Thunder React To Winning Second Straight Championship

An amazing season was capped off by an amazing celebration both on the field and in the clubhouse following the Thunder’s 5-1 Game Four victory over the Akron Aeros to win the 2008 Eastern League Championship.

Music was played at eardrum shattering levels, certainly some awful dancing took place, and there was plenty of collective hooting and hollering that could be heard echoing through the underbelly of the stadium after the final out.

Every square inch of the home clubhouse was covered in large plastic sheets, and so much champagne was sprayed inside that players were leaving wet footprints as they emerged and walked on the carpet in the hallway.

But the focus eventually shifted back to what the team accomplished on the field, and the participants couldn’t have been happier to talk about their long and successful journey.

TONY FRANKLIN

“Fantastic, it was fantastic.  They’re all special in their own way.  It’s special.  After last year’s season, you think that with it being such a magical season, you’re not going to surpass it.  To surpass what we did last year with championships in consecutive years, man that’s just fantastic.  It just doesn’t happen, I’ve spent a lot of time in this game.  I’ve been in this game a long time and won a couple championships here and there and gone to the playoffs a few times, but this is far and beyond what I ever thought could happen to me.  It’s still a lot of fun for me, and I guess that’s why I still do it.”

“You know what I think is special about them, is there ability to compete.  They’re a young club, I had a young club in terms of experience.  But I also had some guys in key positions who were back, like P.J., Colin Curtis, Jonesy.  But what impressed me most about these guys was their ability to compete.  These guys battled their butts off out there.  When you’ve got young guys, you’re just not sure what they’re going to do.  And here comes AJ with all of these press clippings and people touting him as being the next so and so, and in the back of my mind, I’m saying I’m not sure because I hadn’t seen him play except for that one week.  I see the tools, I see the ability to run, hit, throw.  Is he going to be able to do it consistently over 140 games?  He surprised the heck out of me, man.  He pulled it off.  The game last night was indicative of what you’re going to see for maybe 15-20 years in a Major League career.  That’s pretty special stuff.”

“(Winning it in Trenton) is even more special, just in front of the hometown fans.  Where else would you want to win it?  These are the people who support you all year, why would you want to win it somewhere else.  We did it (in Akron) last year because of the schedule and it dictated that.  But the people here in Trenton are very supportive, they love their baseball.  They are very, very compassionate about what we do.  I’m just happy we were able to win them a championship.”

P.J. PILITTERE

“It’s nice to do it at home in front of the fans and the all the people that have supported us for how many years here in Trenton.  I’m sure a part of them missed out a little bit last year, but I’m sure it was great for them tonight to be a part of this.”

“It’s a great feeling.  It’s been a lot of hard work, it’s not easy.  We expected this to be a championship season, but I’m just glad it turned out the way it did.  It just shows you if you work hard enough, we can do this two years in a row.  It was nice to come out on top.”

“There’s been a lot of opportunities (in the clutch).  The ones you have success with will show up in the box score more than the ones you get out on.  I felt really confident up there.  I faced that guy a few times earlier in the series, and I was actually excited to have that matchup and get a chance to drive in a big run for us and get a chance to put a crooked number up there for us.”

JASON JONES

“I was just happy to get some innings in the playoffs this time around, it’s good to be a part of the championship.  It’s been a good year, and it was a great ending to my year.”

“Timely pitching, timely hitting and we had a great coaching staff.  Put it all together, and it’s still hard to go back to back.  All the guys did their part throughout the year.”

“Everything’s come together, everything’s been really good.  It’s great to win in front of our home crowd.  We have great fans, they’re just a great bunch of people.  It was awesome to win it in front of them.”

JEFF MARQUEZ

“Jones came in and did an awesome job, and the offense came through and did a good job.  I just had a good team behind me overall, and it was a good team win today.”

“(Being hurt) is stuff that you don’t want to happen, obviously.  But I’m healthy now, and I’m feeling good now, and that’s in the past.  Hopefully I can just keep on moving forward.”

“(Last year’s team and this year’s team) are very similar.  Good group of guys, tremendous staff.  Everyone’s like a big family, so that always helps going into playoffs and championship series like tonight.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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18 Responses to “Thunder React To Winning Second Straight Championship”

  1. mbn Says:

    When one considers all the changes to the roster during the season, this one was a real nice Championship win. Same with the boys in Scranton.

    And we beat Boston affiliates to get to the top!! Too bad the big club can’t learn a bit about hustle, pride, and “picking up for each other” from these guys.

    Congrats.

  2. jennifer Says:

    Agreed mbn!!

    Great blog Mike, I recently started reading. You and Chad Jennings do a great job covering the minor league teams!!

  3. Scooter Says:

    Just want to echo what Jennifer and mbn said. You did a great job – and provided info that we couldn’t find anywhere else. Thanks so much!

  4. SteveB1956 Says:

    I also agree with the other posters that you and Chad both do a great job.

    Meanwhile, congratulations to the Trenton Thunder, Tony Franklin and the players. It doesn’t get any better than this.

    Austin Jackson should be called up to the Bronx for a 2-week visit, just to get a “feel” of the big leagues, the same way he got a “feel” of Trenton last September. It’s a little sad to say this but the odds are good we’ll never see him again in Trenton.

  5. TheMagi Says:

    Mike,
    Thanks so much for a fantastic blog. Your writing style and ironic wit are superb. More often than not, we received information about the team from you before we received it from our son. Furthermore, we enjoyed getting to meet you, and would like to thank you for the media guide. Good luck with your sports reporting career. GREAT SEASON, THUNDER.
    The Claggetts

  6. Dave S. Says:

    Hey Mike,

    What a finish to a GREAT season! Congrats to all! Quick question. When you were in the dugout before the game I was sitting a few rows back from you. Who was banging on the to of the dugout while that Coldplay song was on. I saw you cracking up and taking pictures of it.Was curious to know what was going on.

    Thanks,
    Dave S. Staten Island

  7. jennifer Says:

    To the Claggetts family

    Congrats to you and your son on winning the Eastern league Championship. Hopefully we’ll see him on the big league Yankee team!!

  8. Dave S. Says:

    I want to send out congratulations not only to the Thunder players but to the entire organization. From the ticket people to the people who work in the store to the ushers and consession people they all are a class act. And to those die hard Thunder fans I think we did a nice job showing our support without many people in the stadium! Great team effort! P.J again showed why he is Mr.Clutch (Championships just happen to follow PJ around)!!!!! We saw a special player in AJAX. And BTW after Saturdays game he actually stood and signed and posed for pictures for over a half hour. What a nice kid! Great effort from our pitching staff this season, I was happy that JJ got to finish off the game. And of course great job by the coaching staff. Tony Franklin is a true professional and a gentlemen. Sadly, (for us) we will lose guys from this team but boy was it special! THANKS THUNDER for a GREAT and MEMORABLE season!!

    Dave S. Staten Island

  9. Brandon Says:

    Whoa whoa whoa there in this playoffs Mr. Clutch was Colin Curtis his .414 AVG and taking tough pitches and his big hits when TRE was down, PJ was sencond to him, third was Ramiro Pena then Jackson, but Jackson’s heroics in game 3 capped it.

  10. Thunderstruck Says:

    Mike-

    Awesome job this year, thanks for all that you did. As a hard-core fan I loved it.
    How long until Opening Day??? Three-peat anyone?

  11. Dave S. Staten Island Says:

    LOL I guess we could say the Thunder had a handful of Clutch players… PJ had the game winning hit in Game 3 vs Portland and also last night. Curtis was on fire and like you say I don’t think we’ll ever see a performance like we saw from Jackson ever again… So pick your poison, they were all

  12. Dave S. Says:

    Hi MikE,

    I see Chad has a comment that Cervelli got called up to NY? Did you hear about this?

    Dave S.

  13. thunderbaseball Says:

    I just want to thank everyone for their very, very kind comments in this post. I will make sure to thank everyone in a separate post again…but I can’t tell you how much it means to know that my work is appreciated.

    This blog wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun if people didn’t read it and take the time to post comments and ask questions and so on.

    To the Claggett family — it was a pleasure meeting you guys this season, and I hope to see you again as Anthony’s career progresses. I really enjoyed getting to see him pitch and getting to cover him this season as well.

    To Dave — The team’s Latin contingent was doing that…has been something they have been doing for the playoffs, it seems. Players take various turns dancing, etc. And the Cervelli stuff…I made a post about that when I got home.

  14. thunderbaseball Says:

    And also…the praise for Chad Jennings is also well-deserved. He couldn’t be a nicer guy, and it’s amazing the amount of work he does on the blog while stile writing for a daily paper.

  15. putter Says:

    and for PJ reward he got a pat on the back

  16. thunderbaseball Says:

    And a ring, let’s not forget that. I haven’t decided who will win my regular season MVP award — not that it matters, obviously — but he’s the leader in the clubhouse right now.

  17. Typeorene Says:

    Cool post, maybe you dream fof writters?
    ___________________________________

    Sry, hehe))

  18. tdevils Says:

    You know what tastes really good in a sandwich? Spam. It’s good stuff.

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