Thanksgiving Thursday Motivation

Happy Thanksgiving, all. Enjoy the day.

Ex-Rattlers in Venezuela

Lara 22 @ La Guaria 20
22-20. The Lions should be so lucky today.

Box score | Game Story (en Espanol from Tiburones de La Guaria)
En el partido se impusieron y empataron varios records de la Liga, convirtiéndolo en un juego histórico para el béisbol venezolano.
On-line translation:
In the party they were imposed and they drew various records of the League, becoming a play historic for the Venezuelan baseball.
Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-2, 3B, run, RBI
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 4-for-6, 2B, HR, 2 runs, 4RBI
Justin Thomas ('06): IP, 3H, 2R
Shawn Kelley ('07, '08): 2/3IP, H, H, R, HR

Ex-Rattler for La Guaria:
Juan Ovalles ('03, '04): 1/3IP, 4H, 4R, K

Thursday schedule:
Lara at La Guaria 7:30pm Venezuela Time


The return of Baseball on Television

Every Wednesday from here until I get tired of...er, can't find any more clips, I'll post a little something about a classic television show and baseball.

Technically, this is softball. But, still a classic. The good people at WKRP face off against the evil that is WPIG. Les Nessman and violin lessons play an important role in this episode...along with Loni Anderson's way of helping Mr. Carlson pitch and Loni Anderson's way of getting a walk to start the big rally.

And since it is the season and everyone will probably be posting a reference to this WKRP episode...Here is Turkeys Away from hulu.com

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Thankful for...

Lisa Winston has an A-to-Z column up over at MiLB.com today. It's, well, I'll let her explain.

Why yes, I do have the best job in the world. And there's no better time to let everyone else know, and maybe remind myself why:

In alphabetical order, here are 26 things I am thankful for this holiday season:

There is a Brewer tie-in on that list at L:
Lorenzo Cain: One of the great joys of my job is watching players blossom and bloom. When I met the Brewers outfield prospect in 2006 in West Virginia, he shyly told me I was the first interview he'd ever done. Now, after his AFL campaign, he is a superstar in the making and still the same wonderful down-to-earth kid he always was.
I should also point out that Lisa has her own blog...Got milb?

Gotta remember to check Dabbler's Journal more often

Joel Dinda runs the MWL Guide. He also has a blog called A Dabbler's Journal. That is where he puts stuff that he finds like this: (which I am shamelessly swiping today)

Cedar Rapids, Ia. -- Tom Simon, veteran showman of the Midwest League's umpire staff, pulled some new tricks here, August 22.

While 1,876 fans roared with laughter in the sixth inning, Simon sauntered to the box seats and downed a sandwich and a cup of coffee provided by a fan.

Then, he accepted a straight-backed chair and called balls and strikes from a sitting position for half an inning. Enjoying this luxury, Simon even ordered Quincy catcher John Hairston to dust off the plate for him.

After the game, the ump was surprised to discover his boss, league President Jim Doster, was in the crowd. Luckily, Doster has a sense of humor.


Click the link up top to find out where Joel found this story.

Ex-Rattlers in Venezuela

@ Lara 2, Magallanes 0
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-2, run, 2B
Ricky Orta ('07): 1/3IP 0H, 0R
Shawn Kelley ('07): IP, H, 0R, Save #7

Wednesday's Schedule:
Lara at La Guaria 7:30pm Venezuela Time

I'm not sure what's going on at cardenalesdelara.com, but there has not been a game story on their website since their last road trip. We at Rattler Radio will continue to check.

By the power of Greyskull

What time is it? Ye, Gods!
The day of posting begins...now!


And now a word from our sponsor

There is this holiday coming up soon. It has been a custom to exchange gifts of some sort with persons deemed close by relation, proximity, or friendship.

Perhaps a cap...
Perhaps some tickets with some other goodies...
* Four (4) undated box seat or reserved bleacher seat vouchers
* 2009 full color wall calendar

Pick 1 of the following:

* Set of Four (4) Appleton baseball legends pint glasses (includes Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Harold Baines, and Goose Gossage)
* Timber Rattlers/Milwaukee Brewers co-branded adjustable hat
* Timber Rattlers/Milwaukee Brewers co-branded t-shirt (4 to choose from)
* Eight (8) undated box seat or reserved bleacher seat vouchers
* 2009 full color wall calendar

Pick Two (2) of the options from below:

* pint glasses, hat, or t-shirt
Perhaps some stock...that may actually be worth something
The Appleton Baseball Club, Inc. is better known to its fans as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Timber Rattlers are a non-stock community owned organization with a franchise in the Class A Midwest League and currently holds a player development contract with the Seattle Mariners.

Appleton Baseball Club, Inc. is seeking interested sports fans and community minded individuals to become a part of our organization through the ownership of membership shares.
Check that link for the benefits of ownership. Then...
A membership share of Appleton Baseball Club, Inc. costs $50 to purchase. Membership is subject to an annual renewal fee of $25 and a required vote (either in person or by proxy) each year at the November annual meeting.

For membership application, please call (920)733-4152 or print off this form and mail it in to the address listed on the form.
There, I just did your shopping for you. I'll take cash or checks or comments.

Keep your eyes on MiLB.com

This may or may not be the link, but it is only to a promo. A promo to Around the Minors unveiling MiLB.com's Top 50 prospects. They start the list on December 1.

I bring this up only because there will be a member of the 2008 Timber Rattlers on that list. Not going to spoil it so, just keep your eyes on the site.

Mail Call

The Mariner Mailbag has a few questions related to ex-Rattlers.

Did Ryan Feierabend prove enough in his late-season outings that he is big league material?
-- Mike S., Kent, Ohio

Based on his performance in eight starts, a 1-4 record and 7.71 ERA would suggest the left-hander needs more seasoning at the Minor League level. He still needs better location with most of his pitches -- opponents batted .355 against him -- and 14 walks in 39 2/3 innings are too many.


What is the future for Kenji Johjima? Does he deserve another chance to start? Is he an OK backup to Jeff Clement, or should the Mariners trade him?
-- Joe G., Portland, Ore.

The manager will eventually decide where Johjima fits, but based on his final month of the season -- when he batted .333 (19-for-57) and worked well with the pitchers -- I would think he's the No. 1 catcher heading into Spring Training. Besides, the Mariners still aren't sure if Clement, who had knee surgery in September, could catch on a full-time basis.

Exactly how the catching position shakes out in camp could also depend on whether Johjima becomes part of Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic. If he plays for his country, and the Japan team advances to the final round of the 16-team event, he could miss camp in February and most of March.

Speaking of Clement ('05)...Jay at Mariner Minors noted that the Everett Herald, um, noted the progress of Clement from his surgery.

Catcher Jeff Clement has begun a running program and will start hitting off a tee in about two weeks as he recovers from knee surgery.

He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Sept. 9 and is expected to be at full strength when spring training begins.

"He's still got to come out and see the doctor in early January, but all indications are that he'll be OK," [Mariner trainer] Griffin said.

Meanwhile, Adam McCalvy at the Brewer Mailbag gets six questions....on pretty much the same topic. Click that link if you haven't already guessed it.

Down Venezuela Way

Lara was off on Monday. They host Magallanes at 7:30pm Venezuela time tonight.

Apparently, Lara has won five straight games to get to 18-16, tied for second place five games behind liga leading Caracas.


A shoutout for Eddie

The Oshkosh Northwestern has a few words for a man of few words.
Baseball seasons' practically around the corner at this point, so we'll get you thinking about the National Pastime and warmer temperatures with a shout-out to Oshkosh resident Eddie Warczak. Eddie tends to Time Warner Cable Field, where the Timber Rattlers play. Eddie and the field together received an award for Field of the Year from the Sports Turf Manager Association. Congrats!

The topic that just won't go away

Must we do this again? Yes, I fear we must.
I have been working on my new topic. I am actually enjoying this topic. After several considerations and rejections of ideas, I decided on a sports related topic. I am conducting a plausibility analysis into whether the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (formerly the Fort Wayne Wizards) could make a move up a division in the minor league baseball system. Currently, the Tin Caps are a "low" Single A division team. I thought it might be interesting to investigate the potential possibility of the team moving to the Double a level.
In my research, I am comparing Fort Wayne and it's baseball team to Akron, Ohio and it's baseball team. I chose Akron because it is roughly the same size as Fort Wayne, population wise, and it's baseball team , the Aeros, already plays at the Double A level. I also chose Akron because it is located in the midwest, like Fort Wayne. I was hopeful that the similar geography between the two cities would make their demographics comparable as well. I wanted an apples to apples comparison. I have been very pleased thus far with what I have discovered regarding each. The two cities have some expected similarities, but some striking differences.
In the comments to that post, one of the bloggers from downtownbaseballfortwayne.com pours a bit of cold water on this theory with a link to a post he wrote in January...of 2007.

I don't get that in depth, but this post from July, 2008 has some of the difficulties in bumping up a level or two.

To the curious Brewer fan, use that post as a primer for why the Timber Rattlers won't be going up to Triple-A anytime...ever.

From Whitecap to Ranger to...

Matt Walbeck was the manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps from 2004 to 2006 and won two MWL Championships. Then, he went to Erie, the Double-A affiliate of the Tigers in 2007. He signed up to be third base coach for the Texas Rangers in 2008, but his contract was not renewed.

He's landed on his feet. He just doesn't know where yet.
Walbeck, who managed the SeaWolves in 2007, signed with the Pirates last week. He said Pirates officials have told him he will manage next season at either Class A Lynchburg, Class AA Altoona or Class AAA Indianapolis.

"This was the first time in 22 years that I had to look for a job,'' Walbeck said Thursday in a telephone interview from his home in Sacramento, Calif. "I called everybody I knew in the game. It's quite a humbling experience going from being Baseball America's manager of the year to looking for a job.''

Baseball America selected Walbeck its 2007 minor league manager of the year after he guided the SeaWolves to an 81-59 record, a Southern Division regular-season championship and the team's first appearance in the Eastern League playoffs since 2004.
Just a note: Brad Holman, Wisconsin's pitching coach from 2002-2005, was Altoona's pitching coach in 2008.

Making a note ot it

The man whose name is on the stadium of the Kane County Cougars was in the news over the weekend.
The man who helped spearhead the creation of the Batavia Park District in 1969 has had to resign from the Batavia Park Board.

Because of health issues, 80-year-old Phil Elfstrom recently moved into The Holmstad retirement community, which is just outside of the park district’s boundaries.

As a result, Elfstrom had to resign from the board.

“I am disappointed,” Elfstrom said. “I would have liked to stay on.”

This year, he had two hip surgeries for his right hip.

“The first one didn’t work well, so I had another one," Elfstrom said. "I’m getting around."

Elfstrom said he knew The Holmstad was outside of the park district’s boundaries. He was elected to the board in April 2005 and his term expires in April 2011.
Fans were showing up at Phil Elfstrom Stadium to buy tickets for Cougar games next season.
Jay Carroll has been going to Kane County Cougars games since day one.

And on Saturday morning, before most had left the comfort of their warm beds, Carroll was at Elfstrom Stadium, braving the brisk winter breeze at an event that offered fans the first opportunity to buy tickets for the team’s 2009 season.

With a 2:30 a.m. arrival time, it’s not that much of a surprise that the Geneva resident was first in line. Carroll, who now brings his wife and three kids to the games, had the same spot last year.

“It’s exciting,” Carroll said, explaining that he set his mental alarm clock and headed off to the stadium to experience “the thrill of the hunt.”

But he wasn’t alone too long.

Bill Taylor of Hoffman Estates earned the No. 2 spot by showing up at 4 a.m., after which time the two men, who met under the same circumstances last year, took a walk around the stadium that is currently getting a $10.5 million face lift.

“It’s definitely going to be different,” Taylor said of the renovations that are slated to be complete before April 13, when the Cougars will face the Burlington Bees at their first home game of the season. “The quality of baseball is real good. ... They make plays as good as the ones in the Major League here.”

Shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, more than 80 people were waiting to buy tickets, and officials were expecting a steady flow throughout the day.

Tickets for '09 on sale already? Why?
Cougars’ general manager Jeff Sedivy said the early ticket sale is one of his favorite events, explaining that most teams don’t put tickets on sale until the first of the year.

“Why make people stand in the snow?” Sedivy said, adding that it was also a great opportunity for fans to see the progress of the renovations, which include a second deck above the concourse that will have 15 skyboxes, two rooftop patio areas and a super suite.

We don't make them stand in the snow. We let fans in on the concourse last year.

I should hope so...

The title of this post is in reference to the headlines below.

Owners expect lasting presence
The Nashville Sounds are the city's oldest professional sports franchise, and the fans deserve the credit for loyally standing by their team through its 30-plus year history.

As the new owners of the team — pending league approval — my partners and I want to publicly state our commitment to building a lasting relationship with you.

I plan to be at the ballpark on a regular basis, to get to know as many of you as I can, and try to make the Sounds home stadium a place where fans feel comfortable and welcome. My partners, Steve Posner and Masahiro Honzawa, are similarly committed to the fans.

None of the three of us is from Nashville. Posner and I are from New York, and Masahiro originally hails from Japan. But my visits to Nashville, which began a couple of years ago when my daughter enrolled at Vanderbilt, have left me — and my partners — impressed with the friendliness of Nashvillians, the excitement of this city, and the bright future it no doubt has.
Read the rest of the letter from the new owner of the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Thomas in Venezuela

After taking a week off from his on-line dispatches -- to get married or some such thing -- Justin Thomas is back with some entertaining notes on a Venezuelan road trip. I've highlighted the important part.

On Wednesday, we played another game in Zulia, and the offense from the day before showed up again. This time, it was headlines by Luis Valbuena's four hits and two-run homer. I also pitched another inning in this game, getting three groundouts on nine pitches in the seventh. Shawn Kelley also got an inning of work, striking out three in the ninth to put an end to a 9-3 rout.

The game wasn't really the story, though; the war between the umpire and basically the entire city of Zulia was the real story. In the first few innings of this game, the umpire had a noticeably small zone, but the pitchers were dealing with the ump having an off day. After the Zulia pitcher walked a guy on a close pitch and then surrendered a two-run bomb to Valbuena, their manager blew up and went after the umpire and gave him a mouthful. He was ejected, and the game went on. The Zulia pitcher came out to pitch the fifth and walked the bases loaded. When the pitching coach came out to the mound to take him out of the game, he immediately threw his glove off the field and went after the umpire. He was promptly ejected, but he got his money's worth, throwing his jersey and hat in the stands before his exit.

The most interesting part of this story happened between innings when the Zulia mascot, Agui, got into the act and gave the ump a piece of his mind -- and, of course, he was thrown out as well. It was something to see, very comical. The Zulia fans were not going to stand for the Agui ejection, and that had a lot to do with there being three stoppages in play during the next four innings, because things were being thrown on the field at the ump. When the game ended, the umpiring crew had a police escort off the field, but that didn't stop the Zulia faithful from showering them with beer. What an environment. We play here again today, and then head back to Lara for five days.

Here is Agui in happier times...

Yes, that would be me

Time Warner needed some help on high school basketball games this year. Somehow, they thought of asking me.

The first game was last Friday from the Kress Center at UW-Green Bay. The game was a girls' game between Kimberly vs. De Pere. The first broadcast is tonight at 7:00pm on TWC Sports 32.

It's not like you have anything else to watch tonight.

Up front, I'll make apologies to the folks of Kimberly and De Pere. It's been a while since I've done basketball. Plus, I got lost a couple of times. Won't happen again.

What's all this then?

If went to www.timberrattlers.com over the weekend, you probably did not get to the Timber Rattler website.

In the meantime, just use this link.

There may be a story behind this.

Ex-Rattlers in Venezuela

These are Lara's games from Friday and Saturday. They were off on Sunday.

@Lara 7, Margarita 2
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-3, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 0-for-1
Justin Thomas ('06): 2IP, 0H, 0R, K

@Lara 6, Magallanes 5 (10 innings)
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): pinch hitter 0-for-0
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 0-for-3, run, 2 Bs, K
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-3, run, 3B, RBI
Ivan Blanco ('05): IP, 0H, 0R
Shawn Kelley ('07, '08): IP, 2H, 2K, Win

Lara is off on Monday.


Bob Jeter

Picture from ProLook
Some sad news today.
Bob Jeter entered the National Football League as a wide receiver and retired a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, serving as a vital cog on three Green Bay Packers championship teams.

On Thursday afternoon, Jeter, 71, died of an apparent heart attack while at his home in Chicago.

"The first thing you think about with Bob Jeter was his speed," former teammate Dave Robinson said Thursday evening. "He had an awesome amount of it. People didn't say he was a speedster, but I remember one time Gale Sayers was running downfield and it looked to me like it happened in four frames: Bob ran him down and stopped a touchdown."
He is also in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.

Quick excerpt from Distant Replay by Jerry Kramer w/ Dick Schaap
"I couldn't wait to get back to training camp each year," he said. "I knew what Lombardi was going to put us through, but I still wanted to get back. I looked forward so much to the guys and the camaraderie. I couldn't wait to hear Willie Davis telling his stories, laughing so hard the tears came out of his eyes. And every year, I knew we were going to win something. Later, when I was with the Bears, I dreaded the start of training camp."


Jeter always came to our training camp in good shape. He came to the reunion in good shape -- for a defensive tackle. But, the extra weight didn't diminish his enthusiasm. "It feels like the clock's been turned back," he said. "I feel like I want to play again." The feeling faded when his knee began acting up, the curse of old running backs, even ones who switched to defense. "It hurts when it rains or gets damp," Jete said.

His wife of more than twenty years, Gwendolyn, stayed home with their two teenaged sons, Robby and Carlton, both basketball players at Quigley High in Chicago. Gwendolyn was working as a substitute teacher and running a day-care center. Jete was looking for work. Not long after the reunion, he took a job with Foxville Products, distributing health, skin and beauty products.

"I had to come back and see the guys," he said. "Those were the best years of my life."
I have no memory of Jeter playing for the Pack or the Bears for that matter. But, I do remember him from my time at UW-Platteville. Bob Jeter was at just about every game Robby and Carlton played at Williams Fieldhouse. There was a spot where he would watch the game from -- there was a window that gave a nice view of the court from behind one of the baskets.

There were a few brief meetings over the years with the elder Jeter, but the one that really sticks with me was from 1991. It was just after the Pioneers had won their first NCAA Division III Championship. Back at the reception for the team at the hotel, Bob Jeter had the biggest smile -- a mixture of pride and happiness -- that made a lasting impression.

Sympathies to the Jeter family.

They are saying, "Never."

Owners rule on playoff weather
There has never been a rain-shortened game in the postseason, and now there never will be.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced the sport will enact a rules change stating that postseason games cannot be shortened because of bad weather.

"All postseason games, All-Star Games ... will be full-length affairs, and the rule will be so written," Selig said Thursday following an owners' meeting.

Selig said the change also will apply to tiebreaker games that decide division titles and wild-card berths.

"Any game that has significance for the postseason," he said. "It will be very clear now. Everybody will know exactly."
Why do I have a feeling that something else is going to come up that will need another rule change in the future?

Mariner Transactions

Saw this on the Mariner site this morning. A few ex-Rattlers to the 40-man roster and one claimed by the Braves.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today that the club has made seven transactions affecting the 40-man roster. RHP Stephen Kahn, RHP Gabby Hernandez, RHP Marwin Vega and OF Greg Halman have been added to the 40-man roster. RHP Luis Munoz and RHP Tracy Thorpe have cleared waivers and been outrighted to the minor leagues. LHP Eric O'Flaherty has been claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves
Ex-Rattlers have been bolded above.

The O'Flaherty transaction is also covered at the Braves site.
The Braves are hoping O'Flaherty can regain the form he displayed in 2007, when he went 7-1 with a 4.47 ERA in 56 appearances for Seattle. All indications are that he'll be healthy for the start of Spring Training, when he may be able to compete for a job as Atlanta's left-handed specialist.
Rafael Soriano ('00) is also on the 40-man roster of the Braves.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

@Peoria Javelinas 13, Phoenix 6
Box score | Game recap

No ex-Rattlers played for the Javelinas in their AFL finale.

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 8 @Zulia 4
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-4, run
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 1-for-3, BB, RBI
Caesar Jimenez ('03): 2IP, 4H, R, 0ER, 3K
Ricky Orta ('07): 1-1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K
Ivan Blanco ('05): 1/3IP, H, 0R, 2BB, K
Justin Thomas ('06): 1/3IP, 0H, 0R

Friday Schedule:
Margarita at Lara 7:30pm Venezuela Time


Thursday Motivation

An attempt through the Do It Yourself feature at despair.com to restart the Thursday Motivation feature.

The picture is of Jack Malone from Without a Trace. The quote is from the episode Penitence.

On Deck with the Brewers

It's a little old, but I did want to make sure that something was on this blog about the Brewers on Deck event on January 24.
The Brewers announced new plans for the fan event on Monday, moving it from Miller Park just before Opening Day to the Midwest Airlines Center on Saturday, Jan. 24. The team will begin selling tickets at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, with a portion of proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Brewers Charities. As usual, the event will feature autograph, photo and question-and-answer sessions with Brewers players and coaches, baseball clinics and other events geared toward kids and opportunities to purchase new team apparel.
This is not in the Adam McCalvy story linked above. So, I'm going off the press release that was sent out earlier this week.
In addition, baseball concessions, interactive games, highlight videos, and music will be featured at Brewers On Deck. Representatives from the Brewers Minor League affiliates will be present, giving Brewers fans a glimpse of the future.
Brewer Minor League affiliates....HEY! That's us! Leaving it out of the website version must have been an oversight.

Stop by to say hello in January and you may be able to get a picture with these two handsome gentlemen....

By the way you can grab that picture as wallpaper for your computer over here.

Also from Baseball America

They have a story on Carlos Triunfel ('07) titled Growing Up: Triunfel proves he can hang with the big kids. It's behind the subscriber wall, so here is just a taste.
"It feels good. I'm happy I'm here," Triunfel said through an interpreter. "I'm getting to know new people and learning from everyone on the team because they have a lot more experience."

Overall, the Mariners' gamble to test-drive Triunfel in the AFL environment, where he competes against players in their early to mid-20s, as they take closer aim on the majors, can now be safely seen as a savvy decision with long-term appeal.

Sure, Hawaii Winter Baseball would have been the more conservative and logical assignment, particularly given Triunfel's midseason maturity issues that led to a suspension while at high Class A High Desert.

Yet the AFL has offered the shortstop a greater and necessary challenge, if not an inadvertent spurring-on.
If you have a subscription check it out. If you don't it will probably be in the magazine that is on newsstands or will be hitting newsstands soon.

Transaction Day

The Latest Mariner roster moves were put up on Baseball America's site in the evening yesterday. The ex-Rattlers involved are in bold.
Released: RHP Joe Kantakevich, LHP Dustin Birosak, SS Alex Meneses
Granted free agency: LHP Jake Woods
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Jared Wells, RHP Joe Woerman, LHP Jake Woods
Good luck to Joe K. and Alex. Woerman is off the 40-man roster, but is still part of the organization.

Midwest League McPhail Nominee

Every year...oh, I'm just going to swipe Benjamin Hill's explanation of the Larry McPhail Trophy: The Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy is awarded annually to the Minor League team that did the most outstanding promotional work during the recently concluded season.

That is from the start of a post about the Peoria Chiefs, the Midwest League team up for the award this year. The post is notable for two things. 1.) Nathan Baliva responds to the questions. I'll get to that after this excerpt:
What were some of your biggest promotional successes from last season?

NB: We played a regular season game at Wrigley Field in Chicago in front of a MWL record crowd of 32,103 fans while also garnering national attention. Our free hot dogs and peanuts nights on Wednesday increased our average attendance on Wednesday nights more than 1300 from last season. We also brought in local and national celebrities such as Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber, Bradley soccer coach Jim DeRose, Jason Earles from Hannah Montana, Illinois State basketball coach Tim Jankovich and former Illinois basketball player and ordained minister Roger Powell. We also drew over 6,000 fans on average for our 12 fireworks shows, which each featured a Pitch-In for Charity. Our Jimmy Buffett Night was a sell-out yet again this season with a post-game concert by Coco Loco and the Chiefs players/coaches all wore Hawaiian jerseys that were auctioned for charity after the game.
2.) There doesn't appear to be any mention of this guy as their manager in 2008. It must go without saying.

They're the TOPPS in Double A

Topps has announced their Double A All-Stars. Four Huntsville Stars, the Southern League Affiliate of the Brewers, were named to the team.

Those players would be:

Mat Gamel
Alcides Escobar
Michael Brantley
Angel Salome

There was also an Ex-Timber Rattler on the list:
Mike Wilson (25) of Tulsa, Okla., hit 27 home runs for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx to lead Double-A. The outfielder was among the top four in the SL in slugging percentage (.549), RBIs (84) and extra base hits (55). The Seattle Mariners selected Wilson with their second round pick in 2001 out of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla.
Wilson was a Rattler in 2005.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

Peoria Javelinas 5 @ Scottsdale 0
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattler for Javelinas:
Greg Halman ('07): 0-for-4, 2K

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 11 @ Zulia 2
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06) 4-for-4, 2 runs, HR, 4RBI
Ivan Blanco ('05): IP, 0H, 0R, K
Justin Thomas ('06): IP, 0H, 0R
Shawn Kelley ('07, '08): IP, H, 0R, 2K

Thursday's Schedule:
Phoenix at Peoria Javelinas 12:35pm Arizona Time [Regular season finale}
Margarita at Lata 7:30pm Venezuela Time


Four Feet

What's four feet between friends? That would depend, I guess. What's four feet between a Board of Zoning Appeals and a potential baseball franchise? Quite a bit, actually.

The Waukesha city Board of Zoning Appeals is refusing to grant a zoning variance to a developer who wants to build a baseball stadium in Waukesha's Frame Park to host the first Northwoods League amateur team in the Milwaukee market.

The developer, Chad Bauer, wanted to erect a grandstand building that would be four feet taller than permitted.

Bauer now must scramble to come up with new plans for a shorter building before he goes to the Plan Commission on Wednesday night to get final approval of his project. He has preliminary approval, but final approval was dependent on getting the height variance.

There has been a bit of resistance to the as yet unnamed franchise that would like to start up in June. Now, that information at the middle link is a bit unfair. I mean, have you ever been to Brainerd? But, for some background on the "four feet" thing click on that third link. It goes to a story way back in August.

A new baseball stadium for the only amateur Northwoods League baseball franchise in this part of the state would not alter the picturesque views in Frame Park, a jewel on the Fox River, two key officials who will scrutinize construction plans said.

Opponents say they find that assessment hard to believe because the project would have a tall structure for concessions, ticketing and a press box, a party deck near an outfield foul line, and a children’s area with inflated amusement structures.

The fight for Common Council approval was tough for proponents who wanted the Northwoods League to use the aging Frame Park baseball diamond as its home field, and the next base to cross for the proposal is city Plan Commission approval of the stadium specifics.

“I think people will be pleasantly surprised at how nice it will be,” Mayor Larry Nelson said. “It will not intrude on the formal gardens or any of the hiking or biking paths.”

But, there is a little thing called history.

Opponents of the Frame Park proposal say a large fan base and permanent stadium would harm a park nurtured to be a tranquil space within an industrial and hectic city.

Activists formed Friends of Frame Park to organize opposition to the stadium plan. Opponents include two great-great-granddaughters of Andrew Frame, the park’s namesake who donated land to the city in 1928.

Despite those concerns, the Common Council this month approved the concept of allowing the team into Frame Park, in part, because Bauer pledged to direct at least $1.2 million in cash and resources into field and structure improvements.

Bauer is co-owner of the Green Bay Bullfrogs.

No more Nieckula

At least, not in Kane County. The Cougars have announced their coaching staff for 2009. Here's the link. Just watch out for THE CREEPIEST internet ad ever when you click on that oursportscentral.com ad.

Let me put it this way, I would rather watch a two-hour documentary on the Saved By Zero commercial that is driving everyone crazy with the Saved By Zero ad played two or three times in every commercial break than ever click on another website that has THE CREEPIEST internet ad ever again.
A new face will be found in the Cougars' dugout beginning next April as former Major Leaguer Steve Scarsone takes the reins as Cougars skipper, replacing Aaron Nieckula who has been named manager of the High-A Stockton Ports. Nieckula earns a well-deserved move upwards in the Oakland organization after serving as the Cougars' manager for three seasons (2006-08) and hitting coach for two seasons (2004-05). As manager, Nieckula led the Cougars to two postseason appearances and compiled a .514 winning percentage (214-202) as skipper.

"Leaving behind Kane County is somewhat of an emotional experience. I built up some nice relationships with the front office staff, host families and fans," Nieckula said. "Any time you earn a promotion in any profession, it presents new challenges but I'm certainly looking forward to it."
Scarsone is not a stranger to the Midwest League.
Scarsone's managerial career includes time spent as head man of the Midwest League's South Bend franchise in 2001, as well as Lancaster of the California League in 2002. The Cougars' lone Midwest League Championship took place in '01 when Kane County opposed Scarsone's team, South Bend, in a shortened league championship series due to the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

"I'm excited about getting back into baseball," Scarsone said from his Arizona home. "During the 2001 season when I was in the Midwest League, I noticed the warm reception that the team (Kane County) got there from their local people. It's a great testament to what minor league baseball can be."
Also on the staff of the evil empire:

Pitching coach: Jimmy Escalante
Hitting coach: Haas Pratt
Trainer: Nate Brooks

Back in Cedar Rapids

Keith Johnson is back as the manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels for 2009.
His first season as a professional baseball manager was successful, but he wants his second one to be even more so.

Keith Johnson confirmed Tuesday he is returning to skipper the Cedar Rapids Kernels for a second straight season in 2009. His Kernels advanced to the second round of the 2008 Midwest League playoffs.

"I'm looking forward to coming back," Johnson said from his off-season home in Utah. "Hopefully, we can finish the deal this time."
For the new readers out there, there are three rounds to the MWL playoffs. He even has a quick preview of the '09 Kernels.
Johnson said the 2009 Kernels should have good pitching and be a better hitting team than in 2008.

The Orem Owlz, directly below Cedar Rapids in the Los Angeles Angels farm system, advanced to the championship series of the Pioneer League, as usual, losing out to Great Falls.

Five Owlz who should play for the Kernels in 2009 are:

All-Pioneer League: designated hitter Roberto Lopez, third baseman Luis Jimenez, outfielder Angel Castillo and pitchers Jayson Miller and Will Smith.

"From what I've heard, we're going to have a little deeper pitching staff, as far as throwing strikes," Johnson said. "Then we should have some position player guys who can swing the bat.
Really, anyone can swing the bat. It's making contact that is the tricky part.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

Mesa 10 @ Peoria Javelinas 4
Box score | Game story

No ex-Rattlers played Tuesday for Javelinas.

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 6 @ Zulia 1
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): 2-for-3

Wednesday Schedule:
Peoria Javelinas at Scottsdale 7:05pm Arizona Time
Lara at Zulia 7:30pm Venezuela Time


Goodbye, FJM

This little piece of news has been out in the blogs over the last few days, but I couldn't find a tie-in to post about it here...like that's ever stopped me. But, through The Daily Drink and a pointer to Deadspin, I've found one.

Fire Joe Morgan, an hilarious blog, is ending it's run.

Deadspin did a best of FJM post and this little gem fits in with that letter we received at Rattler World HQ. The original source material is a post called 12 Minutes of Hell with Colin Cowherd
Let's play a nerd-game, Colin. Which is to say, let's "think" with our "brains." What if Horace Grant retired, and then didn't make it into the HOF, and then revealed, in a tell-all book and several appearances on like "I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here!" and the like, that he, Horace, was a huge meth dealer in the NBA for 17 years and that the NBA has a massive meth problem. I just don't think that he would be inducted into the Basketball HOF. CC has two arguments — Canseco is famous so he should be in, and anyone who dominates or is "relevant" should be in. Ironically, he then says "infamous is infamous," which only serves to remind us that what Canseco is, in fact, in retrospect, is "infamous." Which is why his "fame" is not exactly what the HOF is looking for in terms of permanent membership.
Go read that whole post at FJM to get the full flavor.

Mail Call and one other note

Checking Jim Street's Mariner Mailbag at the Mariner website this morning. One question involving an ex-Rattler.
What are the odds that Greg Halman will make the team next year? I foresee a big league season with a .260 batting average, 20 home runs, 75 RBIs and 15 stolen bases for him.
-- Ricky V., Rijswijk, Netherlands

Your crystal ball might be jumping the gun. While Halman seemingly has a bright future, the 21-year-old outfielder who was signed from the Netherlands as a non-drafted free agent in 2004 has never played higher than Class A, so the chances of him jumping to the Major Leagues next season are extremely remote.

I had a chance to talk to him in Peoria, Ariz., where he is playing for the Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, and he believes the AFL experience has been a big boost to his confidence and his career.
Also, at the Mariner site, I found this move in the organizational flow chart.

Grifol to direct M's Minors operations
Experienced coach promoted to strengthen development

The Mariners announced on Monday that Pedro Grifol, formerly the team's coordinator of Minor League instruction, has been promoted to director of Minor League operations.

Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners' executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations, also announced the hiring of Tim Tolman as the club's coordinator of Minor League instruction.

Grifol replaces Greg Hunter, who will be re-assigned within the organization.

"We are focused on doing everything we can do to improve our player development department," Zduriencik said. "Giving Pedro increased responsibility and adding Tim to our staff should help us in that process."

Grifol, who turns 39 in two weeks, spent the past three seasons as coordinator of Minor League instruction with the Mariners. He was the manager of the Class A Everett AquaSox from 2003-05 and the Seattle scout in charge of South Florida and Puerto Rico from 2000-05.

Closing down in Arizona

Joe Woerman ('06) has been writing a blog about his Arizona Fall League experiences. Today would appear to be his last entry.
Hello everyone, another week has passed as we are now three games from completion of another Fall League. I can't believe the six weeks have passed so quickly. Seems like days ago everyone was just meeting one another during the initial week of workouts in October. This year has been a very long season, very draining both physically and mentally. I for one have gone through a lot in 2008. My goals were not reached, and that alone sums up quite a bit when your in higher levels of baseball. It's not class A anymore, this is the level that guys really push for to get over the last hump and play in the Major Leagues. I faced a great deal of adversity, in trying to figure out how to simplify the game and pitching for that matter. I could go on and on about what went wrong, but rather I choose to take the positives and dwell on the good. I walk away from this season and just transfer thoughts to a new slate next year. I cant wait for spring training, as it will be here in no time.
Also, enjoy this travel tip won from painful experience...
One thing about Arizona, Phoenix to be exact is the landmines that pepper the valley freeways. Not real landmines but rather the speed limit enforcement cameras. I was caught last year in spring doin a cool 82 when flashes went off. Months later I recieved my ticket accompanied by my photo driving the car unaware of my $250 mistake. These roadside cameras are all along the 101 loop and 10 east/west. The city was nice enough to place yellow warning signs of the coming trap, so be carefull when you come visit in the spring time. Personally, I think its a great way to keep traffic at a moderate 65 mph, however, it's not fun to get caught and have everything processed and filed by computer, since you never even talk to a police officer, and still get a ticket. Getting caught by a robot camera computer is a frustrating thing, so just keep it at 65.
Have a good off-season, Joe.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Arizona Fall League:

@Mesa 13, Peoria Javelinas 6
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for the Javelinas:
Greg Halman ('07): 0-for-4, 3K
Stephen Kahn ('05): 2/3IP, 4H, 7R, 4BB, K, 2 HR

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

@Zulia 5, Lara 4
Box score

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-3, run
Caesar Jimenez ('03): IP, 2H, R, 0BB, K

Tuesday schedule:
Mesa at Peoria 12:35pm Arizona Time
Lara at Zulia 11:00am Venezuela Time


Letters to the info account

Occasionally, there is an e-mail that comes into Timber Rattler HQ that you just have to wonder if it is a put up job or if it is someone who is very, very earnest.

This is one of those e-mails. Please note that I have taken all identifying information out of the e-mail. The reason for posting this -- since I suspect that other minor league teams check this blog out occasionally -- Has any other team received a similar e-mail?

I have bolded the pertinent question within the e-mail.
From: [Redacted]
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 01:59:18 -0600
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Input from a lifelong Timber Rattlers/Foxes fan

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is [Redacted] and I've been a fan of the Timber Rattlers since they were the Appleton Foxes. I went to games when Alex Rodriguez was playing shortstop and still go to games when I'm back home in Appleton. I'm very happy that the Brewers are now affiliated with the organization. Here is my question: Will the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers consider hiring Jose Canseco in some capacity to help the team improve?

Jose Canseco has been blacklisted since he put tremendous pressure on the MLB by writing "Juiced". I believe the great majority of baseball fans believe Canseco displayed great fortitude by bringing to light a problem that tainted America's Pastime for decades.

Canseco wants badly to get back into baseball. Someone should give him a shot. I am asking that you, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, to consider hiring Canseco in some capacity to help the team. I don't know if this e-mail will reach those who have a say. I can only hope.

Please respond to let me know this message was read. Thank you. Go Rattlers!


I wonder if the e-mailer knew this recently happened to Jose. That may put a crimp on his employment possibilities within baseball.

I also wonder if the e-mailer knows that the Timber Rattlers do not hire coaches. That would be up to the parent club.

Thank you for the e-mail, [Redacted].

I got one thing today

And it is not this post.

It is not for lack of searching around the net this morning. There just isn't much to work with today. There are a few larger posts on which I'm working, but those are for later this month.

So, one post in the next few minutes and more tomorrow morning.


BeachBoys have Good Vibrations

The Waikiki BeachBoys are the champions of Hawaii Winter Baseball after a 5-1 win over West Oahu on Sunday in...um, Hawaii.

Box Score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for the BeachBoys
Jamie McOwen ('07): 2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI, BB
Steve Richard ('07): 4IP, H, 0R, 2K, Save

Award Winners

I'm not sure, but I think the Mariners may have been one of the last teams to do this and they didn't do it with much pomp and circumstance. Just a press release on their website.

Mariners name Greg Halman Minor League Player of the Year;
Michael Pineda named Pitcher of the Year

Seattle Mariners Director of Player Development Greg Hunter announced today the Mariners Minor League Most Valuable Players.

Outfielder Greg Halman was named Player of the Year, while right-hander Michael Pineda was named Pitcher of the Year.

"All of these players deserve credit for the hard work they have put in this season," Hunter said. "Continued improvement is the first step in their overall development to get to the big leagues. Our Player Development and Scouting staffs do a great job with the development of all the players throughout our system."

According to Jay at Mariner Minors the winners at the team level were:

Tacoma: C Jeff Clement, LH Ryan Feierabend
West Tennessee: C Adam Moore, RH Shawn Kelley
High Desert: OF Greg Halman, RH Aaron Cotter
Wisconsin: IF Edilio Colina, RH Michael Pineda
Everett: OF Tyson Gillies, RH Brett Lorin
Pulaski: IF Mario Martinez, RH Blake Nation
Peoria: IF Jharmidy DeJesus, RH Brandon Maurer
Aguirre: OF Mario Yepez, RH Geraldo Esparza
Yamasa: IF Rudy van Heydoorn, LH Henry Perez
Ex-Rattlers in BOLD.

Also, the Ellis Award Winners were named. Ellis award?
The Mariners instituted the Ellis Award in 1998 to recognize community involvement by players in their Minor League system. In 2008, Mariners Minor Leaguers were very active in the community, bringing the total hours contributed by the Mariners Minor Leaguers to over 8,000 hours in the last 11 years.

Pitchers Rich Dorman and Mumba Rivera were honored as the co-individual award winners and the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, were honored for having the top overall team commitment.

Dorman and Rivera are both Rattler Alums.

Chen to Oakland

This happened right around the time I decided to take my sabbatical. So, to catch up, let's go to Jay at Mariner Minors.
Sometimes, a move comes down that seems so out of left field that it's hard to make a judgment on it because you never anticipated having to. While not of major impact, this seems to be one of them. The Oakland Athletics have claimed IF Yung-chi Chen off of waiver, and now have a press release up.
Chen was a rising star in the Seattle system, but injuries sidetracked him after his 2005 season with the Rattlers. Jay has a thought or two about this and compares Chen to another ex-Rattler second baseman, Luis Valbuena:

For what role he had in the future of the team, I like Valbuena better. He's a better defender, may have a little more power, and he's a left-handed hitter to boot, which is something that's been lacking on our infield for a while now. You lose a little bit of average and ten stolen bases at the absolute most, but that's about it.

I guess the question for me is "why Chen?" Granted, Valbuena made him expendable, but there are still a few pitchers hanging around the roster that really don't have much business being there. I suppose we'll still see them sent off to pasture in the next few weeks, but Chen wouldn't necessarily be the first choice to get the axe for me. He might have anyway in the weeks following though, so there's not much sense in thinking about it too hard.

While you are over at Jay's site, check out the post on his Rule 5 Draft Preview. There are some interesting ex-Rattlers who are eligible to be taken by another organization. Names that may surprise you.

The Family Tree

Larry Stone uses the current search for a Marine manager to touch on a theory of managers.

About 650 men have held managing jobs in the major leagues in the past 137 years, but none of them is among the first round of seven candidates for the Mariners' vacancy.

And yet each of those candidates, for all his top-level dugout inexperience, carries with him threads of the game's history, and echoes of some of the titans of the lineup card.

Call it Six Degrees of Casey Stengel.

In fact, it was the Old Professor himself who once said, "If you're playing baseball and thinking about managing, you're crazy. You'd be better off thinking about being an owner."

Odd words from someone who managed for 25 years, with tremendous success (until he joined the Mets, anyway).

Believe it or not, the roots of Stengel himself can be found entangled in the current crop of Mariners candidates, if you believe a theory by the late baseball historian, Leonard Koppett.

In his 1993 book, "The Man In the Dugout," Koppett put forth what he called the "family tree analysis" of major-league managers. Koppett posited that all modern managers are descended from three epic figures — John McGraw, Connie Mack and Branch Rickey (who managed for 10 years before becoming a seminal executive).

McGraw, he said, was the original disciplinarian. Mack was expert at finding talented players. Rickey was at the foundation of teaching fundamentals.

It's an interesting read because of bits like this:

McGraw's stem passed to, among others, Stengel, who played for him on the New York Giants in the 1920s. Stengel, in turn, greatly influenced his fiery second baseman on the Yankees, Billy Martin, who passed on his managerial intensity to Lou Piniella.

Piniella absolutely rubbed off on his own sparkplug infielder in Seattle, Joey Cora — who interviewed for the Mariners' vacancy Tuesday.

"Invariably, some of these kids, they play for a manager, and they cherry-pick the things they like, and shy away from the things they don't like," Piniella said last week in a phone interview.

There are more examples like this and examples of cross-pollination. Just go read it.

I need to get to Seattle...like now

One of the Google News Alerts I added after the affiliation switch to the Brewers was Nashville Sounds. Mainly because I was hoping to get the latest news articles on the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers.

A side effect of adding that phrase to my alerts is that there are a lot of stories about those other Nashville Sounds, namely country music and music articles with the words Nashville and Sounds.

So, why do I need to get to Seattle...like now?

Here is why.
He's the songwriter's songwriter.

Bonnie Raitt had a hit with his "Thing Called Love," and Eric Clapton and B.B. King made a memorable cover of his "Riding with the King" (about Elvis Presley). Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt and Buddy Guy are among the many others who've recorded his songs.

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last month and was presented with a lifetime-achievement award at the Americana Music Association conference in Nashville in September, recognizing his 35-year song-writing and recording career.

He's John Hiatt, 56, one of the finest singer-songwriters in folk/blues/Americana. He plays the Moore Sunday night, when he'll feature songs from his new album, "Same Old Man."
I've never seen Hiatt in concert. He has played Oshkosh and Wausau since I've been in the area, but the timing never worked out for me to go. Now, it looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer.
The Moore show will be one of Hiatt's last for a while. He says he plans to take 2009 off and sign up for lessons to improve his guitar-playing.
That's a joke, right? I sure hope that he isn't taking his own advice from Missing Pieces.
a false move here, a stumble there

a box of letters and a lock of hair

that's all that's left when i turn out the light

i count the missing pieces every night

this Travelin' life, well it ain't no good

i'd quit it honey, oh if i could

a puzzle to me why i even care

the missing pieces are everywhere

Kongratulations to the Kernels

The Cedar Rapids Kernels will now be referred to as the Johnson Trophy Winning Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Minor League Baseball announces that the Cedar Rapids Kernels are the winners of the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy for all of minor league baseball in 2008. The Kernels will receive their major award at the Baseball Winter Meetings™ Banquet at the Las Vegas Hilton on December 11.

The President’s Trophy, Minor League Baseball’s top award, is presented annually to honor the complete baseball franchise--based on franchise stability; contributions to league stability; contributions to baseball in the community; and promotion of the baseball industry. Cedar Rapids has had professional baseball since 1890 and the Kernels have been in the Midwest League since 1962. It’s safe to say the Midwest League club has never been more valuable to its community than it was in 2008 when devastating floods overwhelmed the city.

General Manager Jack Roeder saw the Kernels’ history of genuine community relations as no longer an option, but a duty, after 20% of Cedar Rapids was ravaged by the floods. The club’s stadium parking lot, spared from the flooding, served as a staging area for The National Guard, FEMA, city officials and emergency vehicles.

“The Kernels organization is appreciative and humbled to win this prestigious award from Minor League Baseball,” stated Roeder. “We will dedicate this award to the citizens of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Our friends and neighbors have shown, and continue to demonstrate, their spirit, determination and enthusiasm in the face of the unbelievable destruction brought on by the devastating floods in June of 2008.”

I have nothing sarcastic to say. They earned and deserved this honor.

Top New Name

The Fort Wayne TinCaps won a recent poll run by MiLB.com. The poll purports to find out which new logo is the best in all of Minor League Baseball. The contestants:
  • Colorado Sky Sox
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps
  • Reno Aces
  • Visalia Rawhide
The Sky Sox were included due to a new logo.

The 1,387 votes -- I know 1,387 votes -- broke down...Thusly:
  • TinCaps (793 -- 57%)
  • Sky Sox (223 -- 16%)
  • Aces (216 -- 16%)
  • Rawhide (155 -- 11%)
I think there needs to be a new poll because of this news.
The Salem Avalanche, a Class A Advanced Carolina League baseball franchise, today announced that it will bear the name of the 2004 and 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, and will now be called the Salem Red Sox.

As part of the announcement, team officials unveiled a new logo that features the Red Sox brand and marks, including the team's iconic dangling socks against a backdrop of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountain range, a symbol that is synonymous with the Roanoke Valley. The new uniform will be officially unveiled at a Salem Red Sox fan celebration at the Tanglewood Mall on Sat, Nov. 15.

Red Sox Nation may have a thing or two to say about which logo is the best. Not that they got too crazy with it. Just click on the second link and you'll see the new logo.

Bees have a closer

for their Winter Banquet. He's pretty good, too.
The 6th Annual Burlington Bees/Friends of Community Field Winter Banquet will be held on Friday, January 16th in the PZAZZ! Convention & Events Center. This year's event will feature former pitching great Lee Smith as the keynote speaker. The event will also include an exciting line of autographed memorabilia and collectible items that can be purchased through auctions or won through a raffle.
There is one play I've always wanted to ask Lee Smith about. It was a game in 1984. The Cubs were hosting the Montreal Expos and clinging to a one run lead in the top of the ninth at Wrigley Field.

Pete Rose was at the plate with one out and the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Rose lined a ball back at Smith and it deflected into the air off the Cub closer. The ball was caught and the runner at first was doubled off to end the game.

Right after the final out, Harry Caray said something along the lines of: The Good Lord must want the Cubs to win.

Looking back at Retrosheet.org, the game was on August 2. But, the ending they have is a bit different from my recollection. Whom to trust? Me or a website that has results, game logs, and box scores for just about every game back to 1871.

Regarding this one, I'm betting on me for a change. If your in Burlington for their Winter Banquet, ask Mr. Smith.

Let it go

The phrase in the title of this post is helpful. I'm thinking of having it tattooed backwards on my forehead. Well, that won't work because I don't cast a reflection in a mirror.

Maybe, I'll just write it down somewhere. Much like Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel did in the column he titled...

Let it go: TinCaps name is staying
Excessive whining won't change quirky, creative moniker

Jason Freier, one of the owners of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, hears your whining about the baseball team's new name.

I mean, he hears your opinion.

Whining is my word, not his. I listen to complaints about TinCaps and how ridiculous the name is and how it reflects poorly on Fort Wayne (as if others care one iota about our minor-league nicknames) and I hear whining.

Freier, you'll be glad to know, doesn't think you're a bunch of whiners, and he respects your opinion.

He also believes you'll calm down over time. On that, I have to agree. Outrage over “Wizards” was palpable when that name was first introduced, then evaporated. Indignation over the TinCaps will subside, too. We might even come to appreciate TinCaps and return to complaining about where policemen park their cars at night.

I suggested to Freier in a conversation last week that the negative reaction to TinCaps is a byproduct of people who are still ticked off about Harrison Square in general. He says that analysis is flawed.

“There are definitely people who are very supportive of the (Harrison Square) project who say, ‘Why couldn't you have gone with Generals or Cannons or something that sounds like Fort Wayne?'” Freier said. “There is a significant segment of folks who are very supportive who just don't get what we're trying to do here. They don't see what we think we see.”
There is reference to a internet poll at milb.com and I'll get to that one a little later. But, here is the end of this column.
One of the men the TinCaps owners talked extensively with during the name-selection process was Tom Dickson, who owned and spearheaded the names of the Lansing Lugnuts and the Montgomery Biscuits. Say what you will about TinCaps - and you'll say it - this wasn't a name picked on a whim.

“Bear with us, trust us, and give it a chance,” Freier said. “At the end of the year, will there be people who still don't like it? Probably. I'm sure in Montgomery there are people who still say, ‘I can't believe our name is the Biscuits.' You're never going to please everyone, but I think this is something that's going to resonate with a lot of people in the community as the seasons go on.”

Keep grumbling for now, if you must, about how the name doesn't capture the essence of our city. But do you really want to switch to the more immediately descriptive Fort Wayne Whiners?
Fort Wayne Whiners...I'd love to see the logo for that team.

From USA Today

Catching up on the backlog of stories. USA Today had a story on the job ahead of new Seattle General Manager Jack Zduriencik. There are names of former Rattlers sprinkled throughout the story.
Where the Mariners stand at each position:


The Mariners signed Kenji Johjima to a three-year, $24 million contract extension last spring, and he struggled badly in 2008. The Mariners' depth could necessitate the move of Jeff Clement to another position such as first base or DH.

First base

The Mariners aren't sure whether Bryan LaHair can cut it. He batted .250 with three homers and 10 RBI last season in 45 games after being called up July 18. He is not your prototypical power-hitting first baseman, though, hitting 12 homers in a full season in 2007 at Class AAA Tacoma (Wash.).


The Mariners' rotation, which had no pitcher winning more than nine games in 2008, is in transition. The Mariners would like to open the year with hard-throwing right-hander Brandon Morrow and Australian left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. But there isn't enough room as long as Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn and Carlos Silva are around.


The bullpen could take a hit if Morrow and Rowland-Smith move into the rotation. The Mariners must hope that Sean Green and Mark Lowe improve after their second-half struggles. The Mariners didn't have a left-hander step up after the trade of Arthur Rhodes in July.


J.J. Putz blew eight saves in 2008, tying him for the most in the AL. He blew two saves in 42 opportunities the previous season.

Then, there is the prospect section. But, first this quote:
"We haven't been quite as aggressive as we have been in the past," says Greg Hunter, the Mariners' director of player development. "We try to place guys in a spot where they have a chance to succeed. When they outperform their league, we promote them."
Pretty much all of the prospects named are former Rattlers. Rob Johnson, Matt Tuiasosopo, Michael Saunders, Carlos Triunfel, Phillippe Aumont, Shawn Kelley, Mike Wilson, Greg Halman, and Michael Pineda are all mentioned. Click through on the link for the article and scroll to the bottom for the writeup on the prospects.

Then, there is a careless mistake from a national publication in the 2008 Minor League wrapup section. See if you can spot it.
Class AAA: Tacoma (Wash.) Rainiers, 80-64, second place in Pacific Coast League Pacific North.

•Class AA: West Tenn (Jackson, Tenn.) Diamond Jaxx, 70-68, won Southern League North first-half title, lost in first round of playoffs.

•High-A: High Desert (Adelanto, Calif.) Mavericks, 58-82, fifth place in California League South.

•Low-A: Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings, 78-59, won Midwest League Western Division's first-half title, lost in first round of playoffs.

•Short-season: Everett (Wash.) AquaSox, 32-44, fourth place in Northwest League West.

•Rookie: AZL Mariners (Peoria, Ariz.), 21-35, eighth place in Arizona League.

•Rookie: Pulaski (Va.) Mariners, 40-27, first place in Appalachian League East, lost in league championship round.
Put the answer in the comments.

Ex-Rattlers in Fall Ball

Lots to catch up on here. For the latest on each team with a Timber Rattler, just click on the team name. I'll provide a link to the individual player, too.

Arizona Fall League:

@Surprise 10, Peoria Javelinas 8
Box score | Game Story

Ex-Rattlers for Peoria:
Greg Halman ('07): 1-for-4, HR, run, 2RBI, 3K
Joe Woerman ('06): IP, 3H, 3R, BB, 2K

The Javelinas are 14-20.

Hawaii Winter Baseball:

Waikiki 5, @Honolulu 4
Box score | Game story

Ex-Rattlers for Waikiki:
Jamie McOwen ('07): 1-for-4, RBI
Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-3, run

Waikiki scored twice in the top of the ninth inning to clinch their division with a 19-17 record.

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

La Guaria 6 @ Lara 4
Box score | Game story (much like the website -- unavailable right now)

Ex-Rattlers for Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3
Oswaldo Navarro ('04, '05): defensive replacement
Justin Thomas ('06): IP, H, 0R, K

Cardenales de Lara are 13-15 so far this season.

Sunday Schedule:
Peoria Javelinas -- OFF DAY
Waikiki -- Regular season over
Lara -- OFF DAY
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