April 2007

AND THEN THERE WERE 55 …

  Just got word that the Binghamton Mets at Akron Aeros game was cancelled due (all together now) to weather … anyone want to start an over/under on how many games will end up being scrapped before the day/evening is over?

  Hoping the weather clears up in Akron in a hurry since Jonathan is schedule to be there tomorrow for that match up … the Aeros are absolutely loaded this year, maybe one of the best teams on paper at first glance with a rotation that includes southpaws Chuck Lofgren, their opening night pitcher, and Scott Lewis, who led the Minors in ERA last year, along with rehabbing prospect JD Martin and sleeper extraordinaire Aaron Laffey, plus an outfield that includes Trevor Crowe, Brian Barton and returned top Rule 5 pick Ryan Goleski. Can’t wait to see that lineup/staff when they come to my neck of the woods next weekend.

  Meanwhile, the lone game of the day in Indianapolis remains scoreless in the top of the third inning. For those of you stashing Freddy Sanchez on your injured list and worrying about his health, you’ll be happy to know he laced a double in his first at-bat (of course those of you who picked up Jose Castillo for $1 maybe not so happy to know that).

  One pleasant surprise for me was seeing a familiar name, Nyjer Morgan, batting leadoff for Indianapolis. As recently as two weeks ago he’d been ticketed for Double-A Altoona, where he finished up 2006, but instead won the opening day center field job for the Indians. Go Nyjer! The combination of him and Rajai Davis in left field in this lineup gives the club some serious speed.

 

 

HOW COOL IS GAMEDAY?

And the answer is: VERY.

I got to cyber-see the first pitch of the 2007 Minor League Season, a ball by Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) southpaw Sean Burnett to Columbus Clippers (Nationals) second baseman Melvin Dorta, who proceeded to make the first out of the season by grounding out to second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

I know, not a name you expect to see in a Minor League blog, but he’s rehabbing the knee that landed him on the DL to start the season.

The host Indians had a promotion where they guaranteed "warmth" with a game time temperature of 60 degrees or higher. At a brrrrrrrrrrrrisk 34 at game time, looks like the folks at Victory Field will all be getting a free ticket to an upcoming April home game.

And how weird is it to refer to the Columbus Clippers as a Washington Nationals affiliate? I wonder how long it will be this season before I have all the new partnerships committed to memory …

First hit of the season, George Lombard’s two out bunt single …

Will keep you all posted on all the firsts. (This part is easy, with one game in progress until this evening.) 

THERE GOES ANOTHER ONE …

  I woke up this morning to an already shortened schedule for my day, as the 59-game slate had already been reduced to 56 … oops, make that 55 … thanks to the cold front in the east/midwest.

  Gone from the schedule were the Richmond Braves at Buffalo Bisons, Connecticut Defenders at Portland Seadogs and Fort Wayne Wizards at Lansing Lugnuts, and the catfight between New Britain (Rock Cats) and New Hampshire (Fisher Cats) soon followed onto the snowy scrap heap.

  Buffalo will host a DH on Friday, Lansing will play two on Saturday (weather permitting of course) and the Portland and New Hampshire games will be made up this summer.

  Now, you may ask, Lisa, when the International League has teams in places like Richmond and Norfolk, why would they choose to open the season with those teams at Buffalo and Scranton (where it is currently snowing but the game has not YET been canceled) respectively?

  And the answer is … I don’t know.

  Now, in case you were wondering why there were only 59 games on the schedule instead of 60 when there are 120 full-season teams, it’s because Rochester hosts Ottawa tomorrow for its home opener. And I’ll let awesome longtime Red Wings beat writer Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle share his thoughts on that from his own blog right here. Just scroll down to April 2’s "Snow Day" entry.

  But the good news for Mandelaro and his Red Wing fan readers is that the team will be loaded to start the season with a pretty much incomparable one-two-three punch of Matt Garza (MiLB.com’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2006), Kevin Slowey (he of the 1.90 ERA and 158 strikeouts) and homegrown southpaw Glen Perkins, the Twins’ first-round pick in 2004. At least with pitchers like that the games should be quick.

  I was also sorry to see the New Hampshire game banged since they had a great promotion where they announced a special ticket offer for fans who would come out with shovels and help them clear snow from the field. Instead, if you are one of the first 1,500 fans at their 1:05 p.m. game this Saturday, you’ll get a Fisher Cats fleece blanket.

BLOGAPALOOZA!!!

Hey there everyone! Happy Opening Day!!!

Yeah, I know, that OTHER Opening Day was on Monday (or Sunday night for Mets/Cardinals fans) … but this is OUR Opening Day and we have quite a treat in store for you (at least in my humble opinion) …

I’ll be here at my beloved laptop all day and all night, blogging away on the goings on in all (at this count) 56 Opening Day games, keeping you posted on the whos, whats and whens …

Since I’m not a night owl, the late innings of those West Coast California and Pacific Coast League games may be a little dicey. If you see qawgtfhyjuiokpl; it just means I fell asleep on my keyboard. Don’t bother looking up the unfamiliar player name …

By the way, ID name notwithstanding, this is pretty much all SHE Said, SHE Said today/tonight. Hopefully Jonathan himself may check in from Dayton during/after his game …

And please post your comments and thoughts … not sure I’ll be able to respond to specific questions when all of the games are going on at once but I’ll do my best … and if you’re at a game yourself, PLEASE come back and share your thoughts and impressions …

Who do you think is going to be the team to watch this year? Who is your pre-season pick for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year?

On Opening Day, you can’t be wrong!!! (And I promise not to hold you to it later if you promise to do the same for me) …

OK, back in a few with my take on some baffling early-season scheduling decisions …

And the actual GAMETIME BLOGGING will get started when the first pitch is thrown in Indianapolis somewhere around 2 p.m.

Chomping at the bit

We’re just two days away from  Minor League Opening Day and needless to say, we’re a little excited to get the ball rolling here…

Let me give you some insight into all the things we have planned for our Opening Day coverage. First, we’ve got our journal writers. And what a lineup we’ve got. On he mound, we’ve got a pair of southpaws. There’s the Cubs’ Donnie Veal and the Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero. Offensively, a duo of outfielders join our squad: the Indians’ Trevor Crowe and the Yankees’ Jose Tabata. In addition, we’ll have the unique and insightful commentary of Devil Rays’ outfielder Fernando Perez.

Of course, it’s not just the players themselves doing the talking on MiLB.com. Kevin Czerwinski has a column that will put everyone in the mood for baseball. Lisa Winston will bring us a Rule 5 recap and a look at some of the more intriguing names who’ll be pacing dugouts as Minor League managers in 2007. Yours truly has a run-down on where all of the 2006 first-round draft picks are headed to start the season.

And that’s just Wednesday.

On Opening Day itself, I’ll be in Dayton to check in on Drew Stubbs and company. Kevin C. travels to Scranton to check out that absolutely loaded rotation. And Lisa will be on blog duties all Opening Day, giving you up-to-the-minute updates on what’s going on all around Minor League Baseball. There are 59 Opening Day games on tap, so keep checking back here if you want the low-down on what’s going on nation-wide. —  Jonathan

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