Archive | January, 2013

Today in Baseball History – January 31st

January 31, 1961

Houston voters approve a bond to finance a domed stadium. The Houston Astrodome (now called Reliant Astrodome) would break ground in 1962 and open 3 years later. It would be the home of the Houston Astros until 1999.

Born on this day:

1919 Jackie Robinson

1931 Ernie Banks

1947 Nolan Ryan

Died on this day:

1956 Buck Weaver

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LIDOM: Escogido Earns Trip Back to Caribbean Series

The Leones de Escogido completed the sweep of the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League Finals (Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana or LIDOM).

Escogido needed 11 innings in Game 4 to pick up the win as Jesus Feliciano (2-for-6) scored on a throwing error by Miguel Tejada. Feliciano started the inning off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Ramon Santiago (1-for-5). After Starling Marte (2-for-5) was intentionally walked, Mauro Gomez (0-for-5) reached on a force attempt when Tejada threw the ball away.

All three runs scored by Escogido were unearned due to three errors by the Aguilas.

In the loss Tejada and Elian Herrera both picked up three hits.

Neither starter lasted five innings with the Aguilas Dustin Richardson tossing 4.2 innings giving up a pair of unearned runs on three hits while striking out five. The Escogido starter Daniel Cabrera tossed four innings giving up one unearned run on three hits.

Nelson Payano (W, 2-0) picked up the win tossing just 0.1 innings in relief. Juan Sandoval (L, 0-2) took the loss pitching just 0.1 innings in relief giving up one hit, walking one, and giving up one unearned run.

Escogido 3, Aguilas 0

Kris Johnson (W, 2-1) tossed six innings giving up just four hits and striking out five to pick up the win as Escogido shut out the Aguilas to complete the sweep. Fernando Rodney (S, 1) earned the save. Marco Tovar (L, 0-2) took the loss pitching just two innings allowing just two runs (1 unearned).

Fernando Tatis (3-for-3) drove in three runs including one with a solo home run in the 7th inning. Starling Marte (2-for-4) added a couple hits as well in the win.

Hector Luna (3-for-4) played well for the Aguilas picking up three of the five hits for his team.

This was the second year in a row that Escogido defeated the Aguilas in the finals to advance to the Caribbean Series. They will now travel to Hermosillo, Mexico to defend their Caribbean Series title from a year ago.

LIDOM Schedule:

Game 1: Escogido 10, Aguilas 7
Game 2: Aguilas 5, Escogido 8
Game 3: Escogido 9, Aguilas 0
Game 4: Aguilas 2, Escogido 3
Game 5: Escogido 3, Aguilas 0
Escogido wins series 5-0

Posted in Latin0 Comments

LVBP: Magallanes Win Game 6 to Force Winner Take All Game 7

The San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval drove in three runs with a home run in the 4th inning to help the Navegantes del Magallanes to a win in Game 6 of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League or Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) Championship Series over the Cardenales de Lara. The win tied the series at three games apiece forcing a Game 7.

The Navegantes did it with power. Sandoval’s (1-for-4) home run made the score 7-2 putting the game out of reach. Mario Lisson (1-for-4) drove in three runs as well with a 3-run home run in the 2nd inning. The Texas Rangers Elvis Andrus (1-for-2) added a RBI single in the 2nd inning to finish off that inning’s scoring as the Navegantes put up four runs.

Gustavo Chacin (W, 3-2) picked up the win tossing five innings allowing just two runs on three hits. Maximo Nelson (L, 2-1) took the loss. Nelson lasted just 3.2 innings giving up six runs on five hits and four walks.

The Cleveland Indians’ Luis Valbuena (1-for-3) homered for Lara in the loss.

The win forces a Game 7 with the winner heading to the Caribbean Series.

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AWBL: Independent League to Expand into Las Cruces for 2013

In the ever changing and exciting world of independent baseball, the American West Baseball League (AWBL) has announced its plans to expand into Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Las Cruces had an independent league team in the Pecos League the past few seasons in the Vaqueros. However, this winter the Pecos League announced it would pull the team out of Las Cruces with the impending AAA team headed to El Paso which is just a short drive away.

The thought behind the move was that the small independent league team couldn’t compete with the AAA team with advertisers thus making the team economically unviable.

The AWBL has already seen some turmoil before playing its first game. The league was slated to have four teams, but before the first pitch was thrown the Yuma franchise pulled out of the league.

One team slated to play in the league will play at a local university where the field has no lights. There was to be a winter program in Yuma, but the league canceled it “due to lack of interest”.

So what does a league do with more problems than teams? Create a franchise two states over when travel is a huge part of the expenses of independent teams. It just doesn’t seem to make much sense. Then again I don’t run a league.

It remains to be seen if the league will actually get off the ground in 2013 or hold off due to internal issues for the 2014 season. No matter what happens, its been interesting so far, and should continue to be so.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

Today in Baseball History – January 30th

January 30, 1948

General manager of the Philadelphia Phillies and former pitcher Herb Pennock collapses in a New York hotel and dies later at the hospital. Shortly after his death, he is elected to the Hall of Fame.

Pennock won 240 games for 3 different teams between 1912 and 1934. He won 4 World Series titles with the New York Yankees.

Born on this day:

1943 Davey Johnson

 

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Today in Baseball History – January 29th

January 29, 1958

Three time NL MVP Roy Campanella is paralyzed in a car accident cutting his career short. The future Hall of Famer was an 8-time All-Star with the Brooklyn Dodgers and helped them win the 1955 World Series.

Campanella hit 242 home runs over his 10 year career. He got his start with the Washington Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues in 1937.

Born on this day:

1880 “Sleepy” Bill Burns

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Today in Baseball History – January 28th

January 28, 1949

The New York Giants sign their first black players in Monte Irvin and Ford Smith, both from the negro leagues.

Monte Irvin would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973. He would play 8 seasons in the big leagues hitting 99 home runs. Pitcher Ford Smith would never make the big league club spending his 6 years in the minors.

Born on this day:

1898 Chief Yellowhorse

1934 Bill White

1975 Jermaine Dye

1974 Magglio Ordonez

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Today in Baseball History – January 27th

January 27, 1966

Wisconsin State Circuit Court Judge Elmer W. Roller ruled that the Milwaukee Braves must stay in town or promise the state a team for the 1967 season. The team had announced they were moving to Atlanta and were sued in state court arguing that the team violated state antitrust laws.

The ruling by Roller was overruled later that summer by the state Supreme Court and it wouldn’t be until 1970 when car salesman Bud Selig would bring a team back to Milwaukee.

January 27, 1982

The Philadelphia Phillies send Larry Bowa and a minor league infielder named Ryne Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs for Ivan DeJesus.

DeJesus would play three seasons in Philly and Larry Bowa would play four seasons in Chicago, but the big deal was the future Hall of Famer Sandberg who would play 15 seasons for Chicago. He was a 10-time All-Star, 9-time Gold Glove winner, and was the 1984 NL MVP.

Born on this day:

1968 Eric Wedge

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Australia: Perth Wins and Advances to the ABL Playoffs; Canberra Claims First Place

The playoff picture is now set in the ABL. The top three teams in the league advance to the playoff round with the 1st place team advancing all the way to the championship. The 2nd and 3rd place teams will play a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to the championship team.

The Canberra Cavalry clinched the Australian Baseball League regular season championship with an 11-6 win over Adelaide on Sunday afternoon. This is the first time Canberra has made the playoffs in the three year history of the reformation of the league.

The Cavalry pounded Bite pitching for 13 hits, including three home runs on Sunday to power their way to the title.

Adam Buschini (2-for-2) walked twice, scored twice, and drove in two with his league leading 15th home run of the season in the 3rd inning. Designated hitter Josh Matavesi (1-for-5) hit his first home run of the season in the 5th inning, a solo shot. And Jeremy Barnes (2-for-5) drove in four runs including two on his 7th home run of the season in the 6th inning.

Every Cavalry hitter, except for one, picked up a hit on the day. Five hitters picked up two hits as well including Ryan Stovall (2-for-5) with a pair of doubles.

Ji-Man Choi had a big day for Adelaide who are still on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Choi went 2-for-4 driving in two runs including one on his 8th home run of the year. Ben Lodge (3-for-5) scored a pair of runs and drove in another in the loss.\

Both starters lasted just 3.2 innings giving up 6 runs each. Neither factored into the decision. Steven Kent (W, 1-1) picked up the win in relief. Reed Brown (L, 0-2) took the loss.

The win gives Canberra the 1st place spot in the playoffs. They hold the tie breaker with Sydney, so they will host the championship series.

Melbourne Aces 1, Perth Heat 11

The Perth Heat advanced to the playoffs with an 11-1 victory over Melbourne on Sunday. Perth got a great start from Jack Frawley (W, 3-1) who tossed eight shutout innings allowing just three hits to earn the win. Tim Kennelly finished off the game for Perth in the 9th.

Blake Cunningham (L, 0-1) took the loss for Melbourne pitching three innings and giving up two runs.

Michael Ohlman (3-for-5), Luke Hughes (0-for-3), and Ryan Khoury (2-for-3) all drove in two runs.

Carlo Testa (3-for-4) collected three of the four Melbourne hits on the day.

Brisbane Bandits vs Sydney Blue Sox

The game in Sydney was postponed due to bad weather and will not be made up. The best Sydney could do is a tie for 1st place, but Canberra holds the tie breaker. Brisbane needed Perth to lose in order to have a shot at finishing 3rd place.

Final ABL Regular Season Standings:

1. Canberra Cavalry 27-19

2. Sydney Blue Sox 26-19

3. Perth Heat 25-21

4. Brisbane Bandits 23-22

5. Adelaide Bite 21-25

6. Melbourne Aces 15-31

Posted in News, Oceania0 Comments

LVBP: Venezuela Series Tied at Two Games with Magallanes Winning Game 4

The Navegantes del Magallanes have tied up the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Championship Series at two games apiece with a 6-5 win over the Cardenales de Lara on Saturday night.

The Magallanes held off a late inning comeback from Lara to tied the series in a game they really needed to win.

Each team collected 13 hits, but the Magallanes added a pair of home runs in the win. Hector Gimenez (2-for-5) blasted a solo shot in the 2nd inning, and Eliezer Alfonzo (2-for-5) hit his 5th home run of the year in the 4th inning.

Deolis Guerra (W, 1-0) picked up the win in relief tossing two scoreless innings. Enrique Gonzalez (S, 3) picked up the save with 1.1 innings of relief work. Yohan Pino (L, 0-1) took the loss pitching three innings giving up three runs on six hits.

Yangervis Solarte (4-for-5) had a big day for Lara picking up four hits and driving in two runs. Ernesto Mejia (2-for-5) and Luis Valbuena (2-for-5) both drove in a run for Lara.

The best-of-seven series will resume on Monday the 28th.

LVBP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Lara 2, Magallanes 5
Game 2: Lara 3, Magallanes 0
Game 3: Magallanes 2, Lara 4
Game 4: Magallanes 6, Lara 5
Series tied at 2
Game 5: 01/28 7:30 p.m.
Game 6: 01/29 7:30 p.m.
*Game 7: 01/30 7:30 p.m.
*if necessary

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LMP: Yaquis de Obregon Win Third Straight Mexican Pacific League Title

The Yaquis de Obregon completed its three-peat winning the Mexican Pacific League title once again with a four game sweep of the Aguilas de Mexicali. Obregon completed the sweep with a 16-3 win on Saturday night.

Kansas City pitcher Roman Colon got the start for Obregon but lasted only three innings. He gave up three runs on five hits before handing the ball over to the bullpen. David Reyes (W, 1-1) picked up the win pitching four innings of scoreless relief.

Marco Duarte (L, 1-1) got pounded taking the loss. Duarte lasted just 1.2 innings giving up seven runs.

The Yaquis pounded out 17 hits including two home runs and five doubles against the Mexicali pitching. Every Yaquis starter picked up at least one hit on the night led by Alfredo Amezago (3-for-5) who double and drove in a run. Jesse Gutierrez (2-for-4) drove in four runs including three on a home run in the 3rd inning.

Barbaro Canizares (3-for-4) drove in a pair including one on a solo home run in the 3rd inning as Obregon put the game away. They started strong scoring five runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, added two more in the 2nd, and another five in the 3rd.

Wes Bankston (1-for-3) homered in the losing effort for Mexicali.

The win puts Obregon back into the Caribbean Series for the 3rd year in a row. In last years Caribbean Series, Obregon finished a disappointing 2-4 after winning the title in 2011.

The Caribbean Series starts February 1st in Hermosillo, Mexico.

LMP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Obregon 5, Mexicali 3
Game 2: Obregon 4, Mexicali 2
Game 3: Mexicali 5, Obregon 6
Game 4: Mexicali 3, Obregon 16
Yaquis de Obregon wins series 4-0

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Australia: Perth Holds Destiny in Their Own Hands; Win and Advance or Lose and Go Home

On the second to last day of the season with the playoff race heating up, all three games were very important.

With a win on Saturday, the Perth Heat now hold their destiny in their own hands. Canberra and Sydney have already qualified for the playoffs with the final team to be determined on Sunday. Perth holds a one game lead on Brisbane for the final playoff spot. If they win on Sunday, they are in. However, if they lose and Brisbane wins the Bandits will advance holding the tie breaker with Perth.

Brisbane Bandits 4, Sydney Blue Sox 2

Keeping their playoff hopes alive, Brisbane came through with a huge win on Saturday. Brisbane got a great start from James Schult (W, 5-2) who tossed seven scoreless innings giving up just two hits. Justin Erasmus (S, 4) picked up the save pitching 1.1 innings of relief.

Chris Oxspring (L, 4-3) pitched well, but took the loss when his defense couldn’t help him out. Oxspring went seven innings giving up four runs (1 earned) on five hits while striking out eight.

The Bandits got all four runs in the 4th inning. After an error by the Blue Sox third baseman, C.J. Beatty (1-for-4) blasted a 2-run home run, his 7th of the season. Then later the same inning, Logan Wade (1-for-4) doubled in a pair of runs to make the score 4-0.

Brisbane is still hopeful for a playoff birth. If they end up tying for 3rd with Perth, they will hold the tie breaker.

Canberra Cavalry 12, Adelaide Bite 2

Canberra pounded Bite pitching for 15 hits including four home runs. Adam Buschini (3-for-4) got the scoring going with a 2-run home run in the top of the 1st inning. He would add his league leading 14th home run later on in the 7th inning. Marcus Knecht (2-for-4) drove in a run with a solo home run in the 5th inning, and Ryan Stovall (3-for-4) drove in three runs including two with a 2-run blast in the 7th inning. Jeremy Barnes (3-for-5) pitched in with a pair of RBI.

John Holdzkom (W, 4-3) picked up the win pitching five innings giving up just two runs on six hits. Paul Mildren (L, 2-7) took the loss giving up seven runs (5 ER) in 4.2 innings.

Melbourne Aces 2, Perth Heat 6

Perth came into the weekend struggling, but they have now taken the first three games of the series against Melbourne putting them back into the playoff hunt.

Perth kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win on Saturday. Perth got a good start from Daniel Schmidt (W, 7-3) who went 5.2 innings giving up just two runs.

Perth got on the board quickly with a 2-run home run by Luke Hughes (1-for-3) in the top of the 1st inning. David Amberson (3-for-4) doubled in a pair of runs in the 5th to extend the Perth lead to 6-1.

With a win on Sunday, Perth will qualify for the playoffs once again giving them a chance to defend their titles.

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

Today in Baseball History – January 26th

January 26, 1932

William Wrigley Jr., the namesake of Wrigley Field and owner of the Chicago Cubs, died at age 70. Wrigley started a company selling soap and baking powder, but when he started including gum with each purchase the gum soon become more popular. He bought a minority stake in the Cubs in 1916 and was majority owner by 1921.

The Wrigley family would own the Cubs for another 60 years until they were sold to the Tribune Company in 1981.

Born on this day:

1935 Bob Uecker

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Women: Phoenix Cup Announces Individual Awards for 2013 Tournament

The 2013 Women’s Phoenix Cup recently ended in Hong Kong. Once again Shilin High School of Commerce from Taiwan came out victorious. In the two years they have participated, they have gone 11-0 dominating the competition.

The runner-up for the 2013 tournament was Team Australia with the second runner-up the powerhouse Far East Bombers from Japan.

The personal awards were also announced and as expected Shilin High dominated the them. The team from Taiwan had the best coach, best pitcher, and the hitters with the most hits and RBI.

+ Best Coach YANG, Chang-Shin (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
+ Best Pitcher HUANG, Yu-Ting (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
+ Most Home Runs CHEN, Chia-Yi (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
TAMURA, Chika (Far East Bloomers, Japan)
+ Most Hits CHEN, Chia-Yi (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
+ Most RBI CHEN, Chia-Yi (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
+ Most Valuable Player LIN, Yu-Chien (Taipei Vanguard Women’s Baseball Team, Taiwan)
Claire O’ Sullivan (Team Australia, Australia)
MATSUMOTO, Kei (Far East Bloomers, Japan)
YANG, Mi Hyun (Guri-city NineVics Women’s Baseball Team, Korea)
HUANG, Yu-Ting (Shilin High School of Commerce, Taiwan)
HUNG, Yik Shan (Allies, Hong Kong)
FUNG, Kit Yi (Development Team, Hong Kong)

Posted in Asia, News, Tournaments, Women0 Comments

Interview: Australian Pitcher Daniel Schmidt

Recently Australian native and Perth Heat pitcher Daniel Schmidt took the time to answer some questions for us.

Schmidt has been pitching for the Perth Heat and has pitched in a few different independent leagues in the US over the past few summers.

Here is what he had to say about pitching in Australia and the US:

For the past 3 seasons you have been pitching for the Perth Heat in your homeland of Australia. What has it been like pitching in the ABL since its reemergence?

Every player loves representing their state and putting the team colours on. The only thing that makes it more satisfying is playing in front of your large home crowds. With the re-emergence of the ABL it has brought some fans back to the game. It is becoming more recognized as a professional sport again as we play on a weekly basis rather than a once a year tournament played over a couple of weeks. There are a lot of new experiences for most of our players as we have been getting a lot more media attention which involves radio interviews, photo shoots, appearances and in some cases TV interviews. It makes me realize that we are professional athletes and are the most elite players in the country at our sport. That is a pretty awesome feeling when you look at it like that.

During the first two championships seasons the Perth Heat have had the chance to play in the Asia Series against some of the top teams in Asia. Can you tell us a little about how your experience has been in the Asia Series and how it has helped the ABL to be a part of this yearly event?

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be part of a team that has enjoyed so much success over the past 5 years. To be able to travel to a different country and play against some of the best talent around the world was incredible. The Taiwanese and Korean fans were crazy! They cheer like no other fans around the world I believe. They bring out their horns, whistles and clappers, draped big banners from the top deck and stretched it out over the lower seating. They have cheerleaders and singers chanting and dancing around in between innings, it was just unbelievable. We were treated like celebrities with massive hotels rooms to ourselves, police escorts to and from the field, people waiting in the hotel lobbies for autographs and big buffet meals waiting for us each day. Pretty special memories.

Being a frequent part of the Asia series is dramatically helping increase the popularity of the sport in Australia. This year each team has included live streaming of games on the internet which means that we are getting a larger following, especially from the fans of the places we have visited from the Asia Series.

You have also pitched in the USA in different independent leagues. How has that experience gone so far?

It has certainly been an eye opener playing Independent ball! It is very cut throat as they have so many players to choose from. In the 3 seasons I have played Indy ball, I have been a part of 4 different teams in a variety of different roles. You need to be very adaptable as you aren’t always going to have the same role on each team. People seem to think that Independent ball is a lower standard of baseball then the professional affiliated leagues and it’s simply false. A lot of the players in Independent ball are released guys from Pro Ball. You have ex- big league guys, guys that were number 1 draft pics and others that have come straight out of college. It is a very good standard of baseball.You visit some places that you normally wouldn’t have on your vacation list……..let’s put it that way!! It was also the first time I had really lived away from home by myself so I had to adapt by learning to cook a bit and manage my money better. Overall it has been an awesome experience, loved every minute of it. I’ve met some lifelong friends and created memories that will stay with me forever.

How different is the ABL compared to the independent leagues you have played in the States?

One of the major differences I have noticed is the travel. We are very lucky in the ABL that we get to fly to all our away series games. Having played most of my career in the American Association which is spread out over a large section of central America, we used to have anywhere from 6-12 hour bus trips. We used to jump on the bus straight after a game and drive to our next destination usually all night. Get into town late in the morning, get a couple of hours sleep before having to go to the field and play. The other main difference is that most of the players in the ABL have day jobs. We don’t make enough money yet as the league is still developing. We only play 3-4 days a week which is very strange for some of the imports we have come down here to play as they have so much down time during the week between series.

Once again you are putting together solid numbers in the ABL for Perth. Are you looking to play overseas again somewhere during the summer of 2013?

I’d love to get back to the US to play another season. I am currently looking at going back to the American Association for Independent ball where I played in 2 of the past 3 seasons. There are a few teams in Texas that seem promising at this point with my old manager from Grand Prairie now managing in Laredo. There is also the chance that I could possibly go back and play with the Fort Worth Cats that I played with in 2011. At some point I would also like to go and play in Italy or Holland to see a different part of the world.

The game of baseball is still growing in Australia. How did you get started in the game?

I was actually trying all sorts of sports when I was younger, trying to find the one I enjoyed the most. I had played soccer, basketball, athletics, swimming and Australian Rules Football. While I was training for football I could see the baseball players training on the other side of the field and thought I would give that a go the next season. I was really tall for my age and looked like the coach on most teams because of how much I towered over people! I had a really good first season as I had the strong-arm. My coach told me I should stick with baseball as I could end up going places if I stuck with it plus I really enjoyed it. My dad also played baseball in High School so there was that family connection too.

Pitching with the Heat you have had the chance to work with former Major Leaguer Graeme Lloyd. Can you tell us a little bit about how he has helped your game?

Lloydy and I have known each other for a long time now. He used to coach me up at the Australian baseball Academy up on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia which is a camp for young aspiring baseballers to try and get signed to a professional contract. He has a wealth of knowledge of the game based on his 10+ years of Major league experience. Speaking to a fellow lefty pitcher about the path he took throughout his career and the ups and downs he had, has given me a lot of hope and determination that you can actually prove the doubters wrong if you set your heart to it and give it 100%. He has helped me to keep things in perspective. Whether I am struggling to shake a mental lapse in the middle of the game or we bounce ideas back and forth in between innings about something that may have happened in that half inning. It’s been great to have someone like that to talk to.

You have worked with Teammates International in the past. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with them and why others should think about using their services?

Duane Erickson has done a fantastic job of bringing out quality baseball players to my local Perth state league club the Melville Braves for a number of years now. At the time I had been recently released by the Phillies and had been searching for a place to play somewhere overseas. I found it very hard to get my foot in the door being from another country as no one knew anything about me. Duane made contact and called teams all over the country for Independent ball, in Canada and in Europe to get my name out there. Without his help and Teammates International, I wouldn’t have had this once in a lifetime opportunity to play the game I love and meet amazing people. They made sure that I got the best deal possible, in a team that best suited me. It saved me so much money on international calls, dealing with the time difference and I was also kept informed of each teams thoughts and interests. I highly recommend to anyone that has the desire to see the world while doing something they love, to let Teammates International take care of you. They are professional, resourceful and informative which takes a lot of the stress out of organising something as important as this yourself.

What are your plans after your playing days are over? Are you interested in coaching in the US or Australia?

I certainly want to get into coaching when I hang up the cleats. When I had my Tommy John Surgery back in 2007, I spent a lot of my rehab time coaching junior teams here in Australia. It helped me to feel like I was still involved in the game and also help me keep my sanity from all the repetitiveness of rehab!!! I coached my local clubs Under 16’s team for 4 years, went away to the national championships as the State Pitching Coach for the U14’s and U16’s and I also was the pitching coach for the women’s state baseball team. I get great satisfaction and enjoyment out of seeing the improvements in people when they put the hard work in. I would be thrilled to be able to coach in Australia or the US.

I’d like to thank Daniel for taking the time to answer some questions for us. He is currently pitching for the Perth Heat of the ABL who are in a playoff race. He pitches tonight in the midst of the race which you can follow online at www.theabl.com.

You can also follow him on Twitter at @Big_Lefty23 . We wish him the best the rest of the way for Perth and this summer wherever he winds up.

Posted in Interviews/Reviews, Oceania0 Comments

Minor Leagues: Pecos League Drops to Eight Teams for 2013 Season

As we predicted in December, the Pecos League has dropped two teams prior to the start of the 2013 season.

The league had hoped to start the new season with 10 teams, but instead will be going with 8.

The Pecos Bills will be dropped from the league with the possibility of them coming back for the 2014 season. The league was relying on Reeves County to move forward with plans to move lights at Martinez Field, but they did not more forward on a motion for the lights.

The county might approve the motion in February, but that is too late for the league who will start their spring training in early May.

Another issue was that of the oil boom that is going on in the area that is taking up all of the housing. It was brought into question where the league would house players with the housing shortage that is occurring with the oilfield boom.

With Pecos dropping out for 2013, the league will also drop the Carlsbad Bats who were slated to be a travel team for the 2013 season.

Ryan Parent was slated to manage in Pecos. He has since accepted an open coaching position with the Trinidad Triggers. The Triggers and Bills will be merging rosters with 30 players from the two teams becoming free agents.

In addition, Taos will move to the Southern Division to even out the schedule with each division having four teams apiece.

Everyone involved is still hopeful that the Bills will be back for the 2014 season including Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

Minor Leagues: Abilene Prairie Dogs Out in 2013

The Abilene Prairie Dogs will not return to the field for the 2013 season.

The team played the 2012 season in the North American Baseball League’s United Division.

The team played at McMurry University where alcohol was not allowed to be sold at games. This put added strain on the team’s finances and without an agreement in place to build a new stadium, the team decided to cease operations for the 2013 season.

League officials have stated that there is a possibility the team will return for the 2014 season. This will give the league and city time to perhaps work out an agreement for a new home for the Prairie Dogs.

It is still up in the air what will become of the old North American Baseball League. The northern division of the 2012 league split off to for m the Pacific Association. The United Division will likely remain under the NABL name or go back to the United Baseball League name it was under before its merger.

With Abilene out in 2013, the league options are still unclear. The league might start a new franchise in either Brownsville, Tyler, or Del Rio but nothing has been stated publicly.

The league is running the Texas Winter League which starts in a few days, and I would suspect more announcements in the coming days about team locations for the 2013 season.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

Minor Leagues: Yuma Desert Rats Pull Out of American West Baseball League for 2013

The American West Baseball League had a setback this week as the Yuma Desert Rats elected to pull themselves out of the league.

Yuma was going to be apart of the inaugural American West Baseball League season in 2013. The league was slated to have four teams including Yuma, Fullerton, San Diego, and Orange County.

The league is rumored to be full of potential issues including one stadium with no lights, and others in financial problems.

It is still uncertain if the league will move forward for 2013 or postpone a year to get some of the issues resolved.

Here is the press release issued by Yuma:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Part 1/1 January 24, 2013

Yuma Desert Rats Withdraw from American West Baseball League

YUMA, ARIZONA – Tim Ferguson, owner of the Yuma Desert Rats announced today that the team has elected to immediately remove themselves from the American West Baseball league. The Desert Rats were set to be part of the inaugural season of the AWBL a four-team independent minor league with teams in Fullerton, San Diego, Orange County, and Yuma. Desert Rats Owner and President Tim Ferguson said, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the Yuma Desert Rats will not be playing in the AWBL this season. We believe it is in the best interest of our fans, the City of Yuma, our corporate partners and sponsors to take some time to explore the best way that we can add value to the Yuma community through the game of baseball.”

While minor league baseball is at an all time high in attendance across the nation, hopes are high that the team will be able to continue to grow its fan base, build its corporate partnerships and community outreach programs while continuing to rebuild a foundation for professional baseball in Yuma. “There have been tremendous strides made towards bringing professional baseball back to Yuma. With more time to prepare, we feel that we will be able to sell a significant number of season tickets which will in turn attract even more community partners and sponsors. It also allows us to solidify our position within the local youth and amateur baseball programs in Yuma. We also think it will give us the proper time to find a suitable successor league which will provide the stability to create several much-needed business and support functions at the team level” added Ferguson. Because of a non-disclosure agreement, Ferguson is not able to release any other details regarding his decision to withdraw from the AWBL.

The team ownership went on to state “we would like to thank the community for welcoming myself and my family to Yuma. We remain committed to bringing baseball back in the very near future. We thank our staff, city officials and player participants in the AWBL league tryout for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the many individuals who have helped me navigate this very difficult decision. We look to continue with you all as we look towards a strong and prosperous future within the game of baseball”. Said Ferguson.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

LBPRC: Criollos de Caguas Wins Puerto Rico Title with 13-3 Route of Mayaguez in Game 6

The Criollos de Caguas are the new champions of the  Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico with their 13-3 win over the Indios de Mayaguez on Friday night.

Caguas chased Mayaguez starter Aaron Miller (L, 2-2) after just a third of an inning. They jumped out with a 6 run top of the first to set the tone for the day. Mayaguez would never get close.

Seven of the nine batters for Caguas drove in a run and all but one collected a hit. Andy Gonzalez (3-for-5) and Jorge Padilla (3-for-6) collected the most hits. Padilla drove in a pair of runs as well. Luis Mateo had a good game as well going 2-for-4 with a double, driving in 2 runs, and stealing a base.

Kelvin Villa (W, 2-1) was the beneficiary of the run support. He pitched 5 innings allowing just 1 run on 6 hits.

The win gives Caguas a trip to the Caribbean Series that will start on February 1 in Mexico.

LBPRC Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Mayaguez 4, Caguas 5
Game 2: Caguas 3, Mayaguez 1
Game 3: Mayaguez 2, Caguas 1
Game 4: Caguas 5, Mayaguez 6
Game 5: Mayaguez 2, Caguas 4
Game 6: Caguas 13, Mayaguez 3
Caguas wins series 4-2

Posted in Latin0 Comments

LVBP: Lara Takes 2-1 Lead in Venezuelan Series

The Cardenales de Lara have taken a 2-1 lead in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Championship Series with a pair of wins in Games 2 and 3 over the Navegantes del Magallanes.

Game 2 Lara 3, Magallanes 0

Maximo Nelson (W, 2-0) picked up the win for Lara going 5 scoreless  innings allowing just 5 hits.  The Lara bullpen did the rest as four pitchers combined to shut down Magallanes the rest of the way allowing just two more hits. Victor Moreno (S, 3) picked up the save working the 9th inning.

The Cardenales offense was provided by Gabriel Noriega (2-for-3) who scored a run and drove in another. Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) hit a solo home run in the 3-run 5th for Lara.

Gustavo Chacin (L, 2-2) took the loss pitching 4.2 innings giving up all 3 runs on 5 hits.

Game 3 Magallanes 2, Lara 4

Lara got more good pitching to take their second game in a row. This time it came from Raul Rivero (W, 2-0) who went 5.2 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits. Lara kept Magallanes off the scoreboard until the 9th inning when Victor Moreno gave up back-t0-back solo home runs to Elvis Andrus (1-for-3) and Pablo Sandoval (1-for-4).

But it was too little too late as Lara got RBIs from Luis Jiminez (1-for-2), Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 / 2 doubles), and Jose Yepez (2-for-4) to pick up the win and the lead in the series.

Game 4 will be Saturday night.

LVBP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Lara 2, Magallanes 5
Game 2: Lara 3, Magallanes 0
Game 3: Magallanes 2, Lara 4
Cardenales de Lara lead series 2-1
Game 4: 01/26 6:00 p.m.
Game 5: 01/28 7:30 p.m.
*Game 6: 01/29 7:30 p.m.
*Game 7: 01/30 7:30 p.m.
*if necessary
*if necessary

Posted in Latin0 Comments

Australia: Sydney and Canberra Clinch Playoff Birth

The Australian Baseball League playoff race continues to heat up as the weekend progresses.

The Sydney Blue Sox have a one game lead heading into the final two games of the season after routing the Brisbane Bandits 13-0 on Friday night clinching a playoff birth.

Sydney used a 5-run 4th inning to pull ahead 6-0 in the game and from there it was over. They added 4 more runs in the 6th and 3 more in the 8th on a 3-run home run by JaDamion Williams (1-for-1 / 3 RBI).

Chris Snelling (3-for-3) scored a pair of runs, while James Robbins (1-for-3) drove in 3 on the day. Zachary Penprase continued his hot hitting going 3-for-6 with a double.

On the hill, starter Brad Thomas (W, 3-2) was great going 6 innings allowing just 5 hits while striking out 8. Ryan Searle (L, 3-2) took the loss lasting just 3 innings. He gave up only 2 hits, but he walked 5 giving up 5 runs.

The back-to-back loses have dropped Brisbane into 4th place in the league on the verge of being dropped out of the playoffs.

Canberra, now a game out of 1st place, needed a win to keep pace with Sydney, and they got just that on Friday night topping Adelaide 8-7.

Canberra did it with power too hitting three home runs. In the top of the 1st, Jack Murphy (2-for-4) hit a 3-run shot, his 5th of the year, to give the Cavalry a 3-0 lead. Then with the scored tied at 3 in the 4th inning, Jeremy Barnes (1-for-4) hit a solo shot to give Canberra the lead once again. An inning later, Adam Buschini (3-for-5) put the game away with a 3-run bomb of his own.

Adelaide tried to fight back each time but fell short in the end. Ji-man Choi (2-for-4) hit his 7th home run of the year in the 2nd inning, a solo shot. Quincy Latimore added his 3rd in the 7th inning, another solo shot.

Robert Dickmann (W, 4-4) benefited from all the run support provided by his teammates picking up the win. Dickmann went 5 innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits. Sean Toler (S, 11) picked up his 11th save finishing off the game.

Bite starter Gary Owens (L, 0-1) lasted just 4.2 innings giving up 7 runs on 6 hits including 3 home runs to take the loss.

With the win, Canberra clinches a playoff birth and still has a chance to finish in 1st place.

The final game of the night featured two-time defending champion Perth Heat against the Melbourne Aces. Perth had struggled coming into the weekend but won the fist game of the series. They would follow suit in game 2 with a 11-3 win.

Warwick Saupold (W, 1-1) picked up the win pitching 7 innings allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits. He was backed up by a Heat offense that pounded out 10 hits taking advantage of 3 Melbourne errors.

Allan de San Miguel hit his 7th home run of the season in the 8 run 7th inning Perth put up. Perth was trailing 3-1 heading into the 7th inning when the bats came alive. Perth put together an inning with a home run, 2 doubles, 3 singles, 5 walks, and a wild pitch to score 8 runs and put the game out of reach.

Kevin Reese (L, 2-6) took the loss lasting just 6.1 innings giving up 5 runs. He was relieved in the 7th inning by Kable Hogben who lasted just a third of an inning after giving up 4 runs including the 3-run home run.

ABL Scoreboard

Brisbane Bandits 0, Sydney Blue Sox 13

Canberra Cavalry 8, Adelaide Bite 7

Melbourne Aces 3, Perth Heat 11

Current ABL Standings

1. *Sydney Blue Sox 26-18

2. *Canberra Cavalry 25-19

3. Perth Heat 23-21

4. Adelaide Bite 21-23

5. Melbourne Aces 15-29

*clinched playoff birth

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

MLB: Thoughts on the Braves – Diamondbacks Trade for Justin Upton

Before I get into what I really think about this trade, let me start by saying I’m a HUGE Braves fan and have loved watching Prado play the past few years. Ok with that said…..

Initially I thought this was a horrible trade for Atlanta. That was just my gut instinct because we were giving up a good young pitcher and Prado who has been so valuable for Atlanta.

However, after really thinking about the deal, I couldn’t be happier as a Braves fan. And if I was a Diamondbacks fan, I’d be really disappointed.

Let’s take a look at what each team gets.

Going to Atlanta

Justin Upton

Easily the centerpiece in the deal, Upton will join his brother in Atlanta. He is a five tool player who has had issues in the past but has shown the ability to be a great player. He will only be 25 this year and has already spent 5+ seasons at the Major League level.

Last season wasn’t a great one for Upton as it was down from what he did in 2011, but he still put up good numbers hitting 17 home runs with a WAR of 2.1.

The previous season, 2011, was Upton’s best so far and shows what could be in the future. He hit 31 home runs, finished 4th in the MVP voting, and had a war of 5.7.

Batting in the middle of the order with Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and brother B.J. taking some of the pressure off of him to be “the” guy, Justin should be able to settle down and put up good numbers.

His brother should be able to motivate and push him to be a better player, and visa versa.

However, the biggest plus for the Braves is the fact that Upton is controllable for the next three seasons. He’ll make just under $10 million this year and under $15 million the next two seasons. They are getting a young player with almost 6 years of service time and they can control him for 3 years. That’s amazing for Atlanta.

Now to see if he can return to his 2011 form or anywhere near. If he does, the Braves will have robbed the Dbacks blind.

Chris Johnson

The addition of Johnson should not be overlooked either. The Braves are in need of an everyday third baseman with the retirement of Chipper Jones.

Last season the third base duties were shared between Jones (103 games), Francisco (49 games), and Prado (25 games). With Jones and now Prado gone, Francisco will have to fight for playing time with Johnson.

Johnson will provide some right handed power either at third base or off the bench. He hit 15 home runs in 2012 splitting his time between Houston and Arizona.

Going to Arizona

Martin Prado

This is the biggest name going to the Diamondbacks from the Braves, but in the end it might not be the best part of the trade for Arizona. Prado is very versatile having the ability to play just about anywhere on the field. In 2012, he played mostly left field but also filled in all over the diamond playing at shortstop, third base, second base, and first base.

But Prado adds more than just defense. He is a lifetime .295 hitter and in his 4 full seasons playing with Atlanta he hit over .300 three times. He adds a little pop and will give you 10-15 home runs a year. Plus he adds a little speed having stolen 17 bases last year. He is good at the top of the order since he won’t strike out 100 times a year and he will take a walk.

Last season Prado’s WAR was a very nice 5.4, but he is a free agent after this year. He was looking for a contract in the $10 million a year range. So, it will remain to be seen if Arizona can sign him to a long term deal.

Randall Delgado

In the end, Delgado could be the jewel of the trade for Arizona. He is a highly regarded right handed pitcher who will only be 23 this season. He has 24 Major League starts under his belt already with mixed success.

He has struggled with giving up walks at times, but he is young and still learning. Being able to go and pitch everyday at the Major League level will really be beneficial to him since he wasn’t able to break into the Atlanta rotation full time.

He isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2015, so the Diamondbacks have some time to utilize his services at a cheap rate and perhaps if everything works out to sign him to a long term deal.

Nick Ahmed

Ahmed is a highly thought of young shortstop out of the University of Connecticut. He’ll only be 23 this year having played in high A Lynchburg this past season.

Last season he hit .269 and stole 40 bases in his first full season as a professional after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft.

Zeke Spurill

Spurill is a tall (6’5″) right handed pitcher who spent 2012 at the AA level. Drafted out of high school in 2008, he has shown some success at the minor league. He will pitch the 2013 season at the age of 23, so he has time to grow and learn.

He isn’t touted to be a future ace but he could be a serviceable back of the rotation guy in the future.

Brandon Drury

Another young guy the Dbacks got was Drury who will turn only 20 during the 2013 season. He is a third baseman who spent the 2012 season with A Rome

The trade as it stands right now I feel favors Atlanta. However, the future remains to be seen. Arizona has the potential to make off great in the deal if they are able to sign Prado long term and if Delgado pans out to be a solid early of the rotation type pitcher.

The Braves filled two big needs. One they needed power from the right side which they got in both Johnson and Upton, and they needed another option at third base.

But the big question will be if Upton can right the ship and return to 2011 form. If he can, look out National League. The Braves are putting together quite the outfield and quite the team to compete for another division title and a trip back to the World Series.

Posted in MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

Today in Baseball History – January 25th

January 25, 1974

Ray Kroc, businessman and founder of McDonald’s Corporation, bought the San Diego Padres for a reported $12 million. Kroc owned the team until his death in 1984.

January 25, 1978

The San Diego Padres traded Dave Tomlin and cash to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Gaylord Perry. Perry, then 40, had pitched 3 solid years in Texas, but would win 21 games for the Padres and win the NL Cy Young Award. Tomlin would never pitch for Texas as he was sold to Cincinnati before the 1978 season.

Posted in MLB, N. America, Today in Baseball History0 Comments

Australia: Playoff Races Heat Up in Last Weekend of the ABL Regular Season

The final weekend of the ABL season kicked off on Thursday with five teams pushing to make the four team playoffs. Heading into the weekend the Brisbane Bandits and the Sydney Blue Sox were in the hunt for first place.

In the first game of the series, Sydney got the better of Brisbane winning 6-2. The Blue Sox used a 5 run 3rd inning to pull out the victory and take a 1 game lead in the standings over Canberra.

The middle of the order for Sydney really came through with the 2-5 hitters all pitching in with 2 hits apiece. James Robbins (2-for-4) doubled twice and drove in 2 runs. Shortstop Zachary Penprase drove in a pair of runs as well.

Craig Anderson (W, 8-2) tossed 7 innings giving up just 2 runs (1 ER) on 5 hits to help Sydney to the win. It was his league leading 8th win of the season and lowered his ERA to a league second best 2.10.

Chuck Lofgren (L, 4-3) took the loss for Brisbane giving up 5 runs in 5 innings of work.

The two teams will square off again on Friday night in game 2 of the 4-game series.

The two-time defending champion Perth Heat have been struggling of late dropping to 4th place in the standings and on the verge of falling out of the playoffs all together. However, they got a huge win on Thursday night that might just propel them into the playoffs.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th to the Melbourne Aces, Perth staged a comeback scoring twice on a walk-off single by Corey Adamson (2-for-5) to win the game.

Both starters pitched well but neither factored into the decision. Heat starter Anthony Claggett tossed 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 8 hits while striking out 14.  Aces starter Lewis Thorpe pitched just as well going 5.1 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits.

Brenden Wise (W, 2-1) picked up the win pitching the final two innings in relief. Zachary Arneson (L, 1-2) blew his second save and took the loss for Melbourne.

James Beresford had a big day for the Aces in the loss going 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and a RBI.

With the win and a Brisbane loss, Perth is now tied for 3rd place in the standings with 3 games to play. Melbourne is the only team that has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

The last match up for the weekend is Canberra against Adelaide. Canberra started the weekend tied for first with Sydney in the standings. Adelaide is the team on the outside looking in currently in 5th place. However, they are only a game out of a playoff spot.

In their first game of the series, the Adelaide Bite got a pair of home runs from third baseman Stefan Welch (2-for-4 /3 RBI) and a stellar performance from starter Dushan Ruzic (W, 5-2).

Welch put the Bite on the board in the 2nd with a solo shot giving them a 1-0 lead. Then with the game tied at 2 in the bottom of the 8th, Welch connected again. This time it was a 2-run shot that gave the Bite the win.

Ruzic pitched 8 strong innings allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5. Andrew Kittredge (S, 6) picked up the save pitching the 9th.

Brian Grening started and pitched well for Canberra, but didn’t factor into the decision lasting just 6 innings giving up 2 runs. Reliever Brodie Downs (L, 0-1) took the loss.

Josh Cakebread picked up 3 hits in 4 at bats for the Bite in the win, and Aaron Sloan hit a 2-run home run for the Cavalry.

The loss drops Canberra a game out of first place. Adelaide is still one game out of a playoff spot with three to play.

ABL Scoreboard

Brisbane Bandits 2, Sydney Blue Sox 6

Canberra Cavalry 3, Adelaide Bite 4

Melbourne Aces 3, Perth Heat 4

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

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