March 2012

50 Years in 50 Days: 2007

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached five.

Five Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

The cover of the 2007 Timber Rattlers Media Guide.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (15th Year)
Manager: Jim Horner (2nd Year)
First Half Record:  22-46 (8th, West)
Second Half Record: 31-39 (7th, West)
Overall Record: 53-85

The 2007 Timber Rattlers.

Greg Halman as a Rattler in 2007

There should be an action shot of Nathan Adcock for 2008.

There is probably another action shot of Alex Liddi for 2008, too.

Future Major Leaguers:
Pitcher Nathan Adcock (2-8, 3.70) in 17 games – 16 starts – with 66K in 87.2IP
Pitcher Cha-Seung Baek (0-0, 4.91) in one game – a rehab start – with 6K in 3.2IP
Outfielder Greg Halman hit .182 with four homers and 15RBI in 52 games
Pitcher Shawn Kelley (1-1, 2.25) in 9 games – no starts – with 14K in 12.0IP
Third baseman Alex Liddi hit .240 with eight homers and 52RBI in 113 games
Outfielder Carlos Peguero hit .263 with nine homers and 50RBI in 79 games
Pitcher Chris Tillman (1-4, 3.55) in eight games – all starts – with 34K in 33.0IP
Pitcher Anthony Varvaro (4-11, 4.69) in 22 games – 21 starts – with 112K in 103.2IP
Pitcher Sean White (1-0, 0.00) in one game – a rehab start – with 4K in 5.0IP

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

Anthony Varvaro was a Timber Rattler in 2007.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Kuo Hui Lo – .288
HR: Carlos Peguero – 9
RBI: Alex Liddi – 52
SB: Kuo Hui Lo -32
OPS: Kuo Hui Lo – .787
WINS: Steven Richard – 7
ERA: Kyle Parker – 3.46
IP: Kyle Parker – 112.0
SO: Anthony Varvaro – 112
SV: Andy Barb – 10

HOW MANY!?!?!? STAT:  There were 58 different players who saw action as a Timber Rattler player during the 2007 season.

2007 MWL Season:
There was a big change.  The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays were sold.  They were moved to Midland, Michigan and were christened the Great Lakes Loons.  Oh, and they changed their affiliation to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2007 Timber Rattlers magnet schedule

East: Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Great Lakes Loons, Lansing Lugnuts, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Swing of the Quad Cities, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2007 MWL All-Star Game:
Kane County hosted the game on June 19.  The East won 7-1.  The Timber Rattlers were represented by a pair of relief pitchers: Andy Barb & Joe Kantakevich.

Andy Barb as a Timber Rattler in 2007.

Joe Kantakevich had an All-Star season with the Rattlers in 2007.

2007 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-0f-three):
West:
Beloit 2, Quad Cities 0
Clinton 2, Cedar Rapids 1

East:
West Michigan 2, Lansing 0
South Bend 2, Dayton 1

Division Finals:
West:
Beloit 2, Clinton 0

East:
West Michigan 2, South Bend 0

Championship Series:
West Michigan 3, Beloit 2

2007 MWL Alumni of Note:

Clayton KershawGreat Lakes Loons

Clayton Kershaw in 2007 with the Great Lakes Loons.

Meanwhile in West Virginia in 2007:

Taylor Green

Taylor Green as a Brewer and with the Power.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get Here Soon!

50 Years in 50 Days: 2006

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached six.

Six Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers missed the playoffs.

Cover of the 2006 Timber Rattlers Media Guide

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (14th Year)
Manager: Jim Horner (1st Year)
First Half Record:  27-43 (7th, West)
Second Half Record: 27-43 (7th, West)
Overall Record: 54-86

Michael Saunders in 2006. This picture and others used in this post were taken during a game in which the Rattlers wore Fox Cities Foxes jerseys as part of a Turn Back the Clock promotion.

Future Major Leaguers:
Third baseman Alex Liddi hit .184 with no homers and two RBI in 11 games
Catcher Adam Moore hit .267 with seven homers and 24 RBI in 44 games
Outfielder Michael Saunders hit .240 with four homers and 39 RBI in 104 games
Pitcher Justin Thomas (5-5, 3.10) in 11 games – all starts – with 51K in 61.oIP
Second baseman Luis Valbuena hit .286 with three homers and 38 RBI in 89 games

Luis Valbuena in 2006.

Justin Thomas (with Pitching Coach Lance Painter looking on) in 2006.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Luis Valbuena – .286
HR: Ron Garth – 10
RBI: Ron Garth & Eddy Hernandez – 48
SB: Michael Saunders – 22
OPS: Luis Valbuena – .771
WINS: Nick Allen & Jose Escalona – 7
ERA: Jose Escalona – 4.06
IP: Paul Fagan – 165.2
SO: Jose Esccalona – 110
SV: Brian Kappel – 8

Ron Garth in 2006

Paul Fagan in 2006.

2006 MWL Season:

2006 Timber Rattlers Magnet Schedule.

East: Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, South Bend Silver Hawks, Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2006 MWL All-Star Game:
The East beat the West 7-1 at Quad Cities on June 20.

The Timber Rattlers Ron Garth was the starting third baseman for the West.  Other Rattlers on the team included outfielder Casey Craig, pitcher Edgar Guaramato, and pitcher Harold Williams.

Casey Craig in 2006

Edgar Guaramato in 2006

2006 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-of-three):
East:
Lansing 2, South Bend 0
West Michigan 2, Fort Wayne 1

West:
Beloit 2, Peoria 1
Kane County 2, Quad Cities 1

Divisional Finals (Best-of-three):
East:
West Michigan 2, Lansing 0

West:
Kane County 2, Beloit 0

Championship Series (Best-of-Five):
West Michigan 3, Beloit 1

2006 MWL Alumni of Note:
Nick AdenhardtCedar Rapids Kernels

Nick Adenhart as a Cedar Rapids Kernel in 2006.

I look at this baseball card and remember how he pitched against the Timber Rattlers and – knowing what happened – I just get sad.  Then, I get angry.

Justin UptonSouth Bend Silver Hawks

Justin Upton with South Bend in 2006.

Justin Upton was 18 in 2006.  He hit .263 with 14 homers and 66 RBI in 113 games for South Bend.

Meanwhile in West Virginia:

Lorenzo Cain

Lorenzo Cain with the West Virginia Power in 2006. From the Power's website.

Mat Gamel

Mat Gamel with West Virginia in 2006. From the Power website.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get here soon!

50 Years in 50 Days: 2005

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached seven.

Seven Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers made it to the Midwest League Championship Series for the third time in team history.

The cover of the 2005 Timber Rattlers Media Guide.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (13th Year)
Manager: Scott Steinmann (1st Year)
First Half Record:  39-31 (1st, West)
Second Half Record: 37-32 (1st, West)
Overall Record: 76-63

The 2005 Timber Rattlers.

Future Major Leaguers:
Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera hit .318 with four homers and 30 RBI in 51 games
Catcher Jeff Clement hit .319 with six homers and 20 RBI in 30 games
Catcher Rob Johnson hit .272 with nine homers and 51 RBI in 77 games
Pitcher Mark Lowe (6-6, 5.47) in 22 games – all starts – with 72K in 103.2IP
Infielder Oswaldo Navarro hit .269 with nine homers and 69 RBI in 120 games
Pitcher Eric O’Flaherty (4-4, 3.75) in 45 games – no starts – with 13 saves & 51K in 69.2IP
Shortstop Matt Tuiasosopo hit .276 with six homers and 45 RBI in 107 games
Outfielder Mike Wilson hit .266 with 19 homers and 84 RBI in 127 games

Matt Tuiasosopo as a Rattler in 2005.

 

Mark Lowe as a Rattler in 2005.

 

Rob Johnson & Mumba Rivera in 2005.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Brent Johnson – .310
HR: Mike Wilson – 19
RBI: Mike Wilson – 84
SB: Brent Johnson & Josh Womack – 22
OPS: Marshall Hubbard – .883
WINS: Aaron Jensen – 10
ERA: Jason Snyder – 4.82
IP: Aaron Jensen – 157.0
SO: Aaron Jensen – 87
SV: Eric O’Flaherty – 13

Mike Wilson as a Rattler in 2005.

 

Marshall Hubbard as a Rattler in 2005.

2005 MWL Season:

2005 Timber Rattlers Magnet Schedule.

There were a few changes.  The main one being the end of the Brewers relationship with Beloit.  The Snappers hooked up with the Twins after Milwaukee went to West Virginia.

Other affiliation changes included:
Cubs from Lansing to Peoria
Cardinals from Peoria to Quad City
Blue Jays to Lansing
Devil Rays to Battle Creek and the Battle Creek Yankees became the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays

East: Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, South Bend Silver Hawks, Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2005 MWL All-Star Game:
The East beat the West on June 21 at Peoria.

There were a lot of Timber Rattlers representatives on the team, none as starters though.

C: Rob Johnson
IF: Asdrubal Cabrera
IF: Yung Chi Chen
IF: Matt Tuiasosopo
OF: Josh Womack
P: Cibney Bello
P: Chad Fillinger

Yung Chi Chen in 2005.

2005 MWL Postseason:

2005 Timber Rattlers playoff team.

First Round (Best-of-three):
West:
Wisconsin 2, Beloit 1
Clinton 2, Quad Cities 0

East:
South Bend 2, Southwest Michigan 0
West Michigan 2, Fort Wayne 0

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
West:
Wisconsin 2, Clinton 0

East:
South Bend 2, West Michigan 0

Championship Series (Best-of-five):
South Bend 3, Wisconsin 2

The Silver Hawks won the first two games in South Bend.  The Timber Rattlers won the next two games at home, but South Bend won the decisive Game Five at Fox Cities Stadium.

2005 MWL Alumni of Note:
Carlos Gonzalez – South Bend Silver Hawks

Carlos Gonzalez was a Silver Hawk in '05.

The 2010 National League batting champ hit .307 with 19 homers and 92 RBI in 129 regular season games for the Silver Hawks in 2005.

Meanwhile in West Virginia:

Ryan Braun as a member of the West Virginia Power in 2005.

No matter what the picture looks like, Ryan Braun was NOT a pitcher in West Virginia.  He did hit .355 with eight homers and 35RBI in 37 games.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get here soon!

50 Years in 50 Days: 2004

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached eight.

Eight Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers had a rough season as Steve Roadcap returned for his second stint as manager of club.

Cover of the 2004 Timber Rattlers Media Guide.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (12th Year)
Manager:  Steve Roadcap (2nd Year)
First Half Record:  31-38 (7th, West)
Second Half Record: 26-44 (8th, West)
Overall Record: 57-82

The 2004 Timber Rattlers.

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder Wladimir Balentien hit .277 with 15 homers and 46RBI in 76 games
Pitcher Ryan Feierabend (9-7, 3.63) in 26 games – all starts – with 106K in 161.0IP
Shortstop Adam Jones hit .267 with 11 homers and 72RBI in 130 games
First baseman Bryan LaHair hit .279 with five homers and 28RBI in 67 games
Second baseman Oswaldo Navarro hit .211 with no homers and seven RBI in 40 games
Pitcher Eric O’Flaherty (3-3, 6.12) in 12 games – 10 starts – with 38K in 57.1IP

Adam Jones as a Rattler in 2004

Wladimir Balentien in 2004.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Adam Jones – .267
HR: Wladimir Balentien – 15
RBI: Adam Jones – 72
SB: Josh Womack – 24
OPS: Wladimir Balentien – 24
WINS: Ryan Feierabend & Brandon Moorhead – 9
ERA: Tom Oldham – 2.93
IP: Nibaldo Acosta – 161.2
SO: Brandon Moorhead – 163
SV: Brian Stitt – 16

2004 MWL Season:

2004 Magnet Schedule

The only change was a change that should not have been made.  The Quad City River Bandits switched their name to the Swing of the Quad Cities.

The Timber Rattlers and the Beloit Snappers played at Miller Park again in 2004.  The game was played on August 12 and Beloit won 5-0.

2004 MWL All-Star Game:
Cedar Rapids hosted the game on June 22.  The West beat the East 6-3.  Rattlers pitcher Ryan Feierabend was the winning pitcher for the East.  Wisconsin closer Brian Stitt was the only other Wisconsin representative on the West squad.

2004 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-of-three):
West:
Clinton 2, Cedar Rapids 0
Kane County 2, Peoria 1

East:
South Bend 2, Fort Wayne 0
West Michigan 2, Lansing 1

Divisional Finals:
West:
Kane County 2, Clinton 0

East:
West Michigan 2, South Bend 0

FINALS:
West Michigan 3, Kane County 2

I will note that Kane County won Game Four of the 2004 Finals in 16 innings by a score of 7-5.  But, the Whitecaps would win the following day by a score of 4-2.

2004 MWL Alumni of Note:
Ian KinslerClinton LumberKings

Ian Kinsler as a LumberKing in 2004. (From milb.com)

Ian Kinsler hit .402 in 60 games for Clinton in 2004.  Add in 11 homers, 30 doubles, and 52 RBI and you can see why he was promoted to AA before the All-Star break.

George KottarasFort Wayne Wizards

George Kottaras as a Fort Wayne Wizard in 2004. (From baseballinfortwayne.com)

The man who would play for the Brewers started out in the San Diego organization as a .310/.415/.461 hitter with seven homers and 46RBI in 78 games with the Fort Wayne Wizards.

2004 Brewers Farmhands of Note:
Yovani GallardoBeloit Brewers

He was there long enough for a bobblehead.

Gallardo joined the Snappers late in the season.  He was a second round pick in 2004 and started his pro career with six starts in the Arizona League before coming to Beloit.  Gallardo made two starts for the Snappers, went 0-1 with 10 earned runs allowed, with four walks and eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5. Get Here Soon!

Rattler Radio turns six today

It is a great view.

I made the first Rattler Radio post over on Blogger on March 27, 2006.

For the last six years, this has been my therapy, I mean, an outlet for fans of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to follow their team.  I moved over to MLBlogs in September of 2010.

There have been a few gaps when I really needed a break,  but I have tried to keep the posts coming on a daily basis ever since Rattler Radio started.

Along the way, the blog has picked up Camels, Ferrets, Tapirs, and other mascots to let you know about the weather and field conditions.  (To our new readers, you’ll meet Brick, Carl, Fairfax, Telemachus, and the others at the appropriate times during the season.)

There have been pictures of snow covered fields, flooded fields, and other stadiums and cities around the MWL.  (For some reason, the weather photos have picked up more traffic than the regular baseball posts, but that’s fine.)

There have been dominant pitching performances, incredible comebacks, heartbreaking losses, and long road trips.

I have had the opportunity to write about Appleton Baseball History, Mariners Prospects, Brewers Prospects, Rattlers players who have moved on to other organizations, and Rattlers players who have made it to the major league level.

And the windows in the radio booth at Modern Woodmen Park still don’t open.

It has been a fun six years in which there have been almost 11,000 posts….(Good Lord, really? That many?)

I can’t wait for the start of the 2012 season and I hope you stop by the ballpark and the blog to check out the progress of this year’s edition of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Over on Blogger, there  is a spot on your blog for an About Me note.  The one that I wrote six years ago still applies today:

I have the job that I have wanted since I was about seven years old. How freakin’ cool is that?

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

50 Years in 50 Days: 2003

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached nine.

Nine Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers rebounded to make the MWL playoffs.

Cover of the 2003 Timber Rattlers media guide.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (11th Year)
Manager:  Daren Brown (1st Year)
First Half Record:  38-28 (2nd, West)
Second Half Record: 31-38 (7th, West)
Overall Record: 69-66

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder TJ Bohn hit .272 with 13 homers and 70 RBI in 128 games
Pitcher Felix Hernandez (0-0, 1.93) in two games – both starts – with 18K in 14IP
Pitcher Cesar Jimenez (8-11, 2.94) in 28 games – 20 starts – with 76K in 125.2IP
Pitcher Bobby Livingston (15-7, 2.73) in 26 games – all starts – with 105K in 178.0IP
Catcher Rene Rivera hit .275 with nine homers and 54RBI in 116 games

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Category Leaders:
AVG: Gary Harris – .284
HR: Matt Hagen – 21
RBI: Jon Nelson – 91
SB: Gary Harris – 36
OPS: TJ Bohn – .800
WINS: Bobby Livingston – 15
ERA: TA Fulmer – 2.58
IP: BOBBY! Livingston – 178.0
SO: TA Fulmer – 130
SV: Bryan Heaston – 8

Miller Park Stat:  The Timber Rattlers and Beloit Snappers played at Miller Park on August 14, 2003.

The Difference Stat:  Below is a page from the 2003 Media Guide. It shows the attendance of the Appleton Foxes from 1984-1994 and the attendance of the Timber Rattlers from 1995-2002.  Click to see the difference a new stadium can make in black and white.


2003 MWL Season:

The 2003 magnet had the same design as the 2001 magnet schedule.

The main change was in Battle Creek. The Michigan Battle Cats changed affiliates from the Houston Astros to the New York Yankees. They also changed their name to Battle Creek Yankees. Other affiliation changes included, the Cougars becoming an Oakland affiliate and Clinton becoming a Rangers affiliate.

East: Battle Creek Yankees, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2003 MWL All-Star Game:
The East beat the West 5-4 as West Michigan hosted the All-Star Game on June 17.  Manny Parra was the losing pitcher for the West.

Bobby Livingston was the starting pitcher and Rene Rivera was the starting catcher for the West.  There were a lot of Rattlers selected as reserves for the West team in 2003: TJ Bohn (OF), Matt Hagen (IF), Corey Harrington (IF), TA Fulmer (P), Cesar Jimenz (P), and Ryan Rowland-Smith (P).

2003 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-of-three):
East:
Lansing 2, South Bend 0
Battle Creek 2, Fort Wayne 0

West:
Beloit 2, Wisconsin 0
Clinton 2, Kane County 1

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
East:
Lansing 2, Battle Creek 0

West:
Beloit 2, Clinton 1

Finals (Best-of-five):
Lansing 3, Beloit 0

2003 MWL Alumni of Note:
Joel Zumaya –  West Michigan Whitecaps

2003 Brewers Farmhands of Note:
Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Tony Gwynn, Jr. – Beloit Snappers

From snappersbaseball.com

Fielder played all season in Beloit.  He hit .313 with 27 homers, 112 RBI, and an OPS of .935 in 137 games.  Rickie Weeks was the #1 pick of the Brewers in 2003.  He joined the Snappers in August, in fact his MWL debut was against the Timber Rattlers at Pohlman Field just before the Miller Park game.  The first MWL hit for Weeks came off Bobby Livingston.  Weeks hit .349 with a homer and 16RBI in 20 games.

Manny Parra was also on that team.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5. Get here soon!

50 Years in 50 Days: 2002

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached 10.

10 Years Ago:
The Timber Rattlers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995.

Cover of the 2002 Timber Rattlers Media Guide.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (10th Year)
Manager:  Gary Thurman (3rd Year)
First Half Record:  30-39 (5th, West)
Second Half Record: 23-47 (8th, West)
Overall Record: 53-86

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit .302 with six homers and 48RBI in 119 games
Third Baseman Greg Dobbs hit .275 with 10 homers and 48 RBI in 86 games
Pitcher Emiliano Fruto (6-6, 3.55) in 33 games – 13 starts – with a save and 99K in 111.2IP
Pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (1-2, 6.75) in 12 games – 8 starts – with 38K in 41.1IP

Category Leaders:
AVG: Shin-Soo Choo – .302
HR: Sean Peless – 12
RBI: Greg Dobbs & Shin-Soo Choo – 48
SB: Shin-Soo Choo – 34
OPS: Shin-Soo Choo – .857
WINS: Juan Doñe – 9
ERA: Ryan Ketchner – 2.59
IP: Juan Doñe – 164.1IP
SO: Juan Doñe – 141
SV: Lanny Patten – 8

2002 MWL Season:

2002 Timber Rattlers magnet schedule.

East: Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, Michigan Battle Cats, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2002 MWL All-Star Game:
Lansing hosted the MWL All-Star game on June 18.  The East beat the West 6-3.  Timber Rattlers Shin-Soo Choo (OF) and Greg Dobbs (3B) were selected as starters for the West.  Pitchers Juan Doñe and Ramon Royce were selected as reserves.

2002 MWL Postseason:

First Round (Best-of-three):
East:

Lansing 2, Michigan 1
West Michigan 2, Dayton 0

West:
Peoria 2, Burlington 0
Cedar Rapids 2, Quad City 0

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
East:
Lansing 2, West Michigan 1

West:
Peoria 2, Cedar Rapids 0

Finals (Best-of-Five):
Peoria 3, Lansing 1

2002 MWL Alumni of Note:
Joe MauerQuad City River Bandits

Mauer hit .302 with four homers and 62RBI in 110 games for Quad City in 2002.  He actually hit five homers, but a home run that he hit against the Rattlers was wiped out because he hit it early in a game that was rained out before it became official.

Dontrelle WillisKane County Cougars

His Kane County season was so good, they named a picnic area after him.

Willis went 10-2 with a 1.83ERA in 19 games – all starts – for the Cougars in 2002.  He struck out 101 in 127.2 innings.  I think he went like 4-0 against the Rattlers that season.


2002 Brewers Farmhand of Note:

Brad NelsonBeloit Snappers

He had a bobblehead, Brad Nelson MUST have played in Beloit.

Brad Nelson played 106 games for Beloit in 2002.  He played 103 of those games at first base and hit .297 with 17 homers and 99 RBI.  Then, the Brewers drafted Prince Fielder with the #7 pick of the 2002 draft.  Fielder was promoted to Beloit for the final month of the season and Nelson got bumped up to High Desert.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get Here Soon!

Timber Rattlers Spring Training – March 25, 2012

Pitchers on Parade;
Rattlers v. Manatees on My Last Day in Arizona

Chris Narveson prepares to face Jimmy Nelson on Sunday.

Fans who showed up for the 10:45am game between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and the Brevard County Manatees on Sunday in the Brewers minor league complex got a surprise.

Chris Narveson, Yovani Gallardo, and Zack Greinke all got into the game to hit in game conditions against prospects Jimmy Nelson and Matt Miller.

More on that in a moment.

The day started later than usual. Players did not get out on to the field until 10am. There were some brief warmups

Before the games started, Chris Dennis stopped over to say hello. I asked him where he had been because I hadn’t seen him in camp during my time down here. He mentioned that he had been out with a concussion – he was hit in the head with a pitch in his first at bat of camp. But, he should be back on the field this week. Fingers crossed.

The Timber Rattlers and the Manatees had a five inning game scheduled. There were some slight changes to the lineups that I had reported on twitter earlier this morning. So, here are the lineups as they actually were:

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:
Ruben Ozuna – LF
Orlando Arcia – SS
Michael Nemeth – 3B
Jason Rogers – 1B
Kenneth Allison – RF
Brent Dean – C
Gant Elmore – 2B
Kevin Berard – CF
Jimmy Nelson – P

Brevard County Manatees:
John Dishon – CF
Brandon Macias – SS
Cody Hawn – 1B
Mike Walker – 3B
Ben McMahan – RF
Tyler Robers – C
Chris McFarland – 2B
Matt Franco – LF
Matt Miller – P

Narveson, Gallardo, and Greinke were sprinkled in through the lineup multiple times for both teams to get their cuts.

I kept score as best I could so what follows is the play-by-play of the game. I will sprinkle in some pictures and save comments for the end.

Timber Rattlers First:
Narveson strikes out swinging
Ozuna walks
Ozuna caught stealing 2-6
Arcia F7

Manatees First:
Narveson strikes out swinging
Dishon doubles off the third base bag
Dishon picked off second 1-6
Hawn F7

Rattlers Second:
Nemeth singles
Rogers flies out to deep right -center
Allison singles, Nemeth to second
Dean out L4, Allison doubled off at 1st for double play

Manatees Second:
Greinke L5
Walker strikes out swinging
Gallardo 5-3

Rattlers Third:
Narveson strikes out swinging
Gallardo singles
Elmore 5-3, Gallardo to second
Berard F8

Greinke singles off Miller.

Manatees Third:
McMahan singles
Roberts reaches on FC, McMahan safe at second. McMahan to third on E6, Roberts out 9-4-3 at first
McFarland singles, McMahan scores.
McFarland out 2-6 CS
Franco F7

Rattlers Fourth:
Gallardo F7
Greinke singles
Ozuna reaches on FC, Greinke out 6-4
Ozuna steals second, takes third on E-2
Arcia out 3U

Matt Miller makes a pitch on Sunday.

Manatees Fourth:
Dishon strikes out looking
Macias 3-1
Hawn 4-3

Jimmy Nelson ready to come home with a pitch.

Rattlers Fifth:
Nemeth strikes out looking
Rogers strikes out swinging
Allison walks
Allison takes second on wild pitch
Dean doubles, Allison scores
Elmore 4-3

Kenneth Allison scores the tying run in the fifth inning on Sunday.

Manatees Fifth:
Walker walks
McMahan grounds into 6-3 double play
Roberts singles
McFarland 5-3

Michael Nemeth at third base on Sunday.

Lines:
Nelson: 5IP, 4H, R, 0ER, 2BB, 4K
Miller: 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K

Gallardo’s hit off Miller in the third inning was a high popup that dropped in front of the mound after the infielders had trouble picking the ball out of the Arizona sky.

Greinke hit the ball hard twice. His single was sharply hit between the shortstop and third baseman in the fourth. Nemeth made a nice play on the line drive in the second.

Last point on the major leaguers in this game. After Narveson was struck out by Nelson in the Manatees first inning, I thought that I heard him say the phrase “downhill thunder”. “Downhill Thunder” would be Nelson’s 94 with heavy, crazy sink.  Nelson has been pitching that way since the second half of the Timber Rattlers season in 2011.

By my count, Nelson broke three bats on Sunday.  One was on the double by Dishon in the first – the ball hit off the third base bag.  The second was on a bloop single by McMahan in the third.  The last was on Cody Hawn’s ground out in the fourth.  It is going to be fun following Nelson this summer if he can keep that going for himself.

One last note on Nelson: Of the four hits he allowed on Sunday, two were on broken bats, one was through a drawn-in infield (McFarland’s RBI single in the third), one a sharp single to the outfield by Roberts.

No velocity reports on how Miller threw.  I thought he looked good.  He didn’t struggle with control as much as he did at times last season.  I briefly spoke with Tyler Roberts about Miller after the game.  Country said there were times that Miller came off his breaking stuff and tried to make it do too much, but aside from that he liked what he saw.  The two-out walk in the fifth and the wild pitch kept Miller from a clean sheet.

Country also wanted to talk Base Running 101 after the game.  He KNOWS that he rounded the base too far in that situation in the third inning.  He also sheepishly admitted that he almost got caught again after his single in the fifth.  It’s a long, long road.

Both catchers, Roberts and Dean made strong throws to second base to cut down base runners.  Roberts caught Ozuna in the first.  Dean got McFarland in the third.  Roberts committed an error on a throw in the fourth when Ozuna ran on him again.  This throw was a little low and a little to the first base side of the bag with the shortstop covering.

But, throwing to second has never been a concern for Tyler Roberts.

Defensively, Arcia rushed a throw while trying to turn a double play in the third.  His off target throw to Elmore covering wound up in right field.  He didn’t have to rush it.  Roberts was the other runner.  Later in the game, Arcia made a very nice double play against McMahan.  Walker was on first and McMahan hit a high chopper near the second base bag.  Arcia handled a shorthop, stepped on the bag and threw to first in time.

If you remember one thing about Orlando Arcia this year, remember this…He does not turn 18 until August 4, 2012.

Staying on the defense.  Including the play on the Greinke liner that was noted above, Nemeth made several nice plays at third in the game. He also made tough barehanded plays to retire Gallardo in the second and McFarland in the fifth.

During the game, I chatted a bit with Brian Garman, a Rattlers reliever during 2011.  Garman pitched on Thursday, but has been shutdown for a bit after that last outing.  He thought he should be back in action soon.

I also spotted another Rattler reliever from 2011:

STOSH!

Since this is my last day in Arizona, I guess that it would be about this point of the column when I should make predictions on the players I think will be in Appleton to start the season.  It is hard to make those predictions.  A lot can happen in the final week of camp.  I’m pretty sure that both Nick Ramirez and Max Walla were slated to come to Appleton, but their injuries have set back that plan.

Plus, the Brewers minor league people will need to make some decisions on cuts over the next few days.

There is a good possibility that we won’t know what the team will be until they get on the plane to Wisconsin on April 2.

Instead of a prediction, here – aside from the players in today’s lineups for both the Rattlers and the Manatees – are the players who played games as Timber Rattlers over the last few days:

IF Greg Hopkins
P Andrew Moye
P Andrew Gagnon
P David Goforth
P Seth Harvey
C Adam Weisenburger
P Kevin Shackelford
P Jacob Barnes
SS Yadiel Rivera
C Kevin Moscatel
P Manuel Ruiz
P Tommy Toledo
P Seth Lintz
P Mike Francisco
OF Chad Stang
P Connor Whalen
P Michael Strong
P Will West

Any of these players could be headed to the Midwest League this season.  There is also the possibility that players who did not see action with the Rattlers during spring may be on the roster for Opening Day.  We will know in just over a week.

If you have enjoyed these reports, thank the Rattlers front office for sending me down here.  This is my third spring in a row covering the minor league side of the Brewers camp to give you an idea of the part of the Cactus League that you don’t see.

Opening Day for the Rattlers is on April 5.  Tickets for Opening Day against the Kernels and for the rest of the games at Time Warner Cable Field are available.  You can purchase tickets online; in person at the Time Warner Cable Field Box Office, or over the phone – (920) 733-4152 or 800-WI-TIMBER.  Mention that you got the idea from Mehring on Rattler Radio.  That may actually prove to them that I am capable of pulling my weight up there.  (kidding).

I will leave you with an overall impression on the play that I have seen over the last few days.  The pitching has been solid. All of the pitchers I saw threw strikes, worked quickly, and did not allow any big innings.

The hitters have stung the ball and the defense has been very good.

I know, 80 degrees in Arizona sunshine is a lot different from 45 on a rainy night in the Midwest League.  But, you will like what you will see when you come out to see the Timber Rattlers this season.

PLAY BALL!

50 Years in 50 Days: 2001

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached 11.

11 Years Ago:
A record for the most wins in a season by a Timber Rattlers team was set and the team made the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

2001 Timber Rattlers media guide cover.

TIMBER RATTLERS INFORMATION:
Name: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Affiliation: Seattle Mariners (9th Year)
Manager:  Gary Thurman (2nd Year)
First Half Record:  42-26 (T-2nd, West)
Second Half Record: 42-26 (1st, West)
Overall Record: 84-52

Future Major Leaguers:
Outfielder Jaime Bubela hit .304 with seven homers and 36RBI in 132 games
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit .462 with no homers and three RBI in three games
Pitcher Clint Nageotte (11-8, 3.13) in 28 games – 26 starts – with 187K in 152.1IP
Pitcher Jorge Sosa (0-0, 9.00) in two games – no starts – with 4K in 2IP
Outfielder Jamal Strong hit .353 with no homers and 19RBI in 51 games
Pitcher Aaron Taylor (3-1, 2.45) in 28 games – no starts – with 9 saves and 50K in 29.1IP

Clint Nageotte set a franchise record for strikeouts in a season when he K'd 187 opposing batters in 2001.

Category Leaders:
AVG: John Castellano – .334
HR: John Castellano – 14
RBI: John Castellano – 81
SB: Pedro Liriano – 65
OPS: John Castellano – .906
WINS: Kevin Olore – 13
ERA: Clint Nageotte – 3.13
IP: Erik Grunwald – 157.1
SO: Clint Nageotte – 187
SV: Chad Wiles – 17

Kevin Olore won 13 games in 2001.

John Castellano had a very good offensive season in 2001.

2001 MWL Season:

2001 Timber Rattlers magnet schedule

East: Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lansing Lugnuts, Michigan Battle Cats, South Bend Silver Hawks, West Michigan Whitecaps
West: Beloit Snappers, Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Peoria Chiefs, Quad City River Bandits, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Two affiliation changes for 2001.  The LumberKings lost the Reds, but gained the Montreal Expos.  Burlington lost the White Sox, but gained the Kansas City Royals.

The Timber Rattlers tied with Quad City for second in the West Division in the first half.  Kane County won the division with a 47-21 record.  Wisconsin and Quad City each went 42-26, but the River Bandits claimed the playoff due to beating the Rattlers head-to-head in the first half.

Wisconsin easily claimed the second half title by going 42-26 again.

2001 MWL All-Star Game:
Dayton hosted the game on June 19.  The East won 7-3.

Jaime Bubela (OF) was a starting outfielder for the West.  Other Timber Rattlers selected to the All-Star Game included Mark Carroll (C), Pedro Liriano (2B), Jamal Strong (OF), Rett Johnson (P), Kevin Olore (P), and Chad Wiles (P).

Jaime Bubela in 2001.

2001 MWL Postseason:
First Round (Best-of-three):
West:
Kane County 2, Beloit 0
Wisconsin 2, Quad City 0

East:
South Bend 2, Michigan 0
Dayton 2, Lansing 0

Division Finals (Best-of-three):
West:
Kane County 2, Wisconsin 0

East:
South Bend 2, Dayton 0

Finals (Scheduled for Best-of-five):
Kane County 1, South Bend 0

The Cougars won Game One on Monday, September 10.  They were declared the champions when the series did not resume after the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

2001 MWL Alum of Note:
Adrian Gonzalez – Kane County

Adrian Gonzalez as a Kane County Cougar in 2001.

Gonzalez was the #1 overall pick in 2000.  He showed why by hitting .312 with 17 homers and 103RBI in 127 games for the Cougars in 2001…as a 19 year old.

2001 Brewers Farmhand of Note:
Dave KrynzelBeloit Snappers

He had a bobblehead. That proves he was in Beloit.

Krynzel was the #11 overall pick in the 2000 draft.  He appeared in just 35 games for the Snappers in 2001.  He hit .305 with a homer and 19RBI.

Opening Day, 2012 is April  5. Get here soon.

Timber Rattlers Spring Training – March 24, 2012

I (almost) Called It!

It was a short practice day for the Timber Rattlers squad today since there was a road trip to Tempe for a game against the Angels in the afternoon.

Short, but full.

The outfielders worked on their jumps:

The shortstops worked on the pivot of the double play:

First basemen took grounders and worked on flips to the pitchers:

The pitchers worked on bunt plays:

Catchers took their lumps:


Then, there was batting practice.

The Timber Rattlers groups today were:
Group One: Elmore, Arcia, Stang, Hopkins
Group Two: Franco, Allison, Dishon
Group Three: Rogers, Nemeth, Rivera
Group Four: Roberts, Moscatel, Weisenburger

The way it worked today, one group hit on the field, another hit in the cages, one group ran, and another was in the field.  Every group was less than ten minutes and got everything done that they needed to do.

It was during the first group that I kidded Greg Hopkins about being thrown out at third base in Friday’s game against the Loons.  He had doubled to drive in two runs, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.  I said, “You got everything BUT faster in the offseason.”

“NO! I got faster,” Hopkins replied.

“I want to see a Greg Hopkins inside-the-park homer this season,” I said.

“Outfielders will have to collide,” he responded.

I didn’t think anything more of it at the time.  No way it would ever happen.

The game at the Angels minor league complex in Tempe started at one pm.  The Timber Rattlers were playing the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Midwest League affiliate of the Angels. By the way, the Rattlers open up the 2012 season at Time Warner Cable Field against the Kernels on Thursday, April 5.  Tickets available here.

Across the walkway, the Brevard County Manatees, Milwaukee’s Florida State League affiliate, faced the Inland Empire 66ers, the California League affiliate of the Angels.  More on that later.

The first Timber Rattlers pitcher was lefthander Manuel Ruiz.

Ruiz warming up before the game.

Ruiz worked three scoreless innings with two strikeouts.  The only hit that he allowed was a one out bunt single in the second inning…to the Kernels #5 hitter.  Welcome to Angels baseball, folks!

Does this guy look like a bunter? He's wearing an Angels jersey, isn't he?

The Rattlers grabbed the lead in the second inning.  Adam Weisenburger drew a two out walk and Yadiel Rivera smacked a triple to the gap in right center.

In Rivera’s only other plate appearance, he lined out to the second baseman. That’s two balls hit hard to the opposite field.  He only had to make two defensive plays at short – both times he accepted throws.  One led to him running down a base runner after a pickoff the other was on a force play at second.

Rivera had a cameo with the Timber Rattlers in 2011.  I have a feeling that he will get a more extended look in the Midwest League in 2012.  I also have a feeling that people are going to like what they see.

David Gorforth replaced Ruiz for the fourth inning and he would work three scoreless innings.  There was only one hard hit ball against Goforth.  He gave up three hits – a sharp single to right, an infield dribbler, and a broken bat blooper that dropped just inside the right field foul line.  He also struck out three.

David Goforth

Goforth sat comfortably at 94 and reached 98 – according to the Timber Rattlers radar gun.  That is inline with his writeup in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.  That publication places him as the #17 prospect in the Brewers organization and says:

Goforth’s four-seam fastball is erratic at times,  but when he comes out of the bullpen he throws it comfortably at 94-97 mph and peaks at 99.  He has had trouble throwing secondary pitches for strikes, though he helped himself in that regard by added an 88-92 mph cutter last spring.

Baseball America thinks that Goforth will start 2012 in the rotation at Wisconsin to build some innings.

The game remained 1-0 until the seventh inning.  Weisenburger drew a walk with one out, Orlando Arcia reached on an error, and Gant Elmore walked.  John Dishon came up with two outs and drew a walk to force in Weisenburger.

Weisenburger walks home.

Then, I had this really weird moment of Did THAT just happen?

Hopkins stepped up an lined a pitch to center.  The Kernels centerfielder raced back, leapt, and missed the ball.  He crashed to the ground and apparently knocked the breath out of him because he did not get up to chase after the ball, which happened to roll out to the fence – a mere 422′ from home plate.

Hopkins raced around the bases and score without a play

Hopkins slides in safely.

Just a routine Inside-the-park Grand Slam.  Seriously. That happened.  Maybe he did get faster.

The rest of the game was academic.  Wisconsin scored one more run, Arcia singled in the ninth and would eventually score on a wild pitch.

Wisconsin sent four more pitchers out to each work an inning.
7th: RHP Tommy Toledo – 0H, K
8th: LHP Mike Francisco – 0H, K
9th: LHP Connor Whalen – 0H, 2K
*10th:  RHP Seth Lintz – 0H, HBP, 0K

*The Rattlers didn’t bat in the tenth.  When Whalen was done with his inning, the defense stayed on the field and Lintz came out of the bullpen for his three outs…Spring Training, Everybody!

Pitching coach Dave Chavarria talks with Seth Lintz after Saturday's game.

Did you happen to notice anything missing when I talked about the pitchers.  I’ll bold it: Ten innings, Nine strikeouts, No Walks!

The Manatees game was still going after the Rattlers wrapped up.  That allowed a few guys to be fans, if only for a brief time:

Manatee watching.

The Manatees won their game 13-2.  I saw three-run homers by Jimmie Pharr and Kyle Dhanani in that game.  Scoreless innings by Eric Arnett, Greg Holle, Tyler Cravy were tossed, too.  Brooks Hall, Evan Anundsen, and Eric Marzec also pitched for the Manatees today, but I’m not sure how they did.

Most importantly today, no injuries.

Max Walla and Nick Ramirez AND Michael Reed were injured yesterday.  Walla (Four weeks) and Ramirez (Six weeks) are out for extended periods of time.  Reed’s was minor and he will probably be back in games early next week.

There is another short day planned for tomorrow.  Morning workout and at 10:45am Arizona time, the Rattlers will face the Manatees in a five inning game.  Matt Miller is scheduled to pitch for the Rattlers.  Jimmy Nelson is set to start for Brevard County.  Both pitchers are scheduled to pitch five innings.

I will be there and updating the game on twitter – @CMehring – with a full writeup after the game.

Until tomorrow.

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