Posts Tagged ‘Winston-Salem Warthogs’

Jack Of All Trades

Adam Ricks will probably not play in the major leagues.  There are three reasons: one, he will be 26 years old this month; two, he has played 23 games above the Class A Advanced level in five minor league seasons; and three, he OPSed .406 for Charlotte (AAA, International) in 22 of those games last season.

But even if Ricks doesn’t get to The Show eventually, he will be able to look back on his minor league career and note that he once accomplished something unusual: on August 31, 2008, as a member of the Winston-Salem Warthogs, he played all nine defensive positions.

Ricks began the game behind the plate, his natural position, and moved right-to-left around the diamond, starting at first base in the second inning.

“Our manager does it every year and I was the lucky one to do it this year,” he said. “I’m not sure why he picked me, probably because he thought I could do it. He asked me yesterday before the game if I wanted to do it and when. I had a lot of fun with it.”

You could argue that the manager, Tim Blackwell, is making a mockery of the game by making this an annual event, but I disagree.  The Warthogs had already wrapped up a spot in the playoffs, so the pressure to Win-Win-Win was taking the day off, and I’m sure this is Blackwell’s way of reminding the players – most of whom are kids in their early twenties – how lucky they are to be playing baseball for a living. It’s the sort of thing a good boss does from time to time.

As for why he chose Ricks, I think that was already answered above.  He’s a veteran player who has spent parts of the past three seasons with the team and unless he does something special next year, this might have been one of his last opportunities to make some positive memories as a professional baseball player.  No matter what, from reading the article, it sounds like he succeeded.

Spotlight on A Ball – 4/14/2008

In case you’ve ever wondered what makes for an ideal affiliate for an MLB franchise, here’s what the Detroit Tigers look for. It’s a nice look at the ins and outs of the Player Development Contract from a feature called “Baseball 101” [Detroit News]

This next story is not technically about A-ball. It’s about the Venezuelan baseball academies, which have always seemed kind of sad to me. Probably because they’re out there snagging 16-year-olds. Nonetheless, some of these kids will make it to at least the minors, and some of them will be in a ballpark near you. [Miami Herald]

Meet the Beloit Snappers (Twins). They love pancakes. And waffles. [Janesville Gazette]

You have to love this story. It’s about a guy named David Beal who has devoted years to supporting the Winston-Salem Warthogs (White Sox). He’s never been paid, but he shows up every day and offers to help because he just loves the game. [Winston-Salem Journal]

Big A-ball trade! Perales for Coutlanges! I don’t really know anything about these guys, I just liked their names. [MiLB.com]

An intrepid lady reporter eats Chef Boyardee as a temporary member of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres) [Orange County Register]

If you’re going to get your start skipped in A-ball, you might as well get to meet El Duque. The story of St. Lucie Mets pitcher Eric Niesen [Monroe News]

That’s A News for this week. Look for AA on Wednesday, the Z-Meter on Thursday, and AAA news on Friday.

Spotlight on A Ball – 3/31/2008

aquasox_logo.gifWith 300+ minor league teams in these United States, OMDQ and I will need some way to focus our energies, and this is one way we figured to do it. Monday is “A” ball day. That will include Rookie League and every form of A ball. Wednesday we’ll check out the AA clubs, and then on Friday on up to AAA. We’ll also develop a few weekly features to slot in on the other two days in the rotation.

So, for today, here’s the A News:

The Danville Braves of the Appalachian League are preparing to enter 2008 with a new manager. Former coach Mel Roberts passed away on September 1, 2007, just one day after his club finished their season. Roberts was 64 years old, and had coached at every level in the Braves’ minor league organization. The Braves have turned to a familiar face – new coach Paul Runge led the Atlanta affiliate to an Appy League championship in 2006.

In happier news for the Appy League, the Mariners have brought baseball back to Pulaski, VA. The Blue Jays pulled out of Pulaski before the 2007 season, leaving the league with an unbalanced schedule for one year, but the Mariners have filled that void.

The Casper Ghosts (Rockies) of the Pioneer League are offering Glow-in-the-dark caps this season.

The Midwestern League’s Beloit Snappers (Twins) will welcome 7’1″ Dutch prospect Loek Van Mil to their roster this season. The righty moved up from the Rookie League this season to become the tallest player on a pitching staff that boasts exclusively six-footers and above.

The Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins) of the South Atlantic League have an impressive new presence on the web. Sports writer and season-ticket holder Will Brinson will be covering his hometown team at the new site GrassBloggers.

The Lancaster JetHawks are ready to fly in 2008. The Red Sox A-Advanced affiliate has a full-size FA-18 outside their stadium, and it’s pointed at the sky.

You have to love a Fan Festival hosted by Warthogs. This will be the Winston-Salem (White Sox) club’s last opening day at Ernie Shore Field, as they look forward to a gleaming new downtown stadium in 2009.

In listing their Ten Names to Know, the A-Advanced Florida State League included the awesomely-named Razor Shines, manager of the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies). Aside from his name, the guy can obviously coach, and we might see him in the bigs someday soon.

The State College Spikes are the Short-Season A affiliate for Pittsburgh. Which explains the excellent motto “The Bucs Start Here”.

And just allow me to close by saying I love the Everett Aquasox (Mariners) frog-based logo. If I had to pick one item to buy via internet, I think it would be, well, the socks.

That’s the news I was able to cull by randomly dropping by the league sites. If you are a fan of a team, and would like to let me know about something great going on in your town, drop me a line or a link at busleagues (at) gmail (dot) com.