Results tagged ‘ Bowling Green Hot Rods ’

Some Like it Hot, Questions, Baseball to Biology and Back

SOME LIKE IT HOT

No, the TinCaps haven’t been watching Marilyn Monroe films on their bus rides, but they have played exceptionally well in temperatures north of 100 degrees the last two nights. July 4th yielded an 8-1 victory, and last night Fort Wayne exploded for eight more runs in an 8-3 defeat of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

The start of the game was delayed about an hour as pop-up storms (no relation to pop-up video) swept through the area and brought some wind and rain to the ballpark. That didn’t seem to bother the TinCaps very much.

“After a long rain delay, they never hesitated. They went up there and threw the first punch,” said Manager Jose Valentin.

Starter Adys Portillo earned his sixth win of the year, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball. His Midwest League-leading ERA dropped to 1.65 from 1.76. It was also a monumental game in respect to his win total. Entering this season, he had picked up six victories in 46 starts. This year he has matched that win total in just 16 starts.

“It’s scary, but he didn’t have his best stuff, which is incredible,” said catcher Matt Colantonio. His fastball was a little up, and towards the end of his outing he started to look a little out of sync, but it was a great outing.”

The TinCaps provided four first-inning runs for Portillo, after they had given Frank Garces seven runs of support in the fourth inning on Wednesday.

“When you know that your offense is in the game and it doesn’t matter how many runs you give up, you can keep your confidence and make the pitches when you need them,” Valentin added.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear postgame comments from first baseman Zach Kometani, who drove in two runs in his first start for Fort Wayne since April 28th:

SAYS IT ALL

It may be hot here in Fort Wayne, but it’s not the only place experiencing brutally uncomfortable heat:

Caliente, to say the least.

YOUR QUESTIONS

Hmmm…Well, I don’t really think there’s a prank player in this locker room–at least not that I’ve seen or heard about. I will say that whenever I head down to the clubhouse, it’s probable that I may run into someone–particularly Cody Hebner, in an impromptu dance.

If you ever hear “Teach Me How to Dougie” playing on the Parkview Field sound system, turn your eyes to the video board in a hurry. You just might see a video clip of him showing off his dance skills…

If you’ve got any questions you’d like answered on the blog, please send them in–Couzens@TinCaps.com or @MikeCouzens on Twitter.

FROM BASEBALL TO BIOLOGY AND BACK

If you’re able to make it out to the ballpark, you might’ve noticed that I write a feature piece for each edition of our Game Day magazine. I’d like to share with you the latest, which features former Fort Wayne Wizard and current TinCaps Strength and Conditioning Coach Cliff Bartosh. Here’s the full text:

How a former Fort Wayne Wizard made his way back to the Summit City

It took two weeks for the phone to ring. Nearly 14 days had gone by before Cliff Bartosh found out he had been selected in the 29th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. Bartosh had aspirations of playing professional baseball, but wasn’t sure he’d be headed down that road. A phone call from late Padres scout Jim Dreyer changed Bartosh’s plans. He was scheduled to head to Texas Tech on a baseball scholarship, but instead chose to follow his dream and report to the Padres training complex in Peoria, Arizona.

“I started out as a first baseman and pitched a little bit (in high school). My junior year I might’ve thrown 12 or 13 innings for our varsity team. My senior year, maybe about 20 innings,” Bartosh said one afternoon while sitting in the home dugout at Parkview Field. “(Dreyer) said he never saw me pitch in high school, he only saw me take infield. So he only saw me throw the ball from first base, and he drafted me off of that. I didn’t know when the draft was.”

Cliff Bartosh’s life in baseball has revolved around other people dictating his path.

He made his way through the minor leagues with the Padres, and played at Memorial Stadium with the Fort Wayne Wizards in both 1999 and 2000. Although he was in the organization from 1998 until 2003, he didn’t make the big leagues with the Padres.

“After the ’03 season, (the Padres) sent me to the Arizona Fall League. I probably had the worst Arizona Fall League that anybody’s ever had in the history of that league. I just did absolutely terrible. (The Padres) end up with maybe a week left in the Arizona Fall League, and they take me off the 40-man roster and I’m picked up by Detroit. I go into the off season a Detroit Tiger. About December, I get a call from the Cleveland Indians saying, ‘We just claimed you off of waivers.’ I didn’t even know I had been placed on waivers,” Bartosh vividly recalls.

Cleveland, under then-General Manager Mark Shapiro, called Bartosh up from Triple-A Buffalo to make his major league debut on May 15, 2004, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In March of 2005, Bartosh was traded to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Ronald “Bear” Bay, who currently pitches for the Padres Triple-A affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Bartosh’s destiny fluttered in the wind.

Bartosh pitched in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2005, but eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum and rotator cuff, and by August of 2006 he hadn’t thrown a baseball in a year.

“I went home to Texas and my wife got a job teaching. I had no college at that point, and started going to school,” Bartosh says. “It’s weird because to that point, I had done (the baseball routine) for eight to nine seasons. It was the only quote-unquote job I had to that point. I had a wife and a son at that time, and I felt like I can’t just sit and wait for my arm to get better.”

While staying at home to be with his son, Bartosh took online classes at Dallas (Texas) County Community College. He studied government and history, and later transferred in 2008 to the University of Texas at Arlington, enrolling in the exercise science program.

“I got that degree when I was 30, and most guys (in school) were 18 to 22,” Bartosh says. “I got that degree and then decided, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a strength coach.’ I got an alternative teaching certification. I took some tests to get a science endorsement, an ESL endorsement and a health endorsement.”

He became Mr. Bartosh, teaching at a middle school in his hometown of Duncanville, Texas.

“I taught a class called ‘Skills for Success’. I really don’t know what it was about. I had a set curriculum that I was supposed to teach and I did. My wife made fun of it because there was a chapter in the book that was on how to use a microwave. I didn’t have to teach that one; I didn’t feel it was necessary,” he remarks with a grin.

It was after that stint, and some time spent as an 8th grade science instructor, Bartosh decided to pack up his house, his belongings and his life, and head in a different direction.

“I’m sitting there teaching, and I’m feeling like I’m not really making an impact on these kids. I have a house and I’m living very comfortably. The more I read the gospels, the more I realized we’re maybe not supposed to be that comfortable. In the book of Mark, there’s the parable of the rich, young ruler. Christ says, ‘Sell everything, give to the poor and follow me.’”

“I’ve got a good house, a great job that pays the bills and all that, and we decided that we’re gonna sell our house and I started reaching out to people in baseball and I was fortunate that the big league strength coach here in San Diego, Jim Malone, was a minor league coordinator in Cleveland. I sent them my resume and they were crazy enough to hire me,” he says, mesmerized.

In his first year as the strength and conditioning coach with the TinCaps, Bartosh has a connection with the players that not many do—he’s one of their kind. He knows what it’s like to give up the game-tying home run, or to feel like your pitches just don’t work. He’s been there time and time again, but on someone else’s calendar. He’s now deciding his own fate, and making a difference on his time. No longer Mr. Bartosh, he’s just Cliff.

“It was very refreshing to get rid of everything that ties you down to an area. So now that I have no ties anywhere, really. Someone asked me where I was going to live in the off-season. I have no idea. I really don’t know where I’ll end up. I’m enjoying this. This is great. You get to develop relationships with players, with coaches, with other staff and hopefully that leads to lifelong friendships.”

MUSICAL GUEST

James Taylor…take it away!

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

The Hit Wagon, Festivity Photos, Voyage

“EVERYBODY HOPPED ON THE HIT WAGON”

That stupendous quote comes from TinCaps second baseman Tyler Stubblefield, as he described a seven-run fourth inning that Fort Wayne unloaded on Bowling Green at Parkview Field on Wednesday night.

He had one of the biggest at bats of the game, and it came in that fourth inning. With runners at second and third, the Hot Rods, with lefty Travis Whitmore at the plate, decided to issue an intentional walk to try and face Stubblefield, a right-handed hitter. While some batters might take that as a slight to their abilities, Stubblefield shrugged it off as part of the game and decided he was going to win the at-bat.

(more…)

First Half Finale, Travel Numbers, Programming Notes

It’s the final game of the first half, and the TinCaps and Hot Rods square off at 3:05 CDT here in Bowling Green, Kentucky this afternoon. I’ve been told there may be some rain in the forecast. Upon further examination, that may be accurate. Here’s what the radar looks like at first pitch:

This is the opposite of good.

On an unrelated note, I did a little bit of math last night and found out just how many miles the TinCaps have traveled by bus in the first half (according to Google Maps):

4,587

That, I have determined, is the equivalent of driving from New York to Los Angeles, turning around in an attempt to drive home, and then running out of gas in St. Louis. Well, you don’t have to run out of gas in St. Louis. You might have relatives there, or you might want to catch a Cardinals game. I shouldn’t speak for you in that instance. Either way, that’s a lot of bus miles. I probably should’ve signed up for the frequent rider progra–

What? There is no frequent rider program?

This seems somewhat to moderately off. I could’ve sworn I’d at least get a sweatshirt or travel tote bag for all of the miles. I’ll need to speak with a customer services representative.

In all seriousness, though, today’s game should be a good one as Cody Hebner (6-2, 3.43) takes the hill against Bowling Green’s Roberto Gomez (6-2, 2.79). The TinCaps will try to give Hebner the run support he’s used to, a team best 6.6 runs per start, after having been shut out three of the last four nights. Prior to this week, Fort Wayne hadn’t been shut out at all in the first half. The TinCaps are also in danger of being swept for the first time in the half, and so a win would go a long way in preserving that streak.

With an 0-3 game last night, Travis Whitmore’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end. It stands as the longest hitting streak of the year for Fort Wayne. Donavan Tate and Matt Colantonio each carried streaks of eight straight games with a hit earlier this season. (more…)

Six-Man Rotation, Awesome Proposal, Mosquitoes are Back

For the second time in three days, the TinCaps surrendered a season high in runs. On Saturday, that number was 11. After yesterday’s game, the number is 14. The Hot Rods took a 2-1 series lead with a 14-7 shellacking of the TinCaps.

The game started off well. Ruben Mejia made his first start since September of last year and lasted four innings. Mejia is the newest addition to the TinCaps starting rotation, which now features six pitchers in an effort to cut back on innings for the starters. Director of Player Development Randy Smith said earlier this year that most TinCaps starters were on track to throw between 120-130 innings. As of today, here’s how many each starter (not counting those on the disabled list) has thrown:

Frank Garces: 51.0 in 10 starts

Adys Portillo: 54 2/3 in 10 starts

Colin Rea: 35 2/3 in 4 starts, 12 relief appearances

Matt Wisler: 45 2/3 in 9 starts, 1 relief appearance

Cody Hebner: 46 2/3 in 9 starts

Let’s use Frank Garces as a case study. He’s next scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Great Lakes, and then would theoretically start two more times in the first half. If, and I’m just guessing here, he goes five innings in each of his next three starts, he’ll be at 66 innings for the first half. Extrapolating for another 13 starts in the second half at a theoretical five innings each, and Garces would be at 132 innings—over his limit. These numbers are all theoretical on my end, but it goes to show why the Padres have change to a six-man rotation with Fort Wayne.

(more…)

Big Finish, Anniversaries, Podcast

WALK-OFF WIN

The TinCaps delivered in a big way on Sunday afternoon, scoring a 2-1 walk-off win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Down 1-0 headed into the ninth, and without a base hit since the fourth, Fort Wayne got on the board with a Lee Orr home run. It marks his second home run since Wednesday, when he delivered the go-ahead blast that helped the TinCaps defeat the Lansing Lugnuts 5-3.

Following Orr’s Sunday shot, Whitmore, who entered the game in the sixth as a replacement for Kyle Gaedele, lifted a single to right field, scoring Yeison Asencio and setting up the TinCaps for a Monday rubber match against Bowling Green.

Travis Whitmore is being mobbed somewhere in that pile.

Tonight it’s Matt Wisler on the hill for Fort Wayne. The 19-year-old has surrendered just three earned runs in his last 20 2/3 innings.

Here are a few more notes for today’s game:

One Ends, Another Continues: Mike Gallic’s seven-game hitting streak came to an end in Sunday’s win, but Donavan Tate extended his hitting streak to five games. Tate, a the third overall pick in the 2009 draft, has collected at least one hit in each of his five games since returning from the disabled list on May 15th against West Michigan. This five-game streak for Tate matches the longest of his career. His one other five-game streak came last year with the Eugene Emeralds in late June. The longest hit streak this year is eight, held by Matt Colantonio.

Orr Delivers: In just seven games with Fort Wayne, Lee Orr has helped deliver the TinCaps to victory twice. On Wednesday at Lansing with two outs and two strikes against him in the ninth, Orr connected on a three-run home run to put Fort Wayne in front 5-3 for good. His home run on Sunday to tie the game at 1 marked the 10th longball of his professional career in 233 at bats.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear from Whitmore after his game-winning hit as he talks about what he was looking for at the plate, and the resiliency of the club to come back and pick up the win:

WANNA FEEL OLD?

Well, stop reading if you don’t. However if you don’t mind a little trip down memory lane, you’ll enjoy hearing that MTV’s “The Real World” debuted 20 years ago today. So when you get angry/excited/indifferent about having the Kardashians on every channel and having reality shows about the type of lint people get out of their dryers, you can trace it all back to this “The Real World”.

Today also would have been the 40th birthday of rapper Notorious B.I.G. His real name was Christopher Wallace, and his mother talked to The Source about his legacy:

“When he passed away, I never knew he was so famous. I never knew he was so well liked, maybe because I never listened to the music. But I guess over the years, I love it more and appreciate the art more,” she said.

“For someone to think of my son, his music, his legacy, and can smile about it, I’m happy for them. If it makes you happy, then I’m happy.” 

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably heard the music of arguably the world’s most famous rapper at one point or another in your life.

MUSICAL GUEST

John Mayer and Keith Urban…take it away!

If you’d like to have “It’s All Relative” delivered to your inbox each day, you can click the “Follow” button on the right side of the blog and whenever I post each day, it’ll be delivered at your convenience.

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

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