Archive for February, 2010

New Favorite Song

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

BlueClaws Rock (click here). Enjoy.

Looking Ahead: Jiwan James

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

We’re inside of two months away from Opening Day and we’re going to continue looking at some potential 2010 BlueClaws. Today, Jiwan James.

Previously: Sebastian Valle

One of the more intriguing prospects in the system, James was a two-way player in high school and actually began his career as a pitcher with the Phillies, throwing in 2007 and missing all of 2008 with injury. Last year, he moved over to outfield full-time and that’s where he is now.

Last year, he hit .264 with seven steals in 121 at bats with Williamsport in the NY-Penn League, and missed some time then too with a left wrist injury.

A 22nd round pick in 2007, he was discovered/signed by Chip Lawrence, the same scout who signed Domonic Brown in 2006. Brown, who had committed to play RB at Miami, was always more of a baseball-lean and signed. James, however, while he wanted to play baseball, couldn’t decide where (from an article on GatorSports.com just a few days after the 2007 draft).

After being selected by Philadelphia in the 22nd round of the Major League draft the first week of June, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound James said he was surprised because he already had turned down a contract offer from the Phillies when they called to say they would take him in the sixth round..

That afternoon he said UF, playing for a junior college (where he would be draft-eligible again after just one year) and the Phillies were the options he was considering.

A few days later James said he was 80-percent sure he would be a Gator and had removed junior college from consideration. But less than a week later, after a few visits with Philadelphia management in Clearwater that number had dropped to 50 percent.

He was still uncertain when he travelled to Clearwater five days ago.

“When he went to visit the Phillies on Saturday (in Clearwater), they upped their money offer and he decided he was going to sign with them,” said Smith of James, a three-time Gainesville Sun small-school player of the year. “But I told him before he went not to sign anything until I see the contract, and I couldn’t go with him because it was my dad’s birthday. I wanted to make sure he got everything coming to him. So, he didn’t sign then.

“Then, (Monday) he met with (new UF coach Kevin) O’Sullivan at 5 (p.m.) and it went well, but Jiwan didn’t give a definitive answer. That night around 11, he decided he wanted to go to Florida, but woke up at 3 a.m. wavering.”

Reached by phone just before noon on Tuesday, James said he was registering for classes and would enroll at UF. But he called Smith an hour-and-a-half later to say he was unsure.

Smith said he told James to go to orientation later that afternoon to see how it went, but not to sign up for classes. They decided to meet in the evening with hopes of coming to a conclusion.

Which of course he did. He basically missed two years, pitching, but he has been called the best athlete in a system that looks long and hard for them. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Jiwan James play for Lakewood this year. Should be a lot of fun.

(Photo from CrosscutterBoosters.org)

Snowman Contest Results

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

It was very hard to pick two winners in our snowman contest. We had over 30 entries and really appreciated the support this contest had, but a contest is a contest. So without further adieu, our two winners (to see all of the entries, head over to our Facebook page):

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Eyeballs: Arielle and Brian Budd…Toms River, NJ

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Cards: Josh and Steve Tillander…Beachwood, NJ

Some others that we liked…

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Countdown 2010: Events/Concerts

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Welcome back to Countdown 2010, our weekly series getting you ready for the 10th season of BlueClaws Baseball. This week…our top ten events/concerts that we’ve hosted here at FirstEnergy Park.

Previously: entertainers, bobblehead giveaways, celebrity visitors

Here goes…

10. Bob Dylan Show…2005, Dylan played the first concert ever at FirstEnergy Park with Willie Nelson. They came back in 2009 with John Mellencamp.

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Eyre Apparent? Three Former ‘Claws in Mix

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

eyre-apparantOne of the intriguing sub-plots of Phillies Spring Training is replacing retired lefty releiver Scott Eyre, and three former BlueClaws are in the mix to do just that.

You’d have to consider Antonio Bastardo (2007) to be the favorite. He was on the post-season roster and even got a key strikeout of Jason Giambi against the Rockies. Bastardo, 24, dominated the SAL here in 2007, going 9-0, 1.87 over 15 starts with the BlueClaws. He made his big league debut in 2009.

He was here for parts of two years, but last summer Sergio Escalona (2007-2008) jumped straight from Double-A Reading to the big leagues, where he gave up seven runs in 13.2 innings. Escalona was a starter in 2007 but went 5-1, 3.43 out of the pen in 2008 before a promotion. Funny stuff from how Escalona was told of his promotion (by Reading manager Steve Roadcap):

Sergio Escalona (BlueClaws 2007-2008) was called to FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading early in the morning where Steve Roadcap was waiting.

“He said, ‘What were you doing last night? I heard the police had to go to the stadium,’” Escalona said. “I said, ‘No, I was home, watching TV, a movie, with my family.’

“He said, ‘I don’t know — the police are coming.’”

Roady was kidding of course, as Escalona was called up to the big leagues, where he got his first win on Sunday.

Last, but not least, Mike Zagurski (2006). A key reliever on the 2006 champion BlueClaws, Zagurski made his big league debut on May 25th, 2007, just months after wrapping up his season in Low-A (he has made the fastest jump ever from Lakewood to Philadelphia, and received a bobblehead doll in 2008). But he missed 2008 with an elbow injury and made it up to Reading in 2009.

Good luck to all three.

Fun With Numbers

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

In this post, we noted some of the things the Phillies are bringing to spring training this year. Now, we are going to have some fun with them. Here goes…

12 cases of sunflower seeds…well, at 700 seeds per bag (guess), and 24 bags per case, that’s a total of 201,600 sunflower seeds on their way to Clearwater. What does that mean?

If you made a square field of sunflower seeds, and put each seed three inches apart, it would be 149′ 9″ on each side. For what it’s worth.

There are 300 batting helmets on their way down. We calculated the volume of a cylinder with a radius of 4.5 inches and a height of 6 inches. The volume of a batting helmet is about 381 cubic inches, or just 1.65 gallons. 300 batting helmets then, would be 495 gallons (or about $1,727.55 worth of milk at $3.49 per gallon).

There are 1,200 bats headed to Clearwater. Assuming the average bat is 33 inches long, laid end-to-end, they would stretch 3,300 feet (or .625 miles or just less than two laps around the FirstEnergy Park concourse or one trip up and down the Empire State building and then back up to about the 64th floor).

Those bats weigh 36,000 ounces, or 2,250 pounds (or 2/3 of  a NASCAR vehicle or 2,284 bobblehead dolls).

There are 15,000 baseballs on their way down. That’s enough for 681 of the longest at bats of all time. Since there are 108 stitches on a baseball, that’s a total of 1.62 million stitches.

As a starting point for this section, notes about production of a baseball. In total, about 219 yards of wool is used, and wound very tight within the sphere. 219 yards in 15,000 baseballs is 9,855,000 feet (or 1,866 miles or Lakewood to 60 miles past Denver). The stitches come from 88 inches of waxed red thread (or 110,000 feet in this case…if the average Ryan Howard home run is 400 feet, then this works out to 275 home runs, or about six years worth).

Snow Day / Truck Day

Monday, February 15th, 2010

truckphilliesNo, not that kind of snow day. But the day after a massive storm hit the Northeast, the Phillies packed up the truck and shipped off all of the baseball equipment to Clearwater, a sure sign of spring.

What goes on the truck? From Todd Zolecki:

The team loaded 15 cases of gum, 12 cases of sunflower seeds, 20 coolers, a palette worth of drink mix, 300 batting helmets, 350 pairs of shorts, 450 pairs of socks, 600 pairs of pants, 600 hats, 200 fleeces, 1,200 bats, 2,000 T-shirts, 10,000 cups, 15,000 baseballs and 150 pairs of batting gloves.

(Phillies.com photo)

Fantasy Baseball at the Ballpark?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Interesting stuff…we just booked a fantasy baseball draft to be held in our executive conference center at FirstEnergy Park. That seems to be about as good of a use of the conference center as I could think of.

  • 12 people
  • dinner
  • space
  • tables
  • big board

And what better place to host a fantasy baseball draft than at a ballpark anyway?

Of course it’s almost time to get going on that stuff (last night I went over everything for the longtime keeper league that I’m a part of (coming off of an 11th of 12 place finish). If you’re interested in booking a fantasy baseball draft in the BlueClaws Executive Conference Center, call Brendan at 732-901-7000 ext 165.

Facebook: Be a FAN

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Changed it up a little on Facebook…we had (and still have for now) a page where you would be the BlueClaws friend. But we’re switching it up…I created a new Fan Page this morning, so if you wouldn’t mind, head over and be a fan of the Lakewood BlueClaws (click here).

Thanks.

Buster Delivers Valentines

Friday, February 12th, 2010

To Ocean Twp Elementary School. Proceeds from the eBay auction went to BlueClaws Charities.

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Thirsty Thursday: Now and Soon

Friday, February 12th, 2010

On the left, if we had a Thirsty Thursday today (yes I realize it’s Friday)…and what we’ll have soon on the right:

thirstythursdaybeforeafter

Some Thirsty Thursday promos this year…

  • 5/6: replica SAL Championship Banners
  • 5/20: BlueClaws cap giveaway / Rutgers Alumni Night with Jeremy Ito
  • 6/17: Soccer Night with World Cup Jersey Auction
  • 7/1: 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson autograph signing
  • 7/22: Dusty Wathan SAL Championship Trophy bobblehead giveaway
  • 7/29: The Goonies 25th Anniversary Celebration and jersey auction
  • 8/19: Miles Austin Monmouth University bobblehead giveaway
  • 9/2: The Famous Chicken

Click here for an order form to join the Thirsty Thursday Club, and click here to see the t-shirts you’ll get as a club member (which includes ten GA tickets to Thursday home games, the t-shirt, membership card, drink specials on non-Thursday nights, and a special section in the WRAT Trap exclusive to club members).

Former BlueClaws to Spring Training

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

10springtrainingBelow, the list of all of the former BlueClaws (16 in total) that will participate in big league spring training with the Phillies beginning next week (pitchers and catchers report on February 17th.

Non-roster invitees

  • RHP BJ Rosenberg (2009): the closer for the majority of the 2009 season, he was promoted straight to Double-A Reading in August
  • C Tuffy Gosewisch (2007): a catcher for the majority of 2007, Gosewisch ended 2009 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and will have a chance to make his big league debut in 2010
  • SS Freddy Galvis (2008): one of the best defensive players in all of Minor League Baseball, Galvis was promoted to Reading to end the 2009 season. He is ranked as the 13th best player in the system according to Baseball America
  • OF Domonic Brown (2008): the top ranked prospect in the system and one of the top ranked prospects in all of baseball. He finished 2009 with Double-A Reading

On the 40-man roster

  • LHP Antonio Bastardo (2007): went 9-0 with the BlueClaws in 2007 and was on the Phillies roster in all three rounds of the 2009 post-season
  • LHP Sergio Escalona (2007-08): spent parts of two seasons in Lakewood and made the jump from Reading to the big leagues in 2009
  • LHP Cole Hamels (2003): had a 0.84 ERA with the BlueClaws in 2003 and won the MVP of the 2008 World Series
  • LHP JA Happ (2005): Won 12 games in his rookie season last year in being named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year
  • RHP Kyle Kendrick (2004-06): spent parts of three years with the BlueClaws before breaking through and into the big leagues during the 2007 season. He is 24-14 over three years with the Phillies
  • Scott Mathieson (2004): trying to make team after having third major surgery including two Tommy John surgeries in recent years. Pitched in the 2009 Arizona Fall League
  • RHP Drew Naylor (2008): spent 2008 in Lakewood and 2009 in Clearwater, where he went 8-11
  • RHP Jesus Sanchez (2009): converted catcher went 10-6 as a pitcher for the BlueClaws during the 2009 championship season
  • LHP Mike Zagurski (2006): popular member of the 2006 championship team in Lakewood, he is recovering from Tommy John surgery and pitched for Reading last year
  • C Carlos Ruiz (2001): an original BlueClaw, he is the only player left from the 2001 BlueClaws still with the Phillies. Has been the starting catcher on two World Series teams
  • 1B Ryan Howard (2002): hit 19 home runs for the 2002 BlueClaws, won Rookie of the Year in 2005 and NL MVP in 2006. He was the first former BlueClaw to appear in the Major Leagues
  • OF Quintin Berry (2007): speedster has stolen over 150 bases the last three years and was added to the 40-man roster in November

2010 Bobblehead Dolls

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Big day. It might be snowing outside but we’ve announced the bobblehead dolls to be given away in 2010! As follows:

  • July 20th: Paint-your-own Clawd bobblehead (St. Barnabas Healthcare System)…you’ll get a bobblehead in the shape of Clawd and a paint kit. Then it’s all yours!
  • July 22nd: Dusty Wathan SAL Championship bobblehead (RE/MAX of New Jersey)…he’ll be holding the SAL Championship Trophy
  • August 19th: Miles Austin (in his Monmouth uniform)…the Jersey native and Monmouth Hawk gets his bobblehead on Monmouth University night
  • September 4th: Buster…The first and last bobblehead of the first decade of BlueClaws baseball

Looking forward to those, no question.

Dusty Wathan on his bobblehead: It’s my first one. I’m excited. Just make sure they don’t make me too fat.

When the Cat’s Away…

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

What is Buster doing today that the BlueClaws offices are closed? Probably something like this: