ALLENTOWN - "This was a wild one."
Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg had a tough time remembering a day like Tuesday after Brandon Moss hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to let his team pull out a 8-7 win over the Louisville Bats.
It all started when it was announced before the game that Ronnie Belliard, who attempted a comeback with the IronPigs after being released by the Yankees at the end of spring training, was retiring and told Sandberg after Monday's game that his wish was not to play, but to hang out in the dugout for one last night with the guys.
Then Peter Orr, who was to play third base and was out doing pre-game sprints, got a phone call that his wife's water had broke so he was off to the hospital to await the birth of their child.
With still a half hour before the first pitch, pitcher Brian Gordon, who had less than 24 hours to opt out of his contract with the IronPigs, was signed by the N.Y. Yankees and will get the start against his old teammates, the Rangers on Thursday since Bartolo Colon was put on the disabled list. He quickly went out to the bullpen, said his goodbyes and was on his way to the Bronx.
Needless to say, Sandberg had no idea he was going to lose a third of his starting pitching before the night was over. Nate Bump, who got the nod against the Bats, pulled a hamstring running between first and second in the second inning and left the game.
Eddie Bonine is headed for Arizona to see if he will need Tommy John surgery or not and Vance Worley was waiting patiently for a call up by the Phillies to start either Saturday or Sunday in Seattle against the Mariners.
"Good for him, it's a great opportunity," Sandberg said when asked about Gordon afterwards. "We have an off-day tomorrow so things should be ironed out and we'll have a full squad by Thursday in Pawtucket."
Gordon was 5-0 and had an International League leading ERA of 1.15.
"He opened up a lot of eyes," Sandberg said. "He pitched well and sent a pretty good message. He put together a couple of good months at this level. He was Player of the Month in the IL. It's a good message to everybody at this level."
Moss also reflected on the wild evening afterwards.
"Ronnie (Belliard) has had a great career and was a good teammate," Moss said. "I was telling him today it's going to be sad to see you go. We're having fun, having a good year, but he feels like it's time.
"Pete (Orr) is going to have a baby and that's going to be a great experience for him and (Brian) Gordon obviously deserves to be going to where he's going. That guy has been unbelievable and I'm definitely happy for him. I know he'll do great.
"And Bump, it stinks. He was having a pretty good start, had settled down and I thought he was going to do well. That's the way it goes.
"We find a way to win with timely hitting and our bullpen. Our bullpen is just stupid. They're all ridiculous. They've been so good all year and they did it again tonight."
All in all, the IronPigs just don't seem to blink. Vance Worley has been going up and down all year, Gordon was on the DL when the season started, and they just continue to get those timely hits and find a way to get by.
Today, they'll bus to Cooperstown, N.Y. to check out the Hall of Fame before heading to Pawtucket for their next challenge. And don't expect them to let any roadblocks get in their way.