April 2010

Whitecaps Update 4/10

capslogo.jpg‘Caps in Second(to last): With a record of 7-14 so far this young season, obviously West Michigan’s young roster is having some struggles. The Whitecaps finally broke out of thier offensive slump yesterday, though, beating the Lansing Lugnuts 7-2 on the back of 12 hits. They had scored just three runs in their previous five games. The losing streak even prompted manager Joe DePastino to call their hitting struggles ‘ugly’ earlier this week. Instead of having someone throw batting practice, he had the team use the pitching machine with some speed in order to get the team to shorten their strides and hit line drives up the middle. It seemed to have worked.

The bright spot so far in 2010 is the young pitching staff. This year’s rotation is sporting a solid 3.15 ERA with the bullben being 2-2  with a 2.83 ERA in the past 15 games. Starter Trevor Feeney leads the way with 24 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. Also throwing well are Jacob Turner (0-0, 1.00) and Giovani Soto (1-1, 2.63). Turner unfortunately was place on the DL Monday for stiffness in his right arm. He had only allowed one run and seven hits in his two starts.

ingebobble.jpg Inge Bobblehead: If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area on May 7, stop into Fifth Third Ballpark for your free Brandon Inge bobblehead. The bobbling likeness of the former Whitecap and current Detroit Tiger will be given away to the first 1,000 fans through the gate.

Boesch MLB Debut: Outfielder Brennan Boesch recently made his Major League debut for the Tigers after Carlos Guillen was placed on the DL. In five game with the Tigers he is batting .278 with five hits, including three doubles and three RBI’s. He was a 3rd round pick of Detroit in the 2006 draft. Playing for the Whitecaps in 2007, he hit .267 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs. This kid definately has some power. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and work on his fielding a bit to stay up at this level.

boesch2.jpgThis will be my last post for at least another week or so, as I’m leaving for my baseball trip to Iowa later today. Wish me a safe journey with no rainouts.

Inge photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Boesch photo courtesy of the Midwest League

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The M.I.B. Megalodons

megalodon.jpgComing accross this photo on the internet, it occured to me that Minoring In Baseball needed it’s own name and logo for things like Fantasy Baseball and charity softball games. Whoever created it did a great job, but one statement does come to mind. You’re gonna need a bigger bat…

Even YOU can be a Minor League GM!

 MiLB MILB.jpgis teaming up with Fritos for the ‘Be A Minor League Baseball GM For A Weekend Sweepstakes’. Five winners will recieve
: round trip transportation for two people; double occupancy hotel accommodations for two nights; two premium tickets to the game; autopraphed Minor League Baseball host club replica jersey; a chance to sit in on team meetings; and $1,525 in spending money. Sounds like a good deal to me. I’d even just take th money…The choices for host teams include the Portland Sea Dogs, Durham Bulls, Memphis Red Birds, New Orleans Zephyrs, Las Vegas 51’s, and the San Antonio Missions. My choices would either be Portland or Durham. I contimplated not posting this, because it would lower my chances of winning, but since I never win anything it would be cool if maybe someone from the blogosphere here won it. Just remember your ol’ buddy here at M.I.B. if you win. The trip is for two.

Even if you don’t win, you can still probably afford to take in a MiLB game. During recent survey, Minor League Baseball concluded that for the cost of four people to attend a game is around $57. This includes two adult tix, two child tix, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers, a program and parking. They found an adult ticket is $8 or less at 80% of the ballparks. The highest I’ve paid for a Minor League game is $13 for the AAA Indianapolis Indians last season. My tickets for the Single-A  Peoria Chiefs this seaons were $5, and that’s for a premium seat. The average cost of a night at the ballpark ranges from around $67 for AAA to $50 for Single-A Short Season or Rookie League.

If you still don’t want to get off your lazy, well, ya know, and catch a live game luckily the MLB Network will be broadcasting some Minor League games as well, including the Triple-A All Star game. The first game will be aired this Monday at 11:00 am and feature the Gwinnett Braves at the Durham Bulls. The next game will be the Burlington Bees at the Quad Cities River Bandits on May 3. Figures they’ll be televising a game just two days after I’m there. Other games slated include Scanton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at the Indianapolis Indians on May 19 at 11:00 am and the Norfolk Tides at the Columbus Clippers on June 15 at 12 noon. Victory Field in Indy was one of the best venues I’ve watched a game at, and should look great on TV. MLB Network will be airing weekday afternoon games thoughout the summer, too.

‘Caps Gosse Off to Good Start, eh?

gosse1.jpgAs a former second baseman myself, while watching games and following my teams, these are the players I usually keep an eye on. I’ve been following the West Michigan Whitecaps for some years now, and have seen the likes of Will Rhymes, Scott Sizemore, Justin Henry, and Brandon Douglas patrol the infield at Fifth Third Ballpark before moving up through the Tigers farm system. This season Mike Gosse has earned his spot at second base on the Whitecaps roster. Though he did play a significant number of games for the ‘Caps last season, Douglas was the main second baseman.

Gosse is off to a good start this season, however, being named the Whitecaps Player of the Week. In the first nine games he’s hit .323 with five doubles and one triple. He has yet to commit an error and has a .548 slugging percentage with three RBI’s.

This is what he told the Grand Rapids Press about his recent play: “I’m trying to be as unselfish as I can. Trying to move runners over, and trying to get guys in so we can get wins. This early, it’s never about yourself. It’s always about trying to win and I think we’re on a good road right now.”

Whitecaps manager Joe DePastino agrees: “He’s had a lot of big hits for us, and not only hits. When I need a runner moved over or bunted over, he gets the job done. He’s had some timely hitting and driven in some big runs for us.”

The 23-year-old Oklahoma alumni was born in California, but raised in British Columbia, Canada. I’m used to seeing city names like Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, and Red Deer on the hockey rosters I follow, but it’s a rarity on a baseball roster. Not too bad for a kid who grew up watching Hockey Night In Canada and eating Kraft Dinner, eh?

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press

Whitecaps Opening Day

These are some great pics from the West Michigan Whitecaps’ Opening Day at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan. The ‘Caps started the season on the road, going 0-3 before picking up their first win in the home opener. They are now 3-4 on the season after taking 2 of 3 from the Fort Wayne TinCaps and beating the Bowling Green Hot Rods in Kentucky in the first meeting ever of the two clubs. I’d love to take credit for these, or at least say that I was there, but I’ll have to wait another two weeks for my first live game. Looking at the pics makes me itchy to hit the road early. Enjoy.

Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press

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Meeting Jim Northrup

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northrupchatting.jpgYesterday the kids and I headed south to a baseball card show that featured former Detroit Tiger and 1968 World Series Champion Jim Northrup signing autographs. Little road trips are always fun, and especially if you can meat an ex-big leaguer. The kids had no idea who he was, but are always up for an adventure. Northrup played well before my time, too, but I can appreciate what he did as a Tiger. I think that they were a little confused, too, as he really doesn’t look a lot like he did on his baseball cards anymore. Northrup was great with the kids, though, as he was with all of the fans who came to meet him. I think the older player really get what the fans and the game really meen better than some of the bozos who play today’s game. The kids each got a card signed and their Papa and I each got a baseball signed so it was a successfull trip. As for baseball cards, I really didn’t find anything I was looking for-although I still view cards as a hobby, not an industry (that could be an entire blog on it’s own). This helped us gear up for the games next month, though. Just a few weeks away. 

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Photos property of MIB

Whitecaps Sport Youth-filled Roster

capslogo.jpgThe 2010 West Michigan Whitecaps roster is all but set when they take the field Thursday in Eastlake, Ohio to take on the Lake County Captians kicking off the Midwest League season. This season’s roster includes five teen-agers including the Tigers number one 2009 draft pick, 18-year old Jacob Turner. Pitchers Giovanni Soto(18) and Melvin Mercedes(19), infielder Hernan Perez(19), and outfielder Avisail Garcia(18) round out the ‘brat pack’.

“We’re very young, but I like the talent we have, especially Turner, who has great stuff”, Whitecaps manager Joe DePastino told the Grand Rapids Press.

turnersigning.jpgTurner is pictured here signing for a young fan. This year’s roster will also include eleven players from last years squad that finished 81-59 and made the playoffs. After the three game series with Lake County, the ‘Caps will face the defending MWL Champion Fort Wayne TinCaps in their home opener at Fifth-Thrid Ballpark on April 11. The full West Michigan roster can be found HERE.

The Detroit Tigers opening day roster will also consist of nine former Whitecaps including: Jeremy Bonderman*(2009), Joel Zumaya(2003), Alex Avila(2008), Brandon Inge(1999), Ramon Santiago(2000), Scott Sizemore(2007), Don Kelly(2002), Magglio Ordonez*(2008), and Ryan Raburn(2002/03).

MLive.com is featuring two really good articles on Scott Sizemore. The first one discusses his background and progress at second base. The second one has to do with his friendship with fellow Tigers rookie Austin Jackson. Both are worth checking out.

Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Ghosts of Ballgames Past

Gearing up for the 2010 season ahead, it’s fun to remember all of the fun times the kids and I have had the last few years since baseball has been such a big part of our lives. I was looking for some older pics to post, but didn’t have any luck finding much. I do have plenty others to share, though, so here’s to hoping this season’s games will be as fun as the ballgames past.

Photos property of MIB 

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USA Today features MiLB Ballparks

Yesterday’s issue of USA Today featured an article called “10 great places for a baseball pilgrimage”. The list compiles ten Minor League ballparks highly recommended by Graham Knight who runs the website baseballpilgrimages.com. Out of the ten parks listed, I’ve been to three of them: Coca-Cola Field (then Pilot Field) in Buffalo, NY; Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY; and Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. By this time next month, I’ll have been to Modern Woodman Park in Davenport, IA as well. Have fun checking it out.

Photo property of MIB

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