January 2011

Brewers On Deck Wrap Up

Record numbers turned out for Brewers On Deck on Sunday.

Brewers vice president Rick Schlesinger just told me that 11,299 fans
turned out today for the team’s “On Deck” fan event at the Frontier
Airlines Center.

That turnout is a record for the four-year event, surpassing the 10,600 who attended last year.

Adam McCalvy has a post covering some of the major league portion of the event. (Thanks to Brew Crew Ball for the pointer).

You know who is looking forward to 2011?  Mr. Baseball.

Bob Uecker is the first to admit that he lives and dies baseball.
But, as he was so starkly reminded by undergoing two serious heart
operations in 2010, the game itself is not life and death.

“The doctors
said they didn’t want to do it a third time,” said the Milwaukee
Brewers’ Hall of Fame radio voice. “In this case, it’s three strikes and
you’re really out.”

Uecker, who
celebrated his 76th birthday a few days back, is looking forward to a
much brighter 2011, both on the personal health front and the Brewers’
fortunes on the field. As he prepared to participate in the club’s
“Brewers On Deck” fan event Sunday at the Frontier Airlines Center, the
baseball juices got flowing again.

“I’m excited
about it; I really am,” said Uecker, who has spent most of the winter at
his second home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I think the Brewers are looking
pretty good.”

Like many of
the team’s fans, Uecker was re-energized by the team’s off-season
acquisitions of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Starting pitching had been the team’s primary weakness over the past two
seasons, knocking them out of the NL Central race in 2010 before the
end of May.

“As always,
everything hinges on what happens on the field, but it’s looking pretty
good,” Uecker said in a telephone interview. “The Greinke thing looks
really good. From what I’ve heard about him, he’s the real deal.

“Offense
hasn’t been a problem for us. Now, with this pitching staff, I think
they’ve put the team in a spot where we can be competitive.”

Read all of Tom Haudricourt’s article.  And remember, we are just over nine weeks to Opening Day

Rattlers Alumni Report: Game of January 28, 2011

Australia:

Adelaide 4 @Melbourne 3

Adelaide:
Jamie McOwen (’07): 1-for-5, 2B

Minimalist Friday

Not a lot out there today.

But, what I have comes from the Friday’s Frosty Mug post over at Brew Crew Ball.

Keith Law of ESPN has picked Wily Peralta (’09) as his top prospect in the Brewers organization.

He responds to a query as to why Peralta from Bernie’s Crew, thusly:

Seemed pretty open to me, but I feel like Peralta has the best chance to start and be more than a back-end guy.

Speaking of Bernie’s Crew.  The, um, crew of Bernie’s Crew got together and put together a real, live podcast!  There is some minor league talk in there.  Nice job, guys.  Just don’t give anybody over here any ideas.

There are 10 Timber Rattlers home games scheduled to be broadcast on Sports 32 in 2011.  Here is the schedule!

Flashback Friday will be on timberrattlers.com before noon today.

Thursday Program post (1993)

There is something about the 1993 Program that makes me stop and smile every time I see it.

Is it the unnamed cartoon fox drawn by Dave Taylor for the cover?  Is it the fact that the left-handed hitting, unnamed cartoon fox is drawn on a pier with the Sleeping Giant of Thunder Bay in the background?  Is it the detail of the red stirrups on the pantless, unnamed cartoon fox? I will not answer any of those questions.
93cover.jpg Is it the cartoon baseball player in the ad for American below the 1993 schedule?
  93schedule.jpg

Is it the hopeful writeup on the new affiliation with the Mariners?
93meetthemariners (2).jpg
Is it the “Old School” insert that was tucked inside the program? Is it the ad for TIM POWERS, DYNAMIC SPEAKER EXTRODANAIRE!!!?
93statinsert.jpgOr is it the fact that the program for 1993 was printed backwards. The binding is to the right of the cover instead of to the left. Go grab a magazine or book and look at it. You’ll see what I mean.

Whatever it is, I will freely admit that the 1993 Foxes program is my favorite of all-time.

Gil Meches Legacy

Very interesting blog post by Tyler Kepner over at the New York Times Baseball Blog on the Gil Meche, the former Timber Rattlers pitcher who retired last week.

Lou Piniella, Catfish Hunter, and Ron Guidry all figure into the story.  But, this is the excerpt that involves his time with the Rattlers.

Meche is only 32, but he turned pro at 17 and has spent nearly half his life in the game. He understands that the only way to enjoy the grind is to fully invest yourself in it – body, mind, spirit. He has made enough money not to need the $12 million. And he has always been headstrong.

Bryan Price, the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching coach, was the Mariners’ minor league coordinator when Meche was a prospect. Meche came into his own at Class A Wisconsin in 1998, but he told his pitching coach that he did not want to go to instructional league. Price was summoned to change his mind.

“I sat down with Gil and said, ‘I heard you don’t want to go,'” Price said. “He said, ‘I really don’t.’ I said, ‘You mind telling me why?’ He said he just felt like it had been a long year, he had thrown a lot of innings, and he didn’t see the benefit.

“I laid it on him pretty thick: how badly we wanted him there, how he could go and improve, how he was a high-risk draft choice for us and he had an obligation. I told him to think about it and call me back tomorrow. He still wouldn’t go.

“At the time, that was looked at as a negative. However, you need a certain amount of that. You need to get to a point where you know what’s best for you, and Gil was already there. I think his decision in Kansas City sheds a positive light on that attitude. He’s stubborn and willing to stand on principle.”

There is also this:

Meche, who is divorced, also wanted to spend more time with family — his three children, yes, as well as his parents and sisters and extended family in Louisiana. He is living in an R.V. at a campground while he looks for a new home in Louisiana, where he plans to settle for good.

“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”

Good luck, Gil. We’d love to have you up to Appleton some time in the future.

Top 50

Milb.com has their list of the top 50 prospects in all of minor league baseball.

Not surprised that Mike Trout, the tormentor of the 2010 Timber Rattlers, is number one.

Ex-Rattlers on the list include:

Michael Pineda (’08) at #13.

Brett Lawrie (’09) at #28.

Jake Odorizzi (’10) at #37.

Click the individual player for a video capsule of each player.

Ask MiLB.com

Every time I think about doing a mailbag column on the blog or on the website, I read one of the Aks MiLB.com mailbag columns and go: No. I don’t need to – or want to – do that.

Here is the latest penance/punishment for an anonymous milb.com staffer.  Picking four favorites out of here would be like picking my four favorite beers.  They are all good and after the first three it really doesn’t matter anymore.

I am hoping that you can help me identify a player’s name? He’s number is No. 38 and would have played in the Southern League in 1994 or in the following years! Can you help me with that information or let me know where I might be able to research it?Tracy N.

Can’t help you much there. We’d need more specific information. Players change uniform numbers often as it is, so it’s impossible to say.

Hi, do you know your phone number, because Jonathan wants to talk to the baseball players on the phone. Jonathan wants to ask the baseball players some questions on the phone. Jonathan

Yes, we do know our phone number, and no, there are no players currently here at our office to speak with. The best way to chat with a Minor Leaguer would probably be at the ballpark before and after games. Many players stick around to sign autographs and take photos with fans.

Why do we in America pay our Minor League players so little? We have so many out-of-the-country players — why do we pay the American players so little? Thank you. – Lisa L.

Minor League players are employees of Major League clubs. The salaries of first-year players are established by the Major Leagues for each Minor League classification or league. After a player’s first year, salaries are negotiable. Where a player is from has no bearing on his salary. Most Minor Leaguers are paid according to the number of years they have played and the classification at which they are playing.

Hello. I need 20 pocket schedules for 2011, is it possible? Thank you very much.Johanne L.

MiLB.com does not have any pocket schedules. Individual Minor League teams may be able to send you schedules upon request. Schedules are available on MiLB.com for your perusal.

That was delicious. Head over to read it all.

Season two, Episode six of The Offseason

Hmmm….seems familiar somehow…

Yes. If Star Trek taught me one thing, it taught me that goatees are evil.

And if there’s another thing that it taught me, it is that even in the 23rd century, fragile pottery can still be used to subdue the evil counterpart of your first officer.

Save the date and other items

Sorry about nothing on the blog yesterday.  But, there was nothing.  No ex-Rattlers played in the Caribbean leagues on Monday (or Tuesday) for that matter.  And nothing in my news alerts grabbed my attention.

Today, however, I have a few items that might be of interest.

#1.)  The Timber Rattlers Golf Outing for Miracle League Fox Valley is June 13.  Like the picture says, “Save the date”

Golf.jpg
#2.) The Timber Rattlers are looking for national anthem singers, members of the on-field entertainment team, and an on-field emcee for the 2011 season.  Head over here for the release and the pertinent email addresses.

#3.) The Rattlers will be at booth 502 of the Oshkosh Business Expo on January 27.  See you there.

#4.) The Rattlers (and several ex-Rattlers) will be at the Brewers On Deck event on January 30.  See you there.

#5.) Are you a fan of the Timber Rattlers on Facebook yet?  It sure would be nice to crack 3,000 and make a move to get near 4,000 by Opening Day.

#6.) Are you following the Timber Rattlers on twitter yet?  It sure would be nice to crack 1,500 followers and make a move to get near 2,000 by Opening Day.

#7.) Are you following Mehring on twitter yet?  It sure would be nice to have a follower. Right now there is a lot of Packers, Television, and Poker talk, but that should change as the season gets closer…should probably change as the season gets closer.

That was a fun Sunday

I will expand a bit on this topic for Mehring Monday later today – and I know that not everyone who reads this is a fan of the Green Bay Packers – but, since this is my blog and I am a Packers fan.

Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Super Bowl!

They beat the Bears to get to the Super Bowl!

WHOOOOOOOOO!!!

The Brewers got into the act with this image on twitter to support the Packers.  The main part of the text reads: You handle the Bears. We’ll take care of the Cubs.

So did the Timber Rattlers with congratulations on Facebook and twitter.  There were also friendly reminders about the chance to watch Donald Driver and the NFC Champion Packers in the Charity Softball Game on Sunday, June 5.

I wish the game was next Sunday, but I am going to take Steve Czaban’s advice and soak in the au jus of the next two weeks.  Because, you never know when the team you cheer for is going to make it this far again.

WHHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

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