64 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 64 days away.

The number 64 is represented by Bob Uecker.

Uecker had 64 at bats in 1962 as a member of the Milwaukee Braves.
Card image from Larry Fritsch Cards.

Take heart, Brewer fans

I followed a link at Brew Crew Ball (which is something you should almost always do) and found this article at Brewers Bar. More projections, by the way.
2007 Brewers will be better than the World Champion Cardinals.
Looking through the pitchers portion of The Graphical Player 2007, I happened upon something, which may have been obvious to some other Brewers fans, but gave me quite a bit of hope for the Crew in 2007 – something that I think will allow them to contend for the division title, and another datum in the Doug-Melvin-is-genius book.
He has tables!

However, the question shouldn't be, "Will the 2007 Brewers be better than the 2006 Cardinals?" The question should be, "Will the 2007 Brewers be better than everyone else in the NL Central in 2007?"

He does try to answer that question by looking at how he thinks the projected NL Central starting rotations, um, project:
1. Brewers (Sheets a CY candidate, everyone else is average or a bit better)
2. Cubs (Rich Hill blows up, Lilly K’s a buttload, Prior decides to “help out”)
3. Cardinals (Reyes and Wainwright have good years)
4. Pirates (young guys come along nicely)
5. Astros (Oswalt can’t do it alone)
6. Reds (Arroyo regresses, Milton rocked)

Looks at the relievers and the hitters are coming soon at Brewers Bar.

Weaver changes what?

The Mariners have signed Jeff Weaver. Obviously, this changes a few things for one ex-Rattler.

"We changed a lot with this signing," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said. "We think we improved that one spot in the rotation. This helps us in so many ways. This is a huge upgrade for us at a time when we needed the huge upgrade."

While Weaver's signing essentially ends the Jake Woods versus Cha Seung Baek debate over who will begin the season as the team's fifth starter, Bavasi indicated on Tuesday that Weaver is capable of pitching higher in the rotation.

Baek was with the Rattlers in 2000. The Mariners are hoping that the Weaver they signed is the Weaver from the St. Louis Cardinal post-season run. Not the Jeff Weaver that was 3-10 with an ERA over six for the Angels.

Wednesday Baseball Movie Quote

New feature on Wednesday's. I'll pick out a baseball movie and a quote from that movie. What possible external influence could have made me think this was a good idea to do this now? Here's the reason:
The Natural was on cable the other night and I got sucked into it. I know that the ending of the movie is the 180 degrees from the ending of the Bernard Malamud book, but there is just something it that keeps me from turning off this movie when I see it.

And it got to the point in the movie where Iris (Glenn Close) had this exchange with Roy (Redford).
Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives.
Roy Hobbs: How... what do you mean?
Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.
Just kind of struck a cord. This one may continue through the season. There's always another baseball movie out there.

Poll watching

Checking on the poll for the new West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx slogan as of this morning with 252 votes:

Back the Jaxx leads with 53.9%
Take me back to the Ballgame is second at 31.5%
Take me back to the Jaxx is third at 14.7%

I haven't seen anything on when they are closing this poll down.

From the projection room

Prospect Insider does a statistical projection of the Mariners this season:

The 2007 Seattle Mariners do not appear to be any better on paper than they were a year ago - at least to the naked eye. We’ve sat here all winter watching the club throw millions of dollars at mediocre pitchers and ink conservative deals to shore up an offense that needed much more than shoring up.

So the 78-win version of the Mariners is back, with a few replacements. Things don’t look so good from afar, and there is truly nothing to be excited about in the Emerald City as far as wins and losses goes… or is there?

There are several projection formulas on the market these days, many of which have been developed by some pretty strong baseball minds. Zips and Marcel are two of the more known systems, and according to each, the Seattle Mariners aren’t going to be “so freakin’ bad” this season.

My questions? Zips? Marcel? They sound like the dog and a French mouse from the Weekly Reader.

But seriously...

The formulas project out the OPS (On Base + Slugging Percentage) of the hitters and the ERA of the pitchers.

Last year, the formulas had the M's winning between 83-85 games. They won 78. Last year's formulas also had JJ Putz with an ERA of 4.61. He wound up with an ERA of 2.30.

What do the formulas predict for Seattle this year?
If all goes as formulated, the Mariners are slated to win 86 games, according to the runs scored - runs prevented systems, but as you can see, the 2006 starting rotation was ALSO expected to put up an ERA of just under 4.5, and they sputtered their way to suckocrity. If this year’s rotation is just as bad, the M’s will have trouble getting past the 78 victories they mustered a year ago.

Me? This is all well, fun, and good, but I'll wait for them to play the games. But, follow the link to see the tables to see how the formulas work out the performances of individual players. Like Felix Hernandez with a 3.83 ERA?

Baseball History -- January 31

Complete entry for January 31 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:

Contracts! Get your Contracts! Get your HUGE contracts!

Ken Griffey Jr. becomes baseball's highest-paid player by signing a 4-year, $34 million contract.

The Pirates sign OF
Barry Bonds to a one-year contract worth $4.7 million, the largest-ever one-year deal.

Willie Mays signs the biggest contract in baseball, a reported $90,000 for 1962. They also sign another slugger -- Ralph Kiner joins Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy in the announcing booth.

National League President
John Heydler rules that Rogers Hornsby cannot continue to hold stock in the Cardinals and play for the Giants. Seemingly oblivious, the Cards board of directors meeting in St. Louis, voted stockholders a 10% dividend, earning Hornsby $2916 for his 1167 shares.

The ruling makes sense. The obliviousness doesn't surprise me.

Cap Anson is fired after 19 years as player-manager of Chicago. Strong-minded Cap, with a record of 1,288 victories and five pennants, was enormously popular in Chicago. Former infielder Tom Burns takes over for Chicago, who are now called the Orphans.

Hmmm. The Cubs got rid of a popular, successful player?


65 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is just 65 days from today.

The number 65 is represented by former Timber Rattler Brian Fuentes.

Fuentes, a member of the 1997 Timber Rattlers, has 65 saves in his major league career.

Photo from ColoradoRockies.com

M's Mailbag (1/29)

Corey Brock answers the questions!

Here are the ones involving ex-Rattlers:

Where do you see Adam Jones spending the majority of his time this year: Tacoma or Seattle?-- Kenny K., Molalla, Ore.

I think that Jones, who won't turn 22 until Aug. 1, will begin the season back at Triple-A Tacoma, though it has little or nothing to do with the .216 batting average he had during his 32-game stint for the Mariners last season. Jones was rushed to the Major Leagues a year ago after Jeremy Reed broke his right thumb and before Ichiro Suzuki agreed to be the everyday center fielder.

Jones -- a converted shortstop who was in his first season as a center fielder in Tacoma -- struggled during his first stint with Seattle, especially while playing defense. He was returned to Tacoma and later rejoined the Mariners. Jones still has a lot to learn defensively, but he's proved to be a quick study. The time that he put in with first-base coach Mike Goff -- who works with the team's outfielders -- showed last season, as Jones reacted faster and took better routes to balls.

Now that Ichiro will play center this season, it affords Jones a bit more time to hone his skills defensively in Tacoma. Offensively, Jones has nothing really to prove. After all, he hit .287 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs in 380 at-bats. The Mariners are still very high on Jones. He's better off for his Major League experience last year and beginning the year in Tacoma certainly can't be viewed as a step back for him. Jones' time will come.

From what I saw, Ryan Feierabend did a decent job last year in his late-season callup. Do you see him getting a legitimate look for being on the Opening Day roster or on the big-league roster anytime soon? -- Mike S., Latrobe, Pa.

Manager Mike Hargrove often mentioned Feierabend's name this winter when he talked about pitchers in contention for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. But Feierabend, no matter how well he fares in Spring Training, is probably ticketed to start the season with Tacoma. After all, Feierabend just turned 21 in August and hasn't pitched at the Triple-A level. He could certainly use some seasoning.

Still, the left-hander was impressive in his short stint with the Mariners after the roster expanded in September. He was 0-1 with a 3.71 ERA in four games, and opposing batters hit just .231 against him. He showed nice poise for a rookie.

Feierabend was 9-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 28 games at Double-A San Antonio. If he continues to progress like he has, don't be surprised to see him in Seattle at some point this season.

Don't the Mariners have a hot Minor League catcher ready to come up and spell Kenji Johjima soon?-- Rob H., Eastsound, Wash.

You're obviously referring to Jeff Clement, the Mariners' first-round pick out of USC in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Clement, despite two minor surgeries in 2006, moved quickly through the farm system. He hit .288 in 15 games at San Antonio and .257 in 245 at-bats with Tacoma. Clement -- who had a combined six home runs -- hasn't displayed the power many thought he would yet, but as is often the case, a player may not develop power until later in his career.

Clement likely will begin the season at Tacoma, where he'll be given a full season in a veteran league to hone his skills. And for as much as Seattle would like to ease Johjima's workload in 2007 -- he caught more games than any other Major League catcher last season -- they'll do so with Rene Rivera while Clement continues to develop in Tacoma.

How long do the Mariners have pitcher Felix Hernandez under contract?-- Chris O., Sequim, Wash.

How does "not long enough" sound Chris? But seriously, the Mariners can find solace in the fact that Hernandez won't be eligible to become a free agent until following the 2011 season.

That said, Hernandez -- who was added to the Mariners' 40-man roster in August 2005 -- likely will be classified as a "Super Two" and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of roster time.

Normally, players are eligible for arbitration after three seasons. He would be eligible for "Super Two" designation if he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of players who have at least two (but fewer than three) years of Major League service.

Either way, Hernandez isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the team offered him some sort of contract extension after this season.

More Extra Innings reaction

The blog search for extra innings DirectTV is HERE.

One reaction to is from Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog I have to share the whole post.

It appears that some people have their undies in a twist that DirecTV is now the exclusive distributor of MLB's Extra Innings package.

So basically these people are shocked that MLB, when given the choice of making things easier for their fans or taking the money and running, opted to take the money and run.

Who'da thunk it?

Who's who of baseball

The lead stories on mlb.com as of this morning involve:

Barry Bonds

Todd Helton

Roger Clemens

The Yankees and Chinese Baseball

Curt Schilling


I am just guessing, but that last one maybe an ad and have nothing to do with baseball.

Bad news Brewer fans

Mark Rogers, the big high school pitching prospect the Brewers took in the first round in 2004, and the Brewers got some tough news recently.

Surgery Should Sideline Rogers For '07
Procedure reveals SLAP lesion in throwing shoulder

There's a good chance that Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers will miss the 2007 season after having shoulder surgery in early January, though his family hopes for an earlier return.

Rogers, the Brewers' first-round draft pick in 2004, had a SLAP (superior labrum anterior-posterior) lesion repaired in his right shoulder by specialist John E. Conway in Fort Worth, Texas. Rogers, 20, began experiencing shoulder discomfort in the second half of last season and did not show enough improvement during a program of physical therapy and throwing.

"My last trainer's note indicated he would miss all of 2007 and we would hope he'd be ready for instructional league," said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who oversees the organization's medical program.

In an interview with the Kennebec (Maine) Journal, Rogers' mother, Stephanie, offered a more optimistic outlook for his return to action. Mrs. Rogers did note, however, that the Brewers would be cautious with her son, who received a $2.2 million signing bonus after being picked fifth in the '04 draft out of Mount Ararat High in Orr's Island, Maine.

And now for the typical passage in an article like this...who was drafted after Rogers.
The Brewers selected Rogers two picks before the Reds tabbed Texas prep star Homer Bailey, and 18 spots ahead of where the Yankees took righthander Philip Hughes out of a California high school. Three years later, Bailey and Hughes are battling for the title of best pitching prospect in the minors, while Rogers is batting his way back from serious shoulder surgery.

This is like the passage in Wisconsin newspapers back when Joe Montana was winning Super Bowls for the 49ers. I am paraphrasing or doing the following by memory, but if I find this passage anywhere in a google search later this week I will post it:
Montana led the 49ers on a thrilling last minute drive to defeat the Bengals in Sunday's Super Bowl, capping the drive with a pass to John Taylor. The Packers had their chance to select Montana in the 1979 NFL draft, but instead chose University of California quarterback Rich
Campbell. Campbell did not turn out to be the quarterback the Packers had hoped he would be.

Those were the dark ages of Packerfandom.

Looooooooons News

Missed this one last week, but once the crowd cleared out from the noon showing of Jack Frost and the Skies of Winter Lance Parrish made his first appearance as the manager of the Great.Lakes.Loons. at the Delta College Planetarium.

Parrish gets to know mid-Michigan

Baseball fans in Midland are no doubt familiar with ex-Detroit Tigers’ star Lance Parrish, the new manager of the Great Lakes Loons.

And on Tuesday, Parrish had his chance to get familiar with Midland and the surrounding area. Parrish got his first look at the area, including a tour early Tuesday morning of the Dow Diamond where the team will play its home games, starting April 13th against Lansing.

"Of all the minor league parks that I’ve been at, I’ve not seen anything that equals it, especially the clubhouse and the facility for the ballplayers," Parrish said in an interview with the media in Bay City.

"I think they’re going to be a little spoiled when they get here." The 50-year-old Parrish, who was named the Loons’ manager in late November, last year managed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Rookie League team in Ogden, Utah. Many of his Ogden players are expected to begin this season with the Loons.
"Locally, he’s so well known and so well-liked," Loons’ President and General Manager Paul Barbeau said. "People universally seem to like Lance Parrish and have good memories of him as a player."

I thought he was universally liked because -- apparently -- he is a giant.

And get this...a first year minor league team with a brand new stadium in new city that hasn't had baseball in a long time is not having a problem selling tickets.

Loons are a hot ticket

Eight is enough.

With three months to go before the start of the Great Lakes Loons baseball season, eight-game ticket packages have been the most popular among fans.

Ticket sales for the Loons continue to be brisk, according to team ticket manager Scott Litle.

"I think that has been good for us," Litle said of the eight-game sales. "I think that will get a lot of families out to the ballpark."

At last count, over 130,000 tickets have been sold for the upcoming home season, which begins on April 13 against the Lansing Lugnuts.

Baseball History -- January 30

Complete entry for January 30 is at BaseballLibrary.com is HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Ford Frick announces that players and coaches, rather than the fans, will vote for the All-Star teams this year.

Stupid fans. What do they know.
The new owners of the
Boston Braves ask newspapermen to pick a new nickname for the team from suggestions made by fans. They choose the Bees, but the name will not catch on, and it will be scrapped after the 1940 season.

Bees!? Do you get a free bowl of soup with that nickname? Oh. Sorry. Looks good on you though, Burlington. You too, Salt Lake.
The ML Rules Committee agrees that pitchers may have access to a resin bag. On February 8th the
American League will refuse to permit its use: but on April 28th the league will give in and allow a resin bag on the field, but discourage its use by players. The Committee also discusses the elimination of the intentional walk, a topic that has come up before, by making the pitcher throw to the batter. Calling a catcher balk has not eliminated the intentional walk as intended. No action is taken.

Here is this thing that will help you grip the baseball better, pitchers. We are going to put it right behind the mound within easy reach. Don't even think about using it though.


66 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is just 66 days from today.

The number 66 is represented by Timber Rattler pitching coach Lance Painter:

He allowed 66 home runs in his major league career. The reason for three pictures? I was trying to find a good one and figured three goofy looking ones would be just as good.

My food is talking to me again

Just thought I would share my fortune from the fortune cookie last night.
You don't become a failure until you're satisfied with being one.
Lucky numbers 11, 23, 43, 28, 49, 5

I'm satisfied that I have my lottery numbers for this week.

BA's Mariner report updates

BaseballAmerica.com updated their Mariner organization report on January 26. It is behind a subscriber wall, but it's worth a peek. Why?

Because an original Timber Rattler and a frequent visitor to Fox Cities Stadium is the main subject:

James Clifford grew up dreaming of a long career in professional sports.

He has realized that dream, though not as he had envisioned.

Clifford, a star linebacker at the University of Washington who led the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles as a sophomore in 1989, figured he would play in the NFL. Instead, he is entering his 16th year in the Mariners organization, and his 10th as the organization's minor league strength and conditioning coordinator.

"When I didn't get drafted (in the NFL), I had to re-evaluate what I wanted to do," Clifford said. Baseball was an obvious fallback. He was drafted in the 19th round out of a Seattle high school by the Mariners in 1988, and again four years later--this time in the 24th round--after aa strong senior season as a first baseman at Washington.

Clifford played for six years in the organization before switching to his current job. Clifford, who sets up an offseason workout program for all of the system's minor leaguers, said his interest in the field began when he suffered a serious knee injury in 1990.

Extra innings and DirectTV

HERE is a Blog search to the key words extra innings DirectTV.

Most interesting offer comes from Sidd Finch at Hot Foot, a Mets blog:
I will personally send Mr. Bowman a case of Mickey's Malt Liquor if he scuttles this deal. Hey, what can I tell you---I enjoy the Mickeys.

Mr. Bowman is Bob Bowman, the executive in charge of Extra Innings. Sidd wants to start a letter writing campaign.

Baseballgirl at Athletics Nation has excerpts from a Jayson Stark column about the potential deal and the difference between the NFL Ticket and Extra Innings.

If you're an NFL fan, you almost never feel as if you're missing a big game. Your hometown team is on "free" TV every week. There are two other Sunday afternoon games on "free" TV most weeks. And then there are the Sunday night and Monday night games.

The way the NFL juggles its TV schedules, what percentage of "big" games are available to the entire hemisphere -- 75 percent? Eighty percent? Whatever it is, the Sunday Ticket package is great if you're a degenerate fan, gambler or fantasy addict. But it's only the you-really-shouldn't-eat-this dessert you order after a gourmet dinner.

Baseball, on the other hand, is a whole different beast. Yeah, there is still an ESPN Sunday night game. Yeah, there is still a Fox Saturday afternoon game. But remember, the rest of ESPN's package has been reduced this year to just a single game on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Hit the blogger search at the top to find more thoughts in the blogosphere.

This is just....right!

UW-Platteville named the court at Williams Fieldhouse Bo Ryan Court on Saturday. The Capital Times has a plenty of quotes from former players of the 1991 NCAA DIII Championship team in a story leading up to the event.

Rob Jeter coaches the UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team but he's a Pioneer whenever he watches Wisconsin playing on television.

As Shawn Frison watches the Badgers during their current 16-game winning streak, he feels a sense of pride because he knows the UW-Platteville teams he played on laid the groundwork for this success.

Tim Decorah knows exactly how Frison feels. He gets just as excited when the Bo Ryan-coached Badgers win today as when the Ryan-coached UW-Platteville teams that he played for won 16 years ago.

This makes up for the Bear museum that the city of Platteville is thinking about building. If you want a little hint into the success of the Badgers of today, read that story.

Here is the story about the event:

It was 23 years ago - on Nov. 20, 1984 - that Bo Ryan nervously sent his UW-Platteville men's basketball team to the court at Williams Fieldhouse for the first time.

Ryan's goal that night was not to beat St. Ambrose as much as it was to take the first small step toward making Williams a gym where opponents dreaded playing.

"I walked out against St. Ambrose," Ryan said, "and basically I just wanted our guys to play hard and get the fans hooked from day one."

Mission accomplished.

The Pioneers gave Ryan his first victory as a college head coach that night and launched the greatest run for any coach and any school in NCAA Division III history. And based on the way the Platteville fans turned out Saturday when the floor at Williams Fieldhouse was named "Bo Ryan Court," they're still hooked.
Ryan avoided naming names because there were too many people to thank, but he did mention two: The late George Chryst, the athletic director who convinced him to come to Platteville after eight years as a UW assistant coach, and Dick Wadewitz, the coach he replaced who went out of his way to help Ryan get acclimated.

Normally stoic unless he's talking to referees, Ryan's voice cracked once - when he talked about the monumental decision he and his wife Kelly made to leave Madison in 1984.

"The whole idea of coming to Platteville," he said, "was to raise a family and to contribute to a community."

By all accounts, Ryan did both during his 15 years at Platteville. Oh, and he went 353-76 with eight conference titles and four national championships, too.
Also, the Badgers beat Iowa on National TV yesterday to go to 21-1 on the season.

Mariner Fan Fest Report

Deanna of Seattle Marinerds has a report on last Saturday's Fan Fest at Safeco Field. There are quite a few pictures of ex-Rattlers Rene Rivera, Felix Hernandez, and JJ Putz. Also to be found, some of the Q's and A's from the Q&A sessions:

Felix answers weight loss Q's:
"How much weight did you lose, anyway?"
"I lost 25 pounds!"
"How'd you do that?"
"I stopped eating fried food."

That's what it is! Need to stop frying my soup.

Rene, the backup catcher who doesn't play much, had a funny response to a question:

Is he looking for[w]ard to catching for Jeff Weaver?

"I look forward to catching for EVERYONE."

JJ on his appearance against a certain San Francisco Giant:

Fan: "Were you afraid when you were facing Barry Bonds?"

Putz: "Nah, not really. I mean, he plays left field, we could see him from the bullpen all along. Though then I got out there on the mound and suddenly there's this giant guy at home plate practically holding a toothpick."

Deanna is a big Chris Snelling fan. Seattle GM Bill Bavasi took some questions. See where this is headed?

So I asked the girl with the microphone, "Can I ask him why the hell he traded Chris Snelling?"

She said "Sure, but phrase it a little more positively. What's your name?"

So I told her, and a bit later, the whole stadium could hear "Deanna from Seattle has a question. 'So um... what were you thinking with the Snelling trade?'

"I think Bavasi might have recognized me from the USSM feed, because he even said something like "Hey, I love the guy, and I know you do too. But we wanted to give him a chance to play, and we wanted some veteran experience, which is why we got Vidro." He went into comparing the '95 Mariners to the '95 Angels and saying how they had a great young team in Anaheim but not enough veteran experience, so they choked down the stretch, whereas the Mariners had these great experienced players, or something. I dunno. But he did spend a few minutes basically apologizing for the trade and just reaffirming that he thought it was a shame since he thought Snelling was such a great player and prospect. (Later after the actual Q&A he mentioned that Snelling had some problems swinging a bat with and without his knee brace, and that would also play into his ability to produce at the plate in the future. But he also admitted that there was a pretty good chance Snelling would succeed and we'd end up looking pretty dumb down the line.)

Good post.

Baseball History -- January 29

Complete entry for January 29 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries are a couple of sales:

AL owners approve the sales of two franchises, the White Sox to
Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn for $20 million, and 80 percent of the Mariners to George Argyros for $10.4 million.

James M. Johnston, James H. Lemon, and George M. Bunker purchase 80 percent of the Senators, buying out five of the original owners, including club president Pete Quesada. Johnston is elected chairman of the board.


67 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 67 days from today.

Today the number 67 is represented by former Cub and Phillie great Gary Matthews.

Matthews had 67 RBI for the Phillies during the strike-shortened 1981 season.

Sunday Flashback Technical Difficulties

The archives that are needed to link to the broadcast for Sunday Flashback are down right now. If they are up later, I will post one. But, this feature will have to wait.


Gehrig's Competition

On Sunday's during the off-season, Rattler Radio is running excerpts of Jonathon Eig's biography of Lou Gehrig, The Luckiest Man.

This week, two paragraphs about the differences between Gehrig and Babe Ruth and Gehrig's competition with himself.

By mid-summer some newspapers were predicting that Gehrig would not only win the home-run derby but go on to shatter all the Babe's records. His youth and superior conditioning, they said, would carry him long after Ruth tired. The pressure of these expectations must have been enormous, but Gehrig handled it well. He never tried to convert his celebrity status into a more prominent position in the teams' social order. He never tried to cash in on endorsements. He never made demands of management. When each game ended, he sat on a stool in front of his locker and dressed as quickly as he could, while Ruth held court before the media a few feet away.

All his life, Gehrig wrestled with his ego. He was built to conquer, yet programmed for failure. He had a subtle and active mind, yet he lived and worked in an environment in which the expression of deep thoughts often incited teasing. Now, only in his third year with the Yankees, things were going better than he could have hoped. Babe Ruth, his hero, had become his friend. He was batting fourth and starting at first base for a winning team. He had the complete trust of his manager and the respect of the fans. Still, Gehrig did not so much set aside his self-doubt as manage it. He learned once again that he could always count on his body, that his brawny legs, wide chest, and enormous shoulders could be trained to do almost anything. The young man who once wanted to be an engineer now treated baseball as a mechanical affair. See the ball; hit the ball. He developed a smooth, simple swing -- one much more compact than Ruth's -- until he became almost frighteningly consistent. It was inside the straight white lines of the batter's box that he seemed most comfortable.

This is just....wrong.

I was at the Quad City Times looking for any news on the sale of the SWING.

Instead, I found this disturbing AP report...

Platteville hopes to build Bears museum

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Platteville is about 25 miles north of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, but this Wisconsin town considers itself Bears territory.

In fact, Platteville officials hope their town will be the site of a Chicago Bears training-camp museum in the next year or two.

“Platteville is part of Chicago Bears history. And the Chicago Bears are part of Platteville’s history,” said Kathy Kopp, the chamber’s executive director. “It’s something that this community is very proud of, the fact that the Chicago Bears trained here for 18 years.

”The team relocated its training camp to Bourbonnais, Ill., in 2001 after the Illinois state legislature asked the Bears to move as part of a deal to fund improvements to Soldier Field.

Instead of feeling jilted, local residents say they still consider their town the Bears’ home away from home. Posters and signs supporting the team adorn downtown shops six years later.

The affection was apparently mutual. Before the Bears left town, the team bequeathed a $250,000 computer lab called the Bears Den to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

I walked through the Bears Den during a trip back to the alma mater a few years ago. I was physically ill for two reasons. The first was: They didn't have anything this cool when I went there. The second was: It was called the Bears Den for crying out loud.

Look. I'll tolerate them being in the Super Bowl. I'll work with a Bear fan. But, I will not stand for a Bear museum (of any kind) on Wisconsin soil.

How to buy land...

Fortwanyne.com has this story about how the land for the potential Harrison Square development was bought.

Secret saga of Harrison Square
City’s quiet quest to buy 50 properties for stadium project

It wasn’t an easy task for Greg Leatherman and Bill Martin: track down 32 different owners of 50 properties and negotiate to buy their homes, businesses or empty lots.

They had little leverage – telling the owners only that a significant public investment was under consideration, and they needed their land.

That investment was later revealed to be Harrison Square, the city’s $160 million public-private downtown development proposal, the centerpiece of which is a $30 million baseball stadium for the Wizards.

Leatherman, the city’s deputy director of community development, orchestrated the effort. Martin, president of the real estate firm Martin Goldstine Knapke, executed the deals.

Martin knocked on doors and diligently hunted down landlords and absentee owners, approaching them as representing Three Rivers Development Co. LLC, which he also owns.

All the while, Leatherman and Martin lived in fear the media or public would uncover their dealings and send prices soaring – hindering negotiations and further burdening taxpayers.

Neither happened, and now options are secured on all but three properties, leaving Three Rivers Development to begin closing on the city’s behalf. Whether or not Harrison Square becomes reality, the city will own the properties.

If this were an episode of The A-Team, one of the owners, an old widow who happened to be the favorite teacher of B.A, would have said no and kept saying no until she, her beautiful daughter -- for whom Face would develop a crush, and her cute-as-a-button grandson -- with whom Murdock would bond, are threatened with bodily harm by some vaguely threatening henchman. The team would have gone to Fort Wayne, discovered what was happening, and stopped the development right in its tracks. At the end, Face would be shot down by the daughter and for payment.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Posting now before it vanishes

The Man Laws ad campaign for Miller Lite is going away according to this Business Week article.

Remember some of the ad campaigns that Miller Lite has had in the past?

Off the top of my head they have used Good Call (with the referees), Catfight (with the hot girls), Dick makes ads, and It's it and that's that.

But, none has topped Less Filling. Tastes Great.

Man, do I miss those bottles.

Set your VCR, DVR, or recording device of your choice, Brewer fans

This Wednesday, January 31 is the rebroadcast of the 1987 Easter Sunday game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Texas Rangers. It is part of Brewer Classics and starts at 7pm CST.

Remember that game?

At this point I was hoping to put the YouTube video of the Dale Sveum's game winning home run that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. But, as usually happens, now that I am looking for it, I can't find it.

Someone will probably have that up there by the end of the week.

So instead, here is the boxscore and play-by-play of that game from retrosheet.

Bottom of the ninth -- which the Brewers entered down 4-1 -- went like this:
BREWERS 9TH: Braggs walked; Brock singled [Braggs to second];MANNING RAN FOR BROCK; Cooper flied out to center; HARRIS REPLACED WILLIAMS (PITCHING); Deer homered [Braggs scored,Manning scored]; Surhoff struck out; Gantner walked; Sveum homered [Gantner scored]; 5 R, 3 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Rangers 4,Brewers 6.

Yep. Video would have been better.

Ready for Spring Training yet?

If you're not, maybe this article by Larry Stone in the Seattle Times this morning will get you going.

Business booming in Cactus League

As you can gather from the headline, the article is not about the teams of the Cactus League. It is about the growth and deveopment of the areas around the Spring Training sites and the wooing of the Los Angeles Dodgers to the area.

Once a lonely, lightly populated enclave when the Mariners and San Diego Padres opened up the first two-team complex in baseball, Peoria is near the hub of a remarkable expansion.

"We're getting lopsided," said John Richardson, executive director of the Peoria Diamond Club and a Cactus League committee member. "It's growing like crazy in the West."

The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers left Florida's Grapefruit League and moved to Surprise, Ariz., four years ago. Now the area is bracing for another influx.

The Cleveland Indians, who long trained in Tucson but moved to Winter Haven, Fla., in 1993, are moving back to Arizona. They have signed an agreement to move into a new facility in Goodyear, Ariz., perhaps as soon as the spring of 2008.

Glendale, which borders Peoria to the south and already houses new facilities for the NHL Coyotes and NFL Cardinals, is working out the final details to land the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers plan to partner with the Chicago White Sox in a new two-team facility in Glendale. The most optimistic hope is for that to happen in 2009. However, that is problematic because the White Sox are tied contractually to Tucson, where they share a facility with the Arizona Diamondbacks, until 2012.

"Do the Dodgers make sense? Immensely. It's not a done deal, however," said Robert Brinton, vice president of the Cactus League, as well as executive director of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"I think it will become a done deal."

The Dodgers may decide to wait until -- because of the difficulty of getting the White Sox out of Tucson. The Sox would have to pay Pima County a penalty reportedly as high as $20 million if they vacate Tucson without arranging for a new team to take their place.

The Dodgers story is for the future. What about right now? What team is tops of the CL?

Even without the new teams, story lines abound in the Cactus League this spring. More focus than usual will be on the Chicago Cubs, who annually sell out HoHoKam Park in Mesa and have the added appeal of new manager Lou Piniella and a host of free agents, including Alfonso Soriano.

"The Cubs, Giants and Mariners are the teams that drive the Cactus League," said Brinton. "They are the three top attendance teams every year, and No. 4 is far behind."

The season is almost here.

Baseball History -- January 28

Complete entry for January 28 is at BaseballLibraray.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Tigers 1B
Cecil Fielder avoids arbitration by agreeing to a $4.5 million contract, for the largest single–season deal in history.

That's a bargain now.
The International League Board of Directors unanimously votes to move the Montreal franchise to Syracuse, NY.

So the Expos weren' the first team to leave Montreal. The Montreal Royals were the top farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers for a long time. Wikipedia has an entry about the Royals HERE. Baseball Reference has an entry HERE.
American League formally organizes: the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Athletics, and Boston Somersets are admitted to join the Washington Nationals, Cleveland Blues, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago White Stockings. Three of the original clubs—Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Buffalo—are dropped. League power aggregates in Ban Johnson as trustee for all ballpark leases and majority stockholdings, and with authority to buy out refractory franchises. Player limit is 14 per team, and the schedule will be 140 games. AL contracts give the Players Protective Association what it asked for, with 5-year limits on the rights to player services.

Happy Birthday, American League.


68 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 68 days from today.

The number 68 is represented by former Rattler outfielder Jaime Bubela.

Bubela had 68 RBI for the Timber Rattlers during the 2001 season.

Doug Out

This week's Baseball on TV entry is from The King of Queens. A second season episode titled Doug Out.

This particular episode follows formula number three of the show.

Doug becomes frustrated with his father-in-law Arthur. Doug thinks he is insulting Arthur to his wife Carrie. Arthur overhears the insult. Doug feels bad about it. Doug includes Arthur in an outing. Doug regrets taking Arthur almost immediately. Doug does something embarrassing. Arthur makes him feel guilty. Doug does something crazy to redeem himself and we all learn a little something about life...until the next episode.

In Doug Out the pattern develops this way,

Doug can go to a Mets game
Doug -- thinking he is talking to Carrie -- calls Arthur a demented old circus monkey.
Arthur hears this and is asked to go to a Mets game at Shea Stadium.
Doug regrets spending time with Arthur and decides to sneak down to some empty box seats with his friend Deacon.
In the seats in which he shouldn't be sitting, Doug catches a foul ball that was headed for a youngster and taunts the kid.
Doug is shamed into leaving the box seats and returns to Arthur and Carrie.
Arthur mentions that he has never caught a foul ball.
Doug runs on the field to get a foul ball and winds up being arrested.
Arthur bails him out and everything is great for the King of Queens.

There are a few other things that happen in this episode, but those are the highlights.

Now, for the real reason I chose this episode for this week's post. The scene of Doug stealing the foul ball from the kid...from a German language version of the show.

German is such a beautiful language.

Sounds like a good night in CR

The Cedar Rapids Kernels had their Hot Stove Banquet on January 18. It reads like they had some fun.

Fans are still raving about the Cedar Rapids Kernels 11th Annual Hot Stove Banquet held Thursday, January 18th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids.

The banquet, which featured Angels Manager Mike Scioscia as the guest speaker, drew 375 people and raised over $10,000 for the Kernels Foundation via a silent and live auctions, raffles and ticket proceeds.

Four individuals were enshrined into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame at the banquet. They are Paul O’Neill, Ron Plaza, Don ‘Bucky’ Buchheister and Harold ‘Pinky’ Primrose. Those four will be honored in pre-game ceremonies at a Kernels home game this season.

Here's a picture from the site (and the event) of Kernels radio announcer John Rodgers and Scioscia.

At least, I hope it's Scioscia. That picture is kind of small.

A little college basketball

The UW-Green Bay at UW-Milwaukee men's basketball game on ESPN2 right now and I am struck by how much I have in common with UWM head coach Rob Jeter.

1.) We both went to UW-Platteville at the same time.
2.) We were both in the HPER center in Springfield, Ohio on the campus of Wittenberg University when the Pioneers won their first NCAA Division III National Championship under Bo Ryan.*

*Rob was the captain of the team and scored 18 points in the 81-74 win over Franklin & Marshall. I was an announcer on the student station.

Yep, we have a lot in common.

They're baaaaack

The Silver Hawks are back on the web!!!


From their welcome message:
Welcome fans to the new and improved SILVERHAWKS.com. We apologize for the site being down for so long, but we felt that it was important to get everything right.

If they wanted to get everything right, then why does their home page poll question read:

Who will win the Superbowl?

Isn't Super Bowl two words?

That doesn't bother the 18 fans who have voted for the Colts and the 15 fans who have voted for the Bears.

Rest of the site looks good though.

Calling all PA Wannabes

The Snappers are looking for a new PA Announcer for the upcoming season.

Snappers Search for Announcer

The Beloit Snappers Baseball Club, Single A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, will begin accepting applications for a public address announcer for their 70 home game schedule on Thursday, February 1, 2007.

The ideal candidate will have previous announcing experience at the collegiate or professional level. This candidate will also be required to commit to all of the Snappers’ games at Pohlman Field and be capable of arriving one hour prior to the start of the game. Previous experience with baseball and working in a press box are desired, but not required.

Nothing in about the ability to put up with sarcastic visiting radio announcers in the requirements. That must be for their perfect candidate, not their ideal candidate.

Brian Anderson Blog

Brian Anderson is the new Brewer television announcer. I heard him on Bob & Brian earlier this week. Good stuff from my former mentors and the new guy in Milwaukee media.

There was a post on The Wisconsin Sports Bar a few weeks ago that Anderson has a blog (Brian Anderson's House of Blogs) out there. So I checked it out.

Three posts so far, but all are informative and worth checking out. I'll put it on the blogroll later today.

Speaking of later...break time. Back later.

DIII World Series Preview

Not really. But, BA.com has been doing their college preview all week. They have a section (for subscribers only) that gives their pre-season top five division III teams in NCAA:

1. Chapman (Calif.)
2. Montclair (N.J.) State
3. Otterbein (Ohio)
4. Southern Maine
5. Wisconsin-Stevens Point

The Series will be at Fox Cities Stadium over Memorial Day weekend.

It wouldn't be BA if they didn't also have their top three prospects for the 2007 draft:

1. Jordan Zimmerman, rhp, Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
2. Dan Remenowsky, rhp, Otterbein (Ohio).
3. Gerard Haran, c, College of New Jersey.

Jackson Poll Update

If you go HERE, you can see the up-to-date results of the poll being conducted by the Jackson Sun for a new West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx slogan.

No surprise on the results as of this morning:

Back the Jaxx is the clear leader at 52.9%
Take Me Back to the Ballgame is second at 32.8%
Take Me Back to the Jaxx is a distant third at 14.4%

The surprise is that after just over a week, there were only 174 votes. That's just about 25 votes a day.

I know. Let's do a study!

Ballparkdigest.com has a link to the latest story on Fort Wayne's downtown baseball stadium. Except it's more of a study on the current baseball stadium and what could happen to it if the Wizards move to the as yet unbuilt, unfunded, and unapproved downtown stadium.

Stadium’s future subject to study
Officials seek uses if Wizards leave

Fort Wayne city officials and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne hope to work with Allen County officials to determine what will happen to Memorial Stadium if a new baseball stadium is built downtown.

The Allen County commissioners are expected today to discuss whether to enter into an agreement with the city and IPFW to complete a study of the existing stadium. Both Mayor Graham Richard and Chancellor Mike Wartell have signed the written agreement.

Memorial Coliseum trustees learned of the proposed study Thursday. Board members expressed concern about how quickly the process was moving and wanted to be included as the study progresses.

“This could have a significant impact on the Coliseum,” General Manager Randy Brown said.

Ya think?

The proposed study would review the cost to operate the existing baseball stadium and determine any changes needed to accommodate IPFW baseball and other community events. IPFW has said that it is interested in using the stadium as its home field in the event the Wizards move to a downtown stadium. But IPFW has not committed publicly to pay anything for use of the stadium.

The proposed study would also look at the long-term costs of maintaining the stadium and who would be responsible for paying for that maintenance. It also calls for the university and the county to negotiate a lease or ownership interest in the stadium after the Wizards’ final lease has expired.

They need a study to figure out that operating costs would be down if the stadium doesn't have to pay for all the necessities that are involved with 70 games a year? Do they also need a study to tell them that the money coming in will also go down if those 70 games are played elsewhere?

I'm all for contingency planning. I have one involving $2,000 cash, one overnight bag, and a cabin in central middle-of-nowhere.

But, should the school that is looking to kinda, maybe, possibly move into the could be possibly one day vacated Memorial Stadium be doing the study about the economics of them moving into that stadium?

Just asking.

Baseball History -- January 27

Complete entry for January 27 is at BaseballLibrary.com is HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Philadelphia sends veteran SS
Larry Bowa and minor league infielder Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs in exchange for SS Ivan DeJesus.
What happened to that Sandberg guy? Isn't he going to be a minor league manager this year or something?
Wisconsin State Circuit Court Judge Elmer W. Roller rules that the Braves must stay in Milwaukee, or the
National League must promise Wisconsin an expansion team for the 1966 season.
How did that work out for the Braves and Milwaukee County Stadium.
In Cincinnati, the worst flood in the city's history inundates
Crosley Field, covering home plate with as much as 21 feet of water. The lower grandstand is completely covered. Reds pitchers Gene Schott and Lee Grissom row a boat out from the center field wall and the resulting photo appears across the country.
21 feet? I'd have to see that to believe it.
Thank you for the picture, Where's Crosley Now?


69 Days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 69 days from today.

The number 69 is represented by Hank Aaron.
Aaron had 69 RBI in 1954, his rookie season.

Photo from Born Today.

Rejection Theater

Made the mistake of going through some boxes last night. Found my collection of old rejection letters. As part of my continuing attempts at therap...er, humor, I'd like to share.

First one out of the box was dated February 7, 1994 from the Yakima Bears. The thing that got me upon seeing the envelope (yes, I save those, too) was the stamp was only $0.29. This one:

The letter.

Dear Christopher, (I only allow about four or five people call me that)

Thank you for your interest in the Yakima Bears play-by-play position. There were many fine candidates who applied for the job. (And there were many who had no business buying a stamp)

I'm sorry to inform you that the position has been filled. After reviewing over 100 tapes and resumes, the Bears have hired a gentleman with several years of minor league experience. He has been out of baseball for a couple years. Unfortunately, his hiring does not open another position that you might pursue elsewhere. (Tough luck,

I wish you continued success in your efforts to secure a play-by-play position.

They had nice letterhead and according to the watermark it was 20% cotton.

Next week: Johnstown Chiefs


Earlier this week, the Mariners released their list of Non-Roster Invitees for Spring Training.

Ex-Rattlers heading to camp early are:

Matt Tuiasosopo (WI '05)
Luis Oliveros (WI '02)
Rob Johnson (WI '05)
Jeff Clement (WI '05)
Renee Cortez (WI '03)
Juan Sandoval (WI '03)

Sandoval missed all of the 2006 season and it is good to see him back pitching again.

Winter Carnival in Scranton

I point to this story for two reasons that will become apparent as you read. I only wish that the writer had identified him or herself.

Yanks hosting free Winter Carnival

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Saturday, is going to be a special day at Lackawanna County Stadium. The weather may be chilly, but signs of baseball will warm the hearts of many.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are kicking off the 2007 season with their inaugural Winter Carnival from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is open to the general public free of charge.

I didn't see if Dunder-Mifflin was a corporate partner for this event.
We have been "Yankee-izing" Lackawanna County Stadium since the big announcement that we're the Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees. And we are ready to show you some of the changes. Fans will be allowed to go behind the scenes to see the brand new locker room, field conversion and construction of our new Bullpen Field Boxes.

Has there ever been a more evil made up word than "Yankee-izing"? If there is, I can't think of it.

Baseball History -- January 26

Complete entry for January 26 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Higlighted entries:
Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle sign contracts with Columbia Pictures to star in Safe at Home!, a movie that is to be shot during spring training.

Safe at Home! also starring William Frawley, Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons, so you know it was to be quality.
William K. Wrigley, 70-years-old, majority owner of the Cubs since 1919, dies and is buried on Catalina Island. His only son,
Philip K. Wrigley, inherits the Cubs and the minor league Los Angeles Angels, but will leave most of the daily operations to president William Veeck.

In Wheeling, WV,
Jack Glasscock and Joe Miller are locked up overnight on drunk and disorderly charges after a scuffle with police at the local opera house.

Okay. The drunk and disorderly I can believe. Ballplayers in an opera house in Wheeling, West Virginia just seems to be from a novel...and not a very good one.


70 days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is ten weeks (or 70 days from today).

The number 70 is represented by Harold Baines.
Baines played 70 games for the Appleton Foxes in 1977. He is in the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame.

Never, never, never, never

I'm not sure how I staggered across this quote last night, but it seemed appropriate...Nothing to do with missing Jeopardy. Just something I've been thinking about.
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.''

From The Churchill Centre

This was Jeopardy!

Last night, I took the on-line contestant search test at Jeopardy.com.

Took it last year and thought I did pretty well, but didn't make it to the audition. This year, I felt pretty good...Fifty answers. Fifteen seconds to give an answer. Then, I whiffed on the first one. How in the heck am I supposed to know the author of Anne of Green Gables? I'm a guy.

After that, I got into a zone...Until, they asked for the Sanskrit word for "venerable". Kinda went into a bit of a tailspin after that.

I don't think that I'll be needing to ask for a day off to head to the auditions again this year.

Farm Talk

Also at milb.com is Lisa Winston's prediction of which farm system will have the biggest impact on their parent club in 2007.

Whose farm system will be the talk of 2007?
Arizona's 'Baby 'Backs' set to make an impact this season

In 2005, the Atlanta Braves shocked the baseball world by steamrolling to a 90-72 record and the National League East division title with a roster that featured, at one time or another, 18 rookies, among them outfielder Jeff Francoeur, catcher Brian McCann, and pitchers Chuck James and Kyle Davies.

In 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers went into the season with a veteran squad that, as veteran squads often do, had its share of bumps and bruises. But a kiddie corps of Baby Blue prospects -- such as catcher Russell Martin, first baseman James Loney, outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, and pitcher Chad Billingsley -- came to the rescue and helped propel the team to the postseason as the NL Wild Card winner, with an 88-74 record that technically tied them with San Diego atop the NL West.

So which team can be expected to receive the most high-impact help from its farm system in 2007?

Our prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks fans will be paying royalties to Chili's as they sing, "We want our Baby 'Backs."

If you can make it past that unnatural sounding nickname, you will get to the meat of the article with the hot prospects in the Arizona system.

One home run, all we got was one home run?

This week's Cracked Bats at MILB.com tells the story of the 1952 Cordele A's of the Florida-Georgia League. A team that had just one homer during the season.

Recalling a once-in-a-season blast
Betcher hit team's lone home run during the summer of '52

The Georgia-Florida League was not rife with home run hitters during its 23-year existence. But few could have expected what the team in the tiny Georgia town of Cordele experienced in 1952 when the A's put together one of the most punchless seasons in baseball history.

Cordele finished fifth in the eight-team Class D circuit that year, 15 games behind frontrunning Valdosta. What makes their otherwise pedestrian season significant, however, is the fact the A's hit only one home run during the 139-game campaign.

Ralph "Froggie" Betcher was the team's resident slugger, connecting for that lone shot on July 3 against Brunswick.
"We were aware that mine was the only home run for our team," said Betcher, 79. "I guess there were plenty of homers in the league, but it's a hard thing to say if people were expecting us to hit home runs. I hit seven homers with Pulaski in the Appalachian League in 1950, but I think the ball traveled a lot further there than in the Georgia-Florida League. I don't think there were too many homers hit by many clubs in '52 in the league."

Froggie and the rest of the A's celebrated the July 4 holiday a few hours early that summer when they took the field against Brunswick at City Park. Cordele only averaged 465 fans per game in 1952, with most of the games, including the July 3 contest, played at night.

Cordele won, 14-2, in what was a rather nondescript affair. Had Betcher not connected for his fourth-inning blast, the A's story would be equally compelling but only because the team would have gone the entire season without hitting a home run.

"The irony of the situation was that the bases were loaded when I came up," said Betcher, who was 1-for-5 in the game. "But on the first pitch, the catcher tried to pick a guy off third. He threw wild and the guy on third scored, the guy on second scored and then the guy on first scored when the throw to third base went wild again.

"The next pitch, I hit a home run, 407 feet over the center-field fence. I remember it like it was yesterday. For a youngster, that's a pretty good drive. That's what happened. It was a fastball right down the middle, and I let her go. I was lucky to connect, I guess."

I guess.

Mariners feeling good

Former Rattler Felix Hernandez has the Mariners optimistic.

Slimmer Hernandez delights bosses
Pitcher shows up 20 pounds thinner than a year ago

SEATTLE -- The scuttlebutt circulating throughout the Mariners' offices this winter was that 20-year-old Felix Hernandez had adopted smarter eating habits and was working out on a daily basis in preparation for the upcoming season.

This, no doubt, delighted general manager Bill Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove, who likely didn't have to think too hard to remember last year when Hernandez arrived at Spring Training about 16 pounds overweight.
Hernandez, who won't turn 21 until April 8, arrived in Seattle weighing 226 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame -- 20 pounds less than what he weighed at the start of Spring Training a year ago.

Trainer Rick Griffin -- who, like Bavasi, was stunned by Hernandez's transformation -- said the right-hander had a target weight of 230 in each of the past two seasons.

Last spring, Hernandez missed that goal badly, the result of poor eating habits and a not-so keen disposition on the importance of physical conditioning.

It showed.

If he wins 20 games this season, look for people in the Northwest to start asking about the Felix Diet.

Another good feeling type story from the Mariners is their newest addition to the Mariner Hall of Fame.

Martinez to enter Mariners' Hall
Former designated hitter played 18 seasons for Seattle

Edgar Martinez, arguably the greatest designated hitter in baseball history, will be inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame during aa pregame ceremony on June 2 at Safeco Field.

Martinez joins former first baseman Alvin Davis, outfielder Jay Buhner and broadcaster Dave Niehaus as the only members of the team's Hall of Fame.

"It was a joy to watch Edgar grow as a baseball player and a man, and we are so proud that he did it all as a Seattle Mariner," Mariners team president Chuck Armstrong said. "Edgar is a friend, one of the greats in this great game and a true gentleman. His contributions to this organization cannot be overstated."

Martinez's induction coincides with the opening of the new Northwest Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame at Safeco Field.

Great. Another museum/hall of fame visit to add to my list.

Baseball History -- January 25

Complete entry for January 25 is at BaseballLibrary.com HERE.

Highlighted entries:
Ray Kroc, fast-food entrepreneur (McDonalds), buys the Padres for $12 million.

You deserve a team today! So, get up and on your way! To the Padres!
The Yankees are sold by the Ruppert estate to Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping, and Del Webb for $2.8 million. For that price the trio obtains 400 players, 266 of them in military service, Yankee Stadium, parks in Newark and Kansas City, and leases on other minor league ballparks. Jake Ruppert, who died in 1939, paid more than the new purchase price for the ground on which Yankee Stadium was built in 1923.

$2.8 million for the Yankees? That was a deal.
Cap Anson notes that "nobody likes to see a play made with the aid of gloves." He is of the opinion that only catchers should be permitted the luxury of wearing gloves.

Now, that is old school.


71 days to Opening Day

April 5, 2007 is Opening Day for the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. That is 71 days from today.

The number 71 is represented once again by Yogi Berra.

Yogi had 71 hits in his 75 World Series games.

Another M? Part Two.

Deanna from Seattle Marinerds checked in to the Memphis, Milwaukee, Montgomery post below with another similar M...That of the Chiba Lotte Marines

I can kind of see it.

Anyone else?


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