In another century...

...Mike Blowers, a Seattle Mariners radio commentator, would have been burned at the stake as a witch, er, warlock.

Too dark?

How about, in the last century, Houdini would have tried to debunk The Amazing Blowers power of foresight.

Why do I say that?

Click on this link to Shannon Drayer's page for 710 ESPN in Seattle.

The cast of characters are Blowers, Ford C. Frick Award Winner Dave Niehaus, and Matt Tuiasosopo ('05). There are a pair of audio links click them both in order.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of pitchers? The Blowers knows.

Thanks to Dan over at The Daily Drink for the tip on this one.

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 29, 2009

David Ortiz ('06): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI

Rob Johnson ('05): 0-for-4
Felix Hernandez ('03): 7.2IP, 7H, 2R, 4BB, 4K, WIN #18
Mark Lowe ('05): .1IP, 0H, 0R, K

Los Angeles (AL):
Brian Fuentes ('97): IP, 0H, 0R, K, SACVE #46

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-3

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-3, 2 RUNS

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

St. Louis:
Joel Pineiro ('98): 6IP, 8H, 7R, BB, K, Loss

Eric O'Flaherty ('05): .1IP, 0H, 0R

@Rockies 7, Brewers 5 (11 innings)


Spoiler bid spoiled by pinch-hit homer in 11th inning
So much for their first real chance at playing spoiler to someone's season.

The Milwaukee Brewers walked into Coors Field saying all the politically correct things about wanting to play hard and not concerning themselves with what other teams might be playing for.

But still, it's nice to have a purpose, some sort of meaning late in the baseball season after your team has long been out of the postseason picture.

With a shot to matter in the National League wild-card race, the Brewers started strong, faded, came back but eventually squandered the opportunity in a 7-5 loss in 11 innings Tuesday night to the Colorado Rockies, who extended their wild-card lead over the Atlanta Braves to three games.

For the Brewers, it was their 80th defeat of the season, one in which they'll now be pleased to modestly finish .500 to extend their streak to three consecutive seasons at that mark or better.
Wednesday's Game:
MIL: Jeff Suppan
COL: Jason Hammel
8:05pm CDT


Wither Felix?

Felix Hernandez ('03) that is...

Felix Hernandez's transformation could cost Mariners millions
Felix Hernandez is long done with the kid's stuff as he finishes off his fourth full big-league season, arguably one in which he transformed from boy to man.

Gone are the outings he'd take off between bouts of brilliance, the distraction-filled efforts when he'd try to coast on talent alone. The on-field sulking and mini-tantrums are done as well. Missing a strike call or allowing a home run no longer derails starts.

His coaches no longer print out posts from online fan blogs, as was the case two years ago, to show Hernandez that everyone had figured out his pitching strategy. These days, nobody is figuring Hernandez out, especially the opposing hitters, who've batted just .228 off of him.

Not all aces-in-waiting manage to grow up and fulfill their destiny, but Hernandez has done so at the ripe, old age of 23. And regardless of whether he captures a Cy Young Award, Hernandez is about to reap the grown-up rewards that come with that type of success.

In the weeks ahead, his agent, Alan Nero, will meet with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik to explore a deal that will keep Hernandez in Seattle for years.
Yeah...about that potential contract...
Hernandez's 17-5 record and 2.49 earned-run average is better than that of the last eight American League Cy Young winners and will almost guarantee a gargantuan arbitration raise from his current $3.8 million salary into the $10 million range and beyond for the 2010 season. And if Hernandez and the Mariners do reach a long-term deal, buying out his final two arbitration years and extending him three to five beyond that, he could become Seattle's first $100 million player.

The Mariners say they want a deal, but have previously implied that Hernandez's camp is reluctant to sign beyond 2011. So far, the two sides have yet to even hammer out parameters for their talks.
It should be an interesting negotiation.


That was my reaction when I read this headline. Because, frankly, I did not see this day anywhere on the near horizon.

Roeder stepping down as Kernels GM
They essentially are 12 to 16-hour days, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And Jack Roeder has had his fill.

The longtime Cedar Rapids Kernels general manager Jack Roeder will step down from his position after the 2010 season and be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Doug Nelson.

Roeder, 58, came to Cedar Rapids from the Wausau Timbers of the Midwest League in 1991. Perhaps the most well-liked GM in the MWL, he was instrumental in helping get the newer Memorial Stadium built in 2002. He has been a minor league general manager or assistant general manager for 30 years.

The Kernels won Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson Award last year as the top MiLB organization.

“I’m very content with my decision,” Roeder said Monday. “It’ll be 20 years (in Cedar Rapids) this summer. That’s a long time in this business. We’ve done a lot, and we’ve got a lot to do, yet.

"I want to go out with 200,000 (yearly attendance). And I’ve got one more chance to get a (Midwest League) championship.”
I'll apologize to Jeff Johnson here for swiping the whole post. That August, 2010 trip into Cedar Rapids just got a little bit more interesting.

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 29, 2009

David Ortiz ('96): 2-for-3, RUN, RBI, HR #28

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 0-for-4
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #19

New York (AL):
Damaso Marte ('96): .1IP, 0H, 0R

Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, K

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


Baseball America's Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects for 2009

Entire list may be found here. The Helena Brewers to make the list are all pitchers. They may also be in Appleton next year:

2. Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Helena (Brewers)
10. Eric Arnett, rhp, Helena (Brewers)
17. Nick Bucci, rhp, Helena (Brewers)

The scouting reports on those players:

The 32nd overall pick in 2008, Odorizzi has spent his first two pro seasons in Rookie ball. That's not a reflection on his ability, because he has everything desired in a high school pitcher: a plus fastball, a chance for two average secondary pitches and a free and easy delivery. A natural athlete who also excelled in football as an amateur, he has room to fill out his lean 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame and add velocity.

Odorizzi works downhill from a three-quarters arm slot, with his fastball ranging from 87-91 mph and touching 93 with sink and life to his arm side. He maintains his velocity deep into starts. Because he stays balanced and gets nice extension in his delivery, his heater gets on batters quickly.

Odorizzi flashes a plus curveball, featuring occasional tight, late break, but it backs up on him too often at this stage. He mixes in a few sliders for variety and has inconsistent feel for his changeup.
The Brewers brought Arnett along slowly after making him just the second first-round pick ever from Indiana University. He completed five innings in only one of his 14 appearances, showing inconsistent velocity and command.

Arnett's arm strength is intriguing. A physical 6-foot-5, 230-pound righthander, he showed a 90-94 mph fastball with plus sink—but later in games he dipped into the high-80s. He works quickly, and his arm action is clean.

Arnett's mid-80s slider, his go-to strikeout pitch in college, showed tight rotation and bite, but he couldn't locate it consistently. It's a true plus offering when it's working, but he needs to maintain his arm slot. He also needs to refine his below-average changeup and his feel for pitching.
An 18th-round pick in 2008, Bucci entered the Pioneer League with little fanfare but made a name for himself. He ranked second in the league in wins (6-3), fourth in strikeouts (66 in 69 innings) and fifth in ERA (4.41). He also raised his profile by throwing five shutout innings to beat Korea in Canada's opener at the World Cup in September.

A live-bodied 6-foot-2, 180-pound righthander, Bucci throws downhill and gets good extension on a four-seam fastball that ranges from 88-92 mph and touches 93. He'll mix in a two-seamer occasionally. He works fast and aggressively attacks the strike zone, hiding the ball well in his delivery.

His hard 76-79 mph curveball is an average pitch, and his changeup has nice sink. Bucci has all the ingredients, including composure, needed to mature into a rotation candidate, most likely as a No. 4 or 5 starter.
The chat about the Pioneer League list is scheduled to start at 2:00pm CDT.

The Midwest League list is scheduled for release on October 1.

World Cup of Baseball 2009: Championship Story

Video at the link
The Cubans opened the door, and the Americans charged right through.

Team USA took advantage of a critical error by Cuba with two outs in the seventh inning Sunday on its way to a 10-5 win in the gold medal game of the World Cup in Nettuno, Italy.

After the Cubans rallied back to tie the game at 4 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Americans had two on and two out in the seventh when an error by Cuba first baseman Ariel Borrero allowed the U.S. to score the go-ahead run. From there, the Americans came through with one clutch hit after another on their way to a six-run frame that assured them of a second consecutive World Cup title against the powerhouse Cubans.

Jutin Smoak and John Weber hit back-to-back RBI singles to knock legendary Cuban reliever Pedro Lazo out of the game. Terry Tiffee, Josh Kroeger and Lucas May continued the onslaught with three straight RBI hits. In all, 11 batters came to the plate, and the Cubans needed four pitchers to get through the frame.
Smoak, a Clinton LumberKing for 14 games in 2008, was named MVP of the tournament after he hit nine homers and drove in 22 runs.

Someone didn't have faith...

that I caught this certain event and would fail to mention it. So, I got this e-mail....then almost said to heck with it...But, then, that wouldn't be right.
The clouts included back-to-back jacks by Kenji Johjima and Matt Tuiasosopo in the fifth inning. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez also hit a home run in the fifth.

Tuiasosopo's first career big league home run tied a club record. He became the 21st player this season to hit at least one homer, matching the record previously shared by the 1983 and '98 teams.

Rookies Adam Moore and Michael Saunders are the only position players currently on the roster who have not hit a home run with the Mariners.

"I knew I hit it well," Tuiasosopo said. "I had been reading [in the team notes package] that one of us had to hit a homer to tie the record and I told Saunders that now he has to get on board."
Video here

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB games of September 27, 2009

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #1
Michael Saunders ('06): pinch runner
Ryan Rowland-Smith ('03): 7IP, 7H, 5R, BB, 3K, Loss

Chicago (AL):
Matt Thornton ('00): 1.1IP, 3H, 2R, 0BB, 2K, SAVE #3

Chris Tillman ('07): 2IP, 6H, 6R, BB, 2K, Loss

Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-4, 2 RUNS
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 4-for-5, RUN, 3RBI
Shin-soo-Choo ('02): 0-for-4

David Ortiz ('96): 0-for-2

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4, RUN

Los Angeles (AL):
Brian Fuentes ('96): IP, H, 0R, SAVE #45

Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, K, SAVE #27

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-2, 2 RUNS
Greg Dobbs ('02): pinch hitter (0-for-1

Ramon Vazquez ('97): 0-for-1

Phillies 6 @Brewers 5


Dealing with hole truth
Early deficit too much to overcome
The home finale for the Milwaukee Brewers was emblematic of the primary shortcoming that took apart their season shortly after the all-star break.

This was and still is their formula for defeat: The starting pitcher digs a big early hole that a relatively potent offense is unable to overcome. A close-but-no-cigar finish leaves everyone feeling empty.

"When you get behind and don't have a lead after six innings, it's tough," said manager Ken Macha. "When the starter gives up a bunch of runs early and you don't score runs early, it makes it tough.

"That's kind of the way things have gone."

Until the very end of the home season. With diminished right-hander Dave Bush surrendering nine hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings, the Brewers fell behind by five early before rallying to lose by a single run, 6-5, Sunday at Miller Park.
Brewers are off today.



The Americans win the World Cup of Baseball by beating Cuba 10-5 today in Italy.


I'll update this post after the Packer game with any stories that roll in to the inbox.

2009 World Cup of Baseball Championship Game

Game tracker here

The US just snapped a 4-4 tie with six unearned runs in the top of the seventh and have a 10-4 lead on Cuba.

The Americans had nobody on and two out in the seventh but put two runners on with a walk and a double.

This would appear to be the key play of the inning. Former Beloit Snapper Trevor Plouffe sent a grounder to second, but --if I am interpreting the play-by-play correctly --the first baseman dropped the throw and was charged with an error. That allowed two runs to score and the US went on to score four more in the inning.

As I was writing this, Brad Lincoln, who had let Cuba tie the game 4-4 with two run in the bottom of the sixth, pitched a scoreless seventh. The US is batting in the top of the eighth with that six run lead.

Final Stats for Rattler Alums @ 2009 World Cup of Baseball

Chris Snelling ('00):
.240 (12-for-40), 9R, 2 2Bs, 2 HRs, 9RBI, 10 BBs, 4Ks

Brett Lawrie ('09):
.250 (15-for-60), 13R, 3 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 4 BBs, 15 Ks

Jimmy Henderson ('09):
2-1, 2.00ERA, 6 games, 9IP, 6H, 6R, 2ER, 3BB, 9K, 1 save

Puerto Rico:
Efrain Nieves ('09):
1-1, 2.52ERA, 3 starts, 14.1IP, 10 H, 4R, 4ER, 6BB, 17K

Jose Escalona ('08):
1-1, 3.18, 4 games, 1 start, 17IP, 17H, 9R, 6ER, 14BB, 12K

Highlights from the World Cup of Baseball

Canada's Third Place Game

Jimmy Henderson ('09) is on the mound for the final out of the win over Puerto Rico.

The camera angle clearly showed that the runner for PR left early. You'll know of what I write when you see the play.

Also, a littler better freeze frame next time. It's looks like the kids are in prison.

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 26, 2009

Michael Saunders ('06): 0-for-2
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 2-for-5, RUN
Adam Moore ('06): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI
Mark Lowe ('05): IP, 3H, 2R, K, Blown Save
Shawn Kelley ('08): IP, H, R, Loss

David Ortiz ('96): 0-for-3

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-4

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 2-for-5, RUN, RBI
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-5, 2 RUNS, 2RBI
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 2-for-5, 2 RUNS, RBI, HR #18

St. Louis:
Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, H, 0R, BB, SAVE #38

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

Eric O'Flaherty ('05): .2IP, 3H, R, K
Rafael Soriano ('00): .1IP, 0H, 0R, K

@Brewers 7, Phillies 5


Braun to the rescue
His homer in ninth caps comeback

Ryan Braun hadn't been sitting on 29 home runs forever.

It only seemed that way.

"I felt like every time I looked at the scoreboard, I saw a huge '29' staring back at me," said the Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder.

When Braun steps to the plate Sunday, a huge "30" will be staring back at him instead.

Braun made No. 30 count in a big way Saturday night, blasting a two-run shot to right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Brewers a dramatic 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, much to the delight of a Fan Appreciation Night crowd of 40,141 at Miller Park.

Perhaps the only disappointment came when Braun arrived at home plate to an intentionally muted celebration with his teammates. No one fell backward, as with Prince Fielder against San Francisco three weeks ago.

"No fun allowed," said Fielder, referring to the negative reaction that creative celebration drew from the Giants and others in the game.

"We had some good ideas, but it's not worth it," said Braun, who hadn't hit a home run since Sept. 11 and had just one since Aug. 28.

"Everybody's interested in seeing what we'll do. But it's just not worth it to us. People take it the wrong way. We put it on the back burner."
Sunday's Game:
PHI: Joe Blanton
MIL: Dave Bush
1:05pm CDT


World Cup of Baseball -- Place games

Third place game:

Canada 6, Puerto Rico 2

Brett Lawrie ('09): 1-for-5
Jimmy Henderson ('09): IP, H, 0R

Fifth place game:

Australia 4, Netherlands 1

Chris Snelling ('00): 0-for-3

Third place game:

Venezuela 6, Taiwan 3

Jose Escalona ('08): IP, 2H, R, BB

USA v. Canada for the Gold Medal on Sunday @ 8:00am CDT

Baseball America's AZL Top 20 Prospect List for 2009

Here is the article with the list.

Two Brewers farmhands are in the Top 20.

Pitcher Maverick Lasker checks in at #11 and outfielder Max Walla is at #20

Here are their scouting reports

A fifth-round pick in 2008, Lasker missed all of his first pro season with a back injury but was impressive when he finally got on the mound this year. He had an easy time in his native Arizona and drew a late-season promotion to low Class A Wisconsin after the AZL season ended, pitching seven scoreless innings in his first start.

Lasker's best pitch is a natural sinking fastball that ranges from 88-92 mph. He's making progress with his slider, getting more depth and tilt with it. His changeup has the makings of a quality pitch, but he's reluctant to throw it.
The Brewers' top pick (second round) in the 2009 draft, Walla hit just .199/.283/.280 in the AZL but scouts and Brewers officials still are encouraged by his bat. He has very strong hands and wrists to go with short, compact swing, but he needs to learn the strike zone. The ball jumps off his bat when he makes contact.

"Once he learns to slow everything down and trust those talents more," Brewers manager Tony Diggs said, "he's going to be fine."

Walla's bat will have to carry him, but his other tools aren't terrible. He has slightly below-average speed and won't steal bases, but he gets good jumps and reads in left field and has an accurate arm.
Walla was also the topic of...something in the Chat
Warren (New London): This isn't a question so much as a statement that I'd like your reaction to. Maxwell Walla was supposed to be one of the best high school hitters in the draft, yet he had a terrible season in the AZL. The same thing happened some years ago with another high school hitter from New Mexico, John Roskos, who did eventually become a good minor league hitter although he never got much of a chance in the majors. Is the competition in New Mexico that weak? Or can you suggest another explanation? I assume you still think Walla has a good chance to be a hitter.

Bill Mitchell: I can't speak for the talent level in New Mexico. I did extra footwork on Walla because he looked so talented yet his numbers were not good. Overall, managers and scouts still believe in the talent. One opposing manager said that Walla killed them at the plate early in the season before he started to struggle, so the talent is obviously there. The biggest concern is that he becomes more of a tweener with not enough power for a corner outfield position but not enough speed to play centerfield. For what it's worth, I saw him in Instructs the other day and he was taking some nice swings against older pitchers. He'll be okay.
The Pioneer League Top 20 with any Helena Brewers will be released on Monday. The Midwest League Top 20 is scheduled for release on October 1.

World Cup of Baseball - Round Three; Day 4

Final day of round robin play...

Games with Rattlers in action:

Cuba 5, Canada 1

Brett Lawrie ('09): 0-for-4

Puerto Rico 4, Australia 2

Chris Snelling ('00): 0-for-4

Other games:

Venezuela 6, Taiwan 4

USA 8, Netherlands 2

Saturday's Schedule:

3rd Place Game
Puerto Rico v. Canada

5th Place Game
Netherlands v. Australia

7th Place Game
Venezuela v. Taiwan

All games begin at 2000 Italy time...1300 CDT

Championship Game is on Sunday in Nettuno at 1500 Italy time. That means the US will meet up with Cuba at 0800 CDT.

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 25, 2009

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 0-for-4
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 0-for-3
Luis Valbuena ('06): 2-for-2, RUN, RBI, HR #9

Michael Saunders ('06): 0-for-3

David Ortiz ('96): 1-for-4, RUN, 3RBI, HR #27

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 3-for-3, 3 RUNS, 4RBI, HR #28
Damaso Marte ('96): .1IP, 0H, 0R

Chicago (AL):
Matt Thornton ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, SAVE #2

Ramon Vazquez ('97): pinch hitter

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

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

@Brewers 8, Phillies 4


Bats help Parra sail through Phillies
Left-hander shows no rust from layoff

If Manny Parra was going to fall, there was going to be a pretty comfy cushion to crash into.

The Milwaukee Brewers left-hander made his first start since Sept. 8 after neck stiffness kept him out of three slotted turns.

And the offense did its best to give him some wiggle room against one of the National League's best left-handers.

The Brewers cuffed around Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee and scored big in two innings to take out the reigning World Series champions, 8-4, Friday night at Miller Park.

Lee was tagged with four runs in the first inning and three in the fifth, the majority coming on home runs, and Parra was steady in seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits.

He struck out eight to tie a season high and walked one.

Manager Ken Macha planned to limit Parra to about 75 pitches and hoped to get five innings out of him. Parra was at 77 pitches after five, but his innings were stress-free and Parra said he felt fine, so the skipper let him work and he finished with 92 pitches.

"You had to like what you saw with Manny Parra tonight," Macha said. "Only one walk, eight strikeouts, gave us seven innings.

"He said he felt great. He was throwing the ball terrific."
Tonight's game:
PHI: Kyle Kendrick
MIL: Braden Looper
6:05pm CDT


Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 24, 2009

Shin-soo Choo ('02): 2-for-5, 2 RUNS, 2RBI, HR #17
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-3
Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

David Ortiz ('96): 3-for-5, RUN, 3RBI, HR, #26

Michael Saunders ('06): pinch runner
Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): 1-for-3, RBI
Rob Johnson ('05): 1-for-2, RUN
Felix Hernandez ('03): 8IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 11K, WIN #18

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

Greg Dobbs ('02): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

Phillies 9, @Brewers 4


Suppan slapped around by Philadelphia again
In this yard, with this match up, is where the trek sadly ended.

Miller Park was the setting for Game 4 of last season's National League Division Series between the visiting Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers.

And right-hander Jeff Suppan, signed to a four-year, $42 million contract because he was supposed to be nails those situations, got the ball.

Three innings, three home runs and five runs later, Suppan was out of the game and the Brewers were eliminated from the playoffs.

Suppan met the powerful Phillies lineup again Thursday.

Same park.

Same results.

Suppan allowed a dozen hits, including five consecutive in a six-run fifth inning, and the Phillies sent him off the field to a smattering of we-still-care boos from the Brewers faithful in what eventually became a 9-4 loss, although this time the stakes were not nearly as high.
Tonight's game:
PHI: Cliff Lee
MIL: Manny Parra
7:05pm CDT


World Cup of Baseball - Round Three; Day 3

First, the games involving the team with Ex-Rattlers in action:

Canada 11, Netherlands 5

Brett Lawrie ('09): 1-for-5, RUN, 3B
Jimmy Henderson ('09): IP, 0H, 0R

Venezuela 9, Australia 4

Chris Snelling ('00): 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Next, a team with an ex-Rattler on the roster, but there was no action for Efrain Nieves in
Puerto Rico's 8-2 win over Taiwan.

Next, USA! USA! USA!

USA 5, Cuba 3

The final part of the round robin is Friday. Here is the schedule:

Cuba v. Canada
Venezuela v. Taiwan
Australia v. Puerto Rico
USA v. Netherlands

All games are at 1900 in Italy....12:00pm CDT.

If I am reading the standings page correctly...

The US has clinched a appearance in the Gold Medal game. Cuba needs to win or have Netherlands lose to get a rematch with the Americans on Sunday.


Read it wrong...or half right.
With only two losses, one being today vs. the US, Cuba has already clinched a spot in the championship game Sunday versus the United States.
Canada is in the third place game on Saturday and could play either Puerto Rico, or Netherlands.

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 23, 2009

Matt Tuiasosopo ('05): pinch hitter, 0-for-1
Michael Saunders ('06): 3-for-3, 2 RUNS
Shawn Kelley ('08): IP, H, 0R
Mark Lowe ('05): .1IP, 2H, 2R, 2BB, Blown Save, Loss

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): pinch hitter, 0-for-1
Damaso Marte ('96): IP, H, 0R

Asdrubal Cabrera ('06): 1-for-3, RUN
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 1-for-3, RUN
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-5, RBI

David Ortiz ('96): 2-for-4, RUN, 4RBI, HR #25

Chicago (AL):
Matt Thornton ('00): IP, H, 0R, K

Eric O'Flaherty ('05): .1IP, 0H, 0R, K
Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K, SAVE #26

St. Louis:
Ryan Franklin (Foxes, '94): IP, H, BB, 3K

Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 2-for-3, RUN, RBI, HR #33
Greg Dobbs ('02): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

@Brewers 3, Cubs 2


Narveson shines in start
Pitcher piles up 10 strikeouts
It's amazing how differently things go when your starting pitcher doesn't take you out of the game before everyone settles into their seats.

Left-hander Chris Narveson more than did his job as a fill-in starter for the Milwaukee Brewers with a strong effort over 5 2/3 innings Wednesday night that included a career-high 10 strikeouts.

With the bullpen doing its job and second baseman Felipe Lopez making a couple of key defensive plays in a tense seventh inning, the Brewers hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Unlike the first two games, when the Cubs battered starters Braden Looper and Dave Bush early and often, the Brewers never trailed in this one. Narveson kept the visitors in the starting blocks by allowing only four hits and one run before departing.

"Each time, he's gotten a little better," said manager Ken Macha. "His changeup was as good as it has been. I also think he's relaxing a little bit more out there."
Some Rattlers fans may remember Narveson from two starts he made against the Timber Rattlers. On May 5, 2001, he pitched 7-2/3 shutout innings, allowed five hits, and struck out eight in a win for the Peoria Chiefs. On August 21, 2002, He had a no decision after allowing one run on seven hits with one strikeout.

Thursday's game
PHI: J.A. Happ
MIL: Jeff Suppan
7:05pm CDT


World Cup of Baseball - Round Three; Day 2

Efrain Nieves ('09) got the start for Puerto Rico against the US, but he took the loss.

USA 3, Puerto Rico 0

Nieves: 4.1IP, 3H, 2R, 4BB, 5K

Canada 9, Venezuela 2

Brett Lawrie ('09): 1-for-4, 3B, RUN

Australia 5, Netherlands 2

Chris Snelling ('00): 0-for-1, 3BBs, 2 RUNS

Thursday's Schedule:
Venezuela v. Taiwan
Australia v. Puerto Rico
Canada v. Netherlands
USA v. Cuba

All times are 2000 Italian local time...1300 CDT.

Update from Arizona

I received a little document in the e-mail today that details the first three games of the Brewers instructional league. Also there is a schedule and a roster.

Because, I want a little jump in traffic, I'll share.

First, here is the roster with Rattlers players in bold:

Instructional League Roster
PITCHERS (22): (2009 Club)
RHP Cody Adams..........Wisconsin
RHP Eric Arnett.........Helena
RHP Blake Billings......Arizona
RHP Michael Bowman......Brevard County
RHP Nick Bucci..........Helena
LHP Kristian Bueno......Helena
RHP Hiram Burgos........Helena
RHP Tyler Cravy.........Arizona
LHP Evan Frederickson...Wisconsin
RHP Corey Frerichs......Wisconsin
RHP Kyle Heckathorn.....Helena
LHP Del Howell..........Helena
RHP Damon Krestalude....Helena
RHP Andre Lamontagne....Helena
RHP Maverick Lasker.....Arizona
LHP Daniel Meadows......Wisconsin
RHP Jake Odorizzi.......Helena
RHP Jose Oviedo.........Arizona
RHP Wily Peralta........Wisconsin
LHP Jon Pokorny.........Helena
RHP Amaury Rivas........Brevard County
RHP Cody Scarpetta......Wisconsin

Cameron Garfield....Helena
Martin Maldonado....Brevard County
Tyler Roberts.......Arizona
Austin Stockfisch...Arizona

Wayne Dedrick.......Arizona
Cutter Dykstra......Helena
Scooter Genett......Signed for 2010
Carlos George.......Arizona
Sean Halton.........Helena
Corey Kemp..........Wisconsin
Brett Lawrie........Wisconsin
Joey Paciorek.......Helena
Josh Prince.........Wisconsin
Juan Sanchez........Wisconsin
Zelous Wheeler......Brevard County

Kentrail Davis.......Arizona
Khris Davis..........Helena
Demetrius McKelvie...Arizona
D’Vontrey Richardson.Signed for 2010
Franklin Romero......Arizona
Chad Stang...........Helena
Max Walla............Arizona

Manager - Matt Erickson

The games so far...with Rattlers players (and possible future Rattlers) highlighted.

Yesterday: Brewers 10, Cubs 2
Four pitchers held the Cubs to just two runs in the Brewers 10-2 win...RHP Kyle Heckathorn worked four innings and struck out three while allowing two runs, one earned, on one hit...Daniel Meadows (2.0ip, 2h, 1bb)...Juan Sanchez hit a solo home run and was one of six Brewers hitters with multiple hits in the contest.

Monday: Brewers 9, Rangers 6
Seven Brewers recorded multi-hit efforts, including Kentrail Davis (2-for-4, 2rbi, r) as part of a 16-hit performance...four pitchers saw action in the win and all six runs allowed were unearned, a result of three errors.....Maverick Lasker started and pitched three innings, giving up a run on two hits with a strikeout...Cody Scarpetta (2.0ip, 1bb, 2k).

Saturday: Brewers 5, Padres 5
The Brewers and Padres opened the Instructional League season with a 5-5 tie...the Brewers out-hit the Padres by an 11-6 tally in the contest...Del Howell fanned six batters in two innings of work and was charged with two runs, one earned, with one hit allowed.....Wily Peralta issued four walks but did not allow a run in two innings with a strikeout...Cody Adams allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in an inning of work.

The schedule for the rest of the week:
WED, 9/23..Camp
THU, 9/24..vs. Cubs......12:30 p.m.
FRI, 9/25..at Dodgers....12:30 p.m.
SAT, 9/26..Camp

Times are Arizona local time

World Cup of Baseball -- Round 3, Day 1

Cuba 2, Australia 1

Chris Snelling ('00): 0-for-4

Canada 3, Puerto Rico 0

Brett Lawrie ('09): 1-for-3, RUN, RBI, HR #3
Jimmy Henderson ('09): IP, 0H, 0R, K, SAVE

USA 6, Venezuela 3

Jose Escalona ('08): 3IP, 4H, 2R, ER, 4BB, K

Today's Schedule involving teams with Ex-Rattlers:
Canada v. Venezuela
Australia v. Netherlands
Puerto Rico v. USA

All games start at 2000 (Italy time). That makes it 1300 (1:00pm) CDT

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 22, 2009

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-4, RUN, 3RBI, HR #27

David Ortiz ('96): 0-for-3

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 1-for-5, RUN
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 3-for-4
Luis Valbuena ('06): 1-for-4

Ryan Rowland-Smith ('03): 5IP, 6H, 3R, 4BB, K, No decision
Shawn Kelley ('08): IP, H, 0R, K, Blown Save
Mark Lowe ('05): IP, 0H, R, BB, K, Save #3

Philadelphia (Game one):
Raul Ibanez (Foxes, '94): 1-for-5, RUN, RBI, HR #32

Philadelphia (Game two):
Ibanez: 0-for-3
Greg Dobbs ('02): pinch hitter, 0-for-0, BB

Rafael Soriano ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K, Save #25

St. Louis:
Joel Pineiro ('98): 7IP, 5H, R, 2BB, 4K, Win #15

Cubs 7 @ Brewers 2


This circus act yields no laughs
Watch that one play and it was obvious.

This was a downright fiasco.

Looking in the rearview mirror, it was clear the Milwaukee Brewers and right-hander Dave Bush never had a shot Tuesday night against the rival Chicago Cubs.

It was ugly enough with Bush walking guys and being hit about the ballpark by others in less than two innings, but the play that brought back memories of the circus that can be a toddler's T-ball game is what really stunk in the Brewers' 7-2 loss at Miller Park.

The defeat, coupled with a Colorado Rockies victory, eliminated the Brewers from the wild-card race a night after they were eliminated from the division race.

"It's unfortunate," said Prince Fielder, who hit his 41st home run of the season. "All we can do is play the last games and see what happens. If we're out of it, that's fine, but we get paid to play hard. We're still going to do that regardless. We want to win as many games as we can so we can go home with a good taste in our mouth. We'll go out there and play the game right.
Wednesday's Game
CHI: Jeff Samardzija
MIL: Chris Narveson
7:05pm CDT


First, we laughed....

Then, we heaped tons of scorn on this article at Ballpark Digest. But, only on the parts related to us.

The title:

Fox Valley fertile area for new ballparks?

The main gist is for the possibility of a new stadium for the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League. Which is great. Good for them. Go read the details here.

This is the part of the Ballpark Digest story where we had laughed scornfully....or scornfully laughed...
Meanwhile, we've heard the front office of the Timber Rattlers has quietly begun discussions of whether to pursue a replacement for Fox Cities Stadium, a rather basic facility opening in 1995 in suburban Grand Chute. The goal would to bring a ballpark back into Appleton. There's nothing wrong with Fox Cities Stadium, but it lacks some money-makers (i.e., suites) and its location isn't very scenic. There have been meetings with architects, but so far (we're told) everything is happening at the early-discussion phase.
I believe the kids on-line react in this manner when they see something as outlandish as this on-line...ahem...let me know if I get this right:


Did I do that correctly?

We are not...repeat, not, looking to build a new stadium in Appleton. We are doing fine...with our three suites...right here at...and let me be clear on the name of the stadium since it has been our name for the last three freaking years...TIME WARNER CABLE FIELD at FOX CITIES STADIUM!

This seems along the lines of the guy who runs the blog that agitated for the Omaha Royals to become a Cubs affiliate....Oh, wait. I misstated.

That should be: This seems along the lines of the guy who ran the blog that agitated for the Omaha Royals to become a Cubs affiliate. Actually, he agitated for the Iowa Cubs to leave Des Moines and move to Omaha. I am almost positive that he had no idea how Minor League Baseball in general -- and Player Development Contracts to get specific -- works when it came right down to it.

He always claimed to have inside information that said a deal would happen any day now...any day now....Well, since the Royals broke ground on their new stadium, that blog was deleted.


But, you can still do a cache search for some of the pages...like this beauty right here.
Well, it took a lot longer than expected and everything else semmed to get effed up along the way, but it was finally announced today that the Omaha-based Ricketts family has purchased the Chicago Cubs.

We were informed about their offer long before the public and have been secretly told that the family had an interest in moving their AAA farm team to Omaha. As reported, this was contingent on the Omaha Royals leaving the metro area which was this close (fingers are really close together). Unfortunately, the Royals and Sarpy County decided to build a new stadium in a corm field. If you haven't been by the location at Hwy 370 and 126 St, make the drive down. Then tell me how often are you willing to go there to watch a baseball game? If you're anything like me, it's not very often and I live 20 minutes or so away.
I also believe that -- based on that bolded and italicized sentence -- he had no idea of the penalties for tampering. It's pretty serious business.

But, I believe in world peace and that I'll win the lottery one day. So take it for what it is worth.

I think that the guys at Ballpark Digest are better than this. But, still....

Bhanklwiohfywaos!!! Dang. That was wrong. I'm pretty sure I did it right the first time.

Kernels...Attention, Kernels...Get on this bandwagon

I don't give advice often to other teams in the Midwest League....What? I don't!

But, if I were the Cedar Rapids Kernels, this guy would be a bobblehead so fast it would make your head pop.

Cedar Rapids native Michael Emerson wins Emmy for Supporting Actor

Apparently he is an actor on this series called Lost. I think that I watched five minutes of an episode once. But, the people around the office that watch it seem to like it.

He was also the villain in Phantom, one of the best early episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

No charge, Kernels. No charge.

The most accurate description...ever

This is from a story in the Dayton Daily News. The most accurate description ever is of Jeff Brantley and I have highlighted said description in italics.
Jeff Brantley spoke at Fifth Third Field today, Sept. 15, on the concourse of the field where so many current Cincinnati Reds played early in their careers.

Prior to his speech before a group gathered by Progressive Printing for a noontime luncheon, he spoke about some of the former Dayton Dragons now in the big leagues.

He was brutally honest.

He even said as minor leaguers Yonder Alonso (one of the few non Dragons among the prospects) and Juan Francisco develop, if first baseman Joey Votto doesn’t return to mid-year form with his hitting, he’d trade Votto and go with the slightly younger players.
Also an example...
Catcher Ryan Hanigan: “I love his skills. When it’s all said and done, he’s a .250 hitter in the big leagues. He’ll figure out how to knock in runs. If I was pitching to him, he’s not an automatic out. Drew Stubbs is an automatic out. (Shortstop) Paul Janish is an out, from now until the day is over.”

What say you, Dan?

The broadcaster of the TinCaps checks in on his blog
Thirdly, I want to caution people against expecting 101-win seasons, no-hitters, players going from A-ball to the big leagues and raging fu manchus every year. Generally this does not happen. I think the Padres had a really good 2008 draft and a lot of the players from that draft came through Fort Wayne this year, as they usually should in their first full pro season. I do NOT believe this team was purposely “stacked” to get into the playoffs. If that were the case, there would’ve been a good chance all the players would’ve been taken away at mid-season. Four pretty good ones went up, but the TinCaps won more games in the second half (49) than they did in the first (45). The Padres have some pretty good depth in the low minors right now and we saw that this year.
Click the link for Firstly, Secondly, and...Fourthly (?) and Fifthly (?)...

Irregardless, of Dan just making up words it's worth a read. Remember a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

I shouldn't make fun. Fourthly and Fifthly are perfectly cromulent words.

Why do I get the feeling that...

the News Sentinel is the paper that is the more negative of the two dailies in Fort Wayne?

Too soon to predict revival
In their first season downtown, the Fort Wayne TinCaps won the Midwest League championship and far surpassed the largest attendance the team pulled when it was the Wizards playing at Memorial Stadium on Coliseum Boulevard.

The team itself has clearly been a success, but has it helped make downtown Fort Wayne a success, too? The concise answer is: Too soon to say.

Some restaurants near Parkview Field say they saw more business on game days. And the presence of the team and Parkview Field downtown appear to draw thousands of visitors from outside Allen County. But there's no certainty that the stadium and team are catalysts to ignite and support a broader revival in the heart of Fort Wayne. It may be years before tax receipts, property values, occupancy rates and other objective measures reveal how well the city's gamble on Parkview Field pays off.

“We have a lot of good anecdotal evidence, and I don't want to ignore that, because it's important,” said Rich Davis, president of the Downtown Improvement District. Through their presence, he said, the TinCaps and the new stadium have drawn “upwards of 400,000 people” downtown and given them a “mind-opening experience” of entertainment available there.
This next story is a bit more of a look at the bright side of life.
Record-book crowd
Despite initial skepticism about their new name and logo, a tough economy, a very wet spring and hard feelings from some about their new ballpark, the Fort Wayne TinCaps may have had the perfect summer from a business perspective.

With a total of 378,529 fans during the regular season, the team averaged more than 1,000 more per game at Parkview Field this season than last year at Memorial Stadium. Merchandising was also up by about 40 percent over last year.

It doesn't hurt that the team had its best-ever first half with 45 wins, capturing the Midwest League's Eastern Division title and went on to top that in the second half with a 49-21 mark.

“We obviously took some heat for changing the name,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said in June. “We took a chance. What we did know when we made the announcement is that we didn't have a game for a while, and a negative perception might stick for a while. We think the name is goofy and fun, and we had a perfect storm of the new ballpark and the team playing well. I just think it's a lot of stuff.”
This next story may be the best I've heard in the baseball business genre in awhile.
The team early in the season wanted to purchase a reinforced window for the office where money is distributed and collected for souvenir and concession stands so the door would not have to be opened. A new window would've cost about $1,000, Nutter said, but someone came up with the idea of buying the same window at the Memorial Stadium auction.

“We had one of our employees go over to the auction, and he had to wait for six hours or whatever until it came up, but we bought it for $5,” Nutter said.
That, kids, is called a good omen.

Just a reminder

that yesterday was a Mehring Monday.
Now that the 2009 season is safely in the books, we are officially in off-season mode here at the ballpark. Now is also the time when we get one of our more frequent off-season questions. What do you guys do when the season ends?

A common misconception that some people have is that we shut the stadium down and no one is at Time Warner Cable Field from October until March. Oh, no. There is always someone here Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm. There is always a lot to do.

World Cup of Baseball - Day 13

USA 4, Australia 3

Chris Snelling ('00): 0-for-4

US wins it with a home run by Trevor Plouffe (Beloit, '05) in the bottom of the ninth.

Round three begins today with all games starting in four different Italian cities at 20:00...1:00pm CDT

Games involving teams with Rattler Alums today:

Australia v. Cuba in Grosseto
Puerto Rico v. Canada in Nettuno
USA v. Venezuela in Firenze

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 21, 2009

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

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 2-for-4, RUN, RBI, HR #26

Los Angeles (AL):
Brian Fuentes ('97): .2IP, 0H, BB, SAVE #44

Chris Tillman ('07): 5IP, 6H, 4R, 3BB, 5K, Loss

Ramon Vazquez ('97): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

Cubs 10 @Brewers 2

Box score

Division door slams shut
Crew eliminated in lopsided fashion

If you're going to be eliminated officially from the division race, you might as well go down in flames.

That was the scenario Monday night for the Milwaukee Brewers when a 10-2 whipping by the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park led to the inevitability of being ousted from the NL Central race.

If you can call St. Louis leaving everyone in the dust a race, that is.

Actually, the Brewers' "tragic number" in the division dropped to zero in the top of the eighth inning, with Cubs hero Derrek Lee (3 for 4, homer, four RBI) batting against Josh Butler, making his major-league debut. That was when St. Louis' 7-3 victory over Houston became final, with the Astros playing under interim manager Dave Clark after firing Cecil Cooper earlier in the day.
MIL: Dave Bush 5-7
CHI: Randy Wells 10-9


If you are so inclined...

USA and Australia have started their game to -- I guess decide which team will be the top seed in their pool for the third round -- moments ago.

The Game Tracker is here.

Scoreless early. Former Fort Wayne Wizard Cory Luebke is starting to the Americans. Current Brewers farmhand David Welch is starting for the Aussies. Rattler Alumn Chris Snelling ('00) is hitting third and playing left field for Australia.

To be fair

I gave Ben Smith a bit of a hard time for his column after the TinCaps won the MWL Championship in this post.

So, to be fair, here is a link to a far superior column that puts a wrap on the season of baseball in Fort Wayne.
It was a raw, ugly night in 1993 when baseball came to Fort Wayne, and I remember everything and nothing about it. A kid named Scott Moten threw the first pitch in franchise history, and, two pitches later, recorded the first strikeout. Another kid named Ramon Valette hit the first home run. And the inaugural night for your Fort Wayne Wizards was christened with an inaugural win.

It was not exactly a sign of things to come. The Wizards missed the playoffs that year, and then they missed the playoffs again the next year. In fact, between 1998 and this year, Fort Wayne never saw its baseball team get out of the first round.

That’s a long time to hang in there. It’s a lot of nights spent coming out to the ballpark, bringing the kids sometimes because there would be fireworks at the end, even if there weren’t any in the game itself.

No more.
Much better.

What happened?

Now, this has got to be tough for ex-Rattler Rob Johnson ('05).
Adam Moore started at catcher [Sunday] by default because of Kenji Johjima's bruised left knee, and Rob Johnson sprained his left ankle jumping up and down, celebrating Ichiro's walkoff homer on Friday.

Apparently, Johnson landed in the hole that batters dig in the right-hand batter's box and twisted the ankle.

"We have a video that says 'The most embarrassing moments,' and shows actually what happened," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "Yeah, he's taking some abuse on that. It wasn't twisted on someone else. He was jumping up and down, with no one around."

Rattler Alumni Report: MLB Games of September 20, 2009

Asdrubal Cabrera ('05): 2-for-5, RBI
Shin-soo Choo ('02): 0-for-3, RUN, RBI

New York (AL):
Alex Rodriguez (Foxes, '94): 0-for-4

Adam Moore ('06): 1-for-4, RUN
Mark Lowe ('05): IP, H, 0R, K

Chicago (AL):
Matt Thornton ('00): IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K

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

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

@Milwaukee 6, Houston 0


Gallardo closes out his season in style
Right-hander reaches 200-strikeout mark

This final outing should leave a sweeter taste on Yovani Gallardo's palate.

The Milwaukee Brewers right-hander had a dismal start against the Chicago Cubs last week, and with his innings and pitch count climbing, the decision was made Friday that Gallardo would get one more start before being shelved for the season.

So there was one more shot for Gallardo to finish the year smiling.

And he took advantage.

Gallardo threw five shutout innings and reached the 200-strikeout mark as the Brewers swept the Houston Astros with a 6-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

Gallardo (13-12) became the fourth Brewer to get 200 strikeouts in a season, finishing with 204, but just as important as the individual achievement was the way Gallardo tied a bow on his 2009 season.

"You always want to end the season on a good note," Gallardo said. "It was a good year.

"(Two hundred strikeouts) is important to me. It's one of those things for myself. Everybody in here has goals. . . . Just to get numbers like that, you feel more confident."

Just a side note.

I can't remember too clearly, but I am almost positive that the Seattle Mariners either shutdown Felix Hernandez or seriously curtailed his innings late in one of his earlier seasons (Maybe 2005??) with the M's because he had reached around 200 innings.

Look how that turned out.

CHI (76-72): Tom Gorzelanny 5-2
MIL (74-75): Braden Looper 13-6
7:05pm CDT


World Cup of Baseball -- Day 12

Before wrapping up the day of games in Europe, how about a little video highlight package of Canada's 16-7 win over Italy from Saturday's action.

Look for Brett Lawrie ('09) in his familiar #13. His triple and his ground rule double are both included in the package.

Also included...Loony Tunes The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down be heard in the backrgound during a crowd shot.

Australia 6, Mexico 5

Chris Snelling ('00): 1-for-4, RUN, RBI

Canada 5, Taiwan 3 (7 innings)

Lawrie: 0-for-2, RUN

USA 12, Italy 3

The boxscore is not available yet, but I am guessing that this is the link.

There are two games on Monday's schedule. One is the makeup game for the rainout between the US and Australia. Game time is 1700 in Bologna, Italy....Um, 1000 in the CDT. That game -- along with Italy v. Netherlands Antilles in Vicenza -- will wrap up the second round.

Looking at the top of this page here...and doing some quick calculations....The US and the Aussies are through to the next round. If America wins they will be unbeaten in the second round and have the top spot in their pool for round three.

Also through to the next round are Puerto Rico (w/ Efrain Nieves), Venezuela (w/Jose Escalona), Cuba, and the Netherlands in one pool. On the other side, Taiwan and Canada join the US and Australia.
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