YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollectionsBrawley

Howard's season comes to a conclusion

August 25, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

YUMA — Come Monday morning Brawley native Tim Howard will begin his vacation after a solid season with the Yuma Bullfrogs professional baseball team.

That vacation will last all of two or three days, then Howard will be back in the gym trying to keep himself in shape for whatever the future holds for him.

At the end of tonight's season finale for the Bullfrogs, Howard will have completed his first season with the franchise and will have done so in impressive fashion, having led Yuma — eliminated from the Western Baseball League playoffs last week — in most offensive categories.

While his team-leading .346 batting average, 115 hits, 62 RBIs, 25 doubles and seven home runs are impressive, he said those numbers could have been a lot better had it not been for injuries.


Since June Howard has been playing with a broken finger and over the last month played on a broken foot and a pulled hamstring.

"I'm not one to make excuses, but I really do know those injuries affected how I played. But I did still play through them," said the 5-foot-10, 32-year-old Howard. "I know I could've done a lot better if it wasn't for those injuries. For some reason, this year I just wasn't able to get into that hot zone. I just never got hot. And I think it was probably because of that."

As of Saturday, Howard's .346 average was fourth in the WBL. Heading into the second half of the season, Howard had his sights on winning the league batting title, but over the last week trying to finish second was more realistic.

No matter where Howard finishes in the batting race, his consistency at the plate and on the base paths has been a big reason for Yuma's offensive success.

"Even though we've been struggling the last part of the year, Tim has definitely been our biggest gamer," said Bullfrog manager Bill Plummer. "Coming into this season I expected him to have a good year and if it wasn't for injuries, he would've had an even better season than what he did have. I don't know where we'd be without Tim. I would love to have nine Tims on this team."

Whatever happens in his final game, what Howard will take from his experience with the Bullfrogs is his rekindled love for baseball.

After playing two seasons in Taiwan, Howard's baseball passion was soured. But playing back in the United States and playing closer to home, Howard rediscovered his love for the game.

"Playing here was a big stepping stone for me as far as people seeing me play. And I don't just mean family and fans, I mean, getting to play in front of scouts," said Howard. "I mean, scouts actually got to see me play."

Because he played in front of scouts and put up the numbers he did, Howard has already received offers from other teams. He said it will be about a month before he makes a decision on his playing future.

"Right now I don't really know about my future. I've gotten some offers that I'm looking at," said Howard. "But as far as this year goes, I think I did really well. I think I could've done better, but I had a good time. Now I'm just going back to Brawley, play golf and be a couch vegetable for a few days. Then I'm going to start working out."

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles