Go West, Five Guys, Summer Olympics Poll

“GO WEST, YOUNG MAN”

The TinCaps, after taking two of three from the first-half champions of the Western Division, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, head west for a six-game road trip. It began this morning at 7AM as the bus departed Parkview Field for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the home of the Kernels.  Cedar Rapids is an affiliate of the Angels, and as of today the Kernels’ record stands at 8-16, which is the lowest winning percentage of any Midwest League team in the second half. In the first half, the Kernels finished 32-38, 12.5 games behind first place Wisconsin.

Fort Wayne is 13-11 right now, in control of it’s own (manifest) destiny. In a way, they will try and conquer the west on this trip, although not in the same way it took place in the 1840’s, of course. (Apologies to John L. O’Sullivan.) The TinCaps are 9-9 against Western Division Clubs this season, and a solid road trip could help them strengthen their hold on a potential second-half playoff spot. Although Fort Wayne is technically in first place, because the two teams that qualified for the playoffs in the first half (Lansing, Bowling Green) still lead the standings. First half qualifiers, though, don’t count in the second-half standings.

As I venture out west with the team, please note that the broadcast times will change. You can hear every game on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com, with first pitch at 7:35 Eastern the next three days. Pregame coverage will begin at 7:15 for this series. I hope to have you along from Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

I’ll post photos to the blog from stadiums and other places I visit during the roadtrip, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’d like to subscribe to the blog and have each day’s post delivered to your email inbox, just click on the “Follow” button on the right-hand column to get squared away.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear the story of Bryan, Ohio’s Matt Wisler–a 19-year-old who is starring for the TinCaps just an hour away from home. Nice work here by Tom Felice:

FIVE GUYS

Apologies to those of you who read that and started salivating for a burger.

Today the TinCaps add another man to their six-man starting rotation, as they welcome 2009 TinCaps pitcher Chris Fetter, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, back to the fold. While Fort Wayne is using a six-man rotation at the moment, there have been others outside the current group to start a game this season including: Joe Ross, Ruben Mejia and Justin Hancock.

Major League staffs use just five pitchers, but here’s how rare it is for one group to stay intact for an entire season, via The Wall Street Journal:

“A small pocket of fluid on the fingers can be enough to derail a major-league starting rotation. But Johnny Cueto’s blister doesn’t seem serious enough to prevent him from making Tuesday’s scheduled start against the Diamondbacks and forcing his Reds to replace a starter in their rotation for the first time all season. Since 2000, only one team—the 2003 Mariners—has managed that for the full 162 games.

Cueto (10-5), Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake all have avoided the disabled list—no easy feat, considering 75 big-league starters already have been sidelined this season, according to Stats LLC. That’s exactly half the number who started the year in major-league rotations. This rate of injury is not unusual.

The Marlins are the only other 2012 team to field just five starters: Anibal Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Mark Buehrle. But Miami and Cincinnati are still barely more than halfway to matching the durability of the 2003 Mariners’ quintet of Joel Pineiro, Jamie Moyer, Gil Meche, Ryan Franklin and Freddy Garcia.”

DID YOU KNOW…

Legendary sportscaster Bob Costas is 60 years old? He’s about to work on coverage of his 10th Olympic games, which is a pretty remarkable feat among the many things that Costas has done. He recently did an interview with the Sherman Report. Here, I think, is the most intriguing part of the Q & A:

How has covering the Olympics changed since your first in 1988?

I will say this, that the essence of good storytelling, and the essence of good broadcasting remains the same.  You know, there, there are a lot of things that technology has brought us, and these additional, you know, tubes of communication have brought us that are wondrous, and a lot of it is just crap.  You know, the more you broaden anything out, it’s like American Idol auditions, you let everybody audition, and you’re going to find some diamonds in the rough.  You’re also going to find people who would be lousy singing in the shower.

The essence of what’s good hasn’t changed.  The essence of how you call a ball game well, you know, there may be different camera angles, there may be different graphics, there may be ways that you can interact with social media if you’re watching it, but the way Al Michaels calls a football game is not that much different, nor should it be, because it’s perfect, than it would have been in 1970.  You know, so some of the features may be shorter because of attention span, some of where we funnel the viewership may be different, but the way in which I anchor the games, based on what they ask me to do, is not much different.

My point I think it was pretty clear, is this: that our objective, at least from a broadcaster standpoint, hasn’t changed that much.  It’s to do a good broadcast, it’s to present things well.  Now, what these additional platforms have done, is that they’ve given us opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. This isn’t an Olympic example, but I think it’s a good example, I wouldn’t expect NBC as a network to do a show like the one they do each month with me on the NBC Sports Network.  HBO did that, they were well suited to do it.  Now we come close to replicating that idea here on, on the eighth floor, that well suits the NBC Sports Network. But my objective in doing that is just the same as it would have been 20 years ago, to do a good show with good content.”

As one of my college professors, Dr. Rick Wright, would say, “An act that attracts!”

Let me ask you this, do you watch the Olympics? Personally, I don’t get into the games, summer or winter. I don’t find swimming, weightlifting, sailing or fencing, among others, to be particularly riveting. Thoughts?

MUSICAL GUEST

In one of history’s great instances of two musicians colliding…Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber…take it away!

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

2 Comments

I appreciated reading the comments by Bob Costas. I agree–even though it may be harder to find amid all the static, quality still rises to the top.

It’s a wonderful thing. Storytelling is what makes the games so much fun.

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