February 2011

Wear your Timber Rattlers gear!

It is that time of the year.

If you are out and about in the Northeastern Wisconsin area over the next few months, it might be a good idea to wear your Timber Rattlers hat or sweatshirt or whatever.

You see, members of the Rattlers front office staff are always on duty.  If any of them see you in your Rattlers gear, they should hand you a business card that will have a mark on the back that will allow you to receive a free ticket to a game this season.

It’s just that simple.  Well, as simple as member of the front office being out in public between now and Opening Day.

Prospect Madness update

The two polls that are active at Bernie’s Crew for Prospect Madness as of 11:30 this morning are:  Del Howell v Dan Merklinger and Khris Davis v. Shea Vucinich.

Head over there and click on your selections.

In the mix?

I post this because I know that one person will comment on it.  The only question is how long it will take before jumping in…there is a pool in the office:

If he were a different kind of man, another player, Matt Tuiasosopo could be carrying a bit of an attitude this spring.

When manager Erik  Wedge was tossing out an off-the-cuff infield depth chart, for instance, he talked about Josh Wilson, Dustin Ackley, Matt Mangini, Alex Liddi – and never did get around to having Tuiasosopo in the mix for a bench job.

That happens around camps every spring, especially with new managers and coaches a few days into workouts with the regulars. There are 63 players in camp, and if Wedge occasionally forgets to mention one it probably isn’t meaningful just yet.

Still, this is the seventh Seattle Mariners camp for Tuiasosopo, who will turn 25 in a few months. No one questions his athleticism, his work ethic. But he’s never come to camp with a job or much of a chance for one.

Part of that is he’s never had a breakout season making his way up the Seattle farm system. In 623 minor league games, Tuiasosopo has batted .270 with 53 home runs and 304 RBI. His on base percentage is .363.

In 71 big-league games, 193 at-bats, he’s hits .176. And Tuiasosopo has an option remaining, meaning he can be sent back to the minors at the end of camp.

So Tuiasosopo could be an unhappy camper this spring. He’s not. Asked if he thought of himself as a forgotten man in a room full of job candidates, Tuiasosopo answered with one word.

“No,” he said.

I cant see any green.

I had some plans today.  When the weekend started, I was so full of energy and ready to get back to work on Monday.  Lots to do and deadlines looming before the start of the season.  The bottom picture on this post from Friday gave me a lot of hope.

You know…Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s blooming. All that crap.

Then, I was reminded that I live in Wisconsin….and that it is still February…

022110 field photo.JPG
False hope is the worst kind of hope.

The fact that it is still snowing 24 hours after it started does not fill me with happiness.

Alumni Notes

Daren Brown, the manager of the Timber Rattlers in 2003, took over the Seattle Mariners in the latter stages of the 2010 season.  He is starting this year back with the Tacoma Rainiers and that’s not the only change from last year to now.

Former Mariners and current Tacoma Rainiers manager Daren Brown is in camp with Seattle this spring, helping work with the team until minor league camp opens next month.

Brown is also a first-time father, daughter Chloe Lynn having been born this off-season – and he’s dealing with the first separation of her young life. He’s in Peoria, Brown’s wife, Cindy and daughter are in Texas.

As it turns out, each night Brown retreats to his hotel room, fires up the computer program ‘Skype’ and broadcasts himself to the family, and gets to see the family on his laptop.

“I was on for 45 minutes last night,” Brown said this morning. “My daughter was in a talkative mood.”

She’s talking?

“Baby talk,” Brown said. “I talk enough to keep her going, but I don’t do baby talk. I’m afraid someone might walk by the hotel room and wonder what’s going on in there. My wife puts me up on the 50-inch screen, and my daughter loves that. I think it’s a bit scary, but she loves it.”

Ryan Rowland-Smith, who played for Brown in Wisconsin in 2003, is now with the Houston Astros.  Larry Stone caught up with RRS.

Ryan Rowland-Smith wants to get as far away as he possibly can from last season.

He has done that geographically by signing with the Houston Astros. He has done it visually by ditching his trademark goggles.

Most important, though, Rowland-Smith wants to distance himself mentally from the psychological rut he believes undermined his 2010 campaign.

Always brimming with confidence during successful previous seasons, Rowland-Smith found himself wracked with self-doubt as his year unraveled. He began the season as Seattle’s No. 3 starter, but wound up suffering through a 1-10 nightmare that eventually resulted in Seattle not tendering him a contract after the season.

“I went back and looked at the day I was pitching, the lead up to that game, my routine, things like that,” Rowland-Smith said of his postseason reflections on 2010. “I was looking at how I felt, the anxiety, the nerves. I had never felt being nervous like that, ever. It built up and built up as the season went on. I started off bad and never really recovered.”

Head over and read it all.

Flashback Friday Supplement for 2/18

This picture is from an old program.  I had to crop it down to fit it for this Week’s Flashback Friday (link available when it is posted LINK POSTED), but I wanted to post the whole thing here because there is nothing that is not awesome about it.  Click for a much, much larger version.

Full Goodland Field….Awesome!

Kids peeking over the fence over by the scoreboard…Awesome!

Kids peeking under the fence at the right…Awesome!

The whole picture…Awesome!

Thursday was a very good day

Why was Thursday a very good day?  Here is a picture (as in this post) of the field that was taken yesterday around 10am.

Field photos 002.JPGHere is the result of some rain and some warm temperatures after that picture was taken:

FieldPhotos 001.JPGThe Sun is out today. I guess that makes it a pretty good day, too!  Opening Day, get here soon!

Individual Game Tickets go on sale March 5

This announcement was made over at the website yesterday.

Single game tickets for all 2011 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers home games go on sale Saturday, March 5 at 10am.  Fans may purchase tickets at the Time Warner Cable Field ticket office, by calling (800) WI-TIMBER, or online through www.timberrattlers.com.  The team will also be holding their fourth annual rummage sale on the main concourse on March 5.

Ticket prices for the 2011 season are:  $10 for box seating, $8 for reserved bleacher seating, $5 for grass seating and the outfield beach area.  The All-You-Can-Eat seats on the first base side are $25.  Other seating options include the VIP Suites for $250 – which include tickets for 10 people – and the patio tables on the first and third base side for $60 – which seat four people.

Fans who have already purchased their season ticket packages for 2011 are invited to pick up their tickets on March 5.  Ticket packages will be available in the Leinie Lodge on the first base concourse.

I talked a bit with Jay, who is in charge of the rummage sale.  There are going to be some pretty neat items available.  I may have a list for you a few days before the sale.

Stop by on March 5 between 10am and 3pm.

Coming to Time Warner Cable Field

USA! USA!  Click that link for a classic 80’s Boot Camp Match.

It’s not like Sarge has never been to a baseball game before:…Video Warning! Caution! Cobra Clutch! Slaughter Cannon! Excessive Drowning Pool!

I won’t be making fun of Sarge. I don’t want to end up at Camp Slaughter

Coming on July 14, 2011!

Alumni news

Paul Fagan, a pitcher for the Timber Rattlers in 2006, continues his journey through the independent leagues.

The Windy City Thunderbolts, the only Chicago area minor league baseball team in the Frontier League, announced today that they had signed Paul Fagan to their pitching line up.  The Thunderbolts already have an impressive-looking pitching line up and stated that they feel Fagan will make them even stronger.  They signed Fagan in a trade with the Rockford Riverhawks.

Fagan has played 5 seasons with affiliated baseball teams.  He was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in 2008.  He was drafted in the fourth round of the baseball draft that year.  He played for the high-A High Desert Mavericks originally.

Fagan then moved to the Sioux City Explorers and then the Lake Erie Crushers.  The Crushers are also a Frontier League team.  He had his best year as a professional player during their 2009 season.  He was on the mound in 22 games and had a 14-3 record.  He also had an ERA of 2.70 while striking out 83 batters.  He was even named the Frontier League Most Valuable Pitcher.

Fagan split his time in the 2010 season between three independent teams.  He played for the New Jersey Jackals, the Joliet Jackhammers, and the Newark Bears.  
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