Archive | N. America

College: Vanderbilt Still Atop BA Top 25 Rankings

Vanderbilt remained atop the Baseball America Top 25 this week after taking two out of three from Indiana State over the weekend. In fact the top 7 remained in tact with no changes.

Many schools had to change venues due to terrible weather this week including top ranked Vandy. The Commodores headed to Port Charlotte, FL to take on Indiana State.

UCLA jumped up into the top 10 while Miami dropped out. Two new teams made it into the rankings in No. 23 Dallas Baptist and No. 24 Mississippi. Falling out were Liberty and Florida International.

The state of Texas is still dominating the top 10 with four teams including No. 3 Houston, No. 5 Texas Tech, No. 7 TCU, and No. 9 Texas. Rice is not far behind at No. 14.


Team
W-L Last Week
Previous Rank
1. Vanderbilt 4-2 2-1 1
2. Louisiana State 6-1 3-1 2
3. Houston 6-1 3-1 3
4. Virginia 7-0 4-0 4
5. Texas Tech 8-1 4-1 5
6. Florida 6-1 3-1 6
7. Texas Christian 6-1 3-1 7
8. UCLA 6-1 3-1 11
9. Texas 7-2 5-0 10
10. Oklahoma State 4-3 3-1 9
11. Miami 5-3 1-3 8
12. South Carolina 6-1 4-0 13
13. Mississippi State 8-0 4-0 14
14. Rice 5-3 3-1 15
15. Central Florida 7-0 4-0 22
16. Maryland 5-1 2-1 16
17. Louisville 3-3 1-2 12
18. Arizona State 4-2 2-2 18
19. North Carolina 4-2 1-2 17
20. Oregon 7-1 5-0 20
21. Kennesaw State 5-2 3-1 19
22. UC Santa Barbara 6-1 3-1 24
23. Dallas Baptist 6-1 3-1 NR
24. Mississippi 4-2 2-1 NR
25. Florida State 4-3 1-3 21
Dropped Out: Florida International (23), Liberty (25)

Posted in College, N. America0 Comments

College: Arizona Stuns Rice with Walk Off Steal of Home

This is something I have never seen, and many never see again.

With the game tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, two runners on, Arizona junior Kevin Newman stole home to win the game. That’s right he had a walk off steal of home.

Rice closer Matt Ditman was zoned in on the hitter while Newman got a huge lead and bigger jump. With a left-handed batter up Newman had a clear path to the plate. However, Newman was safe because Rice catcher Hunter Kopycinski failed to hold onto the ball. During the slide, Newman knocks the ball out of Kopycinski’s glove. If he is able to hold on Newman is easily out.

It was a fitting end to a terrible inning by No. 7 Rice. The Owls committed four errors in the inning and actually led 6-5 at the start of the ninth.

So how rare is this? The last time it happened in Major League Baseball was in 1982.

 

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MLB: Will We See a Return of Bullpen Cars?

Major League Baseball released new rules to help speed up the game play which seems to be a big concern for new commissioner Rob Manfred. I like what they have done in terms of speeding up the in between inning happenings. This is how the KBO works albeit with a shorter clock between innings at two minutes in Korea.

I think the time limits they are given give the players plenty of time to move on and off the field and get ready for play the next half inning. They will now get 2:45 in nationally televised games and 2:25 for locally televised games. Plus I like that they are going to discourage longer lingering behavior through fines and warnings. This will hopefully cut down on unneeded practices, and I bet Nomar Garciaparra is glad he is no longer in the league.

My question is will there be a return of the much missed bullpen cars of old? Wouldn’t this keep some of the slower relief pitchers in the game from not having enough time to warm up? Many of the younger generation may not remember them, or maybe they only saw one in the movie Major League.

Bullpen Car Indians

It has been twenty years, wow has it been that long, since we have seen any sort of bullpen car. And the last one wasn’t even a car, it was a motorcycle with a sidecar courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers. However, it does seem like there have been some sightings of bullpen cars in various minor league stops around the country and overseas. Perhaps the greatest one ever was dubbed the “tugboat” in Seattle

tugboat bullpen car Seattle

I do hope that the fine system is progressive in order to really hit hard the repeat offenders. For some the fine might have to get high before they take any corrective action.

There are more rules including a batter must keep a foot in the batter’s box between pitches, with some exceptions. There are also some changes to the replay rules.

For more information on these, you can view the press release by MLB here.

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MLB, MLBPA Announce Pace of Game Initiatives and Replay Modifications

Press Release by Major League Baseball

Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, the Chairman of Major League Baseball’s Pace of Game and Instant Replay Committees, today jointly announced additions to the sport’s pace of game program, which will be effective in Spring Training, the regular season and the Postseason, and a series of modifications to the instant replay system. The World Umpires Association also has given its assent to the new efforts, which will be reviewed by the parties following the conclusion of the 2015 World Series.

PACE OF GAME

  • The pace of game program will enforce the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs. The new rule at the Major League level mirrors 6.02(d), which was in place in Minor League Baseball in 2014.
  • A second new component to the pace of game program is the addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the façade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer will count down from 2:25 for locally televised games and from 2:45 for nationally televised games. An MLB representative attending each game will operate the timers from the ballpark and will track the following events:

Time Remaining

Activity

40 Seconds

PA announces batter and begins to play walk-up music

30 Seconds

Pitcher throws final warm-up pitch

25 Seconds

Batter’s walk-up music ends

20 Seconds-5 Seconds

Batter enters the batter’s box

20 Seconds-0 Seconds

Pitcher begins motion to deliver pitch

  • Pitchers will be permitted to throw as many warm-up pitches as they wish prior to the point when 30 seconds remain on the clock; however, pitchers will be deemed to have forfeited any of their traditional eight warm-up pitches that they are unable to complete prior to the 30-second deadline. Exceptions to these rules will be made in a variety of circumstances, including if the pitcher or catcher ended the prior half-inning at bat or on base.
  • Batters will be encouraged to get into the batter’s box with 20 seconds remaining on the timer. This is the same time that the broadcasters return from commercial. The pitcher is expected to begin his motion to deliver the pitch as soon as the batter gets into the batter’s box and becomes alert to the pitcher. Batters who do not enter the box prior to five seconds remaining on the timer and pitchers who do not begin the motion to deliver the pitch prior to zero seconds remaining on the timer will be deemed to have violated the break timing rules.
  • These rules will be enforced through a warning and fine system, with discipline resulting for flagrant violators. No fines will be issued in Spring Training or in April of the 2015 regular season. Donations will be made to the Major League Baseball Players Trust charitable foundation based on the level of adherence to the new rules.

Commissioner Manfred said: “These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play. The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”

Clark said: “The Players believe that enforcing the rules that currently exist regarding between inning breaks and plate appearances is the best way to address the issue of pace of play. We’re confident that today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the pace of the game without jeopardizing the integrity of the competition.”

Schuerholz said: “The Pace of Game Committee wants to take measured steps as we address this industry goal to quicken the pace of our great game. It is not an objective of ours to achieve a dramatic time reduction right away; it is more important to develop a culture of better habits and a structure with more exact timings for non-game action.”

Brian Lam, who represents the Major League Umpires, stated: “These strides to hone the pace of game over time will improve the natural rhythm of baseball, and we applaud and support the Players Association and the Commissioner’s Office as we all move toward this goal.”

INSTANT REPLAY MODIFICATIONS

  • Managers may now invoke instant replay from the dugout and will no longer be required to approach the calling umpire to challenge a call. Managers may hold play from the top step of the dugout by signaling to players and the home plate umpire that he is considering a challenge. A decision can be communicated verbally or with a hand signal. To challenge an inning-ending call, managers will be required to leave the dugout immediately in order to hold the defensive team on the field.
  • Whether a runner left the base early or properly touched a base on a tag-up play will be reviewable.
  • A manager will retain his challenge after every call that is overturned. Last year, a manager retained his challenge only after the first overturned call.
  • A manager must use a challenge in order to review whether a play at home plate included a violation of the rule governing home plate collisions. However, in the event that a manager is out of challenges after the start of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may still choose to review whether there was a violation of the rule.
  • During Postseason games, regular season tiebreaker games and the All-Star Game, managers will now have two challenges per game.
  • Instant replay will not be utilized during 2015 Spring Training, but it will be in place for exhibition games at Major League ballparks prior to the start of the 2015 regular season.

Posted in MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series

Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

Posted in College, Latin, N. America0 Comments

MLB: Pitchers and Catchers Start Reporting Today for Various Teams

And it begins.

The first teams reported for spring training today. Well the pitchers and catchers did. This may not seem like a big day to many, but it marks the first day toward what everyone is waiting for…..Opening Day.

Opening Night is Sunday April 5th with the Cubs and Cardinals facing off at Wrigley Field. The following day is when the rest of the league will get started with a full slate of games.

Not sure when your team will report? Well here is a list courtesy of SpringTrainingOnline.com.

2015 Spring Training Reporting Dates: Major-League Teams

Organization Pitchers & Catchers First
Workout
Position
Players
First full workout
Arizona D-Backs Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Atlanta Braves Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 25 Feb. 26
Baltimore Orioles Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Boston Red Sox Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Chicago Cubs Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Chicago White Sox Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 23 Feb. 24
Cincinnati Reds Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb.23 Feb. 24
Cleveland Indians Feb. 18 Feb. 20 Feb. 22 Feb. 24
Colorado Rockies Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 26 Feb. 27
Detroit Tigers Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 23 Feb. 24
Houston Astros Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Kansas City Royals Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Los Angeles Angels Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Los Angeles Dodgers Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24
Feb. 25
Miami Marlins Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Milwaukee Brewers Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 25 Feb. 26
Minnesota Twins Feb. 22 Feb. 23 Feb. 27 Feb. 28
New York Mets Feb. 19 Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 26
New York Yankees Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 25 Feb. 26
Oakland Athletics Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Philadelphia Phillies Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 23 Feb. 24
Pittsburgh Pirates Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 23 Feb. 24
St. Louis Cardinals Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
San Diego Padres Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
San Francisco Giants Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 23 Feb. 24
Seattle Mariners Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 25
Tampa Bay Rays Feb. 21 Feb. 22 Feb. 26 Feb. 27
Texas Rangers Feb. 20 Feb. 21 Feb. 25 Feb. 26
Toronto
Blue Jays
Feb. 22 Feb. 23 Feb. 26 Feb. 27
Washington
Nationals
Feb. 19 Feb. 20 Feb. 24 Feb. 25

Posted in MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

MLB: Alex Rodriguez Apologizes in Letter

On Tuesday Alex Rodriguez released a statement via a letter apologizing to the fans, his teammates, and the Yankees organization.

How fitting that the day Arod refuses the Yankees offer to use Yankee Stadium for a press conference that Anthony Bosch, the clinic’s founder, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for illegally supplying steroids.

The Yankees still owe Rodriguez some $61 million over the remaining three years of his career. He enters the 2015 season at the age of 39 having sat out the entire 2014 season.

Let’s forget about the need of the Yankees for him to return to something that resembles his former self. Instead I’d like to focus on the fact that Rodriguez took the easy way out, again, by not facing the press. The Yankees wanted him to apologize before spring training started to avoid the circus. This just isn’t going to cut it. Expect day one of spring training to be a circus regardless.

If you have not read what is in the letter, I feel the best way is to hear it read in the voice of Morgan Freeman. After all, Alex is just a huge joke anyway, and this is really funny.

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Today in Baseball History – February 17th

February 17, 1964

Former Chicago White Sox shortstop Luke Appling is elected into the Hall of Fame.

Appling was a seven-time All-Star who collected 2,749 hits over his career. His career was interrupted by World War II in 1944-45.

He won two batting titles (1936 & 1943) and was a good leadoff hitter for many years topping the .400 mark in OBP eight times.

Born on this day:

1893 Wally Pipp

1915 Rod Dedeaux

1944 Dick Bosman

Died on this day:

1986 Red Ruffing

1989 Lefty Gomez

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

MLB: 1920s Footage of Babe, Ty, Dazzy, and the Big Train

If you missed Jonah Keri’s article over at Grantland the other day, well you missed something good. Keri took a stroll through the MLB Production headquarters recently and got to see how all the old film is getting digitized.

But the best part was he shared some of the stuff he saw.

Probably the most popular out of the short videos he shared was just under two and a half minutes, but it features four of the greatest players to ever don a uniform in Dazzy Vance, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Walter Johnson.

It is such a great video, in what has been called an instructional video by many because of the content, but it is great in that it shows these great players as human. Here you can see Babe Ruth taking horrible swings we have all taken popping up balls, or Ty Cobb lunging at a ball. But you be the judge. Here is the video.

You can check out the other footage Keri shows off in his article here. It includes a young Bryce Harper playing junior college ball, some 1982 Montreal Expos highlights, some 50’s Reds spring training action, and my favorite some footage of the 1905 Giants.

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College: Cal State Fullerton to Represent USA at 2015 World University Games in Korea

This summer in Gwangju, South Korea the 2015 World University Games will take place from July 3-14. Representing the USA at the games will be the Cal State Fullerton Titans.

The four-time national champion Titans are ranked No. 23 in the Baseball America preseason rankings. The team is coming off its 40th consecutive 30 win season.

Originally USA Baseball was going to send an All-Star team to the World University Games. However, eleven teams showed interest before Fullerton was chosen.

A pair of Titan players, pitchers Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza, competed with the USA Collegiate National team a year ago finishing with an 18-8-2 record competing both in Cuba and the Netherlands.

The games are held every two years in different cities around the world. Internationally it is known as Universiade. In 2013, they were held in Kazan, Russia where the US finished in 6th place with 40 medals. This year will be the US’s largest participation ever with 550 athletes competing in 21 sports.

Posted in Asia, College, N. America, News, Tournaments0 Comments

USA Baseball Unveils 2015 50-Player Golden Spikes Watch List

Press Release by USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball released its 50-player preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on Tuesday, beginning the organization’s journey to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country in a trophy presentation on Tuesday, June 23 in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

The preseason watch list features 50 of the nation’s top amateur players, and will be a “rolling” list until May 22 — when the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are announced — ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the collegiate and high school seasons.

“It is hard to believe that we will be presenting the Golden Spikes Award for the 38th time this June,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “2015 looks to be another outstanding year for amateur baseball and we can’t wait to follow the competition across all levels of the game this season.”

Six players on the watch list have previously been named semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in their careers. Nathan Kirby (LHP, junior, Virginia), Michael Murray (RHP, junior, Florida Gulf Coast) and DJ Stewart (OF, junior, Florida State) were all semifinalists for the award in 2014, while David Berg (RHP, senior, UCLA), Alex Bregman (SS, junior, LSU) and Thomas Eshelman (RHP, junior, Cal State Fullerton) earned the recognition in the 2013 season.

Players on the list represent 17 different collegiate athletic conferences, led by Southeastern Conference with 12 players named to the watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference has 10 athletes on the list, while the Pac 12 has eight. 2014 NCAA Division I national champion, Vanderbilt, leads all institutions with three players on the preseason watch list, while Cal State Fullerton, Florida, Miami (Fla.), TCU, UCLA and Virginia all placed a pair of athletes on the list.

Also appearing on the list are three non-NCAA Division I athletes. Phil Bickford (RHP, sophomore, College of Southern Nevada) is the lone junior college representative after winning the Robert A. McNeese Award in the Cape Code League last summer. Two-time Division III national player and pitcher of the year, Chris Haddeland (RHP, senior, Linfield), returns to the watch list after receiving consideration for the Golden Spikes Award late into the 2014 season. Brendan Rodgers (SS, senior, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS) is the only high school athlete on the preseason watch list. Bryce Harper (2010) and Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only two non-NCAA Division I winners of the award.

On April 9, USA Baseball will release its 60-man midseason watch list, shaped by the Golden Spikes Award committee. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Friday, May 22, marks the day when amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list. On Tuesday, June 3, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Tuesday, June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Last year, University of Kentucky’s two-way star, A.J. Reed, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).

The anticipated timeline for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

A complete list of the 50-player USA Baseball preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
David Berg, RHP, Senior, UCLA, Pac 12
Phil Bickford, RHP, Sophomore, CC of Southern Nevada, Scenic West (JC)
Alex Bregman, SS, Junior, LSU, SEC
Walker Buehler, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Austin Byler, 3B, Senior, Nevada, Mountain West
Shaun Chase, C, Senior, Oregon, Pac 12
Zack Collins, C, Sophomore, Miami, ACC
Wil Crowe, RHP, Sophomore, South Carolina, SEC
Tyler Davis, RHP, Senior, Washington, Pac 12
Steven Duggar, OF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Riley Ferrell, RHP, Junior, TCU, Big 12
Blake Fox, LHP, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Junior, Louisville, ACC
Justin Garza, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Eric Gutierrez, 1B, Junior, Texas Tech, Big 12
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Senior, Linfield, Northwest Athletic (DIII)
Ian Happ, OF, Junior, Cincinnati, American Athletic
Tyler Jay, LHP, Junior, Illinois, Big 10
Casey Jones, OF, Senior, Elon, CAA
James Kaprielian, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac 12
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Jake Lemoine, RHP, Junior, Houston, American Athletic
Brett Lilek, LHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac 12
Richie Martin, SS, Junior, Florida, SEC
Tate Matheny, OF, Junior, Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Michael Matuella, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC
Andrew Moore, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac 12
Preston Morrison, RHP, Senior, TCU, Big 12
Michael Murray, RHP, Junior, Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Sophomore, Oklahoma, Big 12
Kevin Newman, SS, Junior, Arizona, Pac 12
Connor Panas, 3B, Senior, Canisius, MAAC
Cal Quantrill, RHP, Sophomore, Stanford, Pac 12
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Senior (High School), Lake Mary (Fla.), High School
Chris Shaw, OF, Junior, Boston College, ACC
Logan Shore, RHP, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
DJ Stewart, OF, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Christin Stewart, OF, Junior, Tennessee, SEC
Andrew Suarez, LHP, RS-Junior, Miami, ACC
Dansby Swanson, SS, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Sophomore, Auburn, SEC
Trent Thornton, RHP, Junior, North Carolina, ACC
Blake Trahan, SS, Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt
Christian Trent, LHP, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC
Robert Tyler, RHP, Sophomore, Georgia, SEC
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Colin Welmon, RHP, Senior, Loyola Marymount, West Coast
Mikey White, SS, Junior, Alabama, SEC

Posted in College, N. America, News0 Comments

MLB: Miami Marlins to Host 2017 Midsummer Classic

According to a report from the Miami Herald, the Miami Marlins will host its first MLB All-Star Game in 2017. This will mark three straight years of NL teams hosting the game with Cincinnati this summer and San Diego in 2016.

The Marlins were to hold the 2000 All-Star Game but were stripped of that honor after the team won the 1997 World Series and subsequently had a fire sale ridding itself of all its high priced talent. Instead, Atlanta held the game in 2000.

Marlins Park opened in 2012 after the team left Pro Player Stadium where it hosted games along with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

New commissioner Rob Manfred has stated in the past he would like to start a bidding process for the midsummer classic, but outgoing commissioner Bud Selig had already made certain promises to teams with newly built stadiums.

Posted in MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

Canada: Five to be Inducted into Hall of Fame for 2015

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2015. Three of the inductees were players all having stared on the diamond for the Toronto Blue Jays. One was the longest tenured manager in Montreal Expos history and the last covered both teams during a storied writing career.

Carlos Delgado, Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs, Felipe Alou, and Bob Elliott will all be inducted in a ceremony to take place on June 13 in St. Marys, Ont.

For information on all, check out the article on the Hall of Fame’s website. Here you will find a brief bio on all of the well deserving inductees for 2015.

Posted in N. America, News0 Comments

Pecos League to Partner with Amtrak for 2015 Season

Joe Anton, who writes quite a bit about independent baseball over at Baseball Essential, has reported that the Pecos League will be sending its players to games this season via Amtrak.

The Southwest Chief train of Amtrak runs from Chicago to Los Angeles passing through several stops for the Pecos League teams including Lamy, NM; Las Vegas, NM; Trinidad, CO; and Garden City, KS.

The Pecos League has taken a lot of flack over the low pay, and sometimes no pay, of its players over the course of its four year existence. Some immediate feedback was that the players would have to pay their own way. However, that was quickly put to rest by a member of the league. There were many players who have openly complained about not getting gas money to travel in their own cars to games in the past.

If done correctly, this could be a win-win for both the league and Amtrak. But we have all seen how independent leagues have ruined good things in the past. Hopefully, the Pecos League will not follow suit here.

You can read Anton’s article here.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

Manic Monday – Great Fight from the Past

This is an older fight, but one that most of us remember seeing on ESPN or the news. In this crazy world of baseball fights it seems nothing is off limits. Just look at what happened to Don Zimmer, but that’s a story for another day.

This took place back in July of 2001. Feeling he had been thrown at twice, Pawtucket Red Sox player “Izzy” Israel Alcantara takes matters into his own hands. From his reaction, I get the feeling he felt the catcher was in on it.

Alcantara would go on to play overseas as well playing in Korea (LG Twins and Doosan Bears) and in Taiwan (Uni-President Lions).

Take a look at this beauty from ’01.

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

College: Baseball America Releases 2015 Preseason Top 25

Baseball America has released its preseason Top 25 for the upcoming 2015 college baseball season. At the top is the defending NCAA College World Series champion Vanderbilt Commodores. Vandy is one of three SEC teams in the top 10 this year and five in the top 15.

A couple teams from Texas come in at their highest preseason ranking ever as Houston starts the year out at No. 3 and Texas Tech opens the year at No. 5. The third spot matches the highest Houston has ever been preseason or otherwise.

Three other schools make their first ever appearance in the BA Preseason Top 25. Maryland comes in at No. 16 in its first year  in the Big Ten. Kennesaw State opens up at No. 19 and rounding out the Top 25 is Liberty.

Baseball America Preseason Top 25

2015 Rank, Team, 2014 Record, Final 2014 Rank
1. Vanderbilt, 51-21, 1
2. LSU, 46-16, 22
3. Houston, 48-18, 11
4. Virginia, 53-16, 2
5. Texas Tech, 45-21, 9
6. Florida, 40-23, 18
7. Texas Christian, 48-18, 5
8. Oklahoma State, 48-18, 10
9. Miami, 44-19, 23
10. Texas, 46-21, 4
11. UCLA, 25-30, NR
12. Louisville, 50-17, 6
13. South Carolina, 44-18, 25
14. Mississippi State, 39-24, NR
15. Rice, 42-20, NR
16. Maryland, 40-23, 14
17. North Carolina, 35-27, NR
18. Arizona State, 33-24, NR
19. Kennesaw State, 40-24, 16
20. Oregon, 44-20, NR
21. Florida State, 43-17, 19
22. Central Florida, 36-23, NR
23. Cal State Fullerton, 34-24, NR
24. Clemson, 36-25, NR
25. Liberty, 41-18, NR

Posted in College, N. America, News0 Comments

USA: ABCA Officially Supports Pitch Smart

Press Release USA Baseball

The American Baseball Coaches Association board of directors votes unanimously

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball, Major League Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association announced on Tuesday that the ABCA is officially supporting USA Baseball and MLB’s joint youth arm care safety initiative, Pitch Smart. The announcement follows the ABCA’s board of directors unanimously voting in favor of supporting the initiative that was launched in late 2014.

“Major League Baseball is pleased that the ABCA has endorsed the Pitch Smart pitching safety program,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who received the 2015 ABCA Honor Award on January 4, 2015 at the ABCA Convention. “Keeping pitchers healthy should be a common goal of everyone in baseball. Pitch Smart is a great example of the entire baseball community, professional and amateur, coming together to make our game better.”

The Association is involved in numerous programs that promote the integrity of the profession and the development of the game of baseball, and, each January, the ABCA hosts the largest baseball convention in the world. Approximately 4,000 coaches attend the convention, which is held at various locations around the country. The 2015 iteration was attended by commissioner, Rob Manfred, as he continues to further engage the amateur baseball community.

“With its endorsement of Pitch Smart, it is clear that the American Baseball Coaches Association is making player health and safety a priority in everything it does,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “It is the support of the ABCA and other organizations that confirms our belief that baseball has united in protecting our young athletes.”

The ABCA is committed to the success and growth of baseball through youth baseball. In the past 12 years, thousands of young people have gone through ABCA sponsored youth clinics. Each year, several hundred young players attend ABCA clinics in Montgomery, Alabama; Lewiston, Idaho; and Grand Junction, Colorado.

“The ABCA is proud to endorse Pitch Smart along with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball,” said ABCA executive director, Craig Keilitz. “Education is one of our organization’s cornerstones and the health and safety of our young players is a major priority. Pitch Smart provides clear guidelines for our coaches, particularly those who are new to the profession, and we look forward to being involved in the further development of this initiative for years to come.”

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 6,600 members represent all 50 states and 24 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.

Posted in College, MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

USA Baseball Forms Golden Spikes Award Committee

Press Release USA Baseball

13-man selection committee will be responsible for identifying candidates for the nation’s premier amateur baseball award

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced today the formation of the Golden Spikes Award committee that will select the watch lists and semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the U.S.

“As the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award continues to grow, it is important to have the top voices in the game assist in the process of honoring amateur athletes,” said Cody Wilcoxson, USA Baseball’s director of communications, who oversees the Golden Spikes Award for the organization. “The committee members are all dedicated to their coverage and support of the amateur game, and their presence on the committee continues to make the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award the preeminent amateur honor.”

In aggregate, the committee members have more than 250 years of playing, coaching, scouting and reporting experience in amateur baseball. The group includes six former NCAA college baseball players, three of which played in the College World Series, and two committee members that coached teams to the College World Series.

The committee is responsible for selecting the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preliminary list and the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists.

Once the committee selects the semifinalists for the award, USA Baseball will have its Golden Spikes Award voting committee, comprised of past USA Baseball national team coaches and media, USA Baseball’s board of directors, members of the media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and past winners of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total, vote for the finalists and, eventually, the winner of the prestigious award.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Beginning with the semifinalists on May 22, amateur baseball fans all across the country are encouraged to vote for their favorite candidate on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names. On Tuesday, June 2, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

Since 2013, the presentation of the award is held each summer in Los Angeles is partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. The finalists for the award and their families are honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner following the presentation of the trophy.

The members of the Golden Spikes Award committee are:

  • Jim Callis, senior writer for MLB.com, draft and prospect expert who has been covering the amateur baseball landscape since 1988
  • Eric Campbell, USA Baseball’s general manager of national teams, former head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy has selected national team athletes for USA Baseball since 2000
  • Shaun Cole, USA Baseball’s director of the 18U National Team, responsible for the selection of the USA Baseball 18U National Team after five seasons as pitching coach at the University of Arizona, a 2012 NCAA national champion
  • Justin Dedeaux, Rod Dedeaux Foundation board of directors, former coach and player at the University of Southern California, a 1963 NCAA national champion
  • Aaron Fitt, editor and national writer for D1Baseball.com, has covered the college baseball beat since 2004
  • Nick Herfordt, Division II, Division III and NAIA correspondent for Perfect Game USA, founder of College Baseball Lineup and the Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award
  • Tim Kay, USA Baseball’s director of video scouting, provides scouting analysis for national team selection after previously working in advanced scouting for the Washington Nationals
  • John Manuel, editor-in-chief for Baseball America, has covered all levels of baseball for the publication since 1996
  • Jonathan Mayo, senior writer for MLB.com, has served as a draft and prospect expert for MLB.com since 1999
  • Ben McDonald, winner of the 1989 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, college baseball hall of fame class of 2008, currently serves as color analyst for ESPN college baseball broadcasts
  • Kyle Peterson, baseball analyst for ESPN, has covered college based since 2003, recognized as the 1995 and 1997 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, played in two College World Series at Stanford
  • Nathan Rode, national supervisor for Prep Baseball Report, has covered high school baseball and the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2007
  • Kendall Rogers, national writer and editor for D1Baseball.com, has covered college baseball since 2000

The anticipated timeline for the committee’s announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

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MLB: New Commissioner Manfred Open to Eliminating Defensive Shifts

Okay commissioner Manfred, let’s slow down and take a deep breath. I like the idea of speeding up the game. No it will never be basketball or hockey. Baseball is a talking sport. That is one of the beauties of it. To be able to reflect and talk with people around you during a game. It adds to the drama. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sped up some. When I lived in Korea I saw games with time limits between innings and I really liked it. There was a clock on the scoreboard and you had two minutes. Things like this can be used to speed up games.

But, let’s not go talking about eliminating defensive shifts. If you want to add more offense to the game, that is not the way to go about it in my opinion. Apparently the people who are playing the game feel there is enough offense or they would do something else. There is a simple way to go about changing it, if the teams want to, bunt. A few hits the other way or bunts laid down will stop the shifts. The players are up there trying to hit home runs because that is what they are paid to do. This is why they continue to hit into the shift.

If you want to change it, start emphasizing something other than just a home run. When people realize that a few hits the other way, or bunts that way, will stop those shifts. I don’t feel that the game should be regulated like this. I think it is a terrible step in the wrong direction. I know it is only talk for now and only a thought, but it is a bad one.

Continue working on speeding up the game, but don’t force teams into things like this. I’m actually looking forward to what the new commish can accomplish.

Here is the interview on ESPN where Manfred talked about eliminating the shifts.

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Where Are They Now? Our 2012 Top 10 Independent Baseball League Managers

In 2012 we named what we thought was the Top 10 Independent Baseball Managers. We thought this year we would take a look at where they are now. Who moved up? Who moved down? And who retired?

#10 Steve Brook

Starting with our #10 we take a look at Steve Brook of the River City Rascals. Brook took over in River City in 2010 and immediately led the Rascals to its first Frontier League title. In 2011 he led the Rascals to the most wins in franchise history (68) and a return to the championship where they would fall. Since we profiled Brook before the 2012 season the Rascals fell to 4th place in the division. A third place finish in 2013 was followed by a division title in 2014. Brook led the team back to the championship series after winning 61 games. Brook returns in 2015 for his sixth season.

#9 Chris Paterson

Paterson was named the #9 manager in independent baseball in 2012, but he might be rising even higher. He was just named the manager of the American Association Sioux Falls Canaries. Since 2012 Paterson has added a new league and title to his resume. After managing the White Sands Pupfish in 2012, Paterson moved up to the United League Baseball managing the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings where he won the league title in 2014. Paterson faces a huge task of rebuilding the Canaries after their worst season in franchise history, but he has shown he is capable of doing just that.

#8 Phil Warren

Warren has been at the helm of the Gateway Grizzlies for the past eight seasons. Immediately after we ranked Warren #8 he led the Grizzlies to a Frontier League West Division crown. They would lose in the first round of the playoffs, but the 57 wins were the second best in franchise history. The winning has continued in 2013 and 2014 with a second and third place finish in the West Division. Both seasons the team won 50 or more games.

#7 Eddie Dennis

Dennis was the manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in 2012, his last season as a manager. He led the WhiteWings to a 51-44 record and a third place finish in the North American League. After being out of baseball in 2013, Dennis became the hitting coach for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York Penn League. The Crosscutters are the Class A short season team of the Philadelphia Phillies.

#6 Andy Etchebarren

Echebarren retired after the 2012 season after leading the York Revolution to the playoffs for the third straight season. The former MLB’er changed the culture to a winning one in York taking a last place team to two straight titles in 2010 and 2011.

#5 Doug Simunic

Simunic has won over 1,000 games in independent baseball, mostly with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. In 21 years at the helm, he has had only two losing seasons but both have come in the past four seasons including 2014. Last summer the two-year extension on his contract was exercised keeping him in Fargo through 2017. Simunic has been the only manager that the Redhawks have known winning thirteen division and five league titles over that time.

#4 Patrick Scalabrini

Scalabrini entered the 2012 season after winning titles in his first two seasons in Quebec. He has since guided the Capitales to two more titles winning four in a row (in his first four seasons) in the Can-Am League. The team fell off a bit in 2014 finishing with its first losing season under Scalabrini and failing to make the playoffs. He will look to right the ship and return the Capiales to their winning tradition.

#3 Sparky Lyle

Entering the 2012 season Lyle led the Somerset Patriots to a winning record in 12 of his 14 years. Unfortunately year number fifteen, which would be his last, finished with a losing record as well. Overall Lyle finished his managing career (all with Somerset) with a record of 1024-913 for a .529 winning percentage. Lyle led the franchise to eight division and five league titles.

#2 Doc Edwards

Edwards has been in professional baseball nearly 60 years. He has managed at the Major League level, in the affiliated minor leagues, and for the past nine years with the San Angelo Colts. The Colts have suffered in recent years finishing under .500 the past two seasons. It remains to be seen if Edwards will manage in 2015. Not because he isn’t wanting to, but the entire San Angelo Colts and ULB are in jeopardy of being extinct next season. The Colts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last season in hopes of saving the stadium.

#1 Ricky VanAsselberg

Vanasselberg has been winning wherever he has wound up. Prior to 2012 he won the American Association championship with Grand Prairie in 2011 and another AA championship in 2010 with the Shreveport-Bossier Captains. These weren’t his only wins though. In 2006 and 2007 he won back-to-back United League championships with the Alexandria Aces.

Since 2011 Vanasselberg has qualified for the playoffs only once with the Air Hogs losing in the first round in 2013. However, in December he was named as the new manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. Definitely a jump up in competition but it will put Vanasselberg in his most challenging position, rebuilding. The Bluefish have finished with three straight losing seasons including a 47-93 season a year ago.

So in review, two managers have retired, one might be on his way out if his team folds, two moved up in the ranks of independent baseball, one moved to an affiliated team as a hitting coach, and four are still at it with the same teams.

You can go back and view our Top 10 from 2012 here:

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 1-5

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 6-10

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

USA Baseball: 18U National Team Staff Named

Press Release USA Baseball

David Eckstein joins Greg Moore and Eric Kibler in assisting manager, Glenn Cecchini

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball named its 2015 18U National Team coaching staff Thursday, led by Barbe (La.) High School head coach, Glenn Cecchini. Cecchini, a veteran of Team USA identification events, has worked the 18U National Team Trials each of the past two seasons.

“The 2015 18U National Team is in great hands heading into the World Cup,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “Our 18U director, Shaun Cole, has assembled an impressive staff of coaches with experience with our organization and a pedigree of success with a World Series MVP, a successful division I head coach and two nationally recognized high school coaches.”

Cecchini led Lake Charles, La.’s Barbe High School to the 2014 Baseball America national championship after posting a 39-2 record and winning the Louisiana 5A state championship for the seventh time. Both of Cecchini’s sons, Garin and Gavin, won gold medals as players with the 18U National Team in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Cecchini will be joined in the dugout by assistant coaches, David Eckstein and Eric Kibler, as well as pitching coach, Greg Moore, and certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen.

David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, joins the 18U National Team staff after serving in various roles with USA Baseball over the last few years. A 10-year veteran and two-time MLB All-Star, Eckstein has worked with the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials since 2012.

As a player, Eckstein won two World Series rings while posting a career batting average of .280 in 5,705 big league plate appearances. Playing most of his career at shortstop, Eckstein had a career .982 fielding percentage in more than 10,600 MLB innings.

Eric Kibler has the most USA Baseball experience of the group having been the manager of the 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team that posted a perfect 9-0 record en route to winning the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American 16U Youth Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Kibler also served as an assistant coach on the 2009 16U National Team and worked as the lead field coordinator for the USA Baseball National Team Development Program from 2012 to 2014 – winning the USA Baseball Coach of the Year Award in 2010 and the USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year in 2012.

Kibler is the head coach at national power, Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he has led the Huskies to six state championships and 18 regional titles. Under Kibler’s tutelage, Horizon has 28 players drafted by Major League clubs, including three first round selections.

Greg Moore, the head coach at Cal State Northridge, coaches on his first national team staff after assisting with the 2014 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 2014 USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials in Houston.

Moore took the head coaching job at Cal State Northridge following three successful seasons as associate head coach at the University of San Francisco where he was named by Baseball America as one of the Top 10 Assistant Coaches in College Baseball. During his tenure with the Dons, Moore coached three first-round draft picks and eight top-10 round selections.

Moore played collegiately at the University of San Francisco and was named the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team in 2001. As a player, he won the team’s “Most Inspirational” award in back-to-back season and the award now bears his name.

Certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen, rounds out the on-field staff. In his 10th season as athletic trainer for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball program, Cohen is known for his wealth of baseball-specific and sports medicine knowledge and experience.

The staff will look to defend the 18U National Team’s gold medal from the 2013 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup, when it competes in the 2015 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan. The 18U National Team has won gold medals in each of the last four years, including back-to-back World Cups in 2012 and 2013.

For more information on the 18U National Team program, please visit USABaseball.com and follow@USABaseball18U on Twitter.

Posted in N. America, News0 Comments

Independent: Sioux Falls Canaries Name Chris Paterson Manager for 2015

The Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association have made Chris Paterson their new manager for the 2015 season. Paterson is coming off a championship with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings from the United League Baseball in 2014. This was not his first championship. He also won the inaugural Pecos League championship with the Roswell Invaders in 2011.

Paterson began his coaching career in 2010 with the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the defunct Continental Baseball League where he was named manager of the year. He has also managed in the California Winter League, Arizona Winter League, Pecos Spring League, and the Texas Winter League. He also serves as a scout for the Miami Marlins. In 2012, we named Paterson the #9 manager on our top 10 list of independent managers.

The Canaries are coming off a rough season in which they finished the year with a 33-67 record. The Canaries had the worst record in the league finishing 30 games behind first place Winnipeg in the North Division.

Paterson was nice enough to stop and take a moment to let us know how he feels about the new challenge of the step up in competition and the rebuilding effort he faces in Sioux Falls:

I am very excited to get this opportunity to manage in the American Association with Sioux falls. I’ve always regarded the AA as the top Indy league and best run one. I look forward to the challenges that it comes with and hope some of my prior successes in baseball can translate in the association. I’m very grateful to the general manager and assistant general managers in Sioux Falls as well as the ownership for putting their faith in me to lead this rebuilding process for the Canaries. We are in probably what is the toughest division in all of Indy ball with three well respected clubs and very successful managers. I look forward to working hard and making this transition

The three teams Paterson mentioned are the Winnipeg Goldeyes (nine division and two league championships), the St. Paul Saints (four division and league championships), and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (thirteen division and five league championships). These three teams are also three of the top four teams in attendance in 2014 in the American Association while Sioux Falls ranked eighth.

The Canaries decided not to renew former manager Steve Shirley shortly after the end of the 2014 season. Shirley was the longest tenured manager in team history, but the team has failed to reach the playoffs since 2010. Paterson will look to bring the Canaries back to their former days. The franchise has one AA title in 2008.

Paterson with the WhiteWings

Paterson with the WhiteWings

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

USA: Blankmeyer to Manage Collegiate National Team

Press Release USA Baseball

Five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year will guide team in international play this summer

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DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball officially named St. John’s University head coach, Ed Blankmeyer, as the manager for the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team on Tuesday. Blankmeyer previously served as an assistant coach on the 2010 Collegiate National Team that posted a 16-3 record and captured the silver medal at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are thrilled to have Ed lead the Collegiate National Team program in 2015,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “He has Team USA experience in 2010, as well as an impressive resume in two decades at St. John’s, and, most importantly, a passion for coaching student-athletes to succeed.”

The winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, Blankmeyer is in his 20th season at the helm of the Red Storm baseball program and has posted a 647-405-3 (.615) record. Blankmeyer has guided the Red Storm to three BIG EAST Tournament crowns as well as four BIG EAST regular season titles, and has led the squad to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including one NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to manage the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team,” said Blankmeyer. “We have an outstanding schedule lined up and I am looking forward to both working with and learning from the amazing coaching staff that we have assembled. Above all else, I feel privileged to represent the United States of America.”

Also the winningest coach in the history of BIG EAST play with 287 conference victories, Blankmeyer has earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors a conference-record five times and has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times. Blankmeyer, who has guided St. John’s to six 40-win seasons, has had 88 All-BIG EAST selections and has seen 65 of his players drafted and/or signed to professional contracts, including 2014 World Series champion Joe Panik.

In 2010, Blankmeyer assisted University of Utah coach, Bill Kinneberg, with a Collegiate National Team roster that included future Major League players Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Brad Miller and George Springer. The club posted a 16-3 record for the summer, including a five-game sweep of the Korean National Team in a series hosted in the U.S., before falling in a heart-breaking 4-3 extra-inning affair to Cuba in the championship game 2010 FISU World University Baseball Championships.

The complete 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team coaching staff and schedule will be released in announcements later this spring on USABaseball.com.

Posted in College, N. America, News0 Comments

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Recommends Seven for the Hall of Fame

Press Release by Baseball Bloggers Alliance

BBA Binary Ballot Recommends Seven For Cooperstown

Seven players from the 2014 Baseball Writers of America ballot were recommended for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on Friday.

Given the backlog of quality players on the ballot, this year the BBA adopted the plan suggested by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Goold of a binary ballot.  Each player on the ballot was given a yes or no vote by the BBA voters and those receiving over 75% were then recommended.

With this format, pitcher Randy Johnson received 100% of the vote while pitcher Pedro Martinez was close behind at 95%.  Others that topped the 75% mark were catcher/second baseman/outfielder Craig Biggio (90%), pitcher John Smoltz (89%), catcher Mike Piazza (85%), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (77%) and outfielder Tim Raines (77%).

Those that just fell short of the mark were designated hitter Edgar Martinez (71%) and pitcher Curt Schilling (68%).

The rest of the voting was as follows:

Mike Mussina 67%
Barry Bonds 65%
Roger Clemens 63%
Alan Trammell 53%
Jeff Kent 44%
Gary Sheffield 38%
Larry Walker 37%
Fred McGriff 33%
Mark McGwire 33%
Don Mattingly 31%
Lee Smith 31%
Sammy Sosa 23%
Carlos Delgado 19%
Nomar Garciaparra 13%
Cliff Floyd 4%
Brian Giles 4%
Rich Aurilia 3%
Darin Erstad 3%
Troy Percival 3%
Aaron Boone 1%
Jason Schmidt 1%
Jermaine Dye 0%
Tom Gordon 0%
Eddie Guardado 0%

Using this binary method, only 13% turned in a ballot with less than 10 names selected.  40% turned in a ballot with 15 or more names selected, with a high of 20.

The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Niko Goutakolis at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.

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