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:

READER QUESTIONS

Blog reader and TinCaps fan @drkensf asked a great question, and from now on it’ll be a part of the blog:

So long as there are questions from you, the reader, I’ll be happy to answer them. I’ll post the answers to any questions as they come in. They can range from anything about the team, the ballpark, life on the road…whatever you can think of I will do my best to answer. You can tweet me @MikeCouzens or email: Couzens@TinCaps.com. Away we go…

When Donavan steps into the box, he draws a “T.S.” into the dirt, which are his mother’s initials. Her name is Tracy Sims. I  had the pleasure of meeting her when the team was in Bowling Green right before the All-Star break. Donavan is very close with his mother, and so he marks a small tribute to her at the beginning of each at bat.

That’s about accurate.

It’s living a dream every day for me. I’ve worked in a lot of other jobs outside of sports where you watch the clock and count down the time until you go home. The only time I ever look at the clock when I’m at work is at the end of the day when I say, “I can’t believe the day went by so quickly.” And the best part of it all is that you get to come back the very next day and call another game–and that happens 140 times throughout the course of the season. As I said on Sound Off with the TinCaps last week, I find this to be the best of both worlds in that I get to call half of the games on the radio and half on TV. Both parts of the profession require different skills, and I enjoy working on both broadcasts. I get to travel, meet new people and talk about sports. I can’t think of a better place to be.

Outside of Parkview Field, which would be my clear number one choice, I rank my top 3 as follows:

-Dow Diamond (Great Lakes Loons)

Not only is this one of the newer ballparks in the Midwest League, but your radio booth is inside of the Loons’ flagship station, ESPN 100.9. That’s right–the team’s radio station is built into the ballpark, making you a tenant of their offices. It’s a really neat setup that invigorates the radio geek within me. Oh, and your dinner gets delivered to your booth each night. It’s hard to top that.

-Fifth Third Field (Dayton Dragons)

While the backdrop in Dayton’s downtown ballpark isn’t quite the one you’ll see in Fort Wayne, the Dragons sell out every game and draw crowds consistently north of 8,000, even topping 9,000 at one point this year. It makes for a great game atmosphere and gives a good crowd murmur to the radio broadcast, even during slow games.

-Fifth Third Ballpark (West Michigan Whitecaps

The view from the press box at Fifth Third Ballpark is one of the best in the league. Also, the press box has air conditioning which helps. Throw in a TV monitor to catch instant replays along with a unique manual scoreboard in left field, this park is an easy choice to make the list.

TINCAPS IN PERSPECTIVE

During this past homestand, there were a bevy of higher-ups in the San Diego Padres player development system in town. Field Coordinator Randy Johnson (not the tall pitcher), Assistant General Manager AJ Hinch and Director of Player Development Randy Smith all stopped by Parkview Field for a few days.

Hear Mike Maahs’ interview with A.J. Hinch:

“You get reminded at the big league level every day whether you win or you lose,” A.J. Hinch said during this past homestand. Fortunately for the TinCaps, not every day is about the end result but rather what type of progress was made by each individual player. LaMond Pope of The Journal Gazette chatted with Randy Smith about some of the TinCaps:

Adys Portillo

“I’m not going to say he’s going to be here all year and at the same time, I’m not going to say he’s leaving either,” Smith said. “As far as we’re concerned, the goal for him for next year should be to get to Double-A San Antonio. He can certainly do that by staying here all year. He can do that by moving.”

Matt Wisler

“He’s been unbelievable,” Smith said of Wisler, who is from Bryan, Ohio. “To come out here and do what he’s done, phenomenal. He has to be one of the best pitching prospects in the league.”

The Team

Smith said he expects “big things” out of the TinCaps in the second half.

“It was a young team. They have a half-year experience now,” Smith said. “The pitching staff is so good, hopefully our hitters are adjusting to the league and we should figure out a way to win ballgames in the second half.”

Read LaMond Pope’s full article here.

MUSICAL GUEST

Weezer…take it away (with one of my favorite Rock Band songs)!

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

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