Lou Merloni has spent parts of nine seasons in the majors with four teams. He's exactly the kind of player who often gets bitter at spending a season in Triple-A.
But instead of stewing over his fate in life, the infielder decided to become the veteran leader in the Sacramento clubhouse. And under his leadership, the Sacramento RiverCats are the top team in Triple-A.
Wearing a newly presented "C" on his uniform to signify his designation as the team captain, Merloni hit a three-run home run on Tuesday night to lead the Pacific Coast League champs to a 7-1 win over International League champion Richmond in the second Bricktown Showdown.
"Lou is a first-class act," Cats manager Tony DeFrancesco told the Sacramento Bee. "We've had over 180 transactions with guys coming and going. He's the one who's kept this clubhouse together."
Brant Colamarino added a two-run home run for Sacramento. The RiverCats starter Shane Komine worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings but was forced to leave the game with shoulder stiffness, but his replacement, Kazuhito Tadano, and two more relievers allowed only four hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Tucson beat Toledo last year as the Pacific Coast League has won the first two Bricktown Showdowns.
Perhaps as important as the win was for Sacramento, the crowd of 11,524 was equally important for Triple-A baseball. After seeing it's attempts at a Triple-A championship series falter in the past, each of the first two Bricktown Showdowns have drawn over 10,000 fans.