Walking in East Peoria

Some of the landmarks within a brief walk of the hotel...

Why is this notable aside from the fact that it's right next to the hotel?

For this. This old-school Pepsi Machine Rocks! And it has a button for Coca-Cola!

No comment. None.

Nothing says fine dining like a GIANT rooster with a top hat

You can tell this bar is in Illinois. They open at 7:30am Monday-Saturday and Noon on Sunday. They would be out of business in Wisconsin with hours like that.

Random Picture from My Hotel Window (#13 in a Series)

Great. Another tree.

Soriano Update

From the Seattle Times coverage of Rafael Soriano taking the line drive off the side of his head off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero.

"Lucky" Soriano leaves hospital

The day after a baseball traveling in excess of 100 mph sent him from the pitching mound to the hospital, doctors pronounced Rafael Soriano both fortunate and lucky — or as lucky and fortunate as possible for a uy who took a line drive off his skull.

The Mariners reliever spent Tuesday night at Harborview Medical Center in the intensive-care unit, and remained there Wednesday morning and afternoon for tests. Satisfied with the results, doctors released Soriano later in the afternoon. It is unclear how soon he will return to pitching, a secondary concern to his overall health the past two days.


Soriano had a second CT scan in the morning, along with a physical-therapy evaluation (walking, balance, etc.) in the afternoon, and after both tests, doctors were convinced he suffered only the mild concussion and no further brain injury.

Doctors also found Soriano articulate in both Spanish and English, and in good spirits. Family members who gathered at Harborview Medical Center told doctors that Soriano seemed normal.

The swelling on his head occurred outside, not internally, and Soriano still had what doctors called a "goose egg" behind his ear Wednesday that continued to cause him pain. He was taking medication for his headaches, but even those appeared to be improving.

"It hurts where the ball hit," Ellenbogen deadpanned when asked if Soriano had any complaints. "But he's pretty stoic. He's pretty bright and alert and cooperative and doing much better than anybody would have predicted if they watched that TV replay."

To pitchers, ignorance a blessing ... and a curse

"When he does return, you have to figure out, 'How do I deal with this fear issue now?' " said Dave Valle, a Mariners broadcast analyst and a former major-league catcher. "You have to wonder, 'How do I get back to where I was without having thoughts in the back of my head?' You don't want him to be like, 'I don't want to throw pitches on the outside corner because it might come back to me.' "

Valle doesn't believe it will be an issue for Soriano, a 26-year-old who already has come back from Tommy John surgery, but who knows for sure?

A smokin' line drive to the cranium off Vladimir Guerrero's bat no less will present a dicey mental challenge. Wednesday, a day after the incident, few at Safeco Field seemed to have recovered from witnessing the trauma.

"Gruesome," Valle said, shaking his head. "Just the ball hitting the flesh, it's like something hitting a watermelon, a hollow and then gushing sound."

Valle recognizes the sound too easily. Spend a life in baseball, and that sound will nag.

He can hear Brad Holman taking one off the head in 1993 in Texas. The late Kirby Puckett unintentionally clocked Steve Shields in the cheek in 1987. Matt Young took one in 1983. It happened to Billy Swift, too.

"It's always tough to see," Valle said. "It brought back some bad memories."

M's Notebook: Big sigh of relief for Guerrero

Everyone at Safeco Field was breathing a sigh of relief Wednesday about Rafael Soriano's hopeful prognosis, but no one more so than Vladimir Guerrero.

It was Guerrero, of course, who hit the line drive in the eighth inning on Tuesday that hit Soriano flush in the head and led to considerable consternation about his health.

The Angels' superstar was so concerned he went to Harborview Medical Center after the game to check on Soriano, a fellow Dominican and long-time acquaintance.

"I feel a lot better knowing he's OK," Guerrero said through an interpreter. "Just knowing he didn't have any fractures, I feel a lot better. ... I don't want anything bad to happen to any player; even more so to a player from my own country. We're pretty good friends."

Odds & Ends for a Thursday

My inner Cub fan gets a kick out of this story about Peoria manager Jody Davis; Everybody Likes Jody:

In his first year as a manager in affiliated baseball, Davis won a first-half title in the Western Division to assure the Chiefs an invitation to the Midwest League playoffs starting next week.

Chiefs players and employees have been equally impressed with the way Davis handles autograph requests - every day, home and away - and a heavy volume of mail.

"It's funny that he gets more fan mail than anyone on this team," Chiefs first baseman Ryan Norwood said. "That's what we all want. I won't say it's a jealousy thing, but you see it and you say, 'Yeah, I want that. I want to be that good where people want my autograph.' "

Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen said this is the first season he can recall the manager being the center of attention. That has raised awareness of the team in the community.

"He does quite a few speaking engagements," Vonachen said. "We've never really gotten a lot of requests from rotary clubs and Kiwanis before. We've had a lot for Jody. He's done an excellent job with that. He goes out and tells great stories about his playing days. Jody's a laid-back guy who's pretty much done whatever we've asked him to do for us."

Today is the last day of Midwest League Baseball at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Enquirer has multi-story coverage.

Soon to be a memory

Years of rumors are finally a reality as poor attendance has forced the franchise out of town. This season, the Devil Rays ranked third from the bottom in Midwest League attendance.

However, the team isn't void of true fans. There's simply not enough of them.

Thirty-five loyalists have been season-ticket holders all 12 years and several other people have supported the team strongly. The Devil Rays offered all the 12-year ticket holders the opportunity to throw out a ceremonial first pitch between games of tonight's doubleheader finale against the Beloit (Wis.) Snappers, which starts at 5:35 p.m.


Three years ago, the Payne family decided to make baseball a part of their lives. Ever since, Deborah and Brian, along with daughter Samantha have been C.O. Brown regulars and player hosts.

This year, the Paynes hosted fan-favorite Cesar Suarez, the Devil Rays' smiling, solid-hitting third baseman. Samantha Payne, 12, has become a baseball fanatic and one of the Rays' loudest supporters behind the third-base dugout.

"It's an awful feeling (seeing the team leave)," Samantha said. "I was thinking about it just the other day, and I didn't like the way it felt. I just like the atmosphere at the ballpark."

Even though it became inevitable the franchise would leave, that realization isn't making the breakup any easier on fans.

"Baseball has enhanced our lives in numerous ways," Deborah Payne said.

"It's been more than just a sport. To us, it's like breaking up a big family."

Sun sets on Rays' home season and an era of baseball in Battle Creek

People either thought this would never work, or they thought it could last forever. Turns out they we're all right, to a certain extent.

B.C. can boast Major alumni

In 1999, 40 percent of the Michigan Battle Cats' starting pitching rotation consisted of Roy Oswalt and Johan Santana.


Oswalt and Santana are just two of the 42 players who spent time in the Battle Creek franchise and went on to play in the major leagues.

Whether it was the Michigan Battle Cats, Battle Creek Yankees or Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, the last 12 seasons have been talent-rich.

The complete list is over on the righthand side of the screen.

2007 Rattler Schedule Released

Opening Day 2007 is April 5 against Peoria at Fox Cities Stadium.

The Post-Crescent Story is HERE.

More on this later after I've had a chance to go through it. Of note though:

A lot of two-game series against teams.
The trip to Midland is paired with a trip to South Bend in May.
There is a SIXTEEN game homestand at Fox Cities Stadium from August 7 - August 23

Game Notes for 8/31

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Chiefs edged the Timber Rattlers 8-7 in eleven innings. Yusuf Carter’s infield single with the bases loaded drove in the winning run.

CARTER COUNTRY: Carter had a pair of hits, scored two runs, and drove in two for the Chiefs last night.

BIG ERROR: Rattler reliever Ruben Flores got Jesus Valdez to pop out to first in the bottom of the eleventh inning. But, Rattler first baseman Curt Ledbetter dropped the ball and they winning run got on base. Valdez stole second went to third on a single and eventually scored on Carter’s single.

BREAKING OUT: Rattler outfielder Stan Posluszny drove in three runs for the Rattlers last night. He had a two run double and a sacrifice fly for the three RBI. Posluszny also stole home on the back end of a double steal.

DOUBLING DOWN: Jeff Flaig had a pair of doubles last night and now leads the Rattlers in that category with 23. Of his 70 hits, 23 are doubles.

CO-LEADER: Eddy Hernandez drove in a run to give him 47 RBI this season. He is tied with Garth for the team lead in RBI.

PLAYING AGAINST PEORIA: Rattler shortstop Chris Minaker is 16-for-32 (.500) in seven games against the Chiefs this season.

KAPPEL STREAK ENDS: Rattler closer Brian Kappel allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the ninth inning on a single by Kyle Reynolds for his first blown save this season. Kappel had been a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities since joining the Rattlers. He had also been 5-for-5 in save opportunities with Everett in the Northwest League.

NUMBER TWO ON THE LIST: Last night, Rattler reliever Edgar Guaramato pitched in his 52nd game of the season. He is now second on Wisconsin’s single season list for appearances by a reliever. Mike Hrynio made 54 appearances in 2004 and tops the list.

MOVING AROUND: Rattler second baseman Ron Garth was the lead-off batter last night. He had been the cleanup batter on Tuesday and the lead-off batter against the Chiefs on Monday night.

SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR: With five games remaining in the regular season, the Rattlers are 51-84. Wisconsin needs to go 3-2 over those last five games to pass the 2002 Timber Rattler team that finished the season 53-86. That 53-86 mark in the worst record in Wisconsin history.

STAYING OUT OF THE CELLAR: The eighth place Clinton LumberKings beat the Fort Wayne Wizards last night. The seventh place Rattlers are three games up on the LumberKings with five games left. The Rattlers trail sixth place Burlington by three games.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Todd Blackford became a Cub after a trade sent Todd Hollandsworth to the Atlanta Braves in August of 2005. Blackford is making his fifth start of the season against the Rattlers. He is 2-2 with a 6.05ERA in his prior four starts vs. Wisconsin. Blackford is 2-0 at Fox Cities Stadium, but 0-2 at O’Brien Field against the Rattlers. He has lost his last four starts. The last time Blackford pitched was August 25 against Quad Cities at O’Brien Field. He allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings with four walks and one strikeout.

Wednesday Night in the MWL

@Peoria 8, Wisconsin 7 -- Extra inning losses on the road stink.

Beloit @ Southwest Michigan (PPD) -- Two today for the final Rays games at CO Brown.

@West Michigan 9, Lansing 3 -- Cameron Maybin with a grand slam for the Caps.

@Quad Cities 7, Kane County 2 -- Six straight wins for the SWING.

@Clinton 8, Fort Wayne 5 -- L-Kings snap a losing streak. John Mayberry hit his 20th homer of the year for Clinton.

Dayton 1, @South Bend 0
@South Bend 3, Dayton 2 (8 inn.) -- Another low-scoring doubleheader split at South Bend.

Burlington 7, @Cedar Rapids 1 (completion of Tuesday's game)
@Cedar Rapids 1, Burlington 0 -- Bees get the first game. Kernel offense gets one hit (not a homer) in the nightcap for the split.

Complete Wednesday Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Jon Nelson, Tacoma.

Two homers and five RBI for Nelson.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/30)

Seattle (MAJ: 63-70; 4th AL West): The Mariners lost 5-3 to the Angels. Chris Snelling (WI ’00) was 1-for-2 with an RBI for Seattle but the Mariner winning streak ended at six.

Tacoma (AAA – 72-67; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Salt Lake 16-2. Adam Jones (WI ’04) had five hits and TJ Bohn (WI ’03) added four hits for the Rainiers. Jon Nelson (WI ’03) homered twice and drove in five runs for Tacoma.

San Antonio (AA – 58-76; 31-35 second half 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio beat Corpus Christi 5-3. Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) had a pair of hits, a double. Yung Chi Chen (WI ’05) added three hits and Travis Chick struck out eight for the win.

Inland Empire (High-A – 71-64, 32-33 second half; 3rd California League South Division): Inland Empire lost 5-2 to High Desert in ten innings. Justin Jordan (WI ’05) pitched six no-hit innings with six strikeouts and left with 2-0 lead for the 66ers. Johan Limonta (WI ’06) had three this and scored a run for Inland Empire. But, the Mavericks scored a run in the seventh, a run in the eighth, and three in the tenth for the win.

Everett (Short Season-A – 29-40; 4th Northwest League West Division): Everett was swept in a doubleheader by Eugene. The Emeralds won game one 1-0 by scoring a run in the top of the first and held Everett to five hits. Eugene took game two 6-0. The Sox had two hits in the nightcap.

Seattle – OFF DAY
Salt Lake (Kasey Olenberger 7-4) at Tacoma (Travis Blackley 0-1) 9:05pm CDT
Corpus Christi (Troy Patton 2-4) at San Antonio (Robert Rohrbaugh 4-5) 7:05pm CDT
Inland Empire at High Desert 9:05pm CDT
Eugene (Aaron Breit 2-2) at Everett (Tony Butler 0-2) 9:05pm CDT
AZL Mariners – Season over (25-30)

If Wednesday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:

I enjoyed this Hitchcock movie but, I hated the ending. The whole movie is building to an obvious ending, but it doesn't end the way it should have.

I enjoyed tonight's game, but hated the ending. The whole game was building to a Rattler win, but it didn't end the way it should have.

Darn it.

Get 'em tomorrow.

Complete Wednesday Box Score HERE.


Odds & Ends for a Wednesday...

From yesterday's Seattle Times; M's farm report: Tillman looking to move up fast in organization

About Mariner 2006 2nd round draft pick Chris Tillman, his 90+ fastball and his aspirations:

Tillman, who also throws a curveball and a changeup, allowed no runs and one hit in six innings and struck out 10. He was the winning pitcher in the 8-5 decision over Yakima. He showed the ability that led to his being taken in the second round despite being 5-5 this spring in his senior season at Fountain Valley (Calif.) High School.

"I guess I was kind of bored with the competition," Tillman said of his senior season. "I had faced all those hitters since I was a freshman. So I kind of cruised a little bit.

"I like playing against a higher level of competition, and I think it makes me play better baseball."

Also from yesterday's Times; M's Notes: Mateo out for season with broken hand

Mariners right-hander Julio Mateo, who leads the major leagues in victories by a relief pitcher, was lost for the season on Monday when he broke a bone in his left hand in a weight-lifting accident.

The Mariners placed Mateo on the 60-day disabled list and selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Jon Huber from Class AAA Tacoma.

Huber arrived at the ballpark shortly before game time and was in uniform, wearing No. 60.

Mateo, 29, was lifting weights before Monday's game against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. While returning a 35-pound weight to the rack, his hand slipped and got caught between a weight and the rack. He fractured the fourth metacarpal bone, and was outfitted with a splint. No surgery will be required, and Mateo will get a permanent cast on Friday.

From Wednesday's Times; M's farm system: Morrow armed for long haul

Just for the record, Brandon Morrow did develop a sore arm that has slowed his progress, but it had nothing to do with the Mariners' first-round draft selection in June picking up a telephone.

After being taken No. 5 overall by Seattle out of the University of California, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a spoof column about how Morrow seriously injured himself while taking a call from reporters.

Soon, several media outlets were reporting it as fact. Morrow was blissfully unaware until he received a call from Massachusetts, from the family that hosted him when he played in the Cape Cod Summer League.

"I got this call from my host brother, who was watching [Pardon the Interruption] on ESPN," he said. "I didn't know what he was talking about."


Morrow, a diabetic who wears an insulin pump, is feeling so good he is expecting to join Class A Inland Empire for the final week of the regular season. He was expected to be at Inland Empire two months ago, but the M's have been cautious after Morrow developed a sore arm.

From the Battle Creek Enquirer; Clouded future for baseball in Battle Creek

Both a depressing and an illuminating read on baseball in Cereal City, U.S.A. I suggest reading the whole thing, but to pull a few paragraphs:

I guess what surprises me the most about the whole situation is that there was actually minor league pro ball played in Battle Creek in the first place.

Take this way-back machine ride with me to help understand my point ...

Back in the good ol' days, good ol' Bailey Stadium - which reminded one of a Wrigley Field-type ballpark - consistently drew tons of folks to it to watch regular-season city league Stan Musial-division adult baseball and North Central Regionals action and the Stan Musial World Series.

Aside from the singles and couples who loved the game, entire families regularly attended city ball. Kids could be found en masse inside Bailey Stadium watching the games, and outside its brick and stone walls making their nickels and dimes retrieving foul balls and home run blasts.

But then times changed. Society changed.


Nevertheless, local movers and shakers of the late 1980s and early 1990s thought interest in amateur baseball could thrive once again if only the local people had a brand-new, modern-type ballpark to come to.

Voila! We bring you C.O. Brown Stadium.

I remember sitting in dark, dank, upper-story rooms in the old parks and rec building. Sitting - via invitation - in the same rooms where the movers and shakers of that time planned and eventually realized the razing of old Bailey Stadium and the construction of the new C.O. Brown Stadium.


And with the theory of "if we build it, they will come'' in mind, the movers and the shakers started making lists of amateur baseball events they could bring in that would fill the seats in the new stadium to the brim.

But ONLY with amateur baseball events.

Professional baseball? Those two words were not to be uttered - ever - the movers and shakers said in those dank, dark meeting rooms in the old rec building.


But city league ball never drew like the movers and shakers thought it would. And it wasn't long before Musial-level regular-season games featured more people on the field than spectators in the stands. It was costing more to turn on the lights and fire up the concession-stand hot dog machines than the amount of money that was coming in.

So, after losing money and losing money and losing money, the city decided to try to lure minor league pro baseball to town.

And for a short while, the strategy worked, too.

But again, not for long. The losing money scenario continued. Not even a Midwest League championship team could make the turnstiles spin in grand fashion.

No matter the marketing strategies the minor league franchises employed, the fans did not come as hoped for.

And now, we're back to where we started.

Game Notes for 8/30

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers beat the Chiefs 3-0. Pitchers Marwin Vega, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, and Brian Kappel combined on a four hit shutout. Travis Scott hit a two-run double in the top of the fourth inning to give the pitchers all the runs they would need.

VIVA VEGA: Vega snapped a personal two game losing streak with seven shutout innings. He allowed four hits, walked three, and struck out five.

EARLY PROBLEM: The Chiefs had runners at second and third with no outs in the bottom of the third. Vega got Valerio Heredia to ground out to third to hold the runners. After a walk to Robinson Chirinos loaded the bases, Vega got Jake Whitesides to ground into a 1-2-3 double play to end the Chief threat.

BATS AWAKEN: The Rattler hitters responded in the top of the fourth. Wisconsin had four hits in the inning. Scott’s two-run double knocked in the first two runs of the game. Alex Liddi drove in Scott with a single later in the inning.

THREE IS A MAGIC NUMBER: Rattler outfielder Eddy Hernandez and designated hitter Chris Minaker each had three hits in last night’s game.

PLAYING AGAINST PEORIA: Minaker is 14-for-26 (.538) in six games against the Chiefs this season. Hernandez is 13-for-39 (.333) in eleven games against the Chiefs in 2006.

KAPPEL STAYS PERFECT: Rattler closer Brian Kappel worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to earn his seventh save with Wisconsin. Kappel is 7-for-7 in save opportunities in the Midwest League. He was 5-for-5 in save opportunities with Everett in the Northwest League.

MOVING AROUND: Rattler second baseman Ron Garth was the cleanup batter last night. He had been the lead-off batter for the Rattlers against the Chiefs on Monday night.

SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR: With six games remaining in the regular season, the Rattlers are 51-83. Wisconsin needs to go 3-3 over those last six games to pass the 2002 Timber Rattler team that finished the season 53-86. That 53-86 mark in the worst record in Wisconsin history.

STAYING OUT OF THE CELLAR: The eighth place Clinton LumberKings were swept in a doubleheader at home by the Fort Wayne Wizards last night. The seventh place Rattlers are four games up on the LumberKings with six games left. The Rattlers trail sixth place Burlington by 2-1/2 games.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Marco Carillo was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2005. Last season, he was 2-5 with a save and a 2.81ERA for the Cubs affiliate in the Arizona League. Carillo also pitched for the AZL Cubs in 2006 where he went 4-0 in thirteen games (three starts) with an ERA of 1.73. He faced the AZL Mariners once and allowed three runs on five hits over three innings on July 8th. Carillo is making his Midwest League debut tonight for the Chiefs.

Tuesday in the MWL

Wisconsin 3, @Peoria 0 -- Vega leads the way. The Chiefs are worried about their playoff roster.

Lansing 7, @West Michigan 4 -- Lansing scores three in the ninth to stop Whitecaps drive for playoff momentum.

Burlington 1, @Cedar Rapids 1 -- Suspended in the top of the second by 1-1/4" of rain in thirty minutes.

It was Two-Fer-Tuesday everywhere else in the MWL:

@South Bend 1, Dayton 0
@South Bend 2, Dayton 1 -- Hawks get in the playoffs with three runs in a doubleheader. Dragons are almost out of the playoffs with one run in a doubleheader.

@Southwest Michigan 3, Beloit 2 (11 inn)
Beloit 7, Southwest Michigan 0 (6 inn) -- Tough loss in game one for Snappers, but the D-Rays still got knocked out of the playoffs.

@Quad Cities 4, Kane County 3
@Quad Cities 13, Kane County 4 -- SWING sweep.

Fort Wayne 11, @Clinton 8
Fort Wayne 4, @Clinton 1 -- Wizards are almost in the playoffs after a sweep at Clinton.

Complete Tuesday Scoreboard HERE.

Co-Rattler Alums of the Day

At the Major League level:

Chris Snelling, Seattle.

A pair of home runs in the Mariners sixth win in a row. Snelling is now hitting .364 since returning to Seattle.

At the Minor League level

Rich Dorman, Tacoma

Eight shutout innings with 14 K's in a Rainier win.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/29)

Seattle (MAJ: 63-69; 4th AL West): The Mariners beat the Angels 6-4. Chris Snelling (WI ’00) hit a pair of home runs. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez and Ichiro also homered for the M’s. JJ Putz (WI ’00) earned his 29th save. But, the story of the game was Rafael Soriano (WI '00), who took a lineshot to his head off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero.

Initial reports were positive.

As teammates surrounded Soriano next to the mound on the empty field in a ballpark long gone silent, his arms and legs moved. He was conscious. He knew where he was and what had happened, terrible as it was.

He complained of a major headache and suffered some swelling where the ball hit head. And so he was taken to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.

Tacoma (AAA – 71-67; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma beat Salt Lake 2-0. Rich Dorman (WI ’03) struck out fourteen over eight shutout innings for the win. He allowed three hits and walked one. Adam Jones (WI ’04) and Oswaldo Navarro (WI ’05) each drove in a run for the Rainiers.

San Antonio (AA – 57-76; 30-35 second half 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio lost 6-0 at Frisco. Ryan Feierabend (WI ’04) struck out five, walked four, and allowed four runs (one earned) to take the loss. The Mission offense managed four hits.

Inland Empire (High-A – 71-63, 32-32 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire lost 6-3 at High Desert with a bench clearing brawl included. JB Tucker (WI ’06) drove in three runs with a double in the top of the ninth inning.

Everett (Short Season-A – 29-38; 4th Northwest League West Division): Everett had their game with Eugene rained out.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 25-30; 11-16 7th Arizona League): The Mariners lost 9-6 to the Royals.

Los Angeles (John Lackey 10-9) at Seattle (Jake Woods 4-1) 9:05pm CDT
Salt Lake (Nathan Bland 6-5) at Tacoma (Francisco Cruceta 12-9) 9:05pm CDT
Corpus Christi (Chance Douglass 7-7) at San Antonio (Travis Chick 3-2) 7:05pm CDT
High Desert (Carlos Rosa 0-1) at Inland Empire (Justin Jordan 5-6) 9:11pm CDT
Eugene (Steve Faris 2-1) at Everett (Steve Uhlmansiek 3-4) 8:05pm CDT
Eugene (Brooks Dunn 3-6) at Everett (Ricky Orta 4-3) – GAME TWO
AZL Mariners – Season over

Edit: Resized quote about Soriano to make it readable


If Tuesday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:

Three outlaws bring an infant across the desert to safety in this John Wayne/John Ford movie.

Three Rattler pitchers bring a three run lead to the win column in Tuesday's 3-0 win at Peoria.

Complete Tuesday Box Score HERE.

Loony Reaction

Here is the initial release...From the Midwest League website:

Great Lakes Loons named

The Loons will play in central Michigan, strategically
placed in the middle of four of the five Great Lakes.
"To the east we have
Lake Huron, to the west we have Lake Michigan," said Stacey Trapani with the
Loons. "The south has Lake Erie, and the north has Lake Superior. It's a great
location, and the lakes are so much a part of this state."

"Loons are very well-known birds in the area," said
Trapani. "The idea was to have a name that encompassed everyone and not just one
area of the state."

The real news is buried at the bottom of the release.

The new team will still be affiliated with the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays and play in the Midwest League. The Class A affiliation will also
remain. Trapani said a new, fresh team identity will draw new fans.

I was wrong. Two pieces of real news were buried at the bottom of the release. #1.) The Devil Rays will keep their affiliation with the franchise after the move. #2.) I should hope that the Class A affliation will also remain.

I'd hate to have a Triple-A team in the Class A Midwest League.

Crowd goes wild over team name:

The verdict is in – the Michigan Baseball Foundation
apparently has hit a home run with the name of its minor league
team. Shortly after the announcement Saturday that the
team will be the "Great Lakes Loons," several spectators at The Main Event near
the Tridge lauded the MBF for its choice. The prevailing
opinion seemed to be that "Loons" was good and "Great Lakes" even
better. "I love it. I was surprised, because I thought it
would be more like ‘Tri-City’ or ‘Midland,’" said Midland’s Pat McDonald. "It
just sounds good."


The team nickname – which was chosen from over 3,500 entries
submitted by the public to the MBF – was the brainstorm of 8-year-old Shawn
Zebrak, a third-grader at Adams Elementary School, and Pinconning’s Randy
Trudell, who also suggested the nickname "Loons."


Apparently, the newspaper couldn't find one person in the Great Lakes area that didn't like the name:

Midland’s Tom Darger also liked the inclusive nature of the
"Great Lakes" moniker. "I think the fact that they chose
‘Great Lakes’ instead of ‘Mid-Michigan’ was smart, because it goes outside
mid-Michigan," Darger noted. "You’re going to get people from the Thumb and
people from northern Michigan who want to go to a game, and if they just called
it ‘Mid-Michigan,’ those people (might not) feel
welcome. "I think ‘Great Lakes’ is an excellent


Bay City’s Stacey Werner and Midland’s Steve Taglauer echoed
Darger’s sentiments. "It’s kind of a general name, and
that’s good," Werner said. "It includes everybody." "I
thought it would be something (like) ‘Tri-City’ or something like that, not
encompassing the whole area," Taglauer admitted. "It’s great. It’s not just
(about) Midland; it’s (about) the whole area."


Bay City’s Jeremy Gauthier said he liked the originality of
the name. "I like it. It’s different. I’ve never heard of
a team named that before," said Gauthier,


Werner and Taglauer said that they, too, were pleasantly
surprised by the nickname. "I like it a lot," said
Werner. "The ‘Loons’ is a great name for (a family-oriented)
team." "I think it’s awesome. It’s different," Taglauer
said. "It’s not like the ‘Mustangs’ or anything generic like that. It’s a catchy

Maybe they should have checked their own forums...

Like the name?

I'm sorry if I offend anyone but...

I (and my brother) were distraught when we caught a glimpse of the new name. We arrived at the event late (we have 3 young daughters each) and checked out the team sales tent to get the name. I am thoroughly disappointed with both parts...

"Great Lakes" and "Loons". We are both desperately searching for a positive to this debacle and can't seem to accept these names in our hearts. Both of us showed up intending to purchase hats, jerseys, and stuff for the kids. We left with nothing but an ill feeling. I was one of those who showed up early on the first day of ticket sales to secure good seats for my brother and I.

Having both attended a number of semipro games aroung the country while in the service we are both familiar with the quality of entertainment such a team brings. But the recognition the name brings s a huge part of it. The Toldeo Mudhens, Salinas Spurs, Lansing Lugnuts, etc. I am disappointed because this team had SO MUCH potential for bringing in an awesome, marketable name and if completely FAILED.

I haven't spoken with a single person who likes the name. Those I know who simply accept it aren't the type who would be considered real fans anyway. Didn't management consider the marketing failure of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? This is a sports team. I am sorry but "Loons" (even those with "piercing eyes") aren't intimidating to anyone. I feel sorry for the guys who will have to play with the monicker. I'm not a big fan of the color scheme either. Sorry.

Someone else hit the nail on the head when they said that "Great Lakes" is far too encompassing. This was an opportunity to help the Valley shine. Failure. "Loons", regardless of the fact that is an actual bird, sounds cartoonish. Why not name the team the "DO-DOs" or the "Cuckoo Birds"? Shameful.

That might be a bit over the top. Distraught? Shameful? It's just a nickname, a hilarious nickname for a sports team in your area, but just a nickname.

I was extrememly disapointed at the name selected for the new minor eague team. My parents who are long time Midland sports supporters (50+ years) called me after they got home from the events downtown to tell me about what was going on. My mother was upset that the name did nothing to represent Midland. My dad thought it was a joke!

Two Loons fans walk into a bar...

PATHETIC!! It would be nice to know if the deep pocketed bully foundations would release the list of names that were entered. THe name S**KS! I was under the impression that the name would have something to do with Midland or the greater region that we live in, since we are funding it!
That is just from the first page of the forums.

Great. Lakes. Loons.

Swing. of the. Quad Cities.

Same thing?

Is there anyone out there who knows what the reaction was to the renaming the Appleton Foxes to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers? I'd be interested to hear what that was like.

Playing Catch-Up (Post #2)

The next segment of Working in the Minors was up before the weekend; Party Patrol's job is to have, spread fun

Dan Pieringer helps out the Round Rock Express and lives a lifelong dream:

In fact, I can die a happy man. At 22 years old, I realized my lifelong dream of running out onto a baseball field and shooting T-shirts out of an oversized slingshot with a man in a giant dog costume as thousands of screaming fans cheered us on. It's all downhill from here.

I accomplished this last Monday as I filled in as a member of the Party Patrol, the in-game entertainment crew at Round Rock's Dell Diamond.

The Party Patrol is composed of 13 people, and three to six of them will participate in the promotions for any given game. As soon as I donned my loaner "Party Patrol" shirt, I was ready to see baseball from a new perspective.


While I was comfortable with passing out coupons and talking to kids and smiling to fellow baseball fans, there were moments in the evening when I did feel distinctly out of place.

The first occurred in the middle of the fourth inning. In all of my daydreams of dancing on top of dugouts, I was always doing so to celebrate my game-winning hit in the World Series. Never once had I imagined my dugout-top dance to be part of a promotion. But as soon as the side was retired, Seamus told me to get up on the home team's dugout for "the chicken dance."

The prospect of dancing in front of thousands of people was scary enough, but the fact that I'd never done "the chicken dance" before tightened the knot in my stomach. There's nothing like learning new steps in front of 7,844 paying customers. But my shirt read "Party Patrol," so I knew I had to do get up there. I really lucked out, though, because it turns out the chicken dance is actually quite simple. It's four basic steps, the most complicated of which is flapping your arms as if you were a chicken. So I held my own, I suppose. Or did I?

Oh, and there is a part II:

It was a view unlike any other I've ever had at a baseball game.

Tracking the Party Patrol for a night is not without its perks. But it turned out we were there on business, because it's from that gate the Party Patrol emerges with Round Rock's mascot, Spike (a rail yard dog), to shoot shirts into the crowd.

My heart sped up as I saw the green grass from behind the center-field fence. And the thrill I got from running into the outfield did not disappoint. Spike's right-hand woman, Britney Paxman, managed the slingshot with Seamus and me, while Spike and fellow Party Patrol member Joe Diaz cruised the sidelines in a four-wheeler with a cannon.

That time between the fifth and sixth innings was one of the highlights of my night with the Party Patrol.

But this event also dealt me an extra dose of adrenalin. One of the shirts we fired off looked dangerously close to falling short of the fans and onto the warning track, which would have been further evidence that I wasn't cut out for Patrolling. I was already the guy who couldn't dance. No, I was not ready to take strike two.

My heart was in my throat as that shirt made its way toward the crowd, and I breathed a sigh of relief as it barely cleared the outfield fence.

When I explained that fear to Seamus as we retreated out of sight, he told me that it happens to everyone. Apparently, Seamus misfired a shirt on June 16, the night Roger Clemens pitched in front of a franchise-record crowd of 13,475 at Dell Diamond. Seamus earned a hearty round of boos for his efforts, something he took completely in stride.

Yeah, but can he shoot it into a fishing net out of the radio booth? I didn't think so.

On any other night of the week, the Party Patrol would have started to wind down after the stretch. But it was Monday, and Monday is the one night that features a second dugout dance. I was being punished for something.

In the middle of the eighth inning on Mondays, Party Patrollers do the twist. Compared to the chicken dance, which has some breaks for flapping, the twist is a strenuous dance, involving constant motion and, it turns out, a degree of flexibility that far exceeds the the arm flap for the chicken dance.

Certain Party Patrol members confess to having a hard time with the twist.

"I can handle the chicken dance but the twist? I just get uncomfortable up there," said Chris O'Brien, another easily embarrassed and perhaps rhythmically challenged Patrol Patroller.

Again, I was reluctant, but I got up on the dugout with Seamus and the two of us twisted for the length of the inning break, which seemed like a long time. I don't know if the leadoff man was particularly impressed with our moves, or particularly amused by them, but I believe he could have gotten into the batter's box a lot sooner.

I finally dismounted the dugout, suddenly overwhelmed with an unreal craving for Oreos, when an usher to reveal what thousands of others in the stands were probably thinking: there aren't a lot of fans who want to see two men twist together flamboyantly on top of the dugout.

But the young fans loved it. And if there's one thing I kept rediscovering in my night at Dell Diamond, it's that the Party Patrol exists for the young fans. For every 30-year-old guy drinking a beer and staring at you from the front row with a look that seems to ask, "What are you doing to yourself, man?" there's a 4-year-old girl who just likes to see people having fun, flamboyant or not. And, if the crowd participation on Monday night is any barometer, watching goofy grownups do the twist is the definition of fun for a lot of kids.

Playing Catch-Up

Here are some stories I have been meaning to get to for the last few days. If you have seen some of them, they are old. If not, enjoy.

From RattlersReport.com

Brett's Sunday column is: Rattlers coaches like idea of another Appleton summer

GRAND CHUTE — If it was up to Jim Horner, he'd have his Appleton area apartment all lined up for 2007.

Instead, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers manager will have to spend part of his off-season in the dark as he waits to learn what his future holds.

"Love to," he said when asked of his desire to return to the Rattlers dugout. "I loved it. I loved everything about this year. If I get the opportunity to come back, I would love to."


Count first-year pitching coach and Wisconsin native Lance Painter as another who hopes to get a second crack with the Rattlers.

Like Horner, Painter found the going rough at times as he handled a staff that struggled with its command and is leading the league in walks (531) and among the bottom in team ERA (4.54).

Still, the experience produced more positives than negatives and gave him and his family an opportunity to catch up with relatives and friends.

"My family loved the fact that we were near my side of the family, so they could see grandma, aunts and uncles," said Painter, who spent 10 years as a major league pitcher, was a prep standout at Glendale Nicolet and played at the University of Wisconsin. "More than anything, I guess I was a little surprised by the fact that we had to repeat mechanics consistently all year long.

"But yeah, I enjoyed it. There were some tough moments, obviously. The losing was difficult at times this year. I know we're here to develop guys, but you also like to put a winning team out there. That was the biggest disappointment. But I would enjoy coming back."

Brett also has a story about the last home game of the year that also takes a look back at the 2006 season; Rattlers send fans off on high note

GRAND CHUTE — Putting a cap on the Sharpie and finding refuge from the hordes of autograph hounds, Robby Hudson took stock of the past four-plus months and smiled.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers infielder may never play in Appleton again, but he'll never forget the area, either.

"I haven't been part of a place like this where they love their sports so much," Hudson said following the Rattlers' 3-2 Midwest League victory over the Clinton LumberKings on Sunday in their home finale. "Coming to Appleton was an awesome experience."

A crowd of 5,332 ventured into Fox Cities Stadium to spit seeds, collect autographs and cheer the Rattlers on one final time before calling it another baseball year.

That gave Wisconsin an attendance mark of 209,033 in 65 dates — an average of 3,216 per game — and the third straight season it has hit the 200,000 plateau.

The Rattlers, who sprinkled in a handful of new promotions this season like showcasing the team in 1960 Fox Cities Foxes jerseys and caps during Friday games and allowing fans to play catch on the field prior to Sunday matchups, were buoyed by a strong late-season surge in which they averaged 5,323 fans in their final eight contests.

"You never like the season end," Rattlers president Rob Zerjav said. "It's fun for what we do. We like to entertain the crowd, and it's going to be a long, cold winter until we get going again. We'll be planning (for next year) and we're still open. But it's tough when you don't have the games everyday to reinforce what you're doing."


Yeah, you get buried the first half with a (low) average," Horner said. "That's why numbers aren't that important because you see them getting better everyday. Sometimes you take a couple of steps backwards with guys. But hopefully, when you go forward, you go two or three steps forward instead of just one step."

Count starter Paul Fagan as someone who took a giant step forward on Sunday.

The left-hander came in with a 5-13 record and a 5.12 ERA but exited with eight strikeouts and two walks in a solid seven-inning no-decision.
It was the third time in his past four outings Fagan has earned a quality start and left him feeling positive about what he has accomplished this summer.

"It's been a learning season for a lot of people," he said. "I've learned a lot, and I know a lot of other guys here have learned a lot. It's been a struggle this season. But everybody's learning, and I don't think we'll make the same mistakes next year, wherever we'll be."

Also, if you go to the main RattlersReport.com site, Brett has a podcast up discussing the 2006 Rattler season.

Game Notes for 8/29

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Chiefs beat the Timber Rattlers 3-1. Jesse Estrada gave up two hits and one run over seven innings with four strikeouts and no walks for the win.

TYING IT UP: The Rattlers trailed 1-0 with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Adam Moore hit a home run to left to tie the game.

RETIRING KIND: After the home run by Moore, Chief pitchers retired the final sixteen Rattler batters of the game. Estrada retired the final ten batters he faced. Scott Koerber worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Justin Rayborn pitched a perfect ninth for the save and to finish off Wisconsin.

FIRST START: Juan Colon made his first start since 2004 last night. He pitched five innings and gave up two runs on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Colon’s previous high for innings pitched as a Rattler was three innings against Quad Cities on July 17 against Quad Cities.

TWO RUNS: The Chiefs scored their first run off Colon on a 4-6-3 double play with runners at the corners in the bottom of the first. A two-out RBI single by Jake Whitesides in the bottom of the fourth pushed the go ahead run across the plate.

LOOKOUT: Colon hit two batters to help load the bases before Whitesides hit his RBI single in the fourth. Rattler pitchers have hit 130 opposing batters this season.

WILD AND OUTSIDE: Rattler reliever Ruben Flores threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the bottom of the eighth. Flores has now thrown seventeen wild pitches this season. He is tied with Justin Dunning (WI ’99) for third on the single season list for wild pitches by a Rattler. The team record is held by Justin Kaye (WI ’97) with 21 wild pitches.

SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR: With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Rattlers are 50-83. Wisconsin needs to go 4-3 over those last seven games to pass the 2002 Timber Rattler team that finished the season 53-86. That 53-86 mark in the worst record in Wisconsin history.

MEET THE NEW GUY: Pitcher John Sullivan, was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Mariners in August of 2004 out of the University of Oakland in Michigan. At Oakland, Sullivan was mainly a catcher and a third baseman and he was a First Team All-Mid-Continent Conference performer with a .348 batting average and twelve home runs. Sullivan made his professional pitching debut for the Mariners Arizona League affiliate in 2005. He went 3-0 with a pair of saves and a 2.92ERA. He began 2006 with the AZL Mariners and made one appearance for Seattle’s California League affiliate on August 23.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Fabian Jimenez started the season with the Fort Wayne Wizards. He was 5-7 with the Wizards before being sent to the Cubs organization in the Scott Williamson trade. Since joining Peoria, Jimenez is 1-2 with a 12.72ERA in three starts. Jimenez won his last start, a five inning outing against Quad Cities on August 24 at O’Brien Field. He allowed two runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts for the victory. Jimenez made one start against the Rattlers as a member of the Wizards on April 26 at Memorial Stadium. The Rattlers scored four runs on six hits and five walks over 4-2/3 innings. Jimenez struck out six Rattlers over that start.

Monday Night in the MWL

@Peoria 3, Wisconsin 1 -- Two hits? All they got was two hits? Chief pitcher Jesse Estrada may be the third starter the Chiefs are looking for in the playoffs.

@West Michigan 3, Lansing 1 -- Sendy Vasquez with nine strikeouts for his twelfth win of the season.

Burlington 4, @Cedar Rapids 3 -- The Bees get a ninth inning run for a win.

Fort Wayne @ Clinton (PPD) -- Rain.

Kane County @ Quad Cities (PPD) -- Rain.

Beloit @ Southwest Michigan (PPD) -- Rain.

Dayton @ South Bend (PPD) -- Rain.

Complete Monday Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Photo Credit: Kevin P. Casey/AP
Felix Hernandez, Seattle

First Major League Shutout.

Also of note: Johan Limonta with a two run homer in the top of the tenth for a 66er win and Jason Snyder with an emergency start for the Rainiers in which he allowed just one unearned run for the loss.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/28)

Seattle (MAJ: 62-69; 4th AL West): The Mariners beat the Angels 2-0 to snap a twenty game losing streak to AL West teams. Felix Hernandez (WI ’03) pitched a complete game shutout, his first in the major leagues. He allowed five hits and struck out four. Richie Sexson had a pair of hits and drove in a run for Seattle.

Tacoma (AAA – 70-67; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma lost 3-1 to Salt Lake and was eliminated from playoff contention. Jason Snyder (WI ’06) made an emergency start for the Rainiers. He allowed one unearned run over four innings and took the loss. Jon Nelson (WI ’05) homered for the only Tacoma run.

San Antonio (AA – 57-75; 30-34 second half 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio lost 2-1 at Frisco. Jason Mackintosh (WI ’04) allowed a run on three hits with five strikeouts over five innings, but took the loss. The Mission offense had just three hits as they were eliminated from playoff contention.

Inland Empire (High-A – 71-62, 32-31 second half; T-1st California League South Division): Inland Empire beat High Desert 7-5. Johan Limonta (WI ’06) hit a two-run home run in the top of the tenth inning to drive in the winning runs in his debut for the 66ers. Jeffery Dominguez (WI ’06) had three hits for Inland Empire.

Everett (Short Season-A – 29-38; 4th Northwest League West Division): Everett was off on Monday.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 25-28; 11-14 T-5th Arizona League): The Mariners lost 5-2 to the Giants.

Los Angeles (Jered Weaver 9-1) at Seattle (Jarrod Washburn 7-12) 9:05pm CDT
Salt Lake (Dan Davidson 1-0) at Tacoma (Rich Dorman 6-6) 9:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Ryan Feierabend 9-10) at Frisco (Kea Kometani 6-5) 7:00pm CDT
Inland Empire (Justin Thomas 9-3) at High Desert (Danny Christensen 5-6) 9:05pm CDT
Eugene at Everett 9:05pm CDT
AZL Royals at AZL Mariners 9:00pm CDT


One last thing tonight...

This story has been out there for a couple of days, Midland Michigan Loons named

I'll comment more later, but look at this logo...

From ourmidland.com

look at this mascot...

Say the name of the team...

Great. Lakes. Loons.

Are all the good nicknames gone?

If Monday's Game Were a Movie...

It would be:

Never saw this The Fast & The Furious 3: Tokyo Drift. But, why did I think of it when looking for a match for tonight's 3-1 loss to the Chiefs?

Two hits in the game for the Rattlers. Two hits in the Fast & Furious movie series.

Complete Monday Box Score HERE.

Game Notes for 8/28

ABOUT SUNDAY: The Rattlers beat the Clinton LumberKings 3-2. Jeff Flaig was 4-for-4 with a home run. The homer came in the top of the eighth to break a 2-2 tie.

FLAIG DAY: Yesterday was Flaig’s second 4-hit game of the season. He also hit his first home run since August 17, 2005 when he played for the Everett AquaSox.

THREE IN A ROW: The Rattlers won the final three wins of the series with the LumberKings. This is the first three game winning streak of the second half for the Rattlers. Wisconsin has won three or more games in a row two other times this season. The Rattlers won the final three games of the series with Fort Wayne earlier this season. Their longest winning streak of the season was five games from June 1st through June 5th.

SCATTERED: Clinton had ten hits, but only scored two runs. In the three Wisconsin wins of the series, Clinton scored a total of three runs on nineteen hits.

CONCENTRATED: All eight of Wisconsin’s hits were by the 2-3-4 hitters in their lineup. Flaig had four; Chris Minaker had two hits; and Johan Limonta added two.

SPEAKING OF LIMONTA: Limonta was promoted to Inland Empire after Sunday’s game.

GETTING CLOSER: Sunday’s Rattler starting pitcher Paul Fagan made his 27th start of the season yesterday. If he makes his scheduled start at Clinton on Friday, Fagan will become the first Timber Rattler pitcher to make 28 starts in a season.

GETTING CLOSER (PT II): Rattler reliever Edgar Guaramato made his 51st relief appearance of the season and picked up the win yesterday. Guaramato is tied with Clint Chrysler for second on the single season list for appearances by a Rattler reliever. Mike Hrynio is the record holder with 54 appearances in 2004.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Rattler win on Sunday gave them a record of 29-40 at Fox Cities Stadium in 2006. That win made this team ½ game better than the 2004 team that finished with a 29-41 record at Fox Cities Stadium. The 2002 Timber Rattlers had the worst home record in team history with a 24-46 record.

SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR: With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Rattlers are 50-82. Wisconsin needs to go at least 4-4 over those last eight games to pass the 2002 Timber Rattler team that finished the season 53-86. That 53-86 mark in the worst record in Wisconsin history.

MEET THE NEW GUY: Taking Limonta’s spot on the Timber Rattler roster is pitcher John Sullivan. The reliever was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Mariners in August of 2004 out of the University of Oakland in Michigan. At Oakland, Sullivan was mainly a catcher and a third baseman and he was a First Team All-Mid-Continent Conference performer with a .348 batting average and twelve home runs. Sullivan made his professional pitching debut for the Mariners Arizona League affiliate in 2005. He went 3-0 with a pair of saves and a 2.92ERA. He began 2006 with the AZL Mariners and made one appearance for Seattle’s California League affiliate on August 23. He should be arriving at the ballpark at some point during the game tonight.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS: The Peoria Chiefs are the Midwest League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. They are currently 70-61 overall. In the second half, the Chiefs are 29-33. They qualified for the Midwest League playoffs by winning the first half Western Division Championship. The Chiefs will face the second half wild card winners from the West in the first round of the playoffs beginning September 6. The Chiefs are managed by former major league catcher Jody Davis.

VS. PEORIA IN ’06: The Rattlers are 7-7 against the Chiefs this season. The Rattlers took two out of three from the Chiefs at O’Brien Field earlier this half.

PROSPECTING: BASEBALL AMERICA’s Top 30 list of Cub prospects has only one active member of the Chiefs on it. Catcher Mark Reed was listed at number 19 before the season. Shortstop Dylan Johnston is at number 27 but is currently on the disabled list. Catcher Parker Blake and infielder Ryne Malone are the only members of the 2006 Cub draft class on the Peoria roster. Blake was a 16th round pick out of Arkansas. Malone, who recently went on the disabled list, was a 49th round pick out of Florida State.

TRADE WINDS BLOW TO PEORIA: A trio of Peoria pitchers joined the Cubs organization through trades. Todd Blackford became a Cub after a trade sent Todd Hollandsworth to the Atlanta Braves in August of 2005. Joel Santo and Fabian Jimenez were traded to the Cubs organization from the Padres for reliever Scott Williamson just before the 2006 trading deadline. Both Jimenez and Santo started this season with the Fort Wayne Wizards.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Jesse Estrada was the 30th round pick of the Cubs in the 2004 draft out of Grayson County Junior College. He made 27 starts for the Chiefs in 2005 and went 6-12 with a 5.58ERA. This season, has made 34 appearances (three starts). In his last outing, Estrada pitched two scoreless innings in relief against Quad Cities on August 24. His last start was on July 22 at Lansing and he allowed one run on five hits over six innings for a no decision. Estrada has faced the Rattlers three times this season – all in relief – and he does not have a decision. He has allowed three runs on seven hits over 6-2/3 innings against the Rattlers this season.

Sunday in the MWL

@Wisconsin 3, Clinton 2 -- Good time for a first homer of the year.

@Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 2 (19 inn) -- Nineteen? Innings? Yep. Dallas Morris drove in all three runs for the Kernels. Alexander Smit pitched a heck of a game for the Snappers, though.

@Quad Cities 6, Peoria 4; @Quad Cities 6, Peoria 3 -- SWING sweep into the playoffs.

Fort Wayne 4, @West Michigan 2 -- Wizards inch closer to the playoffs by splitting four games with a potential first round opponent.

South Bend 10, @Lansing 5 -- Hawks inch closer to the playoffs with a win against a potential first round opponent.

Kane County 3, @Burlington 1 -- It wasn't a late lead lost for the Bees, but it was a late rally for the Cougars.

Dayton 9, @Southwest Michigan 7 (12 inn) -- The D-Rays scored three in the ninth against the Dragon bullpen to tie the game, but Dayton scored twice in the 12th.

Complete Sunday Scoreboard HERE.

Double post deleted

Rattler Alum of the Day

Cha Seung Baek, Seattle.

Good outing for a win over the Red Sox. Or as it goes in the Seattle Times today, M's Notebook: Baek states his case for 2007 roster spot
Edit: Double Post Deleted

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/27)

Seattle (MAJ: 61-69; 4th AL West): The Mariners beat Boston 6-3. Cha Seung Baek (WI ’00) allowed three runs on two hits with five walks and four strikeouts for the win. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam and Chris Snelling (WI ’00) had a pair of hits and an RBI for the Mariners.

Tacoma (AAA – 70-66; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma lost 13-7 at Tucson. Greg Dobbs (WI ’05) was 4-for-5 with three RBI, a home run, and three runs scored for the Rainiers, but Tacoma lost all six games of the series in Tucson. Alex Gary (WI ’06) had a pair of hits and a run scored for Tacoma.

San Antonio (AA – 57-74; 30-33 second half 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio lost 12-7 at Frisco. Wladimir Balentien (WI ’04) had a grand slam for the Missions. Matt Tuiasosopo (WI, ’00) hit his first Double-A home run.

Inland Empire (High-A – 70-62, 31-31 second half; T-2nd California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Bakersfield 2-0. Andy Baldwin pitched eight shutout innings for the win. Chris Colton (WI ’05) and Omar Falcon (WI ’05) had the RBI for the 66ers.

Everett (Short Season-A – 29-38; 4th Northwest League West Division): Everett lost 6-4 at Eugene. Bryan Sabatella (WI ’06) had three hits for the Sox. Carlos Peguero homered and drove in three runs for Everett. The Sox are 2-8 in their last ten games.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 25-28; 11-14 T-6th Arizona League): The Mariners lost 10-6 to the Athletics.

Los Angeles (Ervin Santana 9-11) at Seattle (Felix Hernandez10-12) 9:05pm CDT
Salt Lake (Dustin Moseley 11-8) at Tacoma (TBA) 9:05pm CDT
San Antonio (Jason Mackintosh 4-4) at Frisco (Luis Mendoza 1-3) 7:00pm CDT
Inland Empire at High Desert 9:05pm CDT
Everett – OFF DAY
AZL Mariners at AZL Giants 9:00pm CDT

The Trip So Far

The bus left at 8am and we just got to the hotel in East Peoria. It rained almost the whole way down here and batting practice just got called off.

Tried posting this earlier, but it didn't go through.

There was some news from this morning.

Johan Limonta has been promoted to Inland Empire.

Pitcher John Sullivan, who has been with the AZL Mariners and Inland Empire, joins the Rattlers.

More in a bit.


If Sunday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:

Yep, the LumberKings were Doyle Lonnegan today. They must have thought there was no way they'd get beat on a Jeff Flaig homer.

But, it was Flaig's first homer of the year for the win and a 7-1 record against the LumberKings.

Complete Sunday Box Score HERE.

Game Notes for 8/27

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Rattlers beat the LumberKings 5-1. Travis Scott drove in a pair of runs and four Rattler pitchers held Clinton to four hits.

OH, WHAT A RELIEF IT WAS: Roman Martinez entered the game in the top of the fifth inning after starting pitcher Jose Escalona was removed for precautionary reasons after four scoreless innings. Martinez pitched three scoreless, hitless innings and got the victory. The only LumberKing to reach against Martinez got to first on an error. Martinez struck out a pair and picked up his second win of the season.

MORE THAN DOUBLE: Escalona reached 126-1/3 innings after recording the final out of the fourth inning. The most innings Escalona had tossed in a season prior to 2006 was 53-1/3 for Aguirre in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2005.

GREAT SCOTT! Rattler catcher Travis Scott drove in a pair of runs for the Rattlers. His sacrifice fly in the second inning put the Rattlers up 2-0.

FIRST RATTLER HIT: Third baseman Alex Liddi doubled with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning for his first Midwest League hit.

KAPPEL KEEPS WINNING: Rattler reliever Brian Kappel has appeared in twenty games for the Rattlers, including a 1-2-3 ninth inning last night. The Rattlers are 15-5 in the games that Kappel has pitched in this season.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Rattler win last night gave them a record of 28-40 at Fox Cities Stadium in 2006. A win today would make this team ½ game better than the 2004 team that finished with a 29-41 record at Fox Cities Stadium. The 2002 Timber Rattlers had the worst home record in team history with a 24-46 record.

SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR: With nine games remaining in the regular season, the Rattlers are 49-82. Wisconsin needs to go at least 5-4 over those last nine games to pass the 2002 Timber Rattler team that finished the season 53-86. That 53-86 mark in the worst record in Wisconsin history.

OPPOSING STARTING PITCHER: Juan Jimenez was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the San Diego Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. He joined the Ranger organization in a trade for Manny Alexander on August 31, 2005. The Rattlers beat Jimenez at Fox Cities Stadium on June 3 by getting to him for four runs on five hits and five walks over two innings in a 7-2 win. Jimenez has lost his last two starts. Beloit cuffed Jimenez around for eight runs on twelve hits over 5-2/3 innings on August 20 at Pohlman Field. He walked two and struck out two in the loss.

Saturday in the MWL

@Wisconsin 5, Clinton 1 -- Rattlers win second straight.

Peoria @ Quad Cities (PPD-Wet Grounds) -- Not a loss on the field, but would you really want to lose the attendance on a Saturday night late in the season? If you read that story, do you find it a little odd that the gates are opening at 11:45am for a 12:00pm first pitch?

@Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 1 -- Jordan Renz with his 23rd homer of the season to keep the Kernels playoff hopes alive...Barely.

@Southwest Michigan 5, Dayton 1 -- Marinette, Wisconsin native Greg Reinhard with seven solid innings to deal a blow to Dragon playoff hopes.

@West Michigan 3, Fort Wayne 0 -- Burke Badenhop with his 14th win for the Whitecaps. The Wizards can't capitalize on the Dayton loss.

@Lansing 7, South Bend 1 -- Lansing domintes. Silver Hawks can't take advantage of the Fort Wayne loss. Does anyobody want to be the second half playoff teams in the East?

@Burlington 5, Kane County 1 -- This Hochevar in Burlington? Once he gets stretched out to more than three or four innings in a game, he is going to be pretty good.

Complete Saturday Scoreboard HERE.

Rattler Alum of the Day

Marshall Hubbard, San Antonio.

Four hits, Three RBI, Game-tying home run in the top of the ninth.

Mariner System Report (Games of 8/26)

Seattle (MAJ: 60-69; 4th AL West): The Mariners beat Boston 4-3. Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez had three hits and scored the go-ahead run on Ben Broussard’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth. Ibanez also has the quote of the year by any baseball player, anywhere: After that trip, there was a indescribable feeling of melancholy around here. He was talking about the 0-11 road trip...I think. JJ Putz (WI ’00) got the final out of the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth for the win in relief.

Tacoma (AAA – 70-65; 2nd PCL Pacific Northern Division): Tacoma lost 6-0 at Tucson. Bobby Livingston (WI ’03) allowed two runs in six innings and took the loss. The Rainier offense was held to four hits in the game.

San Antonio (AA – 57-73; 30-32 second half 4th Texas League South Division): San Antonio beat Frisco 8-6 in ten innings. Marshall Hubbard (WI ’05) had four hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs. Hubbard hit his home run to lead off the top of the ninth inning and tied the game 6-6. Brian Schweiger (WI ’06) also had four hits and scored a run for the Missions.

Inland Empire (High-A – 69-62, 30-31 second half; T-2nd California League South Division): Inland Empire beat Bakersfield 7-6. The 66ers trailed 6-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but a throwing error by the Blaze allowed two runs to score for the 66er win. Casey Craig (WI ’06) homered and drove in a pair of first inning runs for Inland Empire.

Everett (Short Season-A – 29-37; 4th Northwest League West Division): Everett lost 8-4 at Eugene. Two Sox pitchers issued ten walks in the game.

AZL M’s (Rookie – 25-27; 11-13 T-5th Arizona League): The Mariners beat the Cubs 10-1.

Boston (Kyle Snyder 3-2) at Seattle (Cha Seung Baek 0-0) 3:05pm CDT
Tacoma (Jeff Harris 0-1) at Tucson (Adam Bass 7-4) 8:00pm CDT
San Antonio (Yorman Bazardo 5-3) at Frisco (Thomas Diamond 11-5) 6:00pm CDT
Bakersfield (Edwin Vera 0-9) at Inland Empire (Andy Baldwin 1-0) 8:11pm CDT
Everett at Eugene 6:05pm CDT
AZL Athletics at AZL Mariners 9:00pm CDT


If Saturday's Game Were a Movie...

it would be:

There are at least 5,000 mismatched buddy pictures to pick from, but I went with the Nick Nolte-Eddie Murphy classic.

Let's be honest. At times this season, either the pitching hasn't been there or the hitting hasn't been there. Tonight, both were in fine form as the Rattlers beat the LumberKings 5-1.

The offense staked the pitching to an early lead. The pitching held Clinton to one hit through seven innings. When Clinton scored a run in the top of the eighth to cut the Rattler lead to 4-1, the offense did the equivalent of Nolte's world-weary "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah." from 48 HRS. and scored a run in the bottom of the eighth for a more comfortable 5-1 lead.

Complete Saturday Box Score HERE.
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