July 2013

TinCaps Back to Hitting… and Gatorade Cooler Dumping

Editor’s Note: Contrary to reports, Mike Couzens has not been transferred from Fort Wayne to the AZL Padres. Rather, he is away this weekend to broadcast the U.S. Open Ultimate. Yes, that is a thing. So John Nolan is in off the bench. 

Bud Light brands itself as the “sure sign of a good time.” But for the TinCaps this season, the sure sign of a good time is when either Mike Couzens or I have to look out for shaving-cream pies or Gatorade coolers.

Spoiler alert: I got wet two nights in a row. Translation: The TinCaps have found out how to hit and win again.

Let’s look back to Friday night’s win first. Postgame vide, featuring a bath for Rodney Daal, below.

The TinCaps entered on a five-game losing streak. But it was even worse than that. Fort Wayne had been one-hit twice and shut out three times. So what happens with South Bend’s All-Star starter Jesse Darrah on the mound for the Silver Hawks against Matthew Shepherd, making his first start of the season for Fort Wayne after 25 appearances as a reliever?  Of course a TinCaps win.  Only, not just a TinCaps win, but one of the wildest regular season games ever at Parkview Field.

The TinCaps busted out of their hitting woes with a 16-10 win. Fort Wayne racked up 20 hits. Both the 16 runs and 20 hits were the second most for the club this season, behind a 17-run, 21-hit day against Lansing on April 20.

Let’s put this outburst — which would count as a sensational offensive game no matter the circumstances — into some context:

* In their first 12 games against South Bend this season, the TinCaps totaled 18 runs. Again, the TinCaps scored 16 in  eight innings Friday.

* During their five-game losing streak, Fort Wayne scored six runs on 28 hits and had only one extra base hit. Friday night Fort Wayne nearly tripled its run production and ended up with seven extra base hits, including two home runs by Rodney Daal and two triples by Corey Adamson.

While this was a game you’ll remember for its offense, don’t forget to tip your cap to Shepherd. Although he fell one out shy of receiving credit for the win, he gave Fort Wayne a lift with 4.2 innings of one-run ball. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t thrown more than four innings in two-plus years.

As they say in the infomercials, “But wait! There’s more!” Offense that is (and me trying to dodge Gatorade cooler showers)…

Seven more runs on 13 hits Saturday against first-place (in the second half) Great Lakes. Tyler Stubblefield came up with what were arguably the two biggest hits of them all for the TinCaps. First in the fourth inning he hit a home run that almost reached The Harrison. Then with two outs and the game tied, 4-4, in the seventh he singled to drive in the go-ahead run.

If you’re into the human interest of baseball, then seeing Stubblefield success has to make you feel good. The 25-year old infielder was released by San Diego at the end of spring training this year. As we’ve told you about previously here, “Stubby” contemplated retiring from baseball but didn’t think it was his time yet. So he signed on with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League. And three weeks ago, that’s where he was — physically. Mentally, he was dreaming of the chance to make it back to affiliated ball. Sure enough, the Padres called him up to gauge his interest in returning to the organization, and Stubby had no hard feelings about his release, he just wanted another shot. Now with a second chance, it was inspiring to see him have a moment in front of 6,500-plus (including his mother who made the trip from Georgia).

RECOMMENDED READING

Saturday’s Washington Post had a nice profile on one of my friends, and mentors, Jason Benetti. He’s the voice of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, in addition to calling college basketball for ESPN and local sports in Syracuse, NY. In his “spare time,” Jason’s also an adjunct professor of sports broadcasting and marketing. I met Jason my junior year of college and interned under him last summer with the Chiefs. I’d like to consider myself part of the “Benetti Broadcasting Tree.” (Mike is a branch on there, too.) He’s been a tremendous teacher for me not only in terms of broadcasting, but just being a better all-around person. You can probably blame him for putting me in position to get to work for the TinCaps.

The Washington Post‘s story focuses on how Jason is on the fast-track in life and broadcasting, despite having cerebral palsy. I hope you take the time to read, but if not, at least pay attention to this:

“Benetti tells his students that first impressions matter, even as he spends a lot of energy on- and off-camera focusing on second impressions. In stores, employees treat him like he’s lost or hard of hearing. In airports they thrust canes and wheelchairs on him.

It used to get me mad,” he said. “But now, I understand, I need them to go home and think about the next time they see someone who looks different, just talk normal, have a regular conversation, don’t make assumptions.

MUSICAL GUEST

It’s Sunday, so U2, take it away…

Thanks for visiting. Remember you can be in touch on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by email: nolan@tincaps.com.

Fort Wayne’s All-AMERICAN Fourth

Editor’s Note: Contrary to reports, Mike Couzens has not been transferred from Fort Wayne to the AZL Padres. Rather, he is away this weekend to broadcast the U.S. Open Ultimate. Yes, that is a thing. So John Nolan is in off the bench. 

The TinCaps celebrated America’s 237th birthday in grand fashion Thursday night in Downtown Fort Wayne. For the second time in two weeks, Parkview Field set a new attendance record. After 8,643 fans filled Parkview Field on June 20, a Fourth of July crowd of 8,780 came to enjoy America’s pastime on the anniversary of her independence.

From a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by Christie Burd all the way through to the postgame fireworks,  it was an all-American kinda night night at the ballpark, just the way it was when our Founding Fathers used to celebrate baseball in 1776. Or maybe not like that, but it was still a first-class display of patriotism.

Revolutionary War reenactors were on hand from Historic Fort Wayne to give the presentation of colors an added effect.

Revolutionary War reenactors were on hand from Historic Fort Wayne to give the presentation of colors an added effect.

Even with a panoramic shot you couldn't fit in all 8,780 fans at Parkview Field on the Fourth.

Even with a panoramic shot you couldn’t fit in all 8,780 fans at Parkview Field on the Fourth.

USA

July 4, 2013 at Parkview Field.

On a personal note, I had a cheeseburger and hot dog for dinner, got to call a baseball game on the radio, and then enjoyed some ice cream and fireworks. With the exception of being able to enjoy that all with family and close friends from home, I couldn’t have asked for much more on the Fourth.

And if you were one of the record-setting 8,780 in the house, the only thing to spoil your day wasn’t a bad hot dog (although unless you’re Joey Chestnut, hopefully you didn’t have more than a few), it was the play of the TinCaps. (If we’re being picky, actually, I could’ve used some more sun, too.) Fort Wayne lost to South Bend, 6-0, to fall to 1-11 against the Silver Hawks on the season. It’s rather hard to fathom. Even though they’re off to a 3-11 start to the second half, and have been dominated by the Silver Hawks all season, the TinCaps remain 46-37 overall on the season.

As manager José Valentín said afterward, “When you can’t hit, you can’t win.” But José also provided his perspective as a second-year manager and a former 16-year major league player, “I feel the pain. It’s how much you want to get better. I’ve been in this situation when I was a player. When I was a player I went through a lot of hard times. You’ve gotta just battle. Don’t quit. Just battle. And find a way how to get out.”

DIAGNOSING THE DISASTER

Here are some numbers to demonstrate the dominance of South Bend’s pitching against Fort Wayne in the first 12 meetings of the season.

* South Bend Pitching vs. Fort Wayne: 1.11 ERA, 12 Games

* South Bend Pitching vs. Rest of MWL: 3.87 ERA, 72 Games

* Fort Wayne Hitting vs. South Bend: .172 Average, 0.25 HR/G, 1.41 RBI/G

* Fort Wayne Hitting vs. Rest of MWL: .274 Average, 0.58 HR/G, 4.60 RBI/G

Also, you can’t forget, these aren’t your infant nephew’s TinCaps. A number of key parts to the first-half playoff qualifier have either been promoted within San Diego’s system, or are out injured. Their replacements have had mixed results so far. And in some cases, it’s not even that their numbers are bad, but suddenly they’ve been asked to play a larger role.

Key Contributors from First Half Gone

* Justin Hancock: 5-1, 1.73 ERA (Advanced-A Lake Elsinore)

* Leonel Campos: 2-1, 2.23 ERA, 5 SV (Double-A San Antonio)

* Jeremy Baltz: .268, 5 HR, 33 RBI (Advanced-A Lake Elsinore)

* Gabriel Quintana: .307, 5 HR, 27 RBI (Disabled List)

* Alberth Martinez: .270, 6 HR, 37 RBI (Disabled List)

* Stephen Carmon: .253, 1 HR, 14 RBI (Disabled List)

Filling In

* Bryan Rodriguez: 1-3, 2.87 ERA

* Colin Rea: 0-1, 1.80 ERA

* Luis Domoromo: .214, 0 HR, 5 RBI

* Chris Burke: .333, 3 HR, 15 RBI

* Diego Goris: .291, 2 HR, 29 RBI

* Tyler Stubblefield: .190, 1 HR, 4 RBI

OK, IT’S TIME FOR THE “‘MURICA” JOKES TO GO TO BED NOW

As I said already, it was a very enjoyable Fourth of July in Fort Wayne. One pet peeve, however, would be the overuse by others of “America”  as “‘murica” or “‘merica.”  Hahahaha. Very funny. Only, not anymore. The joke has jumped the shark. Please, stop.

Our friends over at Know Your Meme have the history on the unfortunate growth of “‘murica”:

“The term “Murica” was used as early as September 1st, 2003 on the Democratic Underground in a post asserting that “murica” would not hurt another country after after an earlier poster suggested that the government was funding car bombs and building fires overseas.

“’Murica” was used again on a personal democratic blog in November 2004 to describe the red states that voted for George Bush’s reelection. The term was first added to Urban Dictionary on April 8th, 2006. In January 2011, a Facebook fan page for the word was established, gaining 1130 likes in less than two years. That September, a thread on Lurker FAQs suggested the term originated from the Comedy Central animated series South Park, however the term does not appear anywhere on their Wikia page, South Park Archives.

 ‘Murica is often used on Twitter and Tumblr as commentary on stereotypical American practices as well as to emphasize a user’s iron patriotism. On Instagram, there are nearly 40,000 images tagged #murica.”

Check out the disturbing metrics on the rise of “‘murica” and “‘merica” on Google here.

I hope we don’t have to have this talk again on July 5, 2014, AMERICANS.

MUSICAL GUEST

Besides being America’s birthday, yesterday was also the release of Jay-Z’s new album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail. I wanted to share a song from there but, surprise, surprise… Nothing is clean.

So, “old school” Beyoncé and Jay-Z, take it away…

Thanks for reading.

Home for the Fourth, Checking in on New Pads, CrossFit

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I hope you’re enjoying your day, wherever you might be. I’m happy to say that I’ll get to call a baseball game on this great holiday for the sixth straight year, and I hope to do so for many years to come.

Last night the TinCaps lost for the 10th time in 11 tries against South Bend. The Silver Hawks used a two-run home run from Rudy Flores and a two-run double by Roidany Aguila to take a 4-3 victory against Fort Wayne at Coveleski Stadium. The TinCaps are now an even 20-20 away from Parkview Field, but tonight they return to the friendly confines of their home ballpark, where they have a 26-16 mark.

Max Fried takes the bump tonight, and he’ll be opposed by South Bend’s Jesse Darrah. Fort Wayne’s hoping the trials and tribulations of their 2-5 road trip are behind them.

I hope you’ll join us tonight for coverage of the game, which will air on XFINITY 81 and The Fan 1380.

It could be the biggest crowd in Parkview Field history, so there’s certainly a lot to look forward to!

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

On yesterday’s pre-game show, I caught up with Padres Assistant GM and Vice President of Player Personnel Chad MacDonald, to talk about a few players the team took in the draft, and about his job as a talent evaluator.

His thoughts on Norwell High School’s Josh VanMeter, who the Padres selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft:

“Our area scout, Mark Conner, who is one of the best in the business, identified him early and said this is a shortstop with a left-handed bat with instincts who can stay at shortstop and those guys are hard to find. Every scout that went in there echoed the same thing. He’s got plus makeup, he’s a grinder, he’s a warrior. He wanted to start his pro career early, we got him signed, he’s been very good in Arizona so far and the sky’s the limit.”

On Mississippi State’s Hunter Renfroe, San Diego’s first overall pick in this year’s draft:

“Hunter’s a pretty dynamic athlete. IT’s  rare combination of size, strength and speed. He’s got five tools, as I like to say, with impact power, a shutdown arm in right field, he’s a plus runner, too. He’s the best player in the SEC, arguably the best combination of skills and tools in the draft. We were excited when he got there at (pick) 13. Negotiations are underway and we hope to add him to the system soon.”

Do you and Scouting Director Billy Gasparino ever disagree on players?

“Quite a bit. Sometimes, I play devil’s advocate. As the group is talking about a particular player and I agree with everything they say, I’ll ask the awkward question in the room because it’s my job to make sure the room is comfortable with a player. We’ve had our disagreements, but that’s healthy. When you have strong opinions, you need to voice them. We really want that from our scouts.”

DON’T CROSS CROSSFIT

For those of you that participate in CrossFit, here’s an interesting article on the origins of the workout system. I’ve never done a CrossFit workout, but they certainly sound challenging. As the article, which profiles founder Greg Glassman, describes, CrossFit is the anti-gym workout routine:

Glassman escaped into athletics and fell in love with gymnastics (the source, he says, of his pronounced limp), weightlifting, and cycling. After dropping out of several colleges and junior colleges, Glassman began working in fitness full time, as a personal trainer at local gyms.

He developed wacky routines: He had clients race their way through repetitions on a weight machine, and at one facility, he had them scramble up a 30-foot column in the middle of the room. Eventually, the owner of that gym welded disks to the pole to make him stop. “They added a hazard 15 feet up,” Glassman cracked to clients, before signaling them to go up anyway. He got kicked out of that gym. He got kicked out of several gyms. “I’ve never wanted to be told what to do,” Glassman says. “I think it’s genetic.”

In 1995, as Glassman was burning the last of his bridges at local gyms, he got a call from a friend who worked at the sheriff’s department in Santa Cruz. The department had heard about him and wanted him to train officers. Glassman, who was in the middle of a breakup with a longtime girlfriend, decided to go. He set up shop in a health center called Spa Fitness and taught his own brand of fitness training, which he had begun calling CrossFit, to officers and anyone else looking to buy 60 minutes of sweat.

It goes on to detail his outlook on running a business, and some legal issues he’s faced with the brand, too. It’s a good read.

Here’s the link to the story: http://www.inc.com/magazine/201307/burt-helm/crossfit-empire.html

MUSICAL GUEST

Cream…take it away!

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

MCsig

Cabrera in Town, Talkin’ Padres, Lifer in MiLB

Tuesday night’s series opener against South Bend falls into the “Wanna Get Away?” category. South Bend one-hit the TinCaps and took a 2-0 victory, improving to 9-1 against Fort Wayne this season.

But, on the bright side, the TinCaps had their second-ever MLB player join them on a rehab assignment, as Everth Cabrera, the starting shortstop for the Padres, was in a Fort Wayne uniform for 5.5 innings last night. He went 0-3, but showed off a great glove at shortstop.

Everth Cabrera chats with Joe Whalen from Fort Wayne's WANE-TV.

Everth Cabrera chats with Joe Whalen from Fort Wayne’s WANE-TV.

From the “Why not?” department, this is hanging in South Bend’s elevator:

what

Mike Maahs and I will bring you the action tonight from South Bend, with pre-game coverage starting at 7:15. I’ll be joined by Padres Assistant GM/Vice President of Player Personnel Chad MacDonald to talk about his role on draft day (he has final say on picks), his thoughts on Norwell High School’s Josh Van Meter, who the Padres took in the fifth round, and on first-round pick Hunter Renfroe, who he called, “the best athlete in the SEC”.  Hope you can join us on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

Yesterday I chatted with San Diego Padres VP/Assistant General Manager AJ Hinch, and you can hear our conversation where we talk about the young pitchers on the TinCaps, and much more, here:

LIFE IN THE MINORS (PLUS 18 AT-BATS)

When I started working in Minor League Baseball in 2010, one of the players I saw was Mike Cervenak, who at the time was a Mets farmhand playing for the Buffalo Bisons. Cervenak is now 36 years old, and despite having played 15 seasons in the minors, has only seen 18 big-league at-bats. He does, however, have a World Series ring. If you want to read about a lifer in Minor League Baseball who has the right attitude, this is the guy.

Brian Curtis of Grantland writes a great story about Cervenak and the path he’s taken. With Cervenak having played overseas, it almost reminds me of TinCaps hitting coach Morgan Burkhart in a way. Burkhart, if you didn’t know, played parts of threes seasons in the bigs between Boston and Kansas City.

Here’s an excerpt from the story on Cervenak:

I tried to watch Cervenak like a scout. He was almost exactly how he’d been described. He didn’t make many spectacular plays at third, but he made all the routine ones. As Zahn put it, “Mike has something inside him that says, ‘Somebody’s going to have to prove to me that I can’t hit.'” Cervenak came up in the top of the second, took a strike, and then slapped a double down the left-field line. He rounded first like an offensive lineman. He finished 1-for-4, with a walk and a run scored.

This is what organizational depth is. “It’s a player that 30 clubs say can’t play in the big leagues,” says Merrill. “That’s essentially what they’re saying. Yet they’re paying him money to be a backup to a backup.”

“Every night,” said Phil Nevin, the Mud Hens manager, “he goes about his business in a professional way. You see why a guy like him keeps getting jobs.”

I do have to take exception with one part of the story, though:

Fifteen minutes before the first pitch, the Chiefs grounds crew removed the infield tarp and dragged it into left field. Then the crew seemed to think better of it and put the tarp back on the infield.

Curtis shows that he’s not sat through many baseball rain delays here. This is known as “dumping” the tarp, or getting the rain water off of it and letting it drain onto the field. Other than that, great story. I know Syracuse Chiefs groundskeeper John Stewart (I worked for the Chiefs in 2010) and I can assure you that he would not mistakenly remove the tarp.

Here’s the link to the story: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9428218/mike-cervenak-not-prospect

MUSICAL GUEST

AC/DC…take it away!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR30knJs4Xk

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

MCsig

Big Leaguer with the TinCaps

Fort Wayne was on the losing end of things again last night, falling, 6-3, against Lake County in the finale of their three-game series. Joe Ross had arguably the worst outing of his season, allowing six runs on a career-high 13 hits over four innings. That’s now back-to-back starts where the righty has only worked four innings. In his start prior to yesterday, he allowed six runs, and three home runs, at home against West Michigan. Ross hasn’t been the winning pitcher of a game since April 25th, believe it or not.

Now the TinCaps turn their attention to South Bend for four games, with the first two of the series taking place at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend, and the latter half of the set to be played at Parkview Field. The reasoning for that is because the Midwest League gives every team a home game on either July 3rd or July 4th, and so that’s how the schedule plays out this season. Usually, series will be of the three-game or four-game variety, with all of those games being played at the same venue.

In other baseball news today, the TinCaps will have a Major League Baseball player in their roster tonight, as Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, with Fort Wayne on a rehab assignment, will bat leadoff and play shortstop. Manager Jose Valentin told me that Cabrera is only scheduled to play five innings. At that point, it’s my guess that Tyler Stubblefield, who is not in the starting lineup, will come in to fill Cabrera’s spot on the card.

Cabrera went on San Diego’s disabled list on June 19th with a left hamstring strain. Although he led the National League last year with 44 stolen bases, and currently leads the NL with 31, I doubt we’ll see much running from him, considering the point of his assignment here is for him to ensure that his muscle is healthy for MLB game action.

This is just the second time in the TinCaps’ five-year history that the Padres have sent a player to Fort Wayne on a rehab assignment. It makes sense, given that of all 160 Minor League Baseball teams, the TinCaps are the seventh-farthest from their parent club. Right now, though, the Padres are in Boston, so the TinCaps are the closest affiliate, with the others being located in Eugene, Oregon, Lake Elsinore, California, San Antonio, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona.

The other rehab assignment was a three-game stint for the now-retired infielder David Eckstein back in 2010. He joined the team when they were playing at West Michigan.

I’ll look to have Cabrera on our pre-game show tonight, which gets going at 7:15 for a 7:35 first pitch tonight. I’ve also been told that Padres GM Josh Byrnes and Assistant General Manager AJ Hinch will be with the team for a few days, as they’d like to see some of the young arms (Weickel, Eflin and Fried) take the mound. I’ll hope to have chats with both of them, too.

Hope to have you along for the broadcast tonight. Mike Maahs and I have the call on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.

TINCAPS REPORT PODAST

In today’s edition of the podcast, I chat with TinCaps middle infielder Maxx Tissenbaum. Yesterday was Canada Day, so we delve into a little bit of Canadian history and trivia, but we also discuss the team’s hot first-half start compared to their stumble out of the gate here in the second half. Have a listen:

THE FINAL DAYS OF SEINFELD

BuzzFeed had a list today that I really enjoyed, which is called “21 Rare Photos from the Final Days of “Seinfeld”, which, if you read this blog, you’ll know if one of my favorite shows of all time. I credit that partially to the fact that I have a sarcastic sense of humor, but also that it was what was watched each night at dinner in the Couzens household. So much for conversation…we had a conversation about nothing instead.

Here’s my favorite photo:

enhanced-buzz-wide-6550-1372372612-7

Enjoy the article for yourself:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/21-rare-photos-from-the-final-days-of-seinfeld?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=buzzfeed

MUSICAL GUEST

Tom Petty and John Mayer…take it away!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ov0cDPZy8

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

MCsig

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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