10/31/2009

Not an alumni, but close....

Maybe?

The Prodigal Beat Writer catches up with the Menasha Hinskies. Eric is in his third consecutive World Series. Ryan is part of a Wisconsin High School Football powerhouse.
A text message greeted Ryan Hinske as he rolled out of the sack early Monday morning.

It was from his younger brother, Eric, and the six-word communication was familiar:

"Going back to the Series, bro."

That would be the World Series, bro. For the third straight season, bro. As a member of the New York Yankees, bro.

"He's spraying champagne, and I'm standing in the rain in (football) practice," Ryan said with a chuckle as he thought about Eric hootin' and hollerin' and showering his teammates with bubbly as the Yankees celebrated last Sunday's American League Championship Series triumph over the Los Angeles Angels, a victory that sent the fabled franchise back to the Fall Classic for the 40th time.

"It's hard not to be jealous of my little brother," said Ryan, "but I'm happy for him because he's getting to experience something few in the world get to."
Hinskie was in the World Series in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays and in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox.

Thank you, Brett. You got found the last player to appear in three straight World Series with three different teams.
And should he get some playing time in this year's title bout – the series resumes today with the Bronx Bombers looking to grab a 2-1 series edge against Philadelphia – he'll become the first player to have appeared in three consecutive World Series while wearing the uniforms of three different clubs since former slugger Don Baylor in 1986, '87 and '88.
Baylor with the Red Sox, the Twins, and the Athletics.

A quick reminder or two

The Appleton Papermakers were the Class D farm team of the Phillies from 1947-1949. By the way, awesome job by Baseball Reference lately. They have been updating a lot of minor league things of late.

1947 Papermakers

1948 Papermakers

1949 Papermakers

Mel Clark of the '47 Papermakers and Danny Schell of the '48 Papermakers were the only players on those teams to make it to the majors. Clark as an outfielder for the Phillies from 1951 to 1955 and for the Tigers in 1957. Schell as an outfielder for the Phillies in 1954 and for two games in 1955.

The other reminder is this story from late this summer about a former Papermaker and current author.
Early the next morning, Deptford resident Paul Fritz, aka Max Blue, hopped out of bed sometime after 4 a.m. to pen his daily Phillies' limerick. Yes, you heard it, daily. The sleep-deprived king of limericks has been doing this, win or lose, 162 times a season since the 1997 campaign.

Yo, Ed Wade, we've seen it before,
Phillies team in a nine-inning snore.
Rockies: not a good team -
Nor the Phils it would seem.
We fans now are pretty damn sore!

Fritz, or Blue, a retired scientist, has been writing for a living since retiring from academia in 1993. He's proven rather prolific, too. He's published nine novels, including "Shorty Spooner" this year, and two books about his beloved baseball including a 533-page epic, "Phillies Journal 1888-2008," also this year.

Fritz knows baseball. Although his own professional career was brief and ignominious, he did catch for the Appleton Papermakers of the Class D Wisconsin State League for part of the 1950 season. His battery-mate at times was Gloucester County's Dewey Gray with whom he has been socially reunited.
In 1950, the Papermakers were a St. Louis Browns farm team.

Here's Max's page. Here is a link to his book with the awesome title of God Is Alive and Playing Third Base for the Appleton Papermakers.

1950 World Series -- Game Three


The 1950 World Series headed to New York with the Yankees leading 2-0 after two one-run wins in Philadelphia.

Game Three's scoring started with a rally that began with a two out walk drawn by Phil Rizzuto in the third inning. The Scooter stole second and scored on a single by Jerry Coleman. That walk by Ken Heintzelman was one of six that he would give up on the day.

The Phillies came back to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning against Ed Lopat with a two-out rally of their own. Del Ennis doubled and Dick Sisler singled to drive him home.

Then, the Phillies took their first lead of the 1950 World Series in the top of the seventh. Granny Hamner singled and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andy Seminick. Mike Goliat singled in Hamner for a 2-1 lead.

This is how close the Phillies came to closing out the Yankees. Heintzelman got the first two outs of the bottom of the eighth. Then, he walked Coleman, Yogi Berra, and Joe DiMaggio to load the bases. That would be all for Heintzelman. On came Jim Konstanty, the Game One starter for the Phillies, to face Hank Bauer. But, the Yankees sent Bobby Brown to pinch hit. Brown reached on an error by Hamner at short on a grounder and the tying run scored.

In the top of the ninth, the Phillies had another chance to go back in front. Tom Ferrick replaced Lopat, who was pinch hit for to start the bottom of the eighth. Ferrick gave up a double to Hamner. Another sacrifice bunt moved Hamner to third base. An intentional walk to Goliat put runners on first and third with one out.

Dick Whitman came on to pinch hit for Konstanty. Whitman sent a grounder to first and Joe Collins, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement for Johnny Mize, fielded the ball cleanly and threw to the plate...


OUT!

Eddie Waitkus flew out to right for the third out of the inning and the game went to the bottom of the ninth tied.

The Phillies sent Russ Meyer to the mound for the bottom of the ninth. He got the first two outs. But, Gene Woodling and Rizzuto both singled. Coleman singled and Woodling scored the winning run and the Yankees had a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Philadelphia would try to avoid the sweep by sending Bob Miller to the mound. The Yankees would have a rookie make his first post season start. He had been 9-1 during the season, but Edward Charles Ford would take the mound. You might know him better by the nickname "Whitey".

Game Three boxscore

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 30, 2009

Arizona Fall League

Javelinas 5 @Phoenix 4

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 1-for-3, RUN
Phillippe Aumont ('08): 1.1IP, 4H, 4R, 2K, BB, Blown Save, Win
Antony Varvaro ('07): IP, 0H, 0R, K, Save #1

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Margarita 11, Lara 1

Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch hitter 1-for-1
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-6

Zulia 2 @Caribes 1

Zulia:
Luis Oliveros ('02): 0-for-3

Saturday's Schedule
Javs at Surprise 2:35pm CDT
Lara at Maragrita 5:00pm CDT

10/30/2009

This week's Flashback Friday...

Head back to April, 1998 and the pro debut of Ryan Anderson.

Click on the image to embiggen.

An outsider's look

The Bowling Green Hot Rods have been working their way through the Midwest League to introduce their fans to the new teams they will be seeing. This week, the spotlight was turned on the Peoria Chiefs. A little history from the middle of the article.
While the Chiefs didn't win it all in '85, a total of eight players on the roster eventually played in the big leagues. Two of those players made lasting legacies to say the least. Greg Maddux, he of the 355 career wins and future residence in the Hall of Fame, went 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA, pitching six complete games. He was joined by 20-year-old outfielder Rafael Palmeiro, who in just 73 games hit .297 with five home runs and 51 RBI.

A year later the Chiefs made their last playoff run as a first-time Cubs affiliate, doing so with another pair of big league stalwarts. Three-time MLB All-Star Mark Grace hit .342 in 126 games. Three-time, and possibly soon to be four-time, World Series champ Joe Girardi was the back stop of the '86 club.
Plenty more there for a good read.

Back on the field

Down in the Winter Leagues post for today, you may have noticed that someone is back on the field.

The Seattle Times is there with the story.
A three-strikeout day isn't something top Mariners prospect Carlos Triunfel hopes to see a lot of.

But the 19-year-old Class AA shortstop was pleased just to be back in the batter's box Thursday, making his Arizona Fall League debut after a serious leg injury. Triunfel missed most of 2009 after breaking his fibula and tearing ankle ligaments on his left leg in his team's second game of the season.

He started at shortstop for the Peoria Javelinas on Thursday and wound up going 0 for 3, all strikeouts, and a walk.

"I just got done speaking to him on the phone and I told him, 'So, I thought you told me you were ready?' " quipped Pedro Grifol, the Mariners' director of minor-league operations. [Editor...Ha ha ha. What a kidder.]

In all seriousness, Grifol says Triunfel is slightly ahead of schedule.

"He had a very serious injury," Grifol said. "Just to have him back out there playing this winter is pretty fortunate."

Triunfel had been designated a "Priority Player" on his Peoria team and thus will see plenty of daily action.

Yaaaarrrrrr! He's a Pirate now, Matey!

Justin Thomas ('06) couldn't sneak through waivers.
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that they have claimed left-handed pitcher Justin Thomas off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.

Thomas, 25, spent the entire 2009 season with Triple-A Tacoma, where he went 2-4 with six saves and a 4.48 ERA in 53 relief appearances.

"Justin Thomas is a competitive, aggressive and physical lefthander with an average three pitch mix," said Huntington. "With continued development, we feel he could be an interesting option for our bullpen."
That happened because of this.

Mariners clear five spots on roster
The Mariners created five openings on their 40-man roster on Thursday afternoon.

Infielder-outfielder Bryan LaHair, left-handed pitcher Cesar Jimenez and right-handers Randy Messenger and Marwin Vega all were outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma. Left-handed reliever Justin Thomas was claimed off waivers by the Pirates.
LaHair, Jimenez and Messenger are eligible for six-year Minor League free agency.
LaHair ('04), Jimenez ('03), and Vega ('06) are the Rattler alums on that list with Thomas.

Rattler Alumni Report: 2009 World Series Game Two

@Yankees 3, Phillies 1

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-4, 3K

Phillies:
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 2-for-4, RUN, 2 2Bs

A-Rod not bothered by 0-fers
When it's 12 or 15 or 20 at-bats, maybe then Alex Rodriguez will worry about it.

But not through two games. And not through eight at-bats.

After Alex Rodriguez's blistering ALDS and ALCS, the Yankees slugger has been not just cooled off but basically frozen through the first two games of the World Series.

A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1, then went 0-for-4 with three more strikeouts last night in the Yankees' 3-1 Game 2 win over the Phillies.

He struck out just five times combined in the first two rounds.

"It's eight at-bats -- I'm not concerned at all," he said after last night stinker. "Guys picked me up today, we're 1-1. There's a lot of baseball left."
Ibanez back in field, still hitting
Charlie Manuel is in one of those grooves a manager finds as rarely as a completely contented roster. Nearly every move he makes plays out pretty much the way he envisioned it.

Take Raul Ibanez's adventures in the first two games of this World Series, which is now tied up at 1-1 following the Yankees' 3-1 Game 2 triumph last night.

In the Series opener Wednesday, the Phils' manager decided to make Ibanez his designated hitter, even though it was clear his regular leftfielder would have preferred his customary position. Ben Francisco, Manuel said, was more mobile.

Still, Ibanez got over his disappointment and validated Manuel's decision, his two-run, eighth-inning single the most significant hit in what would turn out to be a 6-1 Phillies win.

Last night, before Game 2, with a flu bug limiting his options, Manuel again pondered what to do with his leftfielder and his DH.

This time, with Greg Dobbs ailing, he called on Matt Stairs to DH against righthander A.J. Burnett. And he told Ibanez to find his glove and get back in left.

So, of course, Ibanez rediscovered his mobility, making a spectacular catch. He also doubled in his first and last at-bats and scored the Phils' first and only run on a single by - you guessed it - Stairs. It was the big swinger's first one-base hit since June 28.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 29, 2009

Arizona Fall League

Javelinas 3 @Mesa 2

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 2-for-4, 2RBI
Taylor Green ('09): 0-for-2
Carlos Triunfel ('07): 0-for-3, RUN

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caribes 7, Lara 6 (12 innings)

Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-7, RUN, RBI, HR #1
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): Defensive replacement
Michael Saunders ('06): 1-for-1

Friday's Schedule:
Javs @ Phoenix 2:35pm CDT
Lara @ Margarita 7:00pm CDT

10/29/2009

1950 World Series -- Game Two


The Phillies lost Game One of the 1950 World Series by a score of 1-0, but they had their ace, future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, on the hill in Game Two.

Roberts worked out of a jam in the top of the first. The Yankees had runners on first and third with one out. Roberts got Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Mize to pop out to end the threat.

But, in the second inning, the Yankees broke through for the first run of the game. Roberts retired the first two batters of the frame, but walked Jerry Coleman. Pitcher Allie Reynolds singled to send Coleman around to third. Gene Woodling was next and his infield single scored Coleman.

The Phillies didn't get to Reynolds until the fifth inning. Mike Goliat singled and Roberts sacrificed him to second base. A single by Eddie Waitkus* sent Goliat to third. Richie Ashburn's sacrifice fly tied the game at 1-1.

The pitchers settled in and kept the game tied. The Yankees best chance to take the lead in regulation was in the top of the eighth inning. They had two on with one out after singles by Bobby Brown and Hank Bauer. But, Roberts got Coleman to ground out to short. Then, Roberts struck out Reynolds to end the threat.

The Phillies had a great chance to win the game and even the series in the bottom of the ninth. Granny Hamner doubled with one out and pinch hitter Dick Whitman was walked intentionally. The strategy worked for the Yankees. Reynolds got Goliat to ground into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

That set up The Yankee Clipper for little magic. DiMaggio was the leadoff batter in the top of the tenth and he homered off Robert for a 2-1 New York lead.

In the bottom of the tenth, Reynolds went back out there and walked Jackie Mayo, a pinch hitter for Roberts who was leading off the inning. Waitkus sacrificed Mayo to second and Ashburn stepped to the plate. He popped out. Then, Dick Sisler, the man who hit a three-run homer in extra innings a few days earlier against Brooklyn to put the Phillies in the World Series, came to bat. He took strike three looking and the Yankees had a 2-0 lead in the series.

Game Two boxscore

There was no off day scheduled in the 1950 World Series between Game Two and Game Three. Yankee Stadium would host the third game on October 6. Philadelphia would toss Ken Heintzelman on the mound as their starting pitcher. The Yankees would send Ed Lopat. Heintzelman went 3-9 with an ERA of over four during 23 games (17 starts) of the 1950 season. Lopat went 18-8 over 35 games (32 starts) for the Yankees with a 3.47ERA.

*The part of The Natural where Roy Hobbs is shot, is taken from an incident that happened to Waitkus.

Some projects

The Wisconsin groundscrew two are hard at work cutting the sod away to make walkways up to the plate from both dugouts. Well, they are not working in this picture, but they are getting things done.

This is being done to stop the wear and tear on the grass. Easy for there to be no wear and tear when there is no grass, eh? Click for a larger image.


Into the wayback machine

The New York Times had this yesterday...Which may be one of the reasons FOX called around 10:30 am yesterday looking for pictures of two former minor league teammates who are now on opposite sides of the 2009 World Series...

Back in ’94, Ibanez Followed Rodriguez in the Order
In 1994, Alex Rodriguez batted third and Raul Ibanez batted fourth for the Appleton Foxes of the Midwest League, a Class A team of the Seattle Mariners. It was the first stop in professional baseball for Rodriguez, the No. 1 overall pick the year before.
Story time from Ibanez...
“He would absolutely launch balls,” Ibanez said. “I was three years older and I would come up behind him, after he hit a ball 480 feet, and I’d hit a line drive to left and feel like the smallest, weakest player in the game, because this 18-year-old kid hit a ball 500 feet right before me.”
Quote time from Rodriguez...
“He’s had a tremendous career, he’s a tremendous worker, and if you met him, he’s one of the best guys in major league baseball,” Rodriguez said. “I’m very happy for him. He’s had a great career and he just keeps on going, keeps on getting better and better.”

Vote now

You have the opportunity to vote for the first basemen of the Timber Rattlers 15th anniversary team over at the main site.

The nominees are:

David Arias (the man who would be Big Papi)
Shawn McCorkle
Jon Nelson
Marshall Hubbard

Go. Read up on the candidates. Then, vote. Vote like the wind!

Rattler Alumni Report: 2009 World Series Game One

Phillies 6 @Yankees 1

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-4, 3K
Damaso Marte ('96): .2IP, 0H, 0R, K

Phillies:
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4, 2 RBI

Phils' Ibanez shakes disappointment, delivers as DH
You are Raul Ibanez and you've waited your whole life for this moment.

The World Series.

In your hometown.

The Yankees in the other dugout.

And then you see that you're not playing the position you occupied all year, and suddenly the dream script doesn't look quite the same. Instead of left field, you are the designated hitter.

"You're still getting to play," Ibanez said later. "You're still getting your at-bats. You've got to help your team win no matter what you're doing."

Indeed, after struggling early in his role as designated hitter, Ibanez confirmed manager Charlie Manuel's decision and overcame his own disappointment by getting one of the game's biggest hits.
Lee dumps ice on A-Rod hot streak
Alex Rodriguez has been talking about how he’s trying to keep it simple, and he chuckled when asked about that last night.

“I did keep it simple today,” Rodriguez said after suffering through easily his worst postseason game this October. “[Cliff Lee] kept it even more simple.”

The scorching Rodriguez was extinguished last night, the Phillies’ superb left-hander harnessed A-Rod in the Yankees’ 6-1 World Series Game 1 loss. Rodriguez went 0-for-4 (his first hitless game this postseason) and struck out three times. That’s the first time in the playoffs this year that he’s fanned more than once in a game.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 28, 2009

Arizona Fall League:

Phoenix 11 @Javelinas 6

Javs:
Joe Dunigan ('08): 1-for-4, RBI

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

@Caribes 9, Lara 8

Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-5, RUN
Ricky Orta ('07): IP, 2H, 0R, K
Jose Escalona ('08): 1.1IP, 0H, 0R, K

@Aragua 7, Zulia 1

Zulia:
Luis Oliverso ('02): 2-for-3

La Guaira 18 @Margarita 17

La Guaira:
Juan Ovalles ('04): 2IP, H, BB, 2K

Thursday's Schedule:
Javs at Mesa 2:35pm CDT
Lara at Caribes 6:45pm CDT

10/28/2009

Report Card Day

Baseball America has reached the NL Central and the Milwaukee Brewers in their '09 draft report cards. It's all behind their subscriber wall, but to share just a bit without calling down the thunder of their lawyers...
BEST PURE HITTER: OF Kentrail Davis (1s) had a disappointing spring, but he got back on track in instructional league.

BEST POWER HITTER: Davis and OFs Max Walla (2), D'Vontrey Richardson (5), Khris Davis (7) and Demetrius McKelvie (25) all have plus raw power. Kentrail Davis and Walla should have the most usable pop down the road.

BEST FASTBALL: RHPs Eric Arnett (1) and Kyle Heckathorn (1s) both sit at 91-94 mph, with Arnett topping out at 97 and Heckathorn peaking at 98. RHP Brooks Hall (4) already reaches 95 mph and has a lot of projection remaining on his 6-foot-5 frame.

BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Arnett's mid-80s slider grades as a plus-plus pitch at times. Heckathorn's slider has more velocity but less consistency.
Subscribe for the rest or wait until the issue is out on newsstands.

A rematch (almost) 60 years in the making

The Phillies and Yankees are set to start the 2009 World Series tonight (weather permitting).

This is the first time since 1950 these two teams will meet for the title. There could have been a few other matchups.

The year 1964 springs to mind, but the Phillies blew a huge lead with 12 games to go and it was the Cardinals that made it through to beat New York.

Philadelphia made the NLCS from 1976-1978, but lost to the Reds once and the Dodgers twice. The Yankees were the AL representative in the Fall Classic all three years.

In 1980, the Phils finally broke through by edging Houston in five games, but the Yankees lost to the Royals in the ALCS that year.

You have to go back to that 1950 season of the Whiz Kids from Philly taking on the early years of the Yankee Dynasty. This was the season that Had Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle playing together in the outfield. This was the unbroken line from Ruth to Gehrig to DiMaggio to Mantle was still intact.

In 1949, the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers to win their first World Championship under Casey Stengel. The Phillies of 1949, well, in a word, were okay. They finished that season at 81-73, but that was a full 16 games behind the Dodgers.

In 1950, the Yankees held off Detroit to win the AL Pennant by three games. The Phillies had a one game lead on the Dodgers going into the final day of the season. A once comfortable lead had been shaved down to that one run thanks to a five game losing streak.

On October 1, 1950 in Brooklyn the game was tied 1-1 in top of the tenth inning and Dick Sisler hit a three-run homer to put the Phillies in their first World Series since 1915.

I had hoped to do a bit more on Game One of the series today, but something just croppped up that is kind of cool. Just be watching the game tonight and there might be a few things about former Appleton Foxes teammates from 1994 who are one opposite sides in the 2009 World Series.


Long story short on Game One of the Series in 1950...

Vic Raschi tossed a two-hit complete game shutout for the Yankees at Shibe Park. Jerry Coleman drove in the only run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and the Yankees won game one 1-0.

Game two would feature Robin Roberts as the starting pitcher for the Phillies and Allie Reynolds on the hill for the Yankees.

Come Sail Away!

It was either that or this* for a headline. Both of them popped into my head at the same time when I read this headline...

Captains setting sail
Lake County Captains Spokesman Craig Deas says the switch to the Midwest League will cut down on travel time and improve player development.

Deas says the team that eventually became the Captains moved to northeast Ohio from Columbus, Georgia and had been a part of the South Atlantic League. The team retained its league affiliation when in moved to Eastlake.

Since then, the Captains have been traveling to spots like Lakewood, New Jersey and Salisbury, Maryland. Those road trips required the team to travel nearly 500 miles one way.

Deas says the switch to the Midwest League will allow the team to play closer-to-home with stops in parts of Michigan, Indiana and other Midwest states. Deas says it will also be exciting to play a different group of teams.
It will be exciting to go to Cleveland (suburban Cleveland) for us too. I just need to find that copy of Sigmund Snopek's WisconsInsane with this classic that has the line"Being anywhere is better than being in O-HI-O!" There definitely needs to be a better version of that song on YouTube.

*-Totally worth the click for the sweet Earl Campbell Houston Oilers jersey on the singer.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 27, 2009

Arizona Fall League

Javelinas 10 @Scottsdale 9

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 0-for-4, 2 RUNS
Joe Dunigan ('08): 2-for-5
Phillippe Aumont ('08): IP, 0H, 0R, K
Anthony Varvaro ('07): 1.2IP, 0H, 0R

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 5, Lara 4

Lara:
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-5, RUN
Michael Saunders ('06): 2-for-4, RBI
Kyle Parker ('07): IP, 3H, 5R, 3BB, 2K
Ivan Blanco ('05): 2IP, 2H, 0R
Jose Escalona ('08): .2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K

Wednesday's schedule:
Phoenix at Javelinas 2:35pm CDT
Lara at Caribes 6:45pm CDT

10/27/2009

Bravo, Lookout Landing

You may have heard that the St. Louis Cardinals have hired Mark McGwire as their new hitting coach for 2010.

The best post I have read on this is over at Lookout Landing, the Mariners blog on SB*Nation.

Despite a little irrational Raul Ibanez hate -- which abated a bit in this post today, I still check on their site often and I'm glad I found this one.
McGwire: See, what you want to be doing is hitting dingers.

McGwire: When you go up there, first pitch, you're looking dead red so you can hit a dinger.

McGwire: Sometimes you're gonna miss. That's okay. Stick to your guns. There's no more efficient way of scoring than hitting a dinger. That's what we want to be doing.

McGwire: The pitcher might pick up on your strategy. Don't worry about it. He's more afraid of you than you are of him.

McGwire: If he throws you something offspeed, like a curveball, don't be fooled. Just hit it for a dinger.

McGwire: Walks are good too. If the pitcher tries to get you to chase something out of the zone, don't swing at it.

McGwire: You only want to swing at strikes. Take balls. Hit strikes for dingers.
Click over and read the theoretical advice that Lookout Landing Mark McGwire is going to give to theoretical Skip Schumaker.

Best part of the post. They don't go for the easy PEDs reference.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 26, 2009

Arizona Fall League

@Javelinas 2, Surprise 1

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 0-for-4
Taylor Green ('09): 0-for-3
Juan Diaz ('08): 0-for-1, RUN

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional had an off day on Monday.

Tuesday's schedule:
Javs at Scottsdale 8:35pm CDT
Lara at Caracas 7:00pm CDT

Check back later today

Sorry, there were connectivity issues this morning. As in I couldn't connect the top of my eyelids to stay open until very late in the morning.

Staff meeting starts in 10 minutes and I'll be back after that to give you a world of whimsy and baseball....or something.

10/26/2009

Time for Mehring Monday

Please go over at the main site for Mehring Monday. I started writing one thing, but it turned into something else and -- if I may say so -- something cool. Plus, there are links to even cooler information.

Check out The Ballad of Fat Pat and the story behind this baseball card.

Card from here. Information for the article from here.

Reason to dislike New York #4,510

Add this banner at the New York Post to your list.

Click on the banner to embiggen. Click here for the full effect of the Post Sports page.

One more thing...Go Phillies!

Settle down, Fort Wayne

Hey, I was happy for the TinCaps when they one the Championship this season. And I'm all for civic pride...but...seriously?

Move over Green Bay, our city is ‘Title Town’
In an effort to capitalize on the city’s recent athletic and municipal success, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Convention & Visitors Bureau on Friday announced a marketing campaign dubbing the Summit City as “Title Town.”

The bureau teamed with Burkhart Advertising and other community organizations to launch the campaign, which includes billboards.

The designation celebrates the back-to-back Turner Cup championships by the Fort Wayne Komets, the Fort Wayne TinCaps’ Midwest League championship and the city winning its third All-America City designation.

Betsy Perry Patton, communications manager for the bureau, said research was done to ensure the title didn’t infringe on copyright issues, as the title is often associated with Green Bay, Wis., and its Packers.

The group has asked businesses to help promote the campaign by using “Title Town” on marquees, Web sites and newsletters.
Seriously?

That is the story from the Journal-Gazette. This link to the News-Sentinel has an image of the billboard.

Seriously?

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 25, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Lara 12 @Zulia 5

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 0-for-2, RUN, 3BBs
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): 1-for-4, 2 RUNS
Ricky Orta ('07): IP, 2H, R, K

Zulia:
Luis Oliveros ('02): 0-for-2

@Magallanes 2, La Guaira 1 (12 innings

La Guaira:
Juan Ovalles ('04): .2IP, 0H, BB, K, HBP

Ovalles in the bottom of the 12th inning:
# Pitcher Change: Juan Ovalles replaces Jorge Quintero.
# Luis Landaeta out on a sacrifice bunt, third baseman Jose Macias to second baseman Cesar Suarez. Ezequiel Carrera to 3rd. Reegie Corona to 2nd.
# Juan Ovalles intentionally walks Richard Hidalgo.
# Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Jesus Montero replaces Johermyn Chavez.
# Jesus Montero strikes out swinging.
# Jesus Merchan hit by pitch. Ezequiel Carrera scores.
And that was when the game ended.

@Aragua 6, Margarita 2 (Game two)

Aragua:
Tim Harikkala ('95): 3.1IP, 8H, 6R, 2BB, K, Loss

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 25, 2009

@Yankees 5, Angels 2

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 2-for-2, RBI, 3BBs
After 16 seasons in the major leagues and six as a Yankee, Alex Rodriguez finally is about to play in his first World Series -- and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his third baseman has one focus and zero distractions.

"He's a man on a mission," Girardi said after the Yankees' 5-2 victory over the Angels in last night's Game 6 ALCS-clincher, "and it all started back when he came to Baltimore and hit that three-run home run on the first pitch."

That night in Baltimore, Rodriguez, two months removed from surgery on his right hip, took the first pitch he saw in the 2009 season deep. Now, the 34-year-old superstar, lightning rod and talking point is entering his first World Series on the a hot streak that has lasted all postseason.

10/25/2009

Manuel in Wisconsin Rapids

Nice pictures to go along with this Philadelphia Inquirer story about Charlie Manuel, current manager of the Phillies and one time manager of the Wisconsin Rapids Twins.
This was 1983, long before that bench-jockeying manager won a World Series and now has the Phillies back in the Series looking to repeat. Charlie Manuel's first managerial job was for a single-A club in a Wisconsin paper-mill town.

"I could fish at night when the game was over," Manuel said Friday when asked about his season managing the Wisconsin Rapids Twins. "I could walk right outside the locker room, there was a river about a block away. I'd walk down there and have . . . a Grain Belt beer, or Old Style. I used to say Old Style was my lucky beer."

If all that sounds like Charlie, understand this was a 39-year-old version. Known as a patient type now, he rarely held back in those days - once challenging his entire team to a fistfight.
It's a longer article -- four pages on the web -- and I recommend it for a few reasons. I can't copy and paste the picture of Witter Field's entrance that is in the slideshow and there are stories like this:
Manuel stood up for his guys. One time, the entire team was fined for a bench-clearing brawl. Manuel thought the franchise, which was owned by the paper mill, should pay the fine, not the players.

"Charlie had his way of thinking about things," Klump said. "He said, 'I would have fined you if you had stayed on the bench during the fight. You shouldn't get fined individually for going out.' "

So Manuel told his players to go home, they were going to forfeit that night.

Later, Klump said, he drove by the field and saw the lights on and the game going. He found out the front office had agreed to pay the fine, and Manuel had rounded up enough players to take the field.

"I just kept going," Klump said. "I wasn't pitching that night."
Read it all the way to the end for the story about one of Manuel's WR Twins players showing up in Miami for a Phillies game and trying to get Manuel's attention after a loss.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 24, 2009

Arizona Fall League:

Saguaros 6 @Javelinas 0

Javs:
Joe Dunigan ('08): 0-for-2
Taylor Green ('09): 0-for-4

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Zulia 9, Lara 6

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 1-for-4, RUN, 3B, 2RBI

Zulia:
Luis Oliveros ('02): 2-for-3, 2RBI

Margarita 6 @La Guaira 2


La Guaira:
Juan Ovalles ('04): IP, H, 0R, 0BB, K

@ Aragua 11, Caribes 7 (10 innings)

Aragua:
Juan Sanchez ('09): pinch runner

Pay no attention to the online box score for the Aragua game. It had -- at the time of this post -- Juan Sanchez with a game winning grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. If you read their website...
En la parte baja de la decima entrada los Tigres montaron una seria amenaza, cuando Luis Maza recibió boleto y sería movido a segunda con toque de sacrificio de Héctor Giménez, Wilson Ramos también recibiría boleto; pero intencional, y el bateador emergente Jorge Cortes fue golpeado por el relevista de Caribes José García; con las bases repletas le tocaría el turno al importado Dustin Martin quien en cuenta de tres y dos le pesco una recta a García para sacársela por todo el jardín derecho y conectar grand slam para que los Tigres de Aragua dejaran en el terreno a los Caribes de Anzoátegui, en lo que fue un emocionante final para un buen juego de béisbol. Para el día de mañana los Tigres se enfrentan a los Bravos de Margarita en una doble cartelera en el José Pérez Colmenares de Maracay a partir de las cuatro de la tarde, en la que buscarán continuar con esta buena racha.
or...
In the lower part of the decima entrance the Tigers mounted a serious threat, when Luis Stick received ticket and would be moved to second with sound of sacrifice of Hector Giménez, Wilson Branches would also receive ticket; but intentional, and the emerging batter Jorge Courts was struck by the relay racer of Caribbean José Garcia; with the full bases would touch the shift upon importing Dustin Martin who in account of three and Two I fish a straight line to Garcia to remove it to him for all the right garden and to connect grand slam so that the Tigers of Aragua left in the land to the Caribbeans of Anzoátegui, in which was an exciting end for a good play of baseball. For the day of tomorrow the Tigers are faced to the Brave of Margarita in a double billboard in the José Pérez Apiaries of Maracay from the four in the afternoon, in which they will seek to continue with this good gust of wind.
That means that Dustin Martin hit the game winning grand slam...or caught a really big fish.

10/24/2009

Back in the Series again

From the files of the Midwest League Announcers Alumni Association...

Dallas-born Scott Franzke is living his dream as radio voice of the World Series-bound Philadelphia Phillies

Read the article for the "origin story". Again, it's like radiation and superheroes. But, if you're too lazy to click on that here is the takeaway part.
In 2006, he already had been offered a Triple-A job in Albuquerque and was about to interview with Triple-A Pawtucket when the Phillies offered him pregame and postgame work and a precious two innings of radio play-by-play.

How did that work out? In 2007, Franzke was bumped to six innings. In 2008, when the Phillies won the World Series, beating the Tampa Bay Rays, he was up to eight innings. It was Franzke's honor to hand over the other inning to Hall of Fame Phillies voice Harry Kalas coming over from television.

As you probably know, Kalas, who had become "a grandfather figure," died in the broadcast booth just before a Phillies game at the Washington Nationals in April. Philadelphia mourned the death of an icon. Franzke worked every inning of every game for the Phillies this season. After all, who could replace Kalas?

Soon after the Phillies beat the Dodgers on Wednesday night to earn another trip to the World Series, Franzke and his wife, Lori, whom he met at SMU, watched the celebration from the radio booth.

"Do you realize how lucky you are?" Lori asked her husband.

He just nodded his head.
Good luck to Scott and the Phillies.

BB is coming to the BB WB


Buckner to Speak at Winter Banquet
The 7th Annual Burlington Bees/Friends of Community Field Winter Banquet will be held on Friday, January 15th in the PZAZZ! Convention & Events Center. This year's event will feature former baseball great Bill Buckner 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.
I'm not going to mention that thing for which he his best known, because there was so much more to his career than that one game at Shea Stadium in 1986. Like:
Mainly an outfielder and first-basemen, Buckner played for five teams in his 22-year career: the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, and Royals. He was known as one of the more consistent contact hitters in the major leagues. In 2,517 games, Buckner accumulated 2,715 hits and only 453 strikeouts. He ended his career with 174 home runs, 1,208 RBI, and a .289 batting average.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 23, 2009

Arizona Fall League:

@ScottSdale 8, Javelinas 7

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 0-for-2
Joe Dunigan ('08): 1-for-4, RUN
Taylor Green ('909): 0-for-3, RUN
Anthony Varvaro ('07): IP, H, R, BB, K

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Lara 9, Magallanes 6

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RUNS
Jose Escalona ('08): 2IP, 90H, BB, 2K, WIN #2

Caracas 9 @Zulia 3

Caracas:
Carlos Maldonado ('97): 0-for-3, RUN

Margarita 5 @La Guaira 4 (10 innings)

La Guaira:
BOBBY! Livingston ('03): 4IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K

10/23/2009

Who are these guys?


One should be pretty apparent if you click the picture for the larger look and take a peek at the caption. Both names are revealed in this week's Flashback Friday at the main site. The title is Coming Home*.

Plus, a bonus flashback to some posts over at Fire Joe Morgan.

*Nothing to do with the Jon Voight-Jane Fonda movie and nothing to do with the Cinderella song.

Sometimes you need a view from an outsider

Well, they aren't really outsiders anymore, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods will be in the Midwest League in 2010. They are introducing their fans to the new teams -- for them -- in a weekly series.

It looks like they started with the Midwest League in general.

They moved on to Dayton, the team that is geographically closest to them.

Next was another Eastern Division rival...and the reigning MWL Champions...the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Before we end, there are two other points to mention. One of the first lighted baseball games was played in Fort Wayne on June 2, 1883, as Fort Wayne hosted the Quincy Professionals. And Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez hit his first professional home run in Fort Wayne as a member of the Appleton Foxes on April 24, 1994.
Then, Quad Cities got the treatment.
Now, as we do every week, we tie the story into Kentucky and the Tampa Bay Rays. In 1999, current Rays' reliever Grant Balfour donned a River Bandits uniform as a member of the Twins organization. But perhaps the most famous alum from Davenport never actually played in the Midwest League. In 1951, Southgate, Kentucky, native Jim Bunning pitched for the Davenport Tigers. He was 8-10 with a 2.88 that season, sparking a career that eventually landed him in the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1996. Bunning finished his big league career with 224 wins and a 3.27 ERA with the Tigers, Dodgers, Phillies, and Pirates. Upon retiring after the '71 season, he was second all-time on the strikeout list, trailing only Walter Johnson. That's when Senator Bunning began his new career in politics. He is currently serving his second term as United States Senator for Kentucky.
This week it was Kane County.
But, the greatest Cougar of them all, at least in South Central Kentucky, is none other than Joe Blanton. After being drafted in 2002, the Edmonson County native pitched in Kane County in '03, remarkably his only full season in the minor leagues. Blanton led the Cougars to the playoffs with a modest 8-7 record, but sterling 2.57 ERA. He averaged more than six innings per start while striking out 144 batters, a 9.7 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio. A year later, on September 21, 2004, Blanton made his major league debut with Oakland, never to return to the minors again.
The Peoria Chiefs are up next Wednesday.

Data and Graphs and SCIENCE!

Put a bar graph and the words Midwest League in your post and you get a link.

This may come as a shock to some of you, but:
The different ages seemed to increase the walk rate as they got older, and overall the power went up, but like the strikeout rate the power rates are up and down from age to age.
Are you shocked...I know I am.

Seriously, though, go take a look.

Only posting this to reference one of my favorite movies

Brewers’ Braun to open restaurant in Lake Geneva
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is part of an ownership group that is opening a fine-dining restaurant in Lake Geneva.

The Ryan Braun Tavern and Grill will be open in late November or early 2010 in an existing restaurant space that is being extensively renovated, said Nez Balelo, Braun’s Los Angeles-based agent. Balelo declined to disclose how much Braun is investing in the project, saying he is part of a group that includes several business executives from Chicago and Lake Geneva.
I only have advice to pass along from a great movie that I make sure to watch at least once a year during the season.
The Duke: What are you doing?

Jack: What am I doin'? Arithmetic.

The Duke: Arithmetic? Maybe I can help you. I am an accountant.

Jack: I was thinkin', after I turn your ass in and collect my money...I'm gonna open up a coffee shop.

The Duke: How much are you getting for me?

Jack: That's not any of your concern. But I'll tell you just to tell you. A hundred thousand.

The Duke: A hundred thousand? Would you take a hundred thousand to let me go?

Jack: Not by a long shot.

The Duke: Two-hundred thousand?

Jack: I never took a payoff in my life, and I won't start with someone like you.

The Duke: Why not?

Jack: Because you're a [redacted] criminal. You deserve to go where you're goin', and I'm gonna take you there. If I hear any more [censored] out of you, I'm gonna bust your head...put you back in that [redacted] hole...and I'm gonna stick your head in the toilet bowl and make it stay there.

The Duke: I have to tell you, a restaurant is a very tricky investment. More than half of them go under within the first six months. If I were your accountant, I'd strongly advise you against it.

Jack: You would? You're not my accountant.


The Duke: No, if I were your accountant...


Jack: I told you, I took you out here...

The Duke: No, I'm just saying that it's a very tricky business...and if I were your accountant, I would strongly advise you against it...as an accountant.

Jack: You're not my accountant.

The Duke: I realize I'm not your accountant. I'm saying, if I were your accountant.

That last part translates better in the first 40 seconds of this clip...

True Stories of the Midwest League

It's in Newsday so it can't be embellished.
In 1977, young outfielders Mickey Hatcher and Ron Roenicke arrived in Clinton, Iowa, home of the Dodgers’ Class A Midwest League affiliate. Their first game turned into a nail-biter, and when a late-inning situation called for a pinch hitter, Hatcher and Roenicke were stunned to see their manager, Dick McLaughlin, call out to a young man in the stands for help.

“I’m looking at Ron, saying, ‘They bring people out of the stands to hit in this league?’ ” Hatcher recalled on Tuesday. “This is unbelievable!”

That pinch hitter, it turned out, was Mike Scioscia. The catcher felt under the weather that day, and McLaughlin, not wanting to get his other players sick, ordered Scioscia out of the dugout -- until he needed him late, at least.

Scioscia and Hatcher proceeded to become roommates and great friends, and both played for the 1988 Dodgers, the last Dodgers team to win the World Series. They have been together for 10 years now with the Angels...
The story doesn't say if Scioscia got a hit in Clinton that night, but it does go on to make a pretty interesting read.

Snappers move quickly

Technically, it's the Twins who are the quick moving entities. They have named the coaching staff for the Beloit Snappers.
Taking the reigns for the Snappers in 2010 will be third year skipper Nelson Prada. Prada in his first two seasons with the club has accumulated a record of 128-150.
Gary Lucas is back as the pitching coach and the new hitting coach is Tommy Watkins. Lucas has been a Twins minor league pitching coach for a long time. Watkins played in the Twins organization and was in the Midwest League with the Quad City River Bandits in 2001.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 22, 2009

Arizona Fall League

@Javelinas 9, Phoenix 6

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 1-for-5
Taylor Green ('09): 1-for-2, RUN
Juan Diaz ('07): 0-for-4

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caribes 6 @Lara 5 (10 innings)

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 2-for-5, RUN
Jose Escalona ('08): .2IP, 0H, 0R, Blown Save
Ivan Blanco ('05): 2IP, 2H, R, BB, 2K, Loss

Magallanes 10 @La Guaira 4 (13 innings)

La Guaria:
Juan Ovalles ('04): .2IP, 3H, 3R

Caracas 3 @Zulia 1

Zulia:
Luis Oliverso ('04): 0-for-3

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 22, 2009

Angels 7, Yankees 6

Angels:
Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, SAVE

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-3, RUN
Damaso Marte ('96)
The left-handed Fuentes retired the first two batters and gave Alex Rodriguez the Barry Bonds treatment, intentionally walking the slugger to pitch to lefty Hideki Matsui. But Matsui walked, and Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Nick Swisher worked the count full, and with 45,113 fans on their feet, those wearing red not knowing whether to watch or shield their eyes, Fuentes got Swisher to pop out to shortstop, ending the game.
Video of the final out

10/22/2009

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 21, 2009

Arizona Fall League

Phoenix 17, Javelinas 4

Javs:
Joe Dunigan ('08): 0-for-1
Taylor Green ('09): 0-for-4
Phillippe Aumont ('07): 1.1IP, 4H, 6R, 5ER, BB, K

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Margarita 6 @Lara 2

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 1-for-4
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): 0-for-2
Kyle Parker ('07): 3.2IP, 2H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 2K, Loss

Thursday's Games:
Phoenix @ Javelinas 2:35pm CDT
Caribes @ Lara 7:00pm CDT

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 21

Phillies 10, Dodgers 4

Phillies:
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI

10/21/2009

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 20, 2009

Arizona Fall League:

@Javelinas 14, Mesa 10

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 2-for-6, RUN, 2 RBI
Joe Dunigan ('08): 1-for-5, 2 RBI
Taylor Green, 1-for-5, RUN

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional:

Lara 9 @La Guaira 8

Lara:
Michael Saunders ('06): 3-for-5, RUN, 3RBI, HR #1
Jose Escalona ('08): .1IP, 0H, 0R, K
Ivan Blanco ('05): 2IP, H, R, 3K, Blown Save, Win

Aragua 13 @Zulia 8:

Zulia:
Luis Oliveros ('02): 1-for-3

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 20, 2009

Yankees 10 @Angels 1

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 3-for-4, 3 RUNS, 2RBI, HR
The Yankees are nine innings away from another World Series appearance, thanks to two guys who have never been there.

One day after being lambasted for the way he used the bullpen, Joe Girardi's decision to start CC Sabathia in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Angels last night on three days' rest made Girardi look smart.

That involved a small degree of thinking. Writing Alex Rodriguez' name in the cleanup spot was a no-brainer.

Photo credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

10/20/2009

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 19, 2009

AFL:

Javelinas 8 @Mesa 1

Javs:
Lorenzo Cain ('09): 0-for-3, 3 RUNS
Anthony Varvaro ('07): 2IP, H, 0R

And Lara was off yesterday in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional.

Tuesday's games:
Mesa @ Javelinas 2:35pm CDT
Lara @ La Guaria 7:00pm CDT

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 19, 2009

ALCS

@Angels 5, Yankees 4 (11 innings)

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR
Damaso Marte ('96): .1IP, 0H, 0R

Angels:
Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K

NLCS

@Phillies 5, Dodgers 4

Phillies:
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-4
Greg Dobbs ('02): pinch hitter 0-for-1

10/19/2009

Lesson learned

The story or Phillippe and the locker gets a little more play.
The first full season right-hander Phillippe Aumont spent as a relief pitcher taught him all about the thrill of getting the final out of a game -- and even more about the pain caused by taking a blown save too seriously.

Like don't take out your frustrations by punching a metal locker.

The Mariners' strong-armed prospect, who worked a perfect inning of relief in his first outing with the Arizona Fall League Peoria Javelinas, said he has moved past the midseason incident. But he flashed a sheepish grin recently when asked about the freakish injury he sustained following a game with Double-A West Tennessee.

He explained that his emotions began to simmer two days earlier when he was unable to protect a lead.

"That was tough to take," Aumont said. "You're competitive and you don't want to get beat, but I moved on from that one."

Moving on from the second consecutive blown save was not as easy.

"I lost my mind. I lost it completely," Aumont said with a half-smile. "I barely remember anything because I just completely lost it. When something gets you real bad, and you have a hard time controlling yourself, that's what happened. I just started hitting my locker with my left hand. I didn't feel it at the time because the adrenaline was just pumping so much.

"I calmed down, started getting undressed, and didn't feel anything at the time."

Luckily, it was Aumont's non-pitching hand and he didn't think much about it, but when he woke up the next day and noticed his left hand was considerably larger than his right, he could only hope that it was nothing serious.
That is not the only focus of the story. It's more of a jumping off point.
The former first-round Draft choice (11th selection overall in 2007) is back on track and hopes to use the Arizona Fall League as a springboard to the Mariners' bullpen next season.

"I have this great opportunity here," he said. "I know there are a lot of front-office people from the Mariners coming down to watch, and even if they aren't here, they are going to hear about it. I will do my best to show them I can compete at a higher level."

Aumont posted a 3.24 ERA with 12 saves in 29 appearances for Class A High Desert this past season before being promoted to West Tennessee in mid-July. He went 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA and four saves in 15 relief appearances, striking out 24 batters in 17 2/3 innings.

Despite not having pitched at the Triple-A level, a solid six weeks in the AFL could catapult Aumont into the Seattle bullpen picture when Spring Training opens in mid-February.

The Mariners have a surplus of potential starters, and although most of the relievers -- including right-handed closer David Aardsma -- return next season, the probable loss of right-hander Miguel Batista to free agency could create an opening.

"Next year is a big year for me," Aumont said.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 18, 2009

No games in the Arizona Fall League on Sunday.

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Magallanes 11 @Lara 5

Lara:
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): 2-for-4, RUN, 2 RBI
Michael Saunders 1-for-4, RBI

Monday's Schedule:
Lara -- Off Day
Peoria Javelinas @ Mesa 2:35pm CDT

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 18, 2009

NLCS

@Phillies 11, Dodgers 0

Phillies:
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-3, RUN

10/18/2009

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of October 17, 2009

Arizona Fall League:

Javelinas 9, Scottsdale 5

Javs:
Taylor Green ('09): 2-for-3, RUN
Joe Dunigan ('08): 3-for-5, 2 RUNS, 2 RBI, HR
Phillippe Aumont ('08): 1.1IP, 2H, 2R, ER, 2BB, 2K
Joe Dunigan enjoyed a breakout season in the hitter-friendly California League this year. The Mariners prospect enjoyed his first big day in the exclusive Arizona Fall League on Saturday afternoon.

Dunigan fell a triple shy of the cycle, drove in two runs and scored twice to pace the Peoria Javelinas to their third straight win, a 9-5 victory over the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Seattle's fifth-round pick in the 2007 Draft made the most of what figures to be his lone campaign at Class A Advanced High Desert, batting .294 with career highs of 30 homers and 104 RBIs.
Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

La Guaria 11 @Caribes 6

La Guaria:
BOBBY! Livingston ('03): 3IP, 5H, R, 2K
Juan Ovalles ('04): .2, 0H, 2R, 2BB

@Caracas 6, Lara 5

Lara:
Jose Escalona ('08): .1IP, 0H, R, BB

Caracas:
Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-0, SF, RBI

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Playoffs October 17, 2009

ALCS

@ Yankees 4, Angels 3 (13 innings)

Yankees:
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-6, RUN, RBI, HR
Damaso Marte ('96): .1IP, 0H, 0R

Angels:
Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, H, R, K, Blown Save

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg New York Post
Alex Rodriguez's sensational postseason continued when he hit a 0-2 pitch from lefty Brian Fuentes into the right-field seats leading off the 11th to tie the score, 3-3, as the rain intensified.

"At first I thought it was a double or a homer," Rodriguez said of his third postseason homer this year. "I wasn't sure. Once I got the home run call, I was happy."

10/17/2009

Worth checking out

MiLB.com is doing a series of articles called Path to the Pros. The latest is Lance Berkman, but others have included Midwest League Alumni: Clayton Kershaw, Lyle Overbay, and John Lackey. However, the focus on Overbay and Lackey seems to be more on their time in the Pioneer League. Kershaw profile has a lot to do with his legendary status in Texas High School baseball and his current time with the LA Dodgers.

But, there is a lot of Midwest League-centric coverage of a certain Peoria Chief alum.
But in the summer of 2000, [Albert] Pujols was just a 20-year-old player in Class A with big league dreams and a dwindling bank account, the latter of which he was not happy about.

Former Peoria manager Tom Lawless still laughs at the memory of an outraged young Pujols, who was fined $50 for not hustling down the first base line. It was a policy Lawless had explained to the Chiefs in a pregame meeting that night, and one that was strictly enforced after Pujols hit a one-hopper back to the pitcher in his first at-bat.

"He wasn't happy," Lawless recalled. "He said 'What do you mean?, I said, 'We play the game hard. I expect you to run down the line."

Lawless never had to discipline the budding superstar again. During his three month-stint with Peoria, Pujols was always the first one on the field to hit. A 13th-round draft pick despite putting up monster numbers at Maple Woods Community College, Pujols never missed an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of baseball. Whether he was taking infield grounders or working on secondary leads, Pujols used the same tenacity he took to the plate to improve all facets of his game.
Nice series. Can't wait to see if there are any ex-Rattlers or ex-Foxes who will be featured.

A few comments from a chat

This was the Q&A with JJ Cooper after he released the Top 10 prospects in Independent Baseball for the 2009 season at Baseball America.com.

An ex-Rattler was discussed:
Magic Mike (New York, NY): Thanks for taking my question. It is a three part question. How come Bryan Sabatella can make the list as the #3 prospect in 2008, not get signed, and play in the Independent leagues again this year, and not make the list. Why do you think he couldn't get a shot during spring training in affiliated ball this past spring? Is there something someone at BA has heard about him that would make a team not want to at least give him a shot during spring training?

J.J. Cooper: I haven't heard anything in particular, although Satabella's lack of power this year (two home runs in 400 at-bats) probably played a part in him staying in indy ball. Last year he was a plus runner who also showed some pop. Back when I ranked him in 2008 there were a couple of concerns that his bat was solid but not special because of his bat speed. This year he has a solid but unspectacular year that helped feed into those concerns, which is why he wasn't back on the list.
Sabatella was a Rattler at the beginning of 2006.

The other comment that caught my attention from this chat was this exchange.
Joe (Newport News, VA): How would a team composed of the 20 or so best independent league prospects on your list fare in the NY-Penn lor Northwest leagues? The Midwest or Sally Leagues?

J.J. Cooper: I really like this question. I get asked all the time "what level is indy ball" which is a hard one to answer, but this is a much better way of looking at it. If you put together a team of the 25 best independent league players they should win a Sally League or Midwest League title because you'd have so many veterans who are just much more experienced than Class A players. You could have Jose Lima, Mac Suzuki, Armando Benitez and Bill Simas toying with 18-year-olds. If you took a team of "indy league prospects" I'd say they'd struggle because the indy league's 21-to-24 year olds are not nearly as deep as indy ball's depth of 26-to-30-year-old minor league veterans.
This is about right. The age/experience difference would be huge if you took all of the former major league/AAAA players in the independent leagues. But, it's nothing that we need to worry about.

Movin' On

This was a little surprising.

Whitecaps hitting coach Benny Distefano leaves for job with Mets
Benny Distefano, who has been the Whitecaps' hitting coach the past three seasons, has accepted a coaching position in the New York Mets' minor league system.

...

In 2008, West Michigan was fifth in the league with a team batting average of .257, and this past season compiled the highest team batting average (.274) in the team's 16-year history.

"We were very pleased with Distefano's coaching techniques and teaching methods," said Dan Lunetta said, the Tigers' director of minor league operations. "We wish him well."

Not just working on field in the off-season

This is a story from the Everett Herald and it is worth a look. Roger Hansen, a frequent visitor to Appleton during the Mariner years, and Greg Halman ('07) met up recently....in the Netherlands.
That was a first for Roger Hansen, the Mariners’ minor league catching coordinator. He spent five days there last month talking with highly regarded outfield prospect Greg Halman and his parents.

Halman, a native of the Netherlands, had just completed a challenging season with the Mariners’ Class AA West Tennessee team, having struck out more than anyone in the organization.

Halman was the object of some very specific instruction on plate discipline and pitch recognition not only during West Tennessee’s season but after games ended as well. The Mariners had him take part in their instructional league program for 21/2 weeks last month at their training facility in Peoria, Ariz., and want him to return there well before spring training begins to get him a head start on the big-league camp.

Mom and dad, obviously, had questions about how the organization is handling their 22-year-old, and all parties — the parents and the Mariners — agreed face-to-face communication was needed. So Hansen flew from Phoenix to Detroit, then to Amsterdam — 14 hours of flying to get there.

“The parents care so much,” Hansen said. “He’s such a huge prospect that it was good for me to go there and put everything to rest. Basically, I told them, ‘Here’s what it takes to get ready for the big leagues.’ They were very thankful that I came over.
Check it out.
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