Is It Here Yet?

Long day today. Right around ten this morning, a strong wind blew the tarp off part of the field.

The feeling you get trying to keep a 1,000 pound tarp from blowing away is something that defies description.

It's even better when you have to do the same thing three hours later.

The topper is watching it rain for most of the rest of the afternoon.

The season and Spring can't get here soon enough.


Article on Rattler Manager Change

The Post-Crescent has a story this morning on Jim Horner replacing Scott Steinmann as manager of the Timber Rattlers. The full story, by Timber Rattler beat writer Brett Christopherson, can be found here.

A few items from the article.

Steinmann, 32, said he first approached the Mariners last week regarding his
situation and finally made the request to step down from his Rattlers’ post
Tuesday morning.

“Personal issues are a different priority with myself and the organization,” Steinmann said. “So they allowed me the opportunity to stay down in Arizona as a coach. If they hadn’t given me that opportunity, I would have had to resign from the Mariners. I’m glad I work for an organization that will do that for me.

“This is something I have to take care of. Hopefully, I can take care of things this year and be on my way.”

Again I wish Steiny good luck and hope that everything turns out well.

According to Mariners director of player development Frank Mattox, Steinmann
remains a vital part of the Seattle organization.“He requested to stay closer to
home, and we met those requests,” Mattox said.

“We believe in family first, and that’s what took place. It’s all good. He’s in as good a standing as he has ever been.”

The way this situation is being handled by the Mariners shouldn't surprise anyone who has worked with them. Family first is not just a slogan. They mean it.

Horner is ready to step in on the short notice:

“It will be interesting,” Horner said. “It’s my first rodeo, and I told the kids that, too. I’ll have a lot of questions, but I’ll get the support from the Mariners, and I have a lot of people I can call, too.”

One thing that will help Horner -- he mentions it early in the article -- is that he is familiar with a lot of the players who will play for him at Fox Cities Stadium this season. He was the hitting coach for a pretty good Everett team last year.


You know who will love this...

...the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have partnered with Ferrellgas to provide "Hot Zones" around the ballpark throughout the month of April. Stainless steel commercial patio heaters will be strategically placed throughout the ballpark and will allow fans to warm up, if necessary. The partnership is an effort to combat the unpredictable weather in
the early part of the season.
Unpredictable is right, but I promise not to make any weather jokes on this site. I save that stuff for the radio broadcast.

Officially Baseball Season

On a less serious note than the one below, the Timber Rattler front office is ready for the 2006 season.

Today was the first tarp pull of the year.

A new tarp was delivered last week and today (eight days before the season) was the day we unpacked it, put it on the field, and rolled it up to put it away.

It wasn't a lot of fun. There is talk of a pool to see who can guess the number of times the staff does a tarp pull this season. I'll be keeping track.

The News of the Day

The Rattlers will have a new manager for the 2006 season.

Jim Horner will be making his managerial debut in just eight days. He has been to Fox Cities Stadium before. Horner played part of the 1997 season as a catcher for the Timber Rattlers.

From the team release on the team website:

The 1992 graduate of Twin Falls (ID) High School, played football & baseball and was an honorable mention on the USA Today All-American football team. Horner continued his education at Washington State University where he was named to the All-Pac-10 North athletics and academic teams. He graduated in June of ’96 with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Horner will replace 2005 Rattler manager, Scott Steinmann. Steinmann led the first and second half Western Division champion T-Rats to the Midwest League Championship Series, where they were defeated by the South Bend Silver Hawks. Steinmann will remain in Arizona for the 2006 season for personal reasons.
It was very surprising to get this news. We all hope that everything is okay with Steiny. We also welcome Jim back to Fox Cities Stadium.

Link to story has been added. Was not available at first posting.


Nine Days Remaining

Busy day for the Timber Rattler Staff with 9 days to the start of the season. My day began with a 7am talk at the Grand Chute Kiwanis Club meeting. The Kiwanians were excited for the approach of baseball and spring and had plenty of questions. Plus, I got a couple of donuts.

I used to dislike public speaking, which is odd considering what I chose to do for a living, but it is something that has become more comfortable to me.

Pretty much everyone was already at work when I pulled into the lot a little past 8am. There is so much to do: Wall signs to be put up, radio scripts to be written, tickets to be delievered, and a lot more that goes into the start of a season. It is controlled chaos at the stadium right now, but we always manage to pull together and have the park ready for the fans.

No team news yet. The 2006 roster has not been announced. The team will be arriving on the afternoon of Monday, April 3. We should hear who is on the plane Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. When the roster is finalized, it will be posted here.

Here is a brief look at events coming up on the schedule. follow the links for more information:

Tuesday, April 4: FanFest -- It's an open house for our fans. Practice that day is open to the public (weather permitting). A stadium tour and a player autograph session are available as well.

Wednesday, April 5: Welcome Home Banquet -- Another chance to meet the team. Dinner at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. Jay Johnstone is the guest speaker.

Thursday, April 6: Opening Night -- The Rattlers and the Peoria Chiefs play game number one of the season. The Chiefs are the Chicago Cubs Midwest League affiliate and the game begins at 6:35pm. More on the match-up once the teams are set.

Lots more left to do yet tonight, including orientation for the seasonal stadium workers in about an hour.


Ten Days From Now...

...the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will be starting their 2006 season. I'll be along with them for my seventh season as the radio announcer. There are 140 games on the Rattlers' regular season Midwest League schedule.

My name is Chris Mehring. I carry a headset.

The idea behind this blog is to help Timber Rattler fans follow their favorite Midwest League team. This is also for people who may be curious about what a job in minor league baseball is like.

My intention is to have fun with this. There will be notes on each game, odd things that happen, special events going on at Fox Cities Stadium, and a lot of other things that I haven't thought of yet.

This post is just to get Rattler Radio started. There will be more posts leading up to Opening Day on April 6.
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