Rattlers in the Caribbean

The teams for the 2010 Caribbean Series are set after Naranjeros de Hermosillo won the playoffs in Liga Mexico del Pacifico.

No ex-Rattlers on Hermosillo. But, there are alumn on the rosters of Caracas of Venenzuela, Mayaguez of Puerto Rico, and Escogido of the Dominican Republic.

The Series starts on Tuesday and is a six-day round robin format.
This year's Caribbean Series starts with the Puerto Rico team squaring off against the Dominican Republic in a matinee followed by the opening ceremony and matchup between Venezuela and Mexico on Tuesday night.

Venezuela and the Dominican Republic will meet on Feb. 4, in the third game of the round-robin for each team, and it's going to be a catfight. Venezuela, the reigning Caribbean Series champion, rolled through the 2009 tournament in Mexicali, Mexico, with a 5-1 record. Last year's team from the Dominican Republic finished in the bottom half of the standings along with Puerto Rico with a 2-4 record. Mexico finished the tourney at 3-3.
Those ex-Rattlers include:

Caracas: Carlos Maldonado ('98), Renee Cortes ('03)

Mayaguez: Wilfredo Quintana ('01), Mumba Rivera ('05), Johan Limonta ('06), Martin Maldonado ('09)

Escogido: Julio Mateo ('00), Wladimir Balentien ('04)

Hermosillo may not have any ex-Rattlers, but they do have former Brewers pitcher Elmer Dessens, former Brewers farmhand Ty Taubenheim, and current Brewers minor leaguer Trent Oeltjen.

Please note that the players above are based on the rather extensive rosters on-line. I am not sure who will be on the final rosters for the Series. But, Rattler Radio will have coverage of those Alumni playing down in Venezuela.


Vote for the Right Fielder

First, congratulations to Shin-Soo Choo ('02). He was selected by vote at the Timber Rattlers website as the center fielder on the Timber Rattlers 15th Anniversary Team.

Next up, there are three candidates for the right fielder on the team. They are:

Fernando Espino ('99)
TJ Bohn ('03)
Mike Wilson ('05)

Click the link for the cases made for each player. Then, vote in the poll over at the home page.

If you are an insider...

ESPN.com has something about Wily Peralta behind their Insider wall. The title of the article by Keith Law is Top 2011 Sleepers by organization.

If you go to that link you'll get the first paragraph and a list of the Top 100 Prospects from Law...and information on how to subscribe to their insider. Looking at that list...

Alcides Escobar is #54

Carlos Triunfel ('07) is #44

Brett Lawrie ('09) is at #47

Michael Saunders ('06) is #74

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 29, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas wins the Championship series. Looks like a former Rattlers catcher had a pretty good night in Game Seven.

Caracas 7 @Magallanes 2

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 4-for-5, 2 RUNS, 2B, 2RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez wins the Championship series 4-1.

Mayaguez 8 @Caguas 6 (11 innings)

Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-5
Martin Maldonado ('09): defensive replacement

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner, RUN


More Prospects

I'll let Jim Callis explain what Baseball America is doing before getting into any potential Rattler alumni or Brewers on The 32nd Team. I'll even leave in their link.
In 2003, we began a tradition of compiling all of the extra scouting reports that were written for the Prospect Handbook but didn't quite make it into the book. Sometimes trade acquisitions squeeze other prospects out of a Top 30, and sometimes we just change our minds. We called the group of extra players The 31st Team. Last year, as a premium for people who buy the Handbook directly from us, we included a supplement with a bonus prospect for each team. So that now functions as The 31st Team. But we still have leftover scouting reports, hence the creation of . . . The 32nd Team.

The inaugural edition of The 32nd team featured 17 players, several of whom graduated to the 2010 Prospect Handbook. The most notable was Mariners third baseman Alex Liddi, who led the minor leagues with a .345 batting average last season. This year's 32nd Team consists of 25 players. That brings the final count of Handbook-related scouting reports to 958: 30 for each team, 30 more in the bonus supplement, two Cuban defectors in the Appendix and this, The 32nd Team.
Now, for the ex-Rattlers on their list:

Nathan Adcock, rhp, Pirates
Born: Feb. 25, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Radcliff, Ky., 2006 (5th round). Signed by: Brian Williams (Mariners).
Adcock joined the Pirates in a seven-player deal last July, as Pittsburgh sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and received Adcock, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno and minor league righthanders Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic. The trade liberated Adcock from the hitter-friendly high Class A California League, but he didn't pitch any better after making a move to the Carolina League. The Pirates put Adcock on a strict pitch count after the trade because he occasionally had been bothered by elbow tenderness in 2008 and 2009. He can dial his fastball up to 94 mph, though it normally sits at 88-92. He has smooth mechanics and could throw harder if he adds strength. He also has a hard curveball and changeup that both need refinement. To find success against more advanced hitters, he'll have to throw more strikes and locate his pitches better in the zone. Adcock needs to make a lot of strides if he's going to cut it as a starter, and he may project better as a reliever. He likely will begin 2010 in Double-A.

Efrain Nieves, lhp, Brewers
Born: Nov. 15, 1989. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Gurabo, P.R., 2007 (7th round). Signed by: Manolo Hernandez/Charlie Sullivan.
Nieves had his ups and downs when he got his first taste of full-season ball in 2009. He appeared a bit fatigued early in the season, perhaps from pitching in winter ball. He lost the feel for his curveball and changeup, making him a one-pitch pitcher in many outings. That proved to be a problem because he can't overpower hitters with a fastball that sits at 88-91 mph. Nieves must rely on command and mixing his pitches. His changeup may be his most reliable pitch, and he also throws a curveball and a slider. He pitched well for Puerto Rico at the World Cup in September, showing good poise for a teenager. Nieves must continue to work on hitting his spots to prove he can be a starter at the top level. Otherwise, he might have to settle for being a lefthanded specialist out of the bullpen. He'll spend 2010 at high Class A Brevard County.

Adcock played with the Rattlers in '07 and '08. Nieves was a Rattler last season.

My Big Brewers Blog Book

Duk at Big League Stew has put together a series of links to follow the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2010 season. He calls it a blog book. It is not all-inclusive, but there are some familiar names.

Call off the season

Baseball Prospectus has it all figured out*.

Follow the link to see what a series of computer simulations has discovered for the records of the teams in MLB for the 2010 season.

To take a little suspense out of the click, the computer has the Brewers finishing Tied for 4th with the Astros in the NL Central.

*-Kidding. These projections provide a baseline for future performance.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 28, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 6 @Magallanes 3

Carlos Malldonado ('98): 1-for-4, RUN, 2RBI, HR #5

The best-of-seven LVBP Finals are tied at three wins each

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Escogido 5 @Gigantes 2

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #2

The best-of-nine LBD Finals are tied at four wins each

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Caguas 9 @Mayaguez 2

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-2, RUN, 2 BBs
Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-3

Mayaguez leads the best-of-seven LBPPR finals 3-1


A list! A Top 50 List!

MiLB.com has released their Top 50 Prospects for the 2010 season.

# of Brewers minor leaguers on the list = 2

# of ex-Rattlers on the list = 2

The Brewers are Alcides Escobar and Brett Lawrie

The ex-Rattlers are Lawrie ('09) and Phillippe Aumont ('08)

Escobar is #12, Lawrie is #26, and Aumont is #47.

The links should take you right to the page with their highlights and vitals. The guys like Aumont because he is 'Big, Tall, AND DANGEROUS!!"

As a warning, if you click any of the links, you should see that player, but if you hang around for a short period of time, an autoplayer kicks in and the show starts over at #50.

Episode Seven: "The Offseason"

It has something to do with walkup music. I think. I just glanced at it because I am running late today.

New head Kernel

The Cedar Rapids Kernels have a new president.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels announced Wednesday that Tom Barbee has resigned as president of the club’s board of directors and is being replaced by longtime board member Gary Keoppel.

Barbee led the Kernels for six years. He cited a “busy schedule, including increasing travel demands,” as his reasons for stepping down.

“Walking through the stadium throughout the summer, meeting the fans and listening to what they have to say, has been and will remain a wonderful experience,” he said.

Under his sted, the Kernels were honored with Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson Award in 2008, as MiLB’s top organization. Keoppel has served the Kernels as club vice president and president of the Kernels Foundation.
So, it's not like they have to get someone else up to speed in the next 10 weeks.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 27, 2010

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 4, Gigantes 3 (11 innings)

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez 3 @Caguas 2 (14 innings)

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-5, RBI
Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-2

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner


Construction Photos: Skeleton in the visitor bullpen

Since most of these photos lately have been of the deck, the new bullpen area, and the old home bullpen, let's turn our attention to the old visitor bullpen.

This one is taken from where the mounds were. The skeleton in there is for the 'All You Can Eat' section.

Here is the view from the front row of Section 112.

From field level.

This is the view from the front row of Section 116.

As always, click for a larger image.

We'll be there (UPDATED)

The Timber Rattlers will be at Brewers On Deck with a booth, bobbleheads, and ticket specials.

I'll have more details later today and update this post with that information.

For those of you unfamiliar with Brewers On Deck it is...
set for Sunday, January 31 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Brewers On Deck is the annual winter fan festival that sets the winter fires of Wisconsin roaring toward the warm breezes of Spring Training in Arizona.

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. Autographs and photos from Brewers players and coaches, interactive games in the Kids Area, Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters, the latest Brewers merchandise-including 40th Anniversary logo apparel-and many other features will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
Again, we'll be there...and by we, I mean other people from the front office and Fang. Not me. It's a group effort.


Here is the link.

The main details:
The Timber Rattlers will be offering ticket deals for attendees of the event. Fans can receive either a bobblehead from the Rehab Series or co-branded Timber Ratters/Brewers hats with a purchase of the On Deck ticket specials. Select team merchandise, including various popular co-branded items, will also be available at the table.
See you there.

The headline is a little jarring

From the Beloit Daily News

Snappers salute Scarpetta

See what I mean about jarring? But, it's okay.
Hononegah High School senior Ryan Scarpetta is the Beloit Snappers 2009 Player of the Year.

Scarpetta will be presented with the award at the Snappers’ annual Hot Stove Banquet on Feb. 1, which will be held at the Country Club of Beloit.

Scarpetta has played varsity baseball since his freshman year at Hononegah and last fall signed an NCAA letter-of-intent to play baseball at Valparaiso University.
This is Cody Scarpetta's cousin.

Hit in 45 straight games...

Get a bobblehead.

At the bottom of this story about former Rattlers manager Jim Horner returning to manage High Desert for the third straight season, there is this...
Mavericks general manager Tim Altier said the team plans on having a bobblehead day for Jamie McOwen, who broke the California League record with his 45-game hitting streak in 2009.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out for McOwen ('07).

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 26, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Magallanes 3 @Caracas 0

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-1, 2 BBs

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 5, Caguas 4

Wilfredo Quintana ('01): 0-for-1

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner


We are social creatures

Just wanted to remind everyone about the Timber Rattlers on Twitter. There are around 570 followers.

The team now has a facebook page that has been split off from Fang's facebook page.

So, you can now be a fan of the Timber Rattlers and a friend of Fang...ad if you're not already.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 25, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 10, Magallanes 7 (10 innings)

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-4

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Gigantes 2, Escogido 0

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez 7 @Caguas 6 (10 innings)

Johan Limonta ('06): 3-for-4
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-3
Wilfredo Quintana ('01): pinch hitter, BB, RUN

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner, RUN


These will be clear later (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Just head over to Mehring Monday (Titled Mad Men) for the reason these were posted today. The first few paragraphs:

The title of this column is has little to do with the TV series on AMC. There is is no smoking or drinking at Sterling Cooper today, just a decidedly retro feel that is left over from the old program ads at Rattler Radio. that were posted earlier today.

The post was titled These will be clear later. I meant that a couple of ways. The first has a little to do with the ads themselves. Who were some of the Foxes sponsors at that time? What is interesting about these graphics? I wasn't planning to go full Lileks on them (like he's doing with the 1934 Sears Catalog) but maybe just point out a few things.

The second gives me a jumping off point into the column for today. This is a tough column to write, because I need to ask for something while I am also trying to entertain and inform. So, please just bear with it to the end.
Original post below...

Click each page for a larger image. There will be a link to somewhere else later. There may be a comment or two right here later as well. But, right now, enjoy the vintage goodness of some old program ads of the Appleton Foxes. A few have been posted here at an earlier time. The top two -- from the 1969 program -- are new to the blog. The middle one is from 1977. The page with the soon-to-be-Miss America Terry Meeuwsen singing the National Anthem is from 1973. The last page is from the 1970 program.

Alumni with the Giants

This was out a few weeks ago, but I just found it now. The San Francisco Giants announced the staffs of their minor league affiliates and there three Appleton Baseball Alums that I found on the list.

Mike Goff, the first manager in Timber Rattlers history, is back for his second year as the manager of the Giants team in the Arizona League.

Pat Rice, the first Timber Rattlers pitching coach, is back for his second year as the pitching coach of the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants.

Russ Morman, who managed the Kane County Cougars in 2000 and 2001, is the hitting coach at Double-A Richmond. Morman played for the Appleton Foxes in 1984.

Brewers fans should take note that Tom Trebelhorn is back to managing Salem-Keizer, the Northwest League affiliate of the Giants for 2010 as well.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 24, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 5, Magallanes 3

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 5, Gigantes 4

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 0-for-2, RUN, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez 5 @Arecibo 2 (completion of suspended game)

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


Don't be ridiculous

I think that Balki Bartokomous should make a special trip down to a certain Orlando TV station.

Rumor of Brewers' relocation 'ridiculous'
Team official denies reports by Orlando television station
A report from an Orlando, Fla., television station that the Brewers could someday move to central Florida is "ridiculous," the team's chief spokesperson said Saturday.

The story from WFTV said Armando Gutierrez, a Florida real-estate developer who is running for Congress, is assembling a group of investors to begin discussions about luring a Major League franchise to Orlando. Gutierrez did not specifically mention the Brewers as a target, but WFTV reporter Mark Boyle did, speculating that "one team that could possibly relocate is the Milwaukee Brewers."

Brewers vice president of communications Tyler Barnes said that speculation is false.

"The reporter or whoever else is putting that out there should do his homework," Barnes said. "It's irresponsible. We just finished ninth in attendance, we have one of the best ballparks in baseball and an owner who is totally committed to the [Milwaukee] area.

"That report is beyond hilarious. I needed a good laugh today, and I got it."
This reminds be of the reaction we -- the Timber Rattlers front office -- had to that one Ballpark Digest report that has been immortalized at the blog.

Pineiro in LA

From The Fabulous Forum blog at the LA Times there is this bit about former Timber Rattlers pitcher Joel Pineiro ('98).

Pineiro trusts in his sinker, and in the Angels

Joel Pineiro's career statistics could make fans wonder whether the Angels paid for a career year. The Angels completed their rotation by signing Pineiro for two years and $16 million, after a season in which he went 15-12 for the St. Louis Cardinals, pitching a career-high 214 innings with a 3.49 earned-run average.

His ERAs in the previous five seasons: 5.15, 4.33, 6.36, 5.62, 4.67.

Pineiro believes he can repeat his success, thanks to a simple request from St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan last spring.

"The only big difference is, I throw my sinker most of the time," Pineiro said. "I throw my sinker 95% of the time and I get early-count outs. Everybody knows I'm not going to go out there and strike out 300 people.

"Duncan has all his guys throwing sinkers. He just said, 'I want you to trust it and throw it.' "

Sad Alumni News

From the Baltimore Sun:

Ex-Oriole Motton dies at 69
Though he often was out of lineup, power hitter 'would light up a room'

Curt Motton's timing when it came to hitting some of the American League's top pitchers was under his control. When he played, and how much, was not.

Motton, who died Thursday at age 69 after a year-long battle with stomach cancer, had the good fortune of playing with the Orioles when they were the league's most dominant team.

It was also his misfortune, considering that Motton could never break into an outfield that featured Paul Blair, Frank Robinson and Don Buford.

"[Orioles manager] Earl Weaver loved guys like Curt Motton because he knew what he was going to get," Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer recalled Friday. "Guys like Curt made us more of a complete team."

Like many who knew Motton, Palmer said what he remembered most was Motton's engaging personality.
Motton played 44 games for the Fox Cities Foxes in 1965. He hit six homers in those games.

Motton would be in the major leagues in 1967 and played (briefly) for the Brewers in 1972. Click the link up top for the story.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 23, 2010

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Gigantes 3 , Escogido 2

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Caguas 5, Carolina 4

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner

Mayaguez 3 @Arecibo 0 (suspended after 4 innings)

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-2


He was? Really?

I received an odd e-mail...Yes, another one.

This one was requesting a photograph of Jack Zduriencik in a Foxes uniform from 1974.

I was not alone in being taken aback. Jack Z? The GM of the Mariners? Played for the Foxes?

To the internet and Baseball Reference!

Jack Z was an Appleton Fox for seven games in '73 and went 1-for-15. In '74, he played 11 games and was 2-for-29. It looks like his playing career ended after his last game with the Foxes.

He is not on the 1973 or 1974 team photo. He might be in the 1974 program, but that is one of the Foxes programs we don't have in our archives.

Please, take a look around your collections, Appleton baseball fans. Get in touch with me if you find anything.

The interesting case of Grant Desme

Grant Desme hit .274 with 11 homers with Kane County before getting promoted to Advanced-A in the Oakland system. Then, he hit 11 homers in the Arizona Fall League and put himself on the radar as pretty good prospect in the Oakland system. Now, with Spring Training near, Desme has a different Opening Day in mind.
Grant Desme knew there was a higher ground even when he was playing for the low-Class A Kane County Cougars.

The 23-year-old outfielder announced his retirement from professional baseball Friday.

He is joining the priesthood.

...Desme informed A's general manager Billy Beane of his decision Thursday.

''Coming at him with this out of the blue was a shock,'' Desme said Friday. ''It knocked him off his horse a bit. But he was very supportive and understanding, which I appreciate.''

Desme led the Arizona Fall League with 11 home runs and was named the MVP.

He decided to enroll in the Catholic seminary St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, Calif., after the fall league concluded. His final game was in the league championship Nov. 21.

''I knew it was a good chance of being the last baseball game I would play,'' Desme said, ''which was ironic considering I hit a home run and proceeded to strike out twice. That defined my career. There was no sad feeling.''

Desme visited the abbey and checked out the way of life.

''I let it sink in for a week or two,'' said Desme, who was born Catholic in Bakersfield, Calif. ''I talked to quite a few different priests and my family about the desire I was having. I kept this to myself in the baseball community. I decided I was going to apply. They sped up the process to accept me. Its about a 10-year process of studying and formation. In comparison, I'm re-entering the minor leagues.''


When Desme played for the Cougars, he relied on spiritual material to pass time on the tedious Midwest League bus trips.
I've thought of becoming a lot of things while staring out the window of that bus. Father Mehring was never one of them. Tedium or no.

Enough flippancy. When He calls, you answer. Best of luck to a young man who seems to have his priorities in order.

Please come to Boston

According to this post at BaseballAmerica.com, Jorge Sosa ('01) has signed with the Boston Red Sox.

Sosa has been in the majors with the following teams: Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, New York (AL), and Washington. He has been in the minor with the following organizations: Colorado, Seattle (Twice), and Houston.

Well-traveled Jorge Sosa.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 22, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Magallanes 12, Caracas 10

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS, 2RBI, HR #4

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Carolina 6, Caguas 4

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner

@Arecibo 3, Mayaguez 2 (Game one)

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-3
Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-2

Arecibo 4 @Mayaguez 0 (Game two; 9 inn)

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): pinch hitter, 1-for-1, RUN, RBI
Rene Rivera ('03): 0-for-2

Limonta ('06): 0-for-4
Wilfredo Quintana ('01): pinch hitter, 0-for-1


Goodland Field Photo (UPDATE w/ Link)

Goodland Field (circa 1993) Courtesy of Marketplace Magazine. Click for a larger image.

This will be important for Flashback Friday today.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 21, 2010

Just to update you on where the Winter Leagues are at on their season:

In Venezuela, they have reached the Championship Series and Game One was last night.

In the Domincan Republic, they are also in the Championship Series -- which makes that Jose Offerman incident all the more weird -- and Game Four was last night.

In Puerto Rico, they are down to the Final Four. Which makes a doubleheader for games three and four really odd, but it got Mayaguez up 3-1 in that series. The other semifinal in Puerto Rico is tied at two wins each.

The Caribbean Series starts February 2! Now, to the updates!

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Magallanes 9, Caracas 0

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

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 3, Gigantes 2

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez @Arecibo 1 (Game One)

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, RUN
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-2

Rene Rivera ('03): 0-for-2

@Mayaguez 3, Arecibo 2 (Game Two)

Limonta: 1-for-3

Efrain Nieves ('09): 2.2IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 5K


Construction Photos for 1/21/10

I wasn't going to take pictures today, but anytime a big truck is on the warning track, I am obligated to have the camera at the ready. As always, click for a larger version.

Here is a shot as you may have seen it driving by the ballpark on 41 today.

Here is what it looks like from the front row of Section 115.

A view from the patio seats section.

And from section 111.

That first picture from up top was taken from the newly completed (at least to the end of the Home Run Porch) walkway.
This is the view looking back the other way.

This isn't a new construction shot, but I liked it. That is Roar of the Crowd, from that promotion we ran with the PAC for The Lion King a few years ago.

Pineiro to LA

Joel Pineiro, a member of the 1998 Timber Rattlers starting rotation, was a free agent. He is about to be a Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim.
The Angels moved closer toward filling the vacant spot in their rotation Wednesday, agreeing in principle to a deal with free agent Joel Pineiro.

But with the 31-year-old right-hander needing to pass a physical before any contract can be signed, both sides were being coy with the news.

General Manager Tony Reagins did not return calls, leaving it to Angels Vice President Tim Mead to issue a statement saying the team continues "to look at options to improve our club."

Pineiro's agent, Adam Katz, was equally vague.

"I have no comment," he said.

However, the New York Mets, who were also in the bidding for Pineiro, weren't so guarded, saying that Pineiro's representatives had informed them he was declining their offer to accept one from the Angels, reportedly for $16 million over two years.
The members of the starting rotation for the 1998 Timber Rattlers: Pineiro, Gil Meche, Allan Simpson, Brandon Parker, and uber-Prospect Ryan Anderson. Pineiro, Meche, and Simpson all made the Big leagues.

Additionally, the '98 Rattlers pitching staff holds the Midwest League Record for strikeouts in a season with 1,274 in 138 games.

Win Shares

Alex Remmington has been writing a series of posts about certain "new" stats over at Big League Stew. Today, he tackles Win Shares.

What Win Shares Means: Win Shares was first advanced in a book of the same name that Bill James wrote in 2002. It's an extension of an older stat of his called Runs Created that tries to measure the number of runs that a hitter has put on a scoreboard. (The earliest version of Runs Created was simply the product of OPS x Total Bases. Recent versions take many more offensive outcomes into consideration, including baserunning.)

Win Shares attempts to measure how many wins a hitter or pitcher has personally notched for his team in the standings. Unlike other new-school stats, Win Shares look quite explicitly at the standings: A 90-win team has more Win Shares to allocate than an 80-win team.

Win Shares are defined as 1/3 of a win — three Win Shares are equal to one team win. Why three? Well, the number is arbitrary. Since Win Shares are only whole integer values, James wanted to pick a number that was neither too small, so as not to lose a great deal of information in rounding, nor too big, because the estimators in Win Shares weren't precise enough to differentiate between 1/10 of a win and 2/10 of a win.

Much more at the post to help expand your mind.

Does it really need to be topped?

Apparently, the West Michigan Whitecaps didn't get enough publicity with the Fifth Third Burger last season.

Now, they're asking for food ideas from fans.
The West Michigan Whitecaps have always been known for serving some unique food items at their concessions stands (Deep Fried Twinkies, anyone?), and now, they're asking the public for help.

The Whitecaps are soliciting original ideas for new food items to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark this season. Starting Wednesday, January 20, fans can submit online their ideas and thoughts regarding what new food items they would like to see served at Fifth Third Ballpark this summer.
Here are some of the items they have served in the past:
Deep-Fried Twinkies, Caesar Salads, Deep-Fried Pepsi, Apple Cider Floats and the Fifth Third Burger, which garnered international attention with its debut last season and will remain on the menu in 2010.
The first two times I read that list I added the phrase Deep-Fried before Caesar Salads....Hmmmmm...I think I have my submission for the Whitecaps.

I just need to work out the details of the Deep-Fried Caesar Salad.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 20, 2010

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Escogido 13 @Gigantes 4

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 3-for-5, 2 RUNS, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Caguas 2 @Carolina 1 (10 innings)

Osawldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner

Arecibo 6 @Mayaguez 0

Rene Rivera ('03): 1-for-2, 2B, RBI

Johan Limonta ('06): 0-for-4
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-4


Construction Update

The weather has finally broken to allow the construction crew to get going on the projects around the ballpark. It has also broken enough for a photographer to get out there and get some pictures. Click the pix for a larger image.

These first two pictures are of the extension of the walkway to the home run porch. This extension will eventually wind up behind the new bullpens.

These next two photos are of the work going on in the old home bullpen. They are digging the footings in for the new seating area.

Not forgotten

The Red Smith Banquet was last night. For those of you not from the area it is a big event that raises scholarship money for local high school athletes. Last night, the award winners were Donald Driver and Whitey Herzog. Jay Bilas was the guest speaker.

There is a photo gallery here. Pay particular attention to photos 23, 27, and 28. I won't post them here, because I like my job.

One of the awards given out last night as called "The Forgotten Man". That award went to someone with Timber Rattlers ties.
[John] Wollner, a visionary who pushed for the construction of the highly successful Time Warner Cable Field and Fox Cities Stadium, was honored with the "Forgotten Man" award.
While Wollner never wore an Appleton Foxes or Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball uniform or carried his glove to the old Goodland Field or Fox Cities Stadium, he was a most valuable player for several seasons.

Wollner was president of the Fox Cities Baseball Club Inc., from 1994 to 1997.

At one point, the old Foxes had to borrow $80,000 to pay off debts from the 1993 season. Attendance dipped at Goodland Field. Renovations were needed to keep the team in town.

"The options were to build a new stadium or to sell the team," Wollner recalled. "Obviously, we didn't want to lose the team. It was pretty serious back then."

The rest of the story is local baseball history.
There are some stories in the archives about the early days of the stadium. Looks like this week's Flashback Friday is going to be from 1994 or 1995.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 19, 2010

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Gigantes 1 @Escogido 0

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 1-for-4
Aquilino Lopez ('00): 6IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 2K, WIN #1

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Caguas 2, Carolina 1 (10 innings)

Oswaldo Navarro ('05): pinch runner, 0-for-1, RUN

Mayaguez 8 @Arecibo 4

Johan Limonta ('06): 2-for-5, RUN, RBI
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-4, RUN

Rene Rivera ('03): 0-for-4, RUN


Back to Miller Park

Rattlers! Kernels! Miller Park! May 7!
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are heading back to the home of their parent club. The Class 'A' affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers will host the Cedar Rapids Kernels in a Midwest League game at Miller Park on Friday, May 7 at 7:05pm.
Tickets will be available at the Brewers Ticket office. They will announce the day that the tickets go on sale for the game.

Interrogation Room w/ Cody Scarpetta

Here's the link to the full Q & A. But, first, a taste.

Q. Your 2009 season ended with a promotion to Huntsville in the Southern League and a start against Jacksonville . Just looking at the stats from that game, it shows 5IP, 5H, 3R, a walk, and a strikeout with all three of the Suns runs scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning. How did you think you pitched in your first game above the Midwest League level?

A. I thought I pitched pretty well. It was definitely a big change in a sense where the hitters were more advanced and patient. I kind of ran out of gas in the 5th. I hadn't pitched in a game for a week and it was a hot, day game. I tried to stay on the same routine as what Chris Hook and I did throughout the year and go out there and make pitches. I had a great time there and hope to be there again soon.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 18, 2010

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Gigantes 2, Escogido 1

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 2-for-4

A slight delay

Good morning, all.

Tuesday is Staff meeting day at the ballpark and it starts in a few minutes. I would have the normal day of posting up by now, but I got caught up in watching a marathon of The Unit.

So, running a little late this morning.

The posting will be up later this morning...Along with a special announcement that will be along soon.


Record Collection

A Mehring Monday about how hard it is to work on history projects?

Sorry about that.

Schedule for posts on the main site

Starting this week, there will be a slight shuffle in the lineup of posts over at the main Timber Rattlers website.

The Interrogation Room
is moving to Tuesdays and the lineup will look like this:

MON: Mehring Monday
TUE: The Interrogation Room
WED*: 15th Anniversary Team
THU: The Offseason
FRI: Flashback Friday

Adjust your DVR's accordingly.

To kick off the new schedule, Cody Scarpetta will step into The Interrogation Room tomorrow. Right now, I have to finish up Mehring Monday.

*-Every other Wednesday

I tried to get $30 million to move The Interrogation Room from Thursday to Tuesday, but that didn't go over as well as I had hoped.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 17, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 6 @Magallanes 3

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


And as an add-on to that last post

Brewers extend Spring Training invites
The Brewers have extended Major League Spring Training invites to seven non-roster players -- right-handers Eric Arnett and Kyle Heckathorn, left-hander Zach Braddock, catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, and outfielder Logan Schafer.
Arnett and Heckathorn were drafted last year by the Brewers. Maldonado played a few games for the Timber Rattlers last season.


From the Newark (OH) Advocate there is this:

WM grad ready for Brewers spring training
PATASKALA -- Eric Arnett got on a plane early this morning, heading to Phoenix to prepare for spring training.

Before leaving Ohio, he made sure to leave with a memorable moment.

The Watkins Memorial graduate and first-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers was honored at the high school Saturday, as his No. 22 jersey was retired at a dinner that honored his career.

"This means a lot," Arnett said. "When you get a chance to come home and soak some things in, it's pretty special. This is a great experience.

"(Having the jersey retired) is something I never thought would happen. It means a lot to me."

Arnett finished off an impressive senior season at Indiana this past spring and was then selected with the 26th pick in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
No mention of where Arnett may wind up to start the 2010 season...But, we are kind of pulling for a certain place in the Midwest League.
Arnett will start with the Brewers in spring training, getting a chance to work with the MLB team for an extended period.

From there, the Brewers will designate him to the minor leagues, but Arnett is hoping to take advantage of his time this spring.

"It will be big just to watch how the players prepare and what they do," Arnett said. "That will be really beneficial. You can learn a lot from their work ethic."

This deserves its own post

Licey v. Gigantes involved some ex-Rattlers. It also involved this:
Jose Offerman, a former major-league All-Star, threw a punch at an umpire during an argument in a Dominican winter-league game Saturday night, the second time in 2 ½ years he has attacked someone on a baseball field.

Offerman, manager of the Licey Tigers, appeared to hit first-base umpire Daniel Rayburn in the face or neck with his fist during a heated discussion in a game against the Cibao Giants. Rayburn fell to the ground.

The 41-year-old Offerman, who spent part of the 2002 season with the Seattle Mariners, was taken to a police station to wait until the end of the game to see if Rayburn would press charges.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 16, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 6, La Guaira 4

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-3, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Escogido 4 @Toros 3

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

Gigantes 10 @Licey 6

Carlos Peguero ('07): 1-for-1, RUN
Jorge Sosa ('01): IP, 6H, 5R, BB, K, Loss


Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 15, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Zulia 8, Caracas 7

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

Wilfredo Quintana ('01): pinch runner
Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-5
Renee Cortez ('03): 0.0IP, 2H, R, BB

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 10, Gigantes 1

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS


Flash is the Flashback

That's Tom Gordon in an Appleton Foxes uniform from some time in the 1988 season. This week's Flashback Friday is about two amazing games (May 16 & May 22) for Flash. He struck out 16 in one start and 19 in his next start.

Go read and be amazed.

We all have our windmills

Everybody has that one topic that make them rage at the unfairness of it all.

Well, not me...I have several.

But, nothing gets Jeff Johnson from the Cedar Rapids Gazette going with a full head of steam like the Kernels-Angels partnership.
OK, we get it, Cedar Rapids Kernels. You like the Los Angeles Angels.

No, you absolutely LOVE the Los Angeles Angels. This is a bro-mance of the strongest kind.

The Kernels recently renewed yet again their Player Development Contract with the Angels, extending the Midwest League’s longest marriage. The Kernels’ PR machine has cranked out more and more press releases on the Angels in the past few months.

Then there’s the upcoming Hot Stove Banquet. Former big leaguer Bobby Grich is the featured speaker. Oh, yeah, he used to play for the Angels.

Two of four members of the club’s 2010 Hall of Fame class are Angels: second baseman Howie Kendrick and GM/former minor-league head Tony Reagins. Enough already, Kernels. No matter how hard you try, Cedar Rapids will never be an Angels town. Not now, not ever.

Terrific organization, but very few around these parts care about it.

The fact that you are inducting Reagins and Kendrick into your Hall of Fame ahead of some very obvious omissions is laughable. Not nearly as laughable as Shawn Wooten going in in 2002, but that’s another blog post for another time ….
Read on for some omissions and for all the members of the Cedar Rapids Kernels Hall of Fame.

Let me be clear...Jeff is a very good writer and it is always a treat to talk to him when the Rattlers are in Cedar Rapids. In fact, he just helped me with a little research project on why a 1960's Foxes game in Cedar Rapids was postponed...(Football...Canadian Football was involved).

That's why I am using the 'mehring the jerk' tag on this post.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 14, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Caracas 7 @Zulia 1

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-3, RUN, HR #3, 3 RBI
Renee Cortez ('03): IP, 0H, 0R

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

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Licey 7, Escogido 5

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 3-for-4, RUN, RBI


Next subject in

Brock Kjeldgaard talks about his off-season, the World Cup of Baseball, playing the outfield, and Olympic Hockey.

Vote for the Center fielder

I don't know which of the candidates for the 15th Anniversary centerfielder should receive my vote. All four candidates are more than worthy.

They are:

Jamal Strong ('01)
Shin-soo Choo ('02)
Gary Harris ('03)
Wladimir Balentien ('04)

Strong put up great numbers in a short amount of time.
Choo was a personal favorite and had the most potential.
Harris probably played the best defense of the four.
Balentien had the most homers.

Also, congratulations to Juan Silvestre ('99). He won the left field vote by a wide margin. The 15th Anniversary team looks like this:

Catcher - John Castellano - 2001 - 48%
First Base - David Arias - 1996 - 80%
Second Base - Pedro Liriano - 2001 - 41%
Third Base - Bo Robinson - 1999 - 71%
Shortstop - Adam Jones - 2004 - 44%
Left Field - Juan Silvestre - 1999 - 65%

The % is the percentage of the vote received by the winner.

The Offseason: Episode 5

Am I giving anything away when I mention that you should be ready for BadgerBadgerBadgerBadger and a snake driving a snowplow?

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 13, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Magallanes 4 @Zulia 3

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

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Escogido 3, Licey 1

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 1-for-3, RUN, 2B, RBI

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Caguas 8, Mayaguez 3

Wilfredo Quintana ('01): 1-for-3, RUN
Martin MAldonado ('09): 1-for-4, 2B


Two notes from the main website

Timber Rattlers announce host family program for 2010
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are in need of caring families, couples, or individuals in the Fox Cities to join their Host Family Program for the upcoming 2010 season. The goal of the program is to provide players - who range in age from to 18- to 23-years old - with pleasant and affordable housing during their stay in Appleton .
Now Hiring Game Day Staff For 2010
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are now accepting applications for 2010 Game Day Staff. If interested, please fill out the 2010 Game Day Staff Application and submit along with a cover letter through email to Mary Robinson at mrobinson@timberrattlers.com

Click each link for details.

Getting Healthy

Garrett Sherrill started the 2009m season with the Timber Rattlers. This story gets you caught up on what happened and where he is.
The 6-foot-5 substitute teacher has been a major hit with the kids in the Kannapolis school system, but they shouldn't grow too attached to him.

Most subs have never thrown a baseball 94 mph, but 22-year-old Garrett Sherrill has. His right elbow has recuperated, and he plans to report early to the Milwaukee Brewers' Spring Training camp in Arizona.

Sherrill — a three-sport star at A.L. Brown, a dynamic pitcher at Appalachian State and a 12th-round draft pick in 2008 — last trotted to the mound for an official pro game on May 6 as a member of the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

He tossed three scoreless innings in relief in his final outing and struck out three, but he also realized something wasn't right.

"My control was off and my velo (velocity) was way down — 84-85 — and that was it," Sherrill said. "I'm supposed to be 88 to 92 all the time and I like to think I can get 93 or 94 when I really need to. I wasn't feeling any sharp pain and I could have kept pitching through it, but I needed to know what was wrong and went to the coaches and trainers."

An MRI told the story. He was pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Usually when you read UCL, you read Tommy John surgery in the next sentence, but Sherrill and the Brewers looked at surgery as a last resort.

"They explained to me that with a partial tear of the UCL it comes down to the percentage it's torn," Sherrill said. "Above a certain percentage, it's surgery. Below a certain percentage, they'll let you try rehab."
Click for the whole story.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 12, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

@Caracas 7, Margarita 6

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

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

Mayaguez 3 @Caguas 1

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4, RUN, HR, RBI
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-3, RBI


That oughta get him ready

Jaguars alumni gather
About 20 former Port St. Lucie High baseball players braved blustery 40-degree weather in Under Armour and knit caps Sunday to take cuts at the school’s annual alumni game.

Even a couple foul balls off the handle in the cold couldn’t spoil the 1990s versus 2000s alumni showdown for the group that features seven players with professional experience.

“It says something about the type of players we have, they all come back,” said coach Tony Malizia. “During the course of the season at home games, it seems like three or four come back and sit in the dugout. It’s very enjoyable, especially being a coach and having the older guys come back after they’ve been out of school since ‘93, ‘94.”
The part of the story to which the title of the story refers has been bolded in the following excerpt.
Milwaukee Brewers prospect Damon Krestalude, a 2008 graduate who pitched the Jaguars into the state championship in 2007, threw an inning before he heads to Arizona on Saturday for the second session of the Brewers’ winter program.

A 17th round pick in the 2008 draft, Krestalude had a 3-4 record in nine starts and a 5.35 ERA for the Helena (Mont.) Brewers last season. He expects to start the upcoming season with the organization’s low-A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and hopes he’ll make it to Brevard County to play for the high-A Florida State League club in the near future.
40 degrees is nothing.

Rattler Alumni Report: Winter League Games of January 11, 2010

Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

Magallanes 10 @Caracas 2

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

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

@Gigantes 4, Escogido 3

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

@Licey 10, Toros 1

Jorge Sosa ('01): 6IP, 2H, 0R, 6K, WIN

Liga de Beisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico

@Mayaguez 5, Arecibo 4

Johan Limonta ('06): 1-for-4
Martin Maldonado ('09): Defensive replacement

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 1-for-4
Rene Rivera ('03): 1-for-4, RUN
Efrain Nieves ('09): 1.1IP, 3H, 2R, 2BB, 2K, LOSS


Mehring Monday on Food

Title of the column is Eat like a champion.

Enjoy...or should I say Bon Appetit?

A history of the Cactus League

MLB.com has a little something. Let's call it a primer before Spring Training starts.
Robert Brinton first sold the Cactus League program when he was 6 years old.

Fifty-eight years later, Brinton has bought into the program, too. As president of the Cactus League, he has watched the Arizona Spring Training league evolve into a baseball power that rivals its older East Coast counterpart, the Grapefruit League.

There will be 15 teams training in Florida's Grapefruit League when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 18, and with the recent arrival of the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, Ariz., 15 teams will now train in Arizona.

"We were down to seven teams in the early '90s and my vision was to see if we can get 10 teams here," said Brinton, who lives in Mesa. "To end up with 15 teams shows the hard work of many people working together over the years. It's been more successful than we could have ever dreamed."

The leagues have come a long way. The Cactus League started in 1946 with the Cleveland Indians in Tucson and the New York Giants in Phoenix. The Grapefruit League started in 1908 with an exhibition game between the Reds and the St. Petersburg Saints. The Chicago Cubs were the first team to train in Florida when they arrived in 1913.

When the Cubs became the third team in the Cactus League in 1952, Brinton was a boy who wanted to be ballplayer when he grew up. On game days, he camped outside of Rendezvous Park in Mesa to sell four-page black and white programs for 25 cents.
Much more at the link.
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