Archive for January, 2010

Banquet Tour: New Jersey Sportswriters Association

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

An annual classic, the New Jersey Sportswriters Association banquet was Sunday afternoon, and we’ve taken the best one-liners for you here.

Honorable Mention
George O’Gorman (President, NJSW): I was at the press conference announcing the new stadium they were building at the Turnpike and Route 3. It was such a big deal, the next day, all the papers devoted two paragraphs.

Rick Porcello (Detroit Tigers): after stumbling over some words…It’s funny, I don’t get nervous pitching in front of 55,000 people…Also, he said one of the highlights of his year was being charged by Kevin Youkilis.

Bronze
Phil Pepe (covered NY sports for 50 years, has written numerous books): It’s great being up here with Rick Porcello. I have ties older than him…
also, recalling a discussion with Yogi Berra about Earl Weaver smoking in the dugout, Pepe noted Berra said “He smokes like a fish.”

Silver
Terry DeHare (St Anthony’s and Seton Hall star now on Jersey City Board of Ed): on playing with the Clippers…I lost about four games in high school and maybe 10 or 15 in college. In LA, we would lose ten games and then go into a slump.

Gold
Al Golden (Temple football coach and Red Bank Catholic grad): We were so bad in my first year there was a petition going around campus to change the name of 7-11 to 1-11…and, recalling a speech with a Booster Club…One guy said his seats last year were awful. I said ‘I wasn’t here, what was the problem.’ He said ‘They were facing the field.’”

Video of the Week

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Resuscitating this blog feature.

Sunday Links and Coffee

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Tomorrow is February 1st (believe it or not) and we are just 18 days until pitchers and catchers head to Clearwater. Here’s another set of links to read before you go shovel.

  • How did the Florida Marlins and Josh Johnson set the stage for potential labor unrest? Jayson Stark answers at ESPN.comThe big-budget teams are clearly going to rebel against continuing to paying out monstrous revenue-sharing dollars without a more concrete guarantee that the teams getting that money will spend those dollars on payroll — not on debt service, ballpark construction fees or the office Christmas party.
  • Why is Johnny Damon still a free agent? Ben Reiter answers on SI.com?
  • Good news out of Minnesota, where Ron Gardenhire thinks the Twins will reach a deal with star catcher Joe Mauer.
  • Ruben Amaro on new signee Jose Contreras“He’s pretty amenable to anything. He said he would pick up bats if he had to.”
  • Great article by Paul Hagen on Tyson Gilles, who came over in the Cliff Lee deal. “They didn’t realize I was hearing impaired until I was 4. I was able to fool the guy because I was reading lips at a young age.”
  • Hagen on Phllipe Aumont, also acquired in the Lee deal. It’s probably not fair, but in the minds of some fans, whatever Aumont does will be measured against whatever Drabek achieves.”It doesn’t matter to me,” he said yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. “I’m not here to replace Kyle Drabek. I’m going to make my own mark. I want to grow up as Phillippe Aumont, not taking somebody else’s spot.”
  • Funny headline from the Daily News: Mets sign real life Crash Davis.

Q&A: Trevor May (Part One)

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Trevor May, a 4th round pick of the Phillies in 2008, joined the BlueClaws in June of 2009 and went 4-1, 2.56 over 15 starts and gave up just two earned runs in two playoff starts. He was recently ranked 5th in the system by Baseball America, we had a chance to sit down with May recently as he prepares for his third season in the system, likely with Hi-A Clearwater in just a few months.

  • What was the first two months of 2009 like for you, down in Florida with the back injury? It’s tough to be down there. It’s real hot during the summer and spring. A lot of the guys you played with got the call up and started the season early and they don’t have to get up at 8 in the morning. You feel like you weren’t good enough, but finally getting the call up was exciting and relief.
  • Was it tough transitioning right into a pennant race? It was tough. A first-place team, they want me to be a starter so there’s no easing into it with an inning here or an inning there. They told me to be ready but I didn’t know that much about Lakewood. I knew some of the guys but I hadn’t met a lot of the guys before. So it’s the first time meeting and playing with a bunch of guys. It’s a nervewracking start, stadium, actual fans, but you get used to it.
  • What would you say is most important to your success? With Bob (Milacki), and it started right at the end of the spring, we were working with Tom Filer (from Williamsport) and Carlos Arroyo (who works with rehabbing players), plus Gorm (Heimueller, minor league pitching coordinator). We worked on arm slot. I dropped my elbow a lot and would throw high, and that’s where a lot of the walks would come from. I tweaked a few things with separation in my leg kick. I always had a curveball and Bob worked with me on that. But by the end, I was throwing my change-up a little more than the curveball. Sometimes I’m effectively wild, and the changeup set that up.

(more…)

Kids Club Update

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

948 members. You can sign up here.

And while we’re at it, you can follow Buster on Twitter here.

Another Prospect Ranking

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

This one from Keith Law over at ESPN.com. Relevant to BlueClaws fans…

  • 14. Domonic Brown (2008)
  • 24. Michael Taylor (2008)
  • 40. Kyle Drabek (2007)
  • 99. Travis d’Arnaud (2009)

And just a couple of thoughts on a few others on the list…

  • 3. Carlos Santana (CLE)…outstanding catching prospect will soon compete with Lou Marson for Indians catching job.
  • 66. Todd Frazier (CIN)…of Toms River
  • 82. Tony Sanchez (PIT)…4th overall pick in the 2009 draft hit the ball quite well and ended the year as Chase d’Arnaud (brother of Travis) on the Carolina League champs in Lynchburg.
  • 100. Nick Hagadone (CLE)…He was sent to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez trade last year. The BlueClaws saw him twice and he was very impressive, almost unhittable in the SAL (though he was older than normal for that league). Clearly one of the top prospects in the league last year.

Runners: BlueClaws 5K on April 18th

Friday, January 29th, 2010

5kCalling all runners: the BlueClaws will host their 5K Race at FirstEnergy Park on April 18th, in conjunction with the Jersey Shore Council of Boy Scouts, Ocean Running Club, and Jersey Shore Running Club.

Basically, as follows:

  • The main 5K race begins at 10:30 am and the one mile Kids Fun Run begins at 10 am.
  • All races will end right on the field at FirstEnergy Park
  • All participants receive: a ticket to that day’s BlueClaws game (1:05) and a 5K t-shirt

Registration form here. Or call Charles Keller at 732-901-7000 ext 117.

Note: We’ll have some awesome participation from the boy scouts this year, who will use the race as part of their Physically Fit Program.

Big Day (Update: Or Not)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Prospect Handbook should arrive in the mail today from Baseball America. Very exciting.

As a refresher, Buy generic Levitra pills online

ttp://blog.blueclaws.com/2009/baseball-america-phillies-top-ten-2/” target=”_blank”>here are the top ten Phillies prospects (pre Halladay deal) from Baseball America.

That’s Jason Heyward from the Braves on the cover (full size) with, from top to bottom on the right: Madison Baumgarner (Giants), Mike Moustakas (Royals), and Jarrod Parker (Diamondbacks).

10:43 am: The mail already came and no book. Maybe Monday.

Buster: Valentine’s Day Delivery Man

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

valentinesdaybusterimageGood news. Buster can now deliver a Valentine’s Day gift pack to your friend or loved one!

We’ve put the auction up on eBay (bid here), with all proceeds going to BlueClaws Charities.

From the eBay page:

This Valentine’s Day, have the BlueClaws’ mascot, BUSTER, personally deliver a Valentine’s Gift Package to that special someone in your life. Now is the chance to bid on this unique experience and have a Valentine’s Day to remember!

Whether it’s at home, work, or school, Buster can deliver to any site within a 25 mile radius of FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood. Buster’s appearance time is available for either February, 12th, 13th, or 14th, and at the time of your choice. The winner of the auction will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Included in the Valentine’s Gift Package:

* Box of Chocolates
* Dozen Roses
* Personalized Valentine’s Day Card
* BlueClaws T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, or XXL)
* Ticket Voucher for two seats to any 2010 Regular Season Home BlueClaws Game

Three Former ‘Claws in MLB’s Top 50

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Three former BlueClaws were ranked among MLB’s top 50 prospects announced tonight on MLB Network. Below, find snippets of the comments on each of the players and a link to a brief video.

  • 14. Domonic Brown (2008)…“He has the potential to be a five-tool player. He’s unique in size alone. When you talk about athleticism, you usually don’t talk about somebody 6-foot-5 in our sport, but he truly has the size, the leverage and the athleticism to make him unique.” – Phillies assistant GM, Chuck LaMar.
  • 17. Kyle Drabek (2007)…Now with Toronto…Drabek has a very good fastball that sits in the low 90s and has touched 95-96 mph. He’s got one of the best curve balls in the Minor Leagues, a true plus pitch that he commands well. The changeup lags behind, but has the chance to be a very effective pitch, as well. He’s a bulldog on the mound, a real competitor. He’s matured a lot since being drafted, with the year off allowing him the time and space to grow up, and it’s been reflected in his pitching.
  • 35. Michael Taylor (2008)…Now with Oakland…Michael Taylor is an impressive physical specimen. Brute strength, athletic, pure hitting instincts, baserunning ability and solid defensive acumen. His skill level in a perfect world would be equivalent to a right-handed hitting Dave Parker.” – A’s director of player personnel, Billy Owens

Here is the full top 50. Phillipe Aumont, by the way, a big reliever acquired by the Phillies in the Lee deal, was ranked 48th. More on this list in the coming days. But it’s always good to get a ranking, and thus a perspective.

We’re not surprised with any of these rankings by the way. The Phillies obviously had a higher grade on Brown than Taylor. So did Baseball America, who ranked Brown first in the system the last two years. So that MLB.com does is not a shock at all. Who would be next? Travis d’Arnaud? Anthony Gose? Trevor May? Safe to say that those three have a good chance to fall somewhere in a top 100 list.

Of note…before the Halladay/Lee deals, the Phillies had three of the top 35. Only Texas and Tampa Bay could say that. This is important to note, showing the quality of player that the Phillies are producing in their system.

Also, I think tomorrow the Baseball America Prospect Handbook will arrive. That’s when you know you’re close to baseball.

Countdown 2010: Top Ten Entertainers

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

countdown2010Welcome to our first edition of Countdown 2010, a c

buy generic levitra

ollection of top ten lists as we lead into the 10th season in BlueClaws history.

We start with entertainers. These great folks have joined us throughout our first nine years and put on some great shows like those that you’ll see below in these YouTube videos. We hope you enjoy (note: these lists were voted on by us and you).

And then don’t forget to check back next week for our next top ten list. We’ll have one per week leading into Opening Day 2010.

Without further adieu:

10. Reggy

(more…)

Minor Leaguers Get Per Diem Boost

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Good news for the hundreds of minor league baseball players that travel thousands of miles on a bus each summer. A per diem boost. They’ll get $25 per day this year after getting $20 for the last few years. The move was approved last week by MLB owners, and reported by the Wall Street Journal.

That may seem like a decent amount. But remember, the players have to play clubhouse dues, which are usually at least $10 per day (they were around $14 in the Pacific Coast League). Throw in a tip, that’s $15 or $16 of the $20 in the PCL (the dues are lower in the lower leagues). That doesn’t leave that much for a quality lunch.

By the way, figuring 70 road games, a 30 person traveling party (including coaches and training staff), and six teams in a minor league system, you’re looking at, give or take, an extra $63,000 in per diem paid by the big league organizations this year.

Big leaguers, mind you, get $89.50 per day (which is roughly $7,250 per year just on the 81 road games, not including travel days, ie leaving on a Wednesday off day for a series that begins on Thursday). Of course, their clubhouse dues are much higher.

According to this story, players usually give the big league clubbies $40-50 per day. From the story:

Former Indians ace Sam McDowell recalled that in 1962, his first full season in the majors, he made $6,000 and was given $9 a day in meal money. That was when a guy could order cereal with fruit and a cup of coffee for a buck at the team hotel, which he usually did.

“Back then, it almost lasted each day,” McDowell said. “A big dinner for me was $6 or $7 with a dollar tip.”

Baseball’s per diem had climbed to $19.50 when Tribe center fielder Rick Manning made the club in 1975, and reached about $40 by the time he retired in 1987. The allowance has more than doubled again since, but that’s not all that’s changed, foodwise. When he played, postgame clubhouse meals consisted of boxes of pizza and buckets of fried chicken.

“You go into a clubhouse now,” the Indians broadcaster said, “the spreads they put out are just like restaurants.”

One recent postgame menu posted in the visitors’ clubhouse at Progressive Field featured grilled pork chops with hunter sauce, roasted salmon with maple bourbon glaze and ginger-smoked chicken in lemon thyme jus.

Manuel: ‘We owe the Yankees one’

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

With just 22 days left until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel met the media today at Citizens Bank Park and let everyone know “We owe the Yankees one.”

Some other selected snippets from the skipper…

Of course, it would have been nice to have Halladay, Lee, Hamels, I’d be looking good. I might be buying more expensive furniture than me and the missus have been buying lately.

I haven’t talked to him at all. I left him a message at Christmas and told him he didn’t have to call back if he was caught up in things. I don’t need to talk to Haladay. I’m just going to give him the ball every five days and tell him to go get them … He likes to pitch. He likes to throw his game. He’s my kind of pitcher.

Lidge and Madson are mentally tough guys. They are not going to go to the trainer or the doctor. That makes me feel good. Both of them can pitch two innings and they will take the ball wherever I want to give it to them.

JA Happ should feel real good about himself. He sits right there in the rotation. He’s going to pitch on a regular basis. He has to pitch himself out of that. He will have to hold his own … Last season was not a fluke. He was a big reason why we got there and won some games. He’s going to be a big part of our rotation.

I’ve always told Hamels, ‘I used to tell you to throw more curveballs. You used to get by’ … I didn’t really push him. If he gets more consistent, he’ll get lefthanded hitters out better. That will make his changeup and his fastball better when he comes inside. Lefthanded hitters have good success off him. That’s one of the big things about his pitching. The big thing is he has to improve his curveball. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s his curveball or if he comes up with a slider.

For the full transcript, click here (David Murphy’s High Cheese blog).

Greg Golson to the Yankees

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

golson2005-2006 BlueClaw Greg Golson has been acquired by the Yankees from Texas in exchange for Hi-A IF Mitch Hilligoss. This is the second time 14 months Golson has been traded, as the Phillies sent him to Texas last winter for John Mayberry Jr.

Golson hit .264-4-27 with Lakewood in 2005 and .220/7/31 with Lakewood in ’06 before being sent to Clearwater. He was drafted out of high school in Austin, TX 21st overall in 2004.

Hilligoss, you may remember, had a 38-game hitting streak with Charleston in 2007 (of note on that page is that Joe DiMaggio has the second longest hitting streak in Minor League Baseball history in addition to his 56-game big league hitting streak).

You can read a Q&A with Golson from the Washington Times (from 2008) here. I liked his answer to the question “What is your favorite part of the game.” I’d have to say defense, because you can really impact a game, where people will remember stuff. If you hit a double, someone might remember it for a couple days, but if you make a great catch that saves the game, people remember that for a long time. It’s something that’s kind of lost in the game now, I feel like – people don’t really appreciate defense as much as offense.

Golson made his Phillies debut in 2008, becoming the 23rd former BlueClaw to reach the big leagues. He’d be the first to play for the Yankees. He’s likely Brett Gardner insurance.