SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- If the Winnipeg Goldeyes clinch a playoff berth, they may have to thank their new MVB.
Most Valuable Baby.
After all, Max Joseph Beuning is the reason that his dad, Brian, has been allowed a temporary leave from his job as a Minnesota state trooper to remain in the Goldeyes bullpen for the bulk of the remainder of the 2012 American Association season.
Max is six days old, and when he was delivered by mom Ginger at 10:35 p.m. on Monday night, Beuning texted that his boy was 19.5 inches long, and his "ERA is still zero."
On Friday night in Sioux City, Beuning delivered, too.
The 31-year-old, now 5-0, earned a victory with three innings of spotless relief as the Goldeyes edged the Explorers 5-4 in 10 innings at Lewis and Clark Park. Winnipeg's Yurendell de Caster plated the winner with a RBI single, cashing in veteran Chris Roberson, who led off the 10th with a stand-up triple.
The victory pushed the Goldeyes (42-29) three games up on the Kansas City T-Bones for the American Association's wild-card berth, and four games clear of the St. Paul Saints. Winnipeg still trails the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks by four games in the North Division standings.
Goldeyes outfielder Josh Mazzola, meanwhile, continued to carry his teammates with his bat, launching his 13th and 14th home runs of the season, giving him six homers in the last four games. Luis Alen and Jon Weber each added RBI singles for the visitors.
Clearly, the Goldeyes called the police just in time, however. Beuning, who will remain with the Fish for the final two games in Sioux City, will miss the Goldeyes' upcoming homestand with Sioux Falls (Aug. 6-8) before joining the squad for good on Aug. 9.
"That's the plan," Beuning said, while unpacking his gear into his stall in the Goldeyes locker-room prior to Friday night's game, after a trek from his home in Luverne, Minn. "It's family medical leave, and I'll use that to play baseball."
So Buening wouldn't be available to the Goldeyes without Max, right?
"Probably not," Beuning chuckled. "But he (Max) understands the importance of baseball."
Like father, like son.
Beuning makes no secret he's stowing his trooper hat for a Goldeyes cap for one reason: To win a championship.
And Forney said the former will go a long way in possibly making the latter happen.
"He's an important piece to our puzzle," Forney noted,. "I mean, he's winning ball games, he's saving ball games. He has so much versatility out of the bullpen, having him back is certainly making us a better ball club. Somebody's lookin' down on us, man."
In fact, Beuning's arrival will address one of Forney's major concerns heading down the stretch to the Goldeyes' season.
"My bullpen needs to be a little tighter and I need them to show me in the next week or 10 days that they're capable of getting important outs on a consistent basis," the manager noted. "Not one good night and one bad night. That's my biggest question, some of the arms in my bullpen.
"They have to know it's go-time for me (in terms of evaluations leading to the Aug. 24 trading deadline)."