Mehring in Arizona, 2013 – Day 1

Big news on the Championship Ring presentation and some tidbits from my first day at Spring Training.

My God! Everything is so bright! And GREEN!  AND BLUE!

My God! Everything is so bright! And GREEN! AND BLUE!

The big news that was confirmed today is this:  The 2012 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers who are in camp will receive their Midwest League Championship Rings in a pre-game ceremony before the Brewers host the Chicago Cubs in a Cactus League game on Friday, March 22 at Maryvale Baseball Park.  The ceremony should start right around 12:30pm.

Then, the Rattlers will head to the outer diamonds to play their spring training games.

There will be pictures from the ceremony some time tomorrow.  We are also efforting to get some video, too.  When we have it, you’ll see it.

To the game!

I arrived at the complex just in time to catch Marquette’s great escape against Davidson as I picked up my media credential.

It was the the bottom of the sixth by the time I got to the diamond where Matt Erickson’s team was taking on the Lake County Captains.  The first person I saw was pitching coach David Chavarria.  He immediately asked me who I wanted to start opening day.  I asked him if he was ready because I told him that he was starting in Peoria on April 4 and again for the home opener on April 8.

Here was the lineup that Matt Erickson used today:
Tyrone Taylor – cf
Orlando Arcia – ss
Jose Sermo – 3b
Clint Coulter – c
Adam Giacalone – dh
Mike Garza – 1b
Alfredo Rodriguez – 2b
Jose Pena – rf
Michael Reed – lf

During the game: Paul Eshleman replaced Coulter and Chris McFarland replaced Giacalone

The pitchers for the Rattlers today were:
Anthony Banda (L)
Preston Gainey (R)
Taylor Wall (L)
Jorge Ortega (R)

If I reconstruct things correctly The Rattlers were down 8-1 to the Captains with two outs in the seventh inning.  Mike Garza was at the plate.

Mike Garza was the only 2012 Timber Rattler playing with the team on Thursday.

Mike Garza was the only 2012 Timber Rattler playing with the team on Thursday.

Garza singled later in the at bat.  Rodriguez also singled.  Then, Tyrone Taylor hit a ball that cleared the left fielder’s head.  The ball bounced on the warning track and over the wall for a ground rule double.  Garza scored on the play.

He would hit that double later in the at bat.

He would hit that double later in the at bat.

Garza cruised home after the ground rule double.

Garza cruised home after the ground rule double.

But, the inning also ended on the play.  For those unfamiliar with minor league games in Spring Training, the coaches for each team can ask to end an inning early (AKA: Roll it).  Coaches can also ask for an inning to be extended.  Remember, it’s all about getting the work in at this time of the year.

In the eighth, Orlando Arcia hit a double to right- his opposite field – over the head of the outfielder.  Jose Sermo singled to drive in Arcia.  Then, Paul Eshleman hit a home run to left.  Click on any of the last three pictures to enlarge them.  Look at the lighter netting above the dark green on the outfield wall.  Eshleman cleared the green by a good margin.  That made the score 8-5.

But, in the top of the ninth, Lake County got a couple of runs against Jorge Ortega.

Jorge Ortega hurls one to the plate on Thursday afternoon.

Jorge Ortega hurls one to the plate on Thursday afternoon.

An error by Arcia let a runner on with one out.  The ball was a routine grounder to short that Arcia let go through his legs.

I happened to be watching that part of the game with hitting coach Dusty Rhodes.  Dusty told me not to worry about that play.  Arcia has been outstanding on defense this spring.  He also told me to look up a play of Arcia’s that he made in a big league game that wound up on SportsCenter….

AND it was called by Vin Scully! So what if he said “grobbled it up” and call Arcia “Arias” at first. It’s probably going to happen a time or two with the Timber Rattlers radio announcer this season.  It’s still sweet!

Baseball America rates Arcia as the #17 prospect in the Milwauee Brewers organization.  He had a nice season with Milwaukee’s team in the Dominican Summer league in 2011.  But, he suffered an injury – broken ankle – during extended spring training in 2012 and missed the whole season.  According to the Prospect Handbook:

The break was so severe that doctors inserted a metal plate to repair it.  Arcia, whose older brother Orlando is a top prospect in the Twins system, recovered in time to participate in instructional league and got more action over the winter at the Brewers’ Dominican academy.

Dusty said that Arcia is going to be fun to watch this season.  That’s good enough for me.

Busy day tomorrow.  Note that all times in this paragraph are Arizona times.  Add two hours for the time back in Appleton.  Practice at the complex starts on the outer diamonds at 9:30am.  The ring ceremony at the big league stadium at 12:30pm.  Minor league game against Great Lakes back on the outer diamonds at 1pm.

I will be tweeting updates during the day.  Follow @CMehring for those updates.

I thought about starting this post with the travel notes and horror stories on my trip from Appleton to Detroit to Phoenix.  But, I’m not Peter King.  And I didn’t have any problems.

It was smooth sailing, er, flying.  How smooth? My bag dropped down the baggage carousel just as I got to the baggage claim area.  That was outstanding.  Wait. Maybe, I am Peter King.  I guess this is a good place to stop today.


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