Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

How Carlos Quentin Got Screwed

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Carlos Quentin was suspended eight games for charging the mound when hit by a Zack Greinke pitch.  Quentin was suspended for eight games, but why?  The usual punishment when a player charges the mound is three games.

My observations of this incident were that Quentin may have had a reason to unleash an attack on Greinke.  However, Sportscenter spent a minute of their broadcast the morning after on Don Mattingly pouting about how this ‘idiot’ charged his pitcher and should be banned from baseball for it.

It would have been easier to take if Greinke hadn’t said something, thrown his glove on the ground, and invited the confrontation, even charging forward.  Who is the idiot Don? Probably your million dollar free agent pickup who is trying to mend his fractured clavicle from his plush recliner at home.

“There is some history there, you can ask Zack about that”, said Greinke.

I didn’t hear the question asked to Zack.  All I got was Donnie Baseball belly aching about how Quentin doesn’t know the game of baseball and how a pitcher wouldn’t dare hit someone with a full count in a one-run game.

Because Greinke was injured, the punishment given to Quentin was extra severe, and I don’t buy it.  If Greinke doesn’t break his collarbone, it is a three-game suspension. Had he backed off and given his catcher some time to slow Quentin down, it may have never happened.  He is as guilty as Quentin for the melee and I hope that the powers that be have the stones to suspend him for eight games when he comes off of the DL.

 

Eastwood Field Delivers Fantastic 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star Game

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The 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star Game was all that and more.  Eastwood Field hosted the contest for the first time and after a one hour rain delay, and a hustling grounds crew, there was a baseball game.  The National League won the game, 6-1, in a contest that seemed to showcase pitching.

“It has been a lot of fun”, said AL Manager Ted Kubiak.  ”Before the game, we told these young men to play.  There were no signs, no set plays, just get up there and hit.  They are all here for a reason and there was quite a bit of talent on that field tonight.”

Kubiak said before the game that the five Mahoning Valley Scrappers that were named to the team would get in early.  The three position players would go four innings and the two pitchers would hurl the first and second innings.

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How the Scrappers did:

Luis DeJesus – Started the game for the American League team and pitched a scoreless first inning without giving up a hit.  He struck out one batter.

Jacob Lee – Pitched the second inning for the American League team, also a scoreless and hitless frame.  Lee (above) struck out two of the three batters that he faced.

Charlie Valerio – Started the game as the American League catcher.  Valerio batted second and grounded out to first in the first inning.  In the third, Valerio grounded out.

Joe Wendle – Started the game at third base for the American League team.  In his first at-bat, Wendle struck out.  Wendle singled in his second at-bat.   He was thrown out at secnd to start a double play.

Joe Sever – Stated the game at DH for the American League All-Stars.  Sever singled in his first at-bat and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Sever was stranded there however.  In his second at-bat, Sever struck out.

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The game itself:

The National League scored the first run of the game.  Consecutive broken bat singles by Patrick Wisdom and Juancito Martinez put runners at first and third with one out.  Breyvic Valera hit a long sac fly to center to make it 1-0 in favor of the National League team.

Estarlin Martinez doubled to start the fifth and scored when Juancito Martinez singled.  Juancito then stole third and catcher Sam Kimmel sailed the throw into left field allowing Martinez to jog home and make it a 3-0 advantage for the National League.

Roman Quinn had an inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning to make it 4-0.  Quinn showed terrific speed whizzing around the bases before crossing the plate uncontested.  The Nationals tacked on four in the ninth.

The American League got on the board in the bottom of the ninth on a Tyler Hanover home run to very deep left field to close the scoring.

The entire Scrappers staff did a phenomenal job putting the game and everything it entails together.  One Scrapper staff member who could be nominated for the MVP would be Matt Rollins (above).  The head groundskeeper battled the elements all day in getting the field in near mint condition.  Big pat on the back to him and his staff.

Chris Serritella Wins New York-Penn League Home Run Derby

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The rain almost prevented the 2012 New York-Penn League Home Run Derby from taking place.  Before a rain delay halted the official game itself, the derby took place.  Chris Serritella, representing the Williamsport Crosscutters got by Mahoning Valley’s Joe Sever in the finals to win the award.

Serritella said this was all new to him.  ”I have never competed in a home run derby before, it was a lot of fun and I am very happy to have won.”

Serritella has five regular season home runs for the Crosscutters this season but said the long ball has been his ticket.

“I have always been a home run type of hitter, so it was real rewarding to win something like this.”

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Sever, the lone Scrappers participant in the contest had a blistering first round with five bombs.  It was definitely a showcase of the power potential the Indians envisioned when drafting the All-Star DH.

“Sever always hits home runs in batting practice”, said Craig Antush, the Scrappers batting practice pitcher.  ”He gives a full, maximum effort and really swings coming out of his shoes.”

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In the end, however, it was Serritella (above) who walked away with the hardware in an entertaining display of power-hitting.

Players from both teams stood outside their respective dugouts and cheered for their one-day only teammates.  Charlie Valerio and Luis DeJesus ran out to Sever during the first round after Sever launched his fourth fence-clearing shot with Gatorade and toweling down the slugger.

5th Annual Eastwood Field Baseball Camp Offered In July

The Fifth Annual Eastwood Field Summer Baseball Camps are scheduled for July 10-12 at Eastwood Field.  Craig Antush is the lead instructor of this year’s camp which is open to boys and girls aged 6-14.

Each of the three days are broken into three options:

Option 1 runs from 9 am until noon and is a fundamentals camp for hitting, throwing, and fielding.  The cost for this portion of the camp is $125.00 per participant.

Option 2 runs from 12:30 pm until 2 pm and concentrates solely on pitching skills such as release point, proper leg drive, mechanics, and motion.  The cost for the pitching-only option is $60.00.

Option 3 is simply the combination of options 1 and 2 at a reduced rate.  The all-day camp cost is $150.00.  If campers plan on attending the all-day camp, they will need to bring a lunch.

These camps will take place come rain or shine.Videotaping will take place Tuesday and Thursday only.

To register contact the Scrapper offices at 330-505-0000 or call Crain Antush at 330-539-4577.  Registration for the camps have begun, so call to reserve a spot as space is limited!

Mike Hargrove To Be Guest Speaker At NYPL All-Star Luncheon

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers announced today that former Cleveland Indians player and manager, Mike Hargrove, will be the keynote speaker at the New York-Penn League All-Star Luncheon presented by PNC Bank on August 14 at the Magnuson Grand Hotel in Warren, Ohio.

Hargrove played twelve seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres. After retiring, Hargrove went on to manage the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners.

Luncheon tickets are available for $35 by contacting the Scrappers front office. All Star Game tickets are also available starting at just $10.

For more information, contact the Scrappers front office at (330) 505-0000.

 

New York Penn League All-Star Game Coming To Niles, Tickets Go On Sale Monday

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Every once in the while, something with a national flavor comes to the Mahoning Valley.  This year, sports fans will have the opportunity to catch the New York Penn League All-Star Game, which will be held at Eastwood Field.

The game will be played for the first time in the Mahoning Valley Scrappers team history on Tuesday, August 14, 2012.  The general public will have its first chance to purchase All-Star Game tickets beginning Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:30 am.

Tickets will be available at the Eastwood Field Box Office, online at www.mvscrappers.com or by calling 330-505-0000. Ticket prices range from $10 to $18.

All-Star event tickets will also be available for Monday, August 13 for the All-Star Valley Gala and for the All-Star Luncheon and Post-Game Party on Tuesday, August 14.

Meet Cleveland Indians Prospect Tony Wolters

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Cleveland Indians fans, meet Tony Wolters.  He is a shortstop who is doing it with, both, the glove and the bat for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.  Wolters missed time last season due to injury after being selected by the Indians in the third round of the 2010 Draft.  So far in 2011, he has not disappointed.  Hustle and dedication are two intangibles that cannot be taught.  Wolters runs out every ball, no matter how routine of a play it looks like.  He is a quiet guy with a big smile who signs plenty of autographs for the fans after home games.  Learn the name, he is Cleveland’s shortstop of the future.

Paneech: Growing up in California, were you a Padres, Dodgers, Giants, or Angels fan?

Wolters: I was a Padre fan.  We use to constantly go to the games when they used to play at Qualcom Park.  My dad would always get tickets in the outfield right on the edge, those were his favorites.  The first player I was always watching was Tony Gwynn.  I try to pattern myself after him from a hitting standpoint.  My dad always tells me a 180-foot hit will get you there, keep doing those.  So Gwynn was my idol.  I was amazed with Khalil Greene at shortstop because he made some special plays and I tried to mock him and even went as far as wearing my pants the way he did, and I grew my hair out because he had long hair.  I liked Mark Loretta a lot too while he was there.  Once they moved to Petco, we started going there too.  I actually got to play at Petco for the Afflac game, it was an awesome and great experience for me.

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Paneech: When you are here in Niles, Ohio, there is about a six foot radius around the mall with some nice restaurants but no beach, no Disney, no mountains.  There isn’t really as much to do, does that free your mind to think baseball?

Wolters: I love the game of baseball and feel truly lucky to play every day.  If I strike out, I get mad, but then I think myself down that I am so, so lucky to be doing what I am doing on a day-to-day basis.  Baseball was my first sport, I also played hockey, and very little, but some soccer.  Hockey was my first sport and then I fell in love with baseball.  It came easy, but as I progress it gets harder.  I have to get in the right mindset everyday and find my swing.  I love the challenge and feel like over the next few years, I want to develop into the best possible player that I can become.

Paneech: Coach Wallace and others before him say that this is a developmental league and the wins are nice but winning and losing are outweighed by progress of individual players.  What are your feelings on winning versus going 0-5 in a win?

Wolters: All of the players on this team want to win.  A lot of it is development, as far as learning how to be a winner at this level.  When we lose, nobody should have a smile on their face and be goofing around.  We want to win.  We want to get to the playoffs and win the whole thing.  We see it as getting better everyday, and secondly, winning as a team.

Paneech: You are in the 2011 Bowman Baseball Card Set.  How do you get into that process and are there other contracts for you?

Wolters: It all goes through my agent, and I really don’t know all of the aspects of it.  Every year you have a card that comes out at some level.  At extended Spring training, I took about five hours to autograph the cards of myself as part of the agreement.  (** Bowman Baseball inserted autographs into packs randomly in 2011.  There are 500 Wolters Autos, plus 150 Blue, and 50 Gold randomly inserted in the whole print run**).  The other contracts, I can’t really talk about right now.

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Paneech: Last year you were injured and missed a lot of time.  What was going through your mind when you were drafted by the Indians?

Wolters: I was at breakfast and missed school that day.  I wasn’t expecting a call or anything and was kind of sad.  My dad looks at his phone and says ‘hey, you just got drafted by the Cleveland Indians’.  I was like ‘really?’  Right after that, I got a call from the scout.  I was really not expecting the Indians to pick me.  Ironically, I played for a team called the Indians when I was in Little League, and my father just happened to be wearing his old Indians shirt.  The Cleveland Indians were like the only team in the majors that I didn’t talk to much before the draft.  It was kind of a boring Summer.  I did go play for Team USA in 2010.  When I first got to Arizona, I was so excited, and I am loving it right now.

Paneech: What is it like playing for Coach Wallace and Coach Mansolino?

Wolters: It is awesome.  They both know so much about baseball.  I have learned so much physically, as well as, mentally.  I am working hard on my mental side and they are guiding me through it.  CoachWallace always comes to me and drops pointers of things that I need to work on.  Coach Manso has done good things for my hitting.  We butt heads sometimes, but that is how you learn.  They haven’t coached much, but I feel like they have.

Paneech: Sometimes when you bat, you lay the bat across the box (above), is it alignment or superstition?

Wolters: I am measuring how far I am from the plate.  If I don’t see where I step in, I do it.  I am very superstitious.  If I have a bad game, I can’t wear the same sliders, and I have to wear different socks, different things on my wrists, or rearrange the order of what is on my wrists.  I have to go out earlier to change the rhythm.  I do everything different until the right combination of things work, and if they work, I stick with them.  If they don’t then I change things some more.

Paneech: So if you go five-for-five tonight, what time do I have to come back and interview you tomorrow?

Wolters: (laughs) You are totally obligated to do that.

** Wolters went 5-6, and was 5-5 until his last at-bat the day of this game.

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One Word Answers

Favorite Meal of The Day: Dinner.

Favorite Thing To Drink: Always Water.

Favorite TV Show: ESPN Sportscenter.

Favorite College Football Team: USC.

Favorite Baseball Team Still The Padres? I can’t say that (laughs).

Musical Preference: Starting to like Country.

Song on Your ipod That People Would Be Surprised By: Baby by Justin Bieber.

Best Friend On The Team: Jake Lowery.

Favorite Candy: Sour Patch Kids.

Fast Food Order: Chipotle, Chicken Burrito with rice, no beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and medium salsa.

Favorite Cartoon Character: Tasmanian Devil.

** Top Photo Courtesy of Jesse Piecuch.


Summer Baseball Camp At Eastwood Field Set For August

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A quality Summer Baseball Camp is being offered at Eastwood Field from August 8-10.  The camp is designed to introduce young players the aspects and fundamentals of baseball.  Rich Pasquale, YSU’s head baseball coach, and Craig Antush, a YSU assistant, will host the camp.

The areas of specialization to be covered at the camp are fielding, throwing, hitting, base running and pitching.  The camp is offered to anyone between the ages of 6-14, and kids will be grouped within their own age bracket.  During the hitting and pitching sessions, all campers will be videotaped on Monday and Wednesday.

There are three separate option to choose from:

Option 1: The cost for this package is $125.  This selection includes fielding, throwing, base running, and hitting.  It also includes the videotaping that will take place Monday and Wednesday.  Daily time of this choice is 9 a.m. – Noon.

Option 2: The cost for this package is $60.  This selection will cover pitching only.  It also includes the Monday and Wednesday videotaping sessions.  The time for pitching camp only is 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Option 3: The cost for this package is $150.  This selection runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. all three days and is simply a combination of the first two packages at a discounted rate.  The videotaping on Monday and Wednesday is included and attendees choosing this option will need to bring a lunch each day.

The camp is not affiliated with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers or Youngstown State University.  It is just at the field where the Scrappers play and will be conducted by two very good instructors who happen to coach baseball at YSU.

To pre-register, contact the Scrappers at 330-505-0000, Craig Antush at 330-539-4577 or e-mail cjantush@ysu.edu for more details..

Interview With Al Kaline

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Al Kaline was recently at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game to watch his grandson, Colin Kaline, in action.  Colin is in the Tigers organization, playing for the Connecticut Tigers, the short-season A affiliate for Detroit.

Al Kaline is in Cooperstown, never played a day of minor league baseball in his life, and has some weird coincidences with Derek Jeter.  Kaline played his entire 22-year career with the Detroit Tigers.  Mr. Tiger” is still working for the organization as a front office figure.

Derek Jeter picked up his 3,000th hit recently to join a crowd of less than 30 players on a very elite list.  Al Kaline was the 12th player in Major League Baseball history to accomplish that fete.  Here is where it gets weird… Kaline picked up his 3,000th hit in Baltimore on September 24, 1974.  Derek Jeter was born in Baltimore  in 1974. Kaline finished with 3,007 career hits.  As of this writing, Derek Jeter has 3,007 hits.  Sometimes timing is everything.

Paneech: What is Al Kaline doing in his spare time these days?

Al Kaline: I’m still working for the Tigers.  I am an Assistant to the President and go to the games.  I travel a little bit to Erie and Toledo and, of course, Lakeland.  I have a home down there in Florida.  Basically, I do whatever the president wants me to do. The owner is a good friend of mine.  I had been broadcasting the games for about 20 years and when the new owners came in, they asked me to go into the front office and give my opinions.  I told him that they may not like my opinions, but I assured them that I would give them my opinion nonetheless.

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Paneech: Your grandson, Colin Kaline (above), is in the organization now.  Is it weird coming to smaller venues to watch him?

Kaline: Actually, this is all new to me because I never played minor-league baseball.  I hadn’t had a chance to see my grandson play much.  He is like most guys in this league, they have a lot to learn and a lot of adjusting to do.  Some will do it, some won’t.  He is under a lot of pressure because of his name, but he handles it well, he is a great kid and was a great student.  Whatever he does, he is going to be successful. It may not be baseball, but he is going to do well.

Paneech: I would think he will receive some support because of his name in the Detroit organization.

Kaline: He wants to play baseball.  I tell all of these kids that they are blessed.  How many billions of kids have wanted to sign professionally and never did.  These kids are signed and have that chance to go somewhere with it.  How far they go?  Nobody knows.  But, they should really see it as a tremendous honor that they were signed professionally.

Colin finished the game 2-4 with a pair of doubles.  Afterwards he commented on his last name.  ”I don’t feel the pressure so much.  I know people are going to be more critical, but I am just having fun, learning and playing the game.  It’s been fun so far.  My grandfather rarely pulls me to the side to give me pointers, he lets me do my own thing and knows I am having fun.”

Pirates Guaranteed First Over-.500 Record At Break Since 1992

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The Jolly Roger has broken out.  For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates are assured of having a winning record heading into the All-Star Break.  Ironically, the last time the Pirates compiled a winning season was the same year, 1992.  Here we stand in 2011 watching an assembly of young talent get better each week.

Clint Hurdle has done a great job managing a group of what is primarily, youngsters with gold “P’s” on their hats.  Having Joel Hanrahan named to the All-Star team is great, and he has earned the right with his perfect save conversion (26 saves in 26 chances) record in 2011.

Kevin Correia belongs too.  The former Padres retread has been exceptional when the baseball world had him marked down and nobody was buying.  Correia is at the top of the NL Leaders in wins.  He belongs.

Any doubt that Andrew McCutchen belongs?  Cutch has been swinging a mean stick (batting .407 in July) since his recent passing over and he homered again on Friday to hammer home his point.  An argument can be made that with 57 RBI that Neil Walker could have been playing in the showcase.

The unique factor that seems to drive the Pirates is that someone new is stepping up to take a turn being the hero.  Mike McKenry and Alex Presley are the two newest Pirates to don the cape and be huge in recent Pirate wins.

The enthusiasm at PNC has been spectacular all season and there are no signs of the rush screeching now.  This team is playing well enough to compete for a playoff spot.