Blue Collar Men, A Minor League Season


The TinCaps and Timber Rattlers both faced long nights and near impossible odds last night as they wrapped up their respective series.

Fort Wayne threw 201 pitches, walking a season-high nine batters for the second straight night, while Wisconsin played a 15-inning marathon against Lake County and lost, before starting a four-hour bus ride to Fort Wayne.

201 pitches, by the way, equals nearly 22 pitches per inning for TinCaps pitching last night. Colin Rea went just three innings, ad then five other pitchers finished off the ballgame. Over the last five games, no Fort Wayne starter has thrown more than 4 1/3 innings, and the starting staff has compiled a 9.50 ERA in the last five games. This has taxed the bullpen just a bit.

Over the last four games, relievers have combined to throw 21 1/3 innings. Within the last two nights, every reliever, with the exception of Dennis O’Grady has taken the mound for the TinCaps. O’Grady is not likely to pitch out of the bullpen  because he will be starting on Monday in place of the injured Ruben Mejia.

An outing of five or six innings tonight would be a great salvation for a TinCaps bullpen that has endured a great workload the last week or so. Fort Wayne, after getting off to a 10-4 start, has lost 7 of the last 10 games and sits at 11-10.

As for Wisconsin, the Timber Rattlers were the first-half champions of the Western Division, but have seen some of their best players get promoted to Advanced-A Brevard County (the Manatees!) of the Florida State League.

Fear the ‘tee!

Nevertheless, the T-Rats (can I call them that?) are playoff-bound and have an identical 11-10 mark in the second half. Their manager, Matt Erickson, is a former Kane County Cougar and made it to the big leagues for four games with the Brewers in 2005.

Erickson was on the Brewers’ radio pre-game show last month to talk about his team. You can hear the interview here:

To hear from TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin as he talks about last night’s loss, have a crack at today’s TinCaps Report Podcast:

Key Quote: “When you throw too many pitches and get behind in the count, sooner or later you’re going to get hurt.”


Two super-travelers, Matt and Carolyn LaWell are on quite a journey this baseball season. They’re traveling 26,000 miles and visiting all 120 full-season minor league ballparks.  Not only are they visiting those parks, they’re telling great stories while they pass through. And guess where they are today:

I look forward to meeting Matt and Carolyn and sharing what Parkview Field and the TinCaps have to offer. They were in Indianapolis last night and Louisville not long before that. I strongly urge you to visit their website,, and read some of the stories they’re sharing from ballparks across America.

Oh, can’t forget this:


Comes Fort Wayne’s way courtesy of Snappers pitcher Jason Wheeler. Thank you, sir.

I have a feeling that count may rise tonight…Bad Apple Dancers, what’ve you got up your sleeves?


Arctic Monkeys…take it away!

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

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