May 2009

Shorebirds Break Tarp Pulling Record

This was a crazy last three days.  I must admit that I am a little tired.

Walk into any front office around Minor League Baseball and ask a staff member why they have the best job.  The answer will almost always be “I work at a baseball field” or something to the effect.  While I agree with that, there is one downfall about working at a baseball field.  LOTS OF RAIN AND LOTS OF TARP PULLS!  Tarp pulls are the one thing that no member of any front office staff in all of minor league baseball enjoys.  If there is a person that sincerely enjoys tarp pulls send them to the Shorebirds because we have plenty.  Also, the worst part about pulling tarp is that eventually you have to fold it back up and roll it off the field. 

I think the front office here pulled the tarp close to 20 (maybe more) times in the last three days (counting on and off).  The staff was required to arrive at 6:30 AM one morning to take care of the tarp.  If you leave the tarp on when its sunny outside, the grass will burn.  Almost everyone here has piles of tarp clothes (sweatpants, t-shirts, anything that you don’t mind getting dirty) resting close by in case another pop-up thunderstorm decides to strike.  Most of the time there is a 20-minute warning but sometimes people just start yelling in the front office and everyone sprints out onto the field like a football team running out of the tunnel.

We have all kinds of unique ways of pulling tarp here.  My favorite is “The Burrito”, which is a popular technique.  Basically, we fold the tarp in the shape of a burrito and then try to suck the water out near the drain beside the dugout.  It works pretty well actually.

I would venture to guess that most people don’t realize that the entire front office is required to pull tarp.  That includes Chris Bitters (GM) and Jimmy Sweet (AGM).  Nobody gets a free pass.

The most important thing in a tarp pull is that everyone is on the same page.

Yesterday, the team bought everyone lunch because we couldn’t leave in case we needed to pull tarp.  We had pizza, pasta and salad from Flavors Italian Grille.  It takes about 15 people or so to get that tarp moving.  The more the better.

Just wanted to shed some light on tarp pulls and let you all know some of the ugly aspects of the business that is Minor League Baseball. 

One more thing…if you are ever bored on a rainy day and looking for something fun to do, come to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium and help us pull tarp!  All are welcome.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

 

 

 

Shorebirds in the News!

On Tuesday, the Baltimore Suns’ Candus Thompson wrote a two-page feature on Field Coach Ryan Minor and how everything has come full circle for him.  Candus was here at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium about two weeks ago to talk to Ryan.  Then, when we were in Greensboro, she asked me to get Joe Mahoney and Tyler Henson to give her a call.  There is also a video interview with Minor attached to the article on the Suns website. 

To view the article CLICK HERE

In the Daily Times, the local paper in Salisbury, a feature was done on first baseman Joe Mahoney and how he redefined himself in the off season.

To view the article CLICK HERE

Just thought I would link these articles for our fans that are not living in the area with easy access to the two papers.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Tarp Pulling 101 is due next by the way.  I think the front office here has officially destroyed the three day record for tarp pulls.  I’ll try and take some pictures. 

 

Transactions Day

The Orioles have added the sixth catcher to the Shorebirds roster. Dustin Black arrived at about 4:00 o’clock today and is in the dugout tonight for the Shorebirds doubleheader.  I’m guessing that he catches game two in replace of Victor Castillo (who is catching game one).  Dashenko Ricardo is the second Shorebirds catcher to go on the DL in the last week.  Ricardo injured his index finger on his catching hand.

We will have another move tomorrow. Exclusive to the Shorebirds blog, Nate Nery cleaned out his locker room at about 4:00 o’clock.  He has been promoted to Frederick.   He definitely deserves to advance to the next level in the farm system.

Time to get back to work.  I just wanted to write a brief note about the move.  More tomorrow.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

1996 NBA Draft

I was doing some work in the front office today when I decided to read the bio on Ryan Minor’s framed picture from his 1997 South Atlantic League All-Star appearance.  Of course, the bottom of it reads that he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 32nd pick in the 1996 NBA draft. 

I was talking with our Athletic Trainer about how rare that is when he mentioned the name Mark Hendrickson, who currently pitches for the Baltimore Orioles. 

Get this — Mark Hendrickson was selected with the 31st pick of the 1996 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers as well (one pick ahead of Minor).  The 76ers had back-to-back picks due to a trade with the Toronto Raptors for Tony Massenburg and Ed Pickney.

In case you are wondering, the big names in that draft were Allen Iverson (1), Stephon Marbury (4) and Ray Allen (5).

Mark Hendrickson played college basketball at Washington State University.  He was a two-time selecton to the All-Pac 10 First Team.  He averaged 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds during his four years at Washington State. 

Hendrickson played in 29 games for the 76ers that season and averaged 10.4 minutes per.  He was then signed by the Sacramento Kings the following year and averaged 15.4 minutes per in 48 games.  He had brief stints with the New Jersey Nets and the Cleveland Cavs in the late 90′s early 00′s. 

According to Wikipedia (you be the judge on how credible it is), Hendrickson is one of only 11 athletes to play in both the NBA and MLB. 

Minor of course played college basketball at Oklahoma.  He was an All-American in both 1995 and 1996.  He was also the Big-Eight Player of the Year in 1995.  During the 1995 season, under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Minor averaged a team-best 21.3 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per. 

Minor decided to pursue his baseball dreams and we all know that turned out well for him. 

Through 5 starts with the Baltimore Orioles, Hendrickson is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 2009. 

Isn’t it amazing that 13 years after the 1996 NBA draft, both Mark Hendrickson and Ryan Minor are a part of the Baltimore Orioles organization?

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

 

The Pat Egan Story

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured into the visiting clubhouse and disrupted a game of Gin Rummy to interview Shorebirds relief pitcher Pat Egan.  Pat actually won the hand so he was in a good mood during the interview.  In case you are wondering, he beat Colin Allen and starter Rick Zagone.  Gin Rummy and Spades are the two games that the guys play most often.

Pat’s story is an interesting one.  As you might not find surprising (due to the fact that he is 6’8″), Pat was an absolute star in basketball at Rocky Hill High School in Connecticut.  In 2002, Egan carried his team to the first state title in the history of Rocky Hill basketball.  He scored 27 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in the state title game against Ellington High School.

That season, Egan led all high school basketball players in the state of Connecticut in scoring.  Get this – in five games in the state tournament, Egan averaged 30.2 points per game.  Egan was named the state player of the year by the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Register (two well-respected newspapers in the state).

Egan could have played at a more prominent college but he decided to stay close to home and attend Quinnipiac University (30 minutes away).  He played basketball and baseball for just one year and then decided that baseball was his calling.  During his only year on the basketball team, he played in 29 games and averaged 13.4 minutes per.  He scored 4.5 points per game.

The other interesting thing about Egan is how he was able to fight through two major injuries during his days in college.  He suffered a freak injury, a blood clot in his right shoulder, during his sophomore year in college.  Then, he was forced to have Tommy John Surgery before his senior year.  He didn’t pitch for nearly two years but came back for a redshirt senior year.

Egan was drafted three different times by the Baltimore Orioles.  After his junior year, his senior year and his redshirt senior year.  That obviously is very uncommon for a player to be drafted three different times. 

As of 2007, Egan was tied for 2nd place in Quinnipiac history with 20 career wins. 

Also of note about Egan is that he was a starter in his first two seasons in the Orioles organization before moving to the bullpen this year.  David Stockstill (Player Development) and Dave Schmidt (Pitching Coodinator) sat down with Egan at Spring Training this year and told him that he would be moving to the pen.

With the NBA playoffs heating up, I also asked him aobut his favorite team.  Not surprisingly, he is a pretty big Celtics fan.  We watched a few of the Celtics/Bulls games on the bus and quite a few of the players are big Celtics fans. 

 

 

Ryan Freel Update

I was browsing the Baltimore Orioles website and came across this blog called “The Spence Report”.  Spencer Fordin blogs about the Orioles for MLB.com.  Freel is just not a happy camper right now.

From the Spence Report

Ryan Freel met with the team’s management on Tuesday for the second time in a month regarding his flagging playing time and his expectations for the rest of the season. Freel, who is currently on the disabled list, has said he is unhappy with his present utility role.

“I still believe in change. I don’t think I fit here,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “I don’t think I fit in probably what they wanted me to be here in this organization. I can’t control whatever they do at this point. I know it’s really putting a damper on my career, really hurting my career as far as getting a job next year. I’m pretty much just rolling with the punches.”

Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, acknowledged Freel’s concerns but held out hope that the team will be able to bridge the gap over the next few weeks.

“He’s got a right to feel that way too, because since we acquired him we’ve acquired Felix Pie and Ty Wiggington,” said MacPhail of Freel’s uncompromising stance. “So some of the at-bats that we saw right in the beginning have probably dried up for him. It never bothers me in the slightest when a guy wants to play. I think it’s a good thing.”

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I hope that Freel and the Orioles can figure out a way to make this work.  Just thought you all might be interested in knowing what is going on with Freel.  Remember, he was in Delmarva at Arthur W. Perdue for 3 hours last week before he was recalled back to Baltimore. 

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Lowrider Convention

 lowrider.jpg

The hotel we are staying at here in Greensboro has turned into a Lowrider car show. 

The Cinco de Mayo Lowrider Convention Car Show is today from 10:00-5:00 PM at the Greensboro Coliseum, which is actually only 4-5 miles up the road from our hotel. 

The parking lot has essentially turned into a 24-hour tailgate.  When we got back to the hotel last night at 11:00 PM, the parking lot was jammed full of people hanging out by their cars. 

I never thought that people were so into their lowriders.  There are actually lowrider groups that are displaying their flags on the hotel balconys.

Today is the series finale.  I believe there is a chance of rain today.  The last thing anybody wants is a delay.

Jedidiah Stephen won the friendly pool for the Kentucky Derby yesterday.  Although he had a long-shot, Bird That Mine pulled it out for Stephen.  Basically, 19 players participated and each had a horse. 

The hotel is letting us check out at 1:00 PM today, which is fantastic!  Today is a “Show and Go” day.  No batting practice or infield/outfield. 

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Lunch with Gomez

Just arrived at the park today for game three.  All players (expect Oliver Drake, because he is starting) were required to ride on the first bus today.  Butch Davis (Roving Outfield/Baserunning) is going to be doing extra work with the guys today on base running.

Went to lunch today with Orlando Gomez.  We ate at this place called Darryl’s right near the hotel.  Talking with Gomez is pretty cool because he has been around baseball for 45 years as both a player and a scout/manager/coach.  Nice guy as well.

He signed with the New York Yankees when he was just 16 years old.  Imagine going from being a sophomore or junior in high school to playing pro baseball.  In 667 career minor league games, he batted .220 in the Yankees and A’s organization.

We talked a little about his time in the South Atlantic League with Gastonia (Rangers).  His club won the championship that year and he was named the South Atlantic League Manager of the Year.  His catcher was none other than 17-year old Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.  Rodriguez hit .238 that year in 112 games.  Rob Nen was also on that team.  There is no longer an MILB team in Gastonia but there is now a summer collegiate team (Gastonia Grizzlies). 

As a scout for Texas in the early 1980′s Gomez signed Ruben Sierra and Jose Guzman just to name a few.  Both obviously spent a number of successful years up in the majors. 

Orlando also reminded me that Mother’s Day is coming up on the 10th.  A busy minor league season just throws you off.  I totally forget that it was next Sunday.   Sorry mom.

I went with the French Dip today (delicious), while Orlando had a club sandwich.  Ok, now I am probably getting too detailed.

On a different, if you have noticed a difference in sound quality during the broadcasts here in Greensboro, we apologize.  Nothing we can do.  The Grasshoppers are doing everything they can do diagnose and deal with the issues.

I think I am going to do the game on a cell phone today.  Free nights and weekends come in handy here.  It’s actually decent quality from what our studio producer Tanner tells me.  It just looks kinda of weird.  The booth I am in is right next to the outdoor sitting of a suite so those folks have been looking at me funny the last two days when I am doing the game on a phone.  Not a big deal, phone lines seem to have a mind of their own.  Just wanted you all to know that we are aware of the issues and doing everything in our power to handle them.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

New Catcher

Due to the injury bug with all three catchers, the Orioles have activated Victor Castillo.  He is scheduled to start tonights game.  He is flying into the airport in Greensboro and taking a taxi to the ballpark.  Not exactly sure when he will arrive but he will catch Nate Nery tonight.

Brendan Monaghan went to the doctor this morning.  I was chatting with him at breakfast in the hotel and apparently his knee locked up on him on the close play at the plate.  Imagine your cleats getting stuck in cement and your body trying to move in another direction.  I haven’t spoken to Aaron Scott (Athletic Trainer) yet today so I don’t know the extent of the injury.  Monaghan seemed in good spirits on the bus.  I’ll have an update on the broadcast.

Luis Bernardo (right elbow) will probably be out another week and Dashenko Ricardo (index finger) is day-to-day.

Castillo was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent in 2003.  He played in Delmarva in both 2007 and 2008.  In  2007, he hit .294 in 81 games, while in ’08 he played in 39 games and

Side note, there was a nasty storm here in Greensboro at about noon but it has since passed.  Sunny skies here at NewBridge Bank Park.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

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