Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blue Jays Ball

Brett wanted to know if the GCL boys realized what I did for them. No one else has that kind of a site for their team and for that matter, neither do any of the other FSL teams have a fan site that goes into the detail mine does. The closest is, but he does not follow the Phillies GCL team, nor does he post the rosters for Minor League Spring Training, Extended, and/or Instructs. And he don't think he does much in terms of organizational news, which I will post on my blog.

On the whole, I don't think they (the GCL boys that is) care. The GCL site was set up more for the parents, not the players. They're too busy playing baseball, although I do have fun with them once in a while. The Miracle site started more as a means for fans (myself included) to get the news because the team site is geared more toward promotions, not baseball. I don't really care about concerts and fireworks. I'm more interested in player movement and who's pitching.

That being said, I have mentioned that I'm probably going to branch out a bit with the FSL stuff next season and have more coverage of the other teams. Nothing against our guys, but it does occur to me that the guys on the other teams aren't all trolls. Some are actually really nice.

Iris' whole comment is that she couldn't keep up with all the autographs, which is not really my intention either, although knowing what the "pitching rotation" is for each team might prove helpful for autograph seekers. And by pitching rotation, I mean who is where on any give night. For example, the Blue Jays pitching rotation works as follows:

The day following a start, the pitcher is in the bullpen, the next day he's in the dugout, and the next two days he's in the stands, charting.

The Miracle rotation is the day following a start, the pitcher is in the dugout, while the other three pitchers in the rotation are in the stands doing charting, speed gun, and video.

The Tigers on the other hand send one pitcher into the stands on the day following his start to chart. I have no clue what they do with the others. I guess I'll just have to ask.'s something to work on next year. I'll probably do a page with the stadium info (including dimensions) and add the "pitching rotation" info to it. Or maybe I'll put it on the collectables page. I haven't decided.

In any case, the results of this last homestand:

Blue Jays Ball

Adrian Martin, Connor Falkenbach, and Aaron Tressler

Blue Jays Ball

Brandon Magee and Aaron Wideman

Blue Jays Ball

Russ Savickas, Daryl Harang, Paul Phillips, and Orlando Trias

Notabley missing is starters Robert Ray and Eric Fowler, and relievers Billy Carnline and (::sob::) Chad Blackwell. I could have HAD Fowler, he was sitting in the stands next to Mr. Wideman, but I thought he had already signed it, so I didn't ask him. Duh.

And Blackwell, well...he was the one signature I really wanted in the first place but no matter what I tried, I kept missing him.

TJ and Brett INSISTED he always came out the dugout entrance, just stay right here and you'll get him. I said he'd know, somehow, he'd know I was there looking for an autograph and he'd come out the gate on the other side of the dugout. Sure enough, the boys scamper off to get Twins autographs, I look up, and there is Mr. Blackwell, coming out the other gate.

I could have cried.

(Dear Mr. Blackwell. If by some chance you should read this I want you to know you've broken my heart. Not that you care, I'm sure.)

I also wanted Mr. Martin again, as I got the photos from his start enlarged to have him signed, but he slipped out the side gate to head for the dugout as well. I'll live. Maybe I'll try doing those TTM next season if he's in AA.

With the season coming to an end, I need to start getting things caught up to date and get ready for next season. I should not procrastinate because I will then get caught up in hockey season and still be behind if I don't work on this in September and October.

That being said, I need to go now and work on putting the photos together for the GCL boys as this is the last weekend and I have procrastinated way too much on that. They won't care, but their parents certainly will.


(If you're really bored, go watch the Video of Liam & company. I look forward to seeing a new one soon, perhaps of Dirty wrestling a crocodile.)

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.

Monday, August 20, 2007


The boys were having a discussion in between the GCL games on Sunday about God creating Man vs. the Theory of Evolution. Kevin Harrington seems to think he evolved from a Velociraptor.



That would explain his speed.

But it also gives me a very strange visual as to what his feet must look like when he takes off his shoes.

Remind me never to go to Harry's house for dinner.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

GCL Twins, Pirates split double header

GCL Twins 3 at GCL Pirates 4

Current Record: 31 - 16

W: C. Amaro (2-1, 3.92); L: M. Hamburger (1-1, 1.64); SV: E. Cordero (5)
HR: None.

E: Revere (1, fielding), Wright (1, pickoff), Beresford (8, throw).

I told Nelson Prada before the start that I wanted 2 wins. I meant in the same day. The Pirates were already up in this game as it was the conclusion of Tuesday's rain suspended contest.

A Quincy Latimore single, a wild pitch by Glen Perkins and a Thomas Hagan single to center resulted in the run for the Pirates before the game was suspended.

The Miracle were batting, with 2 outs and the count 2-and-2 with Nick Biagini at the plate. So Nick got up there to face Carlos Amaro instead of William Kelly and drew a walk. However, Danny Rohlfing would be called out on strikes so it would be to no avail.

Chris Duffy, on major league rehab, would replace Latimore for this game. Also Ramon Santana had been sent up to Beloit, so James Beresford replaced him at short, and Yangervis Solarte moved over to 2nd base.

Thom Wright took the start for the Twins and struggled from the get go, walking Alex Vargas to lead things off. Ciro Rosero then hit a deep fly ball that was going over the wall, however outfielder Kevin Harrington caught it before it left the park, robbing Rosero of his trip around the bases. Vargas stole 2nd and then Daniel Bomback doubled him in.

I want to stop for a moment and tell you what a joy it is to watch James Beresford field. For the past couple of years watching Trevor Plouffe sleep through games at short, Steve Tolleson misread balls and Luis Ugueto look laxidasical, having a shortstop out there that makes the kind of defensive moves that I last saw out of Hanley Ramirez is such a pleasure.

So had it been Plouffe or Tolleson or Ugueto, Chad Rice would have had a hit. But Beresford snatched it out of mid-air and fired the ball over to Biagini for the ground out. Amazing. Aussie. Now...if we can just get his bat working...

Chris Duffy hit one to Juan Richardson at 3rd to finish off the first inning.

Harrington got up to bat and doubled out to right to cap off his defensive performance. A Ben Revere single brought the speedy Califoria kid home. Solarte then hit a triple to plate Revere and tie up the game.

Wright, however did not respond with the Wright stuff, as he allowed a single to Victor Alvarez, then overthew Biagini on the pick off attempt to move him to second. Revere got to John Fitzpatrick's fly to center, and Wright got Hagan to strike out. Alvarez, getting of tired of sitting on 2nd decided to steal 3rd. This seemed to upset Wright, who unleashed a wild pitch that brought Alvarez home. Josue Peley would single and move to 2nd on a passed ball by Rohlfing before Alex Vargas out be taken out on strikes.

Rosero would reach on a throwing error by Beresford in the 4th, but it proved immaterial as he was caught stealing 2nd and the Pirates could go no where with it.

The Twins tied it up again in the 6th when Richardson hit his way onto first base, then stole 2nd. Angel Morales doubled him over the plate.

Mark Hamburger would replace Wright and got a quick 6th inning. It was in the 7th with Caleb Fields aboard as a pinch runner and at second base when the problem occured. John Fitzpatrick hit the ball to short and Bereford again made a tough catch on the ball then threw to first to try to get the 3rd out. But Hamburger could not handle the catch, which got Fitzpatrick on base and allowed Fields to score. Beresford took it hard, but it wasn't his fault. Hamburger needs some work on his defensive plays. He's a good pitcher otherwise, and I really like having him on the team.

The Twins tried their best in the top of the ninth, with Prada bringing in his big guns in Jon Waltenbury, Alex Soto, and Nick Papasan, but only Soto could get a single, which moved Morales to 3rd but no farther when Papasan was taken out on strikes.

There would be a 30 minute break while the Twins licked their wounds, and the stadium field was groomed.


GCL Pirates 1 at GCL Twins 5

Current Record: 33 - 16

W: L. Hendriks (4-1, 1.13); L: S. Giblin (0-1, 7.47)
HR: None.

E: Papasan (1, throw).

As near as I can tell, Pirate 3rd baseman Carlos Silva has a broken nose. He had some sort of funny contraption on his face, which we all sort of felt was there to protect his nose. It would prove important in this game as it was blocking his vision.

We started out with another amazing Aussie, this time in the form of starter Liam Hendriks. Hendriks would pitch a 1 hitter through six innings, striking out 11. It was simpley an awe inspiring performance from the 18-year-old, who might well be good enough to make the jump to Beloit to start next season.

Silva had his first fielding error in the 2nd, which allowed Jon Waltenbury to get on base and Danny Rams followed on a force attempt that failed with shortstop Victor Alvarez could not handle the ball. But Nick Papasan lined out and Andres Diaz flew out to end the inning. It did however set the stage for what was to come in the 3rd.

James Beresford singled out to left, and Jeanfred Brito followed with a bunt. However, after both managers yelled at the umpires, Brito was ruled out on batter interferance and Berseford had to go back to 1st. It was okay. Ben Revere singled out to right which moved Beresford to 3rd. Yangervis Solarte followed it up a line drive plated Beresford. Juan Richardson's fly ball scored Revere before Waltenbury flew out to left. Danny Rams singled a ball to the mound which pitcher Sean Giblin couldn't handle. That prompted a pitching change and Gary Amato was brought in.

He led off with a wild pitch that brought Solarte in. Nick Papasan then batted straight to Silva, which hit him, and bounced off. Silva picked up it but mis-threw, which allowed Richardson to score. Andres Diaz followed suit hitting straight to Silva who couldn't see to get the ball, which brought in Rams. Beresford's grounder would end the run fest, but the Twins had 5 which proved a very comforatable lead as Hendriks allowed the Pirates nothing.

Silva was removed after the inning being replaced by Daniel Bomback.

The lone Pirate run came in the top of the 7th when Jakub Toufar took the mound and allowed a Caleb Field's single and a Bomback triple. He would get Thomas Hagan to ground out and Papasan made a nice catch on Andrew Biela's pop ball. Juan Garcia was taken out on strikes to end the game.

Solarte was 2-for-3 in the contest, the only Twins player with multiple hits in the game. (Bomback would be 2-for-2 for the Pirates.)

The split double header put the Twins 4 games up over the Orioles in the South Division with 7 games left to play. The Reds visit the Lee County Sportsplex on Monday for a noon contest.