the Carolina League. The New Jersey-native is 3-0 with a 4.24 ERA, and Salem is 4-0 as a team in his four starts.

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