Rattlers Speakers Bureau

I have three speaking engagements over the next few days and this seems to be as good a time as any to remind you about the Timber Rattlers Speakers Bureau.

(And this gives me practice for spelling bureau...B-U-R-E-A-U...bureau)

If you would like a member of the Timber Rattlers front office to speak to your service club, school group, or organization, just e-mail me at: Rattlerradio@timberrattlers.com.

Let me know the time, date, and location and someone will head over to say hello, talk some Timber Rattlers baseball, and answer your questions.

A few transactions...

...and not the good ones.

Brewerfan.net is the only place that I have seen this so far.

Of the five minor league players released by Milwaukee, two had Timber Rattlers ties.

Catcher Derrick Alfonso was a Rattler very late in the season last year.

Pitcher Juan Sandoval was a Rattler back in 2003. I was a fan of Sandoval in his time with the Rattlers. I became an even bigger fan of his after he came back from a horrible incident in the Dominican Republic to pitch.
[Sandoval was] a professional pitcher and rising prospect hoping for a promotion to Class AAA by the Mariners.

But that all changed Feb. 4, 2006, when Sandoval was dining at a restaurant in his Dominican Republic hometown of Bonao. There was a nearby argument between the restaurant's bouncer and a drunken man. The man left, but returned moments later with a shotgun. Sandoval heard the gun's pump-action, turned to see what was happening and took a blast to the upper torso and face.

Three of the shotgun pellets lodged in his right eye, leaving it permanently blind.

Good luck to both.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 30, 2010

Brewers 1 @Angels 1

Erik Miller ('09): 0-for-1
Taylor Green ('09): defensive replacement
Brett Lawrie ('09): 1-for-3
Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-1

Red Sox 9 @Rays 9

Scott Atchison ('99): IP, 0H, 0R, BB

Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, 3H, 4R, BB, 2K

Tigers 10 @Orioles 9

Adam Jones 1-for-4, RBI

@Astros 5, Phillies 2

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

@Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3

Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 2-for-3, RUN
Damaso Marte ('96): IP, H, R, BB

Padres 7 @Reds 5

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

@Royals 7, Indians 2

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-3, 2RBI
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 0-for-2
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3, RUN


Relegation and Promotion?

If you are vaguely aware of professional soccer in Europe, you know that they have various levels to their leagues.

I'll use England as an example because when I link to a page over there, you won't need to got to the translator.

The top four levels of professional soccer in England are:

Premier League
The Championship
League One
League Two

After a season is completed, a few of the bottom teams in each league are relegated (or demoted) to a lower league. The top teams in each league - except for the Premier League - are moved up to the next highest league.

Why would I bring this up here?

Big League Stew had a post yesterday that dealt with the idea of...well, I'll let him tell you.
There have been scores of realignment plans floated ever since Bud Selig and his committee decided they might want to solve a problem that doesn't really exist outside the world of Orioles fans.

The soccer-based concept of relegation has been mentioned a few times and Evan Weiner of The Daily Caller has the latest proposal. In Weiner's imagination, eight teams would inhabit both the American and National leagues while the remaining 14 would compete for promotion in a two-division "Continental League." Two spots in each league would be up for grabs each year with the bottom two teams in the AL and NL sent packing for the shame of the Continental League.

There's no doubt that it's a fun system to talk about, but I'm not in favor of actually adopting it. In fact, I think bringing it over from England (and other points beyond) would be much closer to the failed American run of "Coupling" than the wild success of "The Office."

He lists five reasons why the system wouldn't work for MLB. And all are good. But, this one was my favorite:

4. Parity? What parity? As 35th Street Review points out, only four different teams have won English Premier League championships since 1992 and one of those titles was a one-year surprise appearance from Blackburn. Over the same time span, 10 different franchises recorded the best record in baseball and 11 won the World Series. Relegation might increase the competition in the middle of the pack, but ask an Orioles fan if he's more bothered by the fact his team hasn't finished third since 2004 or hasn't made the playoffs since 1997. Promotion wouldn't rank as a big thrill.
Click through to read it all, if only to see his reason #2.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 29, 2010

Giants 8 @Brewers 6

Martin Maldonado ('09): 0-for-2
Taylor Green ('09): 1-for04, RUN, RBI

Mariners 3 @Athletics 2

Danny Carroll ('08): pinch runner
Kuo Hui Lo ('07): defensive replacement
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): defensive replacement
Rob Johnson ('05): 1-for-2, RUN

Braves 5 @Phillies 4

Eric O'Flaherty ('05): IP, 0H, 0R, 2K

Greg Dobbs ('02): defensive replacement

@Pirates 13, Astros 1

Jeff Clement ('05): 3-for-5, RUN, 2RBI
Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-2

@Cardinals 5, Twins 3

Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, 2H, R, Blown save, WIN #2

Yankees 11 @Orioles 7

Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4

Adam Jones ('04): 1-for-3, RUN, 3RBI, HR #5

Rays 9 @Red Sox 3

David Ortiz ('96): 1-for-4

@Angels 10, Royals 2

Joel Pineiro ('98): 6.2IP, 2H, R, 2BB, 2K, WIN #3
Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, 0H, 0R

Angels 7 @White Sox 7

JJ Putz ('00): .1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
Matt Thornton ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K

Dodgers 11 @Indians 3

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 2-for-3, RUN
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-4


Scott Atchison's Spring

Scott Atchison was a Timber Rattlers pitcher in 1999.

He has has brief major league stints with the Mariners ('04 & '05) and the San Francisco Giants ('07).

He spent the last two seasons playing for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Central League.

This year, he is having a very nice spring with the Red Sox.
The right-hander, who turns 34 on March 29, was successful overseas, posting a 2.77 ERA in 194 2/3 innings in his two years with the Tigers. However, Atchison has wanted to return to the United States to pitch in the major leagues since he left.

"I always felt, if nothing else, I'd come back and try to play one more time over here," Atchison said. "It worked out that two years was enough [in Japan]. I still feel great, and I still feel I can do this for a while. I just have to keep proving myself and keep doing that."

Terry Francona has not made any final decisions on his bullpen, but he likes what he sees in Atchison.

"He's done a great job," Francona said. "His regular season already started. He's throwing three pitches for strikes. He's got the fastball, cutter, changeup. He throws strikes and gets some outs."
And here is an Atchison related update in a live blog by Tony Lee of NESN from yesterday's game with the Twins.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 8-4: It remains to be seen how the Red Sox' bullpen will look going north, but Scott Atchison has done everything he can to make his case.

Since coming on for Clay Buchholz in the fifth, Atchison worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just a two-out single in the sixth to Jim Thome.

With the effort Atchison has now allowed just two earned runs in 11 innings.
I am pulling for the former 49th round pick from the '98 draft.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 28, 2010

Cubs 1 @Mariners 0

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-3
Adam Moore ('06): 0-for-3
Ryan Rowland-Smith ('03): 7IP, 5H, R, 4K, Loss
Mark Lowe ('05): IP, 0H, 0R, K

@Red Sox 11, Twins 5

David Ortiz ('96): 1-for-3, RUN, 3RBI, HR #3
Scott Atchison ('99): 1.1IP, 2H, 0R

@Rays 8, Pirates 2

Jeff Clement ('05): 1-for-3, RUN, RBI, HR #2
Ramon Vazquez ('97): 1-for-4

Indians 15 @Angels 5

Shin-soo Choo ('02): 4-for-6, RUN, 3RBI

Royals 10 @White Sox 8

Matt Thornton ('00): IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
JJ Putz ('00): IP, H, 0R

Dodgers 2 @Reds 1

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


A case where the headline gives away the story

Geoff Baker's blog post of 3/26

Why Matt Tuiasosopo has made the team as a backup infielder
One area the team won't have to think long and hard about is the backup infielder role. While nobody has announced it yet, Matt Tuiasosopo has that job nailed down.

The team is already facing too many questions about adding non-roster guys to the Opening Day squad: guys like Sweeney, or long relievers David Pauley and Jesus Colome should Doug Fister not be ready.

(By the way, the Mariners have decided to have Fister throw a couple of innings in a minor league game today ahead of his Cactus League outing slated for Monday).

With all of those non-roster guys creating questions, the team isn't about to waste time worrying about the backup infield spot that Tuiasosopo has made a case for himself at. Yes, Josh Wilson is also making a case for himself, but he's not on the 40-man roster. To add him, you'd have to take someone off. And then to send him back down to Class AAA, you'd risk losing him to another team.

Here is how it will all play out: Tuiasosopo will be on the team Opening Day as the backup infielder. Josh Wilson will go to AAA as insurance in the event that shortstop Jack Wilson gets hurt.

The team can live with Tuiasosopo at shortstop one or two days a week if need be.

But they can't live with it if Jack Wilson gets hurt and goes on the DL, or has to miss significant time.

In that case, Josh Wilson would be called up and Tuiasosopo sent to AAA because he still has options. The club would then worry about what happens with Josh Wilson when Jack comes back, but will cross that bridge if and when it comes to it.

Got it? Take it to the bank.
Comment from The Kid in 3...2...

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training games of March 27, 2010

@Brewers 3, Rangers 1

Taylor Green ('09): 1-for-1, RBI

@Dodgers 3, Mariners 1

Denny Almonte ('08): defensive replacement
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-1, RUN, RBI, HR #2
Adam Moore ('06): 1-for-3

Red Sox 6 @Orioles 1

Adam Jones ('04): 0-for-3

@Cardinals 3, Marlins 2

Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, 2H, R, K, SAVE #2

@Twins 8, Phillies 4

Greg Dobbs ('02): 2-for-5, 2 RUNS, RBI, HR #2

Blue Jays 11 @Pirates 2

Jeff Clement ('05): 0-for-3
Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-1

@Braves 4, Nationals 0

Eric O'Flaherty ('05): IP, 0H, 0R, 2K

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

@Indians 2, Diamondbacks 0

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-4, RUN
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 0-for-3
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-3

@Royals 14, Athletics 12

Yung Chi Chen ('05): 0-for-1


Rob Johnson update

Good news for the former Rattlers catcher.

Mariners catcher Rob Johnson healthy so far after back-to-back games
It wasn't the guys on the mound, or those manning the bases Friday who were going to win a job with the Mariners based on the nine innings being played.

Instead, the guy behind home plate, incumbent catcher Rob Johnson, had the most at stake in the second game of his first back-to-back stint of the preseason. For all of the weights lifted, sprints run and pulleys tugged on by Johnson since two hip operations over the winter, these two games were ultimately going to determine whether he heads north with the ballclub come April 5.

Johnson passed the first test on Friday morning, his hips feeling fine after catching five innings the day before. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu confirmed before Friday's game, a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on a Ken Griffey Jr. walkoff grand slam in the ninth, that Johnson would join catcher Adam Moore on the opening day squad as long as he passes this critical test of his health.

"If Rob has no setbacks, they'll be our guys," Wakamatsu said. "They've both, in my opinion, just done a great job."
Moore & Johnson a couple of ex-Rattlers behind the plate for Seattle this year.

Just in time

The graphic, I mean.

Team owners say new Snappers stadium could be open by 2012
Plans are back on track for a new stadium for the Beloit Snappers, and club owners say the first pitch at a new ballpark could come as early as 2012.

In 2006, the Rock County Board of Supervisors shot downs plans for a project that would have included a new Snappers stadium at the intersection of Avalon Road and Interstate 90/39. Since then, the club's owners and supporters have regrouped and looked at several other sites, said Snappers Chairman Dennis Conerton.

Last year, the club settled on a 20-acre site in Beloit Gateway Business Park.

"We're very confident that we can do this," Conerton said Thursday. "We were confident before, but we never really had a specific site.

"With the Avalon Road site, we were not the driver in what turned out to be a very complicated project. We were an indirect beneficiary in the project."

Conerton and the Snappers organization have long said their present home—Pohlman Field at Beloit's Telfer Park—is inadequate and antiquated for minor league baseball, in which the Snappers play as a Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

The city of Beloit owns the Gateway site and proposed it to Snappers' officials, Conerton said.

Consultants have completed architectural and engineering studies of the site.

"The conclusion is that (a new stadium) could be built at this site," Conerton said.
An artist's rendering of the ballpark...

When they break ground, I will use the stadium picture with every story about this.

Look who else is blogging

Mark Haley, manager of the South Bend Silver Hawks, is putting up some thoughts during Spring Training at the appropriately names Haley's Comment.

A new graphic

Thanks to a photoshop wizard on staff, I now have a graphic for every time I post something about The Neverending Story that is the attempt at a new stadium in Beloit...

Try not to smile when you see that. Just try.

That graphic is so good, I might go back through the archives and post this picture all the old stories on this topic.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training games of March 26, 2010

@Mariners 6, Reds 5

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

Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 1-for-1, RUN
Danny Carroll ('08): 0-for-0, RUN
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-1
Rob Johnson ('05): 0-for-2

@Astros 6, Pirates 4

Jeff Clement ('05): 2-for-3, RUN, RBI
Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-3

@Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2

David Ortiz ('96): 1-for-3, RBI

Twins 4 @Orioles 3

Adam Jones ('04): 1-for-3, RUN
Chris Tillman ('07): 4.1IP, 4H, 2R, 4BB, 4K, Loss

Phillies 3 @Yankees 0

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-1, RUN

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

Athletics 5 @Cubs 2

Yung Chi Chen ('05): defensive replacement

@Indians 5, Rockies 4

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-1, 2 RUNS
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 1-for-2, RUN, 3RBI


The 200 mph Fastball

Robert Culp passed away earlier this week. I enjoyed him as a Columbo villain (three times) I remember I Spy, but his most memorable role - to me at least - was as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero.

To tie this in with baseball, here is the episode The 200 Mile Per Hour Fastball. Thank you, YouTube!

Watch for Don Drysdale and get a kick out of both the security in the players' parking lot and the car being driven by the rookie of the year.

For the full screen version of this episode head over here.

Vote for Relief Pitcher

The 15th Anniversary Team has reached the final position. Relief pitcher. Who will it be?

Click the link to read the cases for each player and then click to the front page to vote.

The candidates are:

Brett Iddon ('96)
Aquilino Lopez ('00)
Chad Wiles ('01)
Craig James ('05)
Jim Henderson ('09)

From Mariners Camp

From AJ Moss at ESPN.com

How will the loss of Kenji Johjima impact the Seattle Mariners' staff?

There is a table in there that shows the difference in Seattle's ERA with Johjima catching and Rob Johnson ('05) catching. Very favorable numbers for Johnson.

To the meat of the article:
Was Rob Johnson really that big a difference? Apparently so. In addition to King Felix posting a 15-2 record with the 25-year-old calling the shots behind the plate, Johnson's handling of the entire Seattle staff was nothing short of masterful. His 3.22 "catcher's ERA" was the best in all of the major leagues, but more telling was Seattle's 46-29 record in games started by Johnson, compared with a 28-39 record with Johjima.

Clearly, the comfort level between the staff and Johnson cannot easily be dismissed, but despite the past success, the catcher may not be starting on a regular basis for Seattle in 2010. Johnson had surgery on both of his hips in the offseason, and is only now getting ready to see live game action this spring.

Johnson is confident that his "new hips" will allow him to improve his ability to throw out baserunners -- his 29.3 percent paled in comparison with Johjima's 50 percent of would-be thieves removed from the basepaths -- as well as his production with the bat. Johnson hit just .213 last season, but has told reporters this spring he believes his 2010 batting average will end up somewhere between .265 and .290.

However, there still is a lot of concern that Johnson simply won't be able to handle the rigors of catching four or more times a week, at least not right away. That's where Adam Moore comes in. Moore has been so impressive since being taken in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, that Seattle had no problem trading away "catcher of the future" Jeff Clement, and giving that title to the rookie, who started 2009 at Double-A and ended up playing six September games with Seattle.
Click through to read it all.

Now, if you saw the alumni report to day, you may have noticed that Shawn Kelley got the start in one of the split squad games. Kirby Arnold explains.
The Mariners used Kelley mostly an inning at a time out of the bullpen last year, but this month they’ve increased his workload in order to use him more in middle relief. Manager Don Wakamatsu said the team talked during the offseason about prepping Kelley as a starter — something he did in college — but abandoned that thought.

When the pitching pairings for today came out, though, it rekindled speculation that the Mariners, who are considering multiple options for the end of the rotation, may have turned back to Kelley.

Uh, no.

The Mariners have no plans to convert Kelley into a starter. With Doug Fister still not ready for games after he was hit by a line drive last week, the Mariners decided to use today’s game against the Royals to build up their relievers.
And I can seem to find the image online, but Felix Hernandez ('03) is on the cover of the latest ESPN: The Magazine with Cliff Lee and Ichiro.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 25, 2010

@Indians 3, Mariners 1

Adam Moore ('06): 0-for-2
Mike Wilson ('05): 1-for-4
Felix Hernandez ('03): 5IP, 3H, 2R, ER, 4BB, 7K, Loss
Michael Pineda ('08): 2IP, H, 0R, 2K

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 0-for-3
Shin-soo Choo ('05): 1-for-2, RUN
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-1, RUN

@Royals 8, Mariners 7

Kui Hui Lo ('07): defensive replacement
Jeffrey Dominguez ('06): 0-for-1
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS
Rob Johnson ('05): 1-for-3, RUN, RBI
Shawn Kelley ('08): 2.2IP, 3H, 2R, 2K (STARTING PITCHER)
Mark Lowe ('05): 2IP, 2H, R, 2K

@Pirates 7, Braves 6 (10 innings)

Ramon Vazquez ('97): 1-for-1, RUN
Jeff Clement ('05): 0-for-2

@Red Sox 6, Marlins 4

David Ortiz ('96): 0-for-3
Scott Atchison ('99): IP, H, 0R, K, SAVE #1

@Phillies 8, Astros 7

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-3, RBI
Greg Dobbs ('02): 1-for-1, RBI

@Orioles 8, Yankees 7

Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-2
Adam Jones ('04): 1-for-2, 3 RUNS, 2RBI

@Padres 5, White Sox 3

JJ Putz ('00): IP, 0H, 0R
Matt Thornton ('00): .1IP, 2H, R

@Angels 9, Rangers 6

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

@Rockies 10, Reds 6

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



Jim from Bernie's Crew has some news from minor league camp. He tosses in an opinion as well. The pertinent points have been excerpted for this post.
RHP Jake Odorizzi has been unbelievable thus far in minor league camp.

Yesterday, he tossed four scoreless innings. The right-hander only gave up a single hit, while walking no one and striking out five.

That performance followed his three inning outing that was both scoreless and hitless. Once again, he did not walk a single batter and struck out three.

It may be time for the organization to let Odorizzi loose and allow him to progress up the system as his performance dictates. They have been extremely cautious thus far, but two years after drafting him out of high school, he appears poised for a huge 2010 season for the Timber Rattlers.
We have our fingers crossed, Jim.

Palermo's Pizza Fan Fest is set!

See you on April 6 from Noon to 5:30pm. What is Palermo's Pizza Fan Fest?
The annual event features free parking, free food and soda, a chance to watch the 2010 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers practice and play a simulated game, and an autograph session.
Click through for all the details.

I will probably be liveblogging the intrasquad/simulated game right here at Rattler Radio.

Pouring the sand

The construction crew is making progress on the beach. Click to embiggen. I don't think that these pictures need comment, so no captions.

Another new MWL Blog

Nathan Baliva of the Peoria Chiefs has joined the MWL blogging brotherhood.

Playing in Peoria is the name.

This blog jumps to #2 on my favorite blogs on MLBlogs by an Italian. Still a distant second to this one. I mean he just can't compete with this.

Yep...Another one

Still looking for someone to photoshop Snappy into this photo, because The Neverending Story continues.
Plans are still under way for a new Beloit Snappers stadium to be built in the Gateway Business Park.

The stadium — estimated to cost $18 million to $20 million — could be built in time for the 2012 or 2013 season if construction is complete and the finance is locked in, according to Snappers Chairman Dennis Conerton. The site is north of Cranston Road at the intersection of Apex Drive and Gateway Boulevard.

Before the players are ready to throw out the first pitch, however, many more details need to be discussed and finalized. Thus, in order to give an update on the stadium feasibility project, Conerton met with Rock County 5.0 representatives and again with City of Beloit officials last week.

“We just wanted to give everyone information on what’s been going on to keep them in the loop and to answer questions they might have and to hear their ideas because everyone would like to see this succeed to keep minor league baseball in the county,” Conerton said.

So far the architectural and engineering studies have concluded the 20-plus acre site is capable of housing the roughly 4,000-square-foot stadium and its parking. Now the stadium committee is awaiting the results of two financial-related studies expected to be complete by the end of May.
4,000-square foot stadium? that's gotta be a typo. The trailer is 1,200 square feet...(Hey, I never said that I lived in a bad trailer).

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 24, 2010

@Padres 2, Mariners 1

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-2, RUN

@Cardinals 4, Orioles 2

Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, H, 0R, K, SAVE #1

Red Sox 6 @Pirates 4

Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-3

@Braves 8, Phillies 0

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-2
Greg Dobbs ('02): 0-for-3

@Rays 5, Blue Jays 3

Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, H, R, 2K

@Mets 5, Astros 2

Michael Garciaparra ('03): 1-for-1

@Yankees 3, Nationals 1

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

@Angels 8, Royals 6

Joel Pineiro ('98): 5IP, 5H, 0R, BB, WIN #2


Photos from Day 1 back in WI

A shot of the field from the end of the new boardwalk.

The construction crew is putting the lining down for the beach.

A shot to the end of the boardwalk.

Here is the view into the home bullpen.

You call it a virtual tie...

...I call it a copout...business schools call it a great marketing idea.

We're all right.
The contest held by the West Michigan Whitecaps to select a new food item to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark has come to a conclusion with more than 23,000 votes logged, resulting in what is believed to be the tightest race in food voting history. Consequently, Whitecaps management has called it a virtual tie and will be adding both fan favorites from the voting contest to the menu this summer.

The winning entry is the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich, which received 6,984 votes. In second place was the Declaration of Indigestion, with 6,982 votes. Third place, and the only other item to receive a substantial number of votes, was the Chocolate Covered Bacon, with 6,326 votes. Pigs across West Michigan will be happy to know that the bacon delicacy did not make the cut to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark in 2010.

If you don't know what the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich is, then you probably haven't been to the Upper Peninsula. Cudighi is a spicy sausage found throughout the U.P. The sandwich is a sausage patty smothered in cheese, pizza sauce, peppers and onions. The idea for this sandwich was submitted by Katie Weber of Marquette.

The second place finisher is the "Declaration of Indigestion," a half-pound foot long hot dog covered in a Philly cheese steak (steak, cheese, peppers and onions) and served on a gigantic sub roll. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to disband from the tyranny of healthy eating, they should consume the Declaration of Indigestion, a unique item created by the Whitecaps food and beverage staff.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one baseball team to dissolve the bands of good taste which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the concession stand, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God are overthrown, a decent respect to the opinions of fankind requires that they should declare the menu which impels those fans to the stadium???

As if you didn't get enough Arizona talk

Jack Roeder, the GM of the Cedar Rapids Kernels is down there now.

Entry One

Entry Two

Entry Three

The one that most interest me is the second one. It's about, well, I'll let Jack take it away.
There is a buzz around spring training about the talent that will be headed to Cedar Rapids in less than three weeks. No matter what coach, instructor or front office person you talk to, they are all in agreement on the talented team heading to the City of Five Seasons.

I’ve been thinking and saying that all winter, and I’m glad they agree. This should be an exciting year for the fans as this team will have a good combination of hitting and pitching. If we are fortunate enough to make the playoffs this year, it will be the fourth consecutive year. That’s only happened one other time since the team entered the Midwest League in the early 60’s, so we will keep our fingers crossed.
As a reminder, the Kernels and the Rattlers play at Miller Park on May 7.

Lansing now with field naming rights, too

A couple of weeks ago Oldsmobile Park, the home of the Lansing Lugnuts, became Cooley Stadium.

Now, the Lugnuts have apparently sold the naming rights to their field.
Jackson National Life Insurance Co. is adding its name to the Lansing Lugnuts playing field.

The minor league baseball team will start its 15th season next month on Jackson Field after the insurer bought the naming rights in a deal announced Monday.
The first Jackson I thought of was...

But that's probably just me. What a combo though.

First cutdown day in camp

Adam McCalvy has the details at the end of this post.

But, in case you didn't want to click through. There were two Rattlers from the '09 team who were released by the Brewers yesterday.

John Delaney
Jose Duran

There may have been a few others from other systems, but I haven't seen any news yet.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 23, 2010

Brewers 10 @Indians 2

Erik Miller ('09): 0-for-1
Juan Sanchez ('09): 0-for-1


Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-3
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 0-for-2
Luis Valbuena ('06): 0-for-2

@Mariners 6, Angels 4

Adam Moore ('06): 0-for-3
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 0-for-4
Ryan Rowland-Smith ('03): 5IP, 8H, 4R, K
Shawn Kelley ('08): IP, H, 0R, WIN # 1

@Marlins 5, Orioles 2

Adam Jones ('04): 2-for-4, 2 RUNS, RBI, HR #3

Astros 11 @Pirates 1

Jeff Clement ('05): 2-for-3, RBI
Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-2

@Phillies 4, Rays 3

Greg Dobbs ('02): 2-for-4

@Twins 7, Red Sox 2

David Ortiz ('96): 1-for-2


Like what you've seen?

If you have been entertained, informed, amused, or just bemused by the work I have been doing in Arizona -- you know, with the posts here at Rattler Radio, the updates at twitter, the pictures on facebook, and the columns at the main website...Holy smokes that is a long sentence...where was I....

Let me start over,

If you like what you have seen while I have been in spring training, think about supporting the Timber Rattlers this season.

Purchase tickets here.

Purchase team store stuff here.

Advertise with the team. E-mail me at rattlerradio@timberrattlers.com and I will get you in touch with the right people.

16 days to Opening Day, folks! We want to see you there...and all season long.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Spring Training Games of March 22, 2010

@Phillies 9, Yankees 7

Greg Dobbs ('02): 1-for-2, RUN
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-3, RUN

@Cardinals 13, Red Sox 8

Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, H, 0R, K, WIN #1

Rays 11 @Red Sox 9

David Ortiz ('96): 0-for-3
Scott Atchison ('99): 2IP, H, R

Angels 4 @Dodgers 2

Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, H, 0R

@Royals 9, White Sox 5

Gil Meche ('98): 3IP, 4H, 3R, BB, K, WIN #2

Rockies 9 @Reds 1

Wladimir Balentien ('04): 0-for-1

Athletics 7 @Mariners 2

Rob Johnson ('05): 1-for-1, RUN
Carlos Triunfel ('07): pinch runner
Mark Lowe ('05): IP, 0H, 0R


Photos from Day 4 in AZ

I thought that it was dinner time and I didn't have enough time to do this at the stadium because I was looking at the clock on my computer and it said 6:00pm. Then, I remembered. It was only 4:00pm. I'm not ready to go eat dinner at 4:00pm...yet.

There are some other pictures at the Timber Rattlers Facebook account for today.

Below are some pictures that fit better here. As always, click to embbiggen.


A very large game of pepper...or several smaller games of pepper?

This is one of my ideas for a Will Call set up at Time Warner Cable Field.

The Brewers were still playing the Dodgers in the big league park. I got a quick picture of the game. That's Trevor Hoffman on the mound in the top of the seventh.

The Big Unit, Bill Michaels of 620 WTMJ, was getting ready to do Sports Central from Maryvale when I took this picture.
I thought about going over to say hello, but...he was on the air, man!...Invite him to a Rattlers game this year? Maybe?

Rattlers Spring Training Game #4

Today's game was Wisconsin vs. Brevard County in an intra-system matchup. Entertaining game and it finished in a 1-1 tie. Thanks to a sparkling defensive play by Kyle Dhanani to turn a game-ending double play.

The details are below - and since there were plenty of ex-Rattlers on BC - I have included their stats as well.

One note. No ERRORS!

To see an almost live play-by-play, check out twitter.com/CMehring. The first game related post of the day is this one.

I will head back to the hotel to work on the column for the website and download some of the pictures from today.

WI Starters................BC Starters
D'Vontrey Richardson
..CF...Robbie Garvey.....RF
Kris Davis
............LF...Mike Brownstein...2B
Wayne Dedricks
........3B...Erik Komatsu......CF
Chris Dennis
..........DH...Brock Kjeldgaard..1B
Sean Halton
...........1B...Erik Miller.......LF
Joey Paciorek
.........2B...Austin Stockfisch.DH
Steve Braun
...........SS...Tony Pechek........C
Pete Fatse
............RF...John Delaney......3B
Mike Roberts
...........C...Michael Marseco...SS

Hiram Burgos
..........SP...Mike Fiers........SP

WI Relievers
...BC Relievers
Tyler Cravy
....Efrain Nieves
RJ Seidel
......Caleb Thielbar
Kris Bueno
.....Don Brandt

WI Subs
............BC Subs
Cameron Garfield
...Derrick Alfonso
Kyle Dhanani
.......Jose Duran (pr)
Scott Krieger
Shawn Zarraga


WI 1
..................BC 1

............AB R H BI............AB R H BI
..4..0 0 0..Garvey.....4..1 1 0
.......4..1 1 0 .Brownstein.3..0 1 1
.....4..0 0 0...Duran.....0..0 0 0
......2..0 1 0..Komatsu....3..0 0 0
..1..0 0 0..Kjeldgaard.4..0 2 0
......3..0 2 1..Miller.....3..0 1 0
....3..0 0 0..Stockfisch.3..0 0 0
.......2..0 0 0..Pechek.....2..0 0 0
...1..0 0 0...Alfonso...1..0 0 0
.......1..0 0 0..Delaney....3..0 0 0
...1..0 0 0..Marseco....3..0 1 0
.....2..0 0 0
...1..0 0 0

3B: Garvey
SB: Duran
CS: Dennis (1-3-6), Fatse (2-6-4), Marseco (1-3-6)
HBP Fatse (By Nieves)
Outfield Assist: Fatse (Miller at second)
DP: WI - 1 (6-3)

WI 000 000 100 - 1
BC 000 001 00x - 1

WI Pitchers
.............BC Pitchers
.......IP..H R ER BB K ..........IP..H R ER.BB K
.3.0 2 0 0..0..3..Fiers.....3.0 1 0 0..0..6
..2.0 1 0 0..0..2..Nieves....3.0 1 0 0..0..1
.2.0 1 1 1..0..0..Thielbar..2.0 2 1 1..0..1
..2.0 2 0 0..1..0..Brandt....1.0 0 0 0..0..2
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