Archive for June 4th, 2008

You Nicknamed “The Deal”, Can You Handle a Whole Team?

Big doings in the South Atlantic League. The Columbus Catfish (Rays), who won the league in 2007, are on the move. By 2009, they will call Bowling Green, Kentucky home. This is quite a blow to an area that claims uninterrupted pro baseball since the Civil War.

Bowling Green Professional Baseball, the Kentucky-based organization that will run the team after the move, has just broken ground on the swanky new digs that will host the Catfish in 2009, so things seem to be moving right along. One small problem, however. They don’t like the name. Or, they like the name just fine, but want to generate some excitement and a sense of ownership in the local populace. Either way, they’re hosting a contest.

Name the 2009 Bowling Green single-A team

If you do participate, hopefully you’ll give it some thought. The last thing a new team needs is a lot of internet carpetbaggers inundating them with requests to name the team the Bowling Green Spidermans or some such nonsense. Though that would be kind of funny, now that I think about it.

One note – Bowling Green is the home of Western Kentucky University and their wonderfully amorphous mascot, Big Red. Whatever nickname the team goes with, the wacky suit it inspires is going to have to be good enough to share a town with the big guy.

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Video: Jay Bruce’s First Major League Homerun

I once hit a walkoff homerun. It was in Little League. We were trailing, 8-7, in the last inning when I came up to bat with the bases loaded. I ripped a line drive just inside the first base line and managed to touch ’em all before they got the ball in for a game-winning, inside-the-park grand slam*.

*Truth be told, it was Little League, and I wasn’t the World’s Fastest Kid.  There were probably about six errors on the play that allowed me to score.  I like my version better.

So yeah, I know EXACTLY how Jay Bruce felt when he crushed this game-winner last Saturday for his first major league homer. 

Now Pitching For The Cincinnati Reds…

Some might argue that Homer Bailey doesn’t deserve a “Now Pitching For…” post; after all, it is an honor typically reserved for prospects who are just arriving on the major league scene, not ones who appeared in nine games and pitched 45.3 innings in 2007.  

When I saw that the Reds were calling Bailey up to make a start on Thursday, however, doing this post was the first thing that popped into my head.  Though he had that big league experience a year ago, he started 2008 with Louisville (AAA-International League), where control problems kept him from advancing sooner.  Even now, it doesn’t exactly sound like Dusty Baker and Company are excited to have him in Cincinnati.  MiLB.com’s Mark Sheldon noted the difference between Bailey’s 2007 and 2008 arrivals:

When Bailey was first set to debut in 2007, he was heralded as a potential savior for a struggling team. With his 2008 debut nearing, Bailey is just Thursday’s pitcher, as Reds manager Dusty Baker didn’t exactly offer heaps of praise when asked about the timing of the call up.

“Well, I don’t know if it was timing,” Baker said Monday. “Sometimes, there’s necessity. How many other guys do we have on the [40-man] roster? Anybody else we’d have to put on the roster.”

Sounds like they’re really expecting a lot out of the kid in the near future.

This was mentioned in a previous post on Jay Bruce, but can you imagine what the Reds will look like in a year or two if the young starting pitching pans out?  We’re talking about a rotation of Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.  Couple that with the promising young lineup, and Reds fans might have reason to be optimistic.

Loek Van Mil is a Tall Glass of Grolsch

Every once in a while, a search term comes up often enough that I feel compelled to research the subject and “answer” the potential readers who are blindly wandering the back alleys of the internet searching for obscure facts about minor league baseball.

This week, I’ve seen “Van Mil, Snappers” come up a few times, and it rang a bell with me immediately. I mentioned Dutch prospect Loek Van Mil in an early link dump of A-ball news.

I have to admit that I don’t think the searches are all about the Dutch import’s stats.

While the Beloit Snappers’ (Twins) website doesn’t differentiate starters from relievers, it does seem pretty clear that Van Mil’s 15 appearances and 25 innings translate to a bullpen role. One in which he has put together a decent line of 1W, 0L, 2 saves, 28 Ks and a 2.52 ERA.

But I suspect the searches are bolstered somewhat by the fact that Ludovicus Van Mil of Oss, Netherlands, stands 7′ 1″ and weighs 232. Pounds, not Kilos. Put that on top of a regulation 10-inch mound, and you’re looking at one Big Metric Unit.

The only video I could find of Loek is from 2007, but let’s have a look anyway. Watch for at least 40 seconds to see the big guy take off to cover first:

I can’t help but wonder if those stretch limo legs are screwing up Van Mil’s delivery a bit. We’ll keep an eye on him and let you know if he advances out of A ball.