Results tagged ‘ dave hutte ’

Thoughts from the break

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!

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Take care!

DW

Quasi-TinCaps Report: 4/19

Today there’s so much going on that a typical audio podcast just won’t suffice. So first, here’s the rest of the Mike Couchee interview:

Now, here’s what happened at Fifth Third Ballpark today… Three inches of snow were on the ground in the morning, but you would’ve have known it by game time. However, it was still brutally cold. TinCaps lost, 7-3. I feel bad for the players because they have to be out in this every night. I also feel like their opinion of the Midwest will forever be negative because of how bad the weather’s been. I promise, in the three years I’ve been in this league, this is easily the worst it’s been for the longest period of time in any season.

Anyhow, MWL Pitcher of the Week Keyvius Sampson pitches on Tuesday. Game time is 6:35 p.m. Hupe Insurance Services Pre-Game Show at 6:20. Be there, listen in or be square.

Random thoughts:

  • I can’t find a link to it, so you’ll just have to take my word for itBaseball America did a story on TinCaps RHP Zach Cates. Good luck finding it. We’re all counting on you.
  • Apparently a behind-the-scenes lackey on Good Morning America is a TinCaps fan. Good for us, I guess, although probably three people probably noticed. Do you think Robin Roberts stole that shirt and acoustic guitar look from Neil Diamond? Nah… not enough sequins.
  • Former Midwest Leaguer Jerry Sands got called up to the big leagues, doubled in his first at-bat, hit a sacrifice fly, then got a pitch thrown behind his head which prompted a revenge pitch-behind-head incident. How did your first day at your job go?
  • Come on, Reds RHP Mike Leake.
  • I just got back from watching the movie “Limitless.” I had no idea it was based on the meteoric rise of my buddy Dave Hutte.
  • Seriously, I give the movie a B-plus. Good concept, good story, bonus points for having The Black Keys on the soundtrack, extra bonus points for me watching it alone in an otherwise empty theater (maximum lounging with minimum weird looks from fellow moviegoers). Points deducted for a young millionaire still using a land-line telephone in 2011 and for a somewhat unsatisfying ending. I won’t ruin it for you. Check it out yourself. It’s not a waste of your money.

That’s it for now. Bed time. Musical guest… The Romantics!

DW

The boys are back in town

The TinCaps landed in Fort Wayne yesterday, no problems. The coaches haven’t arrived (they’re driving their own cars in from wherever they’re from). The only real bit of news is that RHP Keyvius Sampson looks like he’s going to get the start on Opening Night. From everything I’ve heard, he’s nasty when he’s healthy.

Random thoughts:

  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well… Fort Wayne should be flattered.
  • In a story you read here last week, Former TinCaps C Griffin Benedict is now a big-league bullpen catcher. He says it was kind of a tough decision, believe it or not.
  • Padres RHP Dustin Moseley took the loss in St. Louis yesterday, but deserves another start. Of course he does; if the Padres hadn’t been shut out we’d be talking about how great of an addition Moseley is.
  • There’s been a moderate amount of freaking out about Orlando Hudson laying down a sacrifice bunt as the No. 3 hitter in the order. I’m a huge proponent of small-ball and I’ve never understood why it’s that big of a deal. I don’t care where you’re hitting in the lineup; you are who you are. Putting Orlando Hudson in the three-hole does not make him Albert Pujols. If you have run producers in the 4-5 spots in the lineup (and you should), why is it taboo to stay out of the double play (especially against a sinkerballer like Jake Westbrook) and bunt your way into a second-and-third, one-out situation? And I’d be saying this even if it hadn’t turned into a six-run inning.
  • Speaking of freaking out, the Red Sox got swept by the Rangers. WE’VE GOT TO KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!
  • Still speaking of freaking out, the Royals held their own Futures Game between their Triple-A and Double-A teams. Word is, it was like the Beatles landing in America for the first time. When your team has been so bad for so long, it’s only natural to get pumped about prospects but these guys are getting hyped to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to live up to it.
  • Who does Red Sox manager Terry Francona think he is with those glasses? Harry Potter? John Lennon?
  • Indians C Carlos Santana started a triple play in his first MLB appearance at first base as the Indians guaranteed they wouldn’t go 0-162.
  • In the entire history of baseball, no pitcher has ever been as bad on Opening Day as Indians RHP Fausto Carmona was on Thursday. Thanks a lot, Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez’s thumb is affecting his velocity.
  • So what happened was, Jim Edmonds was all, “That Brandon Phillips ain’t nothin'” and Brandon Phillips was like, “Hater in da house!” I didn’t even make half of that up.
  • Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey wants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with some athlete friends, including a guy who once bicycled from Connecticut to Mets Spring Training in Florida. Also, Dickey got the idea from reading a book about people getting gangrene while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m not making any of this up.
  • Marlins OF Mike Stanton: He’s good.
  • What does Neil Diamond do during his down time in South Africa? Make friends, of course.
  • Dave Hutte Status Update: “Bought a Cubs royal plush blanket and Packers tree skirt. Both 75 percent off!” Dave Hutte is nothing if not thrifty.

Musical guest… Thin Lizzy!

Take care!

DW

What’s the opposite of congress?

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.

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Take care!

DW

One story, two headlines

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?”

Thoughts:

  1. 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.
  2. Latos doesn’t sound like a guy who is freaking out about a performance on a back field in Peoria on March 16.
  3. 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.

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Take care!

DW

Cut from the team, but not really

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… dan.watson@tincaps.com.

Random thoughts:

  • 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 French Freedom 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!

Take care!

DW

Why baseball is better than football, part 482

Let me tell you a(nother) reason why baseball is the best game there is: There is no scouting combine.

Football scouts get information overload. The vast majority of pro-caliber football players are already playing three or four years worth of nationally-televised showcase games 8-9 times per season at big-time schools. Each player’s every move is taped in practice and games. The amount of information available on football players is huge already. Then there’s the week-long combine, also nationally televised.

Now look at baseball. Sure, there are showcase camps and Aflac All-American games where some
of the best amateur players get together to play against each other. But there is no one-stop-shop where scouts get to dress virtually every draft-eligible player in awkward spandex to evaluate. They have to figure out if some peach-fuzzed kid with a mid-90s fastball who doesn’t need to throw a curveball against overmatched competition at a tiny high school will end up being a better player than a guy who plays against the top college competition in the nation.

You know Jason Heyward, considered one of the best young players in the big leagues? Thirteen teams passed on him, many saying it was because they didn’t get to see him swing the bat – he walked too much when scouts were around. And this was a high-schooler, usually one of the easier places to scout. Mike Piazza? Maybe the best offensive catcher in history. Drafted in the 62nd round. Teams drafted 1,389 players before the Dodgers took him. The NFL brags “every pick counts” because Tom Brady was a seventh rounder. Please. While NFL scouts are asked to find players who can contribute months (and eventually years) after the draft, MLB scouts are sometimes asked to find a 16-year-old in Venezuela who could be productive in the big leagues 10 years later after developing in the minors.

And you know what that means? Just like a lot of people agree that hitting a round ball with a round bat is the toughest thing to do in sports, trying to FIND people who can do that is the toughest assignment in sports scouting.

  • From Buster Olney: Looks like the Gonzalez trade haul will be
    assigned like this… 1B Anthony Rizzo to Triple-A Tucson, RHP Casey
    Kelly to Double-A San Antonio, OF Reymond Fuentes to Advanced-A Lake
    Elsinore. Which, to me, increases the likelihood of an Everett Williams
    encore in Fort Wayne to start the year, but that’s just a guess. Also,
    Rizzo doubled off Simon Castro in an intrasquad game.
  • Spring Training games started this weekend and Fort Wayne alum C Nick Hundley hit a grand slam and former TinCaps 3B James Darnell homered.
  • Former TinCap RHP Matt Lollis keeps getting noticed, this time by the San Diego U-T. You get the feeling he never would have been under the radar if he hadn’t been injured his senior year of high school.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF/1B Kyle Blanks is hitting in the cage and playing defense in intrasquad games as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • How do you score runs without a masher like Adrian Gonzalez? Run wilder than Hulkamania, and Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable could help in that department this year, especially with new first-base coach Dave Roberts.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter has had an up-and-down career – he led the
    Cal League in hits in 2008 and was third in batting average… behind
    Daniel Nava and Carlos Santana, both now in the big leagues.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now-Rays RHP) Matt Bush pitched a perfect inning this weekend.
  • In this Padres roundup,
    the Opening Day payroll is around $46 million, the team sometimes pays
    guys more than league minimum (even when it doesn’t have to) and Orlando Hudson loves NASCAR.
  • Hey, remember John Roskos? Neither does anyone else, which is Bill Center’s point: He was a Spring Training legend and didn’t amount to diddly poo. The moral of the story is, don’t put too much stock in these games, especially this early.
  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers recounts his final days with San Diego. They’re awkward.
  • The Diamondbacks-Rockies spring training facility looks awesome.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now Minnesota Twins) OF Michael Cuddyer isn’t playing yet because of a wart on the bottom of his foot.
  • The Seattle newspaper profiles Fort Wayne native and Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
  • Marlon Byrd made history last year and was the first guy to have non-organ music played at Wrigley Field, and he goes with a song by somebody named Gang Starr? Come on, man!
  • From Baseball America: Bubba Starling, who is draft-eligible this year, is a better athlete than Mike Trout, Donovan Tate or Aaron Hicks were coming out of high school. Wow.
  • How do you make the Wedding of the Century even better? By making the reception a costume party. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • What does a wildly successful TV director/philanthropist, engaged to be married, do with his free time? He suggests Wonderlic test questions to ESPN’s Page 2… And gets the top spot. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • It took watching “Muppets from Space” to remind me how fantastic and curmudgeon-y Statler and Waldorf are. “I wonder if there’s life on other planets…” “Why do you care? You don’t have a life on THIS planet! DAHAHAHAHA!”

Musical guest… Weezer!

Take care!

DW

Mat being Mat

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a huge Mat Latos fan, so I’m not objective when it comes to stories about him. He played here for a few weeks in 2009. He might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s just him being young. He is a professional butt-kicker on the mound and he has fun doing it.

So when I read a story about Latos signing baseballs “I hate SF,” I don’t think he’s going to suddenly go all Kenny Powers and be a public relations nightmare. We’re so used to athletes either being cliche machines or Chad Johnson publicity hounds that we’re not used to anything in between the extremes. Latos will probably get asked a few questions about it (and booed) when the Padres go to San Francisco for the first time in 2011, but as long as he has fun with it, I can’t imagine it’ll become a big deal.

On the “professional butt-kicker” side, Latos will be treated like any other member of the Padres’ rotation this year. Geoff Young at Ducksnorts examines young pitchers who have gone through a similar workload at a similar age and the effects it’s had. Hint: If you’re going 200+ innings in an MLB season at the age of 22, you’re pretty good.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Ernesto Frieri has become a big part of the Padres’ bullpen, thanks in large part to a deceptive delivery.
  • The Padres’ team doctor uses all the technology available to keep the players healthy. Including the Wii. Seriously.
  • Today’s edition of Great Moments in Awkwardness is brought to you by Cameron Maybin, Twitter, Panda Express and “Any Given Sunday II: Montezuma’s Revenge,” coming to theaters in October 2014.
  • Notable from the minor-league transactions report: Why are the Red Sox as good (and as deep) as they are? Scouting. They draft well and now they’re finding guys in independent leagues who are good enough to contribute in the big leagues (which is extremely rare). Plus, they have the resources (prospects and money) to fill in the blanks through trades and free agency. All of this – except the money – should be reasons for optimism for Padre fans, since the new front-office regime came from Boston.
  • Tony Gwynn is rebounding from chemotherapy.
  • The Charleston River Dogs continue the trend of minor-league teams giving their customers the option of heart disease with their affordable family entertainment. The River Dogs are famous for their hot dogs – their newest one, wrapped in bacon, is called the Pig on a Stick. One of their other specialty dogs is called the Homewrecker. Which is the second-best name for a food item I’ve ever heard, coming in just behind the Texas Manhandler.
  • The Cardinals’ offer to Albert Pujols didn’t come close to what Albert was looking for. This drama became a possibility when they signed Matt Holliday to a big extension. Now they’re struggling to come up with more cash. Let me ask you this: If you’re a Cardinals fan, would you rather watch Albert Pujols on an otherwise mediocre team or a Pujols-less team that has a chance to win it all? Because it seems like those are the options on the table at this point. This is the Padres-Adrian Gonzalez situation on a larger scale.
  • Meanwhile, Richard Weeks re-signed with the Brewers; 5 years, $50 million. If he stays healthy, it’s a relative bargain for Milwaukee. But that’s a big if.
  • Elsewhere in Wisconsin buzzcut news, Robin Yount is a good dude.
  • I’ve often complained about the decline of creativity in baseball nicknames, and it looks like I’m not the only one who sees it. Did you know Phil Rizzuto called Lou Piniella “The Italian Stallion”? Lou is Cuban!
  • Keith Moreland will take Ron Santo’s seat in the Cubs’ radio booth.
  • Former MWLer LHP Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ opening day starter.
  • Another former MWLer, Indians C Carlos Santana is one of the few sources of optimism for the Indians.
  • The White Sox are looking for big things from LHP Chris Sale. That’s pretty rough for a guy who was just drafted last year.
  • The once-considered-strong Orioles’ farm system now has two big prospects and not much else.
  • A couple of Mariners pitchers have lots of tattoos.
  • Dave Hutte status updates: “My new car is pretty!” / “Gonna do my side of the guest list for the wedding today. Did you make the cut?”
  • Coming this fall… “Survivor: Toledo, Guest List Edition.”
  • This weather rules. I’m seeing grass poking out from under the snow on the field. First time for that since November, I think.

Musical guest… Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!

Take care!

DW

Invasion of the pod people

I’m a little late posting today, but it’s my boss’s fault. Michael Limmer, Jeff Greer and I met for a meeting (I called it a triple-threat Texas tornado cage match) this morning and it evolved into an all-encompassing media summit.

One thing that came out of that was this: I may start doing a podcast-ish type of thing during the season. It would probably be geared for people to listen to it on their way to work in the morning. Contents would probably be the previous night’s radio pre-game interview and a recap of the game with audio highlights, with potential for occasional bonus material.

So I’ll throw it out there and you can either answer in the comments or e-mail me (dan.watson@tincaps.com): Would you listen to this type of thing? What, specifically, would you like to hear? We have the technical ability to include phone interviews, so who would you like to hear from? Because Lord knows you hear enough of me. I’d appreciate any feedback you have.

Random thoughts:

  • If superheroes teach us nothing else, it’s that you should use your powers for good, not evil. Well, several TinCaps staff members are doing the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics this weekend. E-mail Abby Naas (naas@tincaps.com) if you want to donate.
  • I’ve been gathering info for a franchise history story for web and print use, and (imagine that) I’ve found it pretty interesting. Example: At the first game as the Fort Wayne Wizards (4/10/93 at Waterloo), the team turned a triple play. They haven’t turned one in the nearly 18 years since. Also that day, the team changed into their uniforms at the hotel before taking the bus to the ballpark because the clubhouse was so gross. The Waterloo general manager told the Wiz field manager that the team HAD to change at the ballpark moving forward, citing a “new Midwest League rule.” Compared to now, Minor League Baseball was like the Wild West crossed with Thunderdome back then. Anybody have other good Wiz/TinCaps stories?
  • Fort Wayne alum Jake Peavy is throwing 40-pitch bullpen sessions and long-tossing at 120 feet as he recovers from a weird shoulder-ish injury. He wants to be ready for opening day, but the team’s not so sure if he’ll get there, mostly because the injury is so rare that there’s no track record to draw from.
  • The Padres’ longtime bullpen catcher is battling pancreatic cancer.
  • At Wake Forest, the head baseball coach donated a kidney to one of his players. Suddenly, opening the season at LSU doesn’t sound so tough.
  • Who is on the front line of getting good baseball players into an organization? It’s scouts. Their reports are huge in who gets drafted by whom, who a team trades for, etc. So who’s the best at it statistically? Check it out now, funk soul brother.
  • Looks like the Indians will get a healthy Carlos Santana when they start spring training. Yesssssss.
  • The Michael Young trade talks are going slowly so far. Which is what happens when one team (the Rangers) has no leverage. Young has a big contract, he clearly wants out but only to eight specific teams — there’s almost no way the Rangers get fair value for him.
  • Here’s a story in defense of the Orioles‘ signing a bunch of old guys. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it makes sense.
  • Fangraphs says that, believe it or not, the NFL would be wise to look to baseball as an example of how to deal with its labor issues.
  • People want to sue somebody, anybody, over the messed-up Super Bowl seat situation. If the Cleveland Browns were in the Super Bowl (stop laughing!) and I had tickets but ended up not being able to watch the game through no fault of my own, I’d be pretty fired up too. But a lawsuit? After getting paid three times the face value of the ticket, PLUS merchandise AND tickets and airfare to another Super Bowl?
  • This is easily the best Cavaliers-related thing to come out since June.
  • Dave Hutte Status Updates (there are three): “Taking the Jeopardy online test tonight!” / “Well, I don’t think I’ll be on Jeopardy anytime soon.” / “Our Valentine’s Day getaway starts tonight!” — It’s been a busy couple of days for Dave Hutte. I really wish he would get picked to go on Jeopardy and win enough to pay for an extravagant wedding. He’s the one person I know who could have that happen and it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

Musical guest… The Beatles!

Take care!

DW

Dave Hutte wedding prop bets extravaganza

If you missed it yesterday, my good buddy Dave Hutte got engaged (to be married) over the weekend. When I got the voice mail telling me it had happened, I almost drove off the road because I was happy for/proud of him. But now that the initial shock has worn off, it’s time to have fun with this. Because if you can’t have fun with your friends, who can you have fun with?

Two disclaimers for today:

  1. The Dave Hutte wedding prop bet odds are for recreational purposes only. They are opening lines and are subject to change. I do not condone gambling.
  2. Dave Hutte and I are good friends. None of this is serious. As far as you know.

And that’s it! Now let’s do this!

Dave Hutte tuxedo color
Black (with cobra embroidered on back): -450
White: (EVEN)
Any other color: +200

Will Dave Hutte get nervous enough to pass out during the ceremony?
Yes: (EVEN)
No: -110

Passage read during ceremony
Colossians 3:12: -200
Ecclesiastes 4:9: -110
1 Corinthians 13:4: +150
What it Takes to Be No. 1” by Vince Lombardi: -500

Number of different kinds of cheese in nacho fountain at reception
Over/Under 2.5: Pick ‘em

Caterer for reception
Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Dave Hutte’s go-to restaurant for first dates: -800
Everything else: (EVEN)

Song for husband/wife first dance as married couple:
Firehouse, “Love of a Lifetime”: -350
Any song by The Dave Hutte Experience: -200
Richard Marx, “Now and Forever”: +105
Hulk Hogan, “Real American”: +110

Will this happen at reception?
Yes: -850
No: +450

Will Dave Hutte sustain an injury while dancing at reception?
Yes: -250
No: +105

Distance (in feet) of garter toss, using Dave Hutte’s T-Rex arms:
Under 3.5: -250
Over 3.5: +200

Will this blog entry cause my groomsman invitation to be revoked?
Yes/No: (Pick ‘em)

That wraps it up for the prop bets. Again, these are only jokes. So just relax.

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps single-game tickets go on sale Tuesday, February 22.
  • As someone who cares about personal health, I can’t recommend the West Michigan Whitecaps’ Valentine’s Day gift idea. But I figured I’d pass the story along for laughs. TinCaps mascot Johnny is totally booked that day delivering gifts which are slightly healthier.
  • Contract negotiations generally make great athletes look bad/greedy, but Albert Pujols seems like a genuinely nice guy.
  • Good story about Emmett Ashford, the Jackie Robinson of umpires.
  • Ask BA discusses the thin crop of offensive-minded shortstops in the game. Isn’t it possible that we were just spoiled by the Ripken/Rodriguez/Garciaparra/Tejada days?
  • Big issues for the Rangers: All the position shifting has finally sent Michael Young over the edge. Even millionaires want to feel like they’re a valued member of their company (and not just monetarily). The Rangers have repeatedly brought in other people to essentially do his job, and after dealing with it several times he’s had enough. He supposedly has eight teams he’ll accept a trade with and the Twins seem like the best fit with the Cardinals second. His big contract is another trade obstacle. Meanwhile, the Rangers are trying to avoid arbitration with Josh Hamilton (they’ll probably end up getting a bargain).
  • Peter Gammons wrote something about the NL East. Lots of good young players there.
  • The team from Mexico won the Caribbean Series. Padres SS Everth Cabrera played for the Mexican team; former MWLer Alexis Espinoza played for the Venezuelan team.
  • Reds closer Francisco Cordero’s agent’s name is Bean Stringfellow.
  • What parts of the US produce the most MLB players?
  • Equipment trucks are leaving MLB parks, headed to spring training.
  • When they said the Dodgers would wear throwback uniforms, I wondered how far you could throw back one of the most classic unis in the game. Apparently they’re going all the way back to the Brooklyn look.
  • Fantasy baseball is coming soon. Oh baby.
  • So you’re telling me the two best-received Super Bowl commercials featured dogs as main characters? Color me unsurprised.
  • Watched a documentary about Ronald Reagan on HBO last night. It was excellent. Yes, I’m 26 years old and watching documentaries about ex-presidents during my free time. How am I still single?

Musical guest… Kenny Rogers!

Take care!

DW

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