August 2009

Grayson Stadium

I found some pictures of Grayson Stadium here in Savannah.  It’s been around since 1926.  First picture is a look from the outside, the ballpark is set in a city park.  The second picture is taken from the top of the bleacher seating behind the plate (new videoboard in right-center).  

sandnats.jpg

savannah1.jpg


grayson2.jpg

2004 Draft for the Yanks/Rain Delay

Charleston starter tonight is Brett Smith, a second round pick of the Yankees back in 2004.  He just celebrated his 26th birthday.  He had shoulder issues in 2007 and missed the entire 2008 season after surgery.  In ’07, he pitched well in Trenton (AA). 

I went back to look at the second round of the 2004 First Year Player Draft to see some of the guys picked after Smith, who was the first pick of the second round.  I scroll down to pick #65 and its the Yanks’ arch-rival Boston.  Guess who they picked…Dustin Pedroia, not a bad pick, huh.  Some of the other picks in the second round included: Hunter Pence (64, Houston) and Curtis Thigpen (57, Toronto).

Thought that might interest some of you…

We are in a rain delay (7:05 PM)

Cole McCurry Nearing Record

Cole McCurry is set to make his 35th career start for the Delmarva Shorebirds tonight against the Charleston Riverdogs.  McCurry made two starts for the ‘Birds in ’07, 12 in ’08 and he is making his 21st of the season here in Charleston.

The career record for starts in Shorebirds history is 38, held by Richard Bartlett.  He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2000 First Year Player Draft.  Bartlett played for the Shorebirds between 2001-03. 

Barring something unforeseen, McCurry should make four more starts after tonight, which would put him at 39 career starts for the Shorebirds. 

We’ll see…

Mike Veeck – Son of Bill

Some of you might be aware of this, but if not here you go.  Mike Veeck is the President of the Charleston Riverdogs and part owner of five other minor league baseball teams.  His father is Bill Veeck, who was a hall of fame owner of the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.  He became the owner of the Indians in 1946. 

Bill Veeck is remembered most for the signing of Larry Doby, the first African American to play in the American League.  He also signed Satchel Paige. 

Mike Veeck is well known around Minor League Baseball for his “Fun is Good” philosophical approach. 

Bill Veeck’s father (Mike’s grandfather) was the president of the Chicago Cubs from 1919 to 1933. 

Just an interesting little tidbit for those that remember Bill Veeck. 

Awesome Article

By the way, it is storming here in Charleston.  It’s real windy.  I went to lunch at noon and it was scorching hot, who knows.  McCallister’s Deli is delicious.  I’m watching ABC and we are in a Severe T-Storm Watch – great.

I was doing my prep work for the day and I found this article about Garrison Lassiter, the third baseman for the Riverdogs. 

L.J Hoes and Garrison both played on the U.S. Junior National team and they were going to be roommates at UNC.  Both obviously signed professional contracts.

Here’s that team US roster – notice the second player on the list is Mychal Givens, who was the second selection of the O’s in ’09 (unsigned).

16 Kyle Buchanan C / IF R-R 6-1 200 10/27/1989 Auburn, WA 2008
21 Mychal Givens IF / RHP R-R 6-1 170 5/13/1990 Tampa, FL 2009
15 Robbie Grossman OF S-L 6-1 200 9/16/1989 Cypress, TX 2008
2 Tyler Hibbs RHP / IF R-R 5-11 165 1/3/1990 Odenton, MD 2008
14 LJ Hoes OF / IF R-R 6-0 190 3/5/1990 Bowie, MD 2008
22 Eric Hosmer IF / LHP L-L 6-3 205 10/24/1989 Cooper City, FL 2008
25 T.J. House LHP R-L 6-2 190 9/29/1989 Picayune, MS 2008
12 Garrison Lassiter IF / OF L-R 6-2 190 12/22/1989 High Point, NC 2008
23 Jeff Malm IF L-L 6-3 215 10/31/1990 Las Vegas, NV 2009
24 Nick Maronde LHP S-L 6-3 190 9/5/1989 Lexington, KY . 2008
6 Harold Martinez IF R-R 6-1 165 5/3/1990 Miami, FL 2008
8 Tim Melville RHP / IF R-R 6-5 210 10/9/1989 Wentzville, MO 2008
7 Matthew Purke LHP / IF L-L 6-2 165 7/17/1990 Spring, TX 2009
17 JP Ramirez OF L-L 5-10 180 9/29/1989 New Braunfels, TX 2008
9 Kyle Skipworth C / UT L-R 6-3 190 3/1/1990 Riverside, CA 2008
13 Tyler Stovall LHP / OF L-L 6-2 190 12/27/1989 Hokes Bluff, AL 2008
3 Jordan Swagerty C / UT S-R 6-1 170 7/14/1989 Sachse, TX 2008
4 Riccio Torrez IF R-R 6-0 190 10/14/1989 Phoenix, AZ 2008
5 Ryan Weber RHP / IF R-R 6-0 170 8/12/1990 St. Petersburg, FL 2008
18 Tyler Wilson RHP R-R 6-1 190 9/25/1989 Midlothian, VA 2007

The article delves into why Garrison dropped to the 27th round in the ’08 draft when many believed he was going to go in the top five rounds.  His family had a dollar figure in mind and they were unwilling to accept a smaller bonus.  Good read…

The article was written in the Winston-Salem Journal on June 11, 2008 (days following the draft)

When Garrison Lassiter dropped all the way to the 27th round in last weekend’s Major League Baseball Draft before being selected by the New York Yankees, many were shocked.

Lassiter had emerged as one of the top young shortstop prospects in the draft after playing on the USA Junior National team last summer and impressing scouts throughout this spring at West Forsyth.

Twenty-seventh round? Some figured Lassiter to be taken by no later than the fourth or fifth round.

But baseball’s draft is far more complex than its NFL and NBA counterparts. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, especially concerning players drafted straight out of high school.

Teams must weigh the risks of drafting a player straight out of high school only to see him enroll in college instead, in what would result in a wasted pick. Players must decide whether they are ready to bypass college, sign immediately and head straight to the minor leagues, or go to college and not be eligible for the draft again for three more years.

That’s apparently what has happened in this case. So shortly — after he returns from playing in the North-South All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach on Friday — Lassiter will have to make the decision of a lifetime. Should he sign a lucrative contract with the Yankees, or turn down the money and play college ball at North Carolina, where he has already signed a letter of intent?

Lassiter’s father, Cliff, talked about the situation yesterday while Garrison was enjoying a week of beach time, away from the fishbowl that he has been in much of the spring under the watchful eyes of scouts.

Other teams balked at the dollar figure that Lassiter established that would prompt him to skip college. The Yankees didn’t, but played the hunch that everyone else would consider Lassiter a “signability issue,” and waited until the late rounds to take him so that they could draft others.

“We put a number out there that we stuck by as a family,” Cliff Lassiter said. “It was something we debated back and forth for a couple of weeks before the draft, and we decided as a family — and Garrison decided for himself as well. He did some research with the children who had made the U.S. Junior Olympic team over the last five years, and he did research based on the kids who had made Aflac All-America as well, and how he performed. And he compared that to the other kids who had been drafted in the past with similar credentials. Then he went back and researched the signing bonuses they received, and that’s how he came up with his conclusion.

“So we put a dollar figure out there. And we had phone calls early second round — second, third, fourth — trying to get our family to agree to a lower figure to allow him to get drafted in the earlier rounds. But we stuck by that number. And then the Yankees came back and said that they felt comfortable with that number and they were going to draft him in the later rounds.”

Cliff Lassiter declined to specify the number. Generally, late first-round picks can command signing bonuses around $1 million, second-round picks in high six figures, and third-round picks in mid-six figures.

Lassiter holds bargaining chips because he has a college education guaranteed at North Carolina and the promise to develop his game in one of the nation’s top programs under Coach Mike Fox. The Tar Heels will be making their third straight trip to the College World Series later this week.

Cliff Lassiter doesn’t downplay that.

“Coach Fox has talked to us about that, what type of money you should take to pass up an opportunity at Chapel Hill, because that is a super opportunity to go be with one of top programs in the country and an excellent school as well. As a parent who cares about children’s education, I kind of wish there was a rule that required kids two years of education in college. And I wonder, if he signs for the kind of money that’s being thrown around, is he mature enough to live on his own? Is he mature enough to handle the pressure? Can he handle the adversity of failing, because baseball’s a failing game? Will he keep working hard and achieve the numbers you need to advance? As a parent, you’ve got to look at all of that.”

The risk is that some players get injured or don’t succeed in college, and don’t get the same opportunity to get drafted or get signing bonuses later.

There is no mystery about one thing. The Yankees have been high on Garrison for a long time. They were so high on him that they invited him to spring training for four days in March, albeit at the Garrisons’ expense.

“The Yankees communicated with us more than anyone else throughout the whole process,” Cliff Lassiter said. “They invited him down to work out for four days in Tampa, and that was a really exciting time as a family to be watching your son. He was out there working out with the shortstops, right there with the rookie from last year and the Triple-A shortstop and Derek Jeter. Jeter walked up to him in the locker room and introduced himself and shook his hand and welcomed him, so it was a fun time.

“Just watching him out there working with those guys, I thought then that he had the ability to play with a minor-league team right now.”

The negotiations will start in earnest after Garrison returns from the beach.

Freshman orientation at North Carolina is later this month if he doesn’t sign with the Yankees.

“All these kids, they have tough decisions to make,” Cliff Lassiter said. “All you can do is just go with your heart, wish for the best, and hopefully no matter which decision you make it’s a good opportunity. Just go hope for the best. We’re tickled to death for Garrison, for the Carolina opportunity and this professional opportunity. But the key is being happy, healthy and working hard, and hopefully everything works out.

Interesting Article about Caleb and Corbin Joseph

Many of you might know that Caleb Joseph is the everyday catcher in Frederick for the Orioles.  What you might not know is that his brother, Corbin, is the everyday second baseman for Charleston. 

They were both drafted in ’08.  If Caleb didn’t skip Delmarva, he would most likely be playing against his brother tonight.

Here is a cool article I found about the two brothers in the Nashville City Paper published back on June 9, 2008.  Here is a direct link (there is a cool picture of the two of them) – http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/sports/joseph-brothers-both-selected-major-league-baseball-draft

It’s safe to say the family of Mark and Lori Joseph in Franklin is a big baseball family.

But perhaps never in their dreams growing up did Caleb Joseph and younger brother Corban envision the scenario which unfolded last week.

Both Caleb, who just finished his junior year at Lipscomb University, and Corban, who finished his senior year at Franklin High, were drafted in the major league draft last week. They became a rarity – brothers picked so highly in the same draft.

Corban, a shortstop who had signed to play collegiately at Kentucky back in the spring, was selected by the New York Yankees Thursday in the fourth round, No. 140 overall. Then Friday morning, Caleb, a catcher, was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh round, No. 206 overall.

“It was a nervous, yet very exciting time for us,” Corban said over the weekend. “People were telling us so many things out there as to who would draft us. It was pretty hectic.”

“It was pretty amazing, I heard I might be going to the White Sox, the A’s, before Baltimore took me,” Caleb said. “Just to see our names go up on the big screen and the teams that took us was pretty exciting.”

The brother trio of J.D., Stephen and Tim Drew were all first-round major league draft picks, but each selection came in different years.

Both Josephs are ready to jump into the mix.

Caleb has already agreed in principle to a contract with the Orioles and will forego his senior year at Lipscomb. He said he would sign with the Orioles for $125,000 plus payment for his final three semesters at Lipscomb, with the total package coming to around $150,000.

Corban’s situation is a bit different. He appears ready to sign but will use his scholarship offer at Kentucky for leverage for a potentially better deal with the Yankees when talks start this week.

Caleb flew into Florida over the weekend for spring training instruction at the Orioles’ minor league camp. He expects to start plying his trade professionally at Class A Aberdeen, Md., shortly.

“I do hope to finish my last year in college at some point. But that will change if I get to the show (major leagues) and start making millions,” he said, laughing.

Corban, straight out of the high school graduation line, heads to Tampa, Fla., for Yankees rookie camp. “Assuming we can get the contract signed and worked out, I should be playing rookie ball in about 2-3 weeks,” he said.

Both head into their new careers with a full head of steam.

Caleb helped lead Lipscomb to its first-ever NCAA baseball tournament last week. In the Athens, Ga., Regional, the Bisons upset host Georgia in the first game before losing consecutive games to Georgia Tech, then to the Bulldogs.

He led Lipscomb in several categories, including batting average (.342), slugging percentage (.615), hits (61), home runs (17) and total bases (140) and started all 63 games. He was named to the A-Sun all-conference team and was named MVP of the conference tournament, which Lipscomb won.

Corban batted .510 for Franklin with 15 homers and 58 RBIs and was named Midstate Player of the Year. Last month, Franklin was halted in the AAA sectionals 5-2 by Mt. Juliet, ending a Rebel streak of three straight state tourney appearances.

Once, the two played on the same team – Caleb was a senior catcher and Corban played second base as a freshman three years ago at Franklin.

Caleb anticipated the question – what the conversation would be like if he were catching and Corban came to the plate in Class A ball.

“I’d tell him I’d call for some fast balls down the middle, and he better be ready to hit them,” Caleb said. “And if he got on, that I would throw him out if he tried to steal.”

Brotherly love indeed.

 

One more: Dave Trembley in Charleston

I forgot to write about this.  Dave Trembley, the Orioles manager, actually managed in Charleston for two seasons (1992 & ’93).  At the time, the team was the Charleston Rainbows, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

In 1992, his team finished 69-72 (7th in the SAL), while in 1993, Trembley guided the Rainbows to a 55-85 mark (14th in the SAL).

Even the O’s manager started spent his early managing career in the South Atlantic League.  Remember, Trembley didn’t join the Orioles organziation until 2003.

Sherman Obando in Charleston

Not sure how many of you will remember the name Sherman Obando, but he played for the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 and 1995.  He is now the first base coach for the Charleston Riverdogs.

Obando was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in 1987.  He never reached the bigs with the Yanks as he was selected by the O’s in the ’92 Rule 5 Draft.  In ’93, he played in 31 games for the Orioles and hit .272.  Then, in ’95, he appeared in 16 games and hit .263.

Maybe you remember Obando for this reason.  In 1996, he was traded to the Orioles for none other than Tony Tarasco.  Of course, Tarasco was just at Perdue Stadium as the Hitting Coach for the Hagerstown Suns.  Baseball is a small world, so many connections.

Ok, time to pack up the computer.

HOK – “The Joe” and Camden Yards

Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, “The Joe”, home of the Charleston Riverdogs, was designed by the same firm that designed Camden Yards in 1992.  Both are unique parks set in the downtown of their respective cities.  I’ll have a better feel when I get there but I thought it was cool that both were designed by the same firm.

I pulled this from the Orioles website: orioles.com:

The ballpark seats 48,876 (including standing room) and the project cost was approximately $110 million. It was designed by the Kansas City architectural firm of Helmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) with direction and input from the Orioles and the State of Maryland, which owns and operates the facility through its agency, the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA).

Working under contract to HOK were the urban design firm of RTKL, the landscape architecture firm of Wallace, Roberts, and Todd, and the engineering firms of Bliss and Nyitray: Rummel, Klepper, and Kahl: and Kidde Consultants, Inc. Working under contract to the Orioles were the interior design firm of Forte Design and the graphic design firm of David Ashton and Associates.

I pulled this from the Riverdogs website: riverdogs.com

Riley Park was designed by HOK Sports, of Kansas City, MO., known primarily for their work at Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore), Jacobs Field (Cleveland) and Coors Field (Denver), among many others.

The firms website is hok.com.  They have been around since 1955.

Couple pictures of the ballpark…

riverdogs.jpg

5.

riverdogs 1.jpg

 

In Charleston

We arrived in Charleston at about 1 AM this morning.  It was a long trip but we all expected it. 

Bus movies: Anger Management, Miracle and 300.

Very nice hotel here in Charleston.  One of the better in the league.  The main reason I say that is because the breakfast is excellent.  They have a hot buffet (hash browns, eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, waffles) and they have someone making omelets.  Perfect! And, I have two televisions in my hotel room.  I have a separate room with a couch and then another area with the bed. 

We are leaving for the park at 2:30 today.  Here are some notes for the game today.

KING JULIUS: Shorebirds right-fielder Jacob Julius had his best series of the season against the Hagerstown Suns. He hit his first home run of the season in game four (8/7) and then hit his second home run of the season the following night (8/8) in the finale. Julius recorded back-to-back multi-hit games. He had three total multi-hit games entering the series. Julius started four straight games for the first time this season.

BERNARDO HOT: Shorebirds backstop Luis Bernardo is riding a five-game hit streak into game one against the Riverdogs. During the recent homestand, he hit .315 (6-19) with six RBIs and two runs scored. He also connected on his first home run of the season on 8/5 and his first triple of the season on 8/8. His .231 batting average is the highest since May 23rd when he was hitting .235.

ROAD OFFENSIVE WARRIORS: Several Shorebirds have hit much better on the road than at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Tyler Kolodny is hitting .276 on the road, but only .169 at home (107). Ron Welty is batting .332 on the road and just .272 at home (60). Elvin Polanco is hitting .283 on the road but just .215 at home (68). Overall, the Shorebirds are hitting .262 on the road and .245 at home. Power numbers are also skewed greatly. The Shorebirds have connected on 28 homers on the road versus just 14 at home.

I’ll check in from the park with pictures.  I hear its nice.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.