November 2010

Donald Driver softball video and links

The Donald Driver Charity Softball game returns for 2011. The game will be played at Time Warner Cable Field on Sunday, June 5.

Tickets are on sale at the Time Warner Cable Field Box Office starting at 10am this morning. You may also purchase tickets for the event at this link.

To get you revved up, here is a highlight video from the 2010 game that the video crew put together.

Packers in Sumo suits catching flyballs for charity. Do you need any more reasons to get out and see the game? I didn’t think so.

Odorizzi with a possible invite

Brian over at Pocket Doppler had this bit of news to drop.

The agent for Milwaukee Brewers 2008 supplemental first-round draft choice, right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi, said he expects his client to receive an invite to spring training in 2011.

“We do expect one, and we expect one because a couple reasons,” said Odorizzi’s agent, Jason Wood. “One, because Jake has given a lot to the organization already in terms of willingness to learn. He’s participated in everything they’ve asked him to do, he’s done. Everyplace they’ve asked him to fly, every program they’ve wanted him to participate, he’s done that. And he knows that’s in his best interest.”

Now for the, hold on a second moment…

Just because Odorizzi may get an invite to spring training, doesn’t mean he has a chance of playing for the Brewers this season, even a slim one. It would be more of an opportunity to just let him get a taste of the major league.

“He did get called up for a few spring training games last year but didn’t get to participate,” said Wood. “So my guess is, to help acclimate him to a big league clubhouse and to help get him familiar with that environment, I think he will get an invite.

That is still pretty cool.

Questions and Ratings for Jeffress

Jonathon Mayo noted 20 prospects who stood out in the just completed Arizona Fall League.  Jeremy Jeffress (’10) made #7 on his list:

7. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: An abundance of power arms was a strength of this AFL crop, and Jeffress was the best of the bunch, hitting triple-digits often, even in the Rising Stars Game. Command’s still an issue, but he’s got “future closer” written all over him.

Jeffress also receives a six-pack of questions from Adam McCalvy.  Go read it all, but this is my favorite part:

5. What’s one part of your offseason that you think people would be surprised about?

Jeffress: I’m a golfer. I have a little driving range back home [in South Boston, Va.] that I own, so I go out and hit a lot. My dad built it from the ground up with me and my older brother, Freddie. I go down there a lot during the offseason and help out. I own some land as well. Those are some of the investments I made after signing with the Brewers. My mom wouldn’t let me spend it on cars and things like that.

So what if hes a Cardinal

He is THE Cardinal.

Stan Musial turned 90 on Sunday.  This column at STLToday counts off: 90 things to love about The Man

Here are a few.

17 ? While Ted Williams and other esteemed hitters of the day pontificated about their approach to hitting, Musial kept it refreshingly simple. “You wait for a strike, then you knock the tar out of it,” Musial said

42 ? Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine was once so frustrated by his inability to get The Man out that he wrote a song called “The Stan Musial Blues.” Erskine was asked how to pitch to Musial: “I’ve had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third,” he said.

48 ? Pitcher Don Newcombe: “I could have rolled the ball up there to Musial, and he would have pulled out a golf club and hit it out.”

52 ? In 1999, Musial was given the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit, the highest honor that the Polish government bestows upon a civilian. Musial is immensely proud of that honor. Accordingly, Musial is worthy of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that a civilian can receive from the President of the United States. Congratulations on your latest, and most prestigious, award, Stan.

57 ? The Man is so cool, that Pope John Paul II had Stan and Lil travel to the Vatican in Rome to be his guests at dinner. And Musial was among the primary reasons why John Paul II visited St. Louis in January 1999.

62 ? Musial played in 2,907 regular-season and 23 postseason major-league games and was never ejected from a game by an umpire.

68 ? Ty Cobb on Musial: “No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today. I’ve seen greater hitters and greater runners and greater fielders, but he puts them all together like no one else … in my book, he’s a better player than Joe DiMaggio was in his prime.”

74 ? Musial played a positive role in baseball’s integration. He’s never been given enough credit for that. Musial was openly supportive of African American players at a time when they encountered imposing ugliness and hostility from other players, coaches, managers and fans. The immortal Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line said that “Musial always treated me with courtesy.” This was nothing new to Musial. As a young player in Donora, he’d had African-American teammates and friends, including Buddy Griffey (Ken Griffey Jr.’s grandfather) and always backed them.

75 ? African American pitcher Joe Black told a story of being racially taunted by players in the St. Louis dugout during a Cardinals-Dodgers game. Musial, batting at the time, kicked the dirt as if to convey his disappointment. After the game, Musial sought out the young Joe Black and told him, “I’m sorry that happened. But don’t you worry about it. You’re a great pitcher. You will win a lot of games.” Black never forgot that.

76 ? Willie Mays has praised Musial through the years for extending his friendship to African American players during those tense days. Here’s a story from Mays, who told it to Kansas City Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews: “All-Star Game, late Fifties. There were seven black players on the National League All-Stars. We were in the back of the clubhouse playing poker and none of the white guys had come back or said, ‘Hi,’ or ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘How you guys doing?’ or ‘Welcome to the All-Star Game.’ Nothing. We’re playing poker and all of a sudden I look up and here comes Stan toward us. He grabs a chair, sits down and starts playing poker with us. And Stan didn’t know how to play poker! But that was his way of welcoming us, of feeling a part of it, making us feel a part of it. I never forgot that. We never forgot that.”

You are going to want to go read it all.

AAA comes to Fort Wayne

If you remember back during the discussion about the building of a new stadium in Fort Wayne, there were some who argued that the Wizards (at the time) should build a new stadium and jump up some classifications to either AA or AAA.  Never mind that there wasn’t room at either level. They just should.

Well, the TinCaps (as they are now known) made the right choice in staying a Midwest League team.

Look for some of that AAA talk to ramp up again as the TinCaps have snagged a AAA series between Tuscon, the San Diego Padres AAA affiliate, and Las Vegas late in the 2011 season.

TinCaps president Mike Nutter announced Monday that, next July, Parkview Field will play host to a four-game series between the San Diego Padres’ triple-A affiliate, the Tucson Padres, and the Las Vegas 51s, the triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Among prospective Tucson players are [Simon] Castro and several other former TinCaps or Wizards, among them Cedric Hunter, Luis Durango, Luis Martinez, Mike Baxter and Jeremy Hefner.

The four-game set will be a Thursday-Sunday series running from July 14 through the 17th and will coincide with the final weekend of the Three Rivers Festival. The TinCaps are on the road at Burlington and Peoria that weekend.

“This just provides a great opportunity for the great fans in this region to come on out and check it out the highest level of minor league baseball,” Nutter said Monday.

“In the 19 years I’ve been in this industry, I haven’t heard of another franchise that was able to do something like this. And it took some special circumstances to make it happen.”

What set it all in motion was the Padres’ triple-A affiliate’s relocation from Portland, Ore., to Tucson, a move precipitated by the Portland facility’s switch to an all-soccer configuration.

The move was announced in July; it wasn’t until a conference call Friday that the shifting to Fort Wayne of four of the team’s 71 home games was finalized.

“At one point, it was looking like it might be Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne and possibly Eugene (Ore.) and possibly Petco Park (the Padres’ home field), and all the other ones ended up going by the wayside,” Nutter said. “We never had anything in writing; we were just talking about it in concept, and they just kept saying it looks good, it sounds good.”

It is noted in the story that Nutter emphasized that this is a “one-time occurance”. That means not to be repeated.

If it goes well – and there is no reason to think that it won’t – I doubt if that will stop talk by fans like, “Hey! Let’s go AAA!”

Halman Jones go Dutch

Tip of the cap to Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto for this story about Greg Halman (’07) taking a trip to Holland.  Adam Jones (’04) tagged along. Head over to read it all.

Greg Halman always had the dream, always wanted to play big-time baseball, always wanted to take his game as far as he possibly could.

So when given the chance to pass his passion on to other Dutch kids during the recent European Big League Tour in the Netherlands and Belgium, the young Seattle Mariners outfield prospect didn’t hesitate.

Along with four other Major League players, Halman helped earlier this month with a series of baseball clinics organized by Baltimore Orioles pitcher Rick VandenHurk, another native of the Netherlands.

Halman, 23, played Little League ball against VandenHurk and has known him since he was 9 years old. The two natives of Holland were joined on the tour by Florida Marlins catcher John Baker, Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and former big leaguer Brady Anderson.

One of the clinics was in Haarlem, the city where Halman grew up and his parents still live. Another was in Rotterdam, where he’s currently living this offseason. So for Halman, the effort to bring big league baseball to Holland truly hit home.

“I remember when I was that small, I jumped at every opportunity I got to learn about baseball,” said Halman, who made his big league debut with the Mariners last September. “I told those kids, hopefully in a couple years, a lot more Dutch players will be in this position.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of November 22, 2010

Arizona Fall League is over.  The leagues in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Australia were all off yesterday.  Only game played yesterday was in Puerto Rico.

@Ponce 5, Carolina 1

Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 2-for-4

Fun with the Mailbag

I do not envy the person who goes through the inbox.  They give answers that might belong on a background check or will make for some very awkward Thanksgiving dinners.

I’m trying to find out how to find past players. I’m not sure if your
website allows past player search or if its only current players. If
you could please tell me if there was a Timothy Jason (T.J.) Freeze as a
player, I would greatly appreciate it.
Crystal F. has mostly current players, although those who played recently
may still appear. There are no current players with that last name, and
even other sites like Baseball-Reference list only one player named
Freeze, who was born in 1900.

My dad, Hubert B. Woods, played semi-pro baseball in the Kansas City
area from the mid-1920’s to the mid-1930’s. He was known as “Woody”
Woods and played third base. I have a brass baseball charm with the
inscription “MVAA ’32.” Thank you for any information you can give me.
Susan W.

My uncle Percy Gillette supposedly played back in the 1920’s and I am
not able to find his name anywhere. He played in Ohio or Michigan and
was from New York. I would appreciate any help you could give me.
Janet G.

We couldn’t find any players by those names from that era, sorry!

They receive some very reasonable requests:

I was at the New York Giants Minor League training camp in Sanford,
Fla., in early 1951. During my time there, a movie was made of the
players and was shown as a short feature in many New York movie houses. I
have been trying to locate this movie but have been unsuccessful. I
think it was either a Bill Stern movie or a Movie-tone News movie. Any
suggestions that you could give me would be much appreciated.
Jim M.

We don’t have any information on that, although we’ll let you know if any other readers respond with an answer.

Did I say requests…I meant DEMANDS!!!!

I need you to restore IMMEDIATELY the 2010 game-by-game results for
the following teams; the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Bluefield Orioles, the
Bowie Baysox, the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Frederick keys and the
Norfolk Tides. I need results for the mentioned teams for my personal
files of all the games I attended.
Mark F.

We should soon have historical game-by-game results for all teams soon.

Then, there are the curious who are wondering about how to tryout for a minor league team.  Just go through the link and see how many times that question is asked.

40-Man Roster News (Seattle edition)

The Seattle Mariners made a lot of additions to their 40-man roster late last week.  As in 10 additions:

Seven were pitchers — right-handers Josh Lueke, Tom Wilhelmsen, Michael Pineda, Maikel Cleto and Yoervis Medina and left-handers Mauricio Robles and Cesar Jimenez. The others were outfielders Johermyn Chavez and Carlos Peguero and infielder Alex Liddi.

The ex-Timber Rattlers in that group are: Pineda (’08), Jimenez (’03), Peguero (’07), and Liddi (’06,-’08).

In other ex-Rattlers news concerning the Mariners, Ryan Feierabend (’04) has a new team.

Left-hander Ryan Feierabend, who the Seattle Mariners saw through surgeries and development, has been invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee – by the Philadelphia Phillies.

A month ago, Feierabend was outrighted to Tacoma and declined the assignment, becoming a free agent. Now 25, he’ll get a look in Philadelphia.

He pitched at three levels in the Mariners organization last season, going a combined 5-8 with a 5.14 ERA in 25 games with Tacoma, West Tennessee and High Desert.

Staying the same in the QC

The River Bandits will have the same coaching staff for 2011.

Quad-Cities River Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez spent Friday afternoon working out with his son, Tampa Bay Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez, on a baseball diamond in Arizona.

In a little more than three months, he’ll begin working out the players who hope to fill the Quad-Cities roster in 2011.

St. Louis announced Friday that Rodriguez will return for a second season with the River Bandits and that pitching coach Tim Leveque and hitting coach Joe Kruzel will return as well.

“I’m looking forward to coming back,” Rodriguez said. “We had such a good run at it last season and to keep the staff together, that is big. We worked well together.”

Click through for the goals for 2011.

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