April 2009

Umpire Gets Hurt…What Happens?

Unfortunately South Atlantic League umpire Koyu Inoue suffered a concussion during a game on April 23rd at NewBridge Bank Park (home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers).  I was doing some homework on the Grasshoppers and stubbled upon this story about Inoue.  He did recover and is doing fine.

Read the below release about who replaced Inoue as umpires for the rest of the game. 


Sally League umpire Koyu Inoue was released from an area hospital after being treated for a concussion following Thursday’s game at Greensboro. Jeremy Synan fouled a sixth-inning pitch off Inoue’s head. He fell to the ground and was tended to for 47 minutes before being whisked away to the hospital. He said he has no idea what happened. It’s the third concussion suffered by Inoue, who was hit in the head last April and wasn’t cleared to resume umpiring until this January. Inoue was replaced behind the plate by field umpire Jason Hutchings while pitchers Brandon Todd of the Grasshoppers and Adam Jorgenson of the Tourists took over umpiring duties on the field. “This isn’t as unusual as you may think it is, especially in leagues with a two-umpire system,” said Justin Klemm, the executive director of the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation. “Should one umpire become ill or injured, the other umpire can use his discretion and select a player from each team to work the bases.”


I thought you might be interested in knowing what happens in a case like this.  I wonder how Brandon Todd and Adam Jorgenson did as umpires.  I also wonder why they picked those two (besides the fact that they weren’t pitching that night).

Obviously at the MLB level they have alternates standing by and they have four-man crews.  In the Sally League, the umps travel in pairs. 

Hopefully nothing like that happens tonight or anytime during our stay here in Greensboro.  For that matter, hopefully no umpires get hurt for the remainder of the season.

I also stumbled on this in my research on the Grasshoppers.  The Grasshoppers have a mascot dog named Yogi Berra.  He recently relieved himself on the field during a game and was ejected.  It received some national attention. 


In Greensboro – Blaine Beatty

We just arrived at our hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina in preparation for the four-game series starting Thursday.  Easy seven-hour ride south from Salisbury.  We watched three movies (Saw V, Rounders and The Program).  Rounders is obviously on a different level compared to the other two. 

The hotel here seems to be in a rather busy area, which is good.  I saw several hotels, some restaurants and a big mall appears to be a ten minute walk away.

As I normally do on the bus trips, I talked from time-to-time with our pitching coach Blaine Beatty (who sits a row in front of me and on the other side).  Blaine is very knowledgable and he was a very talented pitcher in his playing days.  Same seats on the sleeper bus this trip.

Most people know our Field Coach Ryan Minor (for good reason since he played for the Shorebirds), so I thought I should fill you in on the background of our Pitching Coach Blaine Beatty.

Blaine was drafted in the 9th round of the 1986 Amateur Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.  He only spent about a year in the Orioles chain, as he was traded to the New York Mets in 1987.  Blaine pitched in the minors for 12 seasons, compiling a total of 121 career wins.  One of his best years was 1994 for Chattanooga (AA, Reds) when he posted a 14-7 record with a 2.38 ERA.  The amazing thing about that season is that he finished with SIX complete games.  On the bus today, we were talking about how that just doesn’t happen anymore.  It’s rare to even see a minor league pitcher go into the eighth inning today.

Blaine made it up to the big leagues in 1989 and 1991 with the New York Mets.  In seven total big league relief appearances, he had a solid ERA of 2.30.

He was born in Victoria, Texas and played his college baseball at Baylor University (two years).

Blaine is entering his fourth season as a coach in the Orioles organization.  For the last three years, he served as the Pitching Coach for the Frederick Keys (Advanced-A, Orioles).  Prior to his time in Frederick, he served as the Pitching Coach for the Binghamton Mets (AA) in 2005.  He began his coaching career in 2001 as the Pitching Coach for the Lynchburg Hillcats (A, Pirates).

I just thought you all might be interested in learning more about Blaine Beatty.  Time to catch up on some sleep.  I’ve been up since 5:45 AM with the 10:35 AM game today.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!


Busy Couple Days

Boy this has been an odd last couple of days and a busy last 48 hours.  Ryan Freel was penciled into the starting lineup, he took batting practice and infield here at Arthur W. Perdue and then was recalled to Baltimore about an hour and a half before the first pitch.

Interesting story…I was actually interviewing him outside the clubhouse when one of the coaches came towards us and told me to wrap up the interview ASAP.  Ryan was in mid sentence, so he finished it and I just thanked him.  He walked back in the clubhouse and I walked back to the office.  At first, I thought I had did something wrong or kept him when he needed but be doing something but once Orlando called up to the press box with the lineup change, I quickly figured out that he was going back to Baltimore.

This is also a really busy week because it is such a short homestand.  In less than 24 hours, we will be on the road to Greensboro.  We have the sleeper bus again and I am going to remember my pillow. 

Tomorrow is a 10:35 game at Arthur Perdue.  For the players, its what is referred to as a “Show and Go” day.  No batting practice, no infield.  You show up and play, essentially.  Players won’t report until 9:00 o’clock tomorrow.  “Show and Go” days usually take place on Sundays or if a team arrives really early in the morning to another city.  The next day they won’t take BP and they’ll arrive late to the park.

The guys did a lot of early work today because they won’t be doing any early work tomorrow morning. 

By the way, Bob Miliacki is the pitching coach for the Lakewood BlueClaws.  I remember him from the Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates) last season – nice guy.  Milacki actually started his big league career with the Baltimore Orioles.  He was selected by the Orioles in the 2nd round of the 1983 draft.  Between 1988-1992, he made 109 starts for the Orioles and recorded 37 wins. 

Just thought you might be interested in that little tidbit.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

It’s Official…Ryan Freel to Rehab Here

Just got the official word from Tripp Norton (Asst. Director of Player Development) that Ryan Freel will be rehabbing here.  He is going to play three positions over the three games of the series against the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Now the question becomes…what number is he going to wear for Delmarva.  I just talked to our clubhouse manager and he said that he is going to wait and see what Freel wants.  He wears number two for the Orioles so he might want to wear number two here.  L.J. Hoes is number two for the Shorebirds so well see what happens.

In case you’re wondering, Ryan Freel is leading off tonight (Monday, April 27th) and playing at second base.  L.J. Hoes gets another day off.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Ryan Freel Coming to Delmarva

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Ryan Freel is 99.9 percent likely to rehab for the Delmarva Shorebirds during this series against Lakewood.  I found out yesterday from a reliable source but we are still waiting on confirmation from the Orioles.  I wanted to get this on the blog ASAP to spread the word.

Freel was hit in the head with ball on a pickoff attempt in the third inning of last Monday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Please check theshorebirds.com for more information on this as the day rolls along. 

Getaway Days

Welcome to Classic Park, home of the Captains – we just arrived about 20 minutes ago for the final game of this series.  Bus is loaded, Santa Jack is back at the hotel sleeping so he can drive through the night back to the Eastern Shore. 

Getaway Day is the day when you either leave for another city or head home.  Essentially, you are getting away from the city you’re in.

Couple things about getaway days:

1) We check out by 11.  Today, we went to the mall in Mentor right near the hotel.  I’m not the biggest mall guy in this world.  Unless I really need something, I generally perfer to stay away.  Mall bus is very very common.  Its an easy way to satisfy 30 people.  Only about half the players take the mall bus.  The team keeps a couple late check out rooms for those that don’t want to go to the mall.

2) We got back to the hotel at 1:15 and sat around in the lobby until 2:45 (bus leaves to park).  A bunch of the guys played cards or shot the breeze, etc.  I did the same.  Spades is the most popular game by far on this team. 

3) I have to pack up my equipment and bring it down to the bus following the game (no big deal).  I also have to write a quick recap so I don’t get left in Northern Ohio.

4) Trainer/Strength Coach will arrange for a meal following the game.  Today, the guys are paying seven dollars each to get a pizza/drink and maybe something else.

4) We have a nine hour bus ride back to Salisbury.

But hey at least we have an off day tomorrow.  Just thought you might be curious.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Rich Hill at Arthur Perdue?

Orioles pitcher Rich Hill will make a rehab start for the Frederick Keys tonight against the Potomac Nationals at Harry Grove Stadium.  He is expected to throw about 60-65 pitches.

Most of the reports I have read don’t give much more information after that.  I’m sure he is going to make more than one rehab start. 

I was in Myrtle Beach last year (Braves) when Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton and Jeff Bennett made rehab appearances.  It’s generally a great learning experience for the younger players and sometimes a nice post-game spread if you know what I mean.  When Glavine was in town, he got the guys steaks from a steakhouse in Myrtle Beach, while Mike Hampton picked up chinese food at a nice restaurant in town.  Jeff Bennett I remember bought like 60 burgers from McDonalds for the guys after batting practice.  All three were awesome from what the guys told me. 

Hill’s next rehab start would be on Wednesday.  The Shorebirds are home against the Lakewood BlueClaws (its a 10:35 AM game).  They never send big league rehabbers on the road.

Bowie (AA) is on the road next Wednesday in Erie, PA.  Frederick (Advanced-A) is on the road in Winston-Salem.  Norfolk (AAA) is home againt the Gwinett Braves (7:05) next Wednesday.

So it would seem that he will either start in Delmarva or Norfolk.  It may depend on how he does tonight and how he is feeling come Wednesday.  Obviously all speculation here.

I’ll talk to Blaine Beatty and Orlando Gomez today and see if they have any news on this.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Morning Paper Banter

I’m an early riser regardless of what time I go to bed.  I woke up at 7:00 o’clock this morning.  I fixed the roster and did a couple other things before heading downstairs to enjoy the continental breakfast.  Not bad, a bagel, an english muffin and a small muffin for me this morning.  Lakewood’s hotel had the best continental breakfast I have ever seen by the way.  They even had a chef making omelets.  I digress.

I picked up a copy of USA Today and went to the sports section.  Two articles really caught my attention today.

1) Cover Story – Once homeless, never hopeless- It is the story of Michael Oher, who is projected as a first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.  He never knew his dad and his mom was addicted to drugs.  Essentially, its the story of survival.  I love these kind of success stories – rags to riches.

2) High school junior chooses pro basketball in Europe – Are you kidding me? Jeremy Tyler has left high school during his junior year to go play professionally overseas before declaring for the NBA draft in 2011.  I guess I understand skipping college, but high school?  What if this kid never makes it? Then what?

I’ve always been a proponent of the value that is the college experience.  This relates to the Shorebirds and Minor League Baseball because many of the players jump straight from high school to the minors (Tyler Kolodny, L.J. Hoes, Xavier Avery, Andy Schindling just to name a few).  The lure is obviously a chance to get into the farm system and develop at a quicker rate.  But, I think a guy like Matt Weiters (catcher for Triple-A Norfolk) is a great example to follow (obviously Weiters is rare breed).  He played three years at Georgia Tech and delevoped into now the future catcher for the Orioles. 

The problem is that most top high schools guys don’t want to be locked at a college for three years before turning pro (Ron Welty is an example of this – his interview will be available on “Around the Bases” later today).  He was considering attending Kansas State before deciding to go the JUCO route.  Remember, if you decide to go to college, you can’t be drafted until after your junior season.  Thats why junior colleges are popular. 

Just a little food for thought.  Each situation is very different so its hard to say one way is better than the other. 

Position players are lifting today at 9:45.  First bus to the ballpark at 2:15 again. 

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!


Classic Park

Arrived at Classic Park in Eastlake at about 2:30 today.  Another beautiful park.  Very expansive with all the modern emenities (20 luxury suites, video board, outfield bleachers…etc). 

The field is also really well manicured.  The outfield and the infield looks like a checkers board.  I always marvel at how grounds keepers are able to line up their designs so perfectly. 

Hotel is in a perfect location- lots of food choices!!!!!! Today, I had lunch at Chipotle, which is similar to Moe’s Southwest Grill.  The burritos are just huge.  I used to eat at Chipotle at least twice a month in college at the University of Maryland so its nice to enjoy a burrito from there again.  They don’t have any on the Eastern Shore (at least I haven’t seen one).  There is also a McDonalds, Smokey Bones, Arby’s and a bunch of others that I can’t recall at the moment.  The hotel is also nice- no complaints from me. 

We arrived in Eastlake at 1:30 or so this morning- not bad at all.  The bus ride was seemless- I had my own two seats.  We watched the O’s and the White Sox play and we also watched two movies (After the Sunset and Galdiator).  I also read a little of Tony Dungy’s book.  Not a bad read.  Some of the guys play cards but most just watch TV or listen to music.

I’m going to go enjoy the great weather here and catch some batting practice. 

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!


Postponed, Off to Lake County



Game tonight (Wednesday) has been postponed due to un-playable field conditions.  This rain has really done some damage over the last three days.  Nothing we could do about it.

Anyway, this means we get to leave for Lake County much earlier.  The bus is going to depart at 4:30 pm. 

We are on a sleeper bus for this long trip to Eastlake, Ohio (15 minutes from Cleveland). 

Here are the basics of the sleeper bus.  About 20 or so individual seats plus a couple long couches in the back.  The beds are basically the overhead storage areas.  Instead of putting your luggage in the overhead areas, you sleep there.  There is also a huge flat screen TV.  I think I may watch the NFL draft on the bus if Santa Jack (bus driver) allows me to. 

Apparently I may get a bed just because I’m not very tall and I can probably fit easily.  Many of our taller/bigger players can’t fit so they opt for the seats.  I’ll let you know where I wind up.

Position players are hitting in the cages to get some work before departing for Lake County.  Pitchers did some stretching and throwing a little while ago. 

Radio equipment is on the bus- now I have to pack up my computer and go find a bed to sleep on.

Until we reach Ohio, Go Shorebirds!