Brian VanderBeek

April 15, 2014

Beek’s Blog: A geography lesson with every pickle

Five-person hotbox gaining popularity as `Zip Code Rundown’

Beek's Blog

Sports news scattered with occasional travel, music

It could happen at any time that when you’re in the stands watching a baseball game, a geography lesson suddenly breaks out.

It’s happened to the Nuts twice already on this homestand. What you might know as a “pickle” or a “hot box,” as long as the runner stays in long enough for the scorer to have to report four assists on the put-out, is now a “zip code rundown.”

Here’s how it works. During the Nuts home opener, Rancho Cucamonga’s Rob Garvey got put out in a rundown that went 6-2-5-7-1. A quick Internet search reveals that zip code 62571 is assigned to Tower Hill, Ill., a very small village about 80 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Tower Hill also is about 30 miles from the town of Effingham, Ill., the home town of 2013 California League pitcher of the year and Nuts’ ace Dan Winkler.

Isn’t geography fun?

Let’s try this again. On the very next night, our friend Mr. Garvey again was caught between bases and eventually retired 1-3-6-5-2. That zip code belongs to the tiny town of Hermon, N.Y., located in extreme upstate New York, near the Canadian border and about 80 miles south of Ottawa.

The town is so small that not even Wikipedia could come up with the name of a famous person born there.

Now, be honest, would you ever have heard of Tower Hill, Ill., or Hermon, N.Y., if Garvey hadn’t been caught in those zip code rundowns?

SOSA CLOSE TO RETURNING: Francisco Sosa, who was hit in the head by a pitch in the season’s third game, has cleared his concussion tests and could be activated as early as Wednesday, according to Nuts manager Don Sneddon. Sosa is expected to be an important part of the Modesto offense this season after hitting .315-20-89 last season in Asheville.

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