Jacksonville Suns vs. Jackson Generals (Southern League)
Bragan Field/Baseball Grounds-Jacksonville, FL: We had such a great time at Friday’s game, we just had hit at least one more! Sunday games are great, as they’re usually earlier in the day, so we didn’t have to be worried about being too tired for training the next morning. Again we got tickets that day, right behind the Suns dugout this time. I have no idea why tickets are so easy to get (not that I’m complaining), or why there wasn’t more fans in the stands for a Sunday game. We got to the this game on time, and by that I mean about an hour early. Lucky I was able to meet a couple of the Sunbeams coming through the gate, as they were pretty rare throughout the game.
Another plus about being at the ballpark early, as that we had a chance to explore some and get some good photos. I was able to get a couple panoramic from the concourse above our seats, and from the outfield.
Between innings, the SweetRight Brothers were on hand to entertain the kids. Since Brian wasn’t there, I really could have cared less, and would have preferred a performance from the Sunbeams. The kids in the crowd liked them, however, so I guess there are no complaints.
We started to get a little rain about the fourth inning, but not enough to stop the game, or stop us from enjoying ourselves. I really give the Jacksonville organization credit for just playing through a little rain. The grounds crew did come onto the field and put dry dirt on the mound and batters box, but that’s about it.
The game was another solid one for the home team. At the plate, the Suns had production from Austin Nola, who went two for three and drove in three of Jacksonville’s four RBI’s. Also going two for three on the day was Kenny Wilson and catcher Sharif Othman, who pushed across the Suns’ other run. On the hill, Kendry Flores earned the win, going five innings and allowing only one run. The Generals made a game of it late, but Sean Donatello earned the save. Final: Suns 4, Generals 2.
Another great day of baseball, and I really missed the games here in Jacksonville. This team was really a big part of me being down here ten years ago, and it was good to get back to the Baseball Grounds. I waned to get one more game fit in before flying home, but the rain spoiled that.
All photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Jacksonville Suns vs. Jackson Generals (Southern League)
Bragan Field/Baseball Grounds-Jacksonville, FL: While in southern Georgia for some training for work, I took the opportunity to take in a ballgame or two in Jacksonville. This was my first Suns game since I was in the area for training in 2005. The ballpark hasn’t changed in a decade, as the Baseball Grounds are still a fantastic venue to watch a game.
We missed the first half-inning, due to our facility being about an hour north and having to get a car rented. I was surprised that there weren’t more fans at the game, and that we were able to get such good seats right behind the Jackson dugout. We didn’t miss too much of the action, however, as the Suns plated a run in the second inning, and never looked back.
I used the rain delay to get a selfie with the Suns mascot, Southpaw, too! This definitely made Brian jealous back in Michigan, but I bought him a Southpaw souvenir, and we’re good. I really give the Jacksonville organization and the grounds crew credit, as the field was ready to go in under an hour.
After the delay, the Suns kept playing well in victory. On the bump, Jake Esch earned the win with 5 1/3 innings of work. He only allowed three hits and struck out six, in a start they was cut off by the rain. The Suns bullpen pitched in after the rain, also with Blake Logan, Matt Tomshaw, and Sean Donatello helping secure the shutout. Offensively, Jax was led by Matt Juengel who went three for four with two RBI’s, and Austin Nola who went one for three with a home run and two RBI’s. Also pitching in: Kenny Wilson and Carlos Lopez, who each went two for four with an RBI respectively. Final: Suns 7, Generals 0.
And some video of the Sunbeams and the game:
All Photos and Video property of Minoring In Baseball
Langbehn to Cleveland: Manager Gregg Langbehn has left the Beach Bums organization to take a job with the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball. He will be in charge of the new instant replay system in Cleveland, and report to the Indians’ bench on what calls should be challenged. He’s worked in organized baseball with the Houston Astros, but not at the major league level.
“It’s an incredible opportunity and challenge to be in the big leagues and one that I couldn’t pass up,” Langbehn stated on the Beach Bums website. “I’m really excited about it.”
Langbehn is the most successful manager in Beach Bums history, compiling a record of 267-212 in his five-year run with the club. He led the Bums to three playoff appearances including the Frontier League championship series in 2010. His 2012 season was one for the record books, as the Bums’ 64 wins was the third most in league history, and the best record for the organization. He was named the 2012 Frontier League Manager of the Year, and managed the 2012 and 2013 East All-Star teams.
Team president and CEO Jason Wuerfel also stated on the Bums website: “I’m excited. Any time a player or one of our coaches moves on it’s a real compliment to our organization and the area. We sincerely thank Gregg for the job he’s done over the last five years and we part ways as friends.”
Rohn promoted: With Langbehn leaving for Cleveland, this opened the door for bench coach Dan Rohn to take the helm of the Beach Bums. He started with TC in 2011 as a special assistant, then was promoted to bench coach in 2013. He is a native of Alpena, Michigan, and played ball down at Central Michigan University for the Chippewas. Rohn played in the pros for 13 seasons, including three in the majors. He began his minor league coaching career back in 1990 as hitting coach for the Triple-A Portland Beavers. Rohn went on to become a four-time MiLB Manager of the Year winner, in the Double-A Eastern League (2000), and the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (2001, 2004, and 2005). He worked in the bigs with the Seattle Mariners as an administrative coach, and last managed the Triple-A Las Vegas 51’s of the PCL in 2010. This seems to be a great situation for both Rohn, and Traverse City.
“I’d really like to thank the Wuerfel family for the opportunity. I love the chance to work in the city that I live in,” Rohn stated on their website. “We have a strong ball club coming in this year; I’m really looking forward to putting a winning team on the field.”
It’s by great coincidence that Rohn was residing in TC, and that his wife teaches at a nearby arts academy. Matt Pulley will return as the Bums hitting coach, but the rest of Rohn’s staff has yet to be named. Jason Wuerfel seems very thankful that Rohn was available, also, as stated on the website.
“We are very fortunate to have a manager with his qualifications. There are a lot of good managers in this league but none with the experience Dan has. Dan will manage the team professionally on and off the field; the timing is perfect, we are just very fortunate.”
Again, this seems like a win-win situation for all involved. We’d like to wish all the best to Langbehn in his new journey, and we’ll be at Wuerfel Park cheering on Rohn and his Beach Bums whenever we get a chance this summer.
Photo property of Minoring In Baseball
Clinton LumberKings vs. Beloit Snappers: After leaving Norway, we headed back east to the banks of the Mississippi River once again. This time our destination was Alliant Energy Field, home of the Clinton LumberKings who we saw the night before in Peoria. Alliant Energy Field was built in 1937, and is a great throwback to the older Minor League parks. Remodeled in 2006, this is really a nice place to watch a ball game. The grandstand is completely covered, and the seats put you right on the field. The fans were friendly and very baseball knowledgable. We ate dinner at the ballpark, had a cold beer, and watched a good baseball game in the oldest city currently in the Midwest League. I like to think of this ballpark as ‘classic’ instead of old, and despite it being not as fancy as some of the other parks we’ve been too, I really enjoyed myself here. Final: Snapper 2, LumberKings 0. Best: The trash pail: for only $5:50 you get loads of food including mini tacos, mini corndogs, onion rings, waffle fries, chicken tenders and more. Worst: Finding the ballpark. GPS couldn’t find it, and there are absolutely no signs anywhere in town to direct you there. My advise is to follow the riverfront until you run into it.
Photos property of MIB
Today the Seattle Mariners traded left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for former Whitecap pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles.
“We had an opportunity to acquire two starting left-handed pitchers under the age of 23, including one with Major League experience”, Seattle general manager Jack Zdurienecik said in a statement.
French has mostly played with Detroit’s AAA farm club Toledo Mud Hens this season, but has had five starts with the Tigers. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in those games for Detroit. In a game against Seattle on July 23, he limited the Mariners to just two hits in 5 1/3 innings. Playing for West Michigan in 2006 and part of 2007, he was crucial in helping the ‘Caps winning back to back Midwest League titles. He was named MWL Pitcher of the Week on 07/23/06. French was an eighth round pick of the Tigers in 2004, coming out of high school in Colorado. The 6’4″, 220 pound lefty, basically hurls three pitches. His fastball is ‘Reagan Era’ at 86-88, but can hit 90 at times. He can also toss a 76-78 mph slider and a sinking change up at around 74-76.
Robles pitched for West Michigan in 2008, and pat of this season before being promoted to High-A Lakeland. His 2008 totals are 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 23 games. He only gave up two home runs and struck out 79. This season in only 11 games with the ‘Caps, he was 4-4 with a 4.23 ERA, and struck out 71. Robles is a bit more of an unknown, as he didn’t focus on pitching until after he was signed by Detoit as a free agent out of Venezuela. His fast ball averages 91-94 and has peaked at 96. Unfortunately, it goes down to 89-90 from time to time. His arm noticably slows down and flattens during while throwing his curce, so that’s something he’ll have to adjust in the Minors.
Good luck to both Luke and Mauricio in this new chapter of their careers. All the best in Seattle, and we appreciate your time and efforts in the Tigers organization. Seems like ‘win-win’ for both teams on this one. Detroit’s hold on the AL Central is hanging by a string, so hopfully Washburn and keep runs off the board, as the Tigers are having trouble scoring them.
Photo courtesy of Farm1.Flickr