Shamrocks pitcher Scott Goosney is likely to get the start against Gonzaga in Game 1 of the St. John's Molson senior baseball tonight at St. Pat's Ball Park.
But a month ago, Symonds and the rest of the Shamrocks brass Sean Gulliver, Bob Buckingham and veteran catcher Peter Cornick didn't know the "crafty" right hander who "has got some movement on the ball and hits his spots" was even part of the green and gold's intermediate affiliate squad.
Goosney split his summer between the intermediate Shammies and the Pasadena Pirates of the western senior league. And it wasn't until the St. John's Capitals took the drive over the TCH to Pasadena for provincials at the beginning of August that Symonds figured out there was another pitching prospect. (Intermediate arms Stefan Lono, Steve Barbour and big lefty Matt Bannister each saw senior action this season)
"We figured Greg Barry would throw Game 1 for them but this young fella starts Game 1 and " Symonds recalls. "Next thing you know it's 0-0 into the tenth inning and everyone is asking who the hell is this guy?'."
As September approached, and Matt Bannister headed back to school in British Columbia and Steve Barbour took off for a work term in Alberta, Symonds talked to Shamrocks powers that be about getting Goosney into the game.
"If he's good enough to hold down the Caps for 10 or 11 innings, he's certainly good enough to pitch in the senior league here.
"We brought him up and his first start was against Gonzaga; we won."
It's a good little yarn, and props to Goosney for making an impression. But why did it take so long? What's going on in Shamrocks land that they didn't know they had a talented pitcher in their ranks?
It's hard to believe Barbour, Bannister and Lono not mentioning anything about the other arms in the intermediate bullpen. You think it would come up at some point; on the bench, over beers in the lot after the game, or in discussions about who's going to start. Sure it might jeopardize the likelihood of they themselves being called on, but that's a little too shrewd for local baseball.
It's even harder to think, considering how closely knit (almost insular) the Shamrocks organization is, that those who saw Goosney pitch this season at St. Pat's didn't mention it to someone, anyone, with the senior club.
How does a player fly under the radar like that?
There's no faulting the Shamrocks or any one individual for missing Goosney. But it might be a sign the veteran ranks running the Shammie show need to take the blinders off and have a closer look at their junior ranks, beyond the bullpen. Maybe they could turn up the next Cornick or Symonds.