By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
Pirates second baseman Max Moroff kicks off Minoring in Twitter with this awkward photo:
What are the greatest things we as humans have ever done, you probably often ask yourself? We sent men to the moon. We know how to make fire. We can fly, we have advanced global communication systems, we created the game of baseball (duh) and also, we’ve mastered the art of making pasta salad:
Wes Wilson, a Yankees prospect, boasts of our ability to mix various boiled noodles with vegetables and oil, but he’s not too high on humans creating cars that can almost drive themselves:
Wes also wonders what elderly folks think about while walking:
Lancaster’s Johnny Sewald suggested baseball umpires can no longer be trusted and the game should start using computerized technology to determine balls and strikes:
Aside from setting off a Terminator 2-level disaster in which Skynet would become self-aware, machines would take over and magic invisible boxes on TV would determine pitch counts, the idea garnered some reactions. (more…)
By Tyler Maun/MiLB.com
Our Rockies Organization All-Stars story dropped today, but Rockies senior director of player development Zach Wilson and Double-A manager Darin Everson had much more to say about the promising state of things in the system.
Wilson on top prospect Brendan Rodgers playing second base this season:
“With some other guys there that needed to get experience at short and second too, it made sense to start moving Brendan around a little earlier. That was certainly a factor, but I think the overwhelming factor was Brendan’s still a shortstop, but the earlier we can start teaching him a new position, especially with the way that his bat plays, we’re only increasing his versatility and his ability to progress to new levels based on the bat. There’s still a lot of work to do there defensively really at both of the middle infield positions, but the fact that he took on a new position and still progressed as a shortstop as well, and was able to do what he did offensively, made for a very impressive year.”
Wilson on discovering Stephen Cardullo out of independent ball, suggested to Wilson by director of pitching operations Mark Wiley:
“Truly from the minute he stepped in, the way he played the game, he played each out like it was the last he was ever going to play. He showed up to the field every day and created energy and passion for the game for people around him because he played it that way. He did nothing but impress on the field and off in Spring Training. By the end of Spring Training, we’re going, ‘OK, we’re finding a spot for this guy. Where’s the best place to get him at-bats?’ The best way to do that was Triple-A and we all know now that he’d never played, at least in affiliated baseball, above Rookie ball. All he did was carry that over — what he did in Spring Training and how he came into camp — into Triple-A. A lot of this was Stephen Cardullo.
“Toward the end [of the season] right before he came up [to the Majors], we started throwing him at first base. That was a suggestion of Jon Weil, our assistant GM of player personnel, who went in [to Albuquerque] and was scouting the club as he scouts all our clubs and said, ‘Hey, have we tried this guy at first?’ I said, ‘We need to do that.’ We put him over there, and Stephen adapted very well to that very early on and showed that he was more than feasible there. That plus the bat plus the way he played the game showed us this guy deserves an opportunity. Then he came up here and did what he did.
“It was really a team, collaborative effort from the development staff at Triple-A to people on the outside just observing the club coming up with ideas to Mark Wiley who pointed us in his direction. What a credit to Stephen. What a credit to all the people involved and what a special story it became.”
Wilson on 2016 Rockies first-round pick Riley Pint:
“In my 16 years in the organization, he’s the most electric arm I’ve seen. With an electric arm, especially a youthful electric arm, come some other things that he’s going to have to figure out. I think everybody in the scouting world knew that there was going to be some delivery development along the way. He’s already done some of that in his first year which is pretty impressive.
“I think we have to remember that he’s still growing into this huge body of his that’s long-levered and long-limbed. He’s starting to kind of figure out how to move his body around, to keep his balance over the rubber, to keep his delivery repeatable, to keep his release points where they need to be for all of his pitches. That’ll continue to be a work in progress as he continues to physically mature, as he continues to mentally mature in terms of what it means to be a pitcher. Once all those things come together, with the way he works and his attitude and his aptitude, he’s got a chance to be a very, very special Major League pitcher.
Wilson on 2015 first-round pick Mike Nikorak:
“Mike Nikorak was just starting to turn a corner when he got injured. I saw the outing just before the injury where I think he went five or six innings, and I think he punched out six, might have walked one, gave up one hit. I don’t remember the exact line, but I know it was good. Not only was the line good, but what I actually saw with my eyes was the Mike Nikorak that we drafted and that we knew that we had.
“He was just starting to turn a corner. Then he hurt the middle finger on his throwing hand and we had to shut him down, but I just witnessed about three bullpens in instructional league. He’s ready to go. He didn’t pitch in a game there, but he’s ready to go. He threw three tremendous bullpens and he’ll be a guy that’s going to have, I think, a really nice Spring Training and beginning of 2016.
Wilson on 2015 supplemental first-round pick Tyler Nevin, who missed all but one game in 2016 with a hamstring injury:
“It was unfortunate, he basically missed an entire season due to that hamstring. He had basically one of the worst hamstrings you can have without requiring surgery, so the rehab on that is extensive because it takes a lot of time to heal and then it takes a lot of time to build back up. We ended up just shutting him down for the year, but he was basically fully active outside of full running in instructional league and we continue to make progress with him. He’ll basically be at Salt River Fields all offseason, so I expect him to be ready to go next Spring Training as well.”
Wilson on Hartford’s ballpark situation preventing the Yard Goats from playing any home games in 2016:
“I think it was tough for all parties involved, including the Yard Goats’ front-office people who helped us tremendously in making adjustments along the way. I don’t think we knew, certainly, that we were going to lose a whole season and have to play a whole season on the road, but we knew that this could be fluid and that there could be adjustments that we’d have to make.
“I can’t tell you how proud we are of the staff and the players for them really embracing what it meant. They knew out of the gate, and as they went along, yeah, there were some struggles with how they were feeling about it, how they had to get through it and some things they had to change, certainly mind-sets they had to change. But how they ultimately embraced it and knew, you know, ‘This is out of our control and the only thing we can control is how we take the field every single day, just do our work, get better and ultimately play a game that night,’ how they went about that in a very professional and respectful manner is very impressive. Then to be eight or nine games over .500 going through that is one of the more impressive things you’re going to see. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Wilson on the Rockies’ new Class A Advanced affiliation with Lancaster and its reputation for being an extreme hitters’ environment:
“It doesn’t change anything for me. I think no matter where you play, there are advantages and disadvantages to every park. [Class A] Asheville’s got a 40-foot wall that’s 297 down the right-field line. So how do you deal with that both offensively and defensively? I think the key for us is not sitting here and worrying about any of that. I think we have to recognize that, yes, it’s our reality. I think we need to see how we can take advantage of any ballpark that we’re in. I think certainly there are advantages in Lancaster and there are disadvantages in Lancaster just like there are anywhere in the country.
“How do you set up a system and a standard to make sure that you’re getting the most out of all of that? I certainly think that’s what it comes down to and that’s how we’ll do it. All I know is this: I’ve never seen a ground ball leave the stadium. As we’ve always said – and we say the same thing about Coors Field – it comes down to mind-set and aggressiveness and taking the hill with some confidence that this is my house. I think when you climb up a mound, no matter where that mound is, with that mentality, you’ve got a chance for success. That’s certainly going to be the case in Lancaster as well.”
The Rockies are the only Cactus League team to not field a team in the Arizona League. Wilson addressed why Colorado fields its Rookie club in Grand Junction with a Class A Short Season team in Boise.
“It’s more complicated than what first meets the eye. There’s no question about that. Certainly there are advantages to [having a complex team], and I think the advantages are obvious. You can have Latin players over here maybe a little bit sooner. You can have some of your youngest draftees maybe in a league where it’s easier for them to put up numbers. That stuff is, I think, easy to say.
“But you can also look at it in the other direction which is young players that are challenged early on in their career in places where their competition is a lot older than them, ultimately what kind of positive effect does that have on them? We haven’t had a Rookie team for years and years and years now, and yet we’ve developed pretty good. Now we’re developing pretty good on both sides of the ball. I think there’s a lot of advantages to it, to not having one, to kind of -– for lack of a better way -– forcing some guys into competition that might be a touch too much for the mat the time. I think there’s advantages to that, and I think from the outside looking in, it’s harder to see those advantages, but we’ve certainly looked at them here and feel comfortable with where we’re at.
“In the same kind of regard, it’s different to develop as a player in a game setting. There are a lot of things, obviously, that we do in a non-game setting, but in a game setting when it’s the middle of the summer and you’re playing your games at 10 in the morning, and you’re in 120-degree heat and there’s no fans, how do you continually inspire them and motivate them to press forward and get the most out of yourself that day when that’s the type of environment that you’re playing in? I think there are a lot of different ways to look at it. I think we’ve tried to weigh all of them, and we’ll continue to evaluate that as we go down the road.”
Everson on the breakout year by MiLBY Relief Pitcher of the Year candidate Matt Carasiti:
“No. 1 was confidence. No. 2 was he was just way more efficient with his pitches. We saw and heard about some of the other things that were going on in years past in terms of walks and stuff, but he just got efficient with his pitches. He was in the strike zone a lot, and when he gets ahead, he’s able to throw that split-finger with authority and throw it for strikes and as a wipeout pitch. I really believe that he just learned throughout.”
On his team not having a home ballpark in 2016:
“As we talked right from Day 1 of Spring Training, leading into the season and where we got then pushed back — like that we were going to be there in July, we’ll be there in August, and then kind of knowing that we weren’t going to get in there at all -– the players did a great job of buying into just the concept of truly controlling what you can control. You talk about it when you’re coaching and instructing and all that stuff, you learn to isolate your thoughts on to one thing and really be where your feet are. We’d talk about that a lot. ‘We’d love to be in our stadium, but we’re here right now, and we need to be here. We need you mentally here and physically here so you can actually go out and do your job.’ At the end of the day, it’s a baseball game, and you need to go out and compete and do your thing.
“The ability of our guys to basically control the amount of complaining that could go on because we don’t have this, we don’t have that, we don’t have a lot of things, I really think it made our team more cohesive. I think, as a staff, we really try to keep our finger on the pulse of the team to make sure that we knew when we needed a couple of days of lesser work on the field, when we needed to maybe go a little harder here and there. The guys did a great job.
“Especially with a lot of the exit articles and interviews with people who were asking kind of the same question, I really think that one of the biggest things is the guys are going to come out with a lot more appreciation of what they do have once they do get into a stadium, once they do get into a normal routine of having that at home and then understanding and remembering what it was like to not have that home. I think the understanding, the appreciation for how good everything is when you do have that is going to be immense. I think it’s going to help their ability to help control what they can control because it’s not going to get much more hectic or crazy or interesting than it was when we went through 142 games without having a home stadium. They can always fall back to that and rely on that in terms of that. I think they’re going to come out and we’re all going to come out on the other side of it better and more understanding and appreciative of what we have.”
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
The Braves Organization All-Stars have been selected, but Atlanta director of player development Jonathan Schuerholz had more to say about the state of the system.
On getting to see the Class A Rome rotation lead the team to a crown:
“It was awesome. I had the good fortune to see the final game in Charleston, and I saw the series against Lakewood. I got to watch firsthand, to see that group together. It was easy to see what they did was special. Each night they would try to outdo the guy [who pitched] before. They fed on each other. It’s healthy competition within the organization. They all want to get to the big leagues, to get out and show that they’re worthy of making their way through the system, and with that healthy competition, those are great relationships. [Rome pitching coach] Dan Meyer and pitching coordinator Chuck Hernandez did a great job.”
On moving the Class A Advanced team to Kissimmee:
“First of all, it’s a four-year PDC, so we’re not going to be going through the same song and dance two years from now. That gives us a lot of consistency, which is something we haven’t really had the past couple years. We were very happy with Carolina and how we were treated. We don’t have a bad word to say about Carolina. Everybody was happy with that partnership. But this gives us the ability to know where we’ll be in four years. With this franchise moving from Brevard to Kissimimee and our Spring Training at Disney so close, logistically, that’s a plus. Not that that was a main goal — it just kind of happened that way — but we’re excited.”
On Jonathan Morales’ offensive performance:
“If you look, he started off really hot, on a tear, and then he came back down to earth, maybe a little lower than his average should have been. But when you look at catching, it’s very difficult to develop catchers and hitters. The body takes quite a toll, of course, over the season and he went through a lull there. To his credit and to the credit of [Rome hitting coach] Bobby Moore, he righted the ship and turned in, overall, a really good year.”
On how Carlos Castro can improve and his offensive aggressiveness:
“There’s still a lot of work for him to do defensively. He was kind of a free swinger, and he still is to some extent. He lets it loose.”
On Ozzie Albies’ move to second base:
“We knew coming into the year we were going to have a decision to make about him and Dansby [Swanson]. We felt either one could have hopped over to second very easily and learned the position. We had to find out who the shortstop was, and Dansby took that role and ran with it. When they played together, it was outstanding. Those two guys on the same team … that was outstanding.”
On Albies’ injury:
“With Ozzie’s injury, we’re hoping everything comes out fine, and we think it will. [Albies and Swanson], whenever it happens, they’re going to be the middle of our future.”
On Austin Riley’s 147 strikeouts in 495 at-bats while still managing a .324 on-base percentage:
“Every power hitter is going to strike out some percent of the time. We don’t want that to be 30 percent and he’s trying to cut that down a little bit. He did cut it down a little bit, and we’d still love to see him make a little more contact, but a guy with 20 home runs in the Minors…”
On Dustin Peterson’s offensive performance:
“The hitting is the hitting and we saw what can do, but to put up the kind of numbers he did with a home ballpark like that, it’s very special. He had a great year for us. We got a great return in the trade, and we’re excited to see what he’s going to do in the [Arizona Fall League] and next year.”
On Ray-Patrick Didder’s approach to the game, defensive prowess:
“He plays the game with a sense of ease. He has such a fun nature — he’s out there playing in the backyard. He’s really enjoying himself. He’s become one of our top defensive outfielders and he has one of the strongest arms in the system.”
On Keith Curcio’s consistency:
“He continued to stay with his progression plan of improvement. It’s a process that means improving every year. I don’t want to call this a breakout for him because he’s been consistent all along, but it’s nice to see him come up with [an uptick in extra-base hits] this year.”
On what led to Patrick Weigel’s breakout year:
“What he did … we knew he had the stuff. [Pitching coordinator] Chuck Hernandez did an outstanding job and [Rome pitching coach] Dan Meyer did an outstanding job in how they handled him. They let him go out and show what he can do. In places in the past, I think he was kind of hamstrung. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I think they tried to put Patrick into a cookie-cutter, ‘This is how to pitch.’ We let him go out and do what he can do.”
On what Sean Newcomb can build on from this year:
“His delivery got much more consistent, especially in the second half. I just want to see him build on that consistency, and obviously, to see his walk rate go down a little bit. He doesn’t give up very many hits and he’s striking guys out — those numbers are good. “
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
D-backs Minor Leaguer Ryan Burr officially warned the city of Las Vegas:
Iowa Cubs outfielder Ryan Kalish can’t stand, but he now has a bat to sit with:
Wow. Erie right-hander Thad Weber definitely sounds like a 32-year-old Minor Leaguer in his most recent tweet, which takes aim not at Pottery Barn but Pottery Barn’s kids division:
Mets Minor Leaguer Chasen Bradford is really excited about the Ryder Cup, as are we all:
Astros Minor Leaguer Cy Sneed spared us photos of dead bears from his Alaskan hunt, so I guess that’s good:
Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech is amazed at the baseball that has occurred in 2016:
Sometimes all you need is chocolate:
Braves left Matt Marksberry has no patience for video games or girlfriends who need time to apply makeup. Wait until he discovers traffic or running a mile on a treadmill:
I can’t wait to wear this underwear, tweets D-backs Minor Leaguer Mitch Haniger:
You’re weekly Harambe reference:
If you ever need to fall asleep, Marlins righty Tyler Higgins provides this advice:
J.P. Crawford showing off his squad:
Has Phillies 2015 first-round pick Cornelius Randolph ever been friendly with you at the ballpark? Maybe signed a ball or chatted about the weather? Well, don’t be deceived — he may well not like you whatsoever:
Twins prospect Nick Gordon isn’t nice to anyone — he’s a shark:
Tim Dillard knows all about driving in the rain:
Has anyone ever left candy on your side-view mirror?
Players react to Jose Fernandez’s death
Finally, we end with the thoughts and reactions to the shocking passing of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez:
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
Remember Cubs Minor Leaguer John Williamson, the part-time/aspiring rap artist? Now that the season is over, he’s back in the studio:
Which I guess is an upgrade from rapping in the passenger seat of some guy’s car:
So the question is, is Williamson better at rapping than pitching? The 23-year-old finished the season 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 57 innings at Class A South Bend — he allowed just one home run all year and held batters to a .218 average, so at this point, maybe music can wait.
What if you’re not an actual rapper? Sometimes you just need to drive and sing:
Sometimes you just need to dance and sing:
Micah likes getting dirty:
Rays Minor Leaguer Mike Franco had one of the weirdest dreams last night! #suspense
Where have all the scary movies gone?
You know who LOVES yoga? Rays Minor Leaguer Zack Trageton:
Y’all are clowns:
How much is Sandy Alcantara bleeding in his bullpen throwing sessions? Seriously.
Jeremy Barfield and the game of baseball have a rocky relationship:
Jeremy Barfield and his local Ford dealership have a rocky relationship:
Guess what? Phillies right-hander Kenny Koplove is correct:
Mariners prospect D.J. Peterson is not pleased with American Airlines:
Switch-hitting Tigers Minor League second baseman and Texas native Brett Pirtle spent most of the season in Michigan, but now he’s finally home and reunited with Chicken Express:
How nice is this photo by Angels prospect Michael Hermosillo?
Giants Minor League catcher Matt Pare documents his cross-country road trip, which includes seeing bats in Austin, Walter White’s car wash from Breaking Bad and sunrise over the Grand Canyon, among other things:
Erie outfielder Wynton Bernard met Jerome Bettis:
Cardinals Minor Leaguer Corey Baker suited up for Israel in the World Baseball Classic on Friday:
Tim Tebow Tweets of the Week
The Mets are selling Tebow apparel to fans after the former QB signed a deal with Majestic to license stuff with his name (usually a player would have to be in the MLBPA), and Minor Leaguers are jealous:
Tebow is “grinding” and players appreciate it:
Tim Dillard Tweets of the Week
Tim Dillard hasn’t been called up to the Majors, but he is in Milwaukee now, wearing a Brewers uniform and re-enacting scenes from Office Space with Bernie:
Chipotle Tweet of the Week
In New York City, where a Chipotle chicken burrito bowl is $9 with tax instead of $6.30, it’s more like two:
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
A Mets Minor Leaguer took to Twitter to reflect on Sept. 11, 15 years later:
Others also posted notes:
Giants Minor League catcher Matt Pare is now on dog-walking duty:
But Charlotte left-hander Matt Purke? He’s already got the dog-walking routine down:
Yankees prospect Jake Cave is ready for an offseason of fried chicken and tea:
Cubs Minor Leaguer Zack Short takes a shot at American Airlines. Ouch.
Padres prospect Carlos Asuaje has a message for El Paso as the Pacific Coast League Finals head to Oklahoma City:
Red Sox prospect Tyler Hill is freaked out:
Put your rifle down — there’s balls to be thrown:
Would you like to sell Indians prospect Justin Toole your kayak?
What would you do to save your mozzarella sticks?
White Sox Minor Leaguer Brad Goldberg got stuck with a $7 coffee bill:
Blaise Salter, Super Star:
Yankees prospect Josh Rogers broke his driver:
The new MiLB team in Kinston, North Carolina is asking for help in naming its team:
Tim Dillard Tweets of the Week
The iPhone 7 came out Friday but Tim Dillard is already thinking ahead:
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
The Daytona Tortugas, a Florida State League team and Reds affiliate, revealed how they clean garbage from fans that’s fallen under the bleachers this season. It’s pretty awesome:
Royals No 6 prospect Kyle Zimmer has been on the DL since May, which allowed him to take a nice vacation to Kauai, a Hawaiian island where parts of the Jurassic Park movies were filmed:
Here’s everyone who’s called himself a Round Rock Express this past season:
People have been looking at Red Sox Minor Leaguer Justin Haley funny:
I’m not really sure what happened in this photo — how did players from Midland get into the hotel rooms of Corpus Christi players?
Mamma Chia really loves Tyler White. What’s he gonna do with all that stuff?
Tim Dillard Tweets of the Week
Tim’s season in Colorado Springs is over, and so is his long hair and beard. See for yourself:
Yes, we said the beard and hair are gone. He documented that process, of course:
Yes, the season is over for many Minor Leaguers. Some — most — did not get a September promotion to the Majors:
Minor Leaguers Aren’t Excited About Tim Tebow, Part III
Tim Tebow is officially headed to baseball’s professional ranks, and haters are hating. I think a lot of the resentment among current Minor Leaguers stems from Tebow getting a $100,000 signing bonus — the most money the Mets could give him without incurring penalties — despite having not played baseball since high school in 2005:
I’m guessing A’s Minor Leaguer and 2013 28th-round pick Joe Bennie did not get a lucrative signing bonus:
Wait, wait, hold on. Has anyone asked Tigers Minor Leaguer Blaise Salter what he thinks of this whole Tebow thing?
As for Tebow himself? Welcome to Minoring in Twitter:
Chipotle Tweets of the Week
Does this count?
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
Tim Tebow took his first big step toward living the high life in the Minors (see our 4 a.m. bus breakdown drama below!), working out for 200 or so folks at USC on Tuesday, with most of the assembled onlookers being Major League scouts and media members. Tebow? He’s confident. The scouts? They’re cautiously optimistic. According to the LA Times:
Scouts queried agreed that Tebow is likely to be signed and assigned to the lower levels of the Minors, perhaps high Class A or Double-A, as a corner outfielder.
First of all, Double-A is not a “low level” of the Minors. I would be stunned if Tebow was sent to a Double-A team to open the 2017 season, or even a Class A Advanced club. But could we see Tebow sign, get a crash-course in baseball at instructs and then spend the offseason working closely with coaches to learn the basic (and finer) points of the game? Sure. Tebow at Class A next April would be a great story.
For those not familiar, Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player while at Florida before an up-and-down NFL career that saw him lead the Denver Broncos to the playoffs and then basically get discarded by the Jets, Patriots and Eagles, effectively ending his football career. He’s remained popular (and polarizing) as he works as an analyst for ESPN. Earlier this summer he surprised us all by pursuing a career in professional baseball, a game he hasn’t played since he was a high school junior. His workout Tuesday was attended by every Major League team except the Cubs, Giants and Athletics. Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski said his team wouldn’t be “rushing out to make a signing,” but Tebow’s agent said five or six teams expressed interest.
According to the LA Times report, Tebow’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, noted that “teams expressed immediate interest after the tryout.”
But what did actual professional baseball players think of Tebow’s power, speed and outfield arm?
Tim Dillard recaps the Colorado Springs Sky Sox’s thoughts on Tebow:
Colin Kaepernick stirs up debate
Another NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has accomplished much of what he intended to do this week: create an on-going debate/dialogue about American values, freedoms and society in general. Kaepernick has decided not to stand during the National Anthem before football games, and sports fans have taken the behavior down a few different paths. Minor Leaguers? They also chimed in:
Minor Leaguers love riding buses
Hey, it’s September, so our days of players whining about 19-hour bus rides through Iowa are growing slim. Enjoy ’em while they last:
Hot Rods’ 4 a.m. bus meltdown
The Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods could have used some actual hot rods to get from “middle of nowhere Ohio” to Lake County, which I’m guessing is also middle of nowhere Ohio.
Hot Rods radio announcer Alex Cohen takes over, documenting the entire nightmare:
“Sun beginning to rise”
Grab your pillows boys, the new wheels are here!
They look like Little Leaguers on a school field trip, holding their baseball gloves and pillows while the adults talk things over:
But this story has a happy ending! The Hot Rods earned a trip to the Midwest League playoffs three days later, which means more baseball and more bus trips through Kentucky and Ohio!
Pigs in the community:
Micah Johnson says he did pretty well in his fantasy football draft (for the record, I got an A- in mine):
Bakersfield’s days in the Cal League are numbered, but they made the playoffs:
Good luck Florida:
Tim Dillard Tweets of the Week
Tim Dillard takes his videos seriously. Look at this dude, these are real, un-edited screengrabs from his videos:
Gene Wilder is gone, but Willy Wonka lives on forever:
Wait for Bill Murray:
But here’s how it all really goes down:
Chipotle Tweets of the Week
Due to a lack of MiLB Chipotle-related tweets, please enjoy this story about kids eating free.
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
In this week’s California League notebook, MiLB.com visited with fans, staff members and players who are in the process of saying goodbye to the High Desert Mavericks, one of the two Cal League clubs (along with the Bakersfield Blaze) being eliminated in a Class A Advanced realignment.
Here, we have more thoughts about the end of an era from people connected to the Mavs.
Players Luke Tendler and Scott Heineman
Heineman: “It’s known as a hitter-friendly ballpark, because on most days the wind is blowing out. Defensively, it can make it kind of frustrating, because if a ball gets caught up in the air, it’s a tough one to read. But definitely as a hitter, knowing that you just need to put a good swing on one and it can travel out of here is a good feeling.”
Tendler: “That’s the biggest thing with me, when I see the wind blowing out, I can definitely go up there like, ‘Hey, let’s try to hit one in the air and try to get it out of here,’ and sometimes that will affect my approach, instead of going up there with a clear head to try to hit the ball hard.”
Heineman: “As hitters, even though some days we want to come out here and take BP because it’s fun to see the ball travel and put on a show, we also like to take BP in the cage, just because we want to stay focused on a line-drive swing and not let the wind get caught up in it and let it affect our swings.”
Tendler: “When I got drafted, I went to short-season [Class] A, which is in Spokane, Washington, and they had a big crowd there every single night. The next year, I went to [Class] A, which is in Hickory, North Carolina, which is not a bad crowd. Then you come here … it’s definitely not as big a crowd as other places I’ve played before, but we have some good fans here. We’ve got some loyal fans.”
Heineman: “We don’t get many, but the fans who are here are die-hard fans. We see [some] every single night, always in the front row cheering us on. To have those guys here helps us want to play here.”
Tendler: “It’s cool [trying to win a championship] knowing this is the last High Desert team, at least for a while. At the same time, we’re hungry, and it don’t matter what stadium we’re playing at. We’re going into the playoffs, and we’re trying to win it. That’s the biggest thing — we’re going there trying to win every game if possible.”
Heineman: “We’ve been talking about it in the clubhouse, obviously, we’ve got eight games left, and we want to play well in those games. We want to get to 80 wins at least and see how many ‘W’s we can get out of that, but this group is just excited to get going in the playoffs.”
General manager Ben Hemmen
On coming to the team ahead of the 2016 season only to see it shuttered after 2016:
“I call it the High Desert experience adventure. We work in an unbelievable industry where we get to create lifelong memories with people. This ballpark’s been open for 26 years, and that’s evident through a lot of different things. For all the old that you see at the ballpark and everything that’s been aging and hasn’t been kept up, there’s that same season-ticket holder who’s had that same seat for 26 years. It’s been awesome to be able to impact their lives over the last 22 months and bring them joy while we can, while we’re here. It’s been a fun adventure.”
“I didn’t come here with the idea of moving or doing anything. I just came here to do my job and learn, and it was a great place to be able to come and be a first-time GM. So much history, so many people have been here and gone to great places.”
“It’s been amazing to be able to contribute. It’s too bad it’s the final days, and I’m going to be the last one — I guess I’ll be a trivia question: ‘Who was the last GM in High Desert?’ But it’s been great for me, personally.”
On dealing with the question of what comes next:
“It’s a perplexing situation. But every baseball season, something comes to an end: the season, the team, the record, your attendance — on all levels, or whether you’re a player on the field. Every season’s a new chapter or a new beginning. I’ve dealt with this once before in the closing down of an old stadium, because I got my start in Omaha with the Royals affiliate. So, I was with the Omaha Royals in ’09 and ’10, and we closed historic Rosenblatt Stadium, so I’ve been through the whole rummage-sale, move-out process, but we had a new ballpark to move to in the city, so there was excitement. This is a completely different story. Personally, it’s a change, and change is tough.”
“I told the staff, people are going to be sad, and when they’re sad, they get mad. Some people get angry, some people just get really, really sad, and we don’t know where to direct that. It’s too bad, but for our staff, we’re just going to be out there, be free agents looking for jobs, and we can use this as great experience to leverage our next step.”
“HoJo [Howard Johnson], our manager, great guy, lets people experience the game more than they ever wanted to. He lets staffers, his staff, other people, bring out the lineup card. He let Margaret May, who’s been a season-ticket holder for over 20 years, do it the other day. She just had tears in her eyes. It was sad, but it was happy tears. I’ve talked to people, and for a lot of them, their question is, what are they going to do? Where are they going to go? A couple season-ticket holders have started an email chain. They went around getting people’s addresses to stay in contact. I guess this is the open call for Lancaster, Inland and Rancho…. Who wants to give me a referral fee for sending them the business?”
“They’ll find their baseball, they’ll find their stuff, but for them it’s truly sad, because they live here. I only got here two years ago. I came here just for this job, so I can move on and move out, but these people — it’s their lives. This is where their families are. Generations have been raised here. I talked to one lady who brought their daughter here when they first moved here when she was 4, and she now has her daughter here, so it’s a mother, a grandmother and a kid. It’s those stories that are going to be the most sad, because at the end of the day, baseball goes on. There will be 30 teams and their affiliates. But it’s the history that’s leaving that’s sad.”
Fan Margaret May
“My husband [John] is a very devout baseball fan. Actually, his team is the Detroit Tigers. He’s from Detroit. I’m from England, but I still love the baseball. It’s a lot of fun. We meet a lot of nice people.”
“[The Quakes’] radio announced [Mike Lindskog] used to be our radio announcer. We’re very good friends, and we go down there and visit with him and his wife and their little boy all the time.”
Fans David and Sharon Martin
David: “In 2010, we moved here. We got a half a year season-ticket the first season we arrived, and solid ever since.”
Sharon: “Full season tickets ever since.”
David: “But I guess we’ll just become Quake fans. Longer drive down the hill…. I guess next stop is the Quakes. OK.”
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
Goats with a goat. Twitter is probably not going to beat this photo this week:
It should be noted that the Hartford Yard Goats (a) have yet to play in Hartford and (b) refer to something that isn’t actually like the goat pictured in these tweets:
Here’s a bunch of food-themed mascots hilariously and repeatedly falling over a bullpen mound in Reno:
What does it look like when a fan throws up on the field during a game? The Charleston RiverDogs answered that question for us:
What’s it like to play in front of a stadium closed to fans? Here ya go:
Pretty gigantic salmon:
Twins prospect Todd Van Steensel apparently orders Jimmy John’s takeout every day:
Luke Jackson loves you:
Tim Dillard Tweets of the Week
“But he looks like a troll”
“I gotta gain some more weight”
“Michael Phelps and the dude that lied.”
Minor Leaguers tweeting equipment photos
Minor Leaguers celebrate their dogs
Friday was supposedly #NationalDogDay or some made-up holiday. Here’s some photos:
Bowie’s David Hess swapped out his Mustang for a pickup truck:
Is Columbia’s Andrew Church — who looks really happy in his player page headshot — saying he’s going to steal yoga pants?
Chipotle Tweets of the Week
Let’s make it a week of Chipotle!
Extra meat is $3.25 now?! #MakeChipotleGreatAgain!