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James Darnell – so hot right now

Former TinCaps 3B James Darnell was kind of the man yesterday. You may remember him from such classics as the first home run ever hit at Parkview Field (which I completely botched on the radio – it was our first game at the new park so it was a new angle, plus it was such a low liner that I thought it was going to end up taking the left fielder’s glove off… next thing I knew, it was flying onto the Home Run Porch. Literally thousands dozens of listeners around the world thought to themselves, “This new radio guy is garbage!” Lesson learned, I guess).

Anyway, James (who is a VERY nice guy) was featured in a Padres.com article yesterday afternoon. Key points: He struggled with a cyst-like growth on his hand last year (he eventually had it removed, then “rehabbed” with the TinCaps for a few games), and he will probably be the starting third baseman at Triple-A Tucson to open the year. You know, I think I read something about Tucson playing a series at Parkview Field this summer. Maybe you’ll want to come out and see good ol’ JD again. Right? Right.

Also yesterday, Darnell singled in his only at-bat in the Padres’ Spring Training game. He’s 4-for-8 for the spring.

So, you know… James Darnell: so hot right now. And chances are good that he’ll be back in Fort Wayne this summer for the Triple-A series. Maybe he’ll hit another laser-beam home run and maybe I won’t screw it up this time.

Random thoughts:

  • Another Fort Wayne alum, INF/OF Mike Baxter, is having a nice spring so far. He had a huge year last year with Triple-A Portland. Padre fans should be clamoring for his quick arrival in San Diego, if only for the Anchorman/Baxter/San Diego references.
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan (don’t call me Joe) Mayo has his Top 10 Padres prospects. Six Fort Wayne alums in the top ten. Possible future TinCaps OF Donovan Tate is No. 10. Lots of other TinCaps-related stuff in there, too.
  • If Padres LHP Randy Flores is healthy, he’d be a nice addition to the bullpen.
  • Do you realize Padres RHP Mike Adams has a career ERA of 2.31? And the peripheral stats show it’s not smoke and mirrors? And that despite being 32 years old he still has THREE arbitration years left including this one? AND that the Indians claimed him off waivers, sent him to Triple-A, then turned around and traded him to the Padres less than two months later for some guy named Brian Sikorski, who they released within a year? AND that the tone of my voice has gone up an octave, Tim Kurkjian-style, since I started this rant?
  • Legendary author Ben Hill asks the question, “What’s the deal with baseball in Tucson?
  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers cleaned house in Arizona this winter after seeing the clubhouse atmosphere a little too loose.
  • Indians 3B prospect Lonnie Chisenhall is having a good spring.
  • At least one team has learned not to sign aging relievers to long-term contracts.
  • The Royals are getting sued because a guy got hit in the eye by a flying hot dog during one of their promotions. I should probably be more of an expert on this, but wouldn’t this be covered by the disclaimer about flying objects from the field on the back of every ticket?
  • Giants RHP Jeff Suppan used to work for a newspaper company. He lasted three days, but still.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Dirk Hayhurst writes books and blogs… Marlins RHP Burke Badenhop is writing a screenplay for a comedy.
  • Yes, I will be reading this book after reading the excerpt.
  • I can’t get enough of this video. Because I’m still bitter and because LeBron is an out-of-touch baby. I know it’s irrelevant as long as they make the playoffs, but did you know the Heat would have to win every game for the rest of the season just to equal the Cavaliers’ win total from last year?
  • Book update: Just finished Ghost Wars, which is about the CIA’s history in Afghanistan from the Cold War through 2001. It’s almost 600 pages long and has an enormous cast of characters, but I thought it was outstanding. Then I found out the author did over 200 interviews to track down info and was also serving as the managing editor of The Washington Post while writing the book. Incredible stuff. It’s not the type of book you sit down and read 100 pages of at a time, but if you want to learn about why things are the way they are in Afghanistan (and some other countries in the region, too), this is a good start.
  • In a scene sure to be included in “The Wedding Singer II: The Search for More Money,” Cyndi Lauper cheered up delayed travelers in Argentina by singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” over the airport sound system. Everything about this story sounds made up.
  • This weekend I’m finally going to a “Learn to Curl” session hosted by the Fort Wayne Curling Club. This is probably my last chance at Olympic glory, so I’m a little nervous.
  • Finally, while watching NFL Network last night, I noticed analyst Charlie Casserly looks suspiciously similar to The Muppet Newsman. Am I right or am I right?

casserl<br />
y-muppet.jpg” src=”http://mlblogstincaps.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/casserly-muppet-thumb-400×210-27258811.jpg” class=”mt-image-none” width=”400″ height=”210″ /></a></span><br /><i>(left-to-right: Newsman, Casserly)</i></p>
<p>Musical guest… The Beach Boys!</p>
<span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='555' height='343' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/09dQmeB_NgU?version=3&rel=0&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='true'></iframe></span>
<p>Take care!</p>
<p>DW</p>
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  • Posted on March 9, 2011 at 10:22 am
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  • 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

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