June 2012

A Seawolf Arrives, A Unique Circumstance, Baseball’s Fastest Man

A SEAWOLF ARRIVES

Outfielder Donavan Tate was promoted to Lake Elsinore on Thursday, leaving the TinCaps with an empty roster spot.  I pondered yesterday on the blog as to who might fill the spot, and then an answer came: Travis Jankowski.

The 44th overall pick in this June’s draft, the outfielder from Stony Brook University became the 22nd first or supplemental first-round pick to be sent to Fort Wayne since the Padres began their affiliation with the franchise in 1999.

After getting a 6AM flight from Arizona, Jankowski arrived at Dow Diamond shortly after 5:00 PM, and then promptly hit the field for batting practice wearing his #17 jersey. He hit leadoff for the TinCaps, meaning that for the first time all year, Jace Peterson hit somewhere other than in the number one spot. Fittingly, Peterson was as close as he could be and ended up hitting second.

An eager Jankowski, 21, swung at the first pitch he saw in a Fort Wayne uniform and blooped it into left field for a base hit. Unfortunately for the TinCaps, they’d only record three more hits for the rest of the game, with two of them coming in the ninth inning.

Jankowski is not the likeliest of candidates to have been drafted as a supplemental first round pick. He thought he’d end up playing college football, after only one school, Stony Brook University in New York, offered him a scholarship.

“I didn’t know where Stony Brook was or what a Seawolf was,” Jankowski told the New York Daily News.

But as baseball goes, if you can play, they will find you. This past summer, Jankowski won the MVP award in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, the nation’s top wood bat circuit for college players. He hit an astounding .329 there, where if players hit .229, it’s not a bad season. Most folks say that with the transition to a wood bat, losing 100 points off of your average is expected. This season on a run to the College World Series, he hit .412 and Stony Brook led the country with 52 wins.

Now he’s hitting leadoff for the TinCaps and he got the start in center field on Friday night, going 1-4 at the plate.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, you can hear my conversation with Travis Jankowski:

A UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCE

Friday presented a situation which I’d never encountered: the power at the radio station that carries our games, 1380 ESPN, was out. A big storm swept through Fort Wayne on Friday afternoon, and according to some estimates left 80,000 people without power.

Because of this extreme circumstance, I was invited to join the radio broadcast of Brad Golder and Jared Sandler, the two radio guys for the Great Lakes Loons. Brad and Jared are two of my favorite guys in the league, and we had a great time getting to discuss one another’s teams. I give great thanks to them, and to ESPN 100.9 General Manager Jerry O’Donnell for having me on the air.

As it turns out, I was doing play-by-play for the fourth inning when the second Loons run scored. The Loons put up a ‘big play’ of the game on their video board at the end of the game, and it happened to be my call. I’m not sure if that makes me good luck or back luck. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.

With that, I hope to be back on 1380 ESPN tonight for our normal broadcast. Keep an eye on the TinCaps’ Twitter and Facebook pages, as if there is any update to the broadcast, I’ll post the information there. Thanks for your patience.

RECORD PACE

If you haven’t heard of Billy Hamilton, it’s not too late to learn about baseball’s fastest man. We’ve talked about him some on the blog this year, but I wanted to bring to your attention just how crazy a season this Reds’ farmhand is having. He played in Dayton last year and stole 103 bases in 135 games. This year, one level higher with Bakersfield of the California League, he’s already stolen 96 bases in 75 games. At the All-Star break he had stolen 80, putting him on pace for a record-shattering 160, which would demolish the record set in 1984. Vince Coleman, playing in 1984 for the Macon Redbirds of the South Atlantic League, stole 145 bases.

Watching Billy last year, you’d think “There’s no way anyone could break Coleman’s record.” Now you think, “How could he not break the record?”

The most stolen bases any TinCaps player has had in a game this year is two. Two weeks ago, Hamilton stole five bases in a single game.

Here’s part of a feature piece on Hamilton from The Greenville News:

“If I can pull the pitcher’s attention or even the infielders’ attention away from the hitter, I think it helps making it easier on my guy at the plate. I know what I am capable of. People come to see me steal bases, and that’s what I do. My goal every game is to steal bases and score runs.”

Hamilton doesn’t know what the Reds have planned for his future. The major league team already has a rookie shortstop in former Ole Miss standout Zach Cozart and veteran Brandon Phillips at second base.

A switch to the outfield or second base for Hamilton, who is rated as the Reds’ top minor league prospect, could hasten his move up the ladder.

For now, Hamilton is sticking with shortstop and his next step could be to Class AA Pensacola, Fla.

MUSICAL GUEST

The Rolling Stones…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Landmark Inning, Roster Move, Who’s Next?

There are bad days, there are good days, and then there’s the day the TinCaps had yesterday against the Great Lakes Loons. A 10-0 win, with a seven-run fifth inning as the cornerstone, was how Fort Wayne made its entrance to Dow Diamond on Thursday night.

Loons starter Ralston Cash (easily the frontrunner for Midwest League name of the year) had given up two runs in the second, but retired the side in order in both the third and fourth innings. Things were looking smooth, until he couldn’t get anyone out in the fifth. By the time his pitching line was finished, he had given up eight runs.

Not to be forgotten is how well Fort Wayne pitched. Frank Garces worked maybe his best outing of the season, throwing five innings, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out five batters. In five innings, he only faced three batters more than the minimum. Practically untouchable. James Jones and Johnny Barbato completed the game out of the bullpen. The TinCaps were also a perfect 6-6 in stolen bases, too.

The seven runs the TinCaps scored in the fifth tied them for the most they’ve put up in any single frame this year. The last time they scored that many runs in an inning was on April 30th in the first inning against Peoria’s Gerardo Concepcion. By the way, that trend has continued for the 20-year-old, who the Cubs put on their 40-man roster after signing him this spring. From the Peoria Journal Star:

Concepcion has an ERA of 16.97 (22 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings) in the first inning of his 12 starts. In his other 402/3 innings, Concepcion’s ERA is 4.65.

Neither of those ERA’s are fantastic, but the first inning numbers are staggering.

Tonight’s game has Adys Portillo scheduled to start for Fort Wayne against Loons newcomer Duke von Schamann (possibly in second place for MWL name of the year?). Here’s the lowdown:

The 15th-round pick played two seasons for Texas Tech, going 6-4 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts. He made a brief stop at Ogden after he signed, going 1-0 with no runs and one hit allowed in three innings.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my chat with Loons skipper John Shoemaker. He tells us about his club’s first half struggles, and why his dad found a recent Great Lakes game hard to enjoy:

ROSTER MOVE

Exactly one year to the day from when it was announced Donavan Tate would be suspended for a positive drug test, he was promoted to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore on Thursday. The third overall pick in the 2009 draft, Tate hit .207 with one home run and 21 RBI in 52 games with Fort Wayne this season.

His career, since he signed with the Padres and turned down a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina, has been well-chronicled:

Tate had opened the (2011) year in full-season ball for the first time at low Class A Fort Wayne before a collision with Everett Williams left him with a hyperextended knee. (Williams wound up with a torn ACL).

Tate, who signed for a two-sport, $6.25 million bonus after being drafted behind Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley in 2009, already has missed time as a pro with several other injuries, starting after signing in 2009 with a broken jaw incurred in an all-terrain vehicle crash. He also missed time in 2010 with a concussion, a shoulder injury and a viral illness.

This represents a very positive step for Tate, who had not, until last night, played in a game above the Midwest League. He made his California League debut last night, coming in to replace Cory Spangenberg. Tate went 0-1 with a walk, a strikeout, and scored a run in a 9-6 Lake Elsinore loss. Expectations have always been high for Tate, and now he’ll have a chance to prove himself at the next level.

With that move, though, the TinCaps roster is at 24 players, one below the normal 25. There are a number of ways the organization could go here. Options include:

-Activating Kyung-Min Na from the disabled list

-Sending Alberth Martinez from Eugene to Fort Wayne

-Sending Corey Adamson from Eugene to Fort Wayne

or assigning a 2012 draft pick to the TinCaps roster. One option is former Stony Brook outfielder Travis Jankowski, who recently inked his deal with the Padres:

Jankowski, a center fielder from Lancaster, Pa., was taken with the 44th overall selection. He batted .414 in 66 starts for the Seawolves, eliminated from the CWS with losses to UCLA and Florida State. Jankowski also stole 36 bases in 42 attempts. He was named an ABCA National Co-Player of the Year.

Whichever player ends up joining the roster, they’ll be added to a mix of players that is performing extremely well right now.

MUSICAL GUEST

Justin Bieber, with a cut off his new album…Biebs, take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Triple Shot, Reader Questions, Team in Perspective

It would have been difficult to ask for a better finish to the TinCaps’ game against Lansing on Wednesday afternoon. Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Fort Wayne rallied for two runs–an Austin Hedges homer to tie and a Kyle Gaedele RBI single to win–to defeat the Lugnuts 3-2. With the victory, the TinCaps won the series two games to one and secured a 4-2 record on the half-opening home stand. It was the first time Fort Wayne had won a series from Lansing dating back to August of last year.

The bats have come to life in the second half, the pitching has kept the team in games and now they’ll have to do it on the road. Today the TinCaps open a three-game series with the Great Lakes Loons (3-3) at Dow Diamond. The Loons have struggled pitching-wise, and Fort Wayne will certainly look to capitalize on that aspect of the game. The 2012 draft is already starting its trickle-down into the Midwest League, as Duke von Schamann, a 15th round pick by the Dodgers earlier this month, will make his Loons debut against the TinCaps on Friday.

Today it’s a triple-shot of the TinCaps Report Podcast:

Hear from Austin Hedges, who hit the game-tying home run in the ninth:

Hear from Kyle Gaedele who hit the walk-off hit for the TinCaps:

and hear from Tom Felice, who put together a feature presentation on how the TinCaps players relax by hitting the links:

(more…)

Homer Happy, Anthopoulogy, A Loss in the Family

Down 3-0 headed into the sixth inning, the TinCaps appeared to be in for a bleak night at Parkview Field. This scene was all too familiar– a late-inning deficit against the best team in the Midwest League, the Lansing Lugnuts. Instead of surrender, though, the TinCaps showed spunk and scored 10 unanswered runs en route to a 10-3 win over the Lugnuts.

It was an impressive win for several reasons on Fort Wayne’s part. First, Cody Hebner didn’t have his best stuff, and allowed three runs on six hits over five innings. Second, the TinCaps were going up against one of the best young pitchers the minor leagues have to offer.  Six-game winner Aaron Sanchez entered the game with a 0.77 ERA, and had allowed just one unearned run in 28 innings of work on the road. He exited after five scoreless frames, and dropped his ERA to 0.69, by the way.

This season the TinCaps had not overcome a deficit larger than three runs, and to try and do so against a Lansing squad that holds the league’s best ERA would be a tall task, but the TinCaps were up to the task on Tuesday night.

A combination of power and persistence paid off, with Fort Wayne launching three home runs against the Lugnuts bullpen and capitalizing on a rare error-filled night on Lansing’s behalf. Tyler Stubblefield, Duanel Jones and Yeison Asencio all hit home runs, while the Lugnuts committed four errors. Three of the 10 Fort Wayne runs were scored as unearned.

It had been ten games since the TinCaps had hit a home run, and more than one month since the team had scored at least ten runs.

Tuesday night will hopefully be a building block for the TinCaps. If the second half is going to be  more successful than the first half, they’ll need more nights like that one.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, Fort Wayne infielder Tyler Stubblefield explains his approach at the plate in Tuesday’s win: (more…)

Losing to Lansing, Tennis Tryout

Monday marked the start of the third series between the TinCaps and Lugnuts this year and for the first time, the TinCaps didn’t win the series opener. The Lugnuts, who won the first-half crown, now have 5-2 mark in the season series against Fort Wayne.

Matt Wisler had an uncharacteristic outing, giving up a season-high tying four runs over four innings of work. The TinCaps cut the four run deficit to two in the fourth inning, but couldn’t piece together enough offense and ended up losing 6-2. Nagging factors in the loss were a season-high tying four errors and 11 strikeouts.

Today Fort Wayne faces righty Aaron Sanchez, who has given up just four earned runs this season and sports a 0.77 ERA.

In the TinCaps Report Podcast, Manager Jose Valentin shares his postgame thoughts from Monday’s loss:

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

If you’ve ever paid attention to the ballboys or ballgirls at a professional tennis event, well we’ve got one thing in common, but you’ve also probably noticed how meticulous they are in their work.

One intrepid reporter at Business Insider tried out to be a ballgirl for the US Open:

Here’s what happened.

Hey, it could’ve been worse:

MUSICAL GUESTS

Carly Rae Jepsen, Rihanna, Maroon 5, LMFAO, One Direction and everyone else in this song…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Good Effort, Feast or Famine, Tracking the Pitch

The TinCaps couldn’t secure the three-game series sweep against the Captains on Sunday, and so I turn to the words of the immortal Meat Loaf to summarize the first half of the homestand.

Yes, Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad. And nobody is sad. In fact, TinCaps skipper Jose Valentin was pleased with the late effort he saw in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Lake County:

“We battled to the end. I’m happy to see that. It’s something I didn’t see in the first half,” Valentin said. “Every time we were down by two runs late (in the first half), we’d get a one, two, three (inning) and the game is over. Today, we fought all the way.”

“I’m happy for the effort today. I have a good feeling from what I’ve seen so far.”

Today Lansing invades Parkview Field. The Lugnuts, who took the first-half crown, sport an identical 2-1 mark in the first three games of the half. Yesterday’s game between Lansing and Great Lakes was, um, interesting and it featured far too many walks for anyone’s liking. Great Lakes pitching walked seven consecutive batters in the fifth. Nine Lugnuts scored in the inning and it took 44 minutes just for three outs to be recorded.

(more…)

Sweep Opportunity, Catching Clinic, Dialing Zero

Make it two in a row for the TinCaps, who steamrolled the Captains 4-0 on Saturday night at Parkview Field. All four runs scored in the first inning, and Lake County was down for the count after that. Adys Portillo worked six innings, giving up three hits, and striking out four. His fastball was nearly untouchable, and he said he didn’t use his curveball until about the third inning. If he hadn’t used it once, his success rate in getting hitters out might’ve been nearly the same. All four of his strikeouts caught batters looking.

Skipper Jose Valentin was a bit concerned, as he was in the first half, the all of his team’s run production came in the first inning, and that the team only picked up one hit, a second-inning single by Jace Peterson, for the remainder of the game. The TinCaps sent no more than five batters to the plate in an inning in frames two through eight. However, a 2-0 start is something to be happy about, and Fort Wayne will look for its first three-game sweep at Parkview Field for the first time in over a year. The last time the TinCaps took three in a row from an opponent at home was May 27-29 last year against Great Lakes.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, an elated Adys Portillo details his outing in which he allowed three hits over six innings en route to his fifth win of the year:

YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW…

Whenever roving instructors come into town, that usually means that the TinCaps will be out on the field for some early instruction. Whether it’s PFP (pitchers fielding practice) or infield work, the coordinators want to see how each member of the team is progressing.

Yesterday it was a chance for the catchers to get some extra work in, with some great insight from a member of the Padres front office–A.J. Hinch, who is a Vice President and Assistant General Manager. According to the Padres media guide, “Hinch oversees all aspects of the professional scouting department, while assisting Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes with determining the Major League club’s roster composition, player acquisitions, talent evaluations and contract negotiations.”

Saturday afternoon he was simply a teacher for Fort Wayne catchers Matt Colantonio and Austin Hedges. For maybe 30-45 minutes, he worked with the two right in front of the TinCaps dugout. They worked on what looked like receiving techniques, and then talked about situational catching.

“The most important count in the big leagues is 0-1″, Hinch told the two catchers. “After that, it’s 1-1.” He pointed out that getting ahead of every batter was paramount to determining how an at bat would go. Hinch, a former major league catcher and then manager, demonstrated in a crouch where he would position himself when trying to help a pitcher get a strike called in certain counts. There are some days where you think baseball can be a simple game, and then you get a glance of ten minutes of A.J. Hinch breaking down arguably the game’s most difficult position, and it’s amazing how much more you can learn.

Hinch, by the way, was a one-time teammate of TinCaps hitting coach Jacque Jones. Go back and take a look at the United States 1996 Olympic baseball roster, and you’ll find those two, born a year apart, were together on that bronze medal-winning team. Also on the roster was R.A. Dickey, who’s starting tonight for the New York Mets against the Yankees on Sunday Night baseball. I think I know what my plans are around 8 PM this evening…

DIAL “0” FOR…

When was the last time, other than your most frequent stay at a Midwest League hotel where the wireless internet wasn’t working, that you dialed “0” for an operator? You can’t think of one, right?

The Journal Gazette hops in the WABAC Machine and takes us to a time before there was a definitive (Ok, not at all definitive) Yahoo! Answers response to every question ever.

Today, we learn about the mysterious telephone operator! 

“For decades, you could not make a telephone call without an operator physically putting the call through. Then it was only long distance calls that needed that familiar “Operator … ” to connect you. Then such service was only needed to make a collect call or to make sure a line was working.

And then … it has come to this: Most of us don’t even know whether telephone operators still exist.

We put the question to Patricia Amendola, communications manager for Frontier Communications.

“Well, we have call center representatives,” Amendola said.

But if you pick up the phone and dial zero does someone answer?

“To be honest, I don’t know because I’ve not done that,” she admitted.

And we’re not picking on Frontier. We called Verizon Wireless, too, and asked spokesman Tom Pica what would happen if you dialed zero on your cellphone.

“I don’t know, I’ve never done it,” Pica said. “I can’t remember the last time I ever did try that.”

He put us on hold, then tried it, and said he got a recording saying whom to call for different needs. We tried it and got no answer at all.

The answer is yes, telephone operators still exist, but their numbers are a tiny fraction of what they were just a couple of decades ago.”

This piece is of particular interest to me because my grandfather, whose first and middle name I share, used to work in New York City installing telephone lines. He would wake up before the crack of dawn and commute from Long Island into Manhattan each morning. I remember the story he told me about getting to go install phone lines in the world headquarters of CBS News, and meeting Walter Cronkite, who he says was a pretty good guy.

And now, you can make a VoIP call sitting at your computer– no phone lines required. I’m still waiting for teleportation…

MUSICAL GUEST

Bruce Springsteen…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Opening With a Win, Remembering a Cardinal

The second half opened in a way the first half did not–with a win. Fort Wayne toppled Lake County 4-3 on Friday night at Parkview Field. Although the TinCaps’ overall record is still just 32-39, a 1-0 mark in the second half means that they’re over .500, something the club did not achieve in the first half.

Now it’s a matter of winning series, and stringing together more than four wins in a row. The longest winning streak of the year has been just four games, while the longest losing streak has been five. The second half represents a fresh start and has fewer playoff competitors (six, opposed to eight in the first half), making the road to the playoffs an easier one.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, Manager Jose Valentin showers praise upon leadoff hitter Jace Peterson, who he says did a great job stretching a first-inning single into a double. Valentin says he’d like to see his shortstop be even more aggressive:

REMEMBERING DARRYL KILE

It was ten years ago yesterday that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile passed away. The Cardinals were at Wrigley Field for a series against the Cubs, and the two teams were scheduled to play a game the day of Kile’s death.

The two clubs were notified of the news, but couldn’t tell anyone in the stadium exactly what had happened because Kile’s family had not yet been notified. Joe Girardi, now the manager of the Yankees and then a member of the Cubs, stepped to the microphone in front of the Wrigley Field crowd.

“I thank you for your patience. We regret to inform you because of a tragedy in the Cardinal family, the commissioner has canceled the game today. Please be respectful. You will find out eventually what has happened, and I ask that you say a prayer for the St. Louis Cardinals’ family,” Girardi said.

I watched the video of those words (link below) this morning while I was eating my breakfast. Girardi addressing the crowd is a small piece as part of a feature that MLB Network has put together on that day, having spoken to those who were involved. It’s hard not to shed a few tears while watching it–especially when Girardi speaks.

Baseball is sometimes looked at as “just a game”, but it can be so much more.

Here’s the video: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22486941&topic_id=7417714&c_id=mlb&tcid=vpp_copy_22486941&v=3

MUSICAL GUEST

Rodney Atkins…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

All-Star Game, Padres Tryout, Bob Dylan

Feeling like a bear coming out of winter hibernation, I’m ready, refreshed and excited to jump into the second half of the 2012 Midwest League season. While the team was on the All-Star break I caught up on some reading, got some sun by the pool and had a good time relaxing.

Here are a few notes to catch you up on what’s been going on:

-Infielder Casey McElroy was promoted to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore of the California League. That amounts to the first real promotion the TinCaps have had this season. McElroy was a first-half rock for the team, playing in all but 11 games, hitting .237 and knocking home a team-high 30 runs. Congrats, Casey.

In other transaction-related business, pitcher Chris Haney was transferred to Short-Season Eugene. He worked three games for the TinCaps and had an ERA of 15.75. Also, infielder Felix Cabrera was added to the roster to replace McElroy. Cabrera was signed as a free agent in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic, and before this year had never played above the Arizona League. He’s played in six games this season between Double-A and Triple-A.

-All of the TinCaps All-Stars performed well at the All-Star game on Tuesday night. Craig Wieczorkiewicz (aka @MWLTraveler) has a write up on the game here. Here’s his picture of Austin Hedges:

Austin Hedges went 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI. Jace Peterson went 1-2 with a double. Adys Portillo pitched a scoreless first and was named the winning pitcher. Frank Garces worked for 2/3 of an inning and picked up a strikeout.

-Speaking of Austin Hedges, Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel put together a feature piece on the 19-year-old catcher.

“I try to stay away from goals and numbers and just try to get better every day,” Hedges said. “I’m always trying to make adjustments and do something to get better every day. When you’re doing that, then obviously you are achieving some of those goals you have.”

Hedges expects the game to be much like showcases he has been involved with as a player. He’ll talk with and warm up pitchers prior to their appearance to try to get a feel for what they throw. In an all-star setting, the pitchers won’t be on the mound long.

Hedges is one of the younger players on the TinCaps and in the Midwest League. But he says he tries not to be too anxious about how fast he can move up the farm system ladder.

“It’s a long process and I want to do everything the right way,” he said. “I’m happy to be where I am right now. …It was hard for a little bit to be so far away (from his California home), but there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now. This is a good town, a good baseball town.”

You can read the full story by clicking here.

A UNIQUELY TALENTED TRYOUT PARTICIPANT

Before coming to Fort Wayne, my only familiarity with Ron Howard was from his involvement with Arrested Development. However, there’s also a Ron Howard who is a member of the Mad Ants, the NBDL franchise located in town. The TinCaps and Padres held an open tryout at Parkview Field over the break and Howard gave it a shot. Once again, Reggie Hayes has the details:

Unlike a few, Howard showed up in perfect shape, toned by his always working basketball career. In fact, he made the Mad Ants at a similar open tryout. Yet while most, if not all, of the 50 other players Wednesday spent their youth concentrating on baseball, Howard is a novice. He’s also 29.

Jeff Stewart, Midwest area scout for the Padres, talked with Howard after the tryout and gave him an honest assessment. He saw a great athlete. And he told him to keep working on his basketball career.

“If he was in a baseball uniform on a daily basis, his throwing would improve quickly, his fielding would improve quickly, just through repetition,” Stewart said. “But I’m not sure he would ever hit. He’s (29) years old. He’s well, well, well below average at this point, and that’s in batting practice, seeing a ball intended for you to hit exercising a swing.

“You get in a game situation where pitchers are using varying velocity, breaking planes with curveballs, changeups, sliders – I’m not sure the learning curve would be quick enough.”

It was definitely worth a shot, right?

JUST BECAUSE

This article in The Atlantic explains how Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is just like the European debt crisis. Seriously.

AND OH, BY THE WAY…

Bob Dylan will be performing at Parkview Field on August 24th. MLB.com’s Corey Brock has a great take on the concert:

MUSICAL GUEST

Carly Rae Jepsen (miraculously avoiding one-hit wonder status) partners with Owl City (it’s near Albatross Township) for this latest earworm:

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

First Half Finale, Travel Numbers, Programming Notes

It’s the final game of the first half, and the TinCaps and Hot Rods square off at 3:05 CDT here in Bowling Green, Kentucky this afternoon. I’ve been told there may be some rain in the forecast. Upon further examination, that may be accurate. Here’s what the radar looks like at first pitch:

This is the opposite of good.

On an unrelated note, I did a little bit of math last night and found out just how many miles the TinCaps have traveled by bus in the first half (according to Google Maps):

4,587

That, I have determined, is the equivalent of driving from New York to Los Angeles, turning around in an attempt to drive home, and then running out of gas in St. Louis. Well, you don’t have to run out of gas in St. Louis. You might have relatives there, or you might want to catch a Cardinals game. I shouldn’t speak for you in that instance. Either way, that’s a lot of bus miles. I probably should’ve signed up for the frequent rider progra–

What? There is no frequent rider program?

This seems somewhat to moderately off. I could’ve sworn I’d at least get a sweatshirt or travel tote bag for all of the miles. I’ll need to speak with a customer services representative.

In all seriousness, though, today’s game should be a good one as Cody Hebner (6-2, 3.43) takes the hill against Bowling Green’s Roberto Gomez (6-2, 2.79). The TinCaps will try to give Hebner the run support he’s used to, a team best 6.6 runs per start, after having been shut out three of the last four nights. Prior to this week, Fort Wayne hadn’t been shut out at all in the first half. The TinCaps are also in danger of being swept for the first time in the half, and so a win would go a long way in preserving that streak.

With an 0-3 game last night, Travis Whitmore’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end. It stands as the longest hitting streak of the year for Fort Wayne. Donavan Tate and Matt Colantonio each carried streaks of eight straight games with a hit earlier this season. (more…)

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