December 2009

…And in No Way is That Depressing

Tomorrow, I’m going to Cleveland to watch the titanic struggle between the Browns and Raiders. It’s Derek Anderson vs. Charlie Frye. The Walrus vs. Skeletor. 3-11 vs. 5-9. It’s supposed to be right around freezing, wind around 15mph and a steady snow.

And I am totally pumped.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Last Work Day of the Decade

Not much to talk about today… Former Fort Wayne closer Jackson Quezada re-signed with the Padres on a minor-league deal. He was taken off the 40-man roster recently, I assume mostly because an arm injury shelved him for the whole 2009 season. He’s back in the fold now.

So today I was working on the 2010 media guide when I stumbled upon this gem from the 2009 Big East baseball tournament…

Apparently this was during a five-hour rain delay and they never ended up playing that night… But UConn ended up beating USF two games in a row to advance to the Big East title game (which they lost to Louisville).

Also, the Padres traded for Dusty Ryan the other day. I saw him in the Eastern League in 2008… REALLY good arm for a catcher, was among the league leaders in throwing out runners stealing… Had some pop, but Erie’s ballpark is built literally next door to the hockey/basketball arena so the left-field fence was about 290 feet away and right up against the arena, so guys would hit bombs onto the roof all the time. Still, the Padres’ system isn’t exactly flush with catching depth so it’s another low-risk addition.

Today is December 23rd, known by all good Seinfeld fans as Festivus. If you didn’t know about this, watch this or we’re no longer friends.

Today is also Ryan Ledman‘s last day of work with the TinCaps. His wife got a job in a wonderful city in Ohio so he’s leaving us. So e-mail him and tell him you enjoyed his dance moves during his time with the Bad Apple Dancers. I should probably also tell you that Ryan’s position is already filled (both dancing and selling tickets), so I’ve saved you some trouble.

Speaking of Cleveland, I’m going to be in northeast Ohio this weekend. The Browns are home against the Raiders. Brady Quinn is done for the year, so Derek Anderson is back in as the starting quarterback.

Fact
: Anderson’s 4th-quarter QB rating this year is 3.1.
Fact: You could go 0-for-900 in a game with no interceptions and still have a 2.1 QB rating.
Fact: Former Browns great Charlie Frye is starting for Oakland.

If this game is blacked out on TV, I am giving serious thought to finding someone to go with me, getting tickets from a scalper (in exchange for a handshake and a pair of winter gloves) and watching the mayhem in person. I’m half-convinced Al Davis actually passed away in 2003 and the Raiders have been the real-life “Weekend at Bernie’s” since then. On the other sideline? Eric Mangini, who could very well be in his next-to-last game as coach of the Browns. This could be the most hilariously bad game in NFL history. Or it could be awesome, like last week when Jerome Harrison went nuts against Kansas City. I’m not really interested in freezing on a Sunday afternoon, but if that’s what it takes to see this game, I might do it.

That’s about all from here… Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. I’m heading home today so I’m not sure how much I’ll post during the next week, so I’ll talk to you when I talk to you!

And now, musical guest… Bruce Springsteen!

Take care, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

DW

Sol(stice) Train

Today is the shortest day of the year. Which doesn’t really make any sense, because every day is supposedly 24 hours long. More accurately, it’s the Winter Solstice, the day we in the Northern Hemisphere see the sun for the shortest amount of time. In fact, there ain’t been sunshine all day in Fort Wayne, so it can only get better from here.

Lately the baseball transactions have been settling down a little, but I did hear that the Padres did not offer a contract to Jackson Quezada, who saved 27 games for Fort Wayne in 2008. He was on the 40-man roster so the Padres would avoid losing him in the Rule 5 Draft but he had an arm injury and didn’t pitch in 2009. I’m hearing he’s supposed to re-sign with San Diego on a minor-league deal but haven’t heard that it’s actually happened yet.

So what else is happening in baseball (classic late-night talk show monologue time-wasting line)… Bud Selig has put together a committee of baseball people to look at ways of improving baseball games. My favorite part of this is that Selig made sure everyone knew nothing was taboo by saying there are no “sacred cows.” Odd, but OK.

What kind of changes would you want? I’d say speed up the game, first and foremost. I’m not so worried about coaching visits or pitching changes, but there are pitchers who kill the flow to a game when a runner gets on base. The TinCaps really only had one or two guys who did this in 2009, and they got an earful for it. Keep the game moving and keep your defense on its toes. Some games will still go over three hours, but not nearly as many. If there needs to be a pitch clock, then so be it. They’re experimenting with it in college. Why not try it in pro ball? Remember, no sacred cows.

Secondly, no more November baseball. The teams that made the World Series this year had more days off during the playoffs than they did during the 162-game regular season. Even as someone who travels with a baseball team for five-plus months of the year, travel days during a playoff series are ridiculous and so is the concept of one pitcher possibly starting three games in one series. It’s probably nice for the players to have days off, but I would think it would make things tougher on hitters, who depend on timing, to not see live pitching for days at a time.

That’s all I can think of for now. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas!

Holy (sacred) cow… Christmas is later this week. In less than two weeks, we’ll be in a new decade. When did that happen?

DW

You Sank the Cubs’ Battleship!

Milton Bradley traded from the Cubs to Seattle for Carlos Silva… Wow

Pretty crazy when a guy goes from key free-agent pickup to being traded for Carlos Silva in the span of a year. While he didn’t help the Cubs as much as they hoped he would (or at all), it’s pretty ridiculous to throw all the Cubs’ struggles on him.

If Bradley puts it together in Seattle, GM Jack Zduriencik becomes even more of a genius than he already is. He pretty much built the Brewers strictly through draft.

I’ll Trade Ya

First of all, I hope you notice The Watson Files has really hit the big-time now. It’s been given the gold (actually white) star of honor and designated a “Pro Blog.” Readers’ expectations have never been higher and the quality of work is… low as always.

If you come here to read about baseball, you’re in luck. If you come here to get upset about people who don’t like the Colts, you’re also in luck. If you come here for jokes that are lame at best, you’ve hit the three-team parlay of your dreams.

You’ve probably already read enough about the Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee trade from the people who know a lot about the major leagues. This article from Jayson Stark is probably the best all-encompassing story I’ve seen. His first point is that we’ve never seen two Cy Young Award winners traded in the same deal. Which means we’ve probably never seen a trade like this. And that’s just at the major-league level.

But what about the minor leagues? First off, three of the eight prospects in the deal played in the Midwest League last year: Brett Wallace (Quad Cities ’08), Philippe Aumont (Wisconsin ’08) and J.C. Ramirez (Wisconsin ’08). Seven of the eight were considered Top-10 prospects in their organizations (according to Baseball America) and the only one who wasn’t (Tyson Gillies) played in the Futures Game this year. Then to top it all off, the A’s jumped in and made a prospect-for-prospect trade, sending Wallace to Toronto for OF Michael Taylor, who started this whole thing with the Phillies and might be the best all-around prospect in the deal. Usually those kinds of players are reserved for trades involving major-leaguers, but they both might as well be there anyway (they’ll probably get there in 2010).

I’ve heard really good things about Taylor. He’s humungous, is a good athlete, has a good bat and went to Stanford which generally means you’re a pretty smart person. And Aumont pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and, with the bases loaded and nobody out, got David Wright (shattered bat popout), Kevin Youkilis (strikeout) and Curtis Granderson (strikeout) out in order. And Kyle Drabek is the son of Doug Drabek, who in addition to winning a Cy Young Award, also had a 90s mustache-mullet combo rivaled only by the dearly departed Rod Beck and maybe Doug Jones.

In short, the minor-leaguers (seven top-10 prospects… SEVEN!) in this deal were just as interesting as the major-leaguers, which is really saying something considering two Cy Young winners changed teams.

Now on to another, completely separate point which is going to be unpopular in Fort Wayne: Among good teams in the NFL, it must be the least fun to be a fan of the Indianapolis Colts. In no way do I have anything against anyone from Indiana rooting for their hometown (or home-state) team. BUT, my overall point is that the Colts are boring and a bit lame. Five reasons.

Reason #1: Facility I was at Lucas Oil Stadium earlier this month for the Winter Meetings. Beautiful facility and everything is top-notch. But like baseball, football is a game that’s supposed to be played outside. I don’t care if you have the best quarterback in the universe and December/January in Indiana isn’t conducive to a passing offense. Football is played outside.

Reason #2: Shushing at a football game?!?
This is inexcusable. I understand that home-field advantage means you don’t have to run plays with the crowd going crazy. You want to be able to hear the snap count. BUT, every time the Colts are on offense and there’s a big play and there’s any crowd noise, #18 goes up to the line and tries to quiet the crowd down. If I wanted to enjoy a quiet afternoon watching sports, I’d watch golf. This is football. Fans might quiet down a little so the offense can hear, but don’t tell me to shush at a football game. This isn’t a library.

Reason #3: High expectations Somewhere along the line, the Colts became the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Phillies. If they win, everybody expected it. If they lose, it’s the end of the universe. Sure they’re 14-0. But when your football team is expected to win in blowouts every week and they play all these close games (against some bummish teams) like the Colts do, it’s more relief than happy when the game’s over. They don’t help themselves when they try to milk the clock in the second half whenever they have any kind of a quasi-sizable lead. Put a leash on one of the most explosive offenses in the league? Where’s the fun in that? I’d rather watch the jerky Patriots run up the score every day of the week.

Reason #4: They’re boring This goes hand-in-hand with Reason #3. The only game I thought the Colts were going to lose was the Patriots game. And it was a great game. But there have been 13 other games. It’s the same thing we’ve been seeing for years: Peyton Manning is obscenely good but it’s annoying when he makes 30 seconds worth of audibles before every play, Joseph Addai is 26 going on 38 and is a cheap imitation of Edgerrin James, half the starting defense is hurt… Is this 2009 or 2006? By being so dominant, the Colts have turned their regular-season games into NBA regular-season games. Just play well enough to get home field for the playoffs and we’re set.

Also, aside from Peyton Manning commercials (which are usually hilarious), there is a serious lack of any NFL-type intrigue/storyline, which is essential for any fan base. Look at the rest of the division leaders in football. The Saints are leading New Orleans back from the hurricane. The Eagles have 18 concussions and Michael Vick on their roster. I don’t think we need to talk about Minnesota’s storyline(s). The Cardinals have Kurt Warner, who is a less-redneck Brett Favre who wears gloves. The Patriots are coached by Darth Vader in a hoodie.Cincinnati is trying to overcome two deaths close to the team. The Chargers? Take your pick… When will Norv Turner make a decision which will torpedo the team? Who will Phillip Rivers trash talk/cuss out this week? And is there any team with an easier joke phrase? The Colts can’t measure up to any of this, unless you want to count the number of times we see Manning Face during a given 24-20 win. And I don’t.

Reason #5: No rivalries in the division They’re in a division with the Texans, the Jaguars and the Titans. The closest team is almost 300 miles away. The Titans are the only team that’s been good lately. The NFL sets the Colts-Patriots matchup every year, but that’s once a year and it’s only a rivalry because they’ve both been good lately. It’s all on-the-field rivalry, which is boring.

Again, not
hing against you, Colts fans. Unless you’re the ones doing the shush-ing. Aside from that, there’s not a lot you can do about any of these things.

I’ll tell you one thing, though: even when the Browns stink, it’s a lot more fun than the Colts. The Browns aren’t just bad, they’re a caricature of a bad NFL team. There was a time this year when I was sure they were going to beat up their own coach on the sideline. Every first down is a small miracle. In fact, I do a mental fist-pump when they don’t fumble the snap. They play outdoors. Even when the wind chill is ten-below. And you’d better believe nobody was shushing when the Browns beat the Steelers last Thursday. When your team is 1-11 and you’re beating your sworn enemies (who happen to be the defending champs) in ungodly cold weather, you can yell as loud as you want. And another thing: Browns fans don’t like anybody in their division. We can’t stand anybody. The Steelers are the main rival, but Baltimore stole our team and the Bengals are in-state and have a bunch of bandwagon fans. So yes, the Browns are terrible, but I’m not jumping ship. Because it’s already fun to be a fan and it’ll be even more fun if/when they get good again. The Colts? Boring.

Before I finish up, hopefully you saw the high-school basketball game last night on ESPN. It was played at the Rike Center at a certain Division-III school in Westerville, Ohio. And the star of the game was Jared Sullinger, who is going to Ohio State. Bonus.

Now, a word of encouragement for Browns fans from George Michael!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Negative Ghostrider, The Pattern is Full

A couple of things: first, Storybook Beginning is now available at the TinCaps’ team stores and online. I helped work on it, I’ve seen the finished product, and it’s good. If you’re a big-time fan of the team or our town, you should buy one.

Secondly, the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee/10 prospects trade is intriguing and I’ll tell you why on Friday.

Thirdly, the photos and video of our visit to the Air National Guard base in Fort Wayne have been declassified by the Pentagon and Lieutenant Pete Mitchell. It was like the best elementary-school field trip you’ve ever seen, except I’m 25 years old. Here’s what happened.

Just like in your favorite aviation movie, the pilots of the 122nd Fighter Wing have callsigns. Our guide’s callsign was Spades. The group as a whole is known as the Blacksnakes, and they have a mascot named Tony. He’s a real, live black snake. At this point, we decided Tony Desplaines would be nicknamed “Blacksnake” and everyone else in our office would need to figure out their own callsign. We found out later that most callsigns come from the first stupid thing someone says in their aviation career.

We went out to the runway to watch four F-16s take off. The ground shook under us and it was still loud even with earplugs in.

From there, we went in and checked out all the equipment the pilots wear in the plane. It’s pretty unbelievable how much stuff you can tie onto a flight suit. They let one of us get into the cockpit, and the general consensus was that it would be funniest to put the biggest one of us in there. Enter, Michael Limmer. The photo was taken right about the time he seriously started wondering if the canopy was going to hit him in the head as it closed (it didn’t).

Then we all went over to the place where they fix the jet engines if there are any problems. This particular day they were testing an engine before they put it back into a plane. We got to stand about 100 feet away while they throttled the engine about as high as it would go. It was so loud, we had to wear in-ear earplugs AND the earphones like you’d see from a die-hard NASCAR fan at a race.

After that, it was over to the hangar to check out some of the planes up close. At that point, someone decided Johnny needed to direct some planes like an air-traffic controller. And some planes were just about to land! Off he went, and apparently everything went OK.

Finally, we went to the flight simulator and Allan Wertheimer and I got to pretty much play video games in the most realistic simulator of all time. The number of levers and buttons was ridiculous and it’s pretty crazy to think how good pilots have to be just to keep a plane in the air, let alone accomplish missions. Spades told us when the pilots go out on a training mission, it takes them about five minutes to go from Fort Wayne to southern Illinois. This made me think we need to change the TinCaps’ mode of transportation from buses to F-16s.

Anyway, all those years of playing old-school flying video games came in handy when I managed to land the simulator plane safe and sound. No cameras were allowed in the simulating area, but let’s just say my flight experience left me pondering a career flying fighter jets and wearing enormous aviator sunglasses if broadcasting doesn’t work out.

Most importantly, the question was asked, “How realistic was Top Gun?” After the guy stopped laughing, he said it was about as realistic as Allan Jackson being able to waterski while still keeping his cowboy hat on. In fact, Goose’s death is impossible because the seat in an F-16 can’t eject until the canopy flies off, so he couldn’t have hit his head/got caught on it. This upset me. Goose was a good guy. Let’s move on.

All in all, the visit to the Air National Guard base was fun and informative all at the same time. I know the pilots had fun seeing a cartoonish mascot on the runway when they landed and we had a great time as well. Our guide, Spades, was getting ready to go overseas for duty so best of luck to him and everybody else over there.

That’s it for today! Talk to you Friday!

Buzzcuts Gone Wild

Happy Monday!

First of all, I somehow neglected to mention that the Browns beat the Steelers on Thursday. Have some of THAT, Pittsburgh.

Now for the main event: This Saturday, I was recruited by a couple of Wisconsin Buzzcuts to go watch a Mad Ants basketball game. Generally the only basketball I watch is either college or LeBron-related, but I made an exception because I knew this game was going to be the biggest display of Wisconsin-ness since a Miller Lite truck jackknifed into a vat of melted cheddar cheese somewhere west of Oshkosh.

You see, if you read Brent Harring’s TinCaps bio page, it talks about his need for defending Wisconsin sports teams at all costs. And if you don’t believe that, you should’ve seen him Saturday. First, Wisconsin’s basketball team played against Marquette, a situation which surely tested his allegiances like the time Bill Swerski’s Super Fans pitted Mike Ditka against a hurricane named Hurricane Ditka. So I knew the buzzcuts would be good and Wisconsin-ed up for what came next.

The Mad Ants happened to be playing the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a team which features 2.5 Buzzcuts on the team. Joe Krabbenhoft and Greg Stiemsma, both former Badgers, along with Mike Nelson, who was Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin high school basketball at one point, all played for Sioux Falls. So you can imagine Brent and Tony’s reaction when their heroes started draining mid-range jumpers like young Alando Tuckers. The real action, however happened at halftime.

Brent, decked out in his Wisconsin hooded sweatshirt, was sitting with the rest of us behind the Sioux Falls bench, about 10 rows up. When Krabbenhoft came strolling out of the locker room from the halftime break, he walked over to the bench to grab something. He happened to see Brent’s sweatshirt and gave a big thumbs-up. Then, in true Buzzcut/sports fan fashion, he said something along the lines of, “Hey, big win today! We beat Marquette!” He was ready to get on with his business and warm up for the second half, but Brent and Tony kept bothering (badgering?) him about Wisconsin stuff and Krabbenhoft ate it up. Tony and Brent were glowing.

I talked to Brent about these events again today and he said, and I quote, “It might’ve been the greatest moment of my life.”

This, my friends, is all you need to know about Brent Harring.

That’s it for today!

DW

The Battle of Parkview Field

You may or may not know this, but a ferocious battle has been raging all off-season at Parkview Field. The participants: TinCaps groundskeeper Mitch McClary and a band of Canadian invaders.

No, this isn’t a re-make of Red Dawn. Although that’s happening soon, allegedly.

Mitch is battling these guys. Geese. They’re just coming in here, vandalizing the field, flying away and leaving their trash behind.

You might be wondering what the big deal is. They’re just geese. Who cares? Well, geese are mean and that’s a fact, which I learned during high-school baseball. The day after pitching, we had to run laps around the baseball complex, which was near a creek bed. The only way to do a full lap was to run through the woods next to the creek. When we got there, inevitably there was a goose or three hanging out, apparently protecting babies or something. When we got within 30 feet of them, these geese would hiss and start flapping their wings and chasing us. They never caught us, because America always wins and I am an extremely fast runner. Now that I’ve established why geese are mean, you understand one of the reasons why they don’t need to be spreading their mean-ness (among other things) around Parkview Field.

Reason #2 the geese need to leave: check these out. Evidently there were about 958 geese partying on the field at one time and they all decided to hang out on the infield dirt near where the shortstop plays. Their footprints moved so much dirt out of the way, it created a dip in the infield. This is bad because water started to collect there and because the infield needs to be flat so the ball doesn’t take a crazy hop on a grounder. So Mitch needed an answer that didn’t involve hurting any animals (so save all the animal-rights e-mails… no geese are being harmed).

I offered my dogs from home, since they like chasing stuff. I guess Mitch didn’t like the idea of having to rub their bellies all the time when no geese were around, so he went the less-fun route and brought in some mercenaries. That’s right, he’s brought in fake coyotes to control the goose population. And I haven’t seen a single goose around since they showed up. It appears as if the TinCaps have won the Battle of Parkview Field without a shot being fired. Kind of like how Ohio won the Toledo War, which set the stage for many Ohio victories over Michigan in other endeavors. Somewhere, Carl Spackler is smiling.

In other news, Chris Watson and I were discussing how a gentleman by the name of Matt Huffman is on an exclusive list: the list of people who, once they are introduced into a situation, you wouldn’t be surprised about any outcome. For example, if Matt Huffman showed up in Fort Wayne tomorrow, I don’t know anyone who would be surprised if he and 3-4 strangers ended up on a flight to Las Vegas. And Huffman would be the pilot.

From this point, we decided to make the “I’m Not Surprised” list.

1. Matt Huffman
2. Ron Artest
3. Dennis Rodman
4. David Hasselhoff
5. Mike Tyson
6. Mr. Belding from “Saved by the Bell”
7. Tiger Woods, post-November 2009

And that was in the first ten seconds. I’m sure if we had thought about this longer, the list would have been at least 50 people long, but you get the idea. And I bet you have that one friend who fits the description too. You don’t see them too often, and if you did, the novelty would wear off. But the few times they’re around, you’re just waiting for everything to go haywire. And invariably, they do.

Well, it’s been a crazy week. Winter Meetings, battles for Parkview Field, run-ins with Matt Huffman. I’ll leave you with musical guest, the Eagles!

Have a great weekend!

DW

When Not in Rome

I thought I was done for the day, but you’re stuck with me for a quick second. Before I head out for the night, wanted to pass along that two Fort Wayne alums were taken in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft this morning.

RHP Rolando Valdez and LHP Orlando Lara, both of whom played in Fort Wayne in 2007, both were selected by the Mets.

The Padres took somebody named Hayden Beard (RHP) in the minor-league phase. Apparently he’s Australian and has pitched in the Mets’ organization. Other than that, I couldn’t find anything on him. Not sure what the Padres-Mets connection is, but it’s odd that the Mets would take two guys from the Padres and the Padres would take one from the Mets.

Also, it’s Rule 5, not Rule V. This is not ancient Rome, the Super Bowl or WrestleMania.

Something that slipped by a couple of weeks ago deserves a mention: the Padres also picked up RHP Radhames Liz off waivers from Baltimore. His stuff is crazy good, but his command is not. Like so many other teams do, the Padres are taking a chance on him putting it together.

Pseudo-Celebrity Sightings and More: Winter Meetings 2009

Just got back this morning from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. I think I can speak for everybody in our office when I say it was informative and it was fun. But I speak solely for me when I say it was the best run of quasi-celebrity sightings I’ve ever had.

A lot of people want to be able to say they saw Tim Kurkjian or Tony LaRussa (who, rumor has it, was wearing a name tag for someone named “Buddy Smith” as if to throw people off the trail of one of the most recognizable people in baseball) or Lou Piniella (who, rumor has it, is so tan that it looks like this was the first time since the season ended he’s left the beach). Well, not me. I’ve seen all those people at Winter Meetings in the past, I’ve stood 15 feet away from the President of the United States, and I’ve seen Clay Buchholtz order a Mountain Dew from a concession stand at a Double-A ballpark and be mobbed by autograph hounds within 5.1 seconds. They’re just people. But when you see a person who is just famous enough to recognize, yet obscure enough to not warrant news coverage or a reality TV show, that is my kind of celebrity sighting. People who qualify for this include Huey Lewis (sans the News), Super Dave Osborne, LeVar Burton and Carlos Baerga, my favorite baseball player growing up. You know, people who you see and ask, “Wait, isn’t that [pseudo-celebrity]?” To which someone asks, “Who the heck is [pseudo-celebrity]?” THAT, my friends, is my kind of celebrity sighting.

The pseudo-celebrity seen most often at the meetings wasn’t a baseball person at all. While walking toward our hotel, Tony DesPlaines and I saw a guy walking around with freakishly long legs. As in, if he stood straight up with his feet apart, a normal-sized person could walk  between his legs without leaning over. Well, if it wasn’t Will Perdue, best known for his work with the Chicago Bulls’ early-90s dynasty,
staying at the same hotel we were (because he’s coaching for the
Portland Trail Blazers, who were in town to play the Pacers). None of us said anything, but I think Will knew we knew who he was. Some people would have said hello or asked him what it was like to play with Michael Jordan. I decided my one question for Will Perdue would be how it felt to be a part of the greatest pre-game intros in sports history. And if our paths were to ever cross again, I probably would ask.

In second place in the non-baseball category is Hersey Hawkins. That’s right, the 1998-99 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner. I thought this was especially weird since Hawkins’ Seattle team lost to Perdue’s Bulls in the NBA Finals in 1995-96. Small world.

In the baseball category, our staff met a pretty heavy hitter at the Padres’ reception Tuesday night. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who recognized him right away because I’m arguably the biggest baseball nerd in the office. Anyway, the guy came over, said hello, introduced himself to everyone (by name, not title), shook hands, and walked away. People asked, “Who the heck was that guy?” Ladies and gentlemen, the owner of your San Diego Padres, Jeff Moorad! He seemed like a very nice guy. The new GM, Jed Hoyer also talked to the group for a few minutes about how important it is to grow the Padres’ organization from within, which bodes well for, you know, minor-league affiliates like us. We also met Chris Long, who is the Padres’ Senior Quantitative Analyst. In other words, he crunches stats like a madman. In conversation, he referenced Jaff Decker’s OPS in high school. I think it’s a fairly safe assumption that Chris has won every fantasy baseball league he’s ever been in.

There’s also a Trade Show at the Winter Meetings, where companies try to sell their stuff to baseball teams. Just about every entertainment act the TinCaps bring to Parkview Field was there. Myron Noodleman was running around, Breakin’ BBoy McCoy busted some moves (in a TinCaps jersey, no less) and Jake the Diamond Dog was hanging out looking bored. I also ran into Ben Hill who writes Ben’s Biz Blog and other things for MLB.com. He’s kind of a celebrity to normal people because he’s all over MiLB.com, but when you put him into a situation where he’s surrounded by people who work in baseball, he’s like William Shatner at a Star Trek convention.

So there you have it… Who did I see at the Winter Meetings? Will Perdue, Hersey Hawkins, Jeff Moorad, the key to winning every fantasy baseball league that ever existed, Myron Noodleman and Ben Hill.

I should probably also tell you that I did more than just walk around looking to be starstruck. I went to a few seminars, mostly dealing with team websites (despite the fact that the Internet is a fad and was not available in downtown Indianapolis). If you like the new TinCaps.com, there will be another facelift coming, hopefully before Opening Day. It should be more exciting than this.

That’s all for today… I’ll have another post tomorrow about this off-season’s Battle of Parkview Field and a list you won’t want to miss.

Take care!

DW

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