I’m Just a Teenage Phenom, Baby

Greetings from Midland, Michigan, where the TinCaps embark on Day 3 of the Midwest League season. Here’s how the day began for outfielder Corey Adamson:

Keep in mind it’s particularly cold for Adamson, who returned to his native Australia for the winter to play in the Australian Baseball League, where it’s their summer during our winter.
Here’s my current view from the team hotel:
Yes, there is snow in the forecast today.

Yes, there is snow in the forecast today.

The TinCaps haven’t let gloomy skies or cold temperatures get them down, because they’re off to a 2-0 start on the year. Last night was a Jekyll and Hyde performance by the offense, which had just three hits and one runner in scoring position through the first eight innings. (The RISP, by the way, came in the eighth.) But, that’s why on the seventh day, the baseball gods created the ninth inning.

Mallex Smith, Maxx Tissenbaum and Jeremy Baltz had back-to-back-to-back hits to start the inning, with Baltz’s single scoring Smith, making a 2-0 Great Lakes edge into a 2-1 advantage. Fort Wayne scored five more times in the ninth and Matthew Shepherd tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to help secure the win.

The much-anticipated debut of the Padres’ top draft pick in 2012, Max Fried, came yesterday and other than shaky first inning, the lefty looked good. Fried walked three men in the first and allowed a run to score, but came back to strike out the final two batters of the inning, limiting the damage. It was smooth sailing after that for the remainder of his night, as he went four innings, gave up one hit, walked four (total) and struck out five.

It was a pretty joyous team bus ride back to the hotel after the game, with Stephen Carmon playing DJ to a wide variety of tunes including Usher’s “Confessions, Part II” and Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag”, which is funny considering the number of teenagers on the team…oh, and the song came out in July of 2000, when Fried was six years old.

Tonight it’s another 6:05 game, with Justin Hancock making his first start of the year, and his first appearance in a TinCaps uniform since May 28th of last year. He was 0-4 with a 6.95 ERA in 13 games last year with Fort Wayne. All reports out of spring training were positive about Hancock, so we’ll see what he does tonight. Projected temperature? 45 degrees. Pack those slankets (blankets with sleeves), folks.


In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, I chat with starter Joe Ross about his development from last year to this year, on working with a new pitching coach, and what advice he gave to Fried:


Author Jeff Pearlman does what he calls “The Quaz Q&A” on his website, described as:

“A question-and-answer session with a person from sports/entertainment/politics/whatever”

and his most recent guest was former big-leaguer Kevin Mench. I worked with Mench in 2010, when I was broadcasting with the Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals’ Triple-A club in Upstate New York. Mench was a great guy, and very funny around the clubhouse. He and Ron Villone seemed a match made in heaven to lead Kangaroo Court. (Villone, by the way, is currently the pitching coach for the Cubs’ MWL affiliate, the Kane County Cougars.)

Lots of good stuff from Mench here about getting out of baseball, being a proud native of Delaware (shout out to Elena Delle Donne) and steroids (which he did not use). My favorite selection comes from the topic of his nickname, Shrek:

J.P.: Many ballplayers come, many ballplayers go. Yet you’ll always be remembered for wearing a size 8 cap, thereby earning the memorable nickname, Shrek. I’m wondering when you first realized you had a pretty large noggin, and if you took the Shrek thing as a compliment or an insult? Or neither?

K.M.: I’ve always had a big head. They used to call me ‘Cabeza’ back when I was in Little League. And it’s one of those things—Bruce Bochy actually has a bigger head. He’s like an 8 ½. But I’ve always had a big head. It runs in the family. I’ve accepted it. Rusty Greer actually gave me the Shrek nickname. He gave it to me in spring training one day. It was right when Shrek came out. And he’s like, ‘I’m gonna give it to you.’ I was like, ‘Fuck you, it’ll never stick.’ He went right to the media, and ever since the fans … always talked to me about it. That’s how people can relate to me. The kids. I sign it on autographs, sign it on stuff when they ask. It just helps people relate.

Here’s the link to the full Q&A: http://www.jeffpearlman.com/the-quaz-qa-kevin-mench/


With baseball season getting back into season, and me being in a routine every day (albeit an odd one with interesting hours), I’m getting back on the workout train. It’s not easy to do, but I was inspired by Dallas Mavericks broadcaster Mark Followill, who talks about the difficulty he faced in staying in-shape during a sporting season, but how he makes it work.

It was only fitting then, that I came across this hilarious piece in The Wall Street Journal about workout music and putting together your own personal playlist. Author Jason Gay had some lines that literally made me laugh out loud:

“It needs to be fun and a little shameless. It should not be moody, edgy or try too hard. Nobody runs a 5K to Cat Power. You are not going to jump rope to the Smiths. Katy Perry works just as well as Daft Punk. Disposability is a virtue. People in New York take obnoxious pride in their iPod playlists, curating them with precise attention to hipness and currency, as if they’re fearful Lou Reed will peep over their shoulder on the subway, see the Black Eyed Peas on the screen and buy them a ticket on the first bus back to Connecticut.”

“Don’t be embarrassed! Sweat jams are good! Exercise is important! (Especially if you spent last night sitting on the couch with box wine and bag of Pirate’s Booty, Netflixing “House of Cards.”)”

“There are other tricks. Lately I have been listening to a song called “October” by Deadmau5. All I know about Deadmau5 is that it’s actually spelled Deadmau5. I listen to “October” partly because it’s a great, pulsating song. But I also listen to it because it’s 7 minutes and 23 seconds long, and the gym I go to is a mile from my house, and if I can run to the gym before “October” ends, I am very happy with that pace.”

Read the whole article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323646604578402954268007448.html


The Wanted…take it away!

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


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