Results tagged ‘ ben hill ’
After four days of frisbee golfing, watching Karate Kid II (on DVD, not cable), laying near swimming pools, cooking my own meals, laughing at people who asked me if I was going to the All-Star Game, wowing manager Shawn Wooten by running down fly balls during team workouts and general lounging, it’s back to my version of real life.
But hey… If every day was a vacation, at some point it would stop being a vacation, am I right?
In any case, the four-day break was a chance to assess lots of things. Like THE FIRST RANDOM THOUGHTS SESSION IN MONTHS!
- Last year, TinCaps OF Rymer Liriano was a really raw kid trying to hit a million home runs. This year, he’s a less-raw 19-year-old who’s much more under control, trying to hit line drives. He has changed his approach, upped his walk rate, cut his strikeout rate and stolen 31 bases in 50 games. If you watch an at-bat from last year (or even from his first few games with the TinCaps this year) followed by an at-bat from the past month, you’d never believe it’s the same guy. Incredible turnaround. He was one of the most frustrating guys to watch last year because it looked like he had this potential but wasn’t tapping into it. Now he’s the most fun guy to watch on the team. I’m on the bandwagon.
- Also, 3B Jake Blackwood can H-I-T. With James Darnell killing it at Double-A and Jedd Gyorko running wilder than Hulkamania on the California League, seems like third basemen all over the Padres’ system are due for promotions.
- LHP Mark Hardy really knows how to pitch. It’s just the team hasn’t scored runs while he’s pitching (2.1 runs/game in support; even less while he’s actually in the game). Last two starts: 13.2 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs (2ER), 2 BB, 15K… And an 0-2 record. They’ve scored exactly one run in those two games combined. I don’t know why, but this makes me angry for him.
- RHP Zach Cates pitched extraordinarily well in shutting out the Great Lakes Loons on the last day before the All-Star break. I mean, fastball in the mid-90s (topped out at 96 if I remember correctly and if you trust stadium radar guns), good hook. Best I’ve seen him this year. And it kept the Loons out of the playoffs, so there’s that.
- If you’d given me ten guesses as to who would be the 100th Fort Wayne alum to get to the major leagues, I wouldn’t have guessed Josh Spence. I suppose he hasn’t gotten into a game yet (and therefore isn’t #100 yet), but still.
- Legendary author Ben Hill visited Parkview Field (as you found out on the podcast). And he filed several expert reports. He did virtually everything, including dancing with the Bad Apple Dancers. Good times were had by all.
- I’m not at liberty to disclose anything more than this: The Bad Apple Dancers will have an array of special guests joining them for the remainder of the season. Stay tuned.
- During the team workout on Wednesday night, I decided to shag some fly balls (since most of the pitchers were allowed to leave during batting practice). It had been at least a year since I’d picked up a ball and probably more like three since I’d taken a fly ball. Actual quote from Shawn Wooten: “I’ll be honest… you’re fast!” I just felt like running.
- Belting out Mumford & Sons songs in the car on the way to work is becoming a daily thing, which may or may not be a good thing for my voice/on-air performance.
- There’s a black Lab in northeast Ohio who was placed on the 15-day DL with a toe infection today. Had to undergo surgery. Hopefully he’s the Chase Utley of injury rehabs.
- As of two days ago, former TinCaps video dude Allan Wertheimer is engaged. To be married. Which is neck and neck for “2011’s most shocking ‘yes’ answer to a marriage proposal,” in close competition with my homeboy Dave Hutte. (Honorable mention: South Bend Silver Hawks radio guy Owen Serey). The Wertheimer Effect is about to rain down on an entire family. God help us all. There will be an entire entry dedicated to Wertheimer-Whitmore Wedding Prop Bets soon, I promise.
Musical guest… One last little piece of relaxation before the second half starts… John Butler!
Women want him, men want to be him… And when he talks about Minor League Baseball, people listen. It’s legendary MiLB.com writer Ben Hill, and he stopped by for a conversation during his visit to Parkview Field!
I don’t really have anything significant for now… Tickets are still available for the 3Dpalooza tonight. If my parents are driving five hours (and bringing a radio), you don’t have any excuse for not being here. If you can’t be here, you can catch up with the podcast, which I’ll post whenever I can after the game.
Also, LHP Dan Taylor is on the South Bend roster. Get ready for maximum Forrest Gump references for the next four nights.
- Tim Lincecum shut down the Padres. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. They just can’t be giving up eight runs on a regular basis.
- LHP Joe Thatcher had a setback during a bullpen session. He could be out through May. Thatcher is a big part of that bullpen as a lefty specialist.
- Geoff at Ducksnorts was at the Padres’ home opener and says the final Trevor Time was pretty emotional.
- Legendary author Ben Hill tells us Altoona is making a splash with a reversible hat: the outside is the team’s normal on-field home hat, but when you flip it inside out it becomes a rally cap, complete with a design.
- In a Baseball America chat, Jim Callis hazards a guess of a midseason call-up for Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie. Just keep him in Las Vegas through mid-July, am I right?
- Peter Gammons says pitchers don’t always have to be 6-foot-15 to be good. He’s right, as usual. Short guys succeeding on the mound are few and far between, but they’re fun to root for.
- The Indians continued their utter domination of the Red Sox last night. Boston hasn’t won a game yet and it’s officially freak-out time for Sox fans. Actual text message from former TinCaps strength gorilla and Boston native Rick SantaBarbara: “Red Sox are terrible. Back up the truck! Back it up! Turn this place into a parking lot!”
- Mustache Watch catches up with former Midwest Leaguer and newly-appointed Angels closer Jordan Walden, who is going with the Justin Shurley/Al Borland look.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban discusses the role of the media when it comes to sports teams. He makes a lot of good points (as usual), but if you’re interested in the First Amendment, you’ll probably be a little put off.
Musical guest… Grace Potter and the Nocturnals!
No, another TinCap did not get traded yesterday. At least not that I know of.
Today when the Padres play the Cardinals (on national television, no less), you’ll want to pay attention when somebody starts throwing in the bullpen. Because one of the bullpen catchers is none other than former TinCaps catcher Griffin Benedict.
The way it went down (according to what I’ve heard from a couple of people) is this: Benedict was called into an office at the Padres’ complex toward the end of Spring Training and was told they didn’t have a spot for him on a minor-league roster. But the Padres like the way he catches, and with bullpen coach Darren Akerfelds fighting pancreatic cancer, they needed a second bullpen catcher. So Benedict accepted, and now he’s traveling with the big club, probably getting paid way more than any minor-leaguer (and I assume he gets tips on top of a salary). From what I heard, a lot of guys on the minor-league side were pretty jealous when they found out.
And that’s the story of how Griffin Benedict made the big leagues.
- We’ve hit a lull in the minor-league articles… Camp is wrapping up and the official rosters aren’t out yet. I’d guess Friday or Saturday we’ll get an Opening Day roster.
- If you haven’t heard about the TinCaps’ Open House and Meet the Team night, well… you’re just not paying attention.
- Legendary author Ben Hill has decided to cave into the TinCaps’ demands and feature us (or, more accurately, our 3D glasses) in his MLBlogs profile picture. I’m trying to talk him into coming to Parkview Field this season to join the Bad Apple Dancers. If he plays his cards right, they might even temporarily change their names to the Ben Apple Dancers.
- The San Diego U-T has (even) more questions about the Padres heading into Opening Day. They caught lightning in a bottle last year, and that usually doesn’t happen back-to-back years. Especially when 60 percent of your starting rotation is either coming off injuries or currently injured. But as Heath Bell says, it sure seems like, over the past year, the organization has put itself in a position to have more long-term success. I saw the 2010 Padres as a band-aid fix to the organization’s problems while the front office performed reconstructive surgery behind the scenes.
- Former Padres RHP Edward Mujica had a nasty fall and landed on his right elbow/head. Between this and the Jake Peavy injuries, Padres GM Jed Hoyer is looking like the Bill Bellichick of baseball… once he trades them, they go down like flies.
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland remembers his first day as a minor-league manager; he put his shoes on top of a water heater and the soles melted.
- Giants 1B Brandon Belt made the big-league team and was so overcome that he cried. Noted rally thong-wearer Aubrey Huff responded with, “”Why you crying? I’m the one who’s gotta play right field every day.”
- For the Royals, the waiting is the hardest part. Somebody should write a song about that.
- I wish more writers would share what the Diamondbacks’ beat writer did… Unabridged quotes from unnamed scouts about D-Backs players. Because while media types can watch every game and get into the clubhouse, our primary job is to write articles/broadcast games/etc. The primary job of a scout is to evaluate players. The more perspectives we get, the better chance we’ll get the whole picture.
- Indians manager Manny Acta talked about his time as a minor-league player, eating fast food every day.
- So you’re telling me that the six cities hosting MLB games today are Washington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York, Kansas City and Los Angeles? Why does MLB keep doing this to itself? Every team with a roof plus the Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Marlins, Braves and Rangers should open every season with a six-game homestand.That leaves three more teams (2 AL, 1 NL) to host outdoor games in northern-ish cities. Figure it out.
- And then there was the exhibition game played in a near-blizzard in Columbus yesterday.
- Speaking of Columbus… they have bigger problems than snow.
- It’s becoming clear that MLB.tv is the greatest idea in the history of sports on TV. Not only can you choose between home/road feeds, you can also turn the announcers’ sound off and just listen to the natural ballpark audio. Now if they could just shut those TinCaps broadcasters up, we’d really have something…
Musical guest… Michael Franti & Spearhead!
Earlier this off-season, former TinCaps INF Cole Figueroa was part of a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Yesterday RHP Erik Davis, another member of the 2009 TinCaps, was dealt to the Nationals for INF Alberto Gonzalez.
The trade makes complete sense – the Padres wanted to give SS Everth Cabrera more time in the minor leagues but also wanted a utility infielder who could play shortstop.
As far as Davis, he tied the Fort Wayne franchise record (held by LaTroy Hawkins) with 16 wins in 2009. At one point that season, he won five straight starts, not allowing more than two runs in any of those starts. He had a really nice season last year, topping out at Triple-A.
- Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos will open the year on the DL. Sigh. He’s supposed to play catch today. In other roster moves, former Fort Wayne OF Cedric Hunter and LHP Cory Luebke each made the big-league team.
- INF Brad Hawpe had a hairline fracture in his ribs last year, but never went on the DL. He’s looking for a bounceback.
- The Padres and Brewers combined to hit SIX home runs in a 5-4 game yesterday. Former Fort Wayne OF Will Venable accounted for two. Former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass served up three of the homers, but give him a break – he was going against the Brewers’ MLB lineup. Ryan Braun hit two, Dick Weeks hit the other.
- Here are the best- and worst-case scenarios for the new Padres.
- Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy is ready to open the year in extended Spring Training… But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
- Fort Wayne alum Michael Cuddyer had an eventful off-season with a couple of health issues.
- Legendary author Ben Hill tells us about the Tucson Padres’ “Name the Mascot” promotion.
- Former Midwest Leaguer and now-Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez took a little while to tap into his potential.
- Diamondbacks INF prospect (and 2010 South Bend Silver Hawk) Bobby Borchering is soaking up all the knowledge he can this spring.
- I never thought I’d see Carlos Zambrano described as a “voice of reason” but it actually happened.
- Peter Gammons reminds us that he’s still the man… by writing an excellent Spring Training update.
- The Dodgers found Fernando Valenzuela by quasi-accident. If you ever watched the 30-for-30 documentary about Valenzuela you know how key he was to helping the Dodgers win the Latin-American community back after some craziness that happened when they were building Dodger Stadium.
- O’s manager Buck Showalter is now directing his crotchetiness toward his own players instead of Derek Jeter. But when you swing at a 3-0 pitch in a blowout, you’re asking for crotchetiness.
- Former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette is now a pretty good tennis player.
- The Rays think Manny Ramirez has another big year in him.
- A bunch of Rays had their apartment robbed, and apparently Evan Longoria had an AK-47 stolen. Uh, what?
- I’m still sick. Voice sounds terrible. Many of you are probably thinking, “But it always sounds terrible!” You’re right, but shut up.
Musical guest… Kenny Rogers and The First Edition!
RHP Mat Latos got the start on the mound. Then in the 9th inning, Jaff Decker, Daniel Robertson and Blake Tekotte came to the plate back-to-back-to-back. Decker singled, then Tekotte doubled him home.
No, I’m not reminiscing about a TinCaps game from May 2009… I’m talking about last night’s Spring Training game in Peoria, Padres vs. White Sox. It was darn near a TinCaps 2009 reunion.
I can’t help but wonder if the 2009 TinCaps team was like the “Saved by the Bell” heyday era for those guys. Maybe not their most profitable time, or even what they’d consider the most successful of their individual careers (since the point is getting to the big leagues, not winning Midwest League titles). But as far as having fun, winning games and being the toast of the town, they may never be a part of a perfect mix like that again in their careers.
At this point, they’ve all moved on. Some of the players from that 2009 team have gone away, like how Jessi Spano and Lisa Turtle mysteriously disappeared from “The College Years.” Others (Adrian Gonzalez trade pieces come to mind) have come in to fill their place, like Bob Golic as the awkward resident assistant/washed up-football player and Alex as the quirky weird hat girl. It’s still a decent show/team, but it’s just not the same vibe, even if it’s a higher level and better for them individually.
We said it back then and it still seems completely right: Teams like that don’t come along very often, especially in the minors. So when they do, just enjoy it while it lasts. Like “Saved by the Bell,” the Belding years.
Or maybe I just watched too much TV as a kid.
Side note: “The College Years” did what I thought was impossible: it made college seem lamer and more awkward than high school. If that is actually how anyone’s experience went, I feel horrible for them.
- Latos had a tough beginning to the night, but got it together and finished strong.
- Fort Wayne alum INF Mike Baxter will miss around eight weeks due to thumb surgery. He tore a ligament.
- Former Fort Wayne INF/OF Michael Cuddyer has been playing in minor-league games for the Twins and he’ll probably get into a big league game tomorrow. He had a wart removed from the bottom of his foot.
- Legendary author Ben Hill reports on minor-league teams trying to give their fans healthy options at the concession stand. I’m a loyal customer at the Field of Greens deli wrap stand at Parkview Field. Their wraps are the dinner of champions.
- Ben also has the story of the Tulsa Drillers’ remade mascot.
- Nationals megasuperstud Bryce Harper hurt his ankle yesterday, but says he’s fine. With Stephen Strasburg already out, that would’ve been a lot of signing bonus money on the shelf.
- A beanball battle in Spring Training? Really? And it was a former Nationals pitcher, now with the Cardinals, who was a big part of it. At least Nats SS Ian Desmoond, who is a good dude, turned it into a standup routine: “We were really trying to keep the fans around. Once
Pujols came out of the game and Carpenter came out of the game, we
knew they were going to leave. So we just had to add a little
entertainment for them. It was intentional, but Miggy throws like Miss Iowa. It’s no big deal.”
- Mark McGwire is trying to keep a low profile as the Cardinals’ hitting coach.
- Has anybody else noticed the Phillies have caught all bad breaks since signing Cliff Lee? Utley’s hurt, Domonic Brown is struggling/hurt, they can’t find a right-handed hitter and now outfielders are colliding in Spring Training games. Some teams have everything go right, others have everything go wrong, and sometimes there’s no real reason why.
- Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman is now a part-time model. I can only imagine the verbal beating he’s taking every day in the clubhouse because of it.
- In Marlins camp, a minor-league lifer is getting a shot at the big club, but his at-bats might dry up when professional butt-kicker Mike Stanton is fully healthy.
- The Cubs are going to make some roster decisions soon.
- The Mets already have, and now they have to change the culture.
- Hey, another story about Mariners RHP (and former Midwest Leaguer) Michael Pineda!
- I feel like I’m a pretty balanced guy when it comes to stats vs. traditional scouting methods to evaluate players. One thing that can easily be overlooked/undervalued is a player’s work ethic/personality.
- But on the statistical side, Fangraphs examines the way to make the best batting order.
- Just for fun, Baseball America went back and (in hindsight) did a redraft of the 2005 MLB Draft, one of the best in recent memory
- I’m reading “Death to the BCS.” As you might assume by the title, it’s not fair and balanced. A lot of the evidence is anecdotal instead of numbers-based, but it points out just how illogical the current college football system and refutes every one of the BCS’s arguments. It’s a good, quick read. I recommend it.
Musical guest… The Temptations!