vs. Bowling Green (doubleheader)
Where: Parkview Field
When: 5:35 p.m. and half-hour after end of first game
Pitchers: Game 1, Nick Margevicius (TinCaps) vs. Alex Valverde (Hot Rods); Game 2, Mason Thomspon (TinCaps) vs. Josh Fleming (Hot Rods)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM
With the first-place Bowling Green Hot Rods making a three-game stop in Fort Wayne, one of the most successful Summit City baseball products in the last 20 years also returned to his hometown this week.
Hot Rods pitching coach Brian Reith is a former Concordia standout whom the New York Yankees selected in the sixth round of the 1996 draft. Reith went on to pitch parts of four seasons with the Cincinnati Reds in 2001-04, the only Fort Wayne native in the majors at the time. He was the last player with ties to the city to play in the big leagues until Jarrod Parker threw for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
“It's a great feeling,” Reith said of returning to Fort Wayne. “I don't get back here as often as I would like. ... It's nice to be (at Parkview Field). I was here maybe the second year it was open, and I was pretty impressed with it. Now that I'm able to see the inner workings of it, and how well-kept it is, the great job the grounds crew does, it's a great place to play.
“It's exciting to be here and see some friendly faces and see how the city has grown.”
Reith, 40, pitched in 73 games in his career with the Reds, going 4-12 with a 5.92 ERA. He continued pitching professionally until 2008 and started coaching in the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2015 with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the short-season New York-Penn League.
“I enjoy working with the younger kids,” he said of coaching in the minor leagues. “Reaching out and sharing my experiences with them and then watching them grow, watching them get better, watching them mature, watching them understand the things I'm telling them.
“I just like hanging out with the guys and being in this atmosphere. I was away from it for a couple years and I missed it dearly. It's good to be back, helping guys fulfill their dreams.”
Reith is in his first season with the Hot Rods, the Rays' affiliate in the Midwest League. Bowling Green came into the series in Fort Wayne at 32-18 and won the first game Tuesday before the matchup Wednesday was rained out.
The TinCaps and Hot Rods will play a doubleheader, starting at 5:35 p.m. today. The second contest will start half an hour after the first ends.
Bowling Green come into today's game with a 3.50 ERA, the fourth-best mark in the league. Right-hander Alex Valverde, who had his start washed out by the rain, said the pitchers enjoy working with Reith.
“He's a great pitching coach,” Valverde said. “He definitely knows what he's talking about, especially with all the experience he's had, playing baseball over the years.
“We've been working out some stuff and he works with everyone, no favoritism or anything. He's really good.”
Reith said he's staying with his parents, who still live in Fort Wayne, while the Hot Rods are in town. He lamented not having time to get over and see the current Concordia team, which plays in the Bellmont Regional against Yorktown on Saturday.
“I wish them all the best and the best of luck,” he said of the Cadets. “Seems like they're on a good run and hopefully they can continue that.”