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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 8 @ Margarita 3

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-2, RUN

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 3, Licey 0

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 0-for-4

Carlos Peguero ('08): pinch runner

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Arecibo 9, Mayaguez 8 (7 innings)

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-3


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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 5 @Margarita 3

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-3, RUN, 2 RBI, HR #1

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Caguas 8 @Mayaguez 4

Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-2
Wilfredo Quintana ('01): pinch hitter, 1-for-1, 2B, RBI

@Arecibo 7, Carolina 5

Efrain Nieves ('09): 1.2IP, 2H, RUN, 3BB, K




100=Days until Opening Day, 2010 from today!

Stuff is about to get real, folks!

A year ender

Brett Christopherson of the PC has a column on the year that was Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball.
The task, as presented by the powers-that-be, was to revisit once more the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers' 2009 Midwest League season — to reminisce as our local minor league baseball club kicked off what figures to be a long affiliation with the home state Milwaukee Brewers.

Fine. But rather than bore our faithful readers with a bunch of blah-blah, let's add a pinch of pizzazz to this normally mundane assignment. Let's, in keeping with the culinary theme, kick it up a notch, shall we?
So, I present to you the first annual Bronze Baseball Extravaganza, an awards presentation related to all things Rattlers.

The drill is simple. Listed are a handful of categories designed to highlight the '09 campaign. Winners are announced and given the coveted Bronze Baseball. (We requested gold, but hey, budgets are tight these days).

Anyway, sit back, relax and know as you gaze upon the snowy landscape that pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training in just seven weeks.
I'm going to make you click through to get the winners, but here are the categories for...The Bronzies*

Best Prospect: Position Player

Best Prospect: Pitcher

Biggest Disappointment

Most Memorable Game

Lifetime Achievement Award

Homer of the Year

Unquotable Quote Award

*-Bronzies are not in the column. Brett is too good to come up with a hackneyed term like that. I, on the other hand -- as shown by my lame Emeril reference above, am not too good.

Probably late with this

But, it's worth bringing up if you follow the Manatees.
Hey fans! As promised, we announced a CRAZY promotion today! Do you live in Brevard County? Just bring along current ID or proof of residence on April 8th (Opening Day) and you'll get in for free! Full details are available here. Hope to see you then!
We'll be a little busy up here, but what the heck.

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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 6, La Guaira 2

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-1

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 7, Gigantes 0

*Wladimir Balentien ('04): 2-for-4, RUN, 2 RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Caguas 5, Mayaguez 4

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4
Mumba Rivera ('05): 1.1IP, 2H, 0R, 2K

@Arecibo 5, Ponce 2

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 1-for-3, RBI

*-Venezuela has begun their playoffs and Magallanes did not make it. This allowed Balentien to move over to the Dominican to play for Escogido.


All Quiet on the Rattler Radio Front

The Rattler Radio crew hopes that you had a great holiday. The Alumni Report was all set to go this morning, but no Alumni played in the Dominican and Puerto Rico. Plus, the teams in Venezuela had Sunday off on the schedule.

We are heading out for the day to work on a couple of projects that will payoff at some point down the line -- either on this site or on the main site...I hope.

Stay tuned.


A couple of images for the Christmas break

I'll be off grid until the 26th (or 27th depending on material to use on the blog).

So, allow me to wish you a Merry Christmas the only way I know how...through cartoons drawn by other people.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 23, 3009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Lara 9 @Caracas 2

Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3, RUN
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): defensive replacement

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-3

Zulia 4 @Margarita 2

Blake Ochoa ('08): 1-for-4

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Ponce 4 @ Arecibo 3

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): pinch runner
Rene Rivera ('03): 0-for-4
Efrain Nieves ('09): 3.1IP, 2H, 0R, 2K

Schedule note:
Both leagues will be off today and tomorrow for Christmas


Episode Three of "The Offseason"

Ever seen someone site on a snake's lap before? You will.

I mentioned on my facebook page that this is a little too similar to the "Yankee Swap" episode from season two of The Office. But, at least it doesn't have Dwight sticking a teapot up his nose.

Nice way to end the year.

How to handle this?

Thanks to KLSnow from Brew Crew Ball for sending this one along.

It's a link that heads over to the blog of minor leaguer Garrett Broshius.

He -- Broshuis -- takes note of a fan chat with the new GM that the Toronto Blue Jays are increasing the road per diem for their minor league players from $20/day to $25/day.

The reasoning is to allow players to make healthy selections when dining.

I can go three ways on this:

1.) Make a couple of sarcastic comments and forget this post ever happened until it comes time to discuss my per diem for road games with my boss. (Aside: Though I doubt that the "So I can eat healthier on the road" excuse with get me very far in asking for an increase. One of the perils of working with the same people for 10 years.)

2.) Make a half-hearted attempt two days before Christmas at being serious about it on a blog post that will get buried.

3.) Actually do a little research into the subject and dedicate a Mehring Monday to the topic early in the New Year.

Now, since I am a lazy person who only gets an adrenaline rush when dealing with a deadline, I am always looking to put things off to the last possible minute. I choose Option #3.

I know that there is a healthy eating guide from Jake Marx, the strength and conditioning coach of the Rattlers in 2009, around here somewhere...I wasn't planning on following it, mind you. It was for entertainment purposes.

Once I find it, I'll put a column together. Maybe the first one of 2010...but more likely the second...definitely by the third.

There. I've given you something to look forward to in the New Year.

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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Lara 8 @Magallanes 6

Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3, RBI
Juan Ovalles ('04): IP, 2H, 0R, K

@Caracas 10, Aragua 4

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 2-for-4, 2 2Bs, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 7, Ponce 4

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, RBI
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-4, 2 RUNS, RBI
Mumba Rivera ('05): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K


Final times

The full and complete 2010 Timber Rattlers schedule is available at the website. This includes the times for all of the away games.


Weird home start time: 4/11 vs. Clinton @ 5:05pm. It's a Sunday and the first game of a series. Clinton is coming in from out of town and we can't start the game any earlier than this.

Weird road start time: 4/19 @Quad Cities @ 11am. Not complaining. It's a Monday getaway game. As long as it's not a doubleheader like last year, I think that this is great!


Weird road start time: 5/3 @Beloit @ 11am. Not complaining. A Monday getaway game again!


Weird road start time: None. A quite normal month. Except for the three Mondays in a row that are off days.


Weird road start times: 7/4 @Cedar Rapids @ 5:05pm. See the weird home start time in April. Although a later start on Independence Day might have been nice to allow for a big fireworks display.

7/24 @South Bend @ 4:30pm CDT/5:30EDT. The Silver Hawks are -- apparently -- trying 5:30 as their Saturday start time this year.

Schedule Anomaly: The last three Tuesday in July are scheduled off days.


Weird road start time: None. There are only three weekday afternoon games in August and all three are at Time Warner Cable Field.


Weird road start time: 9/5 @Kane County @ 6:00pm (or there about). A Sunday evening game on the day before Labor Day isn't all that weird. Just different. I am pretty sure that there will be fireworks.

A familiar name

The Great.Lakes.Loooooooooons have been on a roll with ex-Brewers pitchers acting as their pitching coach.

For the last two seasons it has been Danny Darwin. For the 2010 season...
Manager Juan Bustabad returns for a third season with Great Lakes after leading the Loons to the first playoff berth in the franchise’s three-year history and winning a first-round Midwest League playoff series. Michael Boughton will return for a second season as hitting coach and Chuck Crim makes the jump to Single-A after serving as pitching coach for Rookie-advanced Ogden in 2009.
Crim was a Brewer from 1987-1991. Then, he went to the Angels (in a trade that involved Mike Fetters and Glenn Carter) for two seasons before wrapping up his big league career with the Cubs in 1994.

Fun fact: According to his baseball-reference page, Crim lead the American League in appearances in both 1988 (70) and 1989 (76).

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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@LaGuaira 5, Caribes 3

Edgar Trejo ('09): 1-for-4

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez 6 @Ponce 1

Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-5, RUN, RBI


Using my pain...

...as a jumping off point for the final Mehring Monday column of 2009.

Watch for the cameo by Agent 86. Would you believe a guest starring role? A name check? How about a picture that is semi-related to the article.

The Packers' stunning last second loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh last night, sent me to my usual therapy: Flipping around the channels while darkly muttering to myself. Little secret: When the Packers lose -- especially like that -- I can't watch football the rest of the day. Unfortunately, my therapy made me miss a delicious Vikings loss to the Panthers that had a little whipped cream on top. Instead, I watched a History Channel program about snipers. Then, I stopped at MLB Network and found their Greatest Games program. It was Game Six of the 2002 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Anaheim Angels.


Want a Football Coin? See the Huntsville Stars.
It may seem like a strange match, but the Huntsville Stars are offering Alabama - and Texas - fans a chance to buy an official coin of the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.

Buck Rogers, the general manager of the local minor league baseball team, is admittedly "not even a college football fan," but he didn't want to see local football fans miss out on this opportunity.
A short history of sports in Dubuque, Iowa
Gartner's plan represented the most realistic plan for the Midwest League to return to Dubuque since the Packers left dilapidated Petrakis Park following the 1976 season. Burlington Bees general manager Chuck Brockett called Gartner's plan "probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal."
New stadium for Nashville?
Mayor Karl Dean said his administration is talking with the Sounds' ownership, which recently finished its first season in control of the Triple-A baseball team. The preliminary talks have focused on the old Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant site, where the previous owners had a deal with the city that fell apart in the spring of 2007, before Dean was elected.

Dean, a big baseball fan and Massachusetts native whose heart lies with the Boston Red Sox, said he's eager to build a new ballpark.

"I think it's a huge opportunity for downtown," he said Friday.

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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 5, Zulia 4

Martin Maldonado ('98): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #1

@Magallanes 10, Lara 4

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Arecibo 7, Carolina 3

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 1-for-4, RUN
Rene Rivera ('03): 1-for-4, RUN, 2RBI, HR #2

Ponce 5 @Caguas 3

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI


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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Lara 5, Aragua 2

Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #6

@Magallanes 7, Caribes 2

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 0-for-3

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 14, Arecibo 8

Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-3, 3 RUNS, 3RBI
Wilfredo Quintana ('01): 0-for-2, RUN
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-4, RUN
Mumba Rivera ('05): 1.2IP, 4H, 2R, BB, 2K

@Caguas 8, Ponce 5

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 2-for-4, RUN


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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Lara 7, Caracas 3

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-3

Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3
Juan Ovalles ('04): .1IP, 0H, 0R

@Araguia 4, Zulia 3

Luis Oliveros ('02): 1-for-3, 2RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Carolina 1, Mayaguez 0

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-3


Final Friday Flashback of '09

Do you remember when Sports Illustrated visited Appleton, Wisconsin in 1986 and based almost their entire magazine to the area? You don't remember the Steve Wulf article 'Hearts on a Diamond' about the Appleton Foxes?

If you don't, that's this week's Flashback Friday.

Top Five Third Basemen

Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew has unveiled Top Five Third Base prospects in the Brewers organization.

Here's the list. Click the link for Jim's thoughts on the players.

1.) Mat Gamel
2.) Taylor Green
3.) Adam Heether
4.) Zelous Wheeler
5.) Juan Sanchez

Honorable mentions: Edgar Trejo, Joseph Paciorek, and Wayne Dedrick

The Rattler alumni have been highlighted.

One of the new stats

Big League Stew has been running a series on the new stats that are out there. This week the feature is on WPA and is titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know about WPA.

First of all -- what is WPA?
Win Probability Added. As Hardball Times's Dave Studeman has written, it's gone by a lot of different names. "Player Win Averages," "Player Game Percentage," "Win Expectancy," "Player's Win Value," etc. But WPA is the the most common name for it these days.

How they calculate WPA: Though the arithmetic can be a mother, Win Probability Added is one of the easiest of all the advanced stats to explain. Put simply, it's a measure of how much any game event contributes to the eventual outcome of the game, win or loss.

Or, as Fangraphs' David Appelman writes, "WPA is the difference in win expectancy (WE) between the start of the play and the end of the play." (For those of you who remember calculus, this means it's a marginal measure — it measures the difference in probability between two states. Feel free to use a Greek Delta symbol in your mind.)

So how much does that single in the second inning make it likelier that team will win? How much likelier is the win after the setup man got three crucial outs in the eightth? [sic]
I received a spreadsheet for Win Probability from one of the guys at Lookout Landing a couple of years ago, but never found the time to incorporate it into the blog. Maybe I should look at doing that in 2010?

Another question you may have....
What WPA is good for: WPA is good for telling you who deserves the game ball. WPA analysis is also good for storytelling. It gives you a statistical evidence that this was the turning point of the game, the most important play. WPA is a new-school stat in old-school garb — it tells you exactly what happened, and exactly how important it was.
Go read it all and be informed.

We are expecting a large pass list on these nights

Chiefs announce 2010 field staff
The Chicago Cubs and Peoria Chiefs have announced the 2010 Chiefs field staff, which includes a pair of familiar faces. New manager Casey Kopitzke will be joined by pitching coach David Rosario, hitting coach Barbaro Garbey and athletic trainer Dan Golden.

"We are excited to have Casey join the Chiefs staff," said Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen. "He has a great baseball background having been with the Cubs either as a player or coach for 11 years. He knows the system and already knows the players from Boise who will likely by with the Chiefs this season. He is in position to be the next in a long line of young managers who have had success in Peoria on their way up the ladder to the Majors."

Kopitzke is a newcomer to the Chiefs staff but has spent 11 seasons in the Cubs organization as a player, coach and manager. Last season he managed for the first time with the Boise Hawks of the Short Season-A Northwest League. The 31 year-old guided the Hawks to a 34-42 record in 2009 and a third place finish in the East Division of the NWL. He managed possible future Chiefs and top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Logan Watkins, Matt Cerda and Chris Rusin. Before managing the Hawks last season, Kopitzke served as the Cubs roving catching coordinator from 2007-2008 and made numerous stops in Peoria and other venues around the Midwest League to work with Chiefs catchers and hitters.
Why are we expecting a big pass list on the nights Peoria is in town?
Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Kopitzke was drafted by the Cubs in the 27th round of the 1999 draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He began his pro career as a catcher with Eugene in the Northwest League in 1999. Kopitzke spent the 2000 season in the Midwest League with the Lansing Lugnuts hitting .224 with 22 RBI in 68 games.
That's why.

A little more on the Trade

Bleacher Report asks the question: Could Phillippe Aumont Help the Phillies in 2010?
It's not that far-fetched that the Phillies are planning on him relieving in 2010. Clay Condrey has been let go, Chan Ho Park has been offered a contract but wants to start again, and Scott Eyre hasn't re-signed as of yet either.

And with the payroll around $131 million already, that leaves Amaro about nine million to spend on relievers for the rest of the off-season. Philadelphia has been linked to Fernando Rodney and John Smoltz as possible bullpen arms.

Last year, the Phils struggled closing games out. Brad Lidge had a miserable season while Ryan Madson had a decent year when he was in the eighth inning role, but when he had closer duties, he wasn't very good.

Bringing Rodney or Smoltz in to replace Park or Eyre as a late-inning reliever would help shore up the bullpen, but it would still leave holes elsewhere in the 'pen.

To sign Rodney, it'll probably require closer money unless he gets a chance to close. I don't believe Amaro would promise him a chance to replace Lidge as the closer so he'll have to pay top dollar for him, which would bring him right up to the $140 million budget.

Let's say Rodney or Smoltz is brought into the fold as a late innings reliever, there's still a long relieving role up in arms. Pitchers like Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Drew Carpenter will be looked at in the Spring, but Aumont shouldn't be ruled out.

This kid has a live arm with movement on his pitches. He throws three pitches, and has a nasty curveball who can get Major League hitters out. I know it was just the WBC, but he did strikeout Youkilis and Granderson, two MLB All-Stars.

Aumont could be a pleasant surprise for the Phillies this season, or he could stay in the minors and never be heard from again. Who knows.
I don't know. The Shadow, maybe?

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

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Zulia 7, Magallanes 6

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 1-for-3, RBI

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

@Lara 5, Margarita 3

Tim Harikkala (Foxes, '94): 5IP, 6H, 2R, BB, K

Luis Valbuena ('02): 0-for-3

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 12, Ponce 2

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, RBI

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-4


Episode Two of "The Offseason"

No embedding code (WRONG!) so you'll have to click here to view our take on the eternal war between Ketchup and Mustard.

Embedding Code found. Video Posted.

Meanwhile, over at the Main site

Voting has begin for the position of shortstop on the 15th Anniversary team.

The candidates are:

Ramon Vazquez ('97)
Ramon Valera ('98)
Adam Jones ('04)
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05)

Please click the link and read all the way through the profiles before voting at the home page. I am thinking of one person in particular.

Bo Robinson won the voting as the third baseman on the 15th Anniversary team.

They are with the Phillies now

Deal completed.
Only eight days before nailing down ace Cliff Lee for their rotation, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and confidants sat in an Indianapolis hotel suite contemplating a serious setback in their pursuit of pitching.

It was Dec. 8, near the end of the second day of baseball's winter meetings, and Zduriencik and company had just heard that Texas had outbid them for free-agent pitcher Rich Harden.

It shot down one of the team's top pitching targets, and the Mariners suddenly knew their goal of landing a starter was not going to happen at the meetings.

But the next day, a conversation with Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. dramatically altered Seattle's fortunes and started the wheels turning toward the blockbuster deal announced Wednesday
The "they" going to the Phillies referred to in the title of the post are former Timber Rattlers Phillippe Aumont and JC "You remember him as Juan" Ramirez. The pair were teammates on the '08 Rattlers.

Baseball America, we turn our lonely eyes to you...woo, ooo, ooo.
Aumont throws across his body slightly, which gives his pitches above-average life but places additional strain on his shoulder. His heavy sinker ranges from 92-95 mph with plus-plus life down in the zone. He dials his four-seamer up to 98. His mid-70s curveball features occasional plus 12-to-6 break, especially when he repeats his high three-quarters arm slot and gets extension on the front side of his delivery. The biggest thing holding Aumont him back is an overall lack of command in the zone, but if he discovers it he has true closer potential.
Ramirez has mid-rotation potential if he can improve his concentration on the mound and learn to repeat his delivery and arm slot. He's a physical, durable righthander who has proven capable of handling increased workloads each season. Though Ramirez's command wavers, his stuff is top-shelf, beginning with a lively 92-94 mph fastball that he also four-seams at 96-97 when necessary. He can spin a quality, high-70s slider, but the pitch lacks consistent tilt because he often drops his hands during delivery, which lowers his arm slot.
These are the most positive things I've read about these two since discussion of this trade began. Also, I can't wait until the next Ask BA with Jim Callis. Because you know he's going to get the "Where does [insert prospect name here] fit in your top 10 of [insert organization name here] after the trade?

So much right, so much wrong

The Timber Rattlers have had 'Bang for your Buck' Nights for a while now. Tuesday nights are big attendance games at Time Warner Cable Field.

Last night the Sacramento Kings tried their own...well, I'll let this preview article explain what it was called.

Spread the Kings Cheer With Dollar Beer

Cynthia Hubert of the Sacramento Bee wrote the story and gets quotes from MADD and Sacramento Law Enforcement, but there is a glaring error. See if you can spot it:
"It's a high-profile promotion and we'll be monitoring it," said Jon Carr of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "The Kings just need to make sure that IDs are checked, and that they don't serve anyone who is intoxicated."

Discount beer promotions, long a part of the sporting landscape, have become less common because of concerns about overconsumption, crowd misbehavior and drinking and driving, observed sports fan researcher Christian End of Xavier University in Cincinnati.

End recalled a notorious "Nickel Beer" promotion 35 years ago in which the minor league Lake County Captains baseball team in Ohio had to forfeit a game after drunken fans went bonkers.

"This is sort of a throwback idea, and it's one of those things you could potentially see backfiring," End said of the Kings promotion. "I don't want to condemn the Kings, but I hope they are encouraging people to drink responsibly because that's a lot of people and there could be quite a lot of beer consumed."

The Sacramento River Cats have offered similar discounts, including $2 beers at their annual "barbecue and brew" event, said spokesman Gabe Ross. The team typically offers cheap brews only at select locations within Raley Field, and usually cuts the promotion off in the seventh inning, he said.
Did you see it?

Okay. I'll pull it down
End recalled a notorious "Nickel Beer" promotion 35 years ago in which the minor league Lake County Captains baseball team in Ohio had to forfeit a game after drunken fans went bonkers.
The Lake County Captains -- who were not even around 35 years ago -- held their Nickel Beer Night this past season. That was part of an anniversary celebration of the Cleveland Indians Nickel Beer Night in which the Indians fans got too "bonkers" and the game was forfeited.

The Captains Nickel Beer Night? Oh, it went off without a hitch.
Beer was only served from when the game opened (6 pm) to when the game started (7 pm). Each cup of beer was five ounces and fans could only get two cups per person.

The team served 2,000 cups of beer, according to Jonathan Levey, the team’s director of promotions. But it appears like lines were long enough so that it would be physically impossible for an average adult to get drunk.

To the team’s credit, they actually had some acceptable draft beers being offered for the nickel. Fans could choose from Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Labatt’s.
I can see how Mr. End would be confused by that, but it's close enough for government work.

Oh, how did things go for the Kings last night?

Well, they won and they drew 16,579. They entered the game at 10-13. With the bump from last night, they are now averaging 12,424 which is still 29th in the 30 team NBA.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 16, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 11 @Caribes 5 (12 innings)

Carlos Maldonado ('98): pinch hitter 0-for-1

@Lara 6, Aragua 5

Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS, 2 RBI, HR #5
Jose Escalona ('08): 0IP, H, R

Magallanes 11 @Zulia 4

Gerardo Avila ('08): 1-for-4
Luis Oliveros ('02): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 7, Caguas 3

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-2, RUN
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-3
Mumba Rivera ('05): 2IP, H, 0R, BB, K

@Arecibo 8, Ponce 1

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-4
Rene Rivera ('03): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS, RBI


Three things about "The Trade"

First: MLB.com has a bit about the prospects involved in the "any minute now blockbuster" between the Mariners/Phillies/Blue Jays.

Here are the parts about the ex-Rattlers:
Phillippe Aumont ('08):
The Mariners, partially because of durability concerns and partially because his two-pitch power mix seemed perfect for the role, turned Aumont into a full-time reliever in 2009. After pitching very well for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, he saved 12 games and had a .195 batting average against while pitching in a very hitter-friendly High Desert park in the California League. That led to a promotion to Double-A. He was a bit more hittable there, though he still finished the season with 16 combined saves and 59 strikeouts in 51 innings. He did miss time with a broken left hand when he punched a wall following a blown save. He made up some time in the Arizona Fall League, where he gave up 19 hits and eight walks in 12 innings, but also struck out 18.

Juan Ramirez ('08):
Ramirez still has some projection and upside to him at 6-foot-3. He's already got a pretty good fastball he can crank as high as 97 mph to go along with a very good hard slider. His changeup lags behind, never surprising for a young pitcher, and it's possible he could be a dynamo short reliever when all is said and done.
Second: The usual suspects are giddy about Cliff Lee and not that broken up about losing three prospects.

Third: You do realize that if Aumont and Ramirez start at their careers in the Phillies organization they will be playing in Reading...for former Timber Rattlers manager Steve Roadcap...don't you?

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of Decembher 15, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 4 @Caribes 3

Carlos Maldonado ('98): pinch hitter 0-for-1

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Ponce 3, Mayaguez 0

Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-4

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-3, RUN


Quick Update

I had this story from Philly.com open when I was writing that last post, but didn't look at it until after I had posted. The details.
The Halladay/Lee deal is "very unlikely" to be finalized today, according to a person familiar with the talks. An official announcement could very well come tomorrow. The two sides are likely still working on the specifics of a contract extension.

There has been some unrest in my inbox this morning about reports of this trade. The widely reported deal is a good one for the Phillies, but your concerns are understandable. Reports varied yesterday evening, but the framework has now come into focus as pretty much this:

Phillies get: Roy Halladay from Toronto, 20-year-old righthander Phillippe Aumont form Seattle, 21-year-old righty J.C. Ramirez from Seattle, and 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies from Seattle.
Click the link to see the rest of the deal. But I did want to share this beautiful sample of Philadelphia optimism...
Will either Aumont or Ramirez become major league stars? Not likely. It is never likely that pitching prospects will become solid major leaguers. But they do help ease the hit to the farm system caused by this trade.
Always look on the bright side of life, my friend.

On sale now

The phones have been ringing pretty good for the last 45 minutes because the tickets for the Donald Driver Charity Softball Game went on sale at 10am this morning.

If you do not want to wait on the phone, you can order that Christmas gift for the Packers fan on your list over the internet.

Click here to do that.

What we know so far

You may have heard about the potential 3-team trade that is on the verge of being finalized. It does have a Timber Rattlers connection.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times pointed to this Jayson Stark article at ESPN yesterday. The Stark article was updated this morning, so that is where I'll link.
A couple of companion deals that would send Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee to Seattle are "close" but "not done," according to two sources familiar with the negotiations.

As part of the deals, Halladay would agree to a three-year extension through 2013, with a vesting option that could lengthen the deal by another year or two, one source said. The extension is expected to guarantee Halladay in the neighborhood of $60 million, plus the $15.75 million he would make in 2010, the final year of his current contract.

The specifics of the trades took some twists and turns on Monday. The latest structure would send three Phillies -- outfielder Michael Taylor, catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud and pitcher Kyle Drabek -- to Toronto, sources said.

Under that scenario, the Phillies would not have to include their top position-player prospect, Domonic Brown, and they would receive Seattle's top pitching prospect, Phillippe Aumont, who originally appeared ticketed for Toronto.
Why is Aumont, a Rattler in 2007, included in this deal? Baker explains here:
Aumont had several closer-type candidates either right with him or ahead of him, including David Aardsma, Mark Lowe, Shawn Kelley and Josh Fields.
Baker also throws out some other potential farmhands that could be part of the deal in that post. There is also this post that is about Aumont's '07 Rattler teammate, Juan Ramirez. Well, at least, that's how Rattlers fans remember him. He now goes by JC or Juan Carlos Ramirez.
We're seeing all kinds of names thrown about as some of those who could be dealt in the Cliff Lee blockbuster. Here's another to add to your list that I've now heard from a couple of places.

Class A starting pitcher J.C. Ramirez (also known as Juan Ramirez).

Ramirez was recently added to Seattle's 40-man roster and was listed by Baseball America's as the No. 5 overall prospect in the organization heading into this coming season. He was a part of that Class A High Desert juggernaut we told you about from this past season. The native of Nicaragua is only 21 and went 8-10 with a 5.12 ERA last season.

But like I said, he's only 21. And at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he's a big, imposing guy with a lot of appeal. He struck out 111 guys in 142 1/3 innings while walking 53.

He's a name I'm hearing now. Not the only name, but one of them.
For the amount of time it took me to put this post together, the deal is probably finalized by now, but if there are updates, I'll pass them along later today.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 14, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Lara 8 @LaGuaira 5

Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-4, RUN, 2RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 6, Carolina 1

Johan Limonta ('06) 1-for-3, RBI
Mumba Rivera ('05): IP, H, 0R, BB


This week's Mehring Monday deals with...

Packers and Bears and reactions and history and pre-game shows and a little project that has been mentioned before on this blog, but it's about time I get around to actually doing something about it.

Mehring Monday: History Lesson

Status report

Here are some pictures from around the ballpark today.

First, an untouched photo from the home run porch.

Next, a photo that has been brightened quite a bit. I can't tell where the bottom of this picture is.

Last, a field level shot.

I don't know how that round-headed kid keeps getting into the stadium.

Just in time for Christmas

Tickets for the Donald Driver Charity Softball Game...presented by Kwik Trip...go on sale Tuesday morning.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have announced that tickets for the 2010 Donald Driver Charity Softball Game presented by Kwik Trip will be available beginning at 10am on Tuesday, December 15.

The game - hosted by the Green Bay Packers wide receiver - will be held at Time Warner Cable Field on Sunday, June 6 at 1:05pm. Driver, who set the Packer record career receptions earlier this season, will be hosting the event for the third consecutive year. The game between the offense and the defense raises money for the Donald Driver Foundation.

The Donald Driver Foundation was started by the Green Bay Packer great and his wife Betina. The foundation's goal is to help homeless families and improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth.

Eating right

Duk over at Big League Stew has a post that points elsewhere on the eating scale after the news about The Beast.

That post over at BLS has a link to a Wall Street Journal article that covers healthy eating in baseball in about the way that you would expect the Wall Street Journal to cover healthy eating in baseball:

Baseball's War Against Hamburgers
As Players Get Health Conscious, Teams Banish Clubhouse Junk Food; Edamame Anyone?

The doughnuts, fried chicken and candy bars that have long populated baseball's clubhouses—where players eat the majority of their meals—are being banished.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will ship their players to Arizona next week for a six-day health-food boot camp. The Kansas City Royals are planning to put up posters in the clubhouse offering nutritional advice. And the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays both say they're experimenting with the idea of preparing foods for the players that are rich in antioxidant grains like quinoa, teff and spelt.

At baseball's just-concluded winter meetings in Indianapolis, major and minor league strength and conditioning coaches devoted 12 hours on Saturday—about half of their total meeting time—to discussing matters such as including edamame and snow peas in the postgame buffet to whether teams should order "fun size" candy bars rather than the odious regular-sized variety.

"There's nothing wrong with a Reese's peanut butter cup every now and then," says Perry Castellano, the Minnesota Twins' strength and conditioning coordinator. "The issue is when somebody eats eight at a time."

This may seem like another case of paternalistic owners and team executives trying to maximize their multimillion-dollar payrolls. But in many cases, it's the players who are demanding healthier options: This past season, six members of the Los Angeles Angels approached the team's dietician, without prompting, to ask her to write them "food plans" to improve their diets. Heath Bell, a relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres, says he gets irritated on the road when teams set out buckets of cookies in the clubhouse while leaving the fruit and vegetables tucked away in refrigerators in side rooms. When teams do put fruit out, he says, they often don't even bother to clean or cut it. "If the fruit is out and set up well, I'll eat it," Mr. Bell says. "But if the cookies are there, I'm taking them. That's my downfall."
Awesome Del Amitri song, by the way.

Back to the story with something two things that might put you off your breakfast.
The baseball season doesn't do many favors for healthy eaters. Since games are mostly played at night, players generally eat late, go to bed late, sleep late and arrive at the ballpark in the early afternoon—sometimes before eating lunch. The players' Collective Bargaining Agreement actually requires that they receive $89.50 a day in meal money when the team is on the road, but many players pocket the money in favor of eating for free at the clubhouse. With 162 games per season, the volume of junk can add up in a hurry.

For decades, the clubhouse menu paid little attention to nutrition. Staples included steak, french fries, omelettes, bacon, and at least one gigantic tub of ice cream. In the 1930s, the Chicago Cubs served their players chipped beef for breakfast.
$89.50 a day????

Chipped beef for breakfast???

Where is that WSJ coverage...Oh, here it is.
One of the reasons junk food is so popular in baseball is because it's cheap. Cynthia Sass, a nutritionist for the Rays and Phillies, says organic foods cost up to 50% more than their regular counterparts. "It's a costly jump for teams to invest in good food," says the Padres' Mr. Malone.
My feelings on this move to healthy eating...which is embraced by the brewers at the minor league level, by the way...go ahead. More of the good-tasting stuff for me!

Another one? Yes. Another one

Ben Hill has this monster...or Beast...if you will.
I would like to draw everyone's attention to the blog of CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell. Specifically, Rovell wrote today about an attention-getting concession item that will be served up next season by the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League.

It's called "The Beast", and it's 15 burgers stacked atop one another.
There is a picture in the article that I will not show here. It looks like -- oh, I don't know -- if Jenga were made out of hamburgers.


Sorry about that headline. It's early. And it's a story about Mark Lowe ('05).
Lowe said he hasn’t noticed his name in any of the speculation this offseason, although it did surface briefly during rumors of a proposed deal between the Mariners and Tigers.

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Lowe said. “I love what we’ve got going on and what we’ve got as a team. And I’m home grown. From the day I was drafted in 2004, I’ve spent my whole career with them. I feel comfortable here. Trades are the nature of the beast and we can’t think about it. If you get traded, you get traded. But I don’t want to go anywhere.”

Lowe pitched a career-high 80 innings this year, going 2-7 with a 3.26 ERA and three saves in a team-high 75 appearances. It was a season that put to rest any concern about the health of his right arm after major surgery in 2006 to repair a cartilage defect. The surgery was so comprehensive that doctors originally feared Lowe might not pitch again.
It starts out with stuff about the internet.

"We’re developing a sisterhood in there."

The New York Times takes a look at the just completed Winter Meetings...in about the way the New York Times would take a look at the just completed Winter Meetings.
The old boys of winter were in full stride, standing in a hotel lobby discussing this pitcher’s slider or that outfielder’s arbitration figures.

At the same moment, across the street from where all the scouts, agents, executives and reporters were dealing, gossiping and networking at baseball’s winter meetings, about 90 female baseball employees gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities available in their male-dominated profession.

It was the second annual Working Women in Baseball conference. Female baseball employees, mostly from the minor leagues, attended the 90-minute seminar to exchange ideas, offer support and encouragement, and build a growing network of women in the sport.

“I love this event,” said Amy Venuto, the executive director for professional baseball at Ripken Baseball, which owns three minor league teams. “It helps to build relationships with other women in the industry. We’re developing a sisterhood in there.”
Anyone see this question coming down the pike?
The conference was the idea of Heather Raburn, a senior account manager for marketing at the Minor League Baseball headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla. With more and more women joining the workforce, Raburn initiated the first Working Women in Baseball conference at last year’s winter meetings in Las Vegas, and it was enough of a success to conduct one this year, too.

Topics included career and family, leadership qualities and workplace etiquette.

A former softball player at New Mexico State, Raburn said she had not felt direct discrimination or been the victim of harassment during her 12 years in minor league baseball, and did not organize the event to combat oppressive working conditions.

“It’s more of a networking event,” she said. “It’s a chance to talk to other women in the same position and find out how they are handling situations and hear their insights on different topics.”
Then there's this from a Midwest Leaguer:
As the conference was breaking up, Sonya Masse, the director for entertainment and sales with the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels, talked about how much she adored her sales job and considered her long hours at the ballpark therapeutic. She also considers her co-workers, male and female, like family.

She has experienced no discernible inequity, she said, but at times she has had difficulty convincing men that she knows as much about baseball as they do.

“It can be intimidating when you are the only woman among 30 men,” she said. “This is my third winter meetings, and at the first one I was afraid to ask any questions because there were all these guys around me.

“I’d love to see more women working in baseball because a lot of times there’s only one woman in the office besides the secretary. People think of baseball as being run by men, and I don’t want it to be that way anymore. That’s why this conference is so important.”
Here is our front office roster.

Crystal, right?

The Lansing Lugnuts have announced -- on their newly renovated website (which looks very familiar, yet just a bit off) -- their plans for a 15th anniversary celebration. The big news is this:
The Lugnuts Hall of Fame will be open for fan voting until the end of January. Carlos Beltran, Corey Patterson, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, and Brian Dopirak are on the ballot for the 2010 season. These five candidates were selected for fan voting based on their performance with the Lugnuts or an outstanding Major League career. All candidates played at least 10 games in a Lansing Lugnuts uniform.

Detailed information on each of the inductees can be found here. The top 3 winning inductees will be announced on Opening Day, April 14th, 2010, with a pre-game ceremony and unveiling of the Hall of Fame display.

Pretty good candidates.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 13, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@caribes 7, Lara 4

Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-2, 2BBs, RBI
Juan Ovalles ('04): 0.0IP, H, 2BBs, 2 RUNS

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Ponce 2, Caguas 0

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 2-for-4, 2B, RUN

Carolina 7, Mayaguez 3 (Game one)

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4

Carolina 8 @Mayaguez 1 (Game two)

Limonta: 1-for-2


Not today

Back tomorrow. Either before the Packer game against the Team of All Lies or after the game.


Flashback Friday is about family

The Jim Eisenreich Story from a 1987 PC column.
The story of Jim Eisenreich is a good one: A hot prospect has his rookie year derailed by a misdiagnosis. Toss in a classy act (being sarcastic here) by Boston Red Sox fans, a couple years out of professional baseball, and a comeback that has a very happy ending and you have a biography worthy of a Hollywood movie.

Eisenreich's story has a local tie to it as well. Charlie Eisenreich, Jim's younger brother, played for the Appleton Foxes in 1987 and Gary Shriver's Foxes Notes column from the June 21, 1987 edition of the Post-Crescent covers the details. It is also this week's Friday Flashback.
Plus, later in the column, discover a lost member of the Appleton Baseball Honor Roll.

There's JJ

Ex-Rattler JJ Putz ('00) has signed with the Chicago White Sox.
Check off 'Add a significant bullpen arm' from the Hot Stove list of things to do for White Sox general manager Ken Williams.

One year to the Dec. 11 date of J.J. Putz being part of a three-team deal involving the Mariners, Indians and Mets, sending him from Seattle to New York, the right-hander agreed to terms with the White Sox on a one-year, $3-million contract, with up to $3 million in incentives for games finished. Putz, who turns 33 in February, is 23-19 with a 3.24 ERA, 103 saves and 356 strikeouts covering 337 career relief appearances and 352 1/3 innings pitched over seven Major League seasons.

Putz figures to take over Octavio Dotel's role as part of the late-inning setup crew, but when healthy, he also gives the White Sox yet another option to close behind Bobby Jenks.
It should be mentioned that one of JJ's Timber Rattlers teammate in 2000 was Matt Thornton. The two are teammates with the White Sox now.

The #2 deal

Big League Stew rates Tampa's pick up of Rafael Soriano ('00) as the #2 deal of the Winter Meetings.
Rays' general manager Andrew Friedman turned depth at second base — Akinori Iwamura(notes) — into [Jesse] Chavez, who came from the Pirates. Friedman settles his team's closer issue with Soriano, who was one of the best in the majors last season. Atlanta gets something for Soriano, a player they weren't expecting back but surprised them by accepting arbitration.
He also rates the two moves by the Brewers at #6 & #7.

Rule #5

The only player with a tie to the Timber Rattlers involved in the Rule 5 Draft yesterday was taken in the Triple A portion of the, um, Rule 5 Draft.
Later in the Triple-A Phase of the Draft, the Mets picked 27–year-old 1B Marshall Hubbard, who had been stuck in Double-A the last four seasons.
Hubbard, a Rattler in 2005, has been stuck at Double-A for -- technically -- the last 3-1/2 years. A half season in San Antonio in 2006 and the last three years at West Tennessee. He had a pair of 5-hit games with the Rattlers in '05 and was the everyday first baseman during that near-championship season.

I have a feeling that he will get a shot with Buffalo, the Mets International League affiliate, in 2010.

Beloit's turn

Bowling Green introduces the Beloit Snappers to their fanbase.
Beloit seems to be a rarity in the Midwest League in that it had just one team in one league for one season before the Midwest League arrived. That team played in the Wisconsin Association in 1905; after that, baseball was gone until the Midwest League placed an expansion franchise into brand-new Pohlman Field for the 1982 season.
More at the link.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 10, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Lara 13 @Zulia 3

Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-3, 2 RUNS, 3RBI
Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch hitter 1-for-1

Gerardo Avila ('08): 0-for-4
Luis Oliveros ('02): 0-for-3

Caracas 5 @Aragua 2

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-2

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Licey 4 @Escogido 1 (12 innings)

Jorge Sosa ('01): 5IP, 5H, 0R, 5BB, K

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Caguas 9 @Arecibo 4

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 1-for-4

Carolina 11 @Mayaguez 8

Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, 2RBI


Premier Episode

It's called The Offseason. It stars Fang and the front office crew. The credits may be a bit familiar.

Also from the 2000 starting rotation

Rafael Soriano ('00) is now (almost) with the Tampa Bay Rays.
At the end of the third day of meetings, exchanging phone calls and texts, the Rays appear to have acquired the much-needed piece for their bullpen in closer Rafael Soriano.

According to SI.com, the Rays agreed to trade right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Braves for Soriano. The completion of the deal is pending on medical evaluations and is expected to be announced Thursday, the final day of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

Soriano, 29, converted 27 out of 31 save opportunities for the Braves in 2009 while posting a 1-6 mark with a 2.97 ERA in 77 games. Perhaps most impressive from the 29-year-old right-hander's 2009 resume were his 102 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. Soriano has an 8-18 record with a 2.92 ERA and 43 saves in 278 career appearances with Seattle and Atlanta.

Soriano accepted the Braves' arbitration offer on Monday, which foiled the idea of the team receiving 2010 First-Year Player Draft pick compensation for Soriano, who was classified as a Type A free agent. Soriano will make at least $6.5 million via the non-guaranteed one-year contract he secured when he accepted arbitration and erased the possibility for the Braves of gaining two Draft picks with his departure.
The above story was posted on the Rays' Website at 5:50am EST. This St. Petersburg Times story from last night has a few more details.
So Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman and Braves GM Frank Wren are on this elevator together …

When they walked off Wednesday evening, they went to the Scout of the Year dinner. But they kept talking and by the end of the night, the Rays were set to acquire RHP Rafael Soriano, putting a legitimate closer at the back end of their bullpen.

Soriano, who turns 30 on Dec. 19, saved 27 games in 31 chances last season with a 2.97 ERA, and did so powerfully, striking out 102 (and walking 27) in 752/3 innings.

The deal, which required considerable negotiation, could be completed today pending a standard medical review.

The Rays would pay all of Soriano's salary — which could exceed $7-million and push their payroll toward $70-million — and send reliever Jesse Chavez, acquired last month from Pittsburgh for Akinori Iwamura, to Atlanta.
Remind me. How did Soriano wind up with Atlanta?
He came up with and pitched parts of five seasons with the Mariners, then, after being traded in Dec. 2006 for Horacio Ramirez...
Oh. Right.

Wither JJ?

A couple of stories from a couple of sources on JJ Putz ('00).

First, MLB Trade Rumors
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times said the White Sox were closing in on a deal with free agent reliever J.J. Putz, perhaps encouraging Putz's friend Matt Thornton to leverage their bromance as a recruiting tool. Today, Williams implied that leaks of the team's interest affected the possible deal. Cowley thinks they'll still get it done:

The Sox might have to up the ante a bit, but Putz wants to pitch on the South Side and there is still a deal close to happening.

Bromance? Does this guy write for TMZ, too?

An update on that post -- free of terms that I need to look up at Urban Dictionary -- has an update from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Sox general manager Ken Williams indicated Wednesday that the pace of the negotiations changed after the news of a possible deal went public.

The White Sox evidently believe that rival clubs stepped up their interest in Putz only after seeing the report. Other sources suggest that those clubs were preparing to enter the process, anyway.

Then, there is this from Bruce Levine of the Worldwide Leader (Chicago Division):

Rehabbing right-handed pitcher J.J. Putz will throw in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Wednesday for a number of teams, including the Chicago Cubs.

Putz will throw again Friday, according to a Cubs source.

Agent Craig Landis said Putz will be shut down after that until early January.

Putz also is seriously being considered by the Chicago White Sox.

Upwards of 12 teams will have looked at Putz, who ideally could be a primary set-up man or a closer if he's able to become 100 percent healthy again.

For the record, Putz and Thornton were both in the starting rotation of the Timber Rattlers in 2000.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of December 9, 2009

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Aragua 5 @Caracas 2

Renee Cortez ('03): 1.1IP, H, 2R, 2BB

LaGuaira 5 @Zulia 3

Gerardo Avila ('08): pinch hitter 0-for-1

@Magallanes 6, Lara 5

Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-4, RUN
Juan Ovalles ('04): .1IP, H, R

Caribes 2 @Margarita 0

Blake Ochoa ('08): defensive replacement

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Ponce 5, Aricebo 3

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 0-for-4
Rene Rivera ('03): 2-for-4, 2RBI


Look outside

Kent Brockman: Roads closed, pipes frozen, albinos...virtually invisible. The National Weather Service has upgraded Springfield's blizzard from "Winter Wonderland" to a "Class 3 Kill-Storm"!

Marge: I don't like the sound of that "class 3".

If you were planning on heading out to Time Warner Cable Field today...don't. It is still snowing outside and we may be looking at around 14" of snow in Northeastern Wisconsin.

The ballpark is closed today.

As for me...I need to find that episode on-line and get the graphic for the Class 3 Kill-Storm.

Kernels & Angels

If you have read any of Jeff Johnson's articles about the long-standing relationship between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and their parent club in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, you will -- perhaps -- remember that he is not a fan of the partnership.*

Get ready for a few more years of those articles.

Kernels, Angels continue love affair (PDC) thru 2012
In a manner of speaking you could call it a going-away present for Jack Roeder.

As expected, the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Los Angeles Angels met at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Indianapolis this week and hammered out a Player Development Contract extension. This one’s for another two years, through 2012.

“From the Kernels’ standpoint, we think the Angels are a very special organization,” said Roeder, the longtime Kernels general manager, who will retire after the 2010 season. “The fact that we’ve been together so long I think maybe shows what the Angels think about us, too.”

It’s been a mutual admiration society between the pair since they first became wed, so to speak, in 1993. The current PDC between the Kernels and Angels expires at the end of this coming season, but Roeder always said he expected the sides to discuss another extension at the Winter Meetings.
*-This takes nothing away from Jeff's coverage of the Kernels, which is excellent. It's just that anytime the Angels/Kernels thing comes up...it just...well, you kind of know where it's going.**

**-Notice how I didn't shrink that last footnote down? It was on purpose so that you didn't miss it.
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