© Chuck Duboff
The Winnipeg Goldeyes once again struggled on their return home from a road trip. Despite a great starting pitching performance by Edwin Carl, 10 strike outs in 6 1/3 innings, the Goldeyes bats were once again quiet. Tied at 2-2 heading into the 10th, Dustin Geiger hit a two-out, three-run home run to left field for Fargo. With the loss, the Goldeyes lead in the wild card race fell to just 3 games over the Laredo Lemurs who didn’t play last night
Goldeyes Ace, Kevin McGovern, sits down for a pre-game chat.
“I love pitching in front of these fans. I remember pitching for Lincoln and coming in here for a playoff series and thinking, this is a whole different type of atmosphere; your fans are fanatical and I love it.”
One of the things you notice when you sit down and talk with Kevin McGovern is how happy, how appreciative he is for the opportunity he has to pitch professionally. Coming out of Division II school, Philadelphia University, Kevin had a few organizations chat with him, but nothing materialized. At that time he thought any hopes of a professional career were over. He played summer ball with his college buddies, which included 7 no-hitters; not knowing much about Independent baseball, Kevin got an opportunity in the Frontier League. After the Frontier League, Kevin was kind of lost about the future…so, he ventured down to the Pecos League, in the Southwest of the US. There’s an old baseball expression “I’d play this game for free”, well, in the Pecos League, the players are paid $7 a day. “I was living on one Subway sandwich a day.”
Kevin realized that if he was ever going to get out of that League, he had to get somebody to notice him He threw 90 strikeouts in 40 innings and the Lincoln Salt Dogs took notice. On two days rest Kevin threw a 2 hit shut out and it looked like a new baseball home had been found. In the offseason however , McGovern was traded to Winnipeg in exchange for long time Goldeyes favourite Luis Alen.
Kevin talked a lot about the camaraderie on this Goldeyes team. “Guys always have each others back, if I leave a mess out there, I know someone will pick me up.” I asked Kevin, after 3 great starts out of his last 4, if the thought crosses his mind about being picked up by an organization: “I used to have those thoughts, nerves start popping up and you change how you throw…instead, with the Goldeyes, its all about the playoff push, the guys congratulating me today for player of the week and my next start against Sioux City, that’s all I’m focused on.”
Kevin proudly talks about his dad back home in Phili listening to all his games. “I know he’s really proud of me and we got a chance to chat during that long bus trip home. He knows I’m really focused and locked into my next start here. I’d really like to talk to them more, but I don’t want anything to distract right now.”
We chatted a little about fanatical Phili fans; Kevin’s a die-hard Eagles fan, so I had to ask him if he’s one of the infamous fans who boos Santa Claus. “Nah, that’s not my part of the stadium, that’s a different part, I’m not one of those rowdy guys.” He loves his Flyers, growing up with players like Jeremy Roenick, and is very aware of the loud and exciting atmosphere at Jets games. “Your fans are awesome.”
From Philadelphia University, to the Frontier League, to the Pecos League and now in the American Association, Kevin continues to follow his baseball dream. At each stop along the way, it seems like his talent, ability and focus continue to improve; here’s hoping he can lead the Goldeyes to another American Association championship.