Results tagged ‘ Fort Wayne ’

Shipers’ Long Road, True Connections, Chronicling Life

Game one in Clinton was not as friendly to the TinCaps as they would have hoped. Despite taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning, Fort Wayne didn’t score again for the rest of the afternoon. The LumberKings scored once in the fourth, and then two more runs each in the fifth, sixth and seventh for a 7-3 victory. The loss fell on the TinCaps bullpen, which is the sixth time in their 11 losses that that has happened.

Of note in this series for Fort Wayne, is that two players return back to their home state. Travis Whitmore (Burlington) and Colin Rea (Cascade) are both from Iowa. I ran into Travis’ mother yesterday while I was fetching my pregame meal, and she was very happy to be seeing her son playing back in Iowa. Travis told me that he had about nine or 10 family members at the game on Sunday.

Additionally, TinCaps infielder Zach Kometani’s older brother, Paul, was once a LumberKing. Paul, a pitcher, played in Clinton during the 2005 season.

Paul Kometani in 2005

He made 13 appearances, 9 starts, and went 3-2, with a 2.40 ERA.

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Today Fort Wayne’s Joe Ross takes the hill, and he’ll be opposed by Jordan Shipers. The lefty from Bethany, MO, population 3,087, didn’t play high school baseball because his school didn’t have a team. Here are some details from a story written last summer about Shipers:

“The local high school, South Harrison, had just 400 students and did not have a baseball program. There weren’t any summer team opportunities beyond Little League.

So when Shipers was 12 his mother, Debbie, decided to take the dramatic step of driving her son to Kansas City to play baseball, about 100 miles away.

This became Shipers’ routine through high school. The two would drive to Kansas City three times a week for practices, then again on the weekends for games. The round trip lasted three hours. Because Shipers is a pitchers, sometimes those three hours of travel ended up being for as little as 45 minutes worth of practice. When Shipers had multiple games on a Saturday with time in between, he’d head to a nearby skate park to pass the time — much to his coach’s chagrin.”

The only other player who I can think of in Minor League Baseball like Shipers is Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ first round pick last year. Nimmo grew up in Wyoming, one of three states without high school baseball (Montana and South Dakota are the other two), and had to play American Legion baseball to get noticed. If you know of any other players like this, please let me know. The email is Couzens@TinCaps.com

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my Sunday Conversation with TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin, where we’ll talk about what helped the team to a back-to-back wins over the weekend, the return of Casey McElroy, and the squad’s starting pitching:

SPOT-ON COMMENTARY

Do you ever have one of those moments where you read something and find your self nodding your head in a moment of complete agreement? That’s what happened to me after yesterday’s game when I got back to the team hotel. I read this piece from The New York Times entitled “The Flight From Conversation”. It laments the loss of real, everyday, meaningful conversation with one another, which has been replaced with online blips of interaction:

“We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.”

I think I’m one of the first people to be guilty of this kind of thing. I was on the phone with a friend last night, and he relayed a funny bit of conversation he’d had with someone saying, “If you want to get in touch with me, you can do office intranet chat, GMail chat, work email, personal email, Facebook message, Facebook chat, phone call, text message, Twitter @ reply, Twitter direct message. Ok, I think I’ve named them all.” Look at that list! Didn’t it just used to be either face-t0-face or a phone call?

“I am a partisan for conversation. To make room for it, I see some first, deliberate steps. At home, we can create sacred spaces: the kitchen, the dining room. We can make our cars “device-free zones.”

This is what I do when I go to the gym. I lock my phone away in the locker room and take some time to enjoy solitude (relatively speaking, considering I’m surrounded by people, music and televisions) and freedom from being around my phone. I use my cellphone for email ,Twitter, Facebook, etc., so to not think or worry about that for an hour or so a day is a nice feeling. I have no interest in texting while I’m on the elliptical, anyway.

“Most of all, we need to remember — in between texts and e-mails and Facebook posts — to listen to one another, even to the boring bits, because it is often in unedited moments, moments in which we hesitate and stutter and go silent, that we reveal ourselves to one another.”

It’s just so true. So last night, I called a couple of my friends–one from college and another from home. I learned that one friend has a new girlfriend, and is enjoying life in New York City. I learned that another is going to be starting a new job in  Connecticut this summer. I laughed. I learned. I was human.

Even though I’m in Iowa and was talking to people thousands of miles away, I had an experience that no Twitter or Facebook conversation could replicate.

SMART THINKING

I’ve very few memories before I was, say, in kindergarten. Some people can think back to when they were really young and remember what life was like, but I don’t think that strong memory gene runs in the Couzens bloodline. A certain father out there, knowing that his own child might want to know what she looked and acted like when she was young, decided to take a video of his daughter from when she was born until she turned 12. It’s fun to watch, and reminds me of this video, where a guy took a picture of himself every day for six years.

Since I can’t embed the 0-12 years old video, here’s a link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/thefalafel/amazing-12-year-time-lapse-video-of-a-girl-named-l-4x8q.

MUSICAL GUEST

Brantley Gilbert…take it away!

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

LOL (But Seriously), ¡Jambalaya!, Podcast

Fort Wayne’s offense exploded for a season-high 12 runs and 16 hits as the TinCaps obliterated the Kane County Cougars on Friday night.

Travis Whitmore went 4-5 and Justin Miller finished with a three-hit performance. Whitmore and Kyle Gaedele plated three runs, and  Duanel Jones, along with Matt Colantonio, had two runs batted in.  A 7-for-11 mark with runners in scoring position was also a season best. Cody Hebner pitched five innings, allowing just one run, for the win. The bullpen was brilliant, too, working four innings and giving up just a hit.

A win would give the TinCaps their first back-to-back wins of the year and it would be the team’s first series victory in five tries.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear the highlights from Friday’s win, and we stop in with the roster’s newest addition, catcher Jeremy Rodriguez:

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‘Port’ Authority, Offensive Outburst, Crazy Commas

Lovely game at Dow Diamond last night as the TinCaps and Loons opened their four-game set. Adys Portillo went six and two thirds, tying his career high for innings pitched. He was just one batter shy of making it through seven full, before issuing a walk with two out. Quite the outing for the 20 year old from Venezuela. Padres Farm Director Randy Smith was following the game closely:

That’s a great turn of phrase right there, hope it’s not copyrighted!

Lots of credit is due to the staff for helping Portillo get off to a great start this season. Last year in 23 appearances, only five times did Portillo pitch more than four innings. Jose Valentin told me before the game that during spring training, the staff had Portillo focus on throwing the ball over the plate, even in two-strike counts. The way to corral a wild arm, it seems, was to overcorrect back to the middle and have him throw more strikes than necessary. It has certainly paid off, as Portillo began the year without allowing a hit in his first six innings of work, and has allowed just two in 10 2/3 innings.

Oh, right…there was the big offensive outburst last night, too! In the first inning, Jace Peterson and Travis Whitmore both went deep off of Loons starter Brandon Martinez. You can hear those highlights in today’s TinCaps Report Podcast. Also in today’s edition, part of my conversation with TinCaps hitting coach Jacque Jones. He gives his thoughts about the team’s start at the plate this year, talks about new third baseman Duanel Jones, and explains why he missed work earlier this week (for a very good reason):

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Congrats to Jacque, Hello to Cody, Happy Birthday to Jay

Tonight is the second of a three-game series for the TinCaps and the Silver Hawks in South Bend. Monday’s game saw Fort Wayne jump out to a 1-0 lead after one inning, but the Silver Hawks had a big fourth, scoring four runs,and never looked back. Right now the TinCaps are hitting just .190, but it’s four games in–nothing to worry about. The pitching has been good, especially the bullpen, which has allowed just three earned runs in almost 20 innings of work.

Tonight is the debut of the last member of the five-man rotation: Cody Hebner. The righty was originally scheduled to start on opening day, but he tweaked his ankle and got bumped to the back of the rotation. He put up good numbers last year for Eugene (2-2, 3.35 ERA in 11 games) after being taken in the fourth round by the Padres. Here’s how he describes his arsenal:

“My fastball usually sits around 93 mph, but I got it up to 97 a couple of times this year,” he said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but they told me in the dugout, ‘you got it up to 97 that inning.’ And I said, ‘holy cow, that’s hard.’ At that level I could probably get away with using my fastball. But I like to approach like a major leaguer and work the batter and throw off-speed as well. I throw a fastball, a seam splitter, a curve ball, a change up and a slider.”

Listen to today’s TinCaps Report Podcast to hear some of last night’s action and comments from pitching coach Willie Blair on what he expects out of his hurlers in the early part of the season:

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Three in the Books, Away We Go

The first series of the season has come and gone, and with the dust settled, the TinCaps are 1-2 to begin the year.  Here are a few numbers from the first three games:

29: The number of runs scored between Fort Wayne and Lake County in the first series of the year.

8: The differential of runs (16) vs. earned runs (8) surrendered by the TinCaps pitching staff. Kane County has the largest gap, having surrendered 21 runs, with 11 of them being earned.

15: The cumulative number of errors committed by both teams throughout the three-game series.

15, 673: The number of tickets sold for the opening series at Parkview Field. Fan support was great, even with chilly weather for a few of the games.

2: The number of people who found this blog last week using the search term “worlds biggest shark tooth.” Thanks for stopping in!

0: Number of home runs hit in the first three games between Fort Wayne and Lake County.

It’s off to South Bend on Monday for a three game set with the Silver Hawks. They’ve gotten off to an identical 1-2 start to the year. We’ll see the debut of Bryan, OH native Matt Wisler at 7:05.

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

Take a listen back to some of the calls from Saturday’s game, and hear postgame reaction from TinCaps Manager José Valentin:

Click here for the video recap of Saturday night’s game with highlights and analysis from me and Kent Hormann.

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