TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras remembers the personal moments.
The little talks in the clubhouse, the emotional conversations, the countless hours of travel throughout the five-month season.
That's what Contreras, who just finished his fourth season with Fort Wayne, will remember.
“The moments that I remember the most are when these guys that come in and have these egos, and have these shells around them, knock on my door and come in and sit for 45 minutes,” he said. “They come in and talk and break down and I see parts of them that nobody gets to see, and I'm the one they come to. That's the stuff I remember till I die.”
The TinCaps concluded their 11th season at Parkview Field with a 3-1 loss to Lansing on Monday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 4,758.
Despite the loss, Fort Wayne (29-41, 62-76) exited the field to boisterous cheers and a standing ovation from loyal fans.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton was hit by pitches in the seventh and ninth innings, giving him 32 hit by pitches on the year. That leads all of Minor League baseball. As a result of that, he leads the Midwest League in on-base percentage (.411).
“It's something to be proud about, but the left side of my body is hurting,” Williams-Sutton said. “I guess it's good for the organization to be able to count on me to get on base, and hopefully I can do it at the next level.”
Players on both teams had the bats going early, with 5 of 6 batters swinging on first pitches. Still, the hits were sparse. Lansing's Yorman Rodriguez blasted a two-out homer 386 feet on a fly ball to left field to give Lansing a 1-0 lead.
Lugnuts pitcher Sean Wymer had a no-hitter through four before a Justin Lopez single spoiled it. Agustin Ruiz followed with his own single, which brought up Ethan Skender. Skender ripped an RBI single to score Lopez and tie the game at 1. Ruiz was tagged out at second.
Lansing's Otto Lopez delivered a home run 399 feet to open the sixth inning to give Lansing (35-34, 67-71) the 2-1 lead. Griffin Conine put Fort Wayne away in the top of the eighth with a bomb to right field.
Wymer, the No. 33 prospect in the Blue Jays' system, according Fangraphs, pitched a complete game. He finished with 85 pitches, gave up four hits and a run.
It was a season of highs and lows for Fort Wayne, which missed the playoffs. Center fielder Jawuan Harris said his first full year with the TinCaps and without college has been a learning experience.
“It was lovely but then again it was dreadful,” Harris said. “It's a lot mentally and physically, but I loved every minute of it and can't wait to do it again after the offseason.”
Contreras said he has learned something new in each of his four seasons and is eager to get going next season wherever he is.
“I don't know what's going to happen in the future,” Contreras said. “If I come back, by all means I'll be happy, and if I move up or out I'll try to help whoever comes in and takes my spot the most I can.”