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Franco’s Hot/Cold Month

April 17, 2018 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

When Maikel Franco was climbing up through the Phillies minor league system, I remember talking with the hot, young prospect the day before Opening Day—on a particularly frigid April afternoon. It was Franco’s first spring in the Northeast. As I approached him, our exchange went like:

FRANCO: “Man, it’s cold out there. It’s not normally this cold up here in April, is it?”

ME: “I’m afraid so.”

FRANCO (smiling): “That’s no good…I’m not a cold weather hitter.”

True enough, Franco struggled for the first two months of that season until the weather did warm up for good. Once that happened, he made a rather quick ascension up the minor league ladder.

Since then, Maikel has battled issues of inconsistency—coming randomly over the last couple years—regardless of what the thermostat was registering.

I recently approached Franco in the Phillies clubhouse—a few minutes after he hit his fourth career grand slam and his fifth consecutive game where he hit a home run at Citizens Bank Park, a streak that dated back to the end of last September—another chilly time for baseball.

He beamed his big smile again when I recounted that story to him. He quickly pointed out he feels that he has figured things out at the plate, even on a night where the wind chill factor was in the mid-30s.

Here’s the rest of my conversation with Maikel along with his comments on how effective his new batting stance has been…

At the time of this conversation his batting average was .308. However, after the two series against the Reds and Rays (in the warm climate/indoor stadium of Tampa Bay no less) and one game in “Hot-lanta” (although it’s been anything but warm in Georgia this week), Franco’s season BA has dropped to .214 (as of press time) and his slugging percentage has dropped over a hundred points.

Clearly, it still remains to be seen if Franco is the proven, everyday, power-hitting threat the Phillies organization had clearly envisioned back when he was still in the minor leagues. With Scott Kingery’s strong acclimation to Major League pitching and Mitch Walding hitting well at Triple-A (currently with a slash line of .342/.405/.579), he certainly has to feel some pressure. But if he can hit like he did the first two weeks of the season in the cold weather, perhaps there is still hope that he can still be a part of the team’s future.

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One of the top high school games we covered for “SportsTalk” last week was a great contest between Central Catholic and Northampton. Here’s a sample of the highlights and “players of the game” interviews from that contest.

For more features, be sure to check out to check out our show on Thursdays at 7pm, On-Demand and our podcast: rcn.com/atvn/sports-talk

 

 

Congratulations Gary Laubach

February 25, 2014 By Matt Kennedy 4 Replies

The Lehigh Valley High School Basketball Hall of Fame recently announced the Class of 2014 to be honored at this year’s Via All-Star Banquet at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on March 26 at 6:30PM.   Among this year’s inductees is RCN TV sports commentator Gary Laubach.

For more than 30 years, RCN customers have enjoyed watching Gary cover Lehigh Valley high school and Lafayette College football, basketball and baseball.  Gary, a Wilson Area High School graduate, has broadcast over 4,500 local sporting events.  He’s also a member of the Member of the Northampton County American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame, along with the Valley’s football and wrestling halls.

“It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of Lehigh Valley sports for over 40 years.  And now to be honored by the VIA Basketball Hall of Fame Committee for that experience is both humbling and gratifying.  The recognition really goes to the RCN television team since they have been with me the entire journey.  I am certainly proud to be a member of that team.”

Please join us in congratulating Gary by leaving a comment on this post.

 

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