Jose on June, Fewer Hot Dogs, Canada Day

Fort Wayne was three-hit yesterday in a 1-0 shutout against Lake County. The TinCaps had no hits through the first six innings. Moving on…

Tonight’s game is at 7:00, and you can hear it on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com. Hope you’ll join me.

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

To hear my chat with TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin, listen to the podcast below. Some excerpts from our conversation:

On how he evaluates the month of June:

“Looking back to the first half, and the beginnign (of the second half), I’m not too happy, even though we qualified for the playoffs, I’m not satisfied. We play 140 games, not 70 games. You can’t be satisfied in the game of baseball…It’s about being consistent, getting better every day and being a better player every day. I can’t tell if the guys are satisfied because we made the playoffs or they think that what happens, happens in the second half, but if that’s the case, they’re thinking the wrong way. Not too many guys had a good half. We have a lot of things to prove.”

On why he drastically shuffled his lineup card on Thursday against Lansing:

“I’m looking for more balance. Smitty (Mallex Smith) was struggling in the leadoff spot, and I was trying to get some pressure off him. The reason I put him eighth is because using a guy that fast at the bottom of the lineup, if he gets on base,  the players at the top of the lineup will get better pitches to hit. The reason I put Burkie (Chris Burke) in the cleanup spot, he’s not quite a power guy, but he’s the best contact hitter I have and I’m looking for someone to drive in runs, and we are not too good in that situation. So I’m looking for my best hitter, not my best power guy who can handle the bat, put the ball in play and give me some run production.”

EATING FEWER HOT DOGS?

A report from Bloomberg Businessweek says that sales of hot dogs across the county are down. The lone exception, of course, is baseball stadiums:

The hot dog still has one stronghold: baseball stadiums. Fans can buy everything from sushi to barbecued ribs, but hot dogs remain the top seller at almost every big league ballpark. (The exception: Miller Park in Milwaukee, where sausage is king.) There’s also a smattering of artisanal dog restaurants, such as Bark, in Brooklyn. The owner, Josh Sharkey, bastes his hot dogs with “Bark sauce,” a concoction of smoked lard whipped with butter.

Here are some possible reasons for the lower numbers in hot dog sales

While those numbers are impressive, overall hot dog sales are declining. According to figures from IRI, a Chicago-based market-research firm, sales dropped more than 3 percent in 2012 from 2011, following two consecutive years of smaller declines. Figures for this year are looking soft as well. The slump is surprising in light of the sluggish economy—hot dogs are usually considered the ideal recession foodstuff.

Ronald Plain, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, offered a few possible explanations for the frankfurter’s failing fortunes. Hot dogs are particularly popular among children, for example, so America’s declining birth rate may be to blame. Changing immigration patterns and demographic profile may also play a role. Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, a trade group, sees other factors at work. “Higher raw-material costs are leading to higher retail price points,” she says. “Consumers are very sensitive to that.” Ryan Stalker, brand manager for Hebrew National, whose sales are off by 5 percent this year, agrees. “The biggest challenge facing our industry is the rising costs of goods, especially beef prices, over the past few years, which usually translates into softness in sales.”

I don’t think a declining birthrate has much to do with it, as I, as a grown human being, have done more than my fair share to contribute to the number of hot dogs eaten in America.

CANADA

Today is Canada Day. What, exactly does that mean? Well, Wikipedia…take it away!

Frequently referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press, (ed note: What constitutes the unpopular press? Sitting at a different lunch table?) the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867.

With that, I share with you a great episode of one of my favorite radio shows, This American Life. This episode is entitled: “Who’s Canadian?”

Notes and stories about the Canadians among us. Are they in fact any different from red-blooded Americans? They claim they’re not. Skeptical Americans put their position to the test.

Enjoy! http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/65/whos-canadian

(Oh, also, happy Canada Day to Ontario native Maxx Tissenbaum.)

MUSICAL GUEST

Jay-Z…take it away!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1nbvplgElw

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

MCsig

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