Results tagged ‘ matt lollis ’

TinCaps vs. Ohio

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.

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Take care!

DW

Something to talk about

It’s OK if you’re skeptical of this story, because I would be too. But I promise it’s entirely true.

Saturday
night while eating dinner at a downtown restaurant, I overheard a
conversation from the next table… Nondescript local guy said, “Bang
for your buck, you won’t get a better deal in town than the TinCaps.” He
went on to tell his whole table about watching a game from a concourse suite and how much fun it was.

So
apparently our CIA-style plan of placing undercover marketing staffers
in local restaurants to pass along not-so-subliminal word-of-mouth
publicity is working. Next time you go out with “a group of friends” and the new guy is singing praises about Parkview Field, you’ll know what’s up.

I’m kidding, of course… Or am I?

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps happenings from yesterday’s Padre game: RHP Mat Latos was wild again (but feels OK), LHP Colt Hynes pitched 1.1 scoreless frames in relief, RHP Matt Lollis gave up a couple of runs in his only inning. Also, RHP Heath Bell made his Spring Training debut and felt good.
  • Backup catcher candidate Gregg Zaun is hanging ‘em up.
  • Former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley is working to get better. Best quote in the article comes when he’s asked about his critics: “I’m not concerned with outside opinions.” This is a rampant thing in sports coverage and it’s completely overblown: the “expectations” card. Any
    competitor worth a darn has higher expectations for himself than anyone, so anyone else’s expectations are more or less irrelevant. If I ever write that story or ask an expectations-related question
    during an interview, you have my permission to furiously send an e-mail
    that says, “Dude, you’re not living up to my expectations!”
  • Another story about Cameron Maybin (who is coming back from concussion symptoms after running into a pole during batting practice) and how the Padres’ leadoff hitters struggled last year. I can’t get over the .306 OBP… that’s bad.
  • The Padres’ bullpen coach is fighting hard against pancreatic cancer.
  • With the Padres’ potential new Triple-A ballpark in suburban San Diego in limbo, the ownership group is looking at its options, including selling.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy’s recovery from his freak injury is profiled.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Dirk Hayhurst is now with the Rays and had to assure them his writing career is harmless.
  • Rockies OF (and Midwest League alum) Carlos Gonzalez hit the bejeesus out of a ball on Sunday. The article doesn’t say it directly, but it was a double.
  • Another MWL alum, Dodgers INF Dee Gordon, won Baseball America‘s Winter Player of the Year award.
  • The players’ union met with the World Umpires’ Union to hash some things out.
  • Fighting amongst teammates isn’t as rare as we might think, and a lot of times the team ends up winning.
  • Some prospects might be ready to contribute in the big leagues this year, including Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and LHP Drew Pomeranz. Nationals OF Bryce Harper probably isn’t ready yet, but he made a nice play in the field.
  • The Phillies have some injury issues with 2B Chase Utley and OF prospect Domonic Brown, who was struggling mechanically at the plate.
  • Royals SS Alcides Escobar, a big piece of the Zack Greinke trade, can’t catch a break.
  • I grew up listening to Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait… he’s a character. I’m biased, but I think Ohio teams have some of the best radio people in the business with Tait, Tom Hamilton of the Indians, Marty Brennaman with the Reds (this episode notwithstanding) and Paul Keels with Ohio State.
  • Another great one, Cubs radio guy Pat Hughes is going to be part of writing a book about Ron Santo.
  • I don’t know if it makes the shows any better, but three pretty good bands touring via old-school railroad cars sounds like fun.
  • This is what happens when baseball dorks get ahold of Photoshop.
  • This is what happens when one of the best sports writers around wants to make a point.
  • This is what happens when you invite the TinCaps to a throwback charity event and encourage costumes: old-school rappers. Like Kris Kross.

Musical guest… Old Crow Medicine Show!

Take care!

DW

A mishmash of dorks

Some folks might wonder what it’s like to work in the luxurious front office compound of Parkview Field, sharing the same space as celebrities like the Bad Apple Dancers. Well, I’ll tell you two anecdotes from yesterday and let you come up with your own description.

1. At our weekly staff meeting, I brought a pack of 1991 WCW trading cards to show off the kind of bonus swag you get when you buy t-shirts from a good Columbus-based business called Homage. At least three people saw Chris Watson checking the cards out from across the room before the meeting started. Once the meeting ended, I thought I was going to be stampeded in the hallway by people demanding to see the cards. Pro wrestling trading cards. From 1991. It was like I was the first person on my block to buy a Game Boy and everyone was coming over “just to look at it,” inevitably playing Tetris for three hours.

2. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the main office and Brent Harring said he had a present for me. Already owning WCW trading cards, I thought I had it all, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Brent reached into a bag and handed me… a loaf of bread. But not just any loaf of bread. It was Aunt Millie’s thick-sliced brown sugar/cinnamon swirl. Brent, a bread connoisseur, knows I am an aspiring culinary expert and thought I should try it next time I make French Freedom toast. In fact, the bread label says “Great for French Freedom toast” right on it. I’ll have a full report next week to confirm or deny that claim, but for now, the moral of the story is this: A TinCaps co-worker bought me bread as a gift. And I’m pretty excited about it.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable homered and the Padres beat the Rockies yesterday in a Spring Training game. Former TinCaps pitchers Matt Lollis, Colt Hynes and Brad Brach pitched an inning each. Lollis was the only one of the three to allow a run and it was unearned. And former TinCaps C Jason Hagerty singled in his only at-bat against a guy who had been at Triple-A the last two years.
  • It was a San Diego love-fest when Padres RHP (and San Diego native) Aaron Harang started that game and his catcher was also from San Diego.
  • Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes now works for the Padres as a senior VP of baseball operations.
  • Fort Wayne alum C A.J. Pierzynski got a speeding ticket… while in uniform, driving to a Spring Training game. Funniest part: his teammates wanted to take up a collection to pay to see him get tazed.
  • Baseball America has the list of how much money each team spent on international signings in 2010. The Padres are 10th at $2.75 million.
  • That $2.75 million could buy you 343,750 of these hot dogs: A one-pound dog with your choice of 40 toppings. Or you could just buy one and spend the rest on a good heart surgeon.
  • That hot dog is being called “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” That’s utterly ridiculous; everybody knows Andre the Giant will forever hold that title.
  • At least one writer won’t be writing ignorant things about umpires anymore. If there were two baseball-related things I could tell every fan, it would be (1) how the minor league-major league affiliation works and (2) how difficult umpiring is, especially in the minors.
  • A hard-throwing Mariners prospect (and former MWLer) looked good.
  • Former MWLer Neftali Feliz is going to start a game today. He was the Rangers’ closer last year but was a starter in the minors.
  • The Cubs are fighting each other in the dugout during a Spring Training game and Carlos Zambrano isn’t involved? Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs!
  • Yesterday I linked to a Peter Gammons story about one of the secretly most important people in baseball who passed away recently. Jayson Stark wrote something about him, too.
  • Gammons rounds up the AL East. Interesting points: Manny Ramirez is in good shape, Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos is good and Red Sox LHP Andrew Miller is looking like he might be figuring things out.
  • Philles OF prospect Domonic Brown is all kinds of messed up at the plate.
  • Alex Rodriguez and now Mark Teixeira have fired Scott Boras lately. Robinson Cano hired him. Somehow I think Boras will still be able to afford mac and cheese for dinner tonight.
  • At this point, I think it would be best to only alert the media when Joel Zumaya is healthy. Because it seems like he’s hurt a lot more than he’s healthy.
  • One of the Braves’ young pitchers threw gas.
  • Some run the bases more aggressively, even if it doesn’t mean stealing more bases.
  • Now here are some March Madness seeding travesties we can really get into… In a video-game bracket, NBA Street is an eight-seed while Tecmo Super NBA Basketball is a seven-seed in the same region? Ridiculous.

Musical guest… Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears!

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

Punxsutawney Phil: complete fraud

The weather today in Fort Wayne is a brutal reminder that we shouldn’t trust weather predictions from rodents. Spring seems an awfully long time away.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps RHP Matt Lollis is on the fast track. He seemed to fly under the radar last year when he opened the season in extended spring training, but he was probably the best starter the TinCaps had at the end of the year. I’m on the bandwagon.
  • Padres RHP Mike Adams might be able to fill the closer’s role if/when Heath Bell leaves. Bell himself says Adams’ stuff is better than his own.
  • The Padres hope OF Cameron Maybin has a breakthrough now that he’s not looking over his shoulder.
  • Orlando Hudson is an early riser. Quote of the day: “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
  • Highlights from yesterday’s Padres chat: Fort Wayne alum C Luis Martinez looks good handling pitchers in their bullpen sessions, Orlando Hudson is probably an upgrade over David Eckstein even if Hudson doesn’t bounce back offensively and Tony Gwynn, Sr. is recovering from back surgery. Another topic of conversation was “draft needs.” In baseball, only draft need for a team that drafts well is “the best player available.” This isn’t the NFL. If you pin your hopes on drafting one player to solve a positional problem in the big leagues, you’re asking for disappointment.
  • Peter Gammons says the Red Sox have a culture of helping a brother out, as SS prospect Jose Iglesias has learned.
  • Matt Stairs, now in camp with the Nationals, is “one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet,” says Jayson Werth. Stairs originally signed with the Expos, so technically he’s back with his original franchise.
  • With Adam Wainwright done for the foreseeable future, would the Cardinals void the last two years of his contract and use the cash on Albert Pujols? Maybe, but if they still ended up losing Pujols, that would be disastrous. Especially given the recent success stories of pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • The Pirates are sending mixed messages on what it’ll take for them to spend more money on major-league payroll.
  • LHP Mike Hampton is still kicking and trying to win a spot in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen.
  • Phillies OF Domonic Brown will get a long, long look in spring training. He’s one of the top prospects in the game, but the Phillies don’t seem committed to having him in the big-league starting lineup out of camp. Not yet, at least. The Phillies’ lineup is awfully left-handed now that Jayson Werth is gone.
  • The Nationals will try to get OF Bryce Harper an at-bat in their spring opener. I’m picturing 50-year-old male Nationals fans shrieking, weeping and fainting at the sight of him.
  • How do they operate those fancy Gametrackers you get to enjoy during baseball season? Find out from a datacaster. They ran a Gametracker for the All-Star Game last season and it’s a pretty interesting computer program. Games at the Double-A, Triple-A and MLB level get this type of tracking.
  • Mike Tyson owns a tiger in movies, but in real life he owns pigeons. He’s getting a reality show about it, so it must be true. He claims the first time he fought anybody was after a bully killed one of his birds. You can guess who won that fight.
  • This weekend I’ll be on a quiz bowl-ish team in a fundraiser called The Brain Game. While we all know my team is favored to win, the important part is that the game raises money for the Fort Wayne Center for Learning. Check them out.
  • Eddie Money is playing a concert in Fort Wayne tonight and nobody I know wants to go. So there goes that “two tickets to paradise” joke I’ve been saving for months.

Musical guest… Eddie Money!

Have a great weekend!

DW

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