May 2011

The TinCaps Report: 5/15

Matt Branham has the latest on his month-long quest for the best mustache on the team, plus the TinCaps drop a 7-2 decision against Dayton.

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The TinCaps Report: 5/14

Padres roving hitting coordinator Sean Berry recounts playing for the 1994 Montreal Expos – one of the great “what-if” teams in baseball – plus Jake Blackwood delivers another extra-inning game-winner.

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The TinCaps Report: 5/13

Padres minor-league hitting coordinator Sean Berry discusses his first year in the organization and the TinCaps play deep into the night in a 7-6 loss to Bowling Green.

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Remember: Don’t do anything

When a baseball team is struggling, I always think back to the surfing lesson in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” where the teacher tells the student to do less… but then at some point you’re just boogyboarding. It’s a similar philosophy to Michael Scott’s approach to business. The point is, baseball isn’t like other sports, where trying to bulldoze your way through a rough stretch works. In football, trying to hit people harder is usually a productive thing. In baseball, trying harder means you usually end up overswinging and corkscrewing yourself into the ground. To me, it’s the sport where it’s easiest to get yourself into a funk because there’s so much failure and there’s so much time to think between pitches.

Example: Check out some of the quotes from the Padres after their 13-run, 23-hit outburst yesterday in Milwaukee.

Jason Bartlett, when asked if the team was looking forward to getting away from the pitcher-friendly Petco Park: “Definitely.”

Chase Headley: I think the difference between last year and this year is I’ve made a lot of hard outs, more consistent, hard contact. Do the fans in San Diego see that? Probably not. Because all they’re doing is looking at the box scores. But my manager sees it. He tells me. And my teammates see it.”

Sounds like things are getting negative in that clubhouse. I’m not using this to pick on San Diego, I’m just using it as an example of how things can go sour in the clubhouse in a big hurry if things aren’t going well.

What’s the answer to the problem? To quote another legendary philosopher, “Don’t think. It can only hurt the ballclub.”

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps OF Rymer Liriano has now scored from second base on a wild pitch, TWICE. Probably the most exciting plays of the season so far.
  • The Padres’ relievers are pretty good, but here’s an eye-opener: After 8 p.m. at Petco Park, the marine layer sets in and the ball doesn’t fly. It’s to the point where managers are telling their hitters to keep the ball out of the air after dark.
  • With that in mind, should the Padres try to leverage some of those pitchers (using the numbers they accrued in the pitcher-friendly environment) to trade for hitters?
  • Big Fat Bartolo Colon used stem cell treatment to get back to the top of his game? This is something MLB and the players’ union will keep its eye on as a possible PED.
  • Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg is close to returning to the mound. Literally dozens of Nationals fans are pumped.
  • Royals 1B Eric Hosmer (who was in the MWL in 2009) made his MLB debut last week and hit his first homer last night. Literally dozens of Royals fans are freaking out.
  • Mariners RHP Michael Pineda: A self-made phenom. He seems very similar to former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro as far as his demeanor and development path, only Pineda has better velocity on his fastball.
  • Angels 1B Kendrys Morales: Out at least two and a half years thanks to a walk-off home run celebration. Incredible.
  • Read this during the past week: Dennis Eckersley was traded from the Indians at least partially thanks to Eck’s wife leaving him for another member of the team. That other guy is now a TV broadcaster for the Indians. So what you’re saying is, Cleveland traded a future Hall of Famer and got a color commentator out of the deal. Sigh…
  • We’re going to Lake County next week. And by that, I mean I get to go home next week. I’m so excited, I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.

Musical guest… Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears!

Take care!

DW

The TinCaps Report: 5/12

TinCaps closer Adam Dominick recalls the most momentous victory of his baseball career against a certain Division-III powerhouse from Westerville, Ohio, and we have highlights from the game Wednesday against Bowling Green.

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The TinCaps Report: 5/11

TinCaps RHP Adam Dominick talks about his climb from Division-III Wisconsin-Whitewater to affiliated baseball and the TinCaps overcome an early deficit to beat Bowling Green.

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Emptying the brain: 5/10

The TinCaps aren’t hitting. Again. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Random thoughts:

  • Somebody asked me the question over the off-season and last week I got the answer: How many pitches do minor-league coaches/managers throw during batting practice? About 31 pitches per hitter per day. Manager Shawn Wooten threw 124 pitches to a four-man group and pitching coach Willie Blair threw 101 to a three-man group. If you think that’s easy, try throwing at a target 40 feet away, 124 times in a row without much of a break. If your arm is still attached, you’ll be missing the target by a foot and gasping for air by the time you’re done. I may turn this into an article for the gameday playbill.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Brandon Gomes made his MLB debut for Tampa Bay. He’s the 97th alum to make it to The Show.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy will make his White Sox debut tomorrow.
  • On the Baseball America Hot Sheet, Jedd Gyorko is hot, Simon Castro is not and you can’t stop Sean Burroughs, you can only hope to contain him. Most of that sounds made up.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill tells us the San Antonio Missions, chock full o’former TinCaps, put up some crazy numbers in April. Crazy good, that is.
  • Padres RHP Aaron Harang actually got to spend Mother’s Day with his mom. That makes one of us.
  • If it were after 2 a.m. and it meant doing my part to end the game, I’d put on a wrestling mask too. Well, truth be told, I’d probably put on a wrestling mask regardless of the situation.
  • I know I’m not always on top of my game, but sometimes I just have to shake my head.
  • No Gus Johnson with CBS Sports anymore? Underdog teams everywhere are frowning. Except teams that will play on the Big Ten Network.
  • Former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer is coming back to Fort Wayne for the weekend. Mothers, hide your free food!

Musical guest… Huey Lewis and The News!

Take care!

DW

The TinCaps Report: 5/7

Tommy Medica tells us about his first start behind the plate in two years and the TinCaps hold off Lansing to win another series.

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The TinCaps Report: 5/6

TinCaps 2B Chris Bisson recaps his first professional home run as well as a nasty college baseball injury and the TinCaps roll past Lansing, 12-4.

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Good news, bad news

So I’ll get the bad news out of the way first… Remember when we thought Everett Williams and Donavan Tate had no major structural damage to their knees after their collision? Well, maybe not.  According to the Union-Tribune, Williams tore his ACL and is done for the year, Tate has a deep knee bruise and they’re hoping for a June 1 return. And former TinCaps SS Drew Cumberland has been diagnosed with vertigo, which is pretty serious.

But step down from the ledge long enough to read this… Former TinCaps OF Daniel Robertson hit for the cycle. The day before, he’d been ejected for arguing with an umpire. The day of the cycle, he was a late addition to the lineup. Crazy game. And another tale from the 2009 TinCaps No-Mercy Reunion Tour 2011.

Random thoughts:

  • Also in San Antonio, James Darnell is killing it. The Padres have a lot of good third basemen in their system. And Blake Tekotte had a single off Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz, who was rehabbing with Frisco.
  • Also in the “good news” category, hey… we got bin Laden, right? And millions of Hulkamaniacs around the world celebrated.
  • Former Braves LHP John Rocker is going to write a book? And check out the picture in that article… is that not the scene from “Eastbound and Down” where Kenny Powers has his showdown with Daryl from “The Office” at Ashley Shaffer BMW?
  • “Succeeding is tough.” – Matt Stairs, Washington Nationals pinch hitter/philosopher.
  • “Power hitters are born.” – Mark McGwire. Ironic, eh?
  • A’s OF Josh Willingham is doing a good thing for the Southeast.
  • I mentioned a couple of weeks back that “Limitless” was a pretty good movie. Well, “The Lincoln Lawyer” was EXCELLENT. Good story, good acting. And country music star Trace Adkins plays the leader of a motorcycle gang, so bonus points for that. Not that I’ve seen a lot of movies this year, but Lincoln Lawyer is the best I’ve seen.

Musical guest… Jack Johnson!

Take care!

DW

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