Results tagged ‘ Mehring Monday ’
Good Monday! And it is a good Monday! Why?
It is currently 47° and the high temperatures are scheduled to be in the 50s all week long. The snow that fell last week is nearly gone.
The forecast is calling for rain for the next few days, but that will be just fine as it will help get rid of the snow in the stands and everywhere else. Individual tickets go on sale March 12 at 10am and the April 9 – the home opener for the Timber Rattlers – is in sight!!
Opening Day Get Here soon!
The image for this week’s Mehring Monday should tip you off as to my plans this week because the only way to prepare for this weekend is to go old school.
The new Star Wars movie is out later this week. I won’t be attending for a midnight showing on Opening Night. I’ve done that once* and that was way too many people for my liking.
Yes, those are VHS tapes of the original movies…or Episodes IV, V, & VI. I just couldn’t get into the prequels because….well….prequels. I mean come on. Plus, there are, what, a total of four memorable scenes from the prequels.
I will need to watch these again because they are not the versions that George Lucas fooled around with after they were originally released. In other words, Han shoots first and Anakin’s Force Ghost is played by Sebastian Shaw…um….spoilers for a 38-year-old movie.
The movies have never strayed too far from my memory because of the Star Wars Night the Timber Rattlers have done every season for the last several seasons at the ballpark. As a brief aside (and to fill this week’s baseball requirement) the Timber Rattlers will host Star Wars Night on Saturday, June 4.
Every time we unveil the jerseys for Star Wars Night and every time the characters are here I am taken back to the first time I saw the first movie.
The movie premiered on May 25, 1977, but it didn’t turn up until a few weeks later in my hometown’s one screen Ford Theater**.
We went to a small diner to grab something to eat before the show and had seen the commercials and heard the buzz, but were still a little unsure as to what the movie would be like.
Pardon the phrase here, but kids today don’t know how good they have it for special effects in movies. Prior to the first movie, a special effect for a spaceship was pretty much this.
We just didn’t want Star Wars to be that – and it wasn’t. There was something perfect about it for an 8-year-old.
A lot has changed between the first time I saw that movie and now. For example, that diner in my hometown is now a travel agency. I couldn’t see Episodes V and VI at the Ford Theater because it became a XXX movie theater, which is something that was just weird and something that we don’t normally talk about or mention to outsiders… Anyways, that theater is now a Vape Shop and HVAC dealership.
I am hoping that this new movie is good and carries on the spirit of the originals. Speaking of which, I need to find my VCR.
*-It was The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Totally worth it!
**-Not that one. That one was called Ford’s Theater.
I am a bit pressed for time today so I am going to pull a topic that I have been saving for just such an occasion.
If you collected baseball cards around the time I did, you were looking forward to getting Reggie Jackson, Robin Yount, Rod Carew, Mike Schmidt, and all the other great players of the time in that pack. I did, too.
But, I also looked forward to those other cards. The ones with the leaders from the previous season. The ones with the top rookies for the upcoming season. The ones that pointed out the family connections. The ones that talke about trades in the offseason. The ones that I am going to share today.
Like this one about trades. I can’t decide which looks more wrong. Mickey Lolich in a Mets cap or Ron Santo in that red cap. Imagine what they could have done with Photoshop in the 1970’s.
Baseball is a game for Fathers & Sons. Don’t believe that? The proof is in the card! I am pretty sure there is a card out there that has the three generations of Boones out there somewhere. I just don’t have it.
It’s a game for rookies and brothers, too. JIM GANTNER sighting! GARTH IORG sighting! Jim Rice had to share that card in 1975. And check out Jack Morris as a young Tiger on that ’78 Rookie Pitchers card.
It’s a game for leaders. Phil Niekro struck out NL 262 batters in 1977. Nolan Ryan struck out 341 AL batters in 1977. Wait a minute…Rod Carew led the AL in batting….Larry Hisle led the AL in RBI….both guys were on the Twins….Hisle hit behind Carew in the order? That makes complete sense!
There is also room of the record breakers. Like Willie McCovey breaking a record you didn’t know existed. The back of his card notes that “McCovey hit two homer in one inning, 6-27-77 to set one big league mark and set another NL standard”. No other player had ever hit two homers in an inning twice until McCovey. One of those homers on June 27 was a grand slam for his 17th homer with the bases loaded. Note that the idiosyncratic comma before the date in the quote from the back of the card is in the original…for some reason.
There are Legends, too. Yes. I consider Bobby Grich a legend. Dude could play!
Speaking of playing…look at these players and these achievements. Also, the 1974 World Series cards is about Game Five, a 3-2 win by Oakland over the Dodgers that sealed the Swingin’ A’s third straight Championship.
Then, there are the cards with odd combinations. Fountain of Youth for Willie Stargell and Pete Rose? Phil and Joe Niekro tied for the NL lead in victories in 1979? With 21? Really?:
Here are some other cards of note. Like this tongue twister: Sammy Stewart struck out seven straight in his first MLB game. Also, Gene Garber was a Super Veteran! I have one for Yaz, but couldn’t find it this morning.
Have I mentioned that I love that Kurt Bevacqua bubble gum card? Well, I do!
I wanted to move the column over to the blog today because of all the pictures that are needed for this post.
I know what you’re thinking. Baseball and Valentines Day do not mix, except that spring training and the holiday are usually within a few days of each other.
But, you would be wrong.
Take this example of lineup construction:
On second viewing, the bench is not in a dugout. It’s just a bench in a park and the baseball player is on his way to a game. The girl obviously knows when the player would be walking by on the way to the baseball game. This makes her a stalker. And whats the deal with the dress shoes/uniform combo, young man. Rating: A sacrifice bunt.
I am torn on the following card. It tries to hard to with the first baseball phrase, but the second phrase is perfect. The line score tries way too hard to be adorable, but the little dog with the bat…were I human and capable of the reaction, I would go “Awwwwwww!” for the next three days. My GOD! It’s a left-handed catcher!
“‘Mit’ Out on you”? Ugh. Left-handed catcher for Hoyt Wilhelm?? What?? Little dog with a bat! Awwwwwwwwwwww! Rating: A ringing double to the gap in right-center.
Get ready for the use of the word ‘Hit’ in a baseball valentine. It won’t be the last time.
Everyone knows you do not make a hit. Only the official scorer can make a hit. Rating: Infield single.
And now an example of how NOT to catch.
You better make a wonderful catch, young man. The first foul tip that misses your glove is going to concuss you, knock out a few teeth, and – if you are lucky – put another big red spot on your left cheek instead of doubling the size of the one on your right cheek. Rating: Single to left.
This one is a mixture of three things that define me: Offense, Defense, and Desperation
She’s a little close. If he tees off on that ball, we have something for “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. Rating: Double that is just fair inside the right field line.
This next one swings for the fences.
I apologize for combining John Sterling and Valentine’s Day. Rating: Home Run!
Our next card could be used as an example for hitting form. The bear looks like Ted “By Gosh” Williams after a line drive.
The “SMACK” in the heart for the sound effect is the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae. Rating: A .406 batting average!
This next card goes for a trifecta of baseball puns:
A card that has to spell out its puns in RED CAPITAL LETTERS is trying too hard. Rating: Foul pop to the catcher.
Some baseballs can make great faces…Some…Not all…For example:
If your heart is going “pitter batter” please consult your cardiologist because it’s not supposed to make that noise! Rating: Intentional Walk.
No. Really. It says that. What did I say about desperation? Rating: Inning ending double play.
This next one goes through the Baseball Valentine Checklist: Dog? Check. Hearts? Check. Catcher’s mitt? Check. Baseball themed pun? Check. Terrifying eyes? Check!
Not “You’re the one”. Not “Soulmate”. Just, “A good catch”. Kids, that’s called settling. Rating: Single to center.
Consult above checklist.
The card is funnier if you imagine “PLAY BALL!” being yelled out by Ron Luciano or Ken Kaiser. Rating: Bloop double to left.
Try to figure out if the player is wearing shorts like the 1976 Chicago White Sox or is wearing a skirt like the players in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
I will not make fun of the lapels on the jersey. Those things are stylish! Rating: Single to left.
This next one is something that you should probably just skip over. You shouldn’t blame me if it haunts your nightmares for the next two weeks.
I did warn you. Although to be honest, it does use proper grammar. Rating: Caught looking at strike three.
If you think that last baseball themed Valentine card was bad, wait until you get a load of this one:
I can’t leave you with that. How about these:
And to tie this back to the home page, a word from our sponsors:
Feel the love!
Vintage Valentine Museum
Hostess may be gone for now. But, my collection of Hostess Baseball Cards lives on for ever!
Two pictures that are worth 1,000 words each.
Full shot of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry wearing the Timber Rattlers Jersey as part of losing his wager on the MWL Championship Series.
A new order of Championship T-shirts are in at the team store.
Much more at this week’s Mehring Monday on the main website.
Good morning, everyone.
The regular Monday postings and the ‘Mehring Monday’ column on the main website are going to be delayed. But, not for the reasons you might think….
Where was I? Oh, right making an excuse that has nothing to do with football…
I am in the process of going through my lecture that I will be giving at noon today on the UW-Fox Valley campus. I will have everything new again after 2pm today.
Or – if you need “Mehring Monday: Live from Budokan” – stop by Perry Hall today and witness me try to be interesting for an hour without a baseball game as a crutch.
A favorite scene of mine in Citizen Kane is this one:
Rattler Radio has moved and it might be a good time to set up a declaration of principles for the blog.
- Rattler Radio will provide you with timely updates on the progress of all former Timber Rattlers (and Foxes) in Fall and Winter Leagues.
- Rattler Radio will be the place to stop when you want to find out information about the upcoming 2011 season
- Rattler Radio will continue to make it up as it goes along.
- Rattler Radio will attempt to be accurate, but when mistakes are made, they will be corrected as quickly as possible.
- Rattler Radio realizes that it is a long off season, but will help the time between now and Opening Day, 2011 go by as quickly as possible.
- Rattler Radio does not want to declare war on Spain.
- Rattler Radio believes that after Citizen Kane, A Touch of Evil, The Third Man, and certain Paul Masson commercials, this is one of the best things that Orson Welles ever did.
- Rattler Radio believes that eight is enough.
I should print this out and put it right along side my first report card from school.
I know that it’s just a list, and that with 16 teams in the MWL it is tough to make a Top 20 prospects list without leaving deserving candidates off the list.
The reasoning behind the decision to leave Rattlers pitcher Kyle Heckathorn off the MWL list leaves me…oh…underwhelmed…That seems to be a word that is pretty popular.
Jim (South Bend): Was Kyle Heckathorn considered in this list?Jim
Callis: Scouts were underwhelmed by him. Some velo but also some
effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches. He wasn’t as much of a
disaster as Eric Arnett was, but scouts weren’t in love with Heckathorn
Ha. Okay, we get it: Heckathorn isn’t as good as his numbers might lead
you to believe, but “wasn’t as much of a disaster as Eric Arnett” is
silly hyperbole. Come on now, Jim.
That’s a very curious assessment by Callis, since Baseball America also
had Heckathorn’s changeup ranked as the league’s best according to their
poll of the league managers. There is an obvious inconsistency there,
and you have to wonder if Callis is speaking of “scouts” or the 1 scout
that he polled that saw Heckathorn on his worst day.
Some velo but also some effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches.
BA’s midseason tools reports:
Best Changeup: Kyle Heckathorn, Wisconsin
There is some serious inconsistency here that makes me question the validity of either report.
I asked Callis, and he said: “Scouts didn’t like it nearly as much as mgrs did.”
You get the idea. Plus, you get a gratuitous shot at Eric Arnett, too. Really, Jim?
Just out of curiosity, I went back to take a look at the 2010 Baseball America Prospect Handbook entry for Heckathorn, who was rated as the #10 Prospect in the Brewers organization.
His raw stuff is outstanding and rivaled anyone’s in the 2009 draft. His fastball sits at 91-94 mph and peaks at 98. His slider also can be devastating, registering in the high 80’s. Even with his live are and big frame, Heckathorn doesn’t have any problems throwing strikes. Heckathorn is learning how to use his stuff. He doesn’t know how to set up batters and actually throws too many hittable strikes at times. He must come up with a reliable changeup so hitters can’t sit on his hard stuff, and he’ll have to locate his pitches better in the strike zone…The Brewers will keep Heckathorn in a starting role for now, though some scouts project him as an overpowering closer.
Managers think that Heck developed the best changeup in the Midwest League this season. Scouts didn’t. Baseball America used the managers vote for their Best Tools issue. But, that had no impact on the thinking for the prospect list. Sounds like a template has been set for Heckathorn and he will be made to fit in that template no matter what.
After seeing all of his appearances this season, it appeared to me that Heckathorn became more comfortable once he was placed in the starting rotation and was no longer used in the tandem.
Starting on May 16, Heckathorn made eight straight quality starts. I know what you are probably thinking, “Ho-hum, quality starts. Big deal. Three earned runs in six innings. You know that is an ERA of 4.50, right?”
Well, how about if I told you that in those eight quality starts he allowed one earned run three times, zero earned runs three times, and three earned runs twice. Also, in those eight starts starts, he went seven innings in four straight games. He also walked six batters and struck out 36 batters over the 52 innings of those starts.
Plus, there was a stretch of 24-2/3 innings in there where he did not walk an opposing batter.
Since this was a Midwest League list, I doubt that consideration was given to Heck’s performance once he was promoted to the Florida State League. Also, I have no first hand reports on his performance with the Manatees, so I will just have to go off his statistics.
Eight starts with four quality starts in the FSL. 39IP, 40 hits, 15 runs, 13 earned runs, 10 walks, 23 strikeouts. I know that the latest fad is to not mention records because wins aren’t the best way to measure the performance of a pitcher. *cough*4-0withBrevardCounty*cough*
For a pitcher in his first full season who throws too many hittable strikes at times and needs to work on his changeup, Heckathorn gave up a total of 122 hits in 124 innings pitched between Wisconsin and Brevard County. Add in 33 walks over those 124 innings and you have that new wave WHIP stat of a 1.25. I’m pretty sure that number is pretty good.
At the end of the day, the list has served its purpose. It has fans who follow minor league baseball talking about baseball, looking at the stats, and drawing their own conclusions. And that is a good start to the offseason.