36 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is 36 days from today.

The number 36 is represented by the well-traveled 300 game winner, Gaylord Perry.

Wednesday Baseball Movie Quote (2/28)

"The Babe": Let me tell you something kid; Everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people never take the chance, either because they're too scared, or they don't recognize it when it spits on their shoes.

Veterans Vote

Yesterday the National Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee did not give anyone enough votes to join the Hall.

Hall's Vets elect no one in 2007

Ron Santo inched a little closer to Cooperstown on Tuesday, but came up five votes short of baseball immortality.

Voting by the Veterans Committee for the National Baseball Hall of Fame resulted in another shutout as none of the candidates on the players or composite ballots received the 75 percent plurality required for election.

The former Cubs third baseman received the most votes on the players ballot with 57 (69.5 percent), followed by former pitcher Jim Kaat with 52 (63.4), former Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges with 50 (61.0) and former Twins outfielder Tony Oliva with 47 (57.3), the only players to be named on half of the 82 of 84 ballots cast with 62 votes needed for 75 percent.

The committee, which is comprised of living Hall of Famers, Ford C. Frick Award winners for broadcasting and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners for writing totaling 84 voters, has not elected anyone since the current process went into effect in 2003. This was the third players' ballot, which is voted on every other year, and the second composite ballot of executives, managers and umpires, which is voted on every four years.

You can see the vote totals at the link.

The main story here is Ron Santo. Let's go to the Chicago Tribune for the Chicago reaction.

Santo: The bummer of 69 (percent)

Ron Santo's heart was broken again Tuesday when he was denied entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame, leaving the former Cubs icon to wonder whether his day ever will come.

The nine-time All-Star learned Tuesday morning the Veterans Committee again declined to admit any former major-leaguers into their exclusive club, the third time since 2003 that no one made the grade.

Santo finished first on the Hall of Fame ballot with 57 votes out of the 82 cast, or 69.5 percent of the total. That was five votes shy of the necessary 75 percent for induction, making the news that much harder to stomach.

Santo was too distraught to talk to the media, and his good friend and former teammate, Billy Williams, said he probably was devastated by the news.

"I felt sorry for him because he was so looking forward to getting the call," Williams said. "I felt really good about it this year. I talked to Ernie [Banks] yesterday and I think everybody who was involved [wanted it to happen]. Maybe we were a little partial to him because we were teammates, but I really thought with the credentials he had, he was deserving."

Bleed Cubbie Blue has this post: Oh, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Just go there.

The very long home run of Mike Wilson

The Mariners played an intrasquad game yesterday. Mike Wilson (WI '05) impressed some with his power on a home run off Juan Sandoval (WI '03).

Mammoth blast: The Mariners played the first of two intrasquad games Tuesday morning on one of the practice fields at the Peoria Sports Complex, and the team managed by Minor League coach Eddie Rodriguez defeated the Darren Brown club, 3-0.

The final run came via a home run over the 32-foot wall in center field by Minor League outfielder Mike Wilson off right-hander Juan Sandoval.

"That was a bomb," center fielder Adam Jones said. "It sounded good off the bat and he's a strong dude. Raul [Ibanez] told me to play it off the wall, so I slowed down to see where it would hit. I lost [sight] of the ball, until I saw it hit on the pavement, and I knew it had to go over by quite a bit."

The 6-2, 215-pound Wilson said he was surprised the ball went over the tall fence.

"I was thinking 'triple,'" he said. "I sure wasn't thinking home run going over the monster."

As Wilson rounded third base, Mariners coach Mike Goff quipped, "That all you got, Wilson?"

Apparently not.

"I have hit some pretty long shots in my career," Wilson said. "In the playoffs at [Class A] Wisconsin last year, I hit a walkoff home run to left field that went just as far, maybe farther."

Geoff Baker focused on Sandoval

There was a touching tale lost in all the hoopla over a massive intrasquad home run hit on Tuesday that may have gone as far as 500 feet.

The blast by Mariners outfield prospect Mike Wilson not only cleared the 410-foot sign in straightaway center on a practice field at the Peoria Sports Complex. But it also sailed over a 30-foot-high "batter's eye" screen and was seen landing on some concrete pavement at least another 60 feet beyond that.

A lone down note on the homer — if there can be such a thing — was that it was crushed off Mariners minor-leaguer Juan Sandoval, making his first mound appearance since a shotgun blast 13 months ago left him blind in his right eye.

One of the first Mariners to take Sandoval aside after Tuesday's big hit was veteran pitcher and fellow Dominican Republic native Miguel Batista.

"The guy hasn't pitched since 2005," Batista said. "He's got one eye. He pitched today and he never got behind in the count.

"That's what I was telling him," he added. "I said that his main concern today was whether he was throwing the ball over the plate. I said 'You haven't pitched in two years, you come back with one eye and you're throwing the ball over the plate for them to swing.'

"I said: 'We've got guys here with two eyes, who pitched last year and on the first day of spring training, they walked the world.'

Baker also has this from the guy who hit the homer

Wilson, 23, who hit 21 homers in 449 total at-bats in Class A and Class AA last season, claims it wasn't his longest. He says a two-run, walk-off homer he clubbed for Class A Wisconsin on Sept. 9, 2005, to end a playoff series with Beloit traveled just as far.

"In my career, I've had some pretty good shots," he said.

He'd have to have for this one to be anything short of his best.

That homer against the Snappers was a rising line drive that went to the left of the scoreboard in leftcenter and looked like it was still going up when it left the ballpark. There wasn't a chance to see where it landed, but it had to clear a secondary fence that blocks off a pedestrian trail behind the stadium and wind up in the woods. It was a beautiful thing, mainly because it beat Beloit.

EDIT: Made the top half of the story more readable.

Two words...

...you never want to hear in relation to a new ballpark. Toxic hazard.

Toxic hazard creates bump in road to new A's ballpark

The scope of Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff's Fremont ballpark village continues to widen, as new records reveal his pursuit of a fourth piece of land beyond the initial 143 acres he intends to buy from Cisco Systems. But city officials say there's one property in particular he needs to address to remove a potential hazard.

Just across the street from the envisioned ballpark village site sits Scott Specialty Gases, a distributor of highly toxic materials used in semi-conductor manufacturing. Fremont officials advised Wolff last year that he'd need to either relocate the plant or find another way to mitigate the potential hazard posed by a toxic gas cloud floating over a ballpark filled with 32,000 people.

``It's easier to relocate than try to mitigate for an open-air stadium,'' said Jill Keimach, Fremont's community development director, who began talking to the A's about the Scott Gas issue last April in early talks about the potential ballpark development.

Wolff and representatives of Scott Gas declined comment.

Found the story at ballparkdigest.com.

Lansing updates

It's been a while since the Lugnuts updated the pictures on their site about the improvements going on at Oldsmobile Park. But, they finally did. HERE is the link and below is the one outside picture. It is of the new seats.

Meet the new boss

NOT the same as the old boss for the SWING of the Quad Cities:

New Quad-City owners select general manager

As the Swing of the Quad-Cities continue their transition to new ownership, the prospective owners of the Midwest League franchise have named a new general manager for the club.

Ben Burke, a member of the front-office staff of the Schaumburg Flyers in the independent Northern League for the past five years, is settling into his office at John O’Donnell Stadium this week as the Swing’s new general manager.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved with the community and having the community be a part of our team,’’ Burke said. “I want to be active in the community, and I want our staff to be visible and active as well.’’

Burke, 30, began working for the Flyers as the club’s director of finance and most recently served as its director of corporate sales and assistant general manager.
Current Swing team president Kevin Krause continues to oversee operations of the club until the sale process is complete. Burke will assume those day-to-day duties once the sale has been finalized.

“We’ll work collaboratively to keep things moving forward,’’ Krause said. "All of us are interested in getting the transaction done as quickly as possible. Mainstreet believes it is important for their business philosophies to be implemented and this helps facilitate that.’’

Control Interest Transfer documents are being reviewed by the Midwest League. Once approved by the league, the governing bodies of minor league baseball and the major league commissioner’s office must approve the sale before the transaction is complete.

That may or may not be done by April 5, the opening date of the 2007 season, and bringing Burke onto the staff now is designed to bridge the transition period.

“It’s a little different, but I’ll be working closely with Kevin as we work toward the start of the season,’’ Burke said. “It’s easy in one sense. We both have the same goals, to have the stands filled and to our stadium be a place where kids and families can come and enjoy themselves.’’

A couple of Snapper stories

There is this from last week in the Beloit Daily News:

City, Snappers OK one-year deal

The Beloit City Council voted 7-0 Monday to approve a lease agreement between the City of Beloit and the Beloit Professional Baseball Association Inc.

The lease extends the use of Pohlman Field to the Beloit Snappers for an additional year, with the option of renewing it for an additional two one-year terms beyond that point.The agreement stipulates that the Association is responsible for maintaining the field and providing necessary equipment and materials, while the city will contribute $43,000 each year, subject to the approval of its annual operating budget by the City Council.

“Obviously the Snappers are back to square one with the land swap deal, so I think it's safe to say they're going to be at their home field for a while now,” City Manager Larry Arft said.

Then, there is this from Monday

Stateline residents discuss future of Beloit Snappers

The Beloit Snappers just may be one of the best hidden treasures Rock County has to offer; and if the community doesn't recognize its value soon, it's only a matter of time before the team disappears.

At least that's how one Beloit Snappers season ticket holder put it.

“I just think it's almost a hidden treasure. I think, to a certain degree maybe, the Beloit community recognizes what's there, but I don't think Rock County as a whole does. I don't think the average person, who maybe goes to three or four games a year, realizes there's a really good chance they could decide not to stay,” Sherri Haakenson, of Janesville, said.

“My concern is if we don't get a new stadium, the major league teams are going to go somewhere else and find what Beloit doesn't have to offer.”
“People don't realize what ballparks are looking like these days. It's easy to look at the parks of the 13 other teams in our league and then look at Pohlman Field and see what a huge difference there is. Every one has been renovated or rebuilt in the league except for ours,” Conerton said.

“We're not up to standards or what the trend has been in the last 15 years. We need to look at following that and upgrading in order to compete long-term.”

If it comes down to a new stadium versus losing the team altogether, many other Stateline Area residents and Snappers fans agree with Haakenson that a new stadium is a solid investment.

“I know the Minnesota Twins require a first-class stadium, and Pohlman Field is below standards - even Midwest standards,” said Tom Hastings, a season ticket holder and Machesney Park resident, better known as “Kaptain K” to regulars at Beloit Snappers games.

“A lot of times, when people see something that looks a little bit rundown, they think the product is rundown, too. If we could build a stadium off Interstate-90, with a high profile, I think it couldn't help but draw.”

Keeping the dream alive.

Baseball History -- February 28

Complete entry for February 28 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries
In baseball's sternest disciplinary move since the
Black Sox were banished for life, Commissioner Ueberroth gives seven players who were admitted drug users a choice of a year's suspension without pay or heavy fines and career-long drug testing, along with 100 hours of drug-related community service. Joaquin Andujar, Jeffrey Leonard, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Dale Berra, and Lonnie Smith will be fined 10 percent of their annual salaries, while 14 other players will receive lesser penalties for their involvement with illegal drugs.

Is it really discipline to let the players choose their punishment?
Seeking an unprecedented 3-year, $1.05 million contract to be divided evenly, the Dodgers'
Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale begin a joint holdout.

That's togetherness.
The National League fines the Braves $500 for opening their spring training camp before the official March 1st date.

Since the Braves drew over 2,000,000 fans in 1954 they probably did not mind the $500 fine.


37 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timbe Rattlers. That is 37 days from today.

The number 37 is represented by Casey Stengel
The picture is from caseystengel.com where there is also a page of quotes by Casey. Some of them are good, others are kind of 'eh, okay I guess.', but I found this one way at the bottom:
"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy."

That would look good on a motivational poster.

M's Mailbag (2/27)

A few days after I mention Corey Brock as one of the reasons it will be fun to follow the Mariners on the internet this season, he announces that he is moving over to the Padres beat at MLB.com.
Here is the main question dealing with an ex-Rattler in the entry:

Why don't the Mariners try to get a better backup catcher than Rene Rivera?-- Scott M., Shoreline, Wash.

That's actually a timely question as Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove said separately last week that they want more offense out of their backup catcher this season -- whether that's Rivera or someone else. Rivera hit just .152 in 99 at-bats, essentially giving Seattle nothing with his bat. That's far too many at-bats to give away. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mariners add a veteran backup if they think Rivera is unable to handle the job. We'll have to see how Rivera swings the bat in camp. He reported to camp in the best shape of his short career but that doesn't nessasarily mean anything offensively. Just in case you're wondering, catcher Jeff Clement -- the Mariners' No. 1 draft pick in 2005 -- wouldn't be in the mix for this spot because he still needs some Minor League seasoning. If we were talking about this, say, next season, it might be a different story for Clement.

Geoff Baker's Blog

has an continuation of the story about Juan Sandoval (WI '03) in this blog entry.

I promised you earlier that I'd tell you how Juan Sandoval, a pitching prospect who is blind in his right eye, did during today's bunt fielding drills. Well, I watched Sandoval on one of the side fields. On one attempt, he picked up a bunt toward the third base side, but dropped the ball before he could make a throw. He was made to repeat the drill and threw successfully to first for the out.

In another drill, making a "daylight'' pickoff move to second base, his throw was right on the money. My only concern came when Sandoval was standing on the side with some of the other pitchers. At one point, a coach flipped a ball underhanded towards pitcher Justin Lehr, who was standing near Sandoval.

Lehr actually had to reach in front of Sandoval's body for the ball. Sandoval did not appear to see him until the pair bumped into each other. It was a very minor, almost unnoticeable bump. But it's clear that Sandoval has an issue with peripheral vision that he will have to compensate for in other areas. He admitted as much to me during our interview sessions last week. Obviously, he faces challenges during his comeback. It will be interesting to see him pitch in tomorrow's intra squad game. All I can say is, he's one brave ballplayer and I think everyone in camp wishes him well.

If you want to wish 'Sandy' good luck, go to the post and e-mail Geoff Baker.

What a difference a weekend makes

Picture from before the snow hit the Fox Cities this weekend:

Picture taken Monday morning:

Baseball season, get here soon.

1931 Homstead Grays

MLB has revealed the 1931 Homstead Grays as the greatest Negro League team of all time.

1931 Homestead Grays best ever
Team with galaxy of Negro League stars dominated

Editor's note: Any number of Crawford and Monarch teams might well have been the greatest ever. So might some of the pre-Negro League teams like the 1910 Leland Giants or the 1905 Philadelphia Giants. Even some of the powerhouse Grays teams could lay claim to No. 1. At the end, a Grays team did take the No. 1 spot. With hitters like a then-young Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Boojum Wilson, Vic Harris and George Scales, and pitchers like Smokey Joe Williams, Willie Foster and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, the '31 Grays were, voters said, the greatest of the great. Here is their story:

Look closely at the roster of the 1931 Homestead Grays:
Oscar Charleston ... Hall of Famer

Jud "Boojum" Wilson ... Hall of Famer

Smokey Joe Williams ... Hall of Famer

Willie Foster ... Hall of Famer

Josh Gibson ... Hall of Famer
Sift through the history books on black baseball, and great ballplayers and great teams litter its pages. But few teams have had the widespread recognition as the "best of the best" the way the '31 Grays have.

Authorities on the Negro Leagues have made them the consensus pick as the best team ever. Sure, the 1932, '35 or '36 Pittsburgh Crawfords always get plenty of support as well. So do a handful of other teams. But picking the 1931 Grays No. 1 overall isn't a choice that people dismiss out of hand.

"The Grays, obviously, were one of the great black franchises of all time," said Dick Clark, a respected baseball historian who's written several books on the Negro Leagues. "The biggest reason is the number of great players that were on the team."

Credit for that stretch of greatness, including the '31 season, goes to one man: Cumberland Posey, the Hall of Fame owner of the storied franchise. Starting as a player in the early half of the 1900s, Posey spent 35 years as the brains behind the Grays. Few men had the eye for talent that he did, and in the freewheeling world of the Negro Leagues, Posey opened his wallet to stock the Grays with the best talent on the market.

Go ahead and read it all.

Brewers Classic

Last night was the latest edition of Brewers Classics on Fox Sports North. It was Game Three of the 1982 ALCS.

Keith Jackson, Jim Palmer, and Earl Weaver were the commentators for ABC. It was fun to watch a game without ten replays between each pitch. However, I will grant that it was tough to watch a game without the score and inning reminder along the top of the screen.

The most jarring part of the broadcast was Jackson promoting the Saturday's regional football games. Included with undefeated Washington vs. Cal and Southern Mississippi vs. Mississippi State was Holy Cross vs. Colgate? Think about that. Holy Cross and Colgate on ABC in 1982. Wow.

Things that I remembered after watching the game last night:

It was fun to see Robin Yount score from first on a double by Cecil Cooper

Gorman Thomas was not your prototypical centerfielder but he got the job done

There was a Jeffrey Maier moment for a Brewer fan on an Angels home run for Bob Boone

Paul Molitor could crush the ball when he connected just right

Welcome Home

A former Appleton Fox and Major Leaguer will be the guest speaker at the Timber Ratter Welcome Home Banquet on April 3.

Steve Trout to speak at Welcome Home Banquet
The featured speaker at the 2007 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Welcome Home Banquet will be former Appleton Foxes pitcher Steve "Rainbow" Trout. A first round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1976, Trout spent part of the 1977 season in Appleton and played in the Major Leagues with the White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, and Mariners.

My favorite Steve Trout moment was Game Two of the 1984 NLCS. The Padres didn't have a chance that day.

Baseball History -- February 27

Complete entry for February 27 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
The Yankees trade veteran IF
Toby Harrah to the Rangers for OF Billy Sample and a player to be named later. The palindromic infielder was a member of the original Rangers in 1972.

Only used to get the word palindromic on this blog.
An architect offers a proposal to encase
Candlestick Park in a plastic screen—"saran cloth"—to shield it from the wind.

Shouldn't that read either 'A crazy architect offers...' or 'Christo offers a proposal...'


38 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is 38 days from today.

The number 38 is represented by Robin Roberts.

He wore #36 for most of his career, but from 1962-66 he wore 38.

Mariner Notes on Ex-Rattlers

Plenty of ex-Rattler news in Corey Brock's Mariner Notes section of the M's home page.

Hot topic: Catcher Jeff Clement, Seattle's No. 1 draft pick in 2005, was hit on the right middle finger on Mike Morse's backswing last week. A hole was drilled in his fingernail to relieve pressure and drain blood. A precautionary MRI came back negative, meaning that Clement only missed a day of workouts before resuming catching and hitting drills.

"You get beat up quite a bit but that's just how the position is," Clement said. "We all know that, so you just deal with it. If you're tentative, you're going to get hurt more."

On the move: Left-handed pitcher Ryan Feierabend has thrown the ball well during the first few weeks of Spring Training, though no matter how well he pitches, he will begin the season as part of the starting rotation with Triple-A Tacoma. Feierabend, who had a 3.71 ERA in four September starts, showed a lot of poise for a 21-year-old in the Major Leagues last season. If Seattle gets in pinch for pitching, he would likely be the one the Mariners would recall first.

On the pine: Infielder Oswaldo Navarro, who is likely ticketed to start the season with Tacoma, is close to being fully recovered from a sprained knee that he suffered playing winter ball in Venezuela. Navarro started taking ground balls on Sunday.

They're No. 1: We mentioned Clement and his finger. Adam Jones, the Mariners' first-round pick in 2003, is showing no ill effects from a cut he suffered on his left hand in the first week of camp trying to stop himself from running into a fence. Jones has an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster but might be better served playing on an everyday basis with Tacoma.

Stat machine -- 2: The number of quality catchers the Mariners figure to have at Tacoma this season in Clement and Rob Johnson. Both need to log time behind the plate, so look for Clement -- who has more offensive upside -- to DH when he's not catching.

Closing time for Pineiro?

Pineiro open to becoming a closer for Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox are the summer obsession of a legion of fans around the world. At the very least, all of New England hangs on their every victory and loss, rejoicing over the former and hyperanalyzing the latter.

They have amassed a roster that contains several superstars, including a potential new one from Japan named Daisuke Matsuzaka, and paid them all extravagantly. The team's projected payroll of $160 million puts them on the heels of the New York Yankees, the vanquishing of whom is the single-minded pursuit of Red Sox ownership.

So now, heading into this season, intent on returning to the playoffs after ignominiously falling to third place last year, the Red Sox may be prepared to entrust their precious ninth-inning leads to ... Joel Pineiro?

Joel Pineiro?

As bizarre as it may seem to Mariners fans, who have seen Pineiro struggle for most of the past three seasons, the Red Sox could very well end up with him as their closer.

Of course, they might not, because the Sox have numerous options and Plan B's to ponder before their season opener in Kansas City on April 2. But by many accounts, Boston's preferred result is for Pineiro to seize the job and run with it.

...Pineiro learned the Mariners weren't going to offer him a 2007 contract, making him a free agent. The non-tender decision was not unexpected, considering Pineiro's $6.3 million salary in 2006 and his 21-35 record with a 5.60 ERA over the previous three years.

The Red Sox, however, were intrigued by what they saw from Pineiro late in the year after he was demoted into the bullpen: 20 strikeouts in 24 innings, a .213 opponents batting average, pitches that suddenly came alive. The Sox saw closer material.

"From our scouting evaluations, in short stints his velocity went back up to the mid-90s, and the action and life to his pitches increased in those short stints," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said. "I think the short stints, the aggressive mentality, fits well for him."

First impressions in Atlanta

This Atlanta Journal Constitution blog entry about Ex-Rattler Rafael Soriano has been around for a few days, but it's worth a look at Rattler Radio.

Soriano a pitcher, not a charmer

Dan Kolb was too sensitive and lacked the fastball to be intimidating.

Chris Reitsma seemed too polite and engaging to flick a switch and become a convincing mound menace.

Those won’t be issues with Rafael Soriano.

You want your relievers nasty, seething, with icy glares? You’ve got one.

Soriano may have cracked a smile since he reported to camp Thursday afternoon, but no one I’ve talked to has seen it.

He may have said something like, “I’m just glad to be here,” but no one I’ve talked to has heard it.

That’s fine by me. And I’m betting it’ll be just fine by Braves fans, long as he keeps doing what he did in Seattle. Dominate hitters in a setup role.
And for those who think he might be afraid since getting creamed in the right side of his head by that Vladimir Guerrero line drive last Aug. 29, the one that ended Soriano’s season and left him groggy into November?

Well, ask him about it. But watch the tone.

“I’m not scared of that, I’m no little kid,” he said, and said it convincingly.

Shortly after it happened, he said he asked to see the videotape of the incident (“I wanted to see what happened”) and watched it more than once.

He said he was still woozy or tired or whatever in his first couple of winter-ball appearances, but after he took a couple weeks off per doctor’s orders, he came back and said he felt great in his remaining five or six appearances in winter ball.

“I’m 100 percent, ready to go,” said Soriano.

Baseball History -- February 26

Complete entry for February 26 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
The Phils sign
Bucky Harris as manager. It is the 4th ML club Harris has led, not counting two stints—later 3—at Washington. Clark Griffith, Rogers Hornsby, Donie Bush, and Bill McKechnie have also managed four clubs.

Harris got the Senators a World Championship in his first season (1924) and an AL pennant (1925) as a player manager. HERE is the managerial career of Harris. That stint with the Phillies lasted just 92 games.
National League officials meet with Charles "Chief" Zimmer, Pittsburgh catcher and the president of the PPA, and agree to contract concessions granted by the American League for NL players who will agree not to sign with AL clubs. Zimmer promises suspensions for PPA jumpers to the AL.

The start of the American League game the players in the National League a little something called leverage.
In a series of rule changes designed to help pitchers, foul bunts will now be called strikes, and the infield fly rule is instituted.

About time that those foul bunts became strikes.


39 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 39 days from today.

The number 39 is represented by Roy Campanella:
Photo from National Baseball Hall of Fame store.

Gehrig's Manager

On Sunday's during the off-season, Rattler Radio is running excerpts of Luckiest Man, Jonathan Eig's biography of Lou Gehrig.

This week's post deals with with his relationship with Miller Huggins, Gerhig's first Yankee manager.

Huggins exerted enourmous energy trying to keep his players focused on their jobs. The more he pushed, the heavier the bags under his eyes seemed to grow. and the grayer his skin seemed to turn. The newspapers referred to him as an "unhappy little man." He seemed to exist in a constant state of worry -- over his team, over the stock market, over his investments in real estate, over his health, over [Babe] Ruth skipping curfew. Doctors told him the strain would kill him someday, but Huggins couldn't help it. It was all he knew how to do. That and win baseball games.

Gehrig, at least, gave the manager little reason to lose sleep. He arrived at the ballpark on time, didn't drink, played hard, never missed curfew, smoked mostly in private, and spent his money cautiously. Huggins began offering Gehrig tips on the stock market and on Florida real estate investments. The market was booming, and Huggins urged all his young players to start planning for retirement. Gehrig never gave details about his investments, but he suggested on several occasions that he had followed his manager's advice.

Once, Huggins heard a rumor that Gehrig had blown almost a full year's salary on a new car. The more the manager thought about it, the angrier he got. Perhaps Huggins couldn't stand to think that Gehrig was falling under the sway of Ruth. In any case, Gehrig told an interviewer that when he walked into the clubhouse one day, Huggins sprang toward him.

"You big, stupid clown," the manager said.

Huggins jumped up and threw a punch at his first baseman's chin. It landed, but without harm.

Gehrig stood and stared.

"Here I've been trying to teach you some sense and you go out and spend a year's salary on an automobile."

Gehrig told the manager that he had been misinformed. He had in fact bought a car, but it was a $700 Peerless Packard -- used.

"Well, let that punch be a lesson to you," the manager said.

Congratulations, USS Mariner

I saw this last week, but saved it until Sunday:

USSM breaks new ground, maybe

I’ve heard the inclusion of my piece “Bugs Bunny, greatest banned player ever” in the next Best American Sports Writing Annual makes USSM the first baseball blog and possibly the first blog of any kind to break into that hallowed series.
Just click on the link in the excerpt to read the post that got into the sportswriting anthology.

Here is the classic on which the post is based:

WHAM! A homer! WHAM another homer! That still cracks me up to this day.

Maybe not

I'd take another picture from outside the trailer's back door today, but I really don't want to. Instead here is the link to the Post-Crescent story on this LEVEL FIVE KILLSTORM!!! (as Kent Brockman would say)

Wintry blast sweeps into state; up to 15 inches of snow may fall in place by Monday
With near blizzard conditions, high winds and up to 15 inches of heavy snow predicted by Monday, nearly everyone else may be hunkering down inside today with no big plans other than watching Wisconsin beat Ohio State or seeing who's wearing what at the Oscars.

As if to make up for lost time, a late-season storm system began a three-day assault on the area Friday night.

Like the eye of a hurricane, the skies Saturday partially cleared in advance of the second punch that may require a yardstick to measure today.

Can baseball season get here? Now!

Every time I think I'm out...

They pull me back in.

Why the quote from Godfather III?

Early last week, there was an e-mail in my inbox. It was from KROX in Crookston, Minnesota. Somehow, they heard that I was a hockey announcer in a former life. Minnesota-Crookston was going to be playing Lawrence University on Friday and Saturday in a playoff series. Since they couldn't send anyone down to Appleton, would I help out a brother in sound?


I forgot how chilly broadcast positions are in most hockey arenas. Also, the perch was down in a corner.

I don't think that I was that terrible. Except for not being up on the rule about overtime in a playoff series on Saturday. When I was at UW-Superior, there was no overtime in the two regular playoff games. If regulation ended in a tie, that's how the game ended. Of course, last night, Lawrence tied the game with just under two minutes to go in regulation.

Since Lawrence won 5-3 on Friday night, Saturday's tie let them move on in the MCHA playoffs. If UM-Crookston had won Saturday's game, there would have been a fifteen minute minigame.

At the Division III level in NCAA hockey, they don't play a best-of-three series. At this level, the first team to three points in a series wins the series. The minigame is the decision maker if both teams win a game or if both teams tie the first two games.

It was fun to get back to the rink, but can baseball season get here? Soon?

Baseball History -- February 25

Complete entry for February 25 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entires:

A pension plan for baseball is agreed on, with players to get $5.45 million per year. They also get a reduction in the years necessary to qualify for a pension from five to 4, retroactive to 1959; a percentage of television revenues; lowered minimum age for drawing a pension from 50 to 45; and other benefits.

The U.S. Supreme Court decides 6-3 that baseball is the only professional sport exempt from antitrust laws. The issue arises when pro football seeks similar protection from the laws.

HERE is a USA Today article from 2001 and HERE is an ESPN.com Q&A. These explain why the anti-trust exemption is important to MLB.
The Chicago White Sox hand out the first media guide to beat writers. Just 17 pages long, it is the creation of Marsh Samuel, according to historian Peggy Beck. The project intrigues
Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians, who hires Samuel away from the Sox to create a guide for the Tribe.

Now, some players have entires that are 17 pages long.

Multimillionaire sportsman
Tom Yawkey buys the Boston Red Sox from the broke Robert Quinn. Young Tom's father, William Austin, was negotiating to buy the Tigers when he died and William Yawkey completed the deal. William Yawkey then adopted young Tom, who took on the Yawkey name and now uses his inheritance to buy the Red Sox. Yawkey intends to rebuild Fenway to boost attendance, which skidded to 182,150 last season. He also hires Eddie Collins as vice-president and GM.

And now you know.

Providence players and their opponents will be expected to parade down the streets of Providence in full uniform, accompanied by a brass band, on game days in order to encourage attendance.

Think this would work on College Avenue in downtown Appleton in 2007?


40 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is just 40 days from today.

The number 40 is represented by the Appleton Baseball Hall of Famer Gordie Lund.

Lund managed the Appleton Foxes for several years in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1980. His 1978 team won the Midwest League Championship and their regular season record was 97-40.

The Girl in Lover's Lane

This week's baseball on TV episode is from one of the funniest shows in television history.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a show about a guy trapped in space who is forced to watch bad movies. Add in two robots who watch the movie with the guy, two mad scientists who force the movies on the guy and his robots, and too many quips, riffs, and jokes to count and the two hour show is filled with laughter. I could go on for a long time about this show, its history, mythology, characters, and inside jokes. But, I won't.

There are many one-liners in the show that include baseball as a reference point. But, this episode has an opening that hits close to the stadium...with a twist.

This episode has an opening invention exchange in which the Mad Scientists come up with a calendar of evil baseball promotions.

You can get a tast of the show by watching the entire clip below. Or, just get to the 2:53 point for promotions like Slide Whistle and Brass Knuckle Night and Dow Corning Fiberglass Insulation Night.

What to do on a weekend with no baseball?

I'll have a picture or two tomorrow. Trust me, it's just a way to keep the broadcasting chops fresh before Opening day. That's why I need to apologize for the lack of posts today. I'll try to make up for it tomorrow.

Another reason to come out to Fan Fest


Rattlers and Lawrence to scrimmage at Fan Fest

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host a scrimmage versus the Lawrence Vikings men's baseball team as part of their Fan Fest at Fox Cities Stadium on Tuesday, April 3rd. The 5 inning contest begins at 3pm and admission is free.

The scrimmage will be run as a regular game except Timber Rattler pitchers will face the hitters of both teams. Also, the Lawrence batters will be using wooden bats.

Should be fun.

Three Ex-Rattlers

First there is the update on Mark Lowe in the M's Notebook:

M's Notebook

The next step in the Mark Lowe waiting game is the team figuring out how it's going to treat scar tissue that's preventing Lowe from fully extending his elbow. Lowe had surgery on the elbow last October and is waiting to begin a throwing regimen.

But an MRI on Wednesday found scar tissue, and a decision has to be made about whether to get rid of it via arthroscopic surgery or an enhanced rehabilitation program. A pair of team medical specialists are consulting over that right now, and Lowe expects to hear the plan today or Sunday.

If he has surgery, it could be two or three more weeks before he can start throwing. But the pitcher said the news was actually good, in that the MRI did not uncover any bone chips or other damage to the elbow.

"The only better news would have been that everything's perfect," Lowe said.

Next up Rene Rivera

Rivera's goal: Catching on to backup role

It was a month into last season, and Rene Rivera was already out of gas.

To hear that about the Mariners backup catcher seems strange at first. After all, backup catchers are used to jokes about splinter injuries from riding the bench or neck woes from falling asleep during games. Being worn out simply isn't part of the image.

But going from catching 100-plus games per year in the minors to playing sporadically at age 22 took its physical and mental toll on Rivera last season. The Mariners expect much bigger things out of him in 2007, mainly at the plate, and Rivera is far more urgent about doing the little things to get there.

"It's tough doing that job because you're used to playing 120 games and now they want you to play 25, 30 or 40 games," Rivera said after his team's latest spring workout at the Peoria Sports Complex. "You have to keep in shape and stay ready by doing some stuff on the side."

Then, there is this interesting tidbit from Willie Bloomquist:

"To be honest, early on, a lot of guys were trying to tell him, 'Hey, you've got to stay sharp,' " said Bloomquist, who leaned on players like Mark McLemore, Greg Colbrunn and John Mabry when he was first adapting to a utility role at age 25. "I don't want to say he blew us off, but I think it took a while for it to sink in."

Rivera now follows what others preach. He is well aware his big-league career will be short-lived unless he starts hitting at least marginally better on days regular catcher Kenji Johjima gets a rest.

Last, a report on Chris Snelling and his....way.

Now a National, Snelling still seeking the right fit

As he prepared for the great unknown that awaited him in his post-Mariners life with the Washington Nationals, Chris Snelling fleetingly pondered a way to make an indelible first impression.

"I actually thought about coming here and acting like Steve Irwin, putting on the Australian accent real thick," he said, smiling in the Nationals clubhouse among 60 or so teammates who still remain largely strangers.

"You know, act like I didn't know what I was doing. Hitting a ground ball in batting practice and running to third."

As hilarious as that scenario would have been -- almost worth the backlash just to see general manager Jim Bowden's face -- Snelling wisely decided against it.

"That wouldn't have been very professional," he pointed out.
It's hard not to look back at Snelling's Mariners tenure and wonder where he would be now, at age 25 ("I feel old," he said), had he not been so injury cursed.

Would he already have a batting title or two, as Lou Piniella always felt he had the potential to do? Would his remarkable batting eye and aggressive style have made him a perennial All-Star, or at least an established regular, with a commensurate paycheck?

Snelling doesn't want to go there. Too painful -- in the emotional sense, not in the writhing-on-the-ground sense.

"If I think about what could have happened if I had stayed healthy, then I'd drive myself insane," he said.
After the season, Snelling went home to Australia, as he always does, then returned to his stateside home in Peoria, Ariz., to prepare for the season. To his shock, that season would be with the Nationals, not the Mariners.

"I actually found out watching ESPN," he said. "I was surprised, but I guess that's the business part of game. It didn't matter what team I was going to. It was the fact I got traded, and I'm not going to be with the Mariners anymore. I grew up with that organization."
The Mariners, he added, "were like family to me. I learned a lot. I'm grateful for every opportunity they gave me. Unfortunately, I just couldn't stay healthy."

Plenty there about Snelling and his new home.

I'm only going to say this once...

Darn this Wisconsin weather:

And it just getting started. Darn it.

Baseball History -- February 24

Complete entry for February 24 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
The Texas League announces it will quit for the duration of the war. The Cardinals, with 260 farm players in the service, will reduce farm clubs from 22 to 6. Only nine minor leagues will start the 1943 season. Advertisements for players appear in
The Sporting News.

National League adopts changes in the National Agreement. The minor leagues are divided into six classifications based on population, and new draft fees are instituted.

I'm trying to think of this off the top of my head so the Classes were D, C, B, A, AA, and AAA.
Also from 1896
The NL forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs, declares that "a ball cutting the corners of the home plate, and being requisite height, must be called a strike," and empowers umpires to eject players.

Umpires couldn't call a strike on the corners and couldn't eject a player? That was baseball?


41 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is just 41 days from today.

The number 41 is represented by Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver:
Picture from the National Baseball Hal of Fame.

Friday Flashback (2/23)

Aerial picture of Goodland Field:

1963 Fox Cities Foxes Program Cover

1963 Foxes Scorecard

Now almost Snow-Free

Here is a picture of the infield at Fox Cities Stadium taken yesterday morning.

It's almost here.

Rejection Theater (Arkansas edition)

July 1998. Time was running out on the Dukes season and my only paying job. There was nothing on the horizon. There were only a blind hope that one of the tapes sent out to expansion hockey teams in the Western Professional Hockey League would at least get me an interview. My post-Independence Day gift that year came from the Arkansas GlacierCats:
July 7, 1998

Dear Christopher,

Thank you very much for your interest with the Arkansas GlacierCats. We received over 50 applicants for our Director of Broadcasting position and obviously there were many fine candidates.

Please accept our regret, but we have filled the position. Thank you again for your interest and we will continue to keep your resume on file for future consideration.

Very Truly Yours,

Sales Manager

Oh, well. That team was out of business in a couple of years anyway. And what is the deal with the 'Very Truly Yours'? Even if it is true, that's just weird in a rejection letter.

Forgot to check..

and now it's over.

Bleed Cubbie Blue released the final three players on their Top 100 Cubs of All-Time.

3.) Sammy Sosa

2.) Adrian "Cap" Anson

1.) Ernie Banks

I'd excerpt the article but all you need to know about Ernie Banks is in this quote from him just before the body of the post:
"You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace."

Thanks, Ernie.

They're from the government....

and they are here to help you.

From the AP.

FCC investigating DirectTV, MLB deal

The government is investigating a proposed deal between Major League Baseball and DirecTV Inc. that has had fans in a tizzy.

MLB reportedly seeks to strike an exclusive deal with the satellite television provider to offer its "Extra Innings" baseball package. Disclosure of the Federal Communications Commission's investigation of any such deal came in a letter from FCC chairman Kevin Martin that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., released Thursday.
Kerry had asked Martin to investigate the "proposed $700 million television deal that could deny many consumers the ability to watch their favorite teams."

Martin, in reply, wrote Kerry: "I share your concerns regarding this proposed deal."

Everyone is concerned. Good. Now do something.

Juan Sandoval

Pitcher Juan Sandoval was a member of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2003. There were a few times last season when fans asked where he was. Sandoval spent all of last season out of baseball.

He had moved his way up the Mariner system after leaving Wisconsin, but that move has halted by one moment on Februrary 4, 2006 in the Dominican Republic.

...Sandoval was dining at a restaurant in his Dominican Republic hometown of Bonao. There was a nearby argument between the restaurant's bouncer and a drunken man. The man left, but returned moments later with a shotgun. Sandoval heard the gun's pump-action, turned to see what was happening and took a blast to the upper torso and face.

Three of the shotgun pellets lodged in his right eye, leaving it permanently blind.

Nearly a full year, a pair of surgeries, two visits to a retinal specialist in Seattle and plenty of guts later, the 26-year-old is on a field here with the Mariners as a non-roster invitee to spring training. He's learned to pitch and field his position with only one eye, using tips like "one, two, three ... glove!" to gauge the speed and closeness of grounders and compensate for his lost depth perception.
"When I got shot, I didn't know if I was going to keep playing baseball, keep my eye, or lose my vision," says Sandoval, whose carefree smile conceals just how much he's gone through. "I was just lucky to be alive. That was the only thing I cared about."
"I don't like to be around a lot of people now," he says. "Especially when I'm back home and I go out somewhere. If I go to a restaurant to eat, I like only a few people to be there. I don't want to go where it's crowded, where something can happen."

Go read the whole thing. Plenty about Sandoval's surgeries, rehab, and how he got the invite to major eague camp. What happened to the man who pulled the trigger on the shotgun?

The man who shot him claimed the gun went off accidentally. He was dirt poor, with a wife and family and had spent a week in jail when Sandoval finally talked to the police.

"I told them I didn't want to press charges, so they let him go," he said. "He was very poor and he made a mistake. Having him in jail wasn't going to change anything for me."


Baseball History -- February 23

Complete entry for February 23 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
A committee of Chicago aldermen vote 7-2 to allow the Cubs to install lights and play up to 18 night games a year at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had feared losing the 1990
All-Star Game, as well as future playoff and World Series games, if lights were not installed.

And how have those World Series games at Wrigley Field gone? Too mean?
Demolition of
Ebbets Field begins. Lucy Monroe sings the National Anthem, and Roy Campanella is given an urn of dirt from behind home plate.

The National Anthem before the wrecking ball. That's different.


42 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is six weeks, or 42 days, away.

The number 42 is represented by the only person it should be represented by:

Thursday Motivation (2/22)

Two ways of looking at things:

From Successories.com:"In the competition between the river and the rock, the river always wins...not through strength, but through perserverance."

Gotta share

Over at the Diamond Jaxx home page, this picture is part of the story about single game tickets going on sale March 1.

Just the right amount of "Pleeeeeaaaaaaseee, come and buy tickets."

This is where...

a picture of the almost snow-free infield at Fox Cities Stadium would have gone...If I remembered to take my camera to the office yesterday. I'll remember today.

New caps?

Ballparkdigest.com had a link to this story on the new hats Major Leguers will be wearing this season.

MLB doffs wool caps, adopts new synthetic material

On opening day, the sport will doff the traditional wool cap in favor of a new polyester blend model designed to wick away sweat before it can stream down a player’s face.

The change is part of commissioner Bud Selig’s focus on boosting player performance, a Major League Baseball official said, and follows a general trend toward moisture-managing "performance" materials in sports apparel.

"We started to think, ’How can those developments be applied to our headwear?"’ said John DeWaal, vice president of brand communications at New Era Cap Co., the Buffalo-based manufacturer that holds the cap contract.

USAToday.com has a more in-depth look in this article:

Baseball caps to have new feel
Big-league caps traditionally have been made of 100% wool. The new caps, debuting opening day, look just like the old ones despite being 100% polyester.
I don't know about you, but when I hear the words '100% polyester" I think of this:

But, I'm sure these caps are must more stylish and no one will b making fun of them in thirty years. Go to the USA Today story for all the details.

Happy Birthday, George

February 22, 1732. George Washington's Birthday. I think he would have been a heck of a shortstop. Tall, athletic, good arm [threw a silver dollar over the Potomac], good swing [chopped down a cherry tree], leader.

A quote, sir, if you please?

To err is natural; to rectify error is glory.

Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum & The White House.

So you want to be a catcher?

From Geoff Baker's blog

Glad I wasn't crouching behind home plate today. It seems like anyone who was, save for Rene Rivera, had to be helped off the field. First, it was Jeff Clement taking a foul tip off his fingernail that left him in a great deal of pain and the nail looking none too pretty. He actually had to go to the hospital for precautionary X-Rays and is expected to be sidelined a couple of days.

But what really must have made GM Bill Bavasi's heart thump was the sight of Kenji Johjima taking a Jose Guillen foul tip off the throat. The ball ran in right under Johjima's chin guard and caught him on the neck. Johjima spent the next half hour walking around trying to get his breath back, but he's expected to be out there again tomorrow.

I got a truck....

Not me. David Ortiz. He got it from the Red Sox.

Ortiz sets out for more of same in '07
Sox slugger hopes continued production sparks playoff berth

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Most players get a handshake from the team owner at the beginning of Spring Training. David Ortiz? He got a new truck.

Amid all the fuss and excitement over the arrival of Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka, it should not be forgotten that Red Sox Nation remains Big Papi's place.

The superstar slugger arrived in Fort Myers for his physical on Wednesday morning and quickly learned of his new present from principal owner John W. Henry.

"The owners, they gave it to me," said Ortiz of his black Toyota Tundra. "I was like, 'Cool.' It's my first truck ever, a pickup truck. That's what I got for my new year. [I] saw it this morning, but I don't know what kind it is. I'll be rolling in it."

So any plans for the season, Papi?
"Just try to stay healthy and keep on rolling," said Ortiz. "That's me. I don't ask for too much. I'm asking the man up there, the Lord, to keep me healthy -- me and my teammates and family. [I want to] just have fun. This is a game. You can't put pressure on yourself."

Words to live by.

Baseball History -- February 22

Complete entry for February 22 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Walter O'Malley says the Dodgers may play 10 exhibitions in California in 1958.

Or, they could just play their entire home schedule in California in 1958.
The Cardinals sign Texas Christian University All-American football star and Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh as an infielder. He will start off with the Cards in spring training, but be assigned first to Columbus and then Rochester.

Then, Slingin' Sammy decided being quarterback of the Redskins was a heck of a lot more fun.
Boston P Charlie Buffinton invents a baseball "roller skate" that gives pitchers greater impetus and swing in their delivery while still allowing them to keep both feet on the ground.

I could look for a picture, but something like the baseball "roller skate" just needs to be left to the imagination.


43 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is just 43 days from today.

The number 43 is represented by Appleton Baseball Hall of Famer Dean Chance:
Chacne appeared in 43 games for the 1968 Twins and went 16-16 with a 2.53ERA.

Wednesday Baseball Movie Quote

Gil Renard: Bobby, now do you care? BOBBY! NOW DO YOU CARE? Just a little bit?

Few things would be more frightening than Robert DeNiro trying to make me care.

1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords

MLB.com has unveiled their second rated Negro Leagues team.

Crawfords called best money could buy
Team of 1935 ranks second in history of black baseball

Some people called the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords the best team money could buy, and nobody could argue that owner Gus Greenlee didn't spend lavishly to put the best ballplayers he could find in a Crawfords uniform. He may have succeeded, for the Crawfords were a close No. 2 in the voting to determine the greatest teams in the history of black baseball. With Hall of Famers littering the roster, the Crawfords are worthy of the position, even as people debate whether they are, actually, the No. 1 team overall. Here is their story.

One of the greatest teams in baseball history was built with a corps of superstars pilfered from an archrival franchise. But in its greatest season, it had to overcome the defection of its No. 1 pitcher because of a contract dispute.

Throw in the fact that it played in a glowing stadium -- funded by a lottery, no less -- and the '35 Crawfords were not only ahead of their time but would be the envy of baseball even today.

This was a team both of its place and of its time.

Pittsburgh's Hill District was a vibrant mix of independent businesses where African-Americans lived alongside the city's many ethnic groups. But because baseball was segregated, two black teams merged in 1925 to form a sandlot club. The next year, the club would draw its name, Crawford Giants, from the Crawford Bath House and Recreation Center, a city-run facility that assisted immigrants as well African-Americans who migrated from the South.

Lots of good stuff about the lottery-funded stadium, Greenlee's businesses, how Satchell Paige didn't play for the Crawfords in 1935, and the 1935 Negro World Series Championship.

You may have noticed this....

if you have been to the main Rattler site...

Fox Cities Stadium to host Packers vs. Fire Fighters Softball Game

This is not the Brett Favre game that has been held at the stadium for the last several years. This is something else:
Fox Cities Stadium will host the 2007 Packers All-Pro Softball Team vs. the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Softball Game on Friday, May 11th. The game is a fundraiser for the PFFW and is one of three throughout the state. The game starts at 7:00 PM, with the gates to the stadium opening at 5:30 PM. The game will be a general admission event, with tickets costing $15.00 + tax.

Tickets are available at the Timber Rattler ticket office. There is not a lot of information at this point, just keep checking back on the main site for details. Also, keep checking for word on the Favre game, too.


Lowe could undergo more elbow surgery

An optimistic Mark Lowe on Tuesday vowed to return this season despite the prospect of facing even more arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

Lowe is to undergo an MRI examination today to see whether something is preventing the elbow from extending further. If an obstruction is found, he would have it removed and said the surgery would "only" set him back two more weeks.

"There's clearly a difference between my left and right arm and they want to get it straight," said Lowe, who underwent surgery last October to help regenerate cartilage in the injured elbow.

More at the notebook.

Baseball History -- February 21

Complete entry for February 21 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Rollie Fingers loses a chance to continue his career with the Cincinnati Reds when he refuses to shave his trademark handlebar mustache to comply with the club's policy. Says Fingers: "I'm not about to shave it off just to play baseball."

That takes guts. For someone. For something.
Today in Charles Schulz's syndicated cartoon strip "Peanuts" Snoopy declares, " I have a trivia question that will drive Woodstock up the wall." In the next frame: " Who played shortstop for St. Paul when they won the
American Association pennant in 1938?" After Woodstock answers, Snoopy shakes his head in amazement: "How did he ever hear of Ollie Bejma?" Bejma, who played for Schultz' home town team, was the co-MVP with teammate Whitlow Wyatt in 1938 (beating out Triple Crown winner Ted Williams) before playing for the White Sox.

I wish the whole Peanuts collection was available on-line instead of just the last month. But the last month is still pretty good.
The Chicago White Sox and the
New York Giants become the first ML teams to meet in a night game. They collect 23 hits in a 10-inning exhibition game played in Houston, at Buffs Stadium.

Nine innings wasn't enough?
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