Charting, Massive Burger, Happy Trails

It’s a Friday series finale for the TinCaps and the Whitecaps. Fort Wayne looks to avoid being swept for the first time all season and also tries to navigate away from losing five straight for the first time all year.

Listen to today’s TinCaps Report Podcast with Manager Jose Valentin. He tells us about the chaos that ensued in the Valentin household leading up to his son, Jesmuel, being drafted 51st overall by the Dodgers, and about the fire he’d like to see from his team before the end of the first half:


Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal gives a good peek into why exactly pitchers are sitting in the stands with charts and radar guns each night. Costa explains that Jon Niese, a Mets lefthander, vigorously analyzes each start that Johan Santana makes, trying to see how he can then best attack his upcoming opponent.

“The idea of charting is that it makes you observe harder,” (Pitching Coach Dan) Warthen said. “I see it, I write it down, and by writing it down, I see it again. That’s the thing I thought Jon all along has been a little reticent about going about his business. He runs, he prepares, he works out, but I think watching the hitters and watching that part of the game still needs some improvement.”

By handing Niese a blank chart and asking him to take notes, Warthen leaves him no choice but to pay attention.

The 8 1/2 by 11-inch sheet of paper looks like a scorecard. In the minors, where games are not often televised, many pitchers sit in the stands behind home plate to get a better view. But the best view of how pitches are moving and where they end up is on television, which is why Niese retreats to the clubhouse before each half-inning Santana pitches.”

Each night, the staff from Fort Wayne hopes its pitchers are doing the same type of analysis.


Here at West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark, one of the concession items is…dangerously delicious, or so I’m told. Meet the Fifth Third Burger:

Likely not FDA approved.

TinCaps clubhouse manager AJ Bridges ate half of one during last night’s game, and said that while it was scrumptious, it was a lot of food. He told me this afternoon that if someone were willing to pay for another one, he would try and eat the entire burger during a game. I’m currently taking donations for this fund. Let’s make it happen.

Here’s how many people have passed the burger test:

In summary: Not very many people.

I’ve tried my own Man vs. Food challenges before (you can check one out here), and they have usually concluded with me on the losing end.


One of the most entertaining public radio shows, Car Talk, will stop making new episodes on September 25th, co-hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi announced today.

“We’ve managed to avoid getting thrown off NPR for 25 years, giving tens of thousands of wrong answers and had a hell of a time every week talking to callers,” Ray Magliozzi said. “The stuff in our archives still makes us laugh. So we figured, why keep slaving over a hot microphone?”

The duo will continue writing their “Dear Tom and Ray” column twice a week, NPR said.

With their byplay and Boston accents, “Car Talk” was as much about laughs as motor advice. On last week’s show, a caller confessed that she had broken the clutches of some ex-boyfriends’ cars and was now worrying that she was damaging her own.

“That might be the reason none of your relationships lasted,” she was told.

I don’t have an interest in cars, nor do I know anything about them (except how to pump gas), but I have always enjoyed listening to this show. The brothers are entertaining and the hour that the show is on the air always flies by.

The two, of course, ended their message with a zinger.

“In a goodbye message posted on their website and titled “Time to Get Even Lazier,” Tom wrote, “We’re hoping to be like ‘I Love Lucy’ and air 10 times a day on ‘NPR at Nite’ in 2075.”‘


Eric Church…take it away!

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

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