The hustle and bustle of New Jersey, especially Bergen County traffic at rush hour, is certainly different from the way Michael Lang is living these days in Sioux City, Iowa.
“It’s definitely a lifestyle change for sure,” said Lang, who is playing professional baseball for the Sioux City Explorers (also known as the X’s) for the third straight season. “When I’m here with my host family, I live on a 120-acre farm. Instead of going two blocks to the store, it’s like 10 miles away from the nearest neighbor. So it’s definitely different. It’s relaxing and peaceful.”
However, the former St. Peter’s Prep slugger and 2007 Hudson Reporter Player of the Year is certainly loving playing ball in Iowa. His team, the Explorers, is battling the Laredo Lemurs in the championship series of the American Association and have a 1-0 series lead.
The 26-year-old Lang batted an astounding .343 (third in the entire AA) with 17 doubles, 10 triples, six homers and 59 RBI, leading the X’s in hitting. He’s hitting .304 in the playoffs with three RBI.
Lang, who went from Prep to become an All-Big East player at Rutgers, played one season of affiliated baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but has found a home in independent baseball.
In four years of independent ball, three now with Sioux City, Lang has a career .327 batting average. He’s been a fixture in right field for the X’s.
“This year has been a lot of fun, enjoying the team’s success,” Lang said. “We had a laid back atmosphere because we were doing so well [an amazing regular season record of 75-25]. We won our division a month before the season was over [25 games ahead of runner-up Kansas City]. I can’t say enough about this group of guys. I definitely enjoy this. It’s like a four or five month vacation. It’s nice out here. I really enjoy it.”
Lang said that he will see if he can play winter baseball in the Caribbean after the championship series is over. If not, then he’ll head back to New Jersey, continue to work out and work at a local baseball hitting facility and give lessons in his native Dumont. He also does some work for his father, Dave, in his sales business.
But for now, Lang has every intention of returning to Iowa for another season with the Explorers in 2016.
“I’ve talked to my parents about it,” Lang said. “How many people can say that they play professional baseball? I’m too young to give it all up yet. Sure, I know I’ll eventually have to get a real job. I’ll just basically have a late start if baseball isn’t what I continue to do for my career.”
Lang is also still hoping that his great season might get him another look from a major league baseball organization.
“You never know,” Lang said. “David Peralta [of the Arizona Diamondbacks] played four years in our league, then got his shot and he’s in the big leagues. I just hope something happens. But this season went so well with the team and individually that I would have to come back. There’s no way I can’t play again. I actually thought about what I was going to do, to see where I was mentally and physically and now I know I’m coming back, at least for one more year.”
It’s good to see a local product doing so well in pro ball, even if it’s in another part of the world called Iowa…
There’s a debate ongoing right now in the Mile Square City about the Hoboken High School nickname. It’s caused quite a quandary for Hoboken athletic director Derek England, who wants to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.
Is the nickname officially Red Wings, like the Detroit Red Wings or the Canadian red wing birds? Or is it Redwings, one word?
“We have it both ways all over,” England said. “At JFK Stadium, it’s Redwings on the scoreboard and Red Wings on the padding on the goalposts. It’s the same way in the gym. We have it both ways.”
So England has decided to go one way or the other. He’s insisting that it’s Redwings, one word. This corner has been writing Red Wings, two words, since the beginning of time. It’s what the nickname was growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Or maybe we’re wrong? So we’re asking readers for their assistance. Drop a line or an e-mail to OGSMAR@aol.com with what you believe the nickname is, either Red Wings, two words, or Redwings, one word. Whatever is decided will be used forever from this season forward…
It was troubling to see that former Marist basketball guard Asante Gist has transferred to St. Anthony and will apparently be able to play for the Friars from the start of the season come December.
It’s troubling because St. Anthony now becomes Gist’s third high school in 2015. He went to Roselle Catholic and helped that school win the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions in 2014, then left Roselle Catholic last January to transfer to Marist, where he played 13 games. Now, he’s at St. Anthony.
When do these ridiculous transfers stop? High school kids are changing schools more than babies change their diapers. It’s out of control.
Look at practically every single high school roster in any sport. You’re bound to see at least one kid, maybe two, who have come to the school via transfer.
Simply put, the NJSIAA has to install a stricter rule about transfers, more than just a change of address. The St. Anthony basketball team this season will have four new players, all via transfer. We understand the school is in deep financial distress, but this is insane. It has to stop somewhere…
St. Peter’s University has a new athletic director and for the first time in school history, the new athletic boss is a woman.
Belinda “Boe” Pearman was introduced earlier this month as the new AD at St. Peter’s. Pearman comes to St. Peter’s after a stint at Manhattan College, where she was the senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator.
“Her experience as an administrator, coach and student-athlete gives her a unique and vital perspective,” said Dr. Eugene Cornacchia, the school’s president. “We look forward to the future success of the program under her leadership.”
Pearman was also previously the acting athletic director at Southern Connecticut State.
Pearman replaces Joe Quinlan, who resigned to take a position at Columbia University, after a brief tenure at “Harvard on the Boulevard.”…
It wasn’t a great weekend for the local high school football teams, as only Lincoln, Hudson Catholic and Hoboken emerged with a victory. Ten other Hudson County teams suffered setbacks, the worst opening weekend in memory.
Hudson Catholic defeated Newark Central, 23-0 and Lincoln mauled Caldwell, 50-7. In Lincoln’s win, quarterback Zymire Gordon accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and receiver Jason Harrison had five catches for 120 yards, two of which went for touchdowns…
Last month’s Weehawken Open golf tournament was won by Mike Fitzpatrick, Ken Sarubbi, Brian Meara and none other than Danny Lopez, the 2003-04 Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year. Lopez, who was a soccer, football, basketball and baseball standout at Weehawken before going on to play baseball at Seton Hall, proved that he can truly do anything in sports. Joanne Liloia was the winner of the closest to the pin and longest drive among the women in the tourney. Sarubbi was closest to the pin among the men and Mike Caliente won the longest drive. All of the proceeds of the tourney went to benefit the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (1-1). 2. Lincoln (1-0). 3. Hoboken (1-0). 4. Hudson Catholic (1-0). 5. Union City (0-1.)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (4-0). 2. Union City (4-1). 3. North Bergen (2-2). 4. Memorial (1-3). 5. Dickinson (1-2). —Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.