If you know anything about anything, you know pizza is always good. You should also know that chocolate-chip cookies are my junk food of choice (in moderation, of course – this chiseled physique doesn’t just happen on its own). So you can imagine my excitement when I heard DiGiorno, fresh off the “pizza/breadsticks in one box” revolution, was branching out with its best idea ever: Cookies and pizza, baked in your own oven at the same time. It’s so brilliant, I can’t believe nobody thought of it before now.
Well, consider this idea a complete success. I was more than a little skeptical that the cookies would go from cubes of dough to round cookies, but they did. And they’re outstanding. And the pizza was good, as usual.
So just add this to the list of things I would include in my book, “Good, affordable food any single idiot can make with nothing but a normal kitchen and a Foreman Grill.” But that’s more of a working title… Nothing set in stone.
Full disclosure: KRAFT/DiGiorno Pizza is a sponsor of the TinCaps, so you could make a strong case that this is just a not-so-subtle sales pitch. Guess what… it’s not. I really did eat the food and I really did like it. A lot.
In other food news, I ate
French Freedom toast at restaurant this weekend. And it wasn’t as good as the kind I made from “Chef to the Stars” Scott Kammerer‘s recipe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re not putting orange zest in your batter, you’re not only cheating yourself, you’re cheating everyone who’s eating that toast. Everyone deserves orange zest. Also, it’s nice to be able to say you can cook food at home that tastes better than what you’d get at a restaurant.
- It has not been a good weekend for guys who used to pitch in Fort Wayne. Just when they thought RHP Jake Peavy would be good to go for the White Sox when the season starts, he had shoulder soreness bite him. Maybe it’s nothing serious, but when your goal is to be full-go by Opening Day and it’s in jeopardy, it stinks. And it looks like manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t trust Peavy’s injury judgment anymore.
- The Mets released LHP Oliver Perez, another Fort Wayne alum. That happened right after they dumped 2B Luis Castillo, with a combined $18 million left on their contracts. That’s a lot of money to pay people to NOT play baseball. But I suppose the new regime (including some former Padres employees) needed to change the guard at some point.
- In the Padres’ game against the Mariners yesterday, former TinCaps OFs Daniel Robertson and Everett Williams got some playing time. Robertson is one of my favorites: Late-round draft pick, smaller guy, hustles his tail off, good guy. Not as many minor-leaguers are getting into the big-league spring training games anymore, mostly because minor-league camp is underway and the big leaguers are stretching themselves out to play more innings.
- Positive things in this notebook about former Fort Wayne OF Will Venable, along with RHP Aaron Harang. Also, LHP Joe Thatcher will start the year on the DL, but it doesn’t look horrible.
- The Padres picked up former Twins RHP Pat Neshek. He throws completely sidearm and may be the only MLB player who is also an autograph collector.
- Heath Bell (still) wants to stay in San Diego. He wants a three-year deal, according to the story.
- Padres prospect RHP Casey Kelly threw four scoreless innings in his debut in minor-league camp.
- Midwest League alum Brett Lawrie has impressed at Blue Jays camp. Just keep him in Triple-A through mid-July so we can see him at Parkview Field, am I right?
- The Dodgers like former MWLer Rubby De La Rosa a lot. He throws hard.
- Every year, there are a slew of players who are “out of options,” meaning they either make the major-league team out of Spring Training or get released (as opposed to getting sent to the minors). As Baseball America has found, last year’s crop of “out of options” guys didn’t do much.
- Twins 1B Justin Morneau is wearing a helmet that can withstand a 100-mph fastball. Makes sense, right? Well, the vast majority of MLB players wear helmets that only protect against pitches up to 70 mph. Unbelievable.
- One of the legitimately important decisions from this spring centers on MWL alum Neftali Feliz. While the statistical viewpoint is that starters are far more valuable than closers, that doesn’t mean a good closer is easy to find. Rangers president Nolan Ryan has figured out a perfectly reasonable solution: Clone Feliz. Think of all the possibilities, Norm!
- Rays manager and fashion mogul Joe Maddon has changed his signature glasses.
- Just about the only pitchers in the world who aren’t on pitch counts are batting practice pitchers. Seriously interesting article about the art of pitching BP.
- The basketball Buckeyes looked pretty good yesterday. On a Fort Wayne-related note, I can’t get enough of Luers alum DeShaun Thomas jacking up three-pointers with Ohio State up by 18. He knows he’s too good of a player to be getting just 14 minutes a game, but darnit, he’s going to make it rain for those 14 minutes.
- Today when I logged into the MLBlogs system, I noticed The Watson Files was one of the featured blogs along with
several far-more-reputable prospect blogs. I can only imagine the disappointment from people clicking here for the first time hoping for in-depth analysis of which prospects to draft late in their fantasy leagues… the first thing they saw was an ode to pizza and cookies in the same box. Sorry, folks. If nothing else, you can still enjoy the music video.
Musical guest… Charles Wright!
As of yesterday afternoon, the TinCaps have a podcast (more on that soon). This morning, I drove to work with the windows down for the first time this year. Tomorrow is the first outdoor “get the stadium ready for the season” day. In the words of perhaps the greatest manager of all time, it’s starting to come together, Pepper… Starting to come together.
- We kind of saw this coming, but the highlight (for me) of yesterday’s Union-Tribune chat was when somebody asked about OF Donovan Tate. The answer was, “He will start this season in Fort Wayne.” Barring injuries, etc., of course.
- The Padres smoked the Rangers last night. I watched it on MLB Network and Cameron Maybin homered and made a really nice catch in the gap in right-center. LHP Clayton Richard worked quickly and pitched four solid innings. RHP Chad Qualls looked really good. Also, the green St. Patrick’s Day hats were hideous. Richard must have a giant melon head, because his hat (which was adjustable, mind you) barely fit.
- RHP Tim Stauffer will miss his next start because of some hip irritation.
- The Padres’ move-the-Triple-A-team-to-Escondido effort has just gotten a(nother) jolt of controversy.
- Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy may miss his start on Saturday because of a stomach virus.
- Former MWLer Jerry Sands is apparently the object of “everyone’s man-crush” at Dodger camp. But he’s still going to the minor leagues for a while.
- Here’s a “10 Questions” feature with Royals OF prospect Wil Myers, who played in the MWL All-Star Game at Parkview Field last year.
- Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz, who played in the MWL, wants to be a starter, but knows the team might be better with him closing games.
- The news isn’t good about Phillies 2B Chase Utley.
- Giants OF Pat Burrell says “it’s almost scary” how well the Giants are playing this spring.
- If you don’t think this commercial is funny, we’re not friends anymore.
- Neil Diamond lounging with disinterested kangaroos. Just click it.
- Dave Hutte Status Update: “It’s close enough to Opening Day. I’m wearing my ’84 Cubs Sandberg jersey.”
- My love affair with Wofford basketball is officially over. Bad on-ball defense, bad help defense, weird offensive scheme against the zone, poor free-throw shooting… I guess that’s why you shouldn’t pick your bracket upsets based on watching 10 minutes of one game.
- I know everybody loves March Madness and claims it’s because they love buzzer beaters. That’s a lie. You know the real reason… Gambling. Even if your bracket pool isn’t for money, it gives you someone to root for (at least until Wofford loses).
- Next time I hear someone rip baseball for being too slow, I want to pull up the video of the Richmond-Vanderbilt game from yesterday. It took literally 15 minutes to play the last 90 seconds of game clock. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s starts are excruciating, but at least he’s out of the game after four innings.
Musical guest… the Ohio State Marching Band!
Today we’re turning back the clock and doing what I was doing five years ago in my Case Studies in the Media class. You know, aside from daydreaming about the riches and fame of broadcasting professional baseball games, planning my next prank on Dave Hutte and checking out the ladies.
Yes, I’m comparing and contrasting two stories about the same event.
Yesterday, the Padres didn’t have a major-league spring training game, but Mat Latos pitched in a minor-league game just to stay on his throwing schedule.
His line (if you value such things): 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 76 pitches
Padres.com headline: Latos beginning to turn corner with command
San Diego Union-Tribune headline: Latos rocked in minor league game
Quotes: “I got my work in. I want to get out of here and go fishing. You guys don’t have anything better to do?”
- The people who wrote the articles may or may not have been the ones who wrote the headlines. But you’d think the stories were about two different games if you just looked at the headlines.
- Latos doesn’t sound like a guy who is freaking out about a performance on a back field in Peoria on March 16.
- Here’s the original thought I can add to this: Anytime I talk to one of the Padres’ roving instructors, their whole focus is on the process. Learning the mechanics, learning the mental side of the game, doing the things that make a player consistently successful over the long haul. Statistics (and winning) are completely secondary. Get the process right and the results will come. That’s in the minors, where it’s all about development. I think the Spring Training mindset is similar: Get your mechanics right, get in shape and be ready to go by Opening Day. The difference between the major leagues and the minors is, once the regular season starts in the big leagues, winning is the most important thing. In the minors, the regular season is still about development first. Just about the only time winning comes anywhere close to first in the minors is in the playoffs, and health (pitch limits, etc.) is still paramount.
- As promised, Parkview Field is green(er) for St. Patrick’s Day. A hearty handshake goes to the first person who can tell me what St. Patrick is the patron saint of (no googling allowed). Hint: Green beer is not the correct answer.
- The Triple-A Tucson Padres unveiled their uniforms, and they could be a sneak peek into what San Diego wears in the not-too-distant future. It’s definitely what you’ll be able to see in Fort Wayne in July.
- The TinCaps caught legendary author Ben Hill’s attention with the new dress code/flair requirements.
- I have it on good authority that Ben now signs his e-mails as “Legendary author Ben Hill.”
- Here’s another Padres’ Top 20 prospects list. I don’t know about you, but I’m done looking at lists… Let’s start the games already.
- In this week’s minor-league transactions, former Fort Wayne RHP Matt Bush was taken off the Rays’ 40-man roster and re-signed to a minor-league deal. Also, RHP Aaron Everett retired. I thought he might’ve been headed to Fort Wayne after a solid year with Eugene in 2010, but I guess that’s over.
- Move over, Eater X. Tim Lincecum is here and he’s ready to crush a family-sized meal at In-N-Out Burger.
- Ken Griffey, Jr., explains why he retired when he did.
- Giants prospect Brandon Belt is making a strong case to open the year in the big leagues.
- Yankees RHP Ivan Nova has a new slider and it looked good yesterday. He could be a big boost to that rotation.
- An Angels pitcher hurt his toe playing with his kids. Well, they’ll just have to put a “no-playing-with-your-kids” clause into every contract now.
- This kid is living nine-year-old me’s dream: A northeast Ohio kid playing in the Indians’ organization.
- The Brewers’ new manager wants to know why all of his key players decided to get hurt this spring. Except Rickie Weeks… maybe he’ll wait until the regular season.
- I don’t know which part of this is weirder: Playing Van Halen’s “Eruption” on violin, that the violin is shaped like a baseball bat, or that it seems like it was played in the middle of a busy elementary school cafeteria (complete with kids hacking like chain smokers).
- The Braves’ minor-league manager who got smoked by a foul ball had his eye removed. I talked to someone “in the know” about this yesterday and a lot of people around the Braves are just glad he’s alive. Apparently he still wants to manage this year, which would be an incredible recovery.
- Go Buckeyes. And Wofford. The next two days are two of the best sports days of the year.
Musical guest… Luther Vandross!
Here goes another day of just firing things through the internet…
Today, Parkview Field will get a lot greener. That’s because our homeboys on the grounds crew, Keith Winter and Rob Dworkin, will spray green turf dye on the grass. And they’re not just painting it to make it look pretty or to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The dye traps heat and helps kick-start the growing process for the year.
We’ll have what local news outlets would call “in-depth team coverage” on TinCaps.com (in reality, it’s just two dudes covering a quasi-story you’ll forget about in 15 minutes, we’re just honest about it). I’ll take a before-and-after photo and KoKo Greer will have time-lapse video. Maybe you’ll even get the treat of a conversation with Keith Winter. You won’t want to miss that, I guarantee it.
- Former TinCaps LHP Colt Hynes pitched another scoreless inning yesterday against the Angels. C Nick Hundley doubled twice, 3B Chase Headley had a rare tough day and LHP Wade LeBlanc had bad results but liked the process.
- Hynes, LHP Rob Musgrave, RHP Casey Kelly and OF Cedric Hunter were reassigned to minor-league camp yesterday. Hunter is having a really good camp. You know, if a .520 OBP is what you consider good.
- Padres RHP Chad Qualls was “not healthy” last year. Surprise!
- Here’s something called a Prospect Smackdown between former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro and RHP Casey Kelly. Anything that includes the name of a second-tier pro wrestling show (and discusses relevant stuff) is first-tier material for this blog.
- We have the good kind of “you just never know” when relative no-name players make it big. There is also the bad kind of “you just never know” when a can’t-miss prospect, uh… misses.
- So far, Nationals can’t-miss prospect Bryce Harper is still in the can’t-miss category. Just ask anyone.
- While Carlos Santana was putting the beat-down of a lifetime on the Brewers yesterday, Grady Sizemore is getting ready to make his spring debut this weekend.
- A prospect the Diamondbacks found falsified his name, and after his contract was voided, he’s with the Yankees and considered a legit player. Weird all the way around.
- Now that they’ve signed Ryan Hanigan to a long-term deal, the Reds seem to have some catching depth and other teams are calling to ask about it. In reality, they don’t seem to have a surplus to trade from, they just have a lot of good catchers at different stages of development.
- The Pirates signed a 16-year-old pitcher out of Mexico and will send him to the Gulf Coast League where he’ll be one of the youngest players in the league. Usually guys like that get sent to the Dominican or Venezuelan leagues.
- A’s closer Andrew Bailey only has a forearm strain… Which is good, compared to elbow problems. He already had Tommy John surgery.
- Michael Wilbon says the NCAA Tournament stinks compared to what it used to be.
- While the rest of the universe is reminiscing about that one time Charlie Sheen was relevant again, I’ll tell you who you should start following on your favorite social network sites: Neil Diamond. Exhibit A: A photo of Neil going through customs on his way back from Australia. You might say his credentials are unlimited. Exhibit B: Where else will you find photos of Neil Diamond eating at In-N-Out Burger?
Musical guest… Neil Diamond!
Last week I hinted at big news for dorks like us who enjoy baseball and radio. And baseball on the radio. Well, now you’re looking at it. It’s called a Tieline, and it rules. It’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. If you think good audio quality is cool, just consider the Tieline Miles Davis.
I tested it yesterday and it sounds as clear as a conversation you’d have with someone in person. Which is a sharp upgrade, if you’ve listened to our games on the radio. I’m also working on improving the streaming internet feed… in the past, the commercials have been a lot louder than the game audio and we’re moving toward a better balance between the two. So now you know I’m not just sitting around here being a lame blogger… I (we) are saving the world, one slightly-less-mediocre broadcast at a time.
Now if we could just hire a decent radio guy…
- Former TinCaps INF Andy Parrino played in both the big-league game and the “B” game yesterday… and had hits in both. Also, Fort Wayne alum INF/OF Kyle Blanks got his first game action of the spring and went 0-for-2 and RHP prospect Casey Kelly looked good.
- It was a battle of injury bounceback-ees yesterday at Camelback with Padres RHP Aaron Harang going against Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy. Maybe it was intentional, maybe not, but there are no radar readings on the Gametracker to tell how their velocity looked. Certainly was a good sign that Peavy got through four innings. Former Fort Wayne alums OF Cedric Hunter (double) and INF Mike Baxter (LONG home run) hit Peavy hard, but he was fine for most of the day. Peavy says he is making good progress in his rehab. Bud Black says he doesn’t think Peavy has lost anything from the injury.
- Peavy went fishing with his old pitching coach on Monday.
- Also, LHP Cory Luebke gave up four runs in four innings and still got credited with a hold. The hold is a bad stat. It’s right up there with the win and it’s almost as bad as the save.
- Chase Headley had two hits, including one off LHP Chris Sale. He’s been hitting everything this spring, which doesn’t mean he’s going to keep it up in the regular season but it’s better than, you know, not hitting everything.
- Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable is profiled on Padres.com.
- Jerry Crasnick says the Padres are the no-name defense. And offense. And pitching staff.
- Nationals ubermegaprospect Bryce Harper says he wakes up every morning feeling “hitterish… You know, you’ve got to wake and rake.” Which is the second-best quote of spring so far, behind Orlando Hudson‘s “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
- Uh oh… Oakland closer Andrew Bailey is seeing Dr. Andrews, and I don’t mean Erin. Suddenly, the A’s loading up on bullpen arms doesn’t seem so weird.
- Ask BA discusses prospect grades, potential top draft picks and Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos, who pitched last night against the Red Sox and showed a REALLY good changeup.
- Somebody thinks Barry Bonds leaving the Giants has been good for the team. They did come pretty close to winning a World Series with Bonds, but the point is the clubhouse chemistry is better now. Not to mention that it’s a completely different type of team now, built around pitching.
- A helmet to wear while pitching? It’s not that far away. Slap a facemask on that thing and I think we’ve got something.
- Mariners prospect RHP Michael Pineda could make the Opening Day roster, but it would make more sense for the team to keep him in Triple-A for a couple of weeks. This kind of thing happens with a lot of players, Pineda is just the current example.
- Forget about the Ides of March… Beware the Snydes of March. I’m not sure what I mean by that, but it rhymes, so let’s just go with it.
- I’ve filled out my bracket and I’m all in on Wofford. To go to the Sweet 16, that is. Their mascot is a dog, how could I not?
- My weekly meeting with Michael Limmer has turned into a call-in talk show… former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer called today during the meeting. He wants everyone to know that he’s still getting free donuts and bagels for breakfast and cold sandwiches for lunch. Not as good as the players’ buffet, but free is free. And Allan loves free. Also, he had to decline two wedding invitations because the travel was too far.
Musical guest… Boyz II Men!
OK, technically Colt Hynes isn’t in Indiana anymore, but he used to be. And he’s the subject of today’s “you just never know” story.
The year was 2009. TinCaps president Mike Nutter handed me a piece of paper with the handwritten last names of the team’s Opening Day roster, just received from the braintrust in Arizona. He said it looked good and the biggest question was the bullpen. “They like the closer and the setup guy, but they’re not sure about the rest… Colt Hynes is going to be the situational lefty.”
You know, the Colt Hynes who would turn 24 years old that June and was still kicking around A-ball. The one who put up a 4.60 ERA the previous year (with decent peripherals). The 31st-round pick in the 2007 draft. I don’t know if Mike rolled his eyes, but chances are I did.
Hynes came in and made 13 appearances for the TinCaps in 2009. He only allowed runs in two games. Great for Fort Wayne, but let’s see him do it at a higher level, right? How do 49 appearances with a 2.90 ERA and no homers allowed at Lake Elsinore strike you? That’s pretty good, right? Well, there wasn’t a job for Colt at Double-A last year so he went back to Lake Elsinore to start the season. He did pretty much the same thing for half a season, except he cut his walks by more than half. Then he went to Double-A in mid-July and continued being a professional butt kicker. You know, if you’re into 1.19 ERAs.
Now, he’s been listed as a guy who “has impressed in camp” for the Padres. Maybe he’ll get to the big leagues this year and keep getting people out, maybe he won’t. But either way, for haters like me who doubt Colt Hynes and players like him, let’s all say it together: You just never know.
- Lots of former TinCaps mentioned as the San Diego U-T discusses an improved Padres’ minor-league system. More importantly for speculators like us, it has a rundown of which players could go where to open the year. That’s a big-money outfield he’s listed for the TinCaps. And Portillo/Sampson in the starting rotation (plus Cates, if he’s as good as advertised) would be fun to watch.
- Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos got stronger as he went on Friday against the Giants. I don’t know what happened, but for some reason it was blacked out on my TV. Apparently Fort Wayne was mysteriously transported to either San Diego or San Francisco’s TV territory for a three-hour period. Also, lots of guys got sent to minor-league camp. Which is expected, since minor-league camp just got underway.
- The Padres will face Jake Peavy today in a Spring Training game.
- Former Fort Wayne hitting coach Riccardo Ingram, who is still working in the Twins’ system, is fighting a brain tumor.
- LHP Clayton Richard says his shoulder thing is none of your business. He didn’t really say that, but that’s what he meant. Which is fine. Also, solid quote about his pace: “I like to err on the side of quick.”
- David Newhan is in Padres camp after a scary off-season surfing accident.
- Padres owner Jeff Moorad has completely sold his share of the D-Backs.
- Former Fort Wayne INF David Freese is getting a shot to be the Cardinals’ starter at third this spring.
- Lots of MLB parks are getting upgrades this season.
- Several prospects could make an impact in the big leagues this year, says Jerry Crasnick. Brandon Belt is not on that list, but I assume they just ran out of room.
- Yankees RHP A.J. Burnett hasn’t walked anybody in nine innings this spring. They really need him to be good this year.
- Grady Sizemore is running, but says his knee is still a little stiff. Meanwhile, an injury could open the door for 3B Lonnie Chisenhall.
- Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann is good and Bryce Harper got sent to minor-league camp. Supposedly he could make his big-league debut this year. Prediction: He gets to Double-A, but the only way he gets to Washington in 2011 is if it’s written into his contract, which is entirely possible.
- Listen to Peter Gammons. I remember last year when he was raving about Marlins OF Mike Stanton. And he was right.
- There’s a new MLB historian and he says baseball’s origins are way more complicated than Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright. Which isn’t a huge surprise; history generally isn’t as cut-and-dried as we’d hope.
- The CEO of the Rangers stepping down was the definition of awkwardness.
- NBA forward Kevin Love was a good baseball player as a kid.
- Stay hot, Ohio State… Kirk Herbstreit is moving out of Columbus because idiot fans won’t leave him alone. I can only imagine it’s partially because of what he said about Terrelle Pryor, which I thought was completely on the money.
- I played baseball and started broadcasting at an NCAA school, so I know there are TONS of good things happening in college sports. But apparently Sunday was “here’s how ridiculous the NCAA is” day. I caught an ESPN report which said the guy who ran the NCAA for 30+ years wrote a book railing against it. Then I watched “The Fab Fi
ve” about Michigan basketball, which talked about how much money the school made off the players, but then the school got hit with NCAA sanctions including vacating wins because the players received money from a booster. Then I watched “The Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV,” which mentioned that (on two occasions) UNLV basketball had NCAA sanctions delayed by a year, basically because the team was good. Also, Jerry Tarkanian got a $2+ million settlement from the NCAA after he sued them for harassment. Uh, what?
- I know you’re wondering about my first try at curling. It was
fantastic. And a tough game to play – the sheet of ice is way longer
than you think. It’s kind of a mixture of bowling, shuffleboard and
cornhole with a twist of Canadian tuxedos. And you’d better be used to doing lunges before you start playing, or you’ll be sore the next day. Also, Abby Naas did fall over on the ice (as expected), but it was from a lunging position.
Musical guest… The Jackson 5!
Remember the stockholders meeting in “Mr. Deeds” when Deeds tells everyone they should try to be what they wanted to be when they were six years old instead of doing what made them the most money? Well, when I was six years old I wanted to be a famous athlete. By the time I was 15, I realized not everyone stopped growing when they were 15, and now here I am. Like Kenny Powers before he started taking steroids: washed up, damaged goods with a fastball in the 70s and no hitting abilities. Too short for basketball, too non-roided-up for football or pro wrestling. I need something that isn’t dependent on being a physical freak with moderate athletic ability. I need something anyone can succeed at if they work at it long enough. I’ve decided my final hope at athletic greatness may just be curling.
So tomorrow, I’m starting my journey toward Olympic glory with a Learn To Curl session with the Fort Wayne Curling Club. I figure if the U.S. Olympic curling team had a bartender, construction worker, substitute teacher and parole officer (which wouldn’t be bad identities for the 2010 version of The Village People) last Olympics, a radio guy has as good a chance as anyone. So I’ll see you suckers in Georgia in 2014. The country of Georgia, not the state. I’ll be the one with the gold medal.
Also, “Mr. Deeds” got a 24 on Metacritic? And “Taken” got a 50? Really? Sure it’s cheesy, but “Mr. Deeds” is funny and incredibly rewatchable. I suppose “Taken” is too, but for entirely different reasons.
- Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter hit a three-run homer on his birthday as the Padres beat the Dodgers. Watching the tape-delayed broadcast on MLB Network, I am happy to report that Hunter’s home run ball was caught on one bounce by a shirtless guy wearing jorts, who promptly fell down on the grass berm. In former TinCaps box score trolling, Simon Castro and Rob Musgrave pitched a scoreless inning each and Jeudy Valdez went 1-for-2 with a stolen base.
- Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos faces the Giants tonight.
- Former Fort Wayne LHP Cory Luebke looks like he’s going to Triple-A to open the season according to this.
- Highlights from yesterday’s Union-Tribune Padres chat: Latos’ reaction after tough spring performances is troubling, San Diego may be interested in Rangers C Taylor Teagarden as a backup now that Gregg Zaun retired, RHP Heath Bell had a motorized cooler that once broke down between the dugout and the bullpen at Petco Park, players on the 40-man roster must stay in big-league camp through Sunday (March 13), at least four MLB players have to be available to play in each Spring Training game and someone wanted to know the best place to “spot” Padres off the field. Whoever asked that question is what we call a cleat chaser. And there are male and female cleat chasers. And they’re more common in the minors than I ever imagined before I got into baseball.
- This is a story about Padres OF Chris Denorfia, but he talks about how long it took him to fully recover from Tommy John surgery, which is of interest to former Fort Wayne INF/OF Kyle Blanks.
- Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy feels better a day after his first start of Spring Training.
- Not a whole lot interesting from the minor-league transactions report, but here it is anyway.
- Mets LHP Johan Santana doesn’t sound like he’s going to be ready to pitch anytime soon.
- The Rangers’ new owner might become the Rangers’ former owner soon. Which is a bummer, because he had a lot of success as the owner of the Double-A Altoona Curve.
- In this notebook, the Phillies could be a fit for Rangers INF Michael Young and Kendry Morales now spells his first name Kendrys, which is his given name. Uh, what?
- Twins OF Ben Revere, a former MWLer, is proving the haters wrong.
- Question: Why would Tommy Hilfiger decide to show off what sports uniforms would look like if they designed them? Answer: Because ESPN asked them to. And they look horrible.
- As much as I want to defend Ohio State football, they’re in trouble. You can’t sign something saying you knew nothing, then come out months later saying you knew something, which is what I’ve heard happened. But there’s pressure on these guys to make big money for the school, and coming out with information like this mid-season might mean losing, which means less money. What have we learned here? Tell the truth. Money ruins everything. Setting high moral standards for yourself makes everyone fall all over themselves to hammer you when you when you make a mistake. Because it’s better to just not even try doing something difficult because then you can’t fail, right?
- This looks like one of the most fun vacation ideas of all time.
Musical guest… Pearl Jam!
Have a great weeken
Maybe I shouldn’t be impressed by this, but I am: the Padres played two split-squad games yesterday and, by my count, 20 Fort Wayne alums played in the games (including C Luke Carlin who’s now with the Indians). Eleven of them have been here during the Parkview Field era (2009-10). The rundown:
In one game, an all-Fort Wayne-alum pitching staff held the Indians to three hits – Cleveland had under-the-radar MLB studs Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo in the starting lineup.
In the other game, former TinCaps RHP Matt Lollis had a rough inning against the Reds in a loss. To cut him some slack, the Padres made errors against two of the first three batters Lollis faced. INF Jeudy Valdez and C Jason Hagerty each had hits, and rumor has it Valdez made a nice play in the field.
Go ahead and say, “But Dan, didn’t you just say recently that Spring Training stats are meaningless?” First of all, stop whining. Second of all, the answer is yes, but I feel like bragging our guys up today and I don’t care if it’s rational or not. This is America. Land of the free.
- If you see a TinCaps full-time staffer violating the new staff dress code between now and Opening Day, you win free tickets to Opening Day. This may or may not be the modern-day equivalent of wearing flair, except we have to wear it whether we’re working or not. But hey… it’s all for fun, right? RIGHT?!?
- Also yesterday, Padres RHP Aaron Harang got a rude welcome from his old team, the Reds. He had trouble out of the stretch, but at least he knows what went wrong mechanically. The Padres really need a bounce-back year out of him.
- Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley had two hits against the Indians, including a two-run single from the right side of the plate.
- The big pieces the Padres got back in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, 1B Anthony Rizzo and RHP Casey Kelly, are both looking good this spring. Rizzo homered yesterday. Also, they call each other slobs and are both big Justin Bieber fans and tried to get into his movie. Something tells me they would have starred in the movie “Return of the Idiots” had they stayed in Boston.
- Everybody except former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy was happy with his performance yesterday.
- Rangers RHP Brandon Webb is going through a slow rehab from shoulder surgery.
- Phillies 2B Chase Utley’s injured knee is a mystery. They’re not looking quite as untouchable as they did when they signed Cliff Lee.
- Braves INF Brooks Conrad is looking forward after last year’s nightmarish postseason. Did you know he’s the first player to make a game-ending error in a post-season game since Bill Buckner? It’s really too bad – second base isn’t his natural position but he went out there anyway, then took all the heat after the game.
- A minor-league manager in the Braves system got smoked by a foul ball yesterday. One of my buddies from college broadcasts the games in Lynchburg, where he’ll manage this year. Small world.
- As a media relations-type guy, I’m always interested in a good debate about media ethics/behavior. Hints: when you’re anywhere on a working media credential, be working; no cheering in the press box; have fun, but don’t get too buddy-buddy with the players.
- Could it be an ESPN version of The Watson Files? Maybe, but I doubt it features crowd-pleasers like this, and it definitely won’t have a sense of humor about itself.
- I should have news about a massive upgrade to our radio broadcasts as early as tomorrow. This might only be interesting to the top echelon of Fort Wayne sports dorks, but as the radio guy, this is big news for me.
- I dropped two spots from January in the MLBlogs rankings. Looks like I’ll be hitting “refresh” for an extra hour per day this month to raise my numbers again.
- Brent Harring and I are speaking at the Berne Rotary Club meeting today. We went in 2009 and it still stands as the best time I’ve ever had at a meeting of any kind.
Musical guest… The Killers!
One of the toughest things to understand about baseball is how roster maneuvering works, mostly because there’s no good place to find explanations of everything. The 40-man roster, the active 25-man roster, service time/arbitration concerns… the casual fan doesn’t have time to care about this stuff. Which is one of the benefits of reading this, I suppose.
So yesterday, the Padres “reassigned” five players from big-league camp, four of them former TinCaps. Some outlets call it being “cut” from camp. In reality, these guys were never really ON the big-league roster, so it’s impossible to be cut.
Here’s the explanation that doesn’t come out nearly enough to help newcomers learn the game: Big-league camp starts a few weeks before the minor-leaguers show up. If you’re an upper-level prospect who isn’t on the major-league team, you might get an invitation to big-league camp. When that happens, you get to get into camp early, get some work in and show the big-league coaches what you’re working with. It’s basically the equivalent of the better JV players getting to practice with the varsity team. After minor-league camp starts, you eventually get sent back to practice with the JV peons, pretty much regardless of how well you’re playing. And even after a player gets sent back to minor-league camp, he can still play in the big-league Spring Training games – in fact, former TinCaps RHPs Brad Brach and Alexi Lara are both pitching in the big-league game today despite getting reassigned to minor-league camp yesterday.
Why invite the minor-leaguers to big-league camp? Well, there’s the tryout-type reasons I listed above, but also because SOMEBODY has to play in the latter innings of those early-spring games. The big-league position players start out playing 4-5 innings per day at the beginning of camp (pitchers going 1-2 innings) and often don’t travel to road games. They’re working their way into shape for the season. So somebody has to fill the spots in the lineup after the big-leaguers are finished getting their work in for the day. That’s when it turns into a showcase game for younger players trying to make an impression.
Questions? Leave ’em in the comments or drop an e-mail… firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brad Hawpe homered and Mike Adams had a rough inning for the Padres yesterday. Fort Wayne alums of note in box score: OF Will Venable caught stealing twice; OF Cedric Hunter went 1-for-2; LHP Rob Musgrave allowed an unearned run in one inning; C Jason Hagerty, INFs Chase Headley, Andy Parrino, Jeudy Valdez and OF Luis Durango all went hitless.
- Veteran C Gregg Zaun retiring means former Fort Wayne C Nick Hundley has one less mentor.
- Padres LHP Clayton Richard threw live batting practice yesterday as he recovers from shoulder soreness.
- A potentially great moment for Greeks in baseball was thwarted last night when Padres RHP George Kontos didn’t face Royals 3B prospect Mike Moustakas. Mostly because it wasn’t Kontos’ day to throw. In reality, neither of them have ever lived in Greece, but they have Greek grandparents or something. So this is something of a non-story. But it could have really been something.
- Apparently there are people who take satisfaction in heckling teenage multi-millionaires at afternoon exhibition baseball games. In other news, this guy is evidently based on a real person.
- Get used to hearing this: Michael Pineda is good.
- Ask BA ranks the last 12 prospects who were taken No. 1 overall in the MLB draft. Which isn’t completely the same as “Rank the hype around the top overall pick.” Also, they figured out that more 20 HR-20 SB seasons have come from high-school draftees than college products. Which, if you think teams should draft for high upside, means teams should probably draft high school guys more often. But rigidly sticking to any one draft philosophy (i.e. drafting all high-school guys, go for position scarcity) gets you in trouble.
- Interesting stuff in Fangraphs’ report from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which is the Mecca of stat geeks the world over: They’re getting close to being able to track how much a catcher moves his mitt, which theoretically should tell us how well a pitcher is hitting his spots (but what about when a pitcher is trying to bury a breaking ball in the dirt?); defensive metrics are advancing; balancing statistical analysis with traditional scouting; and projecting minor-league stats to big-league performance is still tricky.
- MLB is (naturally) involved with the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
- Some people call today Mardi Gras, which is
FrenchFreedom for Fat Tuesday. Others just call it Tuesday.
- Dave Hutte Status Update: “Gotta figure out what to give up for Lent.” Let’s hope it’s not status updates. Also, I’ve decided I want to dress up like Dave Hutte for his costume party/wedding reception. After the obligatory creepy dyed-black goatee, I could go with any of several outfits: the 1997 crew-neck Packers sweatshirt/pajama pants/slippers combo, the generic basketball uniform (for pickup basketball games)/calf-length socks/white sneakers ensemble… and that’s just off the top of my head.
Musical guest… Weezer!