Renfroe Update, This Post Brought To You By, Behind the Mask

Happy Monday to you and here’s to another great week of TinCaps Baseball. There are just 15 regular-season games remaining for the club, which has won back-to-back games to open this four-game series against Great Lakes. The TinCaps took both Thursday and Friday’s contests by a score of 4-3.

Tonight they face 2013 second-round pick Tom Windle, who was taken out of the University of Minnesota. The 21-year-old went 6-4 with a 2.14 ERA in 14 starts for Minnesota as a junior in 2013, including tossing the first nine-inning no-hitter in Minnesota history on March 8th against Western Illinois. Windle will be opposed by Fort Wayne’s Max Fried, a first-round draft selection by the Padres in 2012.

On the injury front–Fort Wayne RF Hunter Renfroe was hit by a pitch in his right hand in Saturday’s series opener against the Loons. The official word today is that it is a hand contusion–meaning no broken or fractured bones–and that he is day-to-day.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, meaning John Nolan and I will join you at 6:45 on The Fan 1380 and Hope to have you along.


In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, John Nolan catches up with Fort Wayne Manager Jose Valentin for our weekly Sunday chat. Valentin has the latest on Hunter Renfroe’s injured hand, he shares his memories of playing in the Little League World Series, and they even talk about the possibility of a snake in the clubhouse…seriously. Have a listen:


If you’ve listened to a TinCaps radio broadcast before, you’ll know we start with the Hupe Insurance Services Pre-game show, and that all pitching changes are brought to you by the law office of Harold Myers, a proud supporter of TinCaps baseball for 21 years and counting.

However, if you listen to a major league broadcast, you’ll notice a lot more sponsored elements, which are known as drop-ins. Richard Sandomir of The New York Times wrote yesterday about this growing intrusion into baseball broadcasts:

“Drop-ins have proliferated in recent years as radio stations have tried to offset the rising costs of broadcast rights. The baseball radio broadcast, for so long the soundtrack of summer with an almost sacrosanct rhythm of familiar voices, is now laden with paid advertisements for everything from the umpire lineup to the postgame wrap-up. Televised games have similarly been infiltrated, but not all of their drop-ins are read aloud.

With the narrative of the game turned into an adjunct for quickie ads, fans who once turned down the volume on their radios between innings to avoid commercials have no escape.

The phenomenon, playing out on airwaves around the country, is most pronounced in Yankees broadcasts. The first Yankees walk prompts, “Just walk into any of CityMD’s six convenient locations.” The announcement of the game’s umpires is brought to you by Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, a law firm specializing in asbestos exposure cases. The personal injury law firm Cellino & Barnes gets a plug when the announcers explain the broadcast’s copyright violation policy. A call to the bullpen comes with a nod to one of three sponsors: Aamco Car Care, Hyundai and the Tri-State Ford Dealers.

The postgame wrap-up show? That’s brought to you, naturally, by Reynolds Wrap.”

The bottom line is someone’s got to pay the bills for the rights fees associated with carrying MLB games on the radio, and the Yankees probably charge more for their broadcast right than anyone. What’s funny is that by the time the midway point of the season rolls around, we say these things so often that I can recite them by memory now. If you’ve ever got a question about the official natural energy booster of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, I’m your guy. (It’s honey, by the way.)


Coming soon to this very space on the internet, I’ll be bringing you a feature on two former Midwest League umpires, Sam Vogt and Tim Hromada. The two are only former Midwest League umpires because, as of today, they’e been promoted to the California League. I chatted with them last week about life as an umpire. Here’s one segment of our chat in which I asked them despite the low odds of ever making it as a Major League Baseball umpire, why the continue trying to get there:

Tim: “Right now, just because I enjoy this at my young age. I have a girlfriend and everything, but I enjoy being around baseball. Just because someone’s telling you you can’t do something, that’s one of the hardest pills to swallow. But I still want to do it. I’ve always been that competitive person to where I’d like to at least try. It might not work out, but that’s fine. The experiences you gain and the people you get to know, your connections in life are so much greater and your relationships are so much better.”

 Sam: I’ve grown so much in the past three years. I think it’s beneficial to me. I’m growing as a person. This job’s allowed me to have so many different perspectives on things, letting me travel the country, see different places, meet different people—that’s the biggest benefit for me right now even if I don’t end up as a major league umpire. If I didn’t think that this was beneficial to me, if I didn’t think that I would be able to go sit down in a room and get interviewed for a job, whatever the job may be if it’s teaching or a job at a company managing people, anything…if I didn’t think that this job provided me with a viable experience…where I could sit down in an interview and they say “Oh, you were an umpire. How did that benefit you?” I could tell them that I’m making thousands of decisions a year, split-second decisions that have an economic impact on players, the game. Rain situations that can cost the (general manager) a game, tens of thousands of dollars. Dealing with people, dealing with managers, diffusing situations. Every night you could have an array of unexpected problems. If I told a potential employer that I had to spend six months on the road with little to no supervision from the boss, be in a different city every three days, on time, never be late for work, never miss a day, never call off. For six months straight to go out there every night and make hundreds of decisions. I feel like it’s benefiting me right now, that’s why I’m sticking with it.”

Stay tuned for more on the life of a Minor League Baseball umpire.


Ever heard of Warby Parker? Yeah, neither had I until today.

I came across this piece in The New Yorker on the relatively new online eyeglasses distributor that’s trying to take profits away from the big, established businesses in the industry. So far, they’re gaining ground:

“Two years ago, when someone asked if my glasses were Warby Parker, it was typically a stylish British woman or an actor/ironic bike messenger/model,” says a young entrepreneur who was tipped off to Warby Parker glasses by a friend at Harvard Business School. “Now it tends to be bros in Bears jerseys on the subway.”

I suppose that’s one demographic to have….

Another part of what the company, which has employees in either their 20’s or 30’s, does is to create an environment suitable to the people they’re hiring:

“Keeping employees happy isn’t just a nice thing to do; it’s good business. Which is part of what makes Warby Parker so attractive to investors like Amex, which got burned in the last dot-com boom….Earlier this year, the company conducted an internal survey asking employees why they were attracted to Warby Parker and why they’ve stayed. “And to both of those questions, compensation was dead last,” says Blumenthal. “It was culture and opportunity to learn and have an impact.” Every new employee gets a gift certificate to a Thai restaurant (the cuisine of choice during the company’s founding days); a copy of The Dharma Bums; a short history of the Puck Building; and a free pair of glasses, whether or not they need them. In the vein of start-ups, employees who stick around more than a year are offered equity.”

Shying away from the old-school model of business that requires a dress shirt and tie and strict office guidelines might be the wave of the future, at least as far as start-up businesses go. I wasn’t so interested in the glasses-selling aspect of this article as I was the cultural one. As more and more recent college graduates try and start their own businesses, it this how they’ll do it? Online businesses, I would think , require far less overhead than if a company were to have to replicate the entire manufacturing process with a factory of its own, when now it’s done cheaper and easier overseas, in this case it’s China. Food for thought…


Skrillex featuring Ellie Goulding…take it away!

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


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