Saturday Road Sign

Here is a better picture of the new road sign to welcome you to the next Rattler game:

Ex-Rattlers in the Transactions

Baseball America.com updated minor league transactions through March 30.

Here are the Mariner moves with former Rattler players in bold (some have already been mentioned):

Signed RHP Cha Seung Baek
Released RHP Everett Collis
Released RHP Willson FentonReleased
RHP Nelson Figueroa
Released RHP Jesse Foppert
Released RHP Justin Jordan
Released RHP Ari Kafka
Released RHP Cory Koliscak
Released RHP Haley Winter
Released LHP Jaime Cerda
Released C Paul Keck
Released 1B Curtis Ledbetter
Released SS Marcos Villezcas
Released SS Matt Vogel
Released OF Jason Grove
Released OF Stanley Posluszny
Released OF Tony Torcato
Traded 2B Robby Hudson to White Sox for cash considerations
Traded SS Matt Rogelstad to Nationals for future considerations

Checking other organizations:

Released RHP Edgar Guaramato
Released OF Jamal Strong

Released RHP Jeffrey Gilmore
Released RHP Enmanuel Ulloa

Signed RHP Aquilino Lopez
Released LHP Kendall Bergdall

Released C Craig Kuzmic

Signed OF Sheldon Fulse
Released RHP Juan Ovalles

5 Days until Opening Day

April 5 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is just 5 days away.

The number five is represented by Joe DiMaggio:

Cleo and the Babe

Dick Enberg read a promo for Voyagers! during the rebroadcast of Game Five of the '82 series.

You remember Voyagers! right? A time travel show that kids were supposed to watch because it was supposed to teach history in a fun way. I seem to remember that it was recommended by the Scholastic Book Club or some other such organization that promoted learning.

Voyagers! only lasted one season. NBC decided to run it against 60 Minutes on Sunday nights. Not a great idea. But, to tell the truth it wasn't a very good show. There have only been two really good time travel television shows Quantum Leap and Dr. Who.

Anyway, I had one of those flashbacks after hearing Dick Enberg read that promo. The one where you go, "Wasn't there this one episode where...." This one ended with "Wasn't there this one episode where Babe Ruth meets Cleopatra?"

Yes, you read that right. Babe Ruth meets Cleopatra. A quick trip to youtube and -- wonder of wonders -- some sick, twisted, gloriously weird person posted that entire episode.

Prepare yourself for Cleo and the Babe:

Part One with the totally 80's faux-John Williams music for the opening credits:

Part Two with an incredibly bad accent by the guy playing Lucky Luciano and a vanishing Yankee Stadium:

Part Three with William Lucking as a Babe Ruth who doesn't want to hit.

Part Four with the most ridiculous hiding in an alley scene in television history:

Part Five with the stars of the show...oh, heck just watch it:

Baseball in Music Video (3/31)

Remember when tv commercials were like music videos?

It had to be 1979. The vendor was selling a glass bottle in a stadium full of Sailor fans. Sailor fans really turned ugly after they lost the pennant in 1983. By then, they had all been made peppers.

Game Five 1982 World Series

Brewer Classics reran Game Five of the 1982 World Series last night.

Two things that blew my mind:
Mike Caldwell gave up 14 hits in 8-1/3 innings and only allowed four runs...and got the win.
Another day game for a World Series

Three things that I remembered that I shouldn't have forgot:
The 1982 version of Robin Yount was really, really good
Gorman Thomas and Charlie Moore were pretty good defensive outfielders
Joe Garagiola, Dick Enberg, and Tony Kubek were a great broadcast team

Two things that I am trying to figure out if it was better or worse in 1982:
The screen didn't have a bunch of graphics
Replays were saved for big moments. There weren't a lot of replays of a routine grounder to Ken Oberkfell at third base.


There are a few baseball anniversaries this year that will be followed on Rattler Radio this season.

* The 10th anniversary of the 1997 Mariners

* The 25th anniversary of the 1982 Brewers

* The 50th anniversary of the 1957 Braves

With a little help from retrosheet, I'll post links to the box score of each game that season for each team on the day of that game. If there are any stories or other things of note relating to those teams that are stumbled across on the web, those will be posted as well.

The 1997 Mariners opened their season on April 1. The 1982 Brewers opened their season on April 9. The 1957 Braves opened their season on April 16. Just a little something to kill time...er, that might be of interest to you.

Cubs 8, M's 5

The Cubs beat the Mariners 8-5 in an exhibition game at Las Vegas last night.

Watched the game on WGN last night. During the pre-game I learned that Lou Pinella doesn't like blackjack because he doesn't have the patience to sit around that long and the Cub coaching staff was very well taken care of at Joe's Crab Shack at dinner on Thursday night.

In the game, ex-Rattlers in action for the M's:
Juan Sandoval (WI '03): 2IP, 4H, R, 0BB, 2K
JJ Putz (WI '00): IP, 0R, 0H, BB, 0K
Julio Mateo (WI '00): IP, 0R, 0H, 0BB, K

Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Baseball History -- March 31

Complete entry for March 31 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
In the earliest Opening Day ever, the Mariners sail past the White Sox in 12 innings, 3–2 in Seattle.
Randy Johnson sticks out 14 Sox in seven innings, but serving up a 2-run homer to Frank Thomas. Five M's pitchers strike out 21 batters, including Ron Karkovice five times, while the Sox use seven pitchers in the loss. The American League unveiled its new colorful red polo shirts for the umpires, part of the "What a Game" campaign to lure fans back to the parks. The last sartorial change was in the 1970s when AL umps wore red blazers for several years. Al umps will wear red and blue polo shirts for the season; National League umps will stick with traditional blue.

I miss the red blazers.
The Senators send young prospect
Lou Piniella to the Orioles for Buster Narum and cash. Piniella will play briefly for the O's before going to minors until the resurfacing with the Indians in 1968. The Seattle Pilots will draft him in 1969 and trade him to Kansas City where Sweet Lou, with his 5th team, finally wins Rookie of the Year honors.

Wow. Never knew that Lou bounced around so much before his Rookie of the Year award.


Another new sign

Something new to greet you as you enter the parking lot.

I would have gotten closer, but that would have probably delayed installation. Will get a better picture when all the equipment is out of the way.

6 Days until Opening Day

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

The number 6 is represented by Stan "The Man" Musial:

Flashback Friday -- 1977 Foxes Program

Click on the images for a larger, um, image.

Rather tame artwork for 1977 on the cover

Meet the guys in charge:

Nothing says read the local paper like a wacky caricatures of the sports staff:

Baseball in Music Video (3/30)

I'm stretching here, but this part of The Warriors is shot like a music video. Kind of a 1979 music video for a synthesizer song.

Before clicking realize that there is a some rough language in the following clip. As you might expect in a rumble between two street gangs...even if one gang is wearing face paint and baseball uniforms and the other is wearing leather vests.

Warriors! Come out to play!

Rejection Theater (Final Edition)

This will be the last entry in Rejection Theater. Not for lack of rejection, but the season is starting soon. There will be plenty of other things going on to write about.

The letter today is from 1993 when I was between WKTS in Sheboygan and going back to school at UW-Superior. It's from, well, I'll let it be a surprise for the end.

Dear Chris:

I received your resume for future employment consideration with __________. Thank you for your interest!

Unfortunately, we have no suitable positions available at the present time and I do not anticipate any changes in our staffing needs in the near future. However, I will gladly keep your resume on file for six months should we at some point require an individual with your experience and qualifications. Please keep me informed of any changes in your address or phone number, in the event an opportunity arises at a later date.

Thank you again for your interest in WEST MICHIGAN BASEBALL; I hope we will have the opportunity to meet at some point in the future!

Yep, a rejection letter from the team that would become the West Michigan Whitecaps. The ALL CAPS were my touch in the last paragraph. The two exclamation points in the letter were not mine. Who puts two exclamation points in a rejection letter? One that is followed by the word "Unfortunately" is bad enough! Isn't it!?!?!

Accountability post

Geoff Baker goes through a few of his incorrect predictions in this post. But, the interesting part is at the bottom and it relates to the Chris Minaker story from yesterday:

Perhaps it's bad karma to do a column like this, but another mistake I made, this one not so humorous, was pointed out to me just after I wrote this blog today. It involves a newspaper story I wrote yesterday about Mariners minor leaguer Chris Minaker, whose honors thesis at Stanford was about the pressures athletes there feel to take peroformance enhancing supplements.

The survey taken by Minaker asked athletes about the substances they had taken. Only one question -- the one on steroids -- asked them solely about the pressure they had felt to take that substance. Not whether they took them or not. Nine of 89 athletes, including five baseball players, admitted they had felt pressure to take steroids. This is obviously different from those same athletes admitting they took steroids, as I wrote in my story.

Minaker has no idea whether or not those nine athletes actually succumbed to the pressure to take steroids. For that, I am sorry, both to him and to Stanford. More to him, because the last thing I wanted to do was diminish the importance of the work he did.

This is how you should handle mistakes and errors.

Padres 6, M's 1; Giants 4, M's 0

Split Squad day yesterday for Seattle:

San Diego beat the Mariners 6-1. Ex-Rattlers in that game for Seattle:
Brent Johnson (WI '05): 1-for-4
Luis Valbuena (WI '06): 1-for-2, run, 2 walks
Jon Nelson (WI '03): 0-for-4
Jeff Clement (WI '05): 0-for-1
Adam Moore (WI '06): 0-for-1
Matt Tuiasosopo (WI '05): 0-for-3
Johan Limonta (WI '06): 0-for-2
Jeff Dominguez (WI '06): 0-for-2

San Francisco beat the Mariners 4-0. Ex-Rattlers in this game for Seattle:
Adam Jones (WI '04): 0-for-1
Michael Saunders (WI '06): 0-for-1
Sebastien Boucher (WI '05): 0-for-1

Justin Leone (WI '00) went 0-for-1 for the Giants.

Seattle is on WGN-TV tonight as they play the Cubs in Las Vegas. Game time is 9:00pm CDT.

Baseball History -- March 30

Complete entry for March 30 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
The Cubs trade OF
George Bell to the White Sox in exchange for OF Sammy Sosa and P Ken Patterson.

A trade that turned out pretty good for the Cubs?
The Yankees trade new author and veteran 3B
Graig Nettles to the Padres for rookie P Dennis Rasmussen and a minor leaguer to be named later. Nettles's controversial book Balls, in which he criticizes Steinbrenner, will be not be officially published until April 30th, but the bound books available now make his days in pinstripes numbered.

There are now 205 used copies of Balls available for $2.95 at Alibris.com.
A holdout from the Browns, SS
Vern Stephens signs a 5-year deal with the Pasquel brothers to play in Mexico. The Giants dismiss Roy Zimmerman, George Hausmann, and P Sal Maglie for dickering with the Pasquels, and the trio departs for Mexico. One day later Mickey Owen of the Dodgers signs to manage the Mexican club in Torreón. Stephens will play a couple of games in Mexico, then jump back. Owen announces he will return and then changes his mind again.

There are so many juicy details in this entry, but the one that gets focused on today is this one: Who in the heck held out from the Browns?
In an exhibition game in Dallas between the Giants and Tigers,
Ty Cobb slides into second bases and slashes Buck Herzog's leg with his spikes. Herzog jumps on Cobb and the two fight fiercely until separated. Herzog challenges Cobb to a fight and says he'll be in Cobb's room at 10 p.m. and both will be accompanied by one teammate. Herzog and Heinie Zimmerman show up, but Cobb has eight teammates on hand. Herzog knocks the Tiger star down with his first punch but Cobb gets up and hammers the New Yorker until the two are finally separated. Cobb refuses to play the remaining games with the Giants, and at the end of the week the New York players send him a postcard: "It's safe to rejoin your club; we've left."

Cobb was not a nice man. I'm surprised that he got eight teammates to join him.



Not a taunt. Progress on filling in the blank spaces in the new scoreboard sign at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium:

Prep Work on the Deck Continues

Preparing the groundwork for the The Miller High Life Home Run Porch continues:

7 Days Until Opening Day

April 5 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is one week, or seven days from today.

The number seven is represented by Mickey Mantle:

Baseball in Music Video (3/29)

A bit of a stretch today, but there is a scene in this video in which two of the characters are playing catch in the kitchen. Plus, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Brooklyn's winning team all receive mentions in Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire:

Thursday Motivation (3/29)

I'm calling this one: Same Starting Point, Different Result:

From Successories.com:

Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.

The mirror image from despair.com

M's 11, Rangers 8

Seattle topped Texas 11-8 in Cactus League action yesterday. Complete boxscore HERE.

Ex-Rattlers in action for the M's:
Felix Hernandez (WI '03): 5IP, 7H, 2R, BB, 4K -- Winning Pitcher
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (WI '06): 1/3IP, 0H, 0R -- Save

Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez was 0-for-4 with an RBI

Baseball History -- March 29

Complete entry for March 29 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
The Cubs open the major league season in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, by defeating the Mets, 5-3, in the first big league game ever played outside of North America.
Jon Lieber gets the victory and new ace Mike Hampton takes the loss. Shane Andrews hits the first home run of the new millennium. Mark Grace and Mike Piazza also homer.
Technically, the new millennium didn't start until 2001, but it can slide for this purpose.

Orange baseballs, the brainchild of Oakland owner
Charlie Finley, are used in the A's 11–5 exhibition loss to the Indians.

Never liked this idea.

Picture taken from this post at Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb? on the Designated Runner, another of Charley O's ideas.


After the Cubs go 5–15 in spring training, Phil Cavarretta gives Cubs owner Phil Wrigley an honest assessment of the team's chances, and is fired for his "defeatist attitude." He's the first manager to be given the gate during spring training. Stan Hack replaces him. Cavarretta is right; the Cubs will drop to 7th.

A defeatist attitude in a Cub manager? Who'd a thunk it? The lesson here is, of course, never be honest, kids.


This is how aware of things I am...

Thought it would be a good idea to do a post on the anniversary of the first post on Rattler Radio.

Well, that anniversary happened to be yesterday.

Not even going to provide a link to an unfunny opening to a slightly informational blog. Maybe next year. But, probably not.

To paraphrase The Who: Meet the new blog year; same as the old blog year.

Rivera sent down

Tip of the cap to USS Mariner for pointing to the following news at Geoff Baker's blog:

Rivera out, Burke in

The first big move of camp has yet to be officially announced, but Mariners backup catcher Rene Rivera was packing his bags here this morning. That's because the team is taking Jamie Burke north to be the backup behind regular catcher Kenji Johjima.

Burke had still yet to be officially told about the move when I spoke to him. But he saw Rivera leave with his duffel bag like we all did. He can sense he's about to be delivered the biggest news of his playing career. The native of Roseburg, Ore., a town of roughly 20,000 about an hour south of Eugene, is about to "begin'' his career at age 35.

Farther down in that same post was an update with this information:
The Rivera move was just made official moments ago and joining him on his way to Class AAA will be outfielder Jeremy Reed and lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty. Sean Green will be headed out as well, no big surprise there.

Photos of Progress

Not exactly a picture perfect day to be pressure washing the seats at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium

The earth is moving to make room for the Miller High Life Home Run Porch

8 Days to Opening Day

April 7 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is just 8 days from today.

The number 8 is represented by Carl Yastrzemski:

Game Four 1982 World Series

Brewer Classics reran Game Four of the 1982 World Series last night. This was the game that the Brewers were down 5-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Then all of this happened:
Gantner doubled [Oglivie scored (unearned), Money to third]; BAIR REPLACED LAPOINT (PITCHING); Molitor walked;Yount singled to right [Money scored (unearned), Gantner scored(unearned), Molitor to third]; KAAT REPLACED BAIR (PITCHING);Cooper singled [Molitor scored (unearned, but earned for the pitcher), Yount to second]; Kaat threw a wild pitch [Yount to third, Cooper to second]; LAHTI REPLACED KAAT (PITCHING);Simmons was walked intentionally (walk was charged to Kaat);Thomas singled [Yount scored (unearned, but earned for the pitcher), Cooper scored (unearned, but earned for the pitcher),Simmons to third, Thomas to second (on throw to 3b)]; Oglivie was walked intentionally; Money flied out to left; 6 R (3 ER), 5H, 1 E, 3 LOB. Cardinals 5, Brewers 7.
But, I bring this up not to point out how much fun County Stadium looked like during that game.
The point here today is this: I'm sure that everyone gets annoyed when FOX has the stars of their new fall lineup in attendance during playoff games and points a camera at them to promote the show. Well, thy weren't the first.

Dick Enberg, Joe Garagiola, and Tony Kubek were the announcers of the game and during an early part of the game, the camera focused on Rock Hudson. Dick Enberg then mentions that Hudson will be starring in The Devlin Connection, this fall on NBC.

The show lasted eleven episodes.

Baseball Movie Quote (3/28)

From Mr. Baseball

Jack Elliot: Just let them have a little fun.

Uchiyama: Baseball is work. Not fun.

Jack Elliot: Baseball is grown men getting paid to play a game. When you were a kid, I bet you didn't pick up a bat and ball because you were dying to work. A player's career is short enough. Let them enjoy it.

Baseball in Music Video (3/28)

Steve Goodman is probably best known for City of New Orleans and You Never Even Call Me by My Name. But, he was also a Cub fan. He penned and sung this song called A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request. This is a miminalist video, kind of like Springsteen's Brilliant Disguise, except without the camera slowly zooming in on the singer during the song:

But what do you expect,
When you raise up a young boy's hopes
And then just crush 'em like so many paper beer cups.

Year after year after year
after year, after year, after year, after year, after year
'Til those hopes are just so much popcorn
for the pigeons beneath the 'L' tracks to eat.

He's from Stanford

Chris Minaker (WI '06) gets an article today from Geoff Baker, but not for how he is playing this Spring Training. It's for something he wrote.

Minor-leaguer busts steroids myths

The one thing Mariners minor-leaguer Chris Minaker won't be doing as a professional ballplayer is touting his sport's party line on steroids.

That's the one where Major League Baseball officials publicly — but a lot more vigorously in private — campaign about how their sport isn't as steroid-ridden as, say, professional football and can't be held responsible if younger athletes imitate their players. Their nudge-nudge, wink-wink suggestion is that the sport is socially responsible and simply being victimized by a congressional and media witch-hunt on steroids and other performance boosters.

But these complainers, and there are many, ought to talk to Minaker. The well-spoken, 23-year-old infielder from Lynnwood graduated last June with a master's degree in sociology from Stanford University, achieving a perfect score on an 86-page thesis about the social pressures athletes face to take performance-enhancing drugs.

His paper was strictly about college athletes at Stanford, but some of its conclusions about steroids won't have baseball executives or union officials grinning with glee.

"If the need for steroids is broken down by sport, it becomes clear that baseball has the biggest problem with steroids," Minaker writes, citing results of a confidential, written survey he took of 91 male varsity athletes at Stanford. "It is also baseball that has had the most well-publicized steroid problem of all of the professional team sports. It seems that the problem of the professional ranks has trickled down into the collegiate ranks."


The last thing Major League Baseball wants is a minor-leaguer writing that college-level players are, at best, being influenced by their perceptions about big-leaguers or, at worst, copying them. After all, the argument that big-league steroids are morally corrupting youth is the biggest one cited by those crying for a government crackdown.

Minaker hit .315 with four homers and 17 runs batted in over 40 games with Class A Wisconsin last season. The 10th-round pick by Seattle hopes for a long baseball career, but has deferred a $10,000 scholarship just in case he wants more schooling down the road.

Regardless of what happens with his career, he said, he'd like to pursue his work on this topic.

"I think there is a need for that in our culture," he said. "So, definitely, I'd like to look at this further."

Giants 9, M's 8

San Francisco beat Seattle 9-8 in Cactus League action yesterday.

Ex-Rattlers in action for the M's:
Adam Jones (WI '04): 1-for-3, run scored
Yung Chi Chen (WI '05): 0-for-3
Michael Saunders (WI '06): 2-for-2
Rene Rivera (WI '03): 1-for-3, 2RBI

Baseball History -- March 28

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

Highlighted entries:
Kirby Puckett is taken to the Ft. Myers Hospital after he awakes with his vision affected by a career-threatening malady. He has a black dot in front of his left eye and his vision is diagnosed as 20/200. Puckett, who hit .360 in spring training, will undergo surgery on April 17.

That is how quickly things can get away from you.
The April 1st issue of Sports Illustrated contains a fictitious article about a Mets pitching prospect named
Sidd Finch, whose fastball has been timed at 168 MPH. Author George Plimpton offers bogus quotes from real-life members of the Mets, as well as several staged photos, and fools readers nationwide.

Go to the Museum of Hoaxes entry for Sidd. It's a good read. For an even better read, Plimpton's original article is on-line at SI.com.


Update in pictures

An afternoon update in pictures

The Scoreboard is only partly finished.

The new sign over the main entrance has been progressing nicely today, too:

Do you realize that next week at this time Fan Fest will have been going on for almost three hours? Well it will be.

9 days until Opening Day

April 7 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is 9 days from today.

The number 9 is represented by Ted Williams:

If you want to kill about three hours today, just go to www.tedwilliams.com and root around there for information about his baseball, fighter pilot, and angling careers.

Baseball in Music Video

Recycling this music video from a while ago. Baseball Bloopers mixed in with these other two sports, but stick around for the Brewers celebrating their second half AL East title at the end.

And after all the violence and double talk
There's just a song in the trouble and the strife
You do the walk, you do the walk of life.

I'm going to start wearing on of those Mark Knopfler knit headbands. The 80's are coming back, baby.


Just happened to wander into the conference room yesterday and the ESPN spring training game was on the TV. Who happened to be pitching for the Reds? Bobby Livingston (WI '03).

The Reds won 5-0 over the Red Sox and Bobby received a no decision. Here is his line: 5IP, H, 0R, BB, 4K

MILB.com took notice of Livingston's performance and had this story:

Livingston tightens Reds' No. 5 race
Considered for rotation with Belisle, lefty matches Matsuzaka

Livingston more than held his own against the Red Sox and Japanese superstar Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday. The lefty allowed one hit over five scoreless innings but received a no-decision in the game won by Cincinnati, 5-0. Livingston issued one walk and struck out four.

"I was really happy with the way I pitched," Livingston said. "I think I could have thrown my curveball a little better. But I threw my other pitches well, and I thought I hit my spots well today."

Livingston's most challenging inning was the third, when he allowed a single before walking Matsuzaka. He got out of it with a ground-ball double play and a strikeout.

In five spring games, Livingston has a 1.23 ERA, having allowed two earned runs over 14 2/3 innings.

"He gives us a lot of confidence in him that [will be evident] if not in the beginning of the season, definitely some time during the season," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "That's great to see."

Rangers 10, M's 6

Texas beat the Mariners 10-6 in Cactus League action yesterday.

Ex-Rattlers in action:
Adam Jones (WI '04): 0-for-2
Rene Rivera (WI '03): 1-for-1
Yung Chi Chen (WI '05): 0-for-1

Eric O'Flaherty (WI '05): IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER

Baseball History -- March 27

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

Highlighted entries:
In need of relief help, the Cubs trade RHP
Julian Tavarez and three prospects to the Marlins for reliever Antonio Alfonseca and RHP Matt Clement. The three prospects -- C Ryan Jorgensen, and pitchers Jose Cuetro and Dontrelle Willis -- are rated among the Cubs' top 20 prospects. Alfonseca, nicknamed El Pulpo (octopus) because he was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, will replace the injured Tom Gordon.

Willis pitched for Kane County in 2002 and the Rattlers didn't do very well against him that season.
The Phillies trade outfielders
Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier and pitcher Porfi Altamirano to the Cubs for reliever Bill Campbell and catcher Mike Diaz. Matthews was the MVP of the NLCS last season, while Campbell led the National League with 82 appearances. Dernier will win a Gold Glove in CF for Chicago and help them reach the playoffs. His 45 steals will be the most by a Cub since 1907.

There was some othe ex-Phillie on that Cub team in 1984. Named Sandberg. Wonder what happened to him.
A's owner
Charley Finley cancels the deal that would have sent the A's to Denver, under the sponsorship of oilman Marvin Davis. Objecting to some of the details, Finley decides to call off negotiations.

Denver A's just doesn't sound right.


Work around the stadium

Have I mentioned that it is 70 degrees today? And that there is a lot of work going on to get ready for the 2007 season.

New outfield signs going on the wall.

A new pad for the backstop behind the plate.

Expanding the fence behind the right field fence to make room for the deck.

The new entrance sign is getting ready to go up over the, um, entrance.

10 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is just 10 days from today.

The number ten is represented by Ron Santo:

Baseball in Music Video

"Small Town" by John Mellencamp isn't on you tube, but this excerpt from a youth production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is:

There may not be a million to one chance, but there is a billion to one chance.

M's 10, A's 6

Seattle scored four runs in the top of the ninth to beat Oakland 10-6 in ten innings.

Ex-Rattlers in action for Seattle:
Adam Jones (WI '04): 2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI
Brent Johnson (WI '05): 1-for-1, RBI
Jon Nelson (WI '03): 0-for-3
Yung Chi Chen (WI '05): 2-for-2, run
Rob Johnson (WI '05): 2-for-2, 2 runs, RBI

Baseball History -- March 26

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

Highlighted entries:
Voters in San Francisco vote 2-to-1 in favor of a privately-funded stadium to replace
Candlestick Park, the windy 36-year-old home of the Giants. The passage of the measure, the first step towards building the 42,000 seat bayside park, exempts the Giants from the waterside height restrictions. Plans call for the park to be ready for Opening Day, 2000.

Privately-funded stadium? There's a novel idea.
In an exhibition game at USC,
Mickey Mantle propels a homer estimated at 654 to 660 feet. The shot clears Bovard Field and then goes the width of a practice football field before landing. Mantle has two homers, a bases loaded triple, and drives in seven runs as the Yankees flunk the collegians, 15–1.

The Mick had some pop in his bat.


Baseball in Music Video

Almost forgot this one today...I was hoping to post Paul Simon's video of Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, the one with Mickey Mantle, but it isn't on YouTube or Google video.

So, I'll go with john Fogerty's Centerfield.

Put me in, Coach. I'm ready to play today.

11 Days to Opening Day

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

The number 11 is represented by Sparky Anderson:

Gehrig's Legacy

This off-season, Rattler Radio has been running excerpts of Luckiest Man, Jonathon Eig's biography of Lou Gehrig. Today is the last excerpt.

Today, about five thousand Americans a year are diagnosed with ALS. Scientists still don't know what causes the disease, and they still ddon't have a cure. Most patients die within two or three years of diagnosis. In other words, not much has changed since 1941. The biggest difference, perhaps, is that the malady is now widely referred to in the United States as Lou Gehrig's disease. Gehrig helped lift this rare and poorly understood malady from obscurity. Countless millions of dollars have been raised for scientific research thanks in part to his good name.

Many neurologists still hang pictures of the ballplayer in their offices and examination rooms. When they break the news to patients with ALS, they almost always invoke his name. "It hits them like a fastball between the eyes," says Dr. Anthony J. Windebank of the Mayo Clinic. "Everyone knows Gehrig died young." But after the initial shock, patients often reflect on Gehrig's response to his diagnosis rather than the outcome of his illness.

ALS is a disease of weakness, but Lou Gehrig's disease is associated with strength -- the strength of a stricken man who said he felt lucky.

M's 5, Royals 4

Seattle beat Kansas City 5-4 in Cactus League action.

Ex-Rattlers in action for the M's:

Jon Nelson (WI '03): pinch ran in the game
Adam Jones (WI '04): 0-for-1
Rob Johnson (WI '05): pinch ran, scored a run, and went 0-for-1
Yung Chi Chen (WI '05): 0-for-0, walk, run scored

Eric O'Flaherty (WI '05): IP, 0R, H, K, winning pitcher

Baseball History -- March 25

Complete entry is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Arizona P
Randy Johnson kills a dove with a pitch during the Diamondbacks 10-6 exhibition win over the Giants. The dove makes the mistake of darting in front of a 95 MPH fastball.

Yes, there is video.

An Illinois judge rules that state and city laws which effectively ban night baseball at Chicago's Wrigley Field are constitutional. After being forced to give up a home game during the 1984 NLCS, and threatened with playing future post-season games at another stadium entirely in order to accommodate network television's prime-time schedules, the Cubs had sued to overturn the laws.

Nothing gets karma on you side like suing someone.
In New Orleans, Babe Didrickson takes the mound again, this time for the New Orleans Pelicans against split squad of the
Cleveland Indians. She throws two scoreless innings and lines out in her only plate appearance. In nearby Lafayette, Louisiana, manager Walter Johnson pitches for the other Indian squad against the KC Blues.

Babe Didrikson was probably a better athlete than most of the ballplayers of that era. Her web page is HERE.


Dancin' Homer

Time for the Baseball on TV post. This week, it's time for another episode of The Simpsons. Dancin' Homer is from season two and shows the seemy underbelly of a small town mascot trying to make it in the big, bad world of Capital City. Well, not really. Here is a YouTube Clip from the episode:

And how can you not like an episode that begins with this scene:

At Moe's Tavern, the gang beg Homer to tell his story...

Homer: There's only one thing worse than being a loser. It's being one of those guys who sits in a bar telling a story of how he became a loser, and I never want that to happen to me.

Barney: Please, Homer?

Moe: Yeah, come on, Homer.

Homer: Well, okay.

That scene is from this site that has pretty much the whole episode transcribed.

Other nuggets:

And I got up in front of them. I felt an intoxication that had nothing to do with alcohol. It was the intoxication of being a public spectacle! -- Homer
Homer: Don't fill up on those vegetables, kids. Save room for your nachos!

Lisa+Bart: All right!

Marge: [disapprovingly] Mmm.
Bart was strangely quiet. Later, he explained he was confused by feelings of respect for me. It wouldn't last. -- Homer
Homer: I wonder why stories of degradation and humiliation make you more popular.

Moe: I dunno. They just do.

One of the better early episodes of the show.

Field Photo March 24

From ground level behind home plate:

Getting there.

Look who is into hockey...

Roar is into Badger hockey. That's great, but we need to change it up a bit.

That's better.

12 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is just 12 days away.

The number 12 is represented by Jose Mendez.

Before you go all "Who is Jose Mendez?" at your computer screen, here is the entry from a history of uniform numbers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame website:

Now Batting, Number “12.” José Mendez, Number “12.”

The earliest photographic evidence of the use of uniform numbers comes from a 1909 Chicago Daily News picture of pitching great José Mendez. A legendary Cuban ballplayer, Mendez was a member of the inaugural class of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. In the photograph, Mendez is seen in his Cuban Stars uniform with a number "12” on his left sleeve.

Baseball in Music Video

I'm pretty sure that there is a some kind of goofy take on a baseball game about two minutes into Creed's My Sacrifice. You know, right after the three monks in the rowboat, the Ray Stevens look-alike kisses the fish, the Tiger and as Scott Stapp is signing:

We've seen our share of ups and downs
Oh how quickly life can turn around
In an instant
It feels so good to realize
What's in yourself and within your mind
Let's find peace there

When you are with me I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My Sacrifice

I just want to say hello again.
I just want to say hello again.

To the baseball season.

Creed videos are weird, eh?

Programming note

You may have noticed some changes in posting times and orders during the day.

Opening Day is going to be here shortly and there are other duties that I need to take care of to keep being able to do this.

Rattler Radio will continue to be updated daily, but it will depend on when I can find time to do the posts.

Today, for example, the baseball music video and the Opening Day countdown will be posted shortly. The Baseball on TV and the Field photo posts will have to be later this afternoon. There are a few personal things to do before heading into the office for a few of the duties.

Just so you know, there have probably been people at the office already this morning while I am working on my therapy, er, the blog.

Rejection Theater (Pennsylvania Edition)

This is the rejection letter from WRTA in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was sent during the Summer of '91 job tour. It was one of the first times that someone called me CJ. Which is a whole different story.
Dear C.J.:

Thank you for your interest in WRTA.
We are a very busy sports staff, but at this time,
we are running at full capacity.

We don't anticipate any openings in the near
future, but I'll keep your tape and resume on hand just in case.

Good Luck!

I wonder if that tape and resume are still at WRTA of if the guy who wrote this letter took it with him across town to WFBG, the Big 1290.

Oh, and the letter was single-spaced to take up even less space on WRTA letterhead, I guess.

Speaking of Felix

It's Felix for M's on opening day

PEORIA, Ariz. — A friendly slap near the belly of Felix Hernandez was more than just his manager's way of telling him he'd be starting on opening day.

The sixth-inning gesture by Mariners manager Mike Hargrove was a fitting symbol, since Hernandez's shrunken midsection is a major reason he was anointed the No. 1 starter. Hargrove mentioned Hernandez's maturity level several times in announcing his decision to make the Venezuelan native the youngest opening-day starter in a generation.

Hernandez tried his best not to show his age in the clubhouse afterward, maintaining a stoic disposition for as long as possible before a giddy grin kept pushing its way through.

"He told me, 'Good outing!' " Hernandez said of Hargrove's words after he jogged off the field during Seattle's 10-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. "I said, 'Thank you.' Then he said, 'Let's try to do that on opening day.' I was so proud."

Go to the link to find out the last time a pitcher even close to Felix's age made an opening day start.

M's 10, Angels 6

The Mariners beat the Angels 10-6 in Cactus League action yesterday.

Ex-Rattlers in action for Seattle:

Jon Nelson (WI '03): 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter
Adam Jones (WI '04): defensive replacement
Rene Rivera (WI '03): 0-for-2
Rob Johnson (WI '05): 0-for-1
Felix Hernandez (WI '03): 6IP, 7H, 4R, 0BB, 4K -- Winning pitcher
Julio Mateo (WI '00): IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K

Baseball History -- March 24

Complete entry is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Fernando Valenzuela ends his holdout and reports to the Dodgers' spring training camp in Vero Beach, Florida. After earning just $42,500 while winning the National League Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year Awards last season, the 21-year-old lefthander had asked for a raise to $1 million in 1982. The Dodgers unilaterally renewed his contract for a reported $350,000 instead.

Worth it.
The New York State Senate approves $55 million for a new baseball stadium at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

The stadium that would be Shea.
The minor league season opens with the California League in San Francisco and Stockton. This year's new rules include the first legal substitution rule and the reduction of balls for a walk from five to 4. The substitution rule, which allows a team to designate one man to be put into the game at the captain's discretion at the end of any inning, would soon be modified.

I should hope so.


First Tarp Pull of '07

Technically this is the end result of the first tarp pull of 2007. Don't worry, there is no rain in the forecast. This is just a chance for the grounds crew to check for any damage to the tarp that will need to be repaired before we really need the tarp.

Only one radio announcer made a fool of himself during the pull. He did this by getting his foot caught in one of the handles mere seconds after he had warned everyone else to look out for the handles.

What a guy.

13 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers. That is in 13 days.

The number 13 is represented by Ralph Branca:

Branca gave up the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to Bobby Thompson that gave the Giants the NL Pennant in 1951.

ESPN Classic showed the Classic Battlelines episode about this game recently and a story that Branca told struck me. It went something like this:

After the game, he went out to dinner with his soon-to-be wife and her cousin. The cousin was also a priest and Branca asked him the question most of us ask at one time or another during the day (or half hour as the case may be).

"Why me?"

"Because God knew that your faith would be strong enough to bear this cross," was the response.

13 doesn't seem so unlucky today.

Baseball in Music Video

Opening Day is almost here. For the next few days, I'll post a music video with a tie-in with baseball, no matter how tenuous.

This one was an obvious choice for post number one in the series:

Glory days. Well, they'll pass you by.

Rejection Theater delayed

Not for lack of rejection in my life. Lord, no!

The letter from WRTA am 1240 in Altoona, Pennsylvania will have to wait until tomorrow. It is sitting on the cement block that is used for an end table at the trailer.

Flashback Friday 1991 (UPDATED)

For some reason, most likely operator error, the really cool cover art from the 1991 Appleton Foxes program will not scan. However, here are these three inside pages...Including a baby picture of Cal Ripken, Jr. Click on the images below for a larger version.

Finally figured out how to post the really cool cover art:

Field Photos March 23

A reverse angle. That crop of picnic tables down the first base concourse is coming in nicely.

And a shot from my apartment window.

M's 11, White Sox 6

The Mariners beat the Sox 11-6 in Cactus League action yesterday.

Ex-Rattlers for Seattle:

Adam Jones (WI '04): 1-for-1, RBI
Rene Rivera (WI '03): 1-for-1, run scored

Former Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Baseball History -- March 23

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

Highlighted entries:
Brooklyn Dodgers sign a 21-year lease with the city of Vero Beach, FL, for use of their spring training facilities there.

And they have been there ever since. But, there are some changes on the way.
After an acrimonious holdout,
Dizzy Dean signs for a reported $24,000 and an understanding that the only fines levied will be major ones.

I have the same understanding on parking tickets with the city of Madison. Well, not really an understanding. More like, if I ever get one, I pay it.


Field Photo March 22

Had to move from the usual spot today. The rain last night -- and it was a good one (there was lighting, a radio announcer who was soaked after running out to his empty mailbox, and everything) --not ojnly left standing water behind first base, but also allowed those picnic table seeds that were planted last fall to sprout up with a healthy crop.
But, hey, the sun came up this morning. Right?
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