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MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FEVER
Celebrate with the Snakes at Hertz Field
From Birthdays to Bar Mitzvahs!
Jersey City Informer (reprinted with permission)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - The Jersey City Snakes' 12-1 victory over the Aberdeen IronBirds Tuesday night finally closed the book their 29-game losing streak. Tragically, it also closed the book on manager Gene Ryan's 77-year life.
Ryan was making his debut as the skipper of the Snakes. With 46 years of experience, he was brought in because of his old-school, no-nonsense coaching style.
The Snakes' 0-29 skid cost manager Kenny Quasebarth his job on Sunday. Snakes owner Gerard Gilmore informed Quasebarth of his termination in the sixth inning of a loss to Williamsport when he directed the scoreboard screen operator at Hertz Field to display the message: "Quasebarth to be fired, says Gilmore."
In snapping the streak, Ryan guided the Snakes to a 12-1 victory, though the game was much closer than the score indicated. The Snakes committed 10 errors. Five were on one play that saw the ball at the backstop, the left field corner, stuck in the webbing of Horacio Peligro's glove, at the backstop, and finally 15 rows back in the stands.
But this was the Snakes' night. Inspired by a mid-innings peptalk from Ryan, the team played aggressively at the plate. Their bats were lively.
With the score 8-1, Judson Petty's eighth-inning grand slam cleared the Nathan's sign in left field for some needed insurance runs. And when Masahiro Hasegawa and Billy Ray Mix turned a nifty double play in the ninth to end Aberdeen's night, the cloud that had hovered over the Jersey City Snakes for six weeks and 29 straight losses lifted.
As the Snakes players celebrated on the field, Jake Banks and Gabe Lebow giddily snuck up behind Ryan, with a full ice water bucket to douse their manager with a celebratory shower.
It is unlikely that anyone on the team knew about Ryan's heart condition. A review of the videotape revealed when the ice water hit him, his eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped straight to the ground.
A quick response might have saved Ryan. Instead, caught up in the revelry, the jubilant players lifted Ryan on their shoulders and paraded him around the diamond.
A distraught Petty later admitted, "I thought he was laughing. I think now he might have been gasping for air."
The Snakes will observe a moment of silence for Ryan when they play Aberdeen on Wednesday with interim manager Kenny Quasebarth at the helm.
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