To answer the question

the kid left a comment here asking about the possibility of having a National Anthem performed like this by this guy on Opening Day 2009....

Last year I would have said the odds of that happening were as likely as the Chinese Democracy album getting released. But, since that is actually going to happen soon.

Let's check the old Magic 8-Ball.....

Sorry. Mine broke a long time ago. But, I still have that thing around.

Meet Macha

Yesteday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced Ken Macha as their new manager.
Doug Melvin, who knows what it's like to be fired in the sometimes unfair world of major-league baseball, saw no reason to hold that against Ken Macha.

"I got let go myself," said Melvin, the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, who was dismissed from that same position after a relatively successful run with the Texas Rangers.

"I'm a big believer in second chances."
To the Brewer blogs!

Brew Crew Ball
Of the three finalists, Macha is by far my favorite. We may have been able to do better, but if we're choosing only from experienced big-league managers with recent success, there aren't many guys I'd rather have.
Right Field Bleachers
Macha’s last gig came as manager of the Oakland Athletics where he led the team to a 368-280 regular season record over four seasons (2003-2006). The A’s also won two AL West titles under Macha during that period.

Congrats, Ken. I’m glad to have you aboard.

Now let the offseason begin!
There is also this roundtable post with the writers at RFB and their reaction to the move.

The Brew Town Beat has this:
I like the move on the surface, but there are a few interesting back stories to keep in mind.

I like the move because during his time in Oakland, Macha never finished lower than second place, and twice he won the AL West. By no means were those A's teams chalked full of All-Stars, but he did have a very good starting rotation.

Macha is a low key guy who has a reputation for being a good bullpen manager, something desperately needed here - although it should be noted that having a rotation of Mulder, Zito and Hudson all in their prime makes anyone look like a genius when it comes to handling bullpens.
View From Bernie's Chalet

Ken Macha Named New Brewers Manager: "The Manager's Job Is Not To Always Be Buddies With The Players"

That quote above was how Ken Macha answered the first question asked of him at the press conference today when Doug Melvin announced him as the 16th Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Let me just say WOW, what a breath of fresh air! I could never imagine Ned Yost saying something like that. Macha also talked about things like OBP, putting the best lineup on the field and if players are not producing, they won't play. He seems to be quite the opposite of Ned Yost and that is going to be a great thing for the Brewers.
Chuckie Hacks
I found it sort of fascinating to browse through the "Fire Ken Macha" blog that Woz linked to below.

If you scroll through the posts on that blog, a couple of the complaints lodged by these particular A's fans (at least I presume they were fans in between all the bitching) struck me as familiar.

1. He left marginal pitchers in the game too long, only to get rocked.

2. He didn't manage his bullpen well.

3. He didn't communicate with his players (sweet quote from Adam Melhuse, backup catcher, with whom Macha apparently just stopped speaking altogether).

4. He was too rigid in his lineups.

5. He went with the starting catcher too much.

Before getting all caught up in Macha's perceived warts and thinking we've got Ned Yost, version 2.0, we should probably try to exercise a little perspective here. Consider the source. These guys hated Macha and blogged with a pretty clear agenda, which had to slant their world view just a little bit. We're all told that Billy Beane-ius ran that team anyway, which is what led Macha to the door. Maybe this is what all fans complain about when they want their manager gone.
The Bucky Channel
He turned down a chance to manage the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003, but now they are apparently good enough to take a job with for 2009. I'm not really holding a grudge or anything, I just think that should be known. Regardless, I think the hiring of Ken Macha is a pretty good move.

It appears as if Macha was really the guy Melvin wanted all along. Personally, I would have been happy with any of them. Bob Brenly won a World Series with the Diamondbacks, but now he'll go back to the booth at WGN. I wonder how bitter he will be in those broadcasts against the Brewers. Willie Randolph really never had a chance, but I was kind of pulling for him, if I had to pick one of them. But again, I'm alright with Macha.

Melvin wanted to offer the job to Ken Macha in 2003, but Macha was instead offered the job with the A's, as he was already their bench coach. In his four years there, he went 386-280 and reached the 2006 ALCS, after which he was promptly fired.

Ibanez files

Ex-Appleton Fox Raul Ibanez ('93, '94) has filed for free agency.
Raul Ibanez, one of the Mariners' most reliable run producers during the past four seasons, filed for free agency Thursday.

Longtime Mariners utility player Willie Bloomquist and veteran infielder Miguel Cairo were also among the 65 Major League players that filed on the first day of the filing window, which lasts until Nov. 13.

The players' current teams have exclusive negotiating rights for the 15-day period.

The 36-year-old Ibanez surpassed the 100-RBI mark for the third straight season in 2008, leading the Mariners with 110 RBIs. He also finished second in home runs with 23, set a career high with 43 doubles and played in all 162 games.

Just looking at the list

I didn't see any other Timber Rattler/Foxes connections. But, it's just the start.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Action from 10/30...

Arizona Fall League:

@Phoenix 7, Peoria Javelinas 1
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for Peoria:
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 1-for-3, 2B, run
Rob Johnson ('05): 1-for-2, 2B

Hawaii Winter Baseball:

Waikiki BeachBoys 5 @ Honolulu 2
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for Waikiki:
Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, run, 2K
Jamie McOwen ('07): 1-for-3, run

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 6 @ Aragua 5
Box score | Game story en Espanol: Luis Jiménez decisivo (or: Luis Jiménez decisive)

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-4, run
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 2-for-4, run
Ricky Orta ('07): 2IP, H, R, 4K
Shawn Kelley ('07, '08): IP, 0H, 0R, 2K, Save #3

Friday Schedule:
Peoria Javelians at Mesa 12:35pm Arizona Time
Waikiki at West Oahu 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Caribes at Lara 7:30pm Venezuela Time

I know, I know

By the wings of Hermes, I'm late.

Today's posting follows.


A bit more on Benny

From the Everett Herald there is this piece that explains how we with the Timber Rattlers feel about Benny Looper.
If there was anything Benny Looper enjoyed more about his job than evaluating baseball players, it was the people he worked with.

The Seattle Mariners' administrative assistants, scouts, player development staffers and minor league affiliates made every day a joy.

When new general manager Jack Zduriencik offered Looper a job that would take him away from those people, he said no thanks. Rather than stay with the Mariners in a lesser role, Looper -- who was vice president of player personnel -- decided to say good-bye Wednesday after 23 years with the organization.

"The sad part for me is the close friendships I've made," Looper said. "It's the people in the office who've been here 10-plus years, the scouts and people in player development, even the big league players who I've known since they were kids. Walking away from that is the saddest thing."
There is also this bit in there about other Mariner front office people with whom we in Wisconsin have had a long relationship. (in bold).
Assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas and international operations director Bob Engle will remain with the team, but the future remains unknown for two others, player development director Greg Hunter and minor league/scouting operations director Hide Sueyoshi.

News from Nashville

There has been some tension between the current owners of the Nashville Sounds, the PCL Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and the city of Nashville. But, that tension appears to be easing due to this:

Sounds suitors revealed

Big Apple group with prime real estate holdings said to be prepping for meeting with Mayor this week
Two Japanese brothers, fronted by two New York businessmen, are the suitors for the Nashville Sounds, according to NashvillePost.com sources.

Masahiro and Yukihiro Honzawa, along with New Yorkers Frank Ward and Steve Posner, make up the group looking to buy the Sounds. Ward apparently is employed full-time by the brothers, who operate the real estate group Hiro North American Properties.

Ward and Posner would put up between 5 and 10 percent of the money needed to purchase the team from current owner Al Gordon.
An update to the story mentions that Yukihiro Hanzawa died in August, but there was an announcement scheduled for this morning.

Follow the link in the excerpt below to find out about the tension:

The Sounds’ lease at Greer Stadium expires at the end of the year. Lease extension negotiations with Mayor Dean’s office reached an impasse last week.

But...I can't find anything on a very brief look for the announcement.

It's Philadelphia

Photo credit: Ron Cortes/Philly.com

The Philadelphia Phillies won Game Five 4-3 to win the 2008 World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.

That picture above is Brad Lidge striking out Menasha, Wisconsin native Eric Hinske for the final out.

Ex-Rattler Greg Dobbs did not play in the game last night, but he gets a World Series ring. Not sure about Tom Gordon, a former Appleton Fox from the days of being a Kansas City Royal affiliate, since he was on the DL, but I'm guessing that he'll get one, too.

Let's start getting ready for '09 right now.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Wednesday action in the Fall/Winter Leagues

Arizona Fall League:
Phoenix 10 @ Peoria Javelinas 2
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for Peoria:
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 0-for-4, K
Greg Halman ('07): 0-for-4, 4K
Stephen Kahn ('05): IP, 4H, 4R, 2BB, Loss
Joe Woerman ('06): 1-1/3IP, 4H, 2R

Hawaii Winter Baseball:
Waikiki BeachBoys 9 at Honolulu 0
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for the BeachBoys:
Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI
Steve Richard ('07): 2IP, 3H, 0R, 3K
Rob Harmon ('07, '08): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:
@Caracas 12, Lara 5
Box score | Game story en Espanol: Leones con la misma dosis or Lions with the same dose

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-4, 2K
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 1-for-4, run

Thursday schedule:
Peoria Javelinas at Phoenix 12:35pm Arizona Time
Waikiki at Honolulu 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Lara at Aragua 7:30pm Venezuela Time


On a more serious note

Geoff Baker's Blog at the Seattle Times has this news that will get to some of us in the Timber Rattler front office.

Benny Looper out
Mariners vice-president (player personnel) Benny Looper has opted to leave the organization. Looper spoke by phone with new Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik on Monday and was told he'd be reassigned to a professional scouting role covering major and minor league baseball in the center of the country.

"He told me he was bringing in his own people for supervisory roles,'' said Looper, who would have been stripped of his VP title.

Looper had kept two residences, in Seattle and Oklahoma, over the years. But he sold his Seatte home two years ago and rented an apartment instead. The lease on that was up on Oct. 23 and he chose to let it expire and relocate to Oklahoma full-time to be closer to his family. He says he knew when he made that choice that the M's might ultimately change his job, but had been prepared to make a case for staying in his current role.

He never got the chance.

Zduriencik told him right away that the pro scouting job was what he had for him. Two more phone conversations later, Looper told Zduriencik he was moving on.


Looper has known Zduriencik for 25 years.

"Jack's a great baseball man,'' Looper said. "He just wants his own people running things the way he wants them run and I can appreciate that.''

Looper spent 23 years with the Mariners in various capacities and was one of three finalists, along with Al Avila, for the team's GM job that went to Bill Bavasi in 2003. His son, Aaron, also pitched for the Mariners in 2003. He says his dreams of becoming a GM are long done and he now wants to focus on areas of baseball where he feels most suited and comfortable working at.
Aaron Looper was a pitcher for the Timber Rattlers in 1999.
"I'll really miss Seattle,'' he said. "There are a lot of great people up there that I had the chance to work with and I don't regret any of it for a second. I had some great times up there and I will always remember them fondly.''
Good luck, Benny. We in Wisconsin remember working with you fondly.

I really shouldn't

Because -- Gehrig knows -- typos can be found on just about any post on this blog. However, this one was just too delicious.

It's from a Racine-Journal Times write up of a WIAA Division 2 Football Playoff victory by Waterford over Whitnall.
Fitzwater’s 276-yard field goal widened Waterford’s lead to 17-0 at halftime.
What a leg on that kid!

Halloween was early this year

In case you missed it earlier in the week on Time Warner Sports (or Sports 32 as it is now called), I wore my Halloween costume back on October 23.

It was as a soccer announcer for the Valparaiso @UW-Green Bay soccer game. You can witness the the holiday cheer by tuning into the game at 8:30am on Thursday morning. Gosh, I tried really hard.

Then -- as if 90 minutes of Mehring wasn't enough in the morning -- the press conference edition of Timber Rattler TV is on at 4:00 in the afternoon.

By the way, since I adopted the Tonbridge Angels FC they're 0-2-1 (0-1-1 in the Isthmian Premier League and a loss to be knocked out of the FA Trophy tournament)

I apologize, Angels. Go get Ashford Town (Middlesex) on Saturday.

Boy, I wish I had posted that....

From the Peoria Journal Star on 10/28 posted at 9:19pm:

Will Sandberg be leaving Peoria?
The two-year tenure of Hall-of-Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, above, as manager of the Peoria Chiefs might be over.

The Washington Nationals hired Triple-A Iowa Cubs manager Pat Listach to coach third base next season, creating vacancies higher in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Sandberg returned to the Chiefs for a second year as the Cubs higher-level minor-league managers stayed with the organization after the 2007 season.

Now, with Listach in Washington, there is a vacancy that would allow Sandberg, high-A Daytona manager Jody Davis and Double-AA Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey to possibly advance.

The Cubs will announce their full slate of minor-league managers and coaches next month or in early December.
Wait a minute....
The total guess has to do with this bit of information...
The Nationals announced on Friday that Jim Riggleman, Marquis Grissom, Pat Listach, Rick Eckstein and Randy Knorr will be members of manager Manny Acta's coaching staff in 2009.
Listach -- who comes highly recommended by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who is one of Bowden's mentors -- will be the third-base coach and infield instructor. He joins the Nationals after spending the last three seasons compiling a 231-189 record managing in the upper levels of the Cubs' farm system.
The upper levels last year was Iowa in the PCL. Follow me here. Listach moves out. There is an opening. Other managers -- like Ryne Sandberg and Jody Davis -- in the Cubs organization move up. Peoria gets a new manager in 2009*.

There is the total guess.
Posted on 10/28 at....7:50.....am. Happy to help, PJ STAR!

Kidding. Kidding.

Back to the Brawl

The other shoe has dropped in that brawl between the Peoria Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons. Remember that? The brawl that led to this from the Dayton Daily News.

Click for a really good view.

That other shoe was not another diagram. It was an indictment for #4 of that diagram.
A Montgomery County grand jury has indicted former Peoria Chiefs baseball pitcher Julio Castillo on two felony counts of felonious assault for his actions during a widely publicized brawl this past summer between the Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Field.

The charges are second-degree felonies, each punishable by up to 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

The July 24 brawl started when Chiefs interim manager Carmelo Martinez left his dugout to argue with former Dragons manager Donnie Scott. When Martinez pushed Scott, the benches emptied.

Video of the fight showed Castillo throwing a baseball toward the Dragons' dugout. The ball sailed, however, and struck a fan from Middletown in the head.

No further comment from me.

From behind the subcriber wall

Baseball America has their 2008 Draft Report Card for the Milwaukee Brewers behind the SUBSCRIBER WALL on their website.

I don't want to give away too much, but... here are a few teases to maybe get you to purchase the latest edition of BA or maybe get the subscription to their website.
Best Pure Hitter: C/IF Brett Lawrie (1), the best Canadian hitting prospect in a decade, has tremendous bat speed and a feel for hitting combined with extreme confidence. He'll need polish but most scouts believe he'll hit for average.

Best Fastball: LHP Evan Frederickson (1s) sat at 91-93 mph this spring, then reached 97-98 in a predraft workout. He had a dead arm after signing, though. RHP Trey Watten (7) has shown mid-90s heat at times

Most Intriguing Background: [Cutter] Dykstra's father Lenny had a 12-year career with the Mets and Phillies, leading both to pennants. Lawrie made the Canadian Olympic baseball team, while his sister Danielle pitched for Canada's Olympic softball team.
That's all for now, folks.

Meet Crotor the Transaction Snake

Sssssssalutationsssssss, Timber Rattler fanssssssss. I am Crotor. Mehring asssksss me to possst when the team is trying to break a losssssing sssssstreak or if there are transssssactionsssss.

Ssssssso, I wasssss checking Basssssseball America today and notisssssed a new Transsssactionssss posssssst.

Ex-Rattlersssss involved:
Milwaukee Brewers
Signed: RHP Mike Jones, RHP Juan Sandoval
Sssssandoval wassss a Rattler in 2003. Jonesssss wasss a #1 pick of Milwaukee in 2001 and pitched for Beloit in 2002.

Nothing to report on other ex-Rattlersssssss.

Meet Roudha

No. Do not bow. Camel God Roudha does not need such praise. I have heard your cries and I have done what I can to give dry weather to the city of Philadelphia tonight so that Game Five of the 2008 World Series may be concluded. Enjoy.

In the name of me, Bud Selig has caught a lot of dung over the last few days...Well, more than usual. Before you jump on that bandwagon, why not check out these two posts.

First, here is Winks over at The Bucky Channel: A Passionate Plea in Support of Bud Selig
Look, this is a circumstance that has never happened before in baseball's history. No World Series game has ever been suspended for a day, much less for two days. But that's what happened this season, and instead of going back to Tampa tonight for a Game Six, we're going to play 2 1/2 innings (at least) of baseball in Philly.

It's the decision that was made, but it's still unacceptable to many. And why is that, exactly?

Because Bud Selig made the call.

No matter what the decision, people always find a way to criticize the moves Bud Selig is making. The guy just never seems to get a break. I say that he could very well be the best commissioner of a major American sport. Maybe not, but it certainly is up for debate. Yet, everyone just loves to come down on the guy.
Camel God Roudha's only quibble would be that there are 3-1/2 innings remaining instead of 2-1/2, but Roudha is forgiving of other errors. Not everyone can be an omnisc...omnicen...all-seeing and all-knowing Camel God.

Next, the oddly named radio silence at The Junkball blues with Second-Guessing Selig
I'm watching national analysts tear apart Selig -- it seems like one supports Selig for every five that second guess him -- and it's occurred to me: why is this such a huge issue?

First off, more baseball is never a bad thing, and that's a fact -- the weather was bad in Philadelphia, and that forces the first suspended game in the history of the World Series (due to rain). That's way cool. Now we have an historical opportunity to watch the final 3 innings on a separate night, and the game will be finished.

Secondly, for all the trouble Selig is getting for allowing the game to go into the sixth inning, why isn't he getting more credit for an absolutely correct judgment: that no World Series game will end this way, that he would not have officially called the game after 4.5, even with the Phillies leading, and that "this is no way to end a World Series."

Say what you will about other Selig blunders, even the decision to let the game go later, but I think Selig actually upheld the integrity of the game by "skirting" the rules -- that is, I believe he got the spirit of the game correct, even if he didn't completely go by the letter.

Camel God Roudha could not have said this any better.

Roudha out.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

For games of October 28

Arizona Fall League:

@Scottsdale 3, Peoria Javelinas 2
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for Peoria:
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 1-for-3, run, BB
Greg Halman ('07): 0-for-4, K

Hawaii Winter Baseball:

Waikiki BeachBoys 12 @Honolulu 9
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattler for Waikiki:
Jamie McOwen ('07): 2-fror-3, 2B, 3B, BB, 2 runs, 3 RBI

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

@Lara 5, Zulia 1
Box score | Game story en Espanol: Pájaros Rojos aprovechan pecados aguiluchos or Red birds take advantage of sins eaglets

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-3, 2B, 2RBI
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-4

Wednesday Schedule:
Phoenix at Peoria Javelinas (In Progress)
Waikiki at Honolulu 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Lara at Caracas 7:30pm Venezuela Time

Meeting in the morning

Delayed posting warning.

For some of you new readers, sales is the part of my job that allows me to do the other things. I have a meeting in a little bit and meetings for most of the day for that matter.

I'll try to get some new stuff posted around lunch or at some point later today.


A look at the old parent club

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has this and I have a feeling it is just the start of the changes with the old parent club of the Timber Rattlers.

M's scouting director dismissed, source says
Word began to spread through the scouting community Monday that Mariners scouting director Bob Fontaine has been let go by Seattle's new general manager, Jack Zduriencik.

One source said that Fontaine was called into a meeting with Zduriencik on Monday and informed that he was being dismissed. According to the source, "He didn't even have a chance to fight for his job."

Fontaine reportedly informed his Mariners scouting staff of his dismissal in a voice mail.

At his introductory news conference on Friday, Zduriencik said he planned to meet with the baseball operations staff as soon as possible and decide on who he would retain. Those meetings apparently began Monday and are ongoing.

It is not known who will replace Fontaine, who has run the Mariners' amateur scouting since 2003.

In another development, Tony Blengino, Zduriencik's top assistant when he was scouting director in Milwaukee, is expected to join Zduriencik's staff in Seattle.

According to industry sources, the Brewers have agreed to let Zduriencik, who was named Seattle's GM last Wednesday, hire two members of his Milwaukee scouting staff.

Those are expected to be Blengino and Tom McNamara, Milwaukee's East Coast crosschecker and the man credited with scouting and signing Prince Fielder. It is not known yet what positions they will hold in Seattle.
More on this as it develops.

The Brewers have said that they will not hire Zduriencik's replacement until after they hire a manager. That may be soon...if this World Series ever ends.

They are just messing with me now?

One is an accident. Two is coincidence. Three is a trend.

TinCaps? Fine. Rawhide? Sure. Whatever. But, come on! Are they serious?

Bowling Green Hot Rods
"Hot Rods” was officially unveiled tonight as the nickname of Bowling Green’s new Minor League Baseball team.

Officials with the Bowling Green Hot Rods made the announcement before roughly 300 people at an event at Circus Square Park, less than a mile from the Hot Rods’ under-construction ballpark, where the Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays begins play in April as a member of the South Atlantic League.

Hot Rods was the ultimate winner from thousands of publicly suggested nicknames. It beat out six other finalists - Bluegills, Cave Shrimp, Mammoths, Speedsters, Sparkplugs and Turbos - in an online vote conducted this summer.

“To finally get to a point where you don’t have to sit on the name anymore, to worry about letting it slip when you’re in a meeting in public, it’s a relief,” said Brad Taylor, general manager and CEO for the Hot Rods.

The team also introduced its color scheme - black, yellow, red and silver - and its logos. The primary logo features a yellow hot rod with baseball hubcaps and red flames shooting from its exhaust pipes. A second logo, which the players will wear on their black caps, shows the interlocked silver letters “B” and “G” trimmed in yellow, with red flames on the “B.”
Cave Shrimp? I could have gotten behind Cave Shrimp.

And it's not black, yellow, red, and silver. It's Tire Black, Racing Yellow, Fire Red, and Tailpipe Silver. See the difference?

Why Hot Rods? Well, apparently the Corvette is manufactured in Bowling Green.

Good thing we don't have to play them....until 2010.

One for sure and one total guess

The for sure...as sure as anything can be that you find on the internet...is the announcement of the manager in Beloit:
Nelson Prada will begin his second year as manager of the Twins' Class A affiliate Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) after finishing 71-67 last season. Prada, 32, spent the 2004-07 seasons as manager of the GCL Twins. He has a 162-139 (.538) record during his four years of Minor League managerial experience. Gary Lucas will continue his second stint (2005) as pitching coach after spending the 2006-07 seasons as pitching coach for Double-A New Britain. Alan Rail will return for his fifth season as trainer with the Snappers.
The total guess has to do with this bit of information...
The Nationals announced on Friday that Jim Riggleman, Marquis Grissom, Pat Listach, Rick Eckstein and Randy Knorr will be members of manager Manny Acta's coaching staff in 2009.
Listach -- who comes highly recommended by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who is one of Bowden's mentors -- will be the third-base coach and infield instructor. He joins the Nationals after spending the last three seasons compiling a 231-189 record managing in the upper levels of the Cubs' farm system.
The upper levels last year was Iowa in the PCL. Follow me here. Listach moves out. There is an opening. Other managers -- like Ryne Sandberg and Jody Davis -- in the Cubs organization move up. Peoria gets a new manager in 2009*.

There is the total guess.

*-I'm guessing either Billy Williams or Ernie Banks.

A Day in the Life

For some reason, Joe Woerman ('06) titled his latest blog entry October Sky. I would have gone with the Beatles song or the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn novel over an okay late 90's movie. But that's just backseat blogging.
Moving on... Id like to explain my daily routine here in AZ. I usually wake up around 7:30 and drive to the stadium. Once there, I make a golden brown waffle, lightly smothered in peanut butter and syrup. I sip a hot coffee and attempt the crossword puzzle. I normally flip through a magazine, Yachting magazines and gaze over multi-million dollar ships I only dream of driving. By that time its out to stretch I go playing light toss and running before batting practice. You can find all the pitchers on the right field line fine tuning their pitches, spitting seeds and basking in the warm morning sun before the boringness of BP starts. Batting practice is my least favorite thing to do on a day to day basis. Too much standing around, but someones gotta do it. After watching my fellow teammates wack the ball around the yard for an hour, we all migrate back into the clubhouse to munch on an assortment of goodies. Cold cuts, cereal, salads or maybe another waffle. There is a solid hour and a half before everyone starts to trickle out to a 12:35 start. Down in the bullpen, all kinds of mischief is happening. Actually, its pretty PG-13 and laid back down here with this group, but Ive seen some wild activity in some past bullpens, like mini bonfires, or booger eating for money contests. Seems like the game flies by and is over before you know it. Now if I were pitching that day, I try to plan an inning in advance to start moving around and getting the blood flowing before doing some stretching. Phone rings, they call your name, and you start to get loose. Thats the fun part.
There's more like Oktoberfest with the Woerman family in San Diego. But, I don't think that I can honestly pull anything else out of that post to top boringness and boogers.

Mail Call

Quickly from Jim Street's Mailbag at the Mariner website.

The Mariners have a guy on their Double-A team named Michael Wilson who has done very well in the Minors. Why are the Mariners not calling him up? He was drafted all the way back in 2001.
-- Tony E., Tacoma, Wash.

Wilson had a solid 2008 season for West Tennessee, batting .276 with 76 runs scored, 26 doubles, 27 home runs and 84 RBIs. He led the Southern League in home runs, was third in slugging percentage (.549), fourth in RBIs and tied for fifth in extra-base hits with 55. The Mariners considered promoting him to Triple-A Tacoma, but he was having such a good season for the Diamond Jaxx, the organization decided to keep him at the Double-A level.

Unless Wilson, 25, is placed on the organization's 40-man roster or re-signs, he would become a six-year Minor League free agent five days after the World Series. The Mariners, along with the 29 other MLB franchises, could discuss a contract with the outfielder but could not sign him until 15 days after the Fall Classic.

Wilson was a Rattler in 2005. He hit the series-winning homer in the tenth inning to beat Beloit in Game Three of the first round during the '05 playoffs.

This World Series is cursed

Hey. I'm Brick, the Bad Weather Hating Bactrian. Mehring imagined....er, asked me to blog a few times early this season when is snowed in April.

I hate everything. Puppies, laughter of children, balloons, that person who takes 11 items through the 10 items or less checkout line. Yep, contempt and dislike for them all. But, I mostly hate bad weather. Like the stuff that is going on in Philadelphia right now.

Game Four was suspended after 5-1/2 innings with the Phillies and Rays tied 2-2. If the Phillies win the final 3-1/2 innings they are World Series Champions. If the Rays win the last 3-1/2 innings, there is a Game Six in Tampa tomorrow. Good thing they started that game at "8:00"pm in the East last night. Incorrect start times? Yep, I hate those, too.

Why would they suspend a World Series game?

Yeah. Seemed like the thing to do. Credit? Whatever. Photo swiped from Philly.com and Steven M. Falk.

So, what does the forecast look like for tonight in Philly?
8pm Showers / Wind 40°F 29°F 50% 32°F 73% From WNW 25 mph

9pm Showers / Wind 40°F 30°F 40% 32°F 73% From W 24 mph

10pm Few Showers / Wind 40°F 30°F 30% 31°F 70% From W 23 mph

11pm Few Showers / Wind 40°F 30°F 30% 31°F 70% From W 22 mph
Oh, that seems promising. If the weather doesn't break, maybe they should move the last 3-1/2 innings to Miller Park.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

@Peoria Javelinas 6, Scottsdale 3
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for the Javelinas:
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 0-for-4
Rob Johnson ('05): 0-for-4
Joe Woerman ('06): 2/3IP, H, 0R, BB, K

Hawaii Winter Baseball:
The Waikiki BeachBoys were off on Monday.

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:
Lara was off on Monday.

Tuesday schedule:
Peoria Javelinas at Scottsdale 7:05pm Arizona time
Waikiki at Honolulu 7:00pm Hawaii time
Zulia at Lara 7:30pm Venezuela time


Venezuelan Coffee and Blackouts

From Friday's Thomas Report by ex-Rattler Justin Thomas ('06):
Last Thursday was our first day off and we arrived back into Lara from Valencia in the middle of the night. After getting some rest, we woke up and a few of us headed over to the local Panderia (bakery) for breakfast and a cup of coffee.

One thing that you do not get cheated on in Venezuela is the coffee. I am not a big coffee nut, but I do enjoy a cup every so often and the coffee here is very strong and very good. It is served in very small cups most of the time, but it is enough to do the trick.

There is definitely no such thing as going to Starbucks and getting a Grande cup of coffee here. I would say the biggest cup of coffee I have had was probably six ounces and some cups are as small as two or three ounces, but they pack a powerful punch.


We played the next night against Zulia, but prior to the game, we had a little glitch, you could say. While eating breakfast that morning at the bakery, we were just about to pay the tab when the power went out. We didn't think much of it so we just got up and left and headed back to the hotel.

When we walked into the lobby we realized that the power was out there as well. We found out that the power was out in the whole COUNTRY!! I didn't know how, why, or what was going on, all I knew was there were no lights and no timeframe in knowing when they were coming back.

To be honest with you, I don't think that the locals minded it much at all, they just went about there business on a laid back Sunday afternoon, but us Americans were a little taken aback by the matter.

I guess that stuff like that happens from time to time here and the locals are used to it. After a few hours, the power came back on and we all headed to the field for the night game.
Go read it all.

Game Five 1915 World Series

Since the Tampa Bay Rays are making their first trip to the World Series, Rattler Radio is looking back at the first time the Philadelphia Phillies made the Fall Classic.

The 1915 World Series returned to the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia on October 13 with the Phillies trailing the Boston Red Sox 3-1. They would be facing Rube Foster while sending Erskine Mayer to the mound.

The Phils jumped on Foster early, but it could have been more. They loaded the bases with no outs. But, Gavvy Cravath grounded into a 1-2-3 double play. Fred Luderus picked up his teammate with a double that drove in a pair of runs for the lead.

But, Mayer allowed the Sox to tie the game with single runs in the second and third. The tying run in the third inning was a bounce home run by Harry Hooper. One out later, Tris Speaker singles and that was the end of the line for Mayer. Eppa Rixey relieved and got out of the inning.

Philadelphia got the lead back in the bottom of the fourth. Luderus smacked a solo homer for a 3-2 advantage. An error by Hooper on a single allowed another run to score and the Phillies were up by a pair of runs.

Rixey held onto the lead until the eighth. Pinch-hitter Del Gainer singled to start the inning. Then, Duffy Lewis homered. Game tied.

Philadelphia got a pair of runners on against Foster with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. But, could not score.

Foster struck out to start the top of the ninth. Then, Hooper hit his second bounce home run of the game and the Red Sox were up 5-4.

Foster worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth and the Red Sox captured their third World Series title.

Box score and play-by-play

The Phillies would not go back to the World Series until 1950. The Red Sox would beat the Dodgers in 1916 to win back-to-back titles.

2008 World Series Game Four

TB 2
PHI 10
Box score

Phillies lead the series 3-1. Game Five tonight at "7:00"pm CDT.

Highlighted Fox Cities Player:
Eric Hinske: The graduate of Menasha High School hit a home run for the Rays as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. At the time, that made the score 5-2.

Photo Credit: James Borchuck/St. Petersburg Times

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League: The Peoria Javelinas were off on Sunday.

Hawaii Winter Baseball: Waikiki at North Shore -PPD by rain

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:
Lara 9
Magallanes 8
Box score | Game story en Espanol : Cardenales sacó Carácter (Cardinals removed Character)

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 1-for-2, RBI
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-1
Justin Thomas ('06): 1-2/3IP, H, 0R, K
Ivan Blanco ('05): IP, H, R, BB, Save

Monday Schedule:
Scottsdale at Peoria Javelinas 12:35pm Arizona time
Waikiki -- OFF DAY
Lara -- OFF DAY


Packer bye? No problem.

For the last five or six years, WTMJ in Milwaukee has run classic Green Bay Packer games during Packer bye weeks.

In the past, I've heard replays of Super Bowl XXXI, The Ice Bowl, and Brett Favre's Monday Night game at Oakland.

This year is perhaps the greatest Packer game that was played while I was in college....The Instant Replay Game against the Bears.

Audio is running right now at WTMJ.com. Here is the story.

During the time in which the replay booth discerned their decision on the play, Majkowski had a memorable exchange with a hall of fame linebacker, the Bears' Mike Singletary.

"Before they announced (the changed outcome of the play), I was standing near midfield with the referee and I was just saying what a shame it would be if they didn't change this call and make the correct call," said Majkowski.

Then Singletary, now the interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, chimed in.

"He kind of gave me a little razzing. He said to me, 'nice game, Majik. You played a hell of a game. Too bad you're not going to win again. Too bad it's not going to happen again this year. You guys just can't seem to get over the hump.' "

The Bears had beaten Green Bay eight consecutive times going into the Instant Replay game. Majkowski was confident it wouldn't be nine.

"I did the same thing to him at the time. I said, 'Whatever! Just hang out and see what the refs say.' When they came down and said 'after further review, we have a reversal,' man, the place went nuts, and the crowd started going nuts.

Why was this perhaps the greatest Packer game while I was in college? Bullet point time:

  • I went to college where the Bears trained
  • I was surrounded by Bear fans
  • The Packers had not been -- oh what's the phrase -- not very good for years
  • They beat the Bears
  • Jim Irwin and Max McGee were on fire during this game
  • The sounds of the Packer and Bear fans around Melcher Hall and the rest of campus as the play was being reviewed were hilarious
As this post goes up, the game just went to the two-minute warning for the first half. This is well worth the listen today.

Game Four 1915 World Series

Since the Tampa Bay Rays are in their first World Series, Rattler Radio is taking a look back at the first time the Philadelphia Phillies made it to the Fall Classic.

The Boston Red Sox were heading into Game Four of the 1915 Word Series leading leading the Phillies 2-1 in games. Boston won Game Three 2-1 with a run in the bottom of the ninth.

Game Four's pitching matchup at Braves Field in Boston was George Chalmers for the Phillies against Ernie Shore for the Red Sox on October 12.

The Red Sox scored first with a run in the bottom of the third. A walk to Jack Barry was followed by a bunt single from Hick Cady to put runners on first and second with no outs. Shore's sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position. Harry Hooper drove in Barry with an infield single.

Boston added to their lead in the sixth. Dick Hoblitzell singled with one out. Duffy Lewis followed with double to left and the Sox were up 2-0.

Shore was working on a five hit shutout through the first 7-2/3 innings. But, the Phillies put him in trouble in the eighth. Gavvy Cravath tripled with two outs. Fred Luderus singled to drive in Cravath and make the score 2-1. Oscar Dugey pinch ran for Luderus and stole second to get the tying run to second base. But, Shore got out of the frame by getting Possum Whitted to ground out.

Shore worked a perfect ninth inning and earned the win to put the Red Sox up 3 games to 1 in the 1915 World Series.

Box score & Play-by-play

There was no travel day Game Five of the 1915 World Series despite the fact that the game was back at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia.

Game Five Pitching Matchup:
BOS: Rube Foster (19-8, 2.11)
PHI: Erskine Mayer (21-15, 2.36)

Deserves its own post

The highlighted Midwest League Alum from last night's game in Philadelphia is Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey.

Why does this deserve a post to itself?

Jim Hickey's time in the Midwest League was spent with the Appleton Foxes. He was a member for the 1984 Midwest League Champions.

Not sure why he is listed twice as a member of the Foxes in '84 at The Baseball Cube page. But, the stats from his bio page at the Rays site show him as 13-5 with 20 saves and an ERA of 1.81 in 49 relief appearances. He struck out 96 in 99-1/3 innings pitched with the Foxes.

This is something I should have picked up on much earlier.

Ex-Rattlers in the World Series

The Phillies lead the Rays 2-1 in the 2008 World Series after a 5-4 win at Citizens Bank Park last night.
Box score

Ex-Rattler for the Phillies:
Greg Dobbs ('02): 0-for-0; Walked intentionally as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth.

Photo Credit: Philly.com/Dave Maialetti

Game Four is tonight with a pair of ex-Midwest League pitchers facing each other.

TB: Andy Sonnanstine (Southwest Michigan, '05)
PHI: Joe Blanton (Kane County, '03)
"7:00pm" CDT

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

Peoria Saguaros 15
Peoria Javelinas 4
Box score | Game Story

Ex-Rattler for the Javelinas:
Rob Johnson ('05): 0-for-1

Hawaii Winter Baseball:

North Shore
PPD - Rain

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 2
Magallanes 3 (F/11)
Box score | Game story en Espanol: Sin Rematar or Without Concluding

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-3, run, 2BB, 3K
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-5
Ricky Orta ('07): 5IP, 3H, 0R, 3K
Shawn Kelley ('07, '08): 1-1/3IP, 3H, R, 2K, Loss

Sunday schedule:
Peoria Javelinas -- OFF DAY
Waikiki at North Shore 1:00pm Hawaii Time
Lara at Magallanes 5:30pm Venezuela Time


Meet Carl

Greetings, baseball fans. I understand that some of you may be new to Rattler Radio. Because of that, you may be unfamiliar with the figments of Mehring's imagi...er...with some of the guest bloggers who pop up occasionally.

My name is Carl, the Rain-Hating Camel. I usually post when there is rain in the forecast for Timber Rattler games. As it says in my name, I hate rain, especially when it interferes with my enjoyment of a baseball game.

You see, there is a superstition that Mehring picked up somewhere (who can tell? He is mad -- actually quite mad). There is a superstition that the appearance of a camel will keep the rain away. He has stats: 60% of the time it works every time.

The Timber Rattlers don't need me for another five or six months, but my camel sense picked up the possibility of rain in Philadelphia tonight. I really want to watch Game Three and can do without the postponement. I even rummaged through the boxes in the carport of the trailer to find the directional antenna that will allow me to pick up the Fox station out of Green Bay. You see, the Fox channel isn't on the cable system because....What? Oh, leaving that one alone for now? Very well.

Anyway with all of the effort, I would hate for the rain to wash out Game Three. So, that's what I'm doing here...956 miles from Philadelphia.

Game Three 1915 World Series

Since the Tampa Bay Rays are in their first World Series, Rattler Radio is taking a look back at the first time the Philadelphia Phillies made the Fall Classic.

After splitting the first two games of the 1915 World Series at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, the Phillies and the Boston Red Sox traveled to Boston. But, none of the games would be played at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had worked out a deal to play their World Series home games at Braves Field, the home of the National League's Boston Braves. Why? Take it away Wikipedia:
Fenway Park had been open for four seasons and was fully functional in 1915, but the Red Sox "home" games were played at the brand-new Braves Field, to take advantage of its larger seating capacity.
It seems only fair. In 1914, the Braves had used Fenway Park during their run to a championship. Back to the Wiki:
They had abandoned their 43-year-old home field South End Grounds, in late summer, choosing to rent from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park while awaiting construction of Braves Field. Thus their home games in this Series were also at Fenway.
To Game Three of the 1915 Series!

This game was played on October 11, 1915 and the Phillies came back with their starting pitcher from Game One, Grover Alexander. The future Hall of Famer won 31 games in the regular season and had won Game One in Philadelphia on October 8. The Red Sox did not respond with their Game One starting pitcher. They stayed on rotation and went to Dutch Leonard. The decision worked early for the Phils.

Leonard surrendered a run in the top of the third inning. Dave Bancroft -- who died in Superior, Wisconsin in 1972 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery there -- drove in the run for the Phillies with a two-out single. Then, a play happened in Braves Field that may not have happened at Fenway Park.
In the third inning of Game 3 at Boston, with two out, one run in, and two runners in scoring position, Gavvy Cravath drove a pitch deep to left field, which was caught for a harmless inning-ending out in the spacious Braves Field outfield. If the game had occurred in Fenway, or in Philadelphia's Baker Bowl, it might have been a home run or an extra-base hit, and might have turned the Series around.
Still, Alexander pitched a scoreless bottom of the third. But, he couldn't keep the Red Sox from tying things up in the fourth.

Tris Speaker tripled with one out. Dick Hoblitzell followed with a sacrifice fly and Speaker scored. The score remained tied until the ninth inning.

Leonard shutdown the Phillies after the single by Bancroft. Not only was it was the third and final hit for Philadelphia in the game, Bancroft was the last baserunner for the Phillies in the game. Leonard retired the final 19 Phillies he faced.

Speaker got on with a lead-off single in the bottom of the seventh, but he was erased on a double play. That was the one of two hits that Alexander gave up between the Speaker triple in the fourth and the bottom of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, Harry Hooper singled to start the frame. A sacrifice bunt moved Hooper to second and brought Speaker to the plate again. Alexander elected to walk Speaker intentionally. Hoblitzell grounded out to second and both runners moved up a base.

Alexander needed one more out to get out of the inning and send the game to extra innings. In his way was Duffy Lewis. Lewis had success against Alexander early in the game. He had singled in the second and again in the seventh -- after the double play.

Duffy singled in the ninth to drive in Hooper with the winning run to give the Red Sox a 2-1 victory in Game Three and a 2-1 lead in the 1915 World Series.

Box score and play-by-play

Game Four Pitching matchup:
PHI: George Chalmers (8-9, 2.48)
BOS: Ernie Shore (19-8, 1.64)


THE logo for the 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game

Well...I see Louie, Lumber, Stars, the Mississippi River, and the Green paddlewheel of a steamboat.

And if you unfocus your eyes, there you can see Louie in 3-D!*

*I am probably making that last part up. I could never get those stupid posters to work.

I'd buy that for a dollar!

It may be a little inaccurate, but I've always wanted to use that line from the film classic RoboCop.

Long way of getting into this article about the price of some tickets in West Michigan going up by $1.
Cost for a lawn seat will remain $5.

The new premier padded seating behind home plate will cost $13 a ticket.

The Whitecaps had not raised ticket prices since 2006, something officials said was necessary for the upcoming season.

"We've always been very cautious and sensitive about ticket price increases anytime we do it, wanting to make sure we do it only when necessary," said Steve McCarthy, Whitecaps vice president of sales. "It's necessary because our s costs keep going up.

"We feel $1 (more) for a ticket is not a huge increase, and we're going to keep our lawn seats at $5 for the seventh season because we feel it's still very important (that) you can get into the ballpark for five bucks."
Gary Bond, the Whitecap beat writer, does some research and finds:
Compared to other Midwest League teams (2008 prices), the Dayton Dragons have a higher ticket price ($13.25 for a premier seat), and only the Burlington Bees have a cheaper single-game ticket price ($4 for seniors/students and military).

In 1994, the first season for the Whitecaps, box seats cost $6, reserve seats were $4.50 and lawn seats were $3.

"While some organizations have raised tickets by $5 in one season, we have seen our box and reserve seating cost increase by $5 in 16 seasons," McCarthy said. "Lawn seats have gone up only $2."
What?!?! $5!?!?! in one season? I must have missed something, but which organization did that?

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

In the Rising Stars Showcase, the National Division beat the American Division 7-6.

Box score | Game Story

Ex-Rattler Manager Daren Brown was the skipper for the winning side. Ex-Rattlers for the Nationals:
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 0-for-5, 2K
Greg Halman ('07): 0-for-2, 2K

Hawaii Winter Baseball:

Waikiki BeachBoys 10 @ North Shore 3:
Box score | Game story
Mariners prospect Johan Limonta ended a two-week drought with two hits, including a two-run homer, and Todd Frazier went 3-for-5 with three RBIs on Friday as the Waikiki BeachBoys cruised to a 10-3 triumph over the North Shore Honu.

Hitless in 18 at-bats since Oct. 7, Limonta led off the third inning with a single before first-round picks Buster Posey (Giants) and Yonder Alonso (Reds) stroked back-to-back doubles to give Waikiki (10-11) a 2-0 lead.

Limonta, a 25-year-old infielder/outfielder, slugged a two-run homer to highlight a four-run fourth that stretched the advantage to 6-1.

Ex-Rattlers for BeachBoys:
Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-5, HR, 2RBI, 2 runs
Rob Harmon ('07, '08): IP, 0R, H, BB

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Caracas 11 @ Lara 2:
Box score | Game story en Espanol: Visita Implacable

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 1-for-1
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-2, BB
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-2, 2B, run

Ex-Rattler for Caracas:
Carlos Maldonado ('97, '98): 2-for-3, 2 2Bs, 2 runs, RBI, BB

Saturday's Schedule:
Peoria Saguaros at Peoria Javelinas 12:35pm Arizona Time
Waikiki at North Shore 7:00pm Hawaii Time
Lara at Magallanes 5:30pm Venezuela Time


Yes, it's late

A few days ago -- give me a break, I've been busy -- there was a major change at the top of the old parent club with the hiring of a front office member of the new parent club.

M's hire Brewers' Jack Zduriencik as GM

Jack Zduriencik, credited with turning the Milwaukee Brewers from also-rans to a playoff team, was named the Mariners' new general manager Wednesday.

Zduriencik, 57, has been in the Brewers' organization for nine years, serving as their vice president and special assistant to the general manager for player personnel since January 2008.

He had headed the Brewers' scouting department since being hired on Oct. 25, 1999, and is responsible for drafting the core of the NL's wild-card team, including Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. Another of his draftees, outfielder Matt LaPorta, was used as a trade chip to acquire Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, who led their playoff run.

Zduriencik (pronounced zur-EN-sik) will be introduced at a news conference on Friday, an off-day in the World Series. Teams need special permission from the commissioner to make major announcements during the World Series.

That press conference will be at the Mariner website at noon CDT.

What does this mean to the Timber Rattlers? Well, if you look at this list, Zduriencik had a hand in drafting all of these players. Some or most of those players like:

Name Pos B/T Ht Wt DOB Round Pick # Signed
Brett R Lawrie C R / R 5'11" 200 1990-01-18 1 16 8/05/08
Jacob Odorizzi RHP R / R 6'02" 175 1990-03-27 Comp A 32 6/20/08
Evan S Frederickson LHP L / L 6'06" 238 1986-09-23 Comp A 35 6/8/08
Seth T Lintz RHP R / R 6'01" 170 1990-02-07 2 53 7/08/08
Cutter K Dykstra CF R / R 5'11" 180 1989-06-29 2 54 6/7/08
Thomas C Adams RHP R / R 6'02" 180 1986-11-26 2 62 6/13/08
Logan E Schafer CF L / L 6'01" 170 1986-09-08 3 94 6/14/08
Joshua M Romanski LHP L / L 5'11" 180 1986-10-18 4 128 6/8/08
Maverick A Lasker RHP R / R 6'02" 190 1990-02-17 5 158 6/5/08
Jose O Duran SS R / R 5'11" 190 1986-11-27 6 188 6/11/08

...will be Timber Rattlers at some point in their career. Thank you, Jack Z.

Regarding the future: This will make the Timber Rattler-Clinton LumberKing games even more interesting than they were already stacking up to be.

To the reaction!

Jeff at Lookout Landing has the type of response that is going to keep me going back to that site. Just look at the title: And The New GM Of The Seattle Mariners Is None Other Than Dr. Zoinks

Dave at USS Mariner has this post: Welcome To The Zduriencik Era
The M’s have chosen Jack Zduriencik as their new GM. Despite the fact that he’s the oldest of the candidates interviewed and comes with a scouting background, do not assume that this is just more of the same. Zduriencik has been the best regarded scouting director in baseball for the last few years, and the work he did in building the Brewers through the draft was legendary. If you want to know why the Brewers were in the playoffs this year, it’s because Zduriencik hit home run after home run in the draft. This is a good hire.

Now, Jack Z isn’t exactly the new school analytical type we were all hoping for. His strengths are all scouting based, and he won’t be the kind of guy to come in and turn the Mariners into the next Oakland/Cleveland/Boston/Tampa Bay. With Engle, Fontaine, and now Zduriencik, the Mariners are clearly going to try to win with the Atlanta/Minnesota/Anaheim method of just outscouting everyone else on earth and developing so much good talent from within that they can’t help but be competitive.
Also at USS Mariner, check out this post, titled Thoughts from Milwaukee. Dave published -- with permission -- an e-mail he received from Patrick Ebert at Brewerfan.net. I'll just share the end of the letter:
I hate to see him go, but no one in baseball deserves this appointment more than Jack Zduriencik, a true baseball man and one, if given the proper support, should do wonders in turning your organization around.

And don’t expect him to draft a college reliever in the first round.
Jay of Mariner Minors has a few views on Zduriencik in a post titled, um, A Few Views on Zduriencik
Many out there have looked at the superficial qualities of the most recent Mariner hiring and seen too many similarities to inspire confidence. The front office has hired another aging, balding, white guy with an old school methodology, a rolodex of similar contacts, and a scouting background, and much as someone suffering from post traumatic stress may cringe or dive for cover at a car backfiring as though it were a gunshot.
As usual, Jay goes a bit deeper than the superficial and has this conclusion:
The best organizations acknowledge that they have to utilize all the tools at their disposal. Zduriencik may be one who recognizes this as well, despite having a background in the same school that has brought the organization mixed results in the past. Condemning him immediately on guilt by association would be foolish, particularly when he hasn't even had his press conference yet.
That will be in a few hours.

I may dig around the reaction from the Brewer blogs later today. But, I'm off today and I think I'm either going to take a nap or watch Ironside.

Mail Call

Dipping into the mailbag of the old parent club and the new parent club.

First, Jim Street takes a question about a Rattler from 2008:
What do you think the chances are of seeing Phillipe Aumont with the Mariners next season?
-- Miles S., Las Vegas, Nev.

The hard-throwing right-hander has a great future, and the organization has no intentions of rushing Aumont to the Major Leagues. So I doubt that he would pitch for the Mariners in 2009.

Aumont, who will be 20 years old on Jan. 7, still needs a lot of innings in the Minor Leagues to become big league ready. Though drafted in 2007, he did not pitch professionally that season and pitched just 55 2/3 innings this past season at Class A Wisconsin, where he posted a 4-4 record, with a 2.75 ERA and two saves.

The organization is being so careful with Aumont that he appeared in only three games after June 9, because of a strained right shoulder. My guess is that he would start the '09 season at either Clinton (the Mariners' new farm club in the Midwest League) or Class A High Desert in the California League.
Next, Adam McCalvy has an answer to a question that I get quite a bit.
What is the typical salary range at each Minor league level (Rookie, Class A, Double-A, Triple-A)? I know in the Majors it's $390,000 to whatever A-Rod's salary is.
-- Brad K., Milwaukee

The Major League minimum in 2008 was indeed $390,000, and it goes to $400,000 in 2009 according to MLB's press release when the labor deal was struck.

According to someone in the Brewers' Minor League operations, typical Minor League salary ranges break down like this:

Rookie ball: $1,100 per month to $1,300
A ball: $1,300 per month to $1,500
AA: $1,600 to $6,000
AAA: $2,500 to $15,000

It gets more complicated at the Double-A and Triple-A levels because there are six-year Minor League free agents in the mix who account for the high end of the Double-A scale. Most Double-A players are in the $1,600-$2,000 range.

At Triple-A, the low end is players who advanced through the various levels of the organization. The high end is for Minor League vets with big league experience.
That is a better answer than I could ever hope to give.

Rising Stars? What's that?

You may have noticed that the scheduled game in the Arizona Fall League is called the Rising Stars Showcase. That is just a fancy way of saying AFL All-Star Game.

Here. I'll let the story explain:
The Arizona Fall League is generally considered the circuit in which baseball's elite prospects meet in October and November to hone their already considerable skills. The best prospects square off against one another in what can often resemble a daily All-Star game at any one of the parks in and around Phoenix.

That said, the Rising Stars Showcase takes that notion just a bit further. It features current AFL participants selected by scouting and Minor League directors from every organization, along with input from AFL Executive Director Steve Cobb. The 50 players chosen to represent the newly realigned and renamed National and American Divisions will come together on Friday night at Surprise Stadium.

Daren Brown, the Rattler manager in 2003, will head up the National Division squad. He has a couple of ex-Rattlers -- Carlos Triunfel ('07) and Greg Halman ('07) -- on his team.

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