Before Class AA Harrisburg took the field for Game 4 of its playoff series against Erie, Senators outfielder Steven Souza sent out a tweet: “I will be playing tonight’s game for my Roommate Brian Jeroloman!” Souza wrote. “Victory for him!”
In a 5-1, series-clinching victory, Souza went 4 for 4 with a double and two RBI. Jeroloman had been hospitalized Wednesday night after a vicious collision at home plate, and he remained heavily on his teammates’ minds. Harrisburg will start the Eastern League Championship on Tuesday in Trenton. Jeroloman, 28, will continue his recovery from a concussion and a cut on his chin.
“Feels good,” General Manager Mike Rizzo wrote in an e-mail Saturday night. “Sounds great. Clear and upbeat.”
Jeroloman’s collision with Erie second baseman Brandon Douglas re-ignited the debate about whether running over catchers should be legal. The Nationals agreed Douglas’s play had been clean under the rules, if ill-advised – Douglas probably would have been safe if he simply slid. But should the play be allowed? Manager Davey Johnson gave an opinion straight out of 1965.
“That’s part of the game,” Johnson said. “He’s got all this gear on. He’s got the ball ahead of you. You got to run over him. Same as a second baseman – they get down there early enough, they take me out. That’s just part of the game.
“I’m not a big fan of all this safety precaution stuff in football and baseball, you know? That’s the risk you take playing this game. You got to watch the ball. You don’t want to let it hit you in the coconut. If it keeps going like this, we might have a full helmet on, have little eyeholes in there. I know they’re talking about doing something for the pitcher, having them wear helmets. Let’s give it a rest.”
In the other news from the Nationals’ minor league affiliates last night, Class A Hagerstown advanced to the South Atlantic League Championship with a 2-1 victory over Savannah. Class A Potomac lost to Salem in Game 1 of the Mills Cup.