Archive for August 30th, 2009

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 22

Where has the 2009 baseball season gone?  It seems like yesterday when teams had just started to break camp in AZ and FL and further disperse their minor league talent to respective cities and now this week begins 40 man roster expansion in MLB with minors races and playoffs to follow.  Here’s what’s coming up:

Chicago Cubs 8/31/09 Billy Williams – First 10,000 – One of the more popular cubbies of all-time. Williams was better known for hitting than for defense, but he made crucial catches in two different no-hitters by Cubs pitchers: Ken Holtzman in 1969, and Milt Pappas in 1972.

Lowell Spinners 8/31/09 Gary DiSarcina – First 1,500 – Lowell honors their 2009 manager after sporting an impressive MLB career mostly with the California Angels.

New Hampshire Fishercats 8/31/09 Ted Williams – First 2,000 – Another copycat from Lowell, this time of the Splendid Splinter flying a plane from his war days.

Trenton Thunder 8/31/09 Chien-Ming Wang Figurine – First 2,000 6 and up – This will be the 2nd statue of the most famous Taiwanese pitcher in MLB history thusfar.

St. Lucie Mets 9/1/09 Slider (Mascot) – First 250 – This time Slider will go to the adults.

Portand Seadogs 9/1/09 Jon Lester – First 2,000 – Boston’s #2 starter played a major role while he pitched at the AA level, thus he gets this honor.

Albuquerque Isotopes 9/3/09 Manny Ramirez – First 3,000 – This is the Isotopes 2nd opportunity to get a Manny bobblehead to their fanbase that honors the rehabber.

Hudson Valley Renegades 9/3/09 Paint Your Own Bobblehead – First 3,000 – Nobody really knows who it will be or what colors they will have, but how many different ways can you paint a raccoon?

Wisconsin Timberrattlers 9/3/09 Brett Lawrie – First 1,000 – Lawrie was the 2009 fan’s choice winner and a rising star to boot.

Delmarva Shorebirds 9/4/09 Matt Wieters – First 1,000 – Interesting that this is the only affiliate that is giving out Wieters that he has never actually played a game at.

Lansing Lugnuts 9/4/09 Carlos Marmol – First 1,000 – Marmol is now back in his closer role with the Cubbies and was always very popular at this affiliate.

Charleston Riverdogs 9/5/09 Paint Your Own Bobblehead – First 1,000 – Are you a budding artist? Then show off your skills when you come to the Joe for the Paint-it-Yourself Bobblehead giveaway. The first 1,000 fans this Saturday will receive a free plain bobblehead and a set of paints to decorate their player in their favorite team colors.

Cleveland Indians 9/5/09 Travis Hafner BobblePen Holder – This time Pronk is able to store pens instead of swinging his huge bat; interesting concept!!!

Wilmington BlueRocks 9/5/09 Andrew Layman – First 1,000 – The 2009 fan favorite bobblehead of the Rocks denotes their Asst. GM which becomes their 2nd front office bobblehead after Chris Kemple was honored a few years ago.

New York Mets 9/6/09 Frankie Rodriguez – First 25,000 – Krod comes to the Mets after setting an MLB record for saves with Anaheim and also sporting 2 bobbleheads while in their system.

Potomac Nationals 9/6/09 John Lannan – First 1,000 – The PNats will try again to distribute the Chaminade grad after an earlier rainout.

Vancouver Canadians 9/6/09 A&W Root Bear (Mascot) – First 500 – Ahh I got it now…Root Beer, Root Bear…HA HA.

I’m debating making a trip for the final long weekend of the minors season and just looking to calculate distances and midpoints. Anyone who is interested in helping me plan feel free to get in touch with me.

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Disco Hayes Is Our Kind Of Guy

Truth be told, I’m a little angry about this whole Disco Hayes phenomenon that’s been sweeping the nation.  Not because of anything personal toward ol’ Disco – I think the problem is that I’m jealous that we didn’t discover him first.

I wish we’d discovered him first because Disco Hayes is our type of player.  He throws a fastball that spends most of its time in the high-70s and is probably better suited to the front office than the pitcher’s mound.  He’s a sidearmer.  And he possesses a preternatural ability to believe himself, no matter the odds:

They call Chris Hayes “Disco” because he throws in the 70s. Isn’t that beautiful? Everything about Disco Hayes is like that — funny and self-deprecating but also oddly confident. Disco Hayes believes he will get out big-league hitters. He doesn’t believe that he can get them out. He believes he will. And no one yet has shaken that belief.

Oh, Disco is a smart guy — a Northwestern grad with a computer science degree. He understands why people may think that an undrafted pitcher who throws sidearm fastballs at 78 mph isn’t a big-league prospect. He sympathizes with those people. Hey, if Disco didn’t know better, he might think the same thing. But he does know better.

“I can’t really explain it,” he says, and while he’s talking, he and his wife, Tracy, hold hands. “I’ve just always believed in my ability to pitch.”

“We know we’re going to have a long career in the big leagues,” Tracy says.

So yeah – if you ever find yourself wondering what a “Bus Leagues” type of player is, look no further than Disco Hayes.

“This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

Great game in Durham last night, as the Bulls overcame deficits of 1-0, 6-1, 7-3, and 9-7 to beat the Gwinnett Braves, 10-9, in fourteen innings.  It was Durham’s sixth win in a row and gave them a one game lead over the Braves in the International League’s South Division.

In the bottom of the ninth, two outs, down 9-7, Reid Brignac worked the count to 2-2 before fouling off four straight pitches.  On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he homered to right to tie the game.

It stayed there into the fourteenth.  Gwinnett’s first batter, Wes Timmons, broke the tie with his first homerun of the season and the Braves added another for the aforementioned 9-7 lead.

Durham loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half.  Jon Weber lined a double to right, clearing the bases and giving the Bulls the walkoff win.

Gwinnett trails in the division by one game, but holds a 3 1/2 game advantage in the wild card.

The Strasburg Has Landed

Two weeks after finally signing with Washington, Stephen Strasburg has finally started workouts at the team’s facility in Viera, Florida.  The Washington Times’ Mark Zuckerman was one of a handful of media on-hand to check out the former San Diego State star:

This may have been mundane to the extreme, but it didn’t stop four reporters (including yours truly), two photographers and about two dozen autograph-seekers from invading the festivities. Strasburg was clearly fazed and uncomfortable with all the attention.

“I thought I’d get a little peace out here on the field, but you guys follow me everywhere,” he said later inside the lobby of the Nationals’ minor-league complex, his head down, not even wanting to look any of us in the eyes. “I guess it just goes with the territory. It’s something I’m going to have to learn to deal with. But it’s good to be out here and throwing a baseball again.”

I would’ve thought that he’d get used to dealing with all the attention when he was in college, but when you get down to it, maybe it’s the sort of adjustment that some people just can’t make (I know I couldn’t).

What he has to do, then, is figure out what he can do to minimize distraction and focus on doing his job (as Zuckerman points out, the attention he gets now is nothing compared to what he’ll see when he reaches the majors).  That seems to be nearly as important as maintaining his physical health.

Dominican Summer League Finals Are Underway

The DSL Giants defeated the DSL Twins last night, 4-3, to take a one game to none lead in the best-of-five championship series.

The Giants held a 2-0 lead until the Twins’ Yancarlo Franco tied it with a two-run homerun in the top of the seventh.  The visitors took the lead the following inning when Romy Trinidad reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on two consecutive wild pitches, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Manuel Soliman balked in the tying run before intentionally walking Gabriel Cornier to reload ’em up.  Soliman worked his way out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to preserve the tie.

It ended the next inning with a manufactured run.  Jorge Lopez walked, advanced on a acrifice bunt, and scored on a single to right to give the Giants the advantage.

Game Two was scheduled for this morning at 10 AM Eastern time.

Saltillo Wins Mexican League Championship

mexican league winnersArmed with a three games to two lead in the Mexican League finals, Saltillo put matters to rest early in Game Six, scoring in each of the first six innings and building a 13-0 lead en route to a 14-1 win. Seven of the team’s nine starters had two or more hits and eleven of eighteen safeties went for extra bases.  Quintana Roo sent eight pitchers to the hill, but none was able to silence the bats of the Saraperos.

Starting pitcher Rafael Diaz was named the Most Valuable Player.  Diaz, a 38-year-old native of Cuidad Juarez, won Games Two and Six, allowing one run on eight hits with six strikeouts in the finale.