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Published: Sunday, 9/18/2005

Mud Hens magic!

Mud Hens  manager Larry Parrish, left, leads his team in celebration after winning the Governors  Cup Finals against Indianapolis on Friday morning.
Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish, left, leads his team in celebration after winning the Governors Cup Finals against Indianapolis on Friday morning.
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They have one of the best-known mascots in professional sports.

They play in one of the nicest parks in the minor leagues at Fifth Third Field.

The Toledo Mud Hens are now the 2005 International League champions, having swept the Indianapolis Indians to capture the Governors Cup.

Holy, Toledo! There is extreme joy in MudHensville. Muddy, take a

bow.

The team broke spring training camp in Florida intent on improving

on its disappointing 65-78 mark in 2004.

The Hens won their first game of the season on the road in Durham,

N.C., on April 8, and they won their last game of the season Thursday in the Governors Cup Finals.

Sandwiched along the way, the team strung together a most difficult

12-game road winning streak and also posted a tidy nine-game

winning streak.

The Hens played with a special camaraderie that isn t seen very often.

But the fans noticed. They came in droves, setting new attendance records in downtown s place-to-be.

Manager Larry Parrish s team provided a thrilling, spine-tingling brand of baseball. When they needed pitching, they got it from starters Jason Grilli, Kenny Baugh and Andrew Good and reliever Jason Karnuth.

When they needed hitting, Marcus Thames, Mike Hessman, Ryan

Rayburn and Alexis Gomez provided it. When they needed inspiration,

Kevin Hooper was there.

When they were called upon to provide players to their parent Detroit

Tigers, they did so without missing a beat, sending Chris Shelton, Curtis Granderson and Sean Douglass, to name a few.

When the team clinched a playoff spot, it celebrated.

When the team won the West Division, it celebrated.

When the team won the decisive fifth game against Norfolk in the

opening round of the Governors Cup playoffs, it celebrated.

This improbable finish to a magnificent summer down at the ballpark

on Washington Street will live in the Mud Hens lore for all-time.

Remember the 05 Hens?

How could we possibly forget em?



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