Friday, August 8, 2008

Rain suspends Sarasota Contest

Ben Revere

The game between the Fort Myers Miracle and the Sarasota Red was suspended in the top of the first inning when a nasty thunderstorm blew up in the area. (Funny, it barely rained in the Cape!)

It will be played as part of a double header on Saturday starting at 4:00 PM. The second regularly scheduled game will be shortened to 7 innings and will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

It's Dog's Night Out 3, Dogs will be admitted to the park for $5 each with the proceedes to benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County. It's also Senior Saturday, featuring a $2 General Admission ticket for mature fans, 55 years young and over.


Baseball will play it's last game at Holman Stadium in Dodgertown when the Palm Beach Cardinals take on the Vero Beach Rays on August 31. The Florida State League as confirmed the sale of the Vero Beach franchise to Ripken Baseball. The group has partnered with the Tampa Bay Rays and will move the High-A Rays affiliate to Port Charlotte for the 2009 season, which will also mark the first year of Tampa Bay's spring training at that facility.

While the sale has been approved, Ripken Baseball spokesman John Maroon declined comment, saying that "there are still some aspects of the deal that aren't complete."

The move will unbalance the 12 team Florida State League leaving 5 teams in the East Division while putting 7 in the West Division. A possible scenario would have Lakeland move over to the East Division. "Lakeland has had the experience of being in the East before and it was pretty expensive for them," team president Chuck Murphy was quoted as saying. The league may choose to re-align along North/South lines instead. That issue will be addressed on the League Meetings this fall.

There has been some interest in the Baltimore Orioles relocating their spring training facility to Dodgertown, but that will not happen until 2010 and will not affect their High-A team, the Frederick Keys which plays in the Carolina League. The Sarasota Reds will likely seek to relocate their High A team to the west coast when they move to Arizona in 2010, but a deal will have to be reached with a current Grapefruit League based franchise to play here.

What will happen with the Orioles and baseball in the city of Sarasota remains to be seen. A third possibility involves the move of the Red Sox spring training facility to either Sarasota or Orlando. The Red Sox have wanted back into the Florida State League and either city would allow them to relocate their High-A team. (

Batting and Pitching: Two players who may well be in a Miracle uniform next season are the topic of a pair of articles on First, the Twins take a look at Shooter Hunt, their 3rd pick, (31st overall - 1st round supplemental) in the 2008 first year player draft. Hunt, a New York Yankees fan, had hoped to go to that franchise but when they passed on him he was pleased to be selected by the Twins.

"I knew the Twins do a great job with their pitching staff," Hunt says in the online interview. "I knew a fair amount about the organization and all about their developmental system."

A converted catcher, Hunt has been pitching for only five years now and has experience control problems in college. The Twins are confident they can work out those issues.

"We've worked on a lot of stuff. We've really tried to harness my balance point," said Hunt. "And getting consistent with everything, which is my goal with everything. You have to be consistent to move up the ladder."

Hunt says that he is a baseball junkie. He doesn't golf or fish or anything, he just enjoys baseball and calls himself a student of the game.

"The first couple games just being around the team, it was like, 'This is what I do now.' This is what I've always wanted to do since I was three years old, and now it's time to get going." (

Getting going is what center fielder Ben Revere does best. Especially when it involves his bat. The Twins first round pick (28th overall) in the 2007 draft has been very consistent with his bat in the Low A Beloit Snappers franchise. 73 games into the season, Revere is hitting .388, the highest overall in the full-season Minor Leagues. Former Miracle Terry Tiffee of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s is second at .375 in 87 games.

Revere's bat and blazing speed are the center fielder's two biggest assets. He does however have some defensive issues involving his throwing that the Twins have been working on with him while he plays for Beloit. The online interview however does not dwell on these but on rather takes an in depth look at his batting style and what it might mean for the organization.

Look for Revere to be in the Miracle line up starting in April of 2009. It may be possible to get an earlier look at both players when Instructional League Baseball starts this fall. Stay tuned to for FIL information as it becomes available. (

The Fort Myers Miracle are proud to announce that intern Ben Heil has been awarded the Florida State League scholarship. Each year the Miracle and the 11 other teams in the Florida State League partner with the Florida Marlins and award one deserving person from each club a $1,500 educational scholarship.

Heil, a native of Cape Coral , Florida is the son of Brian and Ann Marie. The current Florida Gulf Coast University junior interned with the Miracle this summer, learning the finer points of the team's extensive game day operations.

"Ben has been a pleasant addition to our staff this season. He is eager to learn and adjusts well to everything we throw at him," said Miracle General Manager Steve Gliner. "We feel he is a deserving recipient and I know he will use it to further his major in sports management."

The Florida Marlins have sponsored the program with the Florida State League the past nine years thru their Community Foundation and the Executive Director, Nancy Olson. The foundation has contributed $71,000 to this program.

The award is based both on financial need and minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be an employee of or the child or grandchild of an employee of the participating club during the 2008 Florida State League Season, and must be at least a high school junior by the 2008 Fall Term.

"The Miracle front office staff has allowed me the freedom to gain a knowledge of everything that goes into making them what they are today. They truly do live by the motto, "Fun is Good", said Heil, who even filled in as an emergency bat boy earlier this season.

League President Chuck Murphy stated: "This program is one of the best things we do in this League and I congratulate the General Managers on their dedication and emphasis in administering this program. The purpose of the program is to send a message that an education is key to success in life."

The scholarship winners will be guests of the Florida Marlins in pregame ceremonies at Dolphins Stadium on Sunday, August 17. The Marlins host the Chicago Cubs at 1:10 p.m.

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