Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Chad Blackwell Toward the end of July (the 30th according to my records) when Dunedin came in here last, I made note of a reliever with a great kick. His name is Chad Blackwell and was the first time I had a look at him. They'd picked him up on July 7th from the independant Northern League Gary SouthSohre RailCats.

Blackwell was drafted in the 6th round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Royals. He pitched his rookie league season with and split time between Low and High A in 2005 within the Kansas City farm system. The Pirates acquired his rights as the player to be named along with Jonah Baylis for Mark Redman. Evidently there were some concerns with his arm after the 2005 season leading to an MRI that revealed nothing.

He appeared in 19 games in 2006 for Lynchburg and 4 for AA Altoona but then was evidently released by the Pirates and went into Indy ball to have his contract purchased in 2007 by the Blue Jays.

He throws from a low three-quarters angle but is not a true submarine pitcher. His fastball registers around 90 - Jeff-Jeff went and check on it for me - and he throws a slider and a change up, the latter helping him against lefty hitters. He's a strong groundball pitcher. What got me was the kick, he's got this odd little kick he does.

He was born in 1983 in Fort Lauderdale and lists his home town as Clewiston, Florida, making him a semi-local boy. He attended the University of South Carolina which once I found out about it, I mentioned it to Tom as one of "his" Gamecocks was pitching against my Miracle.

"Oh yeah? Which one?"

"Chad Blackwell".

"Relief pitcher isn't he? He was the best kid in the program while he was there."

That kind of surprised me. Tom's not usually up on baseball. Blackwell was a 3rd team College All- American relief pitcher in 2004 and a Southeastern conference All-star relief pitcher the same year, so perhaps there's a reason Tom remembers the kid, which has nothing to do with his odd little kick.

So with the Jays back in town for three games, I was trying to get his autograph last night. I did get quite a few of the Jays' players but couldn't find him until he got up on the mound to pitch. Darn it all anyway. I have to get the Jeroloman cards signed tonight, so perhaps he'll show around the dugout. But I think he snuck into the bullpen the back way last night, which is why I couldn't find him.

I probably need to make a mental note, not to get too entranced with relief pitchers anymore, as they are too hard to get graphs from. Brandon Magee, who's ranked like 5th in the Jays' organiztion by BA was easier to get. He signed both my cards and my ball. Why do the relievers feel the need to slink off to the bullpen when they've got fans looking for autographs?

Anyway. I'm amusing myself with Blackwell for the next couple of days. And I have some nice video for you too.

Gene was giving me a hard time about getting to many autographs from the other teams. "You, the ultimate Miracle fan." I replied that I never said I was the ultimate Miracle fan. Alternate Miracle fan maybe. Some people refer to me as a "so called fan" so I'll just go with that. I get the same treatment at the Blades games. If you're not 100% rabid about the team, then you're not a real fan.

I think I'm going to branch out a bit more next year anyway and pay more attention to the visiting teams. Much more entertaining than seeing the same old guys all the time. (Although, you know, I would never get tired of Toby.)

I expect the Jays will have a harder time with the Miracle tonight after Ray shut them out through 7 innings, so we'll see how it goes. I still expect the Jays to win, they Miracle generally have a hard time beating them, especially for the important games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dianna, This is Chad Blackwell. I just wanted to tell you that I am extremely sorry for not getting you an autograph, but I was kinda wrapped up with family and friends in town when we played the Miracle. I will be more than glad to autograph some thimegs for u if you like, just email me at chadbss3@yahoo.com and I will get back with you on an address to send it to. Also if you have that video I would love a copy of it. Sorry once again and hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Chad Blackwell