MINOR LEAGUE NOTEBOOK / MIKE DiGIOVANNA : Campanis Ties the Knot, and Later His Single Unties the Score
The bride wore white. The groom wore spikes. The bridesmaids carried flowers. The groomsmen carried baseball bats. The bride kissed the groom. The groom ran to the bullpen to warm up the pitcher.
Such was the scenario June 30 in Jacksonville, Fla., where Jacksonville Suns catcher Jim Campanis married Lisa Barsanti at home plate before a Southern League game against the Huntsville, Ala., Stars in Wolfson Park.
How’s this for a wedding party? Campanis, a former Valencia High School and USC standout, went two for three with a home run on his wedding day.
Bret Boone, the Jacksonville second baseman who was one of Campanis’ groomsmen, got the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth, a bases-loaded single that gave the Suns a 6-5 victory.
And Huntsville pitcher Dave Latter, a former USC player who was Campanis’ best man, was the losing pitcher.
“It all worked great,” Campanis said, “except for Dave.”
Campanis, son of former Dodger Jim Campanis and grandson of former Dodger General Manager Al Campanis, was planning a fall wedding until Barsanti, whom Campanis met during an Arizona instructional league game three years ago, began working in the Jacksonville ticket office in May.
Barsanti and Jacksonville General Manager Peter Bragen Jr. became friends, and when Barsanti said she and Campanis were engaged, Bragen Jr. suggested a pregame wedding.
“She started working May 1,” Campanis said. “And by May 5, I found out we were getting married on the field.”
After the short ceremony, Campanis turned his hat backward and kissed the bride. The couple then walked through a teammate-created arch of Louisville Sluggers to a gate near the backstop, where Campanis kissed his wife and then hustled off to work.
Wedding cake was served in the stadium club after the game, but there was no time for a reception. It was getaway day, and the Suns, the Seattle Mariners’ double-A affiliate, had to catch a bus to Charlotte, N.C., the first stop on an eight-day trip.
Barsanti accompanied Campanis on the trip for what was their unofficial honeymoon.
“We’ll have a regular honeymoon after the season,” Campanis said. “We’ll go someplace tropical.”
Add Campanis: The 6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher also has been playing well on days he isn’t involved in weddings. He is batting .281, has 12 home runs and 37 runs batted in.
He has thrown out about half the runners who have attempted to steal on him.
Campanis, who hit 14 home runs last season at Class-A Peninsula (Va.) and 11 in 1989 at Class-A San Bernardino, credits an off-season weight-training program for his increased power.
“I’ve never felt this strong this late in the season,” said Campanis, who will play in the double-A all-star game Wednesday at Huntsville.
There are four catchers ahead of Campanis in the organization, three at Seattle and one at triple-A Calgary, but with his success and the prospect of two expansion teams, Campanis is confident about his future.
“I have a shot to be in the big leagues next year or the year after,” Campanis said. “We’ll see. It’s going to be fun.”
Dart man: Trevor Hoffman, former Savanna High School, Cypress College and University of Arizona infielder who was converted to a pitcher last season, has been lighting up radar guns--and scouts’ eyes--around the Class-A Midwest League.
In 20 appearances for the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Reds, Hoffman has a 1-1 record, a 1.69 earned-run average and 12 saves.
He has 37 strikeouts and only eight walks in 22 1/3 innings, but what really has scouts and fans abuzz is Hoffman’s fastball, which has been clocked in the 90- to 95-m.p.h. range.
“He’s definitely in the learning process, but I wouldn’t mind being his agent right now,” Cedar Rapids Manager Frank Funk said.
“Scouts say he’s the only pitcher in the league whose fastball jumps at the hitter--it has all the earmarks of a Roger Clemens fastball. He’s the talk of the town.”
Funk said Hoffman, who is developing a slider and curve to go with his fastball, is the kind of player organizations are tempted to rush through their system.
But unless Chattanooga, the Reds’ double-A team, is in a pennant race late in the season, Funk suspects Hoffman will spend the year at Cedar Rapids.
“When someone is dominating like he is, everyone wants to see how soon he can move to the major leagues,” Funk said. “But you have to control temptation. He has to crawl before he walks and walk before he runs.”
Goodby Larry: Former Cal State Fullerton pitcher Larry Casian spent the first two months of the season with the Minnesota Twins, but the left-hander was demoted to triple-A Portland before the Twins’ 15-game victory streak and surge to the top of the American League West.
“It was hard to watch them on TV because I was there and I wished I was there,” said Casian, who is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA as a starter and reliever at Portland. “But I took (the demotion) OK, because I pitched poorly.”
Casian did a good job in set-up situations, getting out most of the lefties he faced, but he was hammered in several mop-up appearances. In one game, he gave up five runs to the Kansas City Royals in the ninth inning.
Casian had a 7.36 ERA in 15 appearances, giving up 15 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings, and was sent down in late May. Former Sunny Hills High pitcher Paul Abbott took Casian’s place.
“This is the first time I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough to stay with a team, but it’s something you have to go through,” Casian said. “It’s a weird feeling, but I pitched myself right out of the situation.”
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