March 2010

First Big Event!

Starting at 12 PM today, the Sea Dogs will host their first luncheon of the season, hosted by myself.

Clubhouse Manager Craig Candage will be our special guest and share with the fans his experiences, plus, he’s met some great people over the years.
I will be heading to Ft. Myers this afternoon and will file a report when I land later tonight.

Getting Ready for the Fort…

Yes, Yes, I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon for the lovely city of Fort Myers to enjoy a week in the sun and cover the Portland Sea Dogs.  I promise to update this blog everyday and provide some interesting features and hopefully provide some breaking news.

Below is the Portland Sea Dogs Spring Training Schedule
Earlier this morning I was on WGME-TV 13 in Portland, Maine. I was able to some live traffic reports for the station this past off-season and got to meet some great people.  One of the producers I knew was celebrating her last day before a big move to New Hampshire.  I had a great time, TV is a lot of fun.
I will check in later on tomorrow before I leave for Florida!

Rain, Rain Go Away…

I actually had some snow on my car this morning as I headed into the office but it’s March, I call this the leftovers month for weather.  On any given New England day during March, it could rain, snow sleet and reach 70’s, as it did last Saturday in Northern Maine.  
In Wednesday’s Boston Globe 
Last night I was able to tune in for the final two innings of the Red Sox game on the radio.  It was really nice hearing Joe and Jon call the game.  Despite it being exhibition, hearing that crack of the bat on the radio sounds so nice.
This season I will be providing the Red Sox broadcasters with interviews that they will post on Soxbooth.com – here’s the link to the Richie Lentz article I did.  I really thank Jon Rish for contacting myself and all of the broadcasters in the organization to take part in this.  
I will have a second update later this afternoon!

Fantasy Baseball

I’ve always been a big fan of Fantasy Football, it’s the most exciting part of waking up on a Sunday morning and getting prepared for a day of NFL Football.  This year, I feel like Fantasy Baseball is getting more popular.  For the past two seasons, I’ve entered a public league for fun so I can follow the major leagues more closely.  

So my question for everyone and you can e-mail me directly at seadogsradio@gmail.com or comment below – Do you like Fantasy Sports?  And which is your favorite?
Quick Off-the-field News
The Sea Dogs are doing a home run promotion to start the 2010 season and you can enter at http://www.seadogs.com.  If you guess the correct player to hit the first home run of the season, the winning contestant will win a Skybox at Hadlock Field for Sunday May 2 against the Rock Cats (game time is 1:00 PM)
The new and improved website makes it easy to check out all the blogs, sign up for facebook and twitter, plus order tickets.
Just a reminder I will be blogging from Ft. Myers, Florida starting on Friday night…I will be covering the Sea Dogs and the entire Red Sox organization.
 

Monday at the Park

Hope everyone had a great weekend and didn’t punch a wall or through anything at the TV because of their brackets.  I found it very amusing browsing Facebook after the Kansas loss to read the very “interesting” posts.  Some I could not repeat on this blog.  But kudos to those who didn’t pick them to win it (I’m patting myself on the back) all.

Some news from Minor League camp according to Sox Prospects.com and member hsatstone – Boston has signed Zach Hammes, who pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers system from 2002-08…Hammes was a 2nd round pick (51st overall) in the 2002 June Draft.  He was taken six picks before the Red Sox drafted Jon Lester – here’s the complete 2002 2nd Round draft class – http://www.thebaseballcube.com/draft/2002/June-Reg/2.shtml
images.jpg
Below are Hammes Statistics


Year Team Lg Age Org Lvl W L ERA G GS CG SH GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WP H9 HR9 BB9 K9 WHIP
2002 GCL Dodgers GCL 18 LAD Rk 2 2 3.27 10 8 0 0 0 0 33.0 26 14 12 0 15 27 2 7.1 0.0 4.1 7.4 1.24
2003 South Georgia SAL 19 LAD A 7 11 5.54 25 24 0 0 0 0 117.0 138 91 72 11 65 75 6 10.6 0.8 5.0 5.8 1.74
2005 Columbus SAL 21 LAD A 3 4 4.81 22 8 0 0 1 63.2 69 43 34 7 52 46 7 9.8 1.0 7.4 6.5 1.90
2006 Vero Beach FSL 22 LAD A+ 6 3 4.22 41 3 0 0 13 1 91.2 95 48 43 9 46 90 11 9.3 0.9 4.5 8.8 1.54
  Las Vegas PCL 22 LAD AAA 0 0 5.63 2 1 0 0 1 0 8.0 7 5 5 1 5 8 1 7.9 1.1 5.6 9.0 1.50
2007 Jacksonville Sou 23 LAD AA 5 8 5.23 26 15 0 0 2 0 94.2 110 60 55 11 30 76 8 10.5 1.0 2.9 7.2 1.48
2008 Jacksonville Sou 24 LAD AA 2 5 5.31 38 1 0 0 25 4 59.1 61 37 35 3 35 45 9 9.3 0.5 5.3 6.8 1.62
Minor League Totals – 6 Season(s) 25 33 4.93 164 60 0 0 6 467.1 506 298 256 42 248 367 44 9.7 0.8 4.8 7.1 1.61

Have a great day!

Interview with Richie Lentz

Former Sea Dog Richie Lentz recently retired and was nice enough to answer a few questions for my blog.  We wish Richie the best of luck in his new adventure – the real world!

MA: I can only imagine how tough it was to retire, when did you know

that you were a 100% sure?


RL: It is tough to accept the fact that baseball will no longer be my way of life, but it is something that I have been thinking about for the last 6 months. I had a season full of ups and downs, most being downs. That weighed on me a lot, but i got through it, and was very excited to get the offer to go to the AFL! My shoulder was killing me towards the end of the Fall League, and after my last outing i knew something was seriously wrong. Bottom line, I would need to have surgery to remove bone spurs from my shoulder, and i just don’t have enough love left for the game to go down that road at this point in my career. I’m thankful for what the game has given me, but very excited to begin the next chapter in my life!

MA: You had mentioned to me that your shoulder was on fire (I know not
literally), when did that start hurting?


RL: My shoulder was about 80% reason for retiring. It bothered me the whole year! After my first outing in Portland last spring was when it started. I can’t say that it ever fully went away, but we did take care of it, and my trainers did a great job of keeping it under control. In the fall league, I got that same pain only amplified… It’s extremely distracting to pitch with major discomfort, I found myself wondering if  each pitch was going to hurt, and not focused on the importance of the pitch itself.

MA: A few years ago Chris Durbin (former Sea Dogs outfielder) retired and that was a surprise to many, similar to your retirement, but in the end, your future is more
important.  What is next on the Richie Lentz agenda?


RL: Next on my agenda??? WHERE TO BEGIN hahaha. First and foremost I got a job with DexOne that I am extremely excited about! Moving into the corporate world has been a bit weird, but exciting as well! I am planning on beginning classes to finish my degree in the fall, I will have to peck away at that by taking night classes. Most importantly, I am excited to have a summer and take a couple vacations. Every baseball player lives their summers through there friend’s stories, and photos on facebook! To be honest with you Mike, I just want to jump off a boat into a lake; that’s something i havent been able to do since i was about 15!

MA.  Take us through the retirement process, who did you talk to first and how
did you approach the Red Sox?


RL: First person I talked was my wife Kelli. She has been a ROCK for me my whole career, and one of the only people who “FULLY” understands what its like to live the life of a minor league pitcher. She lived with me through a chunk of my career. I talked to my family and friends from home. I spoke with players, guys I’ve played with that never had the opportunity to play pro ball, and guys who have played pro ball and left the game! I wanted to get a true feel for what was going to happen. It wasn’t a decision I made over night, lets just say that!
First person I called was my agent, he took the news great! He offered nothing but words of support, he didn’t encourage the decision… but supported “ME” in whatever i chose to do! I next called Ralph Truel (Red Sox Pitching Coordinator), he was taken back a bit… Though I don’t think he was happy to hear my news, he also handled it great. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for the opportunity the Boston Red Sox gave me, and what a first class group of people they have that run the show!

MA: So you’re living in Portland, Oregon, be honest, you had to live
in one of the Portland’s?  


RL: Both Portland’s have their strong points! I love Portland Maine because of the rich history, and the old town, down town feel! I love Portland Oregon because of the downtown! It has a huge feel, yet you can walk everywhere! There are more bridges than I can count, and a boat load of nature. The people here in Portland Oregon are so nice its sometimes uncomfortable haha. I love them both, but if i had to choose, i would say Portland Oregon strictly because of how close we are to my wife and I’s families.

lentz.jpg
MA: How is married life?

RL: Married life is great! I found a girl that was willing to commit to a guy like me… She must have a big heart huh? hahaha. Kelli is amazing, she has ridden the roller coaster that minor league baseball is with me! She has given up so much to be with me and has never once complained about not utilizing her degree and or youth in the business world! She has a great family, and she laughs at everything I say… I feel so lucky to have her!
People ask me daily how the married life is, and I have to say… It’s just like the dating life only better, you get more back rubs!

MA: Will you miss being around the guys more than the actual baseball?


RL: Mike, the “guys” is what baseball is… It’s what keeps you sane durring a 164 game season! The baseball is fun, but at the professional level the team game goes out the door, and individual development is what is important. I was blessed to have been drafted by the Red Sox and be with such a great group of guys. I already miss all my teamates, I talk to them often! I don’t miss what they are going through on a day to day basis, but I do miss them! The stories this game and those guys have given me are the most precious thing i will take with me into retirement!

MA: Tell us a few quick great memories of your baseball
career…doesn’t just have to be professionally


RL: My favorite on-the-field memory was winning a High School State championship! Also, getting a schollarship to play at the University of Washington, and being drafted by the Red Sox! Making the All Star team in High-A, and getting to pitch in that game was amazing!
Getting called up to AA was a major milestone and a day I will never forget! Being honored with the Rookie Development camp, and invited to play in the Arizona Fall League were also two things that I was flattered by! But Mike, again… Being in the bullpen daily with all the guys, that is what I will miss… Playing pranks on teammates, having fun with fans, signing autographs for kids, doing camps and charity events…. I will miss that. There is nothing like having a baseball uniform on, and a kid who is 5 years old come up to you, look you in the eyes and ask for you to sign his hat. It’s tough knowing that days like that are over.

MA:How about your favorite Portland, Maine story?  Maybe the mustache
gang from last year?


RL: I have a ton of great stories from portland. The mustache crew was really fun though! Getting play with Daiskue, Smoltz, Ortiz, and Buchholtz was pretty cool. Having host family situations was great! I was fortunate enough to have two great host situations, I will leave there names out of this for their privacy… But I loved them! I met a boat load of people from Portland that I am really going to miss, and Kelli and I are already planning a trip back that direction for next year. I just got asked to be the Best Man for Ryne Lawson’s wedding! To answer your question… the mustache crew was my favorite “memory” from Portland. Also, I’m going to get under Blake Maxwell’s skin for saying this, but I definitely had the best mustache!

MA: You’re a big tech guy, the Apple iPhone or Google’s new Nexus phone?


RL: I’m glad that I will be remembered for more than just a pitcher, and honored that you would think of me as a tech guy haha. iPhone, there have just been to many attempts to be iPhone’s competition, and all have failed miserably!

MA: From myself, the fans and the entire Portland Sea Dogs
organization, we appreciate everything you did for us and Ienjoyed our
pre-game interviews on the radio network.

RL: Mike I feel the need to say a few things if you don’t mind! I want to say thank you again to you, Craig Candage Sr, Bob the bus driver and all of our bat boys in Portland. All of you endure the same season we do as players, and none of you get enough praise, so thank you! Also, again thank you to the Red Sox for the opportunity they gave me, I feel i have grown tremendously over the past few years, and I have to give them all the praise in the world for the way they run this organization! Last, the Westmoreland Family opened there home to me for two summers durring college summer ball. They are truly my second family and i love them all! I was pretty shook to hear about Ryan, and I want to say to them that they have a ton of prayers coming their way from My family and I!!! Good luck in your Recovery Ryan, I’m pulling for you bud!

Mike, thanks again… Go SeaDogs!

Springing Into Action!

With Spring Training Games starting yesterday, the anticipation of the season continues to grow.  Thanks to SoxProspects (www.soxprospects) one of the best minor league sites on the internet, they had coverage of Wednesday’s action in Ft. Myers.
Thanks to WatervView (screen name on Sox Prospects) for providing this coverage.

I’m down in Ft. Myers (Cape Coral actually) on a family get-together and managed to persuade a couple of my relatives to go over to the minor league complex for the beginning of minor league spring training games (today, 17 March, it was Pawtucket and Portland against their Twins counterparts).  Scheduled start was 1 PM, but when we arrived at 1:15 they’d already reached the end of the third inning.  I’m assuming they started a bit early (or those were the shortest three innings ever played).

Mills was pitching in the Pawtucket game and Exposito was catching when we arrived; very few of the players we expect to be regulars were in the Pawtucket line-up.  I assume a number were off playing at City of Palms with the big club.
  Even though most of the minor leaguers were “assigned or optioned” on Sunday, many are still actually playing with the ML club (or at least were on Monday, when I went to the Red Sox-Baltimore game).  BTW, my sister-in-law says she’s responsible for Ortiz suddenly starting to hit.  It’s as good an explanation as any.

 

Anyway, getting back to today, the most impressive guy I saw in the PawSox game was Bierd.  He’s a BIG kid, with legs the length of a pair of stilts.  No gun, so I can’t tell you the speed, but it sure looked a lot faster than others I saw pitch and his fastball was all downhill, low in the zone.  He struck out two guys in a row on his change-up; the batters looked really foolish, as any batter does when he swings at a fastball and it turns out to be a change.  Natale hit a homer during the few innings I watched and Navarro played SS (obviously not at the same time).  Note: most of those playing in this game were either names unknown to me, folks like Bubba Bell (not high on our lists), with a handful of guys we expect to see at AA this year but who were filling in with the PawSox team at the moment (Exposito and Navarro).  Didn’t see them do anything much at the plate.

 

After a bit, walked the fifty feet over to the field where the Portland team was playing the Twins’ AA team.  There, the lineup was a lot more interesting.  A lot of high A players, some of whom we expect to see in Portland, some not.  Iglesias was playing short but only had one chance during the two innings we saw while he was in.  At the plate, he took a couple of balls, then smashed a line drive deep into the left field corner for a double.  Mike Jones had a solid double, Lin struck out (seemed to be struggling), Fedex was hit by a pitch, Middlebrooks took two strikes looking, then fouled a ball off then struck out swinging.  Jason Place hit a weak grounder to the left side.  Oh, and Lavernway caught for an inning before we had to leave; looked decent behind the plate, but I didn’t get to see him bat.


Overall, it was kind of surprising to see how many of the players were playing a level above where they’re expected to play once the season starts.


Realize none of this tells you a lot, but I’m just trying to write down a little before someone else takes the computer.  I may get back over Saturday; if I manage it, I’ll try to go better.

Great stuff WaterView
Tucker-09.jpg
Former Sea Dog Rusty Tucker signed with the New Jersey Jackals of the Independent League…Below is the story.

http://www.jackals.com/releases/release.asp?ReleaseID=1029

Good luck to all with their brackets today!

Getting Closer!

As opening day approaches for the Sea Dogs on April 8 against the Reading Phillies at First Energy Stadium, my official blog for the 2010 season begins it’s second day.

I really don’t get the Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols talk.  I don’t care what people say about the money situation – the Cardinals can not lose Pujols.  He’s the best hitter in the game hands down and I would take him over Ryan Howard everyday.  I don’t think the Cardinals would be better with Howard – Just ask what opposing pitchers would say.
Red Sox play split-squad games this afternoon against the Astros and Rays.  Interesting tidbit – Terry Francona will manage against former Boston bench coach Brad Mills.  Former Sea Dog manager Ron Johnson will see his son play – as Chris Johnson is a member of the Astros.
LHP Armanado Zerpa returned to Boston from LA Dodgers per Rule 5 draft rules yesterday.  Former Sea Dog 3B Jorge Jimenez is still in the Major League camp with the Florida Marlins.
Good day from Hadlock Field.!

Back to Work and Loving It!

Greetings from Hadlock Field in Portland Maine!  Today is my first day back in the office full-time and I feel like it’s the first day of school.  I mean that in a positive way, I always loved the first day of school because it was a change.  It feels great to be around the tremendous front office staff of the Portland Sea Dogs and prepare for the 2010 season.

Starting today, my blog will be updated daily until the end of the season.
I thought this week we could travel back in time (not that far) to the 2009 season and re-visit some great moments.
Last year the Sea Dogs had six walk-off victories:

April 10 vs. Connecticut
(Lars Anderson bases-loaded walk)


April 28 vs. Binghamton (Bubba Bell RBI single)


June 3
vs. Binghamton (Ryan Kalish RBI single)


August 23 vs. Harrisburg (Jorge Jimenez RBI
single – 10th inning)


September 4 vs. New Hampshire (Ryan Kalish HR into
the U.S. Cellular Pavilion) 


September 5 vs. New Hampshire (Iggy Suarez
bases-loaded walk)


Quick Hits…Jed Lowrie is undergoing some tests today, he described his condition as feeling like he has been hit by a truck…Clay Buchholz was solid in his Spring Training start on Sunday against the Pirates…Top Prospect Jose Iglesias was optioned to the Portland roster over the weekend bu that does not guarantee he will start the 2010 season with the Sea Dogs.


Opening Day is April 8 at Reading, can’t wait!!!

Countdown to Opening Day

Beginning on Monday March 15, I’ll be going over some key moments from the 2009 season.  The Sea Dogs had 6 walk-off wins last year, we’ll revisit those, plus some other key days at Hadlock Field.

Sea Dogs begin their 2010 season on April 8 against the Phillies in Reading.
Just a reminder – the Eastern League has renamed their divisions to the East and West divisions, despite the league not being east or west – it’s really north or south.  So the Sea Dogs play in the East division of the Eastern League.  And they say are league is not creative when it comes to ideas – ha ha!
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.