The story takes a brief look at former Rattler pitchers who moved quickly through the system last year (Mark Lowe, Eric O'Flaherty, and Ryan Feierabend). Then, it takes a look at some potential future Rattlers with a little help from former Rattler pitching coach Pat Rice.
There are strong-armed hurlers in the minor league system who made such positive impressions this year that the Mariners wouldn’t be surprised to see them accomplish what Lowe, O’Flaherty and Feierabend did.
"We had a couple of guys who moved quickly this year and there are a couple who could move quickly next year," said Pat Rice, the Mariners’ minor league pitching coordinator.
The most impressive was one of the youngest, 18-year-old right-hander Chris Tillman, a second-round draft pick in 2006 who spent much of last season with the Class A Everett AquaSox.
"He’s a young kid, but he might come up in a hurry," Rice said.
The Mariners also are high on another who pitched in Everett this year -- 22-year-old right-hander Doug Fister.
"He wasn’t even in instructional league, but he’s another guy who could move really quickly," Rice said.
The story says that there are four other pitchers in the system who could move quickly. They are:
Right-hander Kameron Mickolio, who pitched with Everett last season
"He’s got the stuff to pitch in the big leagues next year," Rice said. "He’s big (6 feet, 9 inches; 256 pounds), he throws across his body and he’s really tough against right-handed hitters. He throws 94 (mph) with a heavy sink."Right-hander Juan Ramirez, an 18 year-old, who pitched for the Mariners’ Venezuela League team last season
"He’s a young kid from Panama, and he’s very, very good," Rice said.
Oak Creek, Wisconsin's own Anthony Butler who was in Everett in '06.
"He was tired when he got to instructional league, but he still found ways to get everybody out," Rice said. "That was impressive."Right-hander Nate Adcock, another 18 year-old, is the other pitcher on the list. He was in the Arizona League last season.
If you go to the link for the Kitsap Sun, you may need to register.
Here's a little bit of a where are they now?
Roadcap to lead defending Champs
That is just a bit wrong. Roadcap was the manager of the Rattlers in 1999, was a roving catching instructor foe a few years, managed Inland Empire in 2003, and managed the Rattlers again in 2004.
The Philadelphia Phillies have selected Steve Roadcap to lead the 2007 field staff for the defending South Atlantic League (SAL) champion Lakewood BlueClaws. Former Phillies infielder Kevin Jordan, veteran minor league coaches Joe Alverez and Ed Hodge will join Roadcap on the bench this season.
Roadcap, 46, is no stranger to managing a professional clubhouse. The Pottsville, PA native coached and managed in the Chicago Cubs organization from 1987-98. After leading Rockford to the playoffs in 1995 he was named the best managing prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America.
Following his time with the Cubs, the current Elkview, WV resident joined the Seattle Mariners player development staff from 1999-2004 handling different roles that included the club’s minor league catching coordinator for the last two seasons.
This was just too good a picture not to share:
Yep. That is Oswaldo Navarro (WI '05) sliding in headfirst with his eyes closed. Here is the headline and the first part of the story:
Translated through a free internet translator:
Navarro lo decidió
Con hit de Oswaldo Navarro en el cierre del noveno, Cardenales de Lara dejó en el terreno 4 carreras por 3 a Pastora de Los Llanos, colocándose a medio juego del comodín que poseen los llaneros. Alcides Escobar anotó desde segunda la rayita de la victoria.
Those free translators don't work very well, do they? I think that I have another resolution for January.
From Navarre decided it
With hit of Oswaldo from Navarre in the closing of the ninth, Cardinals of Lara left in the land 4 careers for 3 to Shepherdess of The Plains, being placed to half a play of the wild card that possess the plainsmen. Alcides to Sweep noted from second the rayita of the victory.
ALTOONA, Pa. -- Former National League Most Valuable Player and two-time World Series champion George Foster will be the featured guest for the 2007 Altoona Curve Hot Stove Dinner & Benefit Auction, which will be held on Friday night, Jan. 26, at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona.
I hope that goes better than his speaking engagement in Appleton for the NCAA Division III World Series.
Luck, longevity result in Walker's historic no-hitter
Tom Walker secured a place for himself in baseball history in Albuquerque. He threw inning after inning of no-hit ball, putting 15 zeroes on the scoreboard in The Sports Stadium. And after 35 years, it still seems inconceivable that Walker completed what he started on that steamy night in New Mexico.
Walker, a former first-round pick by the Orioles, put forth one of the finest efforts ever produced by a professional pitcher on Aug. 4, 1971. That evening, the right-hander tossed a 15-inning no-hitter for Dallas-Fort Worth, besting Albuquerque in a matchup that still stands as one of the Texas League's most memorable games.
Walker's manager? Appleton Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Sr. Lots of interesting stuff at the link.
Lachey part of Rainiers ownership group
SEATTLE -- Pop singer Nick Lachey will be a part of the new ownership group for the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Lachey was in Tacoma on Wednesday morning with representatives from the Schlegel Sports Group, who were introduced to a group of civic leaders, business people and season-ticket holders.
"When I was given the opportunity to purchase the Rainiers with Kirby Schlegel I jumped on it," Lachey said in a statement. "Baseball is a true passion of mine, Tacoma is a growing city and I have every intention of playing an active ownership role in the Rainiers as we continue to grow."
That's the story from MILB.com and it focuses on the celebrity. The Tacoma News-Tribune story focuses on the new owners in the story, but has plenty of pictures
Rainiers introduce off-field players Down-to-earth Lachey brings an everyman attitude
The Schlegel Sports Group, the fourth ownership group in the Tacoma Rainiers’ 46-year minor league baseball history, hit town Wednesday morning with a celebrity investor and a promise to create a fan-friendly atmosphere at Cheney Stadium.
The Schlegels – primary owner Kirby and his father, Bob – as well as pop singer Nick Lachey, a minority owner of the team, attended an introductory gala at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
Schlegel Sports Group president Mike McCall hesitated to divulge the group’s entire strategy, but he did provide a couple of examples of expected upgrades at Cheney Stadium.
Multitiered patio seating will be constructed along the third-base side, replacing the casual amenities that were offered in previous years.
And a wider variety of entertainment, especially in between innings, will be offered.
“It will be developing culture,” said McCall, adding that the franchise will increase its full-time employee count from 16 to 30 people before the 2007 season starts in April. “We’re going to roll up our sleeves and do what’s right.”
Sounds good to me, but have you ever heard new owners come in to a situation and say, 'We are really going to try and screw things up as much as we can.'?
And if they are going to be hiring fourteen new people, they are going to be pretty busy in Orlando at the Winter Meetings next week.
You want a picture? Okay, here is the one from the MILB.com site:
Was his first name Prince or was he really a prince? A quick google search turns up this possibly related, possibly not related, individual.
1948I wonder if anyone will ever use that quote again.
Player-manager Lou Boudreau is selected the AL MVP. Boudreau had almost been traded to the Browns earlier in the year, but protests by fans kept Lou in Cleveland. After the WS win, owner Bill Veeck commented, "Sometimes the best trades are the ones you never make."
There are categories for Offensive Player, Starting Pitcher, Relief Pitcher, Outstanding Team, Single Game Performance, and Playoff Performance.
There are overall awards and it is also broken down by division.
One ex-Rattler snagged the High-A Playoff Performance:
Opening two postseason series, Justin Thomas of the Inland Empire 66ers dominated California League opponents, earning MiLB.com's Class A Advanced Playoff Performer of the Year Award.
The 22-year-old left-hander struck out 17 batters over 13 scoreless innings as the 66ers won their second championship in four years.
"I think that the first (playoff) game is very key. You want to get more momentum on your side," Thomas said.
Unlike 2005, Thomas was in the starting rotation throughout the season and said he has improved his changeup and sinking fastball. He began this year in the Midwest League with Wisconsin, where he struck out 51 over 61 innings, before a June promotion to Inland Empire.
Midwest Leaguers to garner the Low-A Awards:
Relief Pitcher: Anthony Claggett, West Michigan
The baseball world got to know Anthony Claggett on Nov. 10. That was the day the Detroit Tigers acquired Gary Sheffield from the New York Yankees for what the press called either "three Minor League pitchers" or "right-hander Humberto Sanchez and two other Minor League pitchers."
Some stories written about the trade included Claggett's name, and even had it spelled correctly (two Gs and two Ts), but they said little, if anything, about the two prospects not named Sanchez that the Yankees got in return for Sheffield.
All you need to know about Claggett you can learn from his last nine outings of the season for the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps. The right-hander pitched an inning in each appearance and didn't give up a hit, while racking up a win and six saves in nine innings. In fact, he allowed just one base runner, a walk against Lansing on Aug. 31.
Outstanding Team: West Michigan Whitecaps
It wasn't just that West Michigan won the title; it's more that the Whitecaps were a rarity in sports. They were the best team in the league and finished the deal by capturing the championship.
Single Game Performance: Jordan Renz, Cedar Rapids
On a rainy night in Clinton, Iowa, Jordan Renz of the Cedar Rapids Kernels did something that had not been done in nearly three decades.
Renz belted three homers and drove in 10 runs in Cedar Rapids' 18-14 loss to the Clinton LumberKings on May 15, earning MiLB.com's Class A Single-Game Performer of the Year Award.
Renz became the first Midwest League player to rack up 10 RBIs in a game since Quad Cities' Michael Bishop on June 24, 1978 -- five years before Renz was born.
Playoff Performance: Cameron Maybin, West Michigan
After earning the league's Prospect of the Year Award by hitting .304 with 35 extra-base hits and 27 steals, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft went 12-for-35 (.343) in the postseason with six extra-base hits and a 1.068 OPS. He also played a scintillating center field.
His West Michigan Whitecaps beat the Kane County Cougars in four games to win their second championship in three years.
"Everyone wants to win a championship," Maybin said. "My first year in pro ball and we got the job done. It's a great feeling."
New logo for the new team in the neighborhood
Also known as, "What if Gene Simmons were a frog?"
For a few more years at least.
One All-Star Game? What a concept.
Tris Speaker resigns as Indians manager. Stories of a thrown game and betting on games by Ty Cobb and Speaker gain momentum when Judge Landis holds a secret hearing with the two stars and former pitcher-OF Joe Wood. The story and testimony will not be released until December 21st. Former Tiger P Dutch Leonard wrote to Harry Heilmann that he had turned over letters written to him by Joe Wood and Ty Cobb to American League president Ban Johnson, implicating Wood and Cobb in betting on a Tiger-Cleveland game played in Detroit, September 25, 1919. He charged that Cobb and Speaker conspired to let Detroit win to help them gain 3rd-place money. At a secret meeting of AL directors, it was decided to let Cobb and Speaker resign with no publicity. But, as rumors spread, Judge Landis takes charge of the matter and holds the hearings, at which Leonard refuses to appear. Cobb and Wood admit to the letters, but say it was a horse racing bet, and contend Leonard is angry for having been released to the Pacific Coast League by Cobb. Speaker, not named in the letters, denies everything. Public sympathy is with the stars, but the matter will remain unresolved until January of next year.
Now that is a gambling scandal.
BaseballAmerica.com his this behind their subscriber wall, but too good to not share:
Sorting Through The New Logo Landscape by Will Lingo
As mentioned in this space before, we don't ask for much in a minor league nickname and logo--known as a brand or identity in marketing-speak. Don't get too silly, and don't make your logo too cartoonish. If at all possible, give your name a local tie, both to connect with your fans and to let the rest of the world know about where you are.
And above all, remember that professional baseball players will be wearing your cap and uniform. Nothing looks sadder than one of the stars of tomorrow wearing an animaniac on his head.
Funny, I don't recall the Wakko, Yakko, or Dot ever being on a minor league baseball cap. Give it time, I guess.
Lingo missed out on the Kernels and the Bees new logo, but he gets this in on the Loons :
Wow. A slam on the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays and the new logo.
And finally, we have the launch of a completely new franchise, which gives you the opportunity to start with a blank slate.
A new franchise that's coming to the Midwest League next season has nowhere to go but up, with the former Southwest Michigan Devil Rays moving to Midland, Mich.
The name is pretty good: the Great Lakes Loons. Great Lakes gives you a better idea of where the franchise is than the name Midland would, and Loons is a distinctive nickname that also happens to be a bird that lives on shorelines all over Michigan.
Unfortunately, the logo is no good. There's nothing outrageous about it, but the lettering doesn't work and the cartoon loon just is not attractive. Teams sometimes seem happy when a new logo and nickname create controversy because it at least shows that people are interested. This is the kind of logo that seems to draw a wrinkle of the nose and a shrug.
Lingo gives a thumbs-up to the name and a thumbs-down to the logo. I might have gone with bills-up and bills-down, but that is just Tuesday Night Quarterbacking.
Okay, enough fun at the Loons expense for now. Here is something the guys at Ballparkdigest.com found that promotes Dow Diamond as a ballpark district:
MIDLAND -- Midland's downtown has the potential to serve as a regional drawing card, a consultant says.
"You have a fantastic opportunity to find a vision for downtown with the construction of a new ballpark rising at the end of Main Street," said Nicholas P. Kalogeresis, senior officer with the National Trust Main Street Center, referring to Dow Diamond.
The team, the Great Lakes Loons, and state officials have offered a 12-page report outlining Midland's progress in its first year with Michigan Main Street status through the state's Cool Cities Initiative.
Kalogeresis urged officials to design a "powerful vision" that reflects plans to expand and enhance the Ashman Court Hotel with streetside restaurants.
Midland is one of 13 communities participating in Michigan Main Street.
On reading the rest of the article these Michigan Main Street and Cool Cities Initiative things sound like a very large home owners association with forced awnings and updated facades and the like.
Seriously though, with the Christmas season here, it is time to get the word out about the holiday ticket packages, other ticket packages, gift cards, and internships on the rotating banner.
I've mentioned this before, but I will continue to update the site (frequently, if not daily) during the off-season.
HONOLULU--Of all the U.S. players in Hawaii Winter Baseball, Mariners prospect Jeff Clement came in with the most experience at the highest level in the minors. Yet, he has struggled, as has the majority of the hitters in the pitching-strong league.
The third overall selection from the 2005 draft out of Southern California was batting .174 with one double, home run and two RBIs in 46 at-bats as of Nov. 16 with at least five games to go, plus the championship his Waikiki BeachBoys are expected to play in on Nov. 22. But the Mariners sent help. A lot of it.
This past week, Clement and the other Mariners position players--first baseman Reed Eastley (.192) and outfielder Sebastien Boucher (.151) got help from Mariners’ big league hitting coach Jeff Pentland and newly-hired hitting coordinator Alonzo Powell. They were accompanied by catching coordinator Roger Hansen and director of player development Frank Mattox.
Clement was fast-tracked this past season. After spending his first pro season at short-season Everett and Low-A Wisconsin, Clement skipped high Class A and started 2006 at Double-A San Antonio, where he hit .288 with six doubles, a triple and two home runs with 10 RBI in just two weeks into the season before having surgeries to remove bone chips from his left elbow and to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Yet when he returned from rehab, he was sent to Triple-A Tacoma, where he batted a respectable .257 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 32 RBIs in 67 games. To make up lost at-bats because of the injuries, he was sent to HWB.
Two week old quotes and more at the link.
This new site is Rock County County Fair Home Run, a pro-stadium deal site. You don't need a Personal Identification Number Number or to go to the Automatic Teller Machine Machine to check it out.
There are links to the feasibility study and other reports. Plus, most recent stories and opinion pieces on the project can be found HERE. And there is this description of Pohlman Field that was borrowed from ballparkwatch.com:
Most minor-league ballparks built in the early 1980s are fairly nondescript, and Pohlman Field certainly fits in that category. It's functional and comfortable, with theater-style seats in the grandstand and metal bleachers down each line. A pleasant picnic area caters to groups and smokers. With only a 3,500-person capacity, there aren't too many bad seats in Pohlman Field.
Pohlman Field and the Snappers represent all that's good in community support of minor-league baseball. The team is owned by the Beloit Professional Baseball Association Inc., a not-for-profit organization charged with keeping professional baseball in the Beloit area. While the organization isn't exactly the same as the city ownership of the Green Bay Packers, the goal is the same: by providing community ownership and community accountability, there's less chance that the franchise will bolt for greener pastures. Given the relative instability of the Midwest League, community ownership is great idea for a city like Beloit.
But, wait. They left something out of the ballparkwatch.com review:
Most minor-league ballparks built in the early 1980s are fairly nondescript, and Pohlman Field certainly fits in that category. It's functional and comfortable, with theater-style seats in the grandstand and metal bleachers down each line. A pleasant picnic area caters to groups and smokers. With only a 3,500-person capacity, there aren't too many bad seats in Pohlman Field.
So why does it warrant a five-ball rating? Because Pohlman Field and the Snappers represent all that's good in community support of minor-league baseball. The team is owned by the Beloit Professional Baseball Association Inc., a not-for-profit organization charged with keeping professional baseball in the Beloit area. While the organization isn't exactly the same as the city ownership of the Green Bay Packers, the goal is the same: by providing community ownership and community accountability, there's less chance that the franchise will bolt for greener pastures. Given the relative instability of the Midwest League, community ownership is great idea for a city like Beloit.
Yep, ballparkwatch.com gave Pohlman Field its highest rating. Which is interesting, isn't it? Now, I'm one of the first to say or agree with those who say that the Snappers need a new stadium. It's probably minor, but leaving one sentence out of a review isn't going to help get that done.
EDIT: Of course, the review was written in 1999. So, this probably shouldn't have even been put up there anyway.
Highlighted entries are:
The Reds fire manager Sparky Anderson after nine years, during which the club averaged 96 wins per season and won five divisional titles, four league pennants, and two World Championships. The surprise move comes six days after the Reds return from a trip to Japan. Anderson has one year left on a contract and had no idea he'd be fired.
The more you read that paragraph, the less sense it makes.
If you look at the list of Red managers, John McNamara was Sparky's replacement. McNamara won the NL West in 1979, but lost to the Pirates in the NLCS, finished third in 1980, had the best record in baseball in 1981, but missed the playoffs because of the split season, and started 1982 34-58 before getting fired.
There were only sixteen votes, but there was only one Cy Young Award, um, awarded in 1957.
IL President Frank Shaughnessy reveals plans to form two new major leagues by merging the top teams in the American Association and the top teams from the International League. He thinks that in five to six years, ML baseball will elevate these two leagues, along with the Pacific Coast League, which nearly has ML status now.
This would be like me revealing plans for a retractable dome at Fox Cities Stadium and then saying that in five to six years the ML will be playing games on the moon.
First a transaction from the Mariners involving a Rattler from 2006:
Released LHP Lance Beus
Now, a couple of transactions involving former Rattlers:
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed C Ryan Christianson (WI '00)
San Francisco Giants
Signed RHP Scott Atchison (WI '99)
Sorry about the light posting today. Lots of stuff to get caught up on at the office today and now it's time for the Packers to kickoff.
I wonder what Sarge, Sr. would have gotten from the Angels.
Setting off a storm of controversy, Joe DiMaggio is named American League MVP by a single point over Ted Williams. Williams, the Triple Crown winner, receives 201 points, and is completely left off one writer's ballot. A 10th-place vote would have given Williams the needed 2 points. Williams is selected The Sporting News Player of the Year.
Joe DiMaggio is named AL MVP. His 56-game hitting streak edges out Ted Williams and his .406 batting average for the award (291 votes for DiMaggio and 254 for Williams).
At least Williams didn't get left off the ballot in '41. He did win the AL MVP in 1946 (Hal Newhouser was runner up) and 1949 (Phil Rizzuto was runner up).
Everything in the trailer has been cleaned to within an inch of its life, a small landscaping project out front (switching out the flamingos for the garden gnomes) has been completed, all the stuff in the carport has been pushed into the farthest corner so that it will be hidden by the car.
It might actually be time to go outside and do something, anything.
Have a good Sunday. Back tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Yelling at the neighbor kids to stay off the gravel can only hold my attention for so long.
I had forgotten that on Sunday's in the off-season I was going to post a link to some of my favorite Rattler games of 2006.
Just copy and paste that into your browser and it will take you back to Friday, August 25. Jake Rasner had a no-hitter through seven innings of a game that was scheduled for seven. But, David Asher and Brian Kappell held the LumberKings off the scoreboard. Curt Ledbetter had the only Rattler hit of the game, a home run in the bottom of the eighth to win it.
Just a warning, the game is not picked up on the archive until the top of the third.
Just another warning, the radio announcer only partially spoils the homer.
The year of the no-hitter
There were 20 no-hitters this past season involving 38 different pitchers in 11 leagues. This cornucopia of hit deprivation afforded fans across the country the opportunity to witness the thrill of a "no-no."
There is a full review of all the 2006 no-nos at the story. Including that rain-shortened one against the Rattlers on May 13.
Wisconsin scored nine runs in the first game of its doubleheader and defeated Dayton, 9-6. Dominican right-hander Johnny Cueto made sure the nightcap had a radically different outcome. The 20-year-old struck out eight and walked two in the Dragons' 6-0 victory, which was halted after five innings due to rain. "I was upset that it was pouring at the bottom of the fifth," Cueto said. "I was cold, but I was determined not to lose the game."
The other Midwest League no-hitters were:
When it rains, it pours. That cliche could be taken figuratively and literally on May 14, as Jared Lansford followed up Cueto's rain-soaked, five-inning gem with a seven-inning masterpiece. The 19-year-old overcame control problems -- he walked five batters -- in leading Kane County to a 4-0 win over Beloit in the first game of a doubleheader. The son of former American League batting champion Carney Lansford had spent the first month of the season at extended Spring Training while recovering from inflammation in his right rotator cuff.
"We're here to develop first. We don't want to risk anyone throwing more pitches than they should." Those were the words of Southwest Michigan manager Skeeter Barnes, who removed Mike Wlodarczyk after the southpaw threw eight no-hit innings. The 23-year-old picked up his eighth win of the season as the Devil Rays coasted to a 12-0 win over Peoria. Celso Rondon made his Midwest League debut in the ninth inning and struck out the side as Southwest Michigan recorded the fourth no-hitter in team history.
On August 31, the last MWL no-hitter was something even more rare, a loss for the pitcher who threw it.
Wade Davis couldn't catch a break all season. The 20-year-old Floridian compiled a stellar 3.02 ERA and struck out 165 batters over 146 innings while holding opponents to a .234 average. Yet he ended the season with a 7-12 record. Davis' final loss was his most painful as he hurled seven hitless innings against Beloit in the first game of a doubleheader. It was all for naught, however. In the fourth, Davis' error allowed Yancarlos Ortiz to reach first base. Ortiz stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Christian Lopez and scored on Dwayne White's sacrifice fly. That was all she wrote as Beloit held on for a 1-0 win.
At home with Felix Hernandez
Some tasty nuggets from a long article that is well worth the read:
VALENCIA, Venezuela — The noon sun belts out high heat as a bleary-eyed Felix Hernandez drags himself from his bedroom.
An entire morning has passed since his first wake-up call, from a rooster serenading him just outside the door. Now, the voices from downstairs, in the only true home Hernandez has ever known, finally convince the Mariners pitcher he'd best show his face.
Hernandez returns each winter to this industrial South American city of 1.4 million people, about 100 miles southwest of Caracas. His father bought the family's two-level home 23 years ago with his savings as a truck driver and — despite some remodeling — little about it has changed. Life here isn't much different for Hernandez now than it was in his early teens. The simplicity of it all would shock many fans in the United States.
While he drives a Ford Explorer, it's not all that uncommon in this oil-rich country, where public transit is woefully inefficient and gasoline costs about 12 cents a gallon. Hernandez also recently bought his own two-story home about a half-hour's drive away, though it won't be ready until December.
"I'm not famous," the ballplayer protests while making his bed, which is covered by one of those blankets given away by the Mariners in fan promotions. "Please, don't call me famous because I'm not famous."
Hernandez's neighborhood, while quieter than the skyscraper-filled downtown, is by no means exclusive and has its share of drunks, beggars and would-be muggers and extortionists prowling the streets.
"I don't let him go out at night," his mother says, shaking her head. "It's too dangerous."
His father adds: "We try to give him advice all the time, to explain to him how the situation is in Venezuela and what he should be doing. Or shouldn't be doing."
Hernandez gets told to pick up his things, to help clear away the family's laundry backlog and when he can come and go. He knows better than to argue. After all, it was his mother who cracked down on his boyhood penchant for shooting hoops at the playground during school hours and told him his best hope for the future was honing his baseball talent.
"He was terrible as a child," she says with a laugh. "He skipped school all the time to play basketball. I was the one who told him, 'You're going to play baseball because it's what I want you to do.'
Hernandez admits he'd never really envisioned himself as a baseball player. He played shortstop in Little League and could hit the ball farther than most of the other children. But it was on the basketball court where he really excelled.
"I wanted to make it to the NBA," he says. "I was real good, too, man. Really good. I had the moves."
The whole article is really good, but my favorite part is right at the end. It is a quote from Hernandez and I'll let it be the end of this post:
"I didn't play baseball because I wanted a different life," Hernandez says. "I played baseball because it was fun. I enjoyed it. It wasn't about having money. It wasn't about wanting to live somewhere else.
"I like playing baseball, so I play. All I wanted to do was play and have fun. And that's what I'm still doing. So, for me, I'm very happy. I don't need more."
I only highlight thisentry to point to the 1978 made for TV movie, One in a Million, The Ron LeFlore Story. Starring LeVar Burton as Ron LeFlore. It also featured performances by Billy Martin, Al Kaline, Norm Cash, Jim Burton, and Bill Freehan as themselves.
Those meetings must have been awkward.
The Mighty Casey was an episode about the Hoboken Zephyrs, a last place team in the National League. It was originally aired on June 17, 1960.
Rod Serling's opening narration ended like this:
Once upon a time in Hoboken, New Jersey it was tryout day. And though he is not yet on the field, you're about to meet an most unusual fella, a left-handed pitcher named Casey.
Then, he took a big drag off his cigarette because he had not taken one in thirty seconds. Okay I'm making that part up. By the way, the narrations that will be used in this post come from this site.
The plot of the story is that an inventor/doctor/scientist who brings his remarkably life-like robot (Hey, give me a break, it was The Twilight Zone) to a tryout for the Zephyrs. Hoboken was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of their day and needed all the help they could get.
The grizzled manager, Mouth McGarry was played by Jack Warden.
Warden specialized in these types of characters. He was a coach in Heaven Can Wait. He also actually played the most evil man in the history of the planet sympathetically. I am talking about his portrayal of George Halas in Brian's Song. He took on the Morris Buttermaker role in The Bad News Bears TV series...and, um, where was I?
McGarry is skeptical at first but is won over by the talent of the robot and realizes this is going to be the Year of the Zephyrs! As long as they can keep the secret that Casey is a robot.
Hoboken goes on a winning streak and races up the standings. Then, the twist that occurs in all Twilight Zone episodes happens. Casey is beaned. A doctor checks him out and discovers that Casey has no heartbeat, and is a mechanical man.
The case goes to the commissioner who rules that a team is made up of nine "men". Since Casey is not a man, he must go.
Time for another twist! The doctor and the manager come up with an idea. Give Casey a heart so that he could play. But, unlike the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, a heart for this mechanical man doesn't work out too well.
The heart makes Casey too nice to strike out opposing batters and the Zephyrs eventually revert to their losing ways. Stupid heart and feelings and emotions. What are they good for anyway? I guess nice guys do finish last.
The episode ends with the doctor giving McGarry the blueprints to Casey. The manager has an idea and chases down the doctor.
The closing narration:
Once upon a time there was a major-league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs who, during the last year of their existence, wound uup in last place and shortly thereafter wound up in oblivion. There's a rumor, unsubstantiated of course, that a manager named McGarry took them to the West Coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world's championships. This team had a pitching staff that made history. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human. And if you're interested as to where these gentlemen came from, you might check under 'B' for baseball, in the Twilight Zone."
Why do I have this sudden urge to play pinball?
From Pinball Rebel
"Sure," I answered.
It was a good game. UMD beat Wisconsin 2-0 and the loss was first for the Badger women's team in 26 games.
It was enjoyable to do a little hockey again and to see the Kohl Center. It has been awhile since I've had a chance to walk around there and they have some really neat displays about UW athletics through the decades. Including a show of the domination that the Badgers had in collegiate boxing. HERE is an old Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article that was written in 2001 after the death of Badger Boxing coach John J. Walsh.
John J. Walsh built one of the greatest dynasties in the history of intercollegiate sports, coaching University of Wisconsin boxers to eeight NCAA team championships and 35 individual titles.
Quiet, modest and keenly analytical, Walsh approached his job with a dignity and professionalism that seemed at odds with the brutal nature of the sport.
Walsh, who coached UW boxing teams from 1934-'57, died [November 1] in Madison. He was 89.
"He talked about boxing like a painter talks about paintings," said Bobby Hinds, 71, a heavyweight at Wisconsin from 1951-'55. "I'll tell you, he produced national champions who couldn't have made my club team."
Walsh, a native of Minneapolis, first came to Madison in 1933 as a collegiate boxer for St. Thomas College of St. Paul, Minn. He so impressed George Downer, then the director of Wisconsin's athletic publicity, that Downer hired Walsh to coach the Badgers in '34.
Wisconsin could have used a boxing dual meet to pad their record yesterday. It was a tough day for Bucky.
The men's basketball team lost to Missouri State, women's hockey got beat, and men's hockey lost to Michigan. Ouch.
League chairman and chief executive officer Duane Kurisu said that while the league did not make money, its losses were substantially less than the league's first time around from 1993 to 1997, when HWB paid the players' salaries. This time, Major League Baseball paid the players and Fullcast, a Japanese human resources company, was a title sponsor.
He added the league is considering taking some series to the islands of Maui and Hawaii (the big island), where HWB originally had teams. Some of the league's best fan support came from those islands, even though Oahu has the largest population.
"It was well-run," [Waikiki manager Lenn] Sakata said. "There were some mistakes, but overall we played a lot of games. I think the kids will benefit down the road and, hopefully, get to the big leagues."
Lots of Rookie of the Year Awards announced in the highlights.
And here is one that involves money and TV:
Of possible interest to Rattler fans is this one:
I really like Cha Seung Baek, but does the fact that Jake Woods is left-handed hurt Baek's chances of becoming the Mariners' No. 5 starter in 2007?-- Andy T., Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
[Answer]: You really can never have too much left-handed pitching, and the Mariners already have one lefty -- Jarrod Washburn -- as part of the rotation for next season. So does this give Woods a significant leg up on Baek? Maybe, though this rotation question could very well be solved long before the team heads to Spring Training in February.
The Mariners already have Washburn and Felix Hernandez set for next season, and they could be looking for as many as three starters during the offseason. That's a tough order to fill. My guess is the team signs two starting pitchers and retains either Baek or Woods as the No. 5 starter in the rotation
It is a manager kind of day in the highlighted entries:
And he would celebrate with a World Series in the Dome in 1987.
Alston kept on signing one-year contracts to manage the Dodgers until the end of the 1976 season. End result was five World Series championships and three other NL Pennants.
Joe Tinker is out as Reds manager, but is still their property as a player. On December 12th he will be sold to Brooklyn for $25,000, $10,000 of which goes to him. P Earl Yingling and OF Herbie Moran are sent to Cincinnati later as part of the deal. When Charles Ebbets puts off signing Tinker, he jumps to the Feds, signing to manage Chicago for 12,000.
That's just not a normal firing.
The site will be updated regularly over the weekend so check back when you have a chance.
Have a great and safe Thanksgiving.
Due diligence on land proposal
PERHAPS SUPERVISOR Adam Peer said it best: “I'm worried people who may oppose this are just going to ask a million questions and we'll lose a real golden opportunity to keep two institutions alive and viable in Rock County.”
The two institutions are the Beloit Snappers and the Rock County 4-H Fair.
The proposal is a complicated land swap deal that may provide space and considerable financial support for development of a new fairgrounds and a new ballpark for the Snappers.
The county fairgrounds in Janesville is land-locked and inadequate, and has been for years. As such, it contributes to an image that the fair is a Janesville event rather than a countywide institution.
Likewise, the Beloit Snappers stadium simply won't meet the demands of modern professional baseball, even at a low minor-league level. Snappers' management has looked long and hard for solutions in the Beloit area, without success. The window of opportunity for keeping the team in Beloit already may have closed.
That's not a pleasant prospect for many Beloiters, especially those who object to any linkage with Janesville. But here's the truth: To survive, the Snappers need Rock County - Beloit and Janesville and all surrounding points. Otherwise, the area will lose the team. It's that simple.
The editorial is short and worth the read. What I take away from it is this: It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks in Rock County.
Commissioner Landis rules that Phils owner William D. Cox is permanently ineligible to hold office or be employed in baseball for having bet on his own team. The Carpenter family of Delaware will buy the Philadelphia club and Bob Carpenter, age 28, will become president. The Phils, in an effort to change their image, will conduct a contest for a new name. The winning entry, the Blue Jays, submitted by a Mrs. John Crooks, will be the unofficial team name for 1944-45 until abandoned in 1946.
Philadelphia Blue Jays? That's just wrong.
Before what one writer claims is "the largest gathering in California history" (15,000 - 20,000), Oakland wins the California League pennant by beating San Francisco amid much confusion on the final day of the season. San Francisco tied for the pennant by winning three in a row, so for the final game Oakland hires ringers Willard Brown, George Van Haltran, and Cliff Carroll. San Francisco refuses to play so the ump awards the game to Oakland. To appease the crowd, the clubs play a game with their regular nines. Oakland wins, 5–4, behind 32-game winner Bill Coughlan.
Baseball in the 19th Century must have been wonderfully strange. Bringing in some ringers sounds strangley like the end of Slap Shot, when the Syracuse Bulldogos brought back Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown, Andre "Poodle" Lussier, Gilmore Tuttle, and Ogie Oglethorpe for the Federal League Championship game against the Chiefs.
Ex-Rattler for the BeachBoys:
Sebastien Boucher (WI '05) was 0-for-4
Mariner farmhand Reed Eastley went 1-for-2.
Swing deal not a done deal yet
Although a new lease for city-owned John O’Donnell Stadium has been approved, the current and prospective owners of the Swing of the Quad-Cities continue to work to complete an agreement that would lead to the sale of the Midwest League franchise.
Swing team president Kevin Krause said Monday that the ownership group he heads, Seventh Inning Stretch, remains in negotiations with representatives of Florida-based Main Street Baseball.
“There are a few details remaining which we continue to work through,’’ Krause said.
There are some other steps to go through once the deal is finished.
Once that happens, the process begins when a Control Interest Transfer document is filed with the Midwest League.As of Monday, that had not happened, and league president George Spelius said it is unlikely the proposed sale will be discussed by league directors during an upcoming meeting on Dec. 5 that is being held during baseball’s winter meetings in Orlando.
“That’s two weeks away. I can’t see it happening that fast, even if the CIT arrived in the mail tomorrow,’’ Spelius said. “Although we try to expedite the process as quickly as we can, we’re not just going to push it through.’’
When the CIT arrives, a committee consisting of three league directors, Spelius and league attorney Richard Nussbaum will review the document, which includes financial and background information on all individuals involved in the purchase of a team.
“The review is thorough, and I’ve never been part of a review where questions have not been asked,’’ Spelius said. “All of the questions are required to be answered to the committee’s satisfaction before we take the proposal to the league directors.”
This story reads like that old Schoolhouse Rock, "I'm just a bill" cartoon that taught how a bill became a law.
Frankly, I wouldn't mind a cartoon narrated by a signing George Spelius to inform people how Midwest League teams are sold.
In 1992, there were only four players to receive votes for AL Rookie of the Year. Listach, Kenny Lofton (Cleveland), Dave Flemming (Seattle), and Cal Eldred (Milwaukee).
Nolan Ryan was the first player to receive a million dollars a year and that was in 1979. It only took ten years to get to $3 million.
Yep, who would possibly look past the stats and notice a player's talent?
Ex-Rattlers for the BeachBoys:
Sebastien Boucher (WI '05): 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run
Jeff Clement (WI '05): 1-for-3
David Asher (WI '06): 2-2/3 innings pitched, six runs (five earned), five hits, two walks, seven strikeouts, and the loss
Joe Woerman (WI '06): 1-2/3 innings pitched, no runs, no hits, no walks, two strikeouts
Wednesday's Hawaii Winter Baseball Championship Game:
Waikiki vs. North Shore 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Michael Garciaparra (WI '03)
Bryan LaHair (WI '04)
Ryan Rowland-Smith (WI '03)
Mike Wilson (WI '05)
TJ Bohn (WI '03) was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves.
Complete details about the additions at at the link above. Mariner Minors has a review of the additions HERE.
Details about Bohn and the Braves are at the Braves site HERE.
The team's release:
Lance Parrish Named Loons' First Manager
The story from the Midland Daily News is HERE.
"It’s really the perfect fit in every way," said Paul Barbeau, Loons’ president and general manager. "He spent 19 years in the majors, and from there, he spent time in Major League and Minor League coaching and managing. And on top of that, he’s a name that local people know and love."
Parrish played for the Tigers for ten years and was a member of the 1984 World Championship team.
What about his coaching staff?
The Loons’ pitching coach will be another former Tiger, Glenn Dishman, who pitched for Detroit in 1997. The Loons’ hitting coach is former Dodgers’ player Garey Ingram.
Hey, he lost to the Royals in the ALCS. What did Howser expect in New York?
Instead, Casey waited around for a couple of years and took the Mets job.
Somehow, it seems appropriate that the first inter-league trade would be between the Cubs and the Red Sox.
Given a 10-year contract to control the Baltimore franchise, John McGraw says he intends to be in baseball a long time, and wants to lease grounds in Baltimore where he can stay. He'll be in baseball 32 more years, but not in Baltimore. Nick Young says the National League wishes success to the American League, but does not consider it a major league.
Jon McGraw. What a guy. Managerial record HERE. Wikipedia page is HERE. BaseballLibrary page is HERE. Highlights from that one:
[As a player] McGraw was notorious for blocking, tripping, or otherwise obstructing the baserunners while the lone umpire watched the flight of the ball. Some say his shenanigans prompted the stationing of additional umpires on the basepaths.
Why didn't McGraw complete the ten-year contract?
In 1901 he became player-manager of the new American League's Baltimore franchise, but after frequent run-ins with league president Ban Johnson, a man as intractable as himself, he jumped in mid-1902 to the NL's New York Giants.
McGraw hated Johnson so much that when the Giants won the 1904 NL pennant, he refused to let the Giants play the AL Champions in what would have been the second World Series.
Sebastien Boucher (WI '05) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Waikiki as the only ex-Rattler to play in the game.
Mariner farmhand Reed Eastley was 3-for-5 with four RBI for Waikiki.
Tuesday's Schedule (Final game of the regular season):
Waikiki at Honolulu 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Seventeen-year-old Eiji Sawamura gives up one hit, a home run to Lou Gehrig, as the touring American all-stars win in Japan 1–0. At one point Sawamura strikes out four in a row -- Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Gehrig. The all-stars easily win the other 15 games against high school and post-college players. College players in Japan are prohibited from playing against foreigners.
That is interesting. But, this is more interesting entry from 1934.
Catcher Moe Berg shoots movie film showing the roofs of Tokyo. The film will allegedly be used as a guide by U.S. bombers during WWII.
Berg was a backup catcher for many years in the 20's and 30's. He was also the subject of the book The Catcher Was a Spy. Here is part of an editorial review of the book from Amazon.com:
Baseball catcher, lawyer, and spy-Moe Berg was all of these, but first and foremost he was an enigma. All the ascertainable facts concerning Berg's life are presented here, including his 19 years as the most famous journeyman catcher in professional baseball; his stint at Columbia University and subsequent abortive legal career; his investigation of Germany's atomic bomb program for the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor of the CIA) during World War II; and his postwar years, in which he lived off the kindness of friends.
Berg's wikipedia page is HERE. Fun facts from there:
On February 21, 1939, Berg made his first of three appearances on the radio quiz show, Information, Please!. After missing the first question, Berg put on a dazzling performance. Of his appearance, Kenesaw Mountain Landis told him, "Berg, in just thirty minutes you did more for baseball than I've done the entire time I've been commissioner." On his third appearance, Clifton Fadiman, the moderator, started asking Berg too many personal questions. Berg did not answer any more questions and never appeared on the show again.
On August 2, 1943, Berg accepted a position with the Office of Strategic Services for a salary of $3,800 a year. In September, he was assigned to the Secret Intelligence branch of the OSS and given a place at the OSS Balkans desk. In this role, he parachuted into Yugoslavia to evaluate the various resistance groups operating against the Nazis to determine which was the strongest.
No ex-Rattlers played for the BeachBoys yesterday.
Mariner farmhand Reed Eastley was 1-for-4.
Waikiki at Honolulu 7:00pm Hawaii time
That should take you to the broadcast of the Rattler game against the Snappers on 8/6. It was a back-and-forth game right up to the big hit at the end by Johan Limonta. The game winner was only partially ruined by the radio announcer.
Enjoy a little tase of baseball today.