Cher-Make Shout Out!

Cher-Make is proudly served at Time Warner Cable Field.

Manitowoc sausage-maker Cher-Make revamps brand, seeks bigger role
After a 25-year hiatus, Emil Chermak is back on packages of Cher-Make wieners.

Chermak, who founded Cher-Make Sausage Co. as a small butcher shop in 1928, graced the labels of the company's sausage packs until 1985, when his then 27-year-old grandson, Tom, marketing manager for the company, decided to update the labels.

Now Tom is the chief executive at Cher-Make, and he's put a photo of Grandpa back on the labels, along with a lot of other folks, in an effort to improve the packaging.
Do you want your face on a Cher-Make Label? You can do it right here.

I already have, but for some reason I cannot get the full image. You're just going to have to follow this link for proof of what a lot of people have been saying for a lot of years.

The first step...

I saw this bit in an AP report.
New baseball players' union head Michael Weiner may speak with management officials during spring training to discuss possible changes to the postseason schedule.

Following criticism by Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia and others last fall, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he would like to tighten the schedule. Four extra days off were added in 2007 at the request of baseball's television broadcasters.

"I expect that we'll have discussions at some point during the month on that," Weiner said Friday after meeting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, the start of his first spring training tour since replacing Donald Fehr in December.
Adjusting the postseason schedule is -- in my mind -- the first step.

The next step is adjusting the regular season schedule.

Does this mean adding in a few regularly scheduled doublheaders? Do they shorten the season?

Here are the dates of Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000:

April 7, 1970

April 10, 1980

April 9, 1990

April 3, 2000

Opening Day, 2010 is scheduled for April 5.

I realize that the LCS moved from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven games in 1985 and the divisional round -- which started in 1995 -- added to the number of postseason games, but here are the dates that the last game of the season was played in each of the above seasons:

October 15, 1970 (Game Four Orioles v. Reds)

October 21, 1980 (Game Six Phillies v. Royals)

October 20, 1990 (Game Four Reds v. A's)

October 26, 2000 (Give Five Yankees v. Mets)

And -- for comparison:

November 4, 2009 (Game Six Yankee v. Phillies)

What does this tell us? That -- if the pattern holds -- the Reds are going to be in the World Series this year? That -- and this is just a guess -- I am using dashes too much in my writing today?

The Union and the Owners need to come to an agreement that will be mutually beneficial for both sides, makes the fans happy, and ends the postseason about two or three weeks earlier.

Stay tuned for my next article titled 'How Peace in the Middle East CAN Be Achieved'.

I don't even know where to start with this...

But, then again...it is Bleacher Report.*

I'm still digesting the topics and thoughts in this article: Heartland League (High-A) Could Work for AL & NL Central

The central premise...
Are you a fan of a team in the middle of the country? For some portion of us, the subject of minor league team affiliations is, for whatever reason, a fascinating one.

In this article, I offer some rationale for several of those teams (Astros fan, here) to begin working toward formation of a new high-A league, largely based on two midwestern independent leagues' success.

Join me on this journey if you dare...
Where Eagles Dare is an awesome movie. Where Mehring dares is...well, just click and try to follow the thread.

Basically, the idea -- I think -- is to move AL Central and NL Central High-A teams out of the three current High-A Leagues to replace cities in the Midwest that already have Independent League teams. And it is all based on attendance!

Also...Astros fan?!?! Hey, we found one!!!!

I can't fault the author for writing a 'think piece' but realities of leases and PDCs and business models and the National Association and current ownership of the affiliated teams and current ownership of those independent teams and territories and a host of other issues put this piece out around Jupiter.

Stupid reality!


*-A note for Cardinals fans and others who are humor impaired. This post is laced with sarcasm. It may be above your recommended daily allowance. Also, please keep in mind the tags on this post.


Boooooooog! Booooooooog!

Over at the Timber Rattlers Twitter account, the team is counting down to Opening Day, 2010 with the help of Appleton baseball alumni who went on to play in the major leagues.

Today -- which is 41 days until Opening Day, by the way -- was Boog Powell's day!

I wanted to post one of his Miller Lite commercials and hit the jackpot. Not only is Boog Powell in this one, so are Sparky Lyle and 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion.

Lyle and Geoffrion both have ties to Wisconsin. Lyle pitched for the Foxes in 1964 Geoffrion's grandson Blake plays the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team.

Trivial Pursuit, beer, baseball, and hockey. These are a few of my favorite things.

Kelley gets stitches...Bedard wins pool

Shawn Kelley ('07, '08), ladies and gentleman. Shawn Kelley!

Minutes before the Seattle Mariners stretched Wednesday, reliever Mark Lowe was on all fours, lifting his legs behind him, getting loose. Teammate Shawn Kelley bent down to grab one of Lowe’s feet – just as Lowe kicked out.

Kelley got a spike in the chin, stayed on his feet, but was bloodied.

“I couldn’t tell where it was, but my whole jaw hurt and I felt blood,” Kelley said. “I thought, ‘I might look pretty bad.’ ”

Mark Lowe ('05), ladies and gentlemen. Mark Lowe!

Did I say something about a pool?
After the workout, veterans Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard were among the first in the clubhouse, each of them anxious to look at Kelley’s bloodied goatee.

“How many stitches?” asked Felix.

“Six,” said Kelley.

Bedard threw up a fist and yelled, “Yes!”

He had six stitches in the pool. Lee was off – he had 13. Hernandez had gone with four.

A manager that wants to win

Imagine that.
DAYTON — Dragons manager Todd Benzinger knows the parent Reds are all about developing players for the big leagues, but he thinks the organization can do even more.

“Developing players and winning games don’t have to be separate things,” the second-year manager said Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Fifth Third Field.

Benzinger took a glance at patches of snow on the playing field and said he was looking forward to the season, “as long as it doesn’t look that way in April.”

He also doesn’t want his team to look as it did last year, when it went 59-80 and missed the Midwest League playoffs for the fourth time in 10 seasons.
Missed the playofs for the fourth time in 10 seasons? Let's see...Dayton made the playoffs from 2000-2002 and again in 2007-2008. Missing '03-'06 and '09.

That looks like five in and five out in 10 years. I'm sure I'm miscounting.


In the past, when I have heard the name Cooley, I have thought about Mel Cooley from The Dick van Dyke Show.

In the past, when I talked about the home stadium of the Lansing Lugnuts, I have said Oldsmobile Park.

No longer. On both accounts.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and Thomas M. Cooley Law School President and Dean Don LeDuc today announced that the downtown Lansing stadium and home to minor league baseball’s most successful franchise - the Lansing Lugnuts - will officially be named the Cooley Law School Stadium in a sponsorship agreement just signed between the baseball team and the law school.
There is video at that link. Video of a dragon and a politician.

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog has this:
Okay. And you think the attention is going to increase visibility for the school?

We do. We’re a national school — more than 75 percent of our students come from out of state, and we’ve worked hard to attract more attention, both nationally and in-state.

We’ve got a really advanced presence on the Web, and we sponsor a booth at the ABA every year, and continue to have a pretty large marketing budget. We were the first school that I know of to buy a billboard here in Michigan, and now it seems like just about every school in the state has a billboard.

Our feeling is that the naming rights will be much like the billboard. The sign is visible from all four directions for anyone approaching the stadium. You also get the benefit of getting on street signs in town. We also get an advertisement inside the stadium and get on the team’s Web site. There really are a lot of ancillary benefits.
Much more at that link.

In closing, I will be disappointed if this is not part of the logo for the new name of the stadium.

I'm prepared to be disappointed.


Another in-stadium upgrade

Let not the snow get you down.

I bring you progress! Progress on the soon to be Beach Seating Area!

Click for a larger image and imagine the sand between your toes on a warm summer evening at the ballpark. It's easy if you try.

One in-stadium upgrade

One of the glories of working in minor league baseball is the opportunity to try out different food items and food delievry systems before they go out to our fans.

People! I have seen the future of Nacho Cheese dispensers! I have seen it! And! It! Is! Good!

Timber Rattlers fans, I give you the FuNacho!

Click for a larger, cheesier image...If you dare.

Vote for the Left-handed Starting Pitcher

The voting for the 15th anniversary team marches on to the left-handed starting pitchers.

The candidates and the cases for each of them are at that link. But, just to let you know the nominees:

Ryan Anderson ('98)

Craig Anderson ('00)

Cesar Jimenez ('03)

BOBBY! Livingston ('03)


Putting the bid out there

The NCAA Division III World Series is scheduled to be at Time Warner Cable Field in 2010 and 2011. The bids are already being put in for 2012 and 2013.

Local committee chairperson Gary Kilgas confirmed his group recently submitted another bid that, if accepted, would keep the event stationed at Grand Chute's Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium through 2013.

The five-day, double-elimination tournament, hosted by Lawrence University, has been an area mainstay since 2000. This year's event is May 28-June 1.

"The challenge for us is, the longer you host an event, the tougher it is to keep the event," Kilgas said. "We're going to have 12 years in as of (2011). That's a heckuva run. We're trying to do things to enhance the tournament and make it a fun venue for the players, coaches, teams and fans.

"But I think we stand as good a chance as any at retaining the championship."

Numbers like this are why there is a heckuva chance for retention and why this event is important to the Fox Cities:
Average yearly paid attendance while at Fox Cities Stadium is 21,159, with last year's tourney – boasting an economic impact of $313,300, according to Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates – luring 21,391 fans to the ballpark.


Construction Photos for 2/23/10

Thought was given to not touch up these photos in any way before posting them to the blog.

Then, I saw how gray and dark they looked.

The brightness was turned up a notch or two and below are the results. As always, click for a larger image.

First, the third base side:

Now, the first base side:

Progress despite the weather. Awesome.

Bernie's Sleepers

I missed this last week, so no sense in putting this off until the morning. Bernie's Crew takes a look at some Brewers farmhands whom they label 'Sleepers'.

2009 Timber Rattlers Dan Merklinger and Chris Dennis are both on this brief list of four players in the system. You'll have to click over to read what Jim and Ryan think about them.

I will borrow, steal, excerpt, or whatever you would like to call it, their thoughts on a potential (and again I will stress the word potential) 2010 Rattler.
OF Max Walla (statistics)

Max Walla burst onto the scene just before the 2009 Draft with an impressive power display during workouts, which convinced the Brewers to take a chance and scoop up the prep outfielder in the second round. Brewers fans were left wondering where he left that pre-Draft bat, though, as his professional debut was nothing short of horrendous. Walla struck out in over 44% of his at-bats and only managed to post a .199 batting average for the Rookie League Brewers in Arizona. He was simply overwhelmed by professional ball, likely pressing and developing bat habits after scuffling out of the gate. 2010 marks a new season and a new opportunity for Walla. Scouts say the 19-year old can flat-out hit and hit with some serious power. After a mental and physical break this offseason, expect to see a different player in 2010.

Prospects, prospects, prospects

Baseball America has unveiled their Top 100 Prospects list for the 2010 season.

Former Timber Rattlers on the list:

30. Michael Saunders ('06)

59. Brett Lawrie ('09)

83. Adam Moore ('06)

93. Phillippe Aumont ('08)

Today's news from the home page

Doug Melvin will be the special guest at the 2010 Lead-off Experience.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will celebrate the start of their second season as an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers by welcoming a VIP from their parent club's front office. Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin is scheduled to be the featured guest at the annual Lead-Off Experience on Wednesday, April 7.

The program will feature an autograph session with the players, dinner, and an interactive question and answer session at The Wave Bar & Ballroom. Festivities begin at 5:30pm with the autograph session and a cash bar. Dinner is scheduled to be served at 6:30pm.
Call the Timber Rattlers for tickets. (920) 733-4152

Also, Erik Miller is in The Interrogation Room.
Q. What did you take away from your 2009 season in Wisconsin?

A. My 09' season, being my first full season, taught me a lot about what it truly means to be a professional ball player. I learned how to cope with the every day ups and downs the game can bring upon a player. With a 140 game season, I learned how to stay on a more emotionally consistent level every day and not let the little things bother me as much. The fans are also something I had never experienced. Every day before the game they are peering into the dugout as we strapped on our cleats just waiting for us to step out and sign a ball, or hat or whatever it was they had. To me, seeing the joy the fans got out of watching us play was something that inspired me.
More at the link.

Alumni Notes

From 1996:

If the Red Sox were certain about designated hitter David Ortiz, they would not be uncertain about his position in their lineup.

They would not be considering free agents such as Russell Branyan.

They would not be linked every three seconds to Padres first baseman
Adrian Gonzalez.

Well, the Red Sox are not certain about Ortiz, cannot be certain, even though last season he rallied to hit 26 of his 27 home runs after June 1.

The Sox's interest in Branyan, a left-handed slugger who reached agreement Friday with the Indians, was the latest indication that they might act quickly to replace Ortiz if he again gets off to a poor start.

From the 2000 team:
Former Mariner Cha Seung Baek, the Korean right-hander who last pitched in the big leagues two years ago, is in camp today for a minor league tryout [with the Mariners].
From the 2002 team:

Nothing comes easy for the Indians, but who among the Tribe faithful doesn't already know that?

Having virtually stolen one of their consistent run producers from the Seattle Mariners for Ben Broussard midway through the 2006 season, the Indians could face an unusual dilemma: losing that player to the army.

South Korean males are obligated to serve their country in the military for two years. Shin-Soo Choo, second to Grady Sizemore as an all-around player for the Tribe, is a native of South Korea. Choo has not yet put in his time with the armed forces. He is required to do so after the 2010 season.

But if he leaves baseball behind for two years, there is no guarantee he will return — at age 29 — with his skills intact. Moreover, he would lose two of his prime income-producing seasons (he will be arbitration eligible in October).

So what can he do?

From 2008:

Phillippe Aumont, the hard-throwing 21-year-old righthander acquired in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle, said the Phillies haven't officially told him whether he will enter the season as a starter or reliever.

But while the decision may not be set in stone, the near-unanimous opinion among team personnel is that he will begin the year as a starter at Double A Reading.

And if you listened to Aumont talk yesterday, it was easy to understand why.


The inevitable "First Big League Camp" story

Eric Arnett, First Round Pick, All-Big Ten, Top Prospect...low man on the totem pole. But, he's soaking in it.
For years, Eric Arnett was a top dog, a stud at the top of the pile because of talent and hard work.

Now, he's just another face among others in the clubhouse who have been at the top at some point in their careers.

Despite being the Milwaukee Brewers' first-round pick in last year's draft, the 6-foot-5 right-hander from Indiana University is just a wide-eyed first-timer in major-league camp.

"Once I'm here, I'm back at the bottom," Arnett said. "I have to work my way back up. It doesn't matter here (where you're drafted). I'm just going to learn and take everything in and learn from these veterans that have been here."

Arnett was the 26th pick last June and received a $1.2 million signing bonus. Included in his contract was the invitation to big-league spring training, where he received the jersey number of a newcomer not expected to make the team - No. 67 - and a locker in an area away from most of the regulars. Not that it matters much to the 22-year-old.

"I'm still taking it all in," said Arnett, an Ohio native. "I'll see a guy walk by and say, 'Hey, I watched him as a kid.' It's going to be an awesome experience and I'm looking forward to it."
No word in the article about where Arnett might start his season.


Options are one of those things in baseball that can be a little arcane. This story at MLB.com uses a former Timber Rattler to illustrate what can happen when a player runs out of options with the team that drafted him.

Backstory first:

First, a quick primer: "Option," in baseball-speak, is short for optional assignment, a move that allows a big league team to send a player on its 40-man roster to the Minors -- or call him back up to the Majors -- at any point during a given season without taking the risk of making him available to the 29 other teams.

It's a system with many advantages. It works well when inevitable injuries pop up, it helps contenders fortify areas by giving regulars a rest, it aids struggling clubs and gives them a glimpse of their future, and it helps the Minor Leaguers get a taste of where they eventually want to end up.

It's also generous. Each player, upon addition to the 40-man roster, is afforded three options, which means that teams can freely send the player back and forth as many times as they wish in three separate seasons.

The only stipulation is that the player can't be called back to the Majors for at least 10 days unless a big leaguer is put on the 15-day disabled list.

After three -- and, in some special cases, four -- seasons, the player is out of options, which means that a trip to the Minors is a chance for other teams to scoop him up through waivers.

Now to the part involving an ex-Rattler:

In the spring of 2006, the Seattle Mariners were embarking on their ninth year with lefty Matt Thornton in the organization. Thornton, who could routinely hit 96 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, had been a first-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft in 1998 but didn't make the Majors until 2004 because of control issues and certainly wasn't a roster mainstay.

The issues continued to plague him -- he issued 42 walks in 57 innings in 2005 -- and the team didn't see much improvement the following spring, which meant he was not going to make the Opening Day roster.
He also was out of options.

On March 21, with a little more than a week before the regular season started, then-GM Bill Bavasi orchestrated a classic out-of-options deal, dealing Thornton to the White Sox for another former first-round pick, Joe Borchard, a hitter with freakish power -- including the longest homer in U.S. Cellular Field history, at 504 feet -- who hadn't put it
all together on the field. The Mariners didn't want to let a lefty such as Thornton, with that kind of arm, get away without getting something in return.

Eventually, the deal worked out incredibly well -- for the White Sox. Thornton fit in there, ironed out his command over two so-so years, and in 2008, at the age of 31, it all clicked for him. He only walked 19 batters in 67 1/3 innings, struck out 77, put up a 2.67 ERA and .995 WHIP, and followed that with a 2009 (2.74 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, 87 strikeouts and 20 walks in 72 1/3 innings) that cemented him as one of the best relievers -- lefty or righty -- in baseball.

Borchard got nine at-bats in less than a month of roster time in Seattle before the Mariners dropped him and he was claimed by Florida. He was a reserve with the Marlins, hit .230 in 2006 and .196 in 2007, and hasn't played in the Majors since.

"I made the team in '05 because I was out of options, and by '06 I still had those command issues," Thornton said. "The whole time, I'm trying to improve, and they're keeping me with the hope that I'll become the guy that they thought I could become when they drafted me. I guess what I needed was a new organization, a fresh start and a new attitude about pitching."

At the very end of the article, Doug Miller, the author, brings up the name Manny Parra.


Shawn Kelley ('08, '09) moved quickly through the Seattle Mariners system and has been in the big leagues for awhile now.

But, he is looking to improve and be healthy.

“After the injury, when I came back, I’d have good streaks and bad, and I tried too hard to be that guy who’d pitched in April,” Kelley said. “I had to realize, that guy was me. I got back to focusing 100 percent on every pitch. Stay back, just hit the mitt. …

“There were days after I came back when the oblique would feel tight, when I’d be aware of it. I didn’t want to say anything, but I thought about it too much.”

Kelley finished his rookie season with a 5-4 record, a 4.50 ERA, with 41 strikeouts and nine walks in 46 innings.

“When we came out of spring training last year, I was throwing the best I’ve ever thrown. I executed on every pitch,” Kelley said. “Overall, my year wasn’t bad and it wasn’t great. The bulk of the runs I allowed were in a few appearances, times when my focus wasn’t good. That’s on me.”

When the season ended, Kelley came to a startling revelation.

“For the first time in my career, I didn’t have to get an offseason job,” he said. “Every other winter, I’d worked for a golf course back home, mowing fairways, rolling greens, picking up range balls. If you could do it on a golf course, I did it.”

Freed from that, Kelley decided to make his offseason job, well, himself.

“I made my job to get my body ready for 2010. I was hurt last season, and I wanted to come in with my body in the best shape I could get it in,” he said.

“I ran with my wife, who runs marathons. I lifted weights, took a leg class twice a week. A woman at the gym told me she thought it would be good for me – and it killed me the first time. I limped around the house for two days. I thought, ‘If it hurts this much, it must be good for me.’ ”

"Just have fun with it"

Big League Stew had a fun little post this past weekend. He tried out for the Public Address announcer for Baltimore Oriole home Spring Training games.

Look to whom he went in the Orioles clubhouse for some advice.

Orioles Magic on the Mic from Big League Stew on Vimeo.

"If it's loud, I'll go there."


A small part

and we were happy to play it.
Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region announced today that a $100,000 grant from its Fox Cities Stadium Charitable Fund will make it possible for a new Miracle League field to open this spring at Memorial Park.

The Miracle League is an organized baseball league for youths with physical and/or cognitive disabilities between the ages of 4 and 19 who play non-competitive, organized ball on a fully accessible, rubberized field.


And because of a $100,000 grant from the Fox Cities Stadium Charitable Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the first phase — the new field — will be ready for the Miracle League’s teams to play ball on June 5.

Stan Baehman, spokesman for the stadium fund group, said it wanted to give the field project a big boost.

“We felt our gift could move the project forward and help it to become a reality,” Baehman said in a release today.
Click through on the link up top to see which figure in Timber Rattlers history will have the field named after him.

Congratulations to The Miracle League of the Fox Valley. We will see you at your Opening Day on June 5, 2010!


Another Goodland Field photo

This picture of Goodland Field, which is undated, is being used here as a lead in to this week's Friday Flashback.

Back in 1984, a writer by the name of William Gildea traveled the US and visited some baseball stadiums. The second in his series of three articles was published in the Style section of the Washington Post in August. This second article dealt with two games that he and his two boys saw at Goodland Field, home of the Appleton Foxes.

It's a lengthy read, but well worth it.

Click the image below for a larger view. Pick out the Marlboro Man.


Beatles fans, forgive me

Picture yourself in a seat near the field here,
With potatoes as salad and burgers as pies.
The stadium calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl takes your order for fries.

This attempt at re-writing a classic song
by The Beatles was inspired by this announcement over at the Timber Rattlers website.

All-You-Can-Eat Seats available for season ticket packages
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have added a new seating option to their current season ticket packages. Fans may now purchase a spot in the new All-You-Can-Eat section on the first base side of Time Warner Cable Field. The seating area features a field level view, barstool seating, unique countertop space, and an all-you-can-eat buffet.
There is an artist's rendering of the new seating area over at the story. But, here at Rattler Radio, we wanted to give a little bit more.

So, here is the artist's rendering for the first and third base sides and the progress made by the construction crew on those areas as of noon today. Click for a larger image.

The re-write up top couldn't have been any worse than this? Could it?

The Offseason Finale

Season One of The Offseason has come to an end. I'd post it, but I can't find it on Youtube, yet. So, there is a link to a different player at the bottom of the post.

To introduce the episode, I asked the host of the best. clipshow. ever to join us today.
Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such baseball teams as the Fond du Lac Webfoots, the Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls Orphans, and the Freeport Pretzels.

Tonight we're here to honor America's favorite offseason video series produced by a minor league baseball team that features a snake with legs, who also happens to be mute.

We've received dozens of letters from fans wanting to know more about the show. Tonight, we'll answer some of your questions. Professor Lawrence Pierce of the University of Chicago writes, "I think Fang gets stupider every episode." That's not a question, Professor, but we'll let the viewers judge for themselves.

A new Silver Hawk Fan

New Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly spoke at the Irish baseball banquet on Tuesday.

The excerpted bit:
Kelly was one of two keynote speakers at the event, as he followed former Notre Dame baseball and basketball player and longtime major league pitcher Ron Reed to the podium in front of a crowded Purcell Pavilion floor. Both men followed an introduction to the event that included former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Reed, according to Kelly, typified the excellence that Kelly says permeates Notre Dame, a concept he's learning has further boundaries every day. He also made it clear that, despite his Boston ties, Kelly's allegiances are straightened now that he's in South Bend.

"I am a (South Bend) Silver Hawks fans, and an Irish baseball fan. That's it," he said, to laughter and applause.
Well, it's not like there is a Red Sox affiliate in the Midwest League. And could he cheer for the Boston College baseball team? Is that allowed at Notre Dame?


A little something on which to chew

Jim Breen and Ryan Topp at the newly relocated Bernie's Crew have their list of Top 30 Brewers prospects as the organization heads into the 2010 season.

There are a lot of familiar names on the list so click over for the whole thing. I'll just excerpt the potential -- and I will stress the word potential -- Timber Rattlers. Some, who have been mentioned before, will just be the names and rankings. You'll have to click over to see what the scouting report is on them (Sorry, Kid. I'm going to make you work for info about the Vol on the list). Others will have that information.

4. RHP Eric Arnett

7. OF Kentrail Davis

8. RHP Jake Odorizzi

14. RHP Kyle Heckathorn

19. LHP Del Howell (statistics)
The junior southpaw from the University of Alabama fell to the 15th round of the 2009 draft after struggling in his junior season due to succumbing to mono. He ended up signing just before the deadline for well over the slot recommendation. Howell was able to appear in five games after signing, splitting time between both rookie levels -- posting solid, if unspectacular numbers in those appearances. He has three solid offerings at this point and can reach the mid 90's with his fastball. That suggests mid-rotation upside if he can continue to develop and stay healthy. Howell could develop into one of the steals of the draft.
21. RHP Maverick Lasker (statistics)
Lasker, a favorite of the old Between the Green Pillars blogging crew, was taken the the 5th round of the 2008 draft out of an Arizona High School. He did not pitch in 2008, but posted very solid numbers in the Arizona Rookie League and established himself as a legitimate prospect. The organization rewarded his fine play with a late season call up Wisconsin that resulted in one great start and one very forgettable one. Lasker throws in the low to mid 90's and compliments his fastball with a spike slurve and a good (and developing) changeup. He even has room to add some velocity as he matures. Lasker certainly has mid-to-top of the rotation ability, but is a long, long way from the majors.
22. RHP Nic Bucci (statistics)
The 18th round pick from the 2008 draft burst onto the scene last year with a solid showing at Rookie Helena. He even managed to get a few innings in at AA. While his fastball sits in the high 80's to low 90's, he induces a lot of strikeouts with his overall mix of pitches, including a decent curve and a change with good sink. The important question is how his stuff will translate at the higher echelons of the system, but he will not turn 20 until this July so he has plenty of time to develop.
26. OF D'Vontrey Richardson

30. SS Ryan "Scooter" Gennett
Drafted by the Brewers in the 16th round of the 2009 draft, Gennett signed for roughly 4th or 5th round money. The diminutive SS/RHP was named to the USA Today All-USA High School Baseball Team in his senior year, but his future is with the bat. Though only 5'9" and 165 LBS, he possesses plus pull power and also has the ability to drive the other way. He draws raves for his speed, makeup and leadership abilites and has been called a true five-tool prospect. Milwaukee will give him every chance to stick at shortstop, but some scouts believe Gennett profiles better at second base. He figures to make his professional debut later this year in rookie ball.
We'll know how many of the guys on this list will be in a Timber Rattlers uniform to open the season in less than seven weeks. Seven Weeks!


A boatload of links

Sorry for running mostly silent the last few days. #1.) I've been busy at the ballpark. #2.) There just isn't a whole heck of a lot out there.

This should change once the pitchers and catchers report this week.

To make up for the lack of posts, here is one post with lots of volume. Or, at least links to a lot of the stories that I have been working on this week.

The big story is: Single game tickets on sale March 6 @ 10am. The 3rd Annual Rummage Sale is that day, too.

Also making news would be the two new official Timber Rattlers Fan Clubs.

The Silver Foxes is for 55 and over.

Timber Rattlers Kids Crew is for 12 and under.

There have been some changes since the last time we did the Kids club, so click on each club for more information and entry forms.

By the way, congratulations to a young Rattler fan from Stevens Point. He is the first member of the Kids Crew. And I am guessing that he is the son of a long-time Rattler Radio reader from Stevens Point. But, that is just a guess...Right, Erik?

In a semi-non-related Timber Rattlers link, Chris Bosio was the guest of Brett Christopherson, the erstwhile Timber Rattlers Beat Writer at the Post Crescent.

Bos has some great stories. On involves his first bullpen at major league camp with a strangely attired Ted Simmons doing the catching...and smoking...

Plus, an unnamed blogger won a wing party at The Clubhouse just for knowing Bosio's uniform number.

It was easy to remember. Short story, I interned at LAZER 103 (Now, THE HOG) in Milwaukee during the summer of 1988. Bos was a frequent guest of Bob and Brian. I started work at 10am, just when Bob and Brian would be wrapping up their morning show. If there was a late-model luxury car in the lot with the vanity plates 'BOS 29' it was pretty clear that Chris Bosio was in the house.

Back to the Sports for Lunch today. Bosio has some interesting comments how he handled Manny Parra's trip down to Nashville last year. Bosio was the pitching coach of the Sounds when that happened during 2010.

Head over here.

Then, click on 'Menu' in the lower right hand corner. Click 'Browse On-Demand Library'. Then, select 'Live Show Tue Feb 16 2010'. It's a little over an hour.

Two of my early in the week pieces for the website are available.

Today's The Interrogation Room is a talk with Bill Smith, the current GM of the Minnesota Twins. At one point, early in his career, he was the GM of the Appleton Foxes.

Mehring Monday takes a look at past Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics with the main focus being memorable ways the Olympic Flame was lit.

To give away the ending, this was my favorite.


Josh Womack takes his act on the road

Timber Rattlers fans will remember Josh Womack as an outfielder on the team in 2004 and 2005. Some will remember him tying the franchise record for consecutive game hitting streak.

The People of St. Louis will remember him for this appearance on KSDK

Bat Magician?


This seems like a good Saturday post

Have you ever wanted to pick out the name of an ice cream?

The Timber Rattlers and Cedar Crest have a poll for you!

There is a flavor of ice cream that is a mixture of caramel, peanuts, and chocolate. But, it doesn't have a name.

Head over here and vote for one of the four selections. Problem solved.

The choices are:
Rattler Warning Tracks
Fang's Triple Play
Fang's Snake Bites
Timber Rattlers Mound Mix
Mmmmmm...Mound Mix. Sorry. I'm supposed to be objective and not have a favorite.


Pictures for the Flashback (LINK ADDED)

This week's Friday Flashback is from an August 8, 1999 Post-Crescent article that followed the Timber Rattlers on a brief two-game road trip to Peoria. There were some pictures by H. Rick Mach that went along with the article. I could only use one with the article on the main website, and it had to be cropped down to fit.

How to use all three? Then, I remembered. I have a blog!

This is the picture I went with for the article. It is the team lined up for the National Anthem before a game at Vonachen Stadium in Peoria. I used it because it was in color. And it shows off the rockin' pressbox they had there. I'd make a "joke" about the Cardinals logo on the facing of the pressbox, but no one would get it.

I liked this one of Enmanuel Ulloa (L) and Melqui Torres (R) because it's just a quiet moment in the clubhouse after a game. And also, because until this very moment, I never knew that Torres was a big Michigan fan. At least I hope that's why he is wearing a hat with a big 'M' on it.

This is PJ Williams on a pay phone. For our younger readers out there, a pay phone is: A public telephone in which payment is made in coins or through use of a calling/credit card before the call is placed. These were big before cell phones. Perhaps next week I can find an ad for 1-800-COLLECT with Eva Savealot.


Brewers fan going to Arizona for Spring Training?

Buy a ticket and support the Cubs. Rent a car and support the Cubs.



If you haven't seen the news, an Arizona state rep named John McCornish has just introduced a bill that proposes both an increase in car rental taxes and a surcharge on all spring training games played in the state. Yes, even the ones that don't involve the Cubs.

The funds would then help pay for the state's portion — roughly $59 million — of the $84 million it will cost to build the facility that ended the Cubs' threats to move to Florida.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and his friends at the Diamondbacks started the bellyaching over this proposal — even though the White Sox got a new ballpark 20 years ago through similar methods — and they've recently been joined by the Rangers and A's.

Arizona and the Cubs will contend that the franchise is the cornerstone of the Cactus League and that other facilities are packed to the brim when its fans travel across the Valley. They're right, of course, but it bends all logic that a visiting Mariners fan should have to pay a surcharge on all of his tickets when he has no intentions of seeing the Cubs play.

And the line of other owners bristling at the thought of the extra charge should kill the idea that the rising tide lifts all boats. The extra tax could actually hurt their attendance on days that Ronnie Woo Woo and crew don't show up in the stands.

(At this point, I should note that the other owners are in the business of making a profit and might just be angling to preserve space for price increases of their own. Still, I'm on the side of keeping spring training as affordable as possible — and if you've never been, you'd be surprised how much tickets can cost — so any opposition to the surcharge is fine by me.)
That is from Big League Stew.

This is from the MSN.com.
Representatives of the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox said Wednesday that all Cactus League teams oppose a proposed surcharge on all spring training tickets to pay for new Chicago Cubs stadium in Mesa

“All 14 other Cactus League teams oppose House Bill 2736 as introduced. We are working persistently with legislative leadership in the House to construct an alternative plan that will work for everyone, including the Cubs,” said John Kaites, a Phoenix attorney and lobbyist who represents the Mariners and White Sox. He would not provide details, however.

Whitecaps defy White House

or something like that. What do you expect when the headline in the Grand Rapids Press looks like this?

Michelle Obama's obesity initiative versus the Whitecaps' Declaration of Indigestion: Who wins?

Before getting to far into this story one of the questions you are probably asking is..."Declaration of Indigestion?" Which really isn't a question. It's more of three words with a question mark stuck on the end.

The Declaration of Indigestion is: A foot-long hot dog somthered [sic] in Philly cheese steak, cheese, peppers and onions and served on a gigantic sub roll. Click the link for a picture of a man eating the latest convention breaking food item of the Whitecaps.

TO THE COLUMN by Troy Reimink which is filed under the word 'Outrage'. No. Seriously.
The West Michigan Whitecaps are letting fans decide which ridiculously unhealthy new items will join the Fifth Third Burger on their concessions menu for the upcoming season.

In vaguely related news, First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday announced she would lead a nationwide effort to combat childhood obesity in partnership with public health officials and private organizations. One can only assume that list of partners will not include the Whitecaps.

Let's have some fun, shall we? Here's some text from the CNN story on Obama's announcement juxtaposed with descriptions of Fifth Third Ballpark food contenders. See if you can guess which is which.
Why do I have a feeling that Mr. Reimink's idea of fun is different from my idea of fun?

Click through if you want to kill that little smile that you thought about having today.

This better not give anyone any ideas

I've known about this one for awhile, but didn't mention anything about it directly. Then, Ben got the job with the Whitecaps and the cat was out of the bag.

A Cardinals fan actually put it all together between complaining about untucked shirts and this was the result.

Quad Cities River Bandits silence radio broadcasts

Back in March 2008, the River Bandits and Miller Media Group, the owner of WYEC (93.9 FM, Geneseo, Illinois), had announced a three-year agreement to air the team’s 140-game schedule on the station. Games were also streamed on the team’s website.

Ending the deal a year early seems especially counterintuitive as the Quad Cities baseball operation is definitely on the rise. Total attendance (236,401) and average attendance (3,694) last season were both the highest since 1995 and rank among the top five years the history of the franchise. Since the ownership change, attendance has grown 64 percent on a per-game basis (from 2,254 in 2007) and 59 percent on an annual view (from 148,773).

A 2009 study by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal ranked the Quad Cities #31 of 239 minor league sports markets, best of all Cardinals minor league affiliate metro areas.

In confirming the news, Miller Media Group’s Kewanee, Illinois cluster sales manager Fletcher M. Ford was quite direct. He explained how the change was made and communicated.

“Your Easy Choice 93.9 WYEC was served notice from Kirk A. Goodman, Vice President and General Manager in late 2009 explaining the intention of the Quad City River Bandits not having a radio broadcast partner in the upcoming season for its fans,” Ford explained.

Ford wanted to make it clear that Miller Media Group was not a part of any evaluation process.

“This decision was made solely by the management of the Quad City River Bandits,” Ford said.

Goodman offered further details.

“We are indeed discontinuing our radio broadcast,” Goodman stated Monday. “We were being charged a very high rate to be on a station located 55 miles from our ballpark and in addition to that cost and the expense of paying for the salary and travel for a broadcaster did not make fiscal sense for our team.”

Apparently no alternatives that offered a match could be found.

“We made an effort to bring the broadcast to a more local station but none of the formats of the stations for the two main radio groups in our market worked with what we were willing to offer in return.

“It was strictly a financial decision…to pay what was necessary for our broadcast to be on the air was not worth the return we saw from having a broadcast,” Goodman said.

Nothing personal. Just business. That worked out so well for Tessio.

Our Friends in High Desert

Since Jim Horner, a former Rattlers player and Manager, is going to manage the High Desert Mavericks in 2010, I'll share the latest on the Saga of the Mavs.

Bretts yet to sell Mavs after waiver period
The waiver period for Brett Sports and Entertainment to sell the High Desert Mavericks ended after six months, but the company still hasn’t struck a deal.

Brett Sports and Entertainment, the owner of the Mavs based in Spokane, Wash., completed a purchase of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in August. Because Minor League Baseball prohibits ownership of more than one club in a league under the rules adopted by all clubs and leagues, Brett Sports was given a six-month waiver period to sell the Mavericks.

Brett Sports chief operating officer Andy Billig said he has talked with a number of potential buyers, but nothing is imminent. He added that it’s not unusual for a sale to take a long time because the purchase is large. Billig said even when the sale process starts, it takes months to complete.

“We are talking to Minor League Baseball and the California League on how to proceed,” Billig said. “Those discussions are on-going. Nothing’s been determined.”
Brett group unable to sell High Desert Mavericks
The Mavericks, who reached the championship series in the California League in 2009 before being swept by the San Jose Giants, have been the subject of move rumors for the last couple seasons. One scenario had the team moving to Carolina League along with the Bakersfield Blaze. Those rumors had the Mavericks moving to Richmond, Virginia, which has since seen the former Connecticut, Defenders (Double-A) move into town. More recently, the Mavericks wanted to move to nearby Apple Valley, California until a deal to build a new stadium was voted down by city leaders. The team has been unhappy with upkeep at Mavericks Stadium by the City of Adelanto.

Episode Eight: "The Offseason"

Reminds me of....


Construction Photos: 2/10/10

It may have snowed yesterday and last night, but the work crew is out making progress on the new seating areas. As always, click the image for a larger picture.

Here are two shots of the first base area that used to be the visiting bullpen.

Here are two shots of the progress on the third base side.

This picture was included so that you can imagine green grass as far as the eye can see.

Think of it as a concentration exercise.

We're gonna be on the TV

Head over to the main site for the full details, including the Sports32 broadcast schedule.
Time Warner Cable will telecast a minimum of 12 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games live on Sports32 in 2010. This season will be the fourth year for Rattlers games shown on Sports32. The schedule begins on Opening Night - April 8, 2010 - when the Timber Rattlers host the Kane County Cougars at 6:35pm. Other games may be added to the broadcast schedule at a later date.


Do you remember the Hook-A-T? (UPDATE)

Timber Rattlers Pitching Coach Chris Hook is in The Interrogation Room (Update: NOW. Link Added). These are the two pictures of him that I had to choose from to put with the article.

For the backstory on these shirts, click here and here.


Lesson learned

Efrain Nieves ('09) had a tough year with the Timber Rattlers. He's done better in the World Cup, the Winter League in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Series.

This article from MLB.com after he picked up the win on Saturday for Puerto Rico has an interesting quote from the youngster as to why he may have struggled in the Midwest League.
"The truth is that I didn't prepare myself for such a long season," Nieves, 19, said. "And as result, I didn't up the numbers that I should have. This year is totally different. I've been working hard every day, running on the beach and working out all winter time. I'm going to be ready this time."
The weird thing is that the article has no context for the comments and just throws it in there. In fact, there is no mention of Nieves before that quote. It's really odd. It may be accurate, but it is odd.

A life goal

One of the things that I must do at some point in my life is get on Jeopardy!. Duk over at Big League Stew had a post up last week that I didn't see until yesterday. This post brings together a couple of things that are important to me...Baseball and Jeopardy!.

Here is the question:

If you were on 'Jeopardy!' and the final category was baseball how confident would you be in making your wager?

The setup is the Clavin Gambit. You're up by a lot heading into Final Jeopardy. Do you risk it all to win a lot or do you leave money on the table.

Duk managed to find a website that has every game of Jeopardy! for the last 26 seasons. And I thought Star Trek fans were obsessive.

There have been 10 times (that he found) in which Baseball was a topic in Final Jeopardy!

I -- being an all-or-nothing kind of guy -- would go for broke. And with an answer like this...I would profit!

5. BASEBALL (9/11/02): "It's the only team to win World Series titles in three different cities for which it played.

Caribbean Series is over

No Rattlers (or Foxes) alums played on the final day of the Caribbean Series -- which was won by the team from the Domincan Republic.

Ex-Rattlers in the Series:

Puerto Rico:
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-5
Efrain Nieves ('09): 3.2IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 4K, 1-0

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 1-for-10, RBI


Feeling hip

Rob Johnson ('05) has recovered enough from his off-season surgeries to have an article with the following title written about him.

Mariners’ Johnson feeling pretty hip
About 31/2 hours northwest of here, an Elvis tribute artist swivels his hips and melts the hearts of 70-year-old women during a two-hour show in Laughlin.

Down in Peoria, Rob Johnson can do a similar thing for the trainers and coaches who’ve been watching him work out at the Seattle Mariners’ spring training complex. Well, without the sideburns, hairy chest and jumpsuit.

Johnson is the Mariners’ starting catcher, not an Elvis wannabe. But if he really wanted to gyrate those hips, he can do it now.

It has been nearly four months since Johnson had the first of two operations to repair damaged cartilage and remove bone chips from each hip. Through a winter of recovery and rehab, Johnson has what he hasn’t experienced in a long, long time — flexibility and a lack of pain.

“It’s 100 percent different, 100 percent better, the fluidity in the way my hip joints are moving,” he said.

The real reason I linked this article is for the Elvis references. well done, Mr. Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald.

South Bend improvements

They have been approved.
South Bend is ready to play ball when it comes to renovating Coveleski Stadium.

On Friday, the South Bend Redevelopment Commission approved phase one of the stadium renovation project, which includes improving the field lighting, repairing cracks in the concrete, and renovating the restrooms.

The first round of improvements should cost about $1 million.

Late last year, city officials talked about a long list of park improvements that could cost tens of millions of dollars.

“We’re going to go back and we’re going to reevaluate the whole list,” said Bill Schalliol with the South Bend Department of Redevelopment. “We originally talked about doing a bunch of phases and spreading it out over time, what we may do is really kind of hone in on the key items we need to accomplish.”

Rattler Alumni Report: Caribbean World Series (Day Five)

Puerto Rico 7, Venezuela 1

Puerto Rico:
Efrain Nieves ('09): 2.2IP, 3H, 0R, 3K, WIN


One of these men...(UPDATED)

...wrote the article that will be used for this week's Flashback Friday.

This is an ad from the 1976 program.

The answer will be revealed later today.

Here is the link to this week's Flashback. Click for the answer.

Here is the full ad that was cropped to fit the space for the picture over that the Flashback this week.

I should have made him 42

I just used a version of this "joke" over at the Timber Rattlers Twitter account. But, I don't know how many of you follow us over there...

Background, I have been counting down to Opening Day by giving little clues to former Foxes, Papermakers, and Timber Rattlers. Today, I picked Blue River, Wisconsin native Doug Adams from the '66 Foxes.

If I had been thinking clearly this morning, I should have picked someone else.

Doug Adams belongs at 42 days left until Opening Day.

My mistake.

Rattler Alumni Report: 2010 Caribbean Series (Day 3)

Dominican Republic 3, Venezuela 2

Carlos Maldonado ('98): 0-for-4

Puerto Rico 5, Mexico 3

No Alumni involved


Extending the traditional "Rattler Radio" welcome

Welcome to the party, pal.

Or -- in this case -- welcome back to the party, pal.
The West Michigan Whitecaps announced today that Ben Chiswick has been named the new radio play-by-play announcer for the Whitecaps.

Chiswick spent the last four seasons as director of broadcasting and media relations for the fellow Midwest League Quad Cities River Bandits.

Rattler Alumni Report: 2010 Caribbean Series (Day 2)

Venezuela 5, Puerto Rico 2

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

Puerto Rico:
Efrain Nieves ('09): IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K

Dominican Republic 7, Mexico 1

No Alumni Involved


Good bye, Bubbler

One of our biggest on-line backers from Milwaukee is shutting down. SportsBubbler.com has its final day today. The project of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is being folded into JSOSports.com after today.

My understanding is the Jim Breen's excellent Bernie's Crew is moving over to the new site, and I'll update the sidebar with a new link when that is official.

Dan Walsh approached me around this time last year about writing a weekly column for the Bubbler. That's where This Week in Timber Rattlers Baseball was born. The final edition of my column (at least the final one at the Bubbler) may be found here.

Dan and the gang were always good to the Rattlers. They were there with coverage, a word, or a link when we had some news up here in the land of the Future Brewers.

More importantly, Dan got it. There are as many passionate sports fans in Wisconsin as there are sports options in Wisconsin. The Bubbler gave fans a voice and gave teams -- that are at times overshadowed -- coverage. It's not all Packers, Badgers, Golden Eagles, Brewers, and Bucks. There are Admirals, Panthers, and, yes, Timber Rattlers among others in there, too.

For that, I am grateful.

Dan's final post is here. A quick taste.
I've never been a great writer, but that wasn't the point. My goal was to entertain and provide an outlet to fans to discuss the topics of the day - sports and/or entertainment. I hope I was able to do that. I've meet some great people along the way like klwillis45 (the DD's first 'fan') and people I feel I at least know a little about, crichar3, BrewTownBoozer, brbutler, burniebrewer. rdeglow, coach and MushroomCloudMoFo (a great name) and many others I'm probably forgetting. Post-it Note Paul was a huge help as he knew more about sports blogs than I did and told me what I was doing right or wrong. Plus he kept telling me, "you gotta have more babes with big knockers on the site" So you can thank him for that. And thanks to all the readers who never commented, but showed up on my pageviews count. Your readership was greatly appreciated.
And your efforts were appreciated up here in Timber Rattler Nation. Thank you and good luck, Dan.

That time year

If it is about two months to Opening Day, it must be time for an article about what is going on with a new stadium for the Beloit Snappers.
The topic of conversation at the Country Club of Beloit on Monday evening was as much about a new stadium as one that hasn’t been built.

The Beloit Professional Baseball Association, Inc., kicked off its 29th season for the Snappers with its sixth annual Winter Hot Stove Banquet. It featured current Minnesota Twin and former Snapper Brian Duensing, Twins legend and current special assistant Tony Oliva, Twins director of minor leagues Jim Rantz and former Twins general manager Terry Ryan, a Janesville native, who now is a senior advisor to the general manager.

It also included Snappers pitching coach Gary Lucas and new Snappers hitting coach Tommy Watkins.

And while members of the Twins organization glowed over sparkling new Target Field, set to host the Twins this spring, they were also mindful of the plight of their Class A affiliate, the Snappers, in an effort to build a new stadium.

Venerable Pohlman Field is a Midwest League staple and has hosted the Snappers since 1982. But it’s outdated, and if a new stadium isn’t built in the near future, the Snappers could be forced to leave Beloit.
...I'm sorry...did you just say 'Venerable'?
"We’re basically focusing on a plot of land right on the Interstate, basically right by where 43 and 90 share,” Vohs said. “We did a study last summer that came back positive, basically checking to see if the site was able to support a stadium.”

Vohs said that using tax dollars to finance the stadium would be “pretty much impossible.” As far as a timetable for construction, it’s definitely too early to tell. Vohs said the absolute earliest season to begin play in a new stadium would be 2012 if everything goes well.

“We don’t want to go and start showing pictures all around town or around the area, and then all of a sudden the money isn’t there,” Vohs said.
Read it all.

Rattler Alumni Report: 2010 Caribbean Series

Dominican Republic 2, Puerto Rico 1

Puerto Rico:
Martin Maldonado ('09): 1-for-2

Mexico 7, Venezuela 2

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


Jon Miller, Hall of Famer

The newest winner of the Ford C. Frick Award is Jon Miller.
Growing up in the Bay Area, Giants play-by-play man Jon Miller spent hundreds of days and nights listening to Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons call Giants games.

On Monday, Miller received the ultimate honor for a baseball broadcaster, one Hodges and Simmons each earned.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Miller was selected as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually to recognize excellence in baseball broadcasting.

Miller, on vacation in Cartagena, Colombia, got the news in phone calls from Hall President Jeff Idelson and Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, Miller's partner on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" telecasts for the past 20 seasons.

"The first people I actually thought of were Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons," Miller said in a conference call.

"It really is kind of astounding to me, that I'm the recipient of the award, because Russ and Lon were larger-than-life people to me. They were as big as the biggest movie stars to me."
I just hope that if Mr. Miller says the name of the man for whom the award is named, he has better luck than his time as a hockey announcer for the California Golden Seals when he...well, here is the excerpt from From Peanuts to the Pressbox by Eli Gold.
ESPN's Jon Miller admits that during the first game he called for the NHL's California Golden Seals way back when, he got tongue-tied while trying to say, "The puck fell." Instead he said...well, you know what he said. According to Miller, ever after he has advised aspiring hockey announcers to refer to the puck as "it".

What's in a nickname

Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times ranks the nicknames of MLB teams. His criteria:
All lists are inherently subjective, but this one is completely so. Even still, I have some general guidelines for making my picks:

- A nickname should be distinctive.

- The nickname should ideally tie in to the local community somehow.

- Above all else, a nickname should sound cool.
The Brewers rank is...
5. Milwaukee Brewers. It's a fitting nickname, given all the beer making going on in Wisconsin. It's certainly unlike any other team nickname.
Click over for the whole list.

This link is via Duk at Big League Stew. Duk ranks the Brewers, based on Jaffe's criteria, at #1.

Preview for 'The Interrogation Room' (UPDATED)

It will be up on the main site around 11:30 this morning. Corey Kemp is the subject. You're going to want to read it. Trust me.

I'll have a link to the interview on this post later.

UPDATE: Click on the graphic below for this week's installment.

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