The Midwest League Mitten Migration Continues

Goodbye, Midland, Michigan, and hello, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Midwest League Mitten road trip continues with three games against the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Class-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Fort Wayne has won three of its first four games, falling for the first time on Sunday against the Loons by an 8-3 final. With six combined errors (three for both sides) it was your typical April Midwest League baseball game.

Zach Eflin made his TinCaps debut just one day shy of his 19th birthday. While a win would have been a nice, early birthday present, perhaps the experience he got was even better. Eflin, picked 33rd overall in the 2012 draft, hails from Florida and was in high school at this time last year. During his high school days, he didn’t face much difficulty on the mound from his opponents because of how good he was compared to the competition. He’s also probably not worked in much cold weather, and game time temperature was about 45 degrees on Sunday, so that was probably a bit of a change.

They've even got a fireplace in the ballpark. That just about says it all.

They’ve even got a fireplace in the ballpark. That just about says it all.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, which included two strikeouts, he had to deal with a much more difficult second frame. Not only did he encounter a passed ball, but also a fielding error and a wild pitch. Coming into Sunday’s action, he’d only thrown seven innings as a professional pitcher. Because of his pitch count, Eflin was lifted after just three innings and took the loss.

The TinCaps didn’t have the same offensive firepower they’d brought to the table in the first three days–but after scoring 13 runs the night before,  it would be tough to expect them to match that on back-to-back nights. It’s always in games like Sunday’s where you wish they could’ve saved some runs from Saturday’s 13-0 blowout win to credit toward he next day. C’est la baseball…

Today is a 12:00 first pitch against West Michigan, which has started the season 2-2 after a four-game series against the Dayton Dragons. I’ll be on the air at 11:45 from high atop Fifth Third Ballpark, where I plan to try the baco–the taco with a bacon shell. I will be your concessions lab rat. Fear not.

As always, you can catch the games on if you’re out of the area or 1380 AM in Fort Wayne.


Prior to Sunday’s series-ending game with Great Lakes, I chatted with Jeremy Baltz about his six-RBI night, and why he was disappointed after the game (nothing to do with baseball):


If following the prospects within the Padres farm system is your thing, or you’re just trying to keep up with former TinCaps on their way to the majors, has a new feature you might like. This year they’ve rolled out a scoreboard that includes all of the Padres minor league affiliates, and it’s an easy way to keep track of what’s going on around the system. I use it each night on the broadcast. Enjoy:


Since we’ve started the season on the road, I figure no better time than now to begin my official Subway count: 1. Somewhere between Midland, Michigan and Walker, Michigan, where the TinCaps team hotel is, I ate at a Subway. I also took these pictures on my way to Subway:

This was, at one point in time, a pool

This was, at one point in time, a pool

Presumably, people swam in this area.

Presumably, people swam in this area.

Those “pool” pictures are from the front “yard” of a motor inn that I had to walk past to get to Subway. At least they kept the lifeguard chair…

Also, at Great Lakes, as the visiting radio broadcaster, you have the great fortune of having your daily meal delivered to your radio booth. Pretty simple process–you fill out your meal ticket and they bring you the food.  On mine I write, “Mike – Visiting Radio”, to avoid confusion. Here’s what my awful handwriting was translated into:

Visay Radio? Seriously? Is my handwriting that bad?

Visay Radio? Seriously? Is my handwriting that bad?

So I’ve got a face for radio, a voice for newspaper and handwriting for…styrofoam boxes?


Lady Antebellum…take it away!

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


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