August 2009

Sunday, Twinbill Sunday

To say the LumberKings were well-rested for last night’s game against Quad Cities is an understatement.  Prior to the first pitch at 6:37 PM, the Kings hadn’t set foot on a dry diamond since around 9:00 PM on Tuesday night in Cedar Rapids.  Turns out the time off was beneficial…Clinton pounded out 10 runs in a 10-3 win over the Bandits and improved to 12-0 when scoring in double-digits.

More on last night’s win in the game notes:  8.30.09 kingsnotes.pdf

Kyle Seager became just the fourth Clinton hitter to drive in four this season, doing it with a pair of bases-loaded two-run singles.  Scott Savastano also belted a two-run homer to left, his first since 7/31 and just the second by a LumberKing in the last 12 games.  Higlights below:

Today, it’s doubleheader action with Quad Cities starting at 1:00 PM.  With the Kings 3.0 games back of Burlington and the Bees themselves playing two today in Beloit, both these games are crucial.  Clinton has not fared well in twinbill action this season, going 1-5 with five-straight losses.  That’ll have to change today.


Baseball Tonight, I Promise

As you’ve probably noticed, the LumberKings haven’t played baseball in a while.  Both Wednesday and Thursday night’s scheduled contests in Cedar Rapids were cancelled and last night’s series-opener against Quad Cities was postponed due to wet grounds.  Today, however, a different story.  The field is dry, playable and there’s no rain in the forecast.

These notes look a lot like last nights, but enjoy anyways:  8.29.09 kingsnotes.pdf

Tonight’s pregame interview will be the first actual airing of the Mitch Butz conversation.  Thus, no audio for you to listen to today.  I plan to have something for the pregame show tomorrow as the LumberKings play two against the River Bandits starting at 1:00 PM.

Until then, enjoy tonight’s game.


Talking Post-Season All-Stars

Our status for tonight’s game in Cedar Rapids is still up in the air.  Here’s the current scene:


In lieu of a pregame interview tonight, I thought I’d post last night’s conversation about the Midwest League Post-Season All-Star selections.  You already read my thoughts on the subject yesterday, but I was fortunate to have LumberKings’ PA voice Brad Seward in the booth to weigh in on the selections.  He has some fairly good insight on talent, having seen his share of big-leaguers over the last 14 seasons.

Listen Here: 
MWL Post-Season All-Stars Chat with Brad Seward.mp3

Just as I’m completing this post, the game has been postponed due to rain.  We’ll play two tomorrow at 5:30 PM in Cedar Rapids.  You can listen to both seven-inning games on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton and


MWL Post-Season All-Stars Announced

The 2009 Post-Season All-Stars were announced by the Midwest League office earlier this afternoon.  The choices are determined by the 14 managers in the league, there are no  media or front office votes.  Spoiler Alert:  There are no LumberKings on the list.

First Base:  Rebel Ridling (PEO)

Second Base:  Alexi Amarista (CR)

Third Base:  Josh Vitters (PEO)

Shortstop:  Dee Gordon (GLL)

Outfielders:  Kyle Russell (GLL), Kyler Burke (PEO) and Josh Harrison (PEO)

DH:  Billy Nowlin (WM)

RH Starter:  Kenny Smalley (KCC)

LH Starter:  Casey Crosby (KCC)

RH Reliever:  Brad Brach (FTW)

LH Reliever:  Andrew Taylor (CR)

MVP:  Dee Gordon and Kyle Russell, Great Lakes Loons

Prospect of the Year:  Dee Gordon, Great Lakes Loons

Manager of the Year:  Doug Dascenzo, Fort Wayne and Marty Pevey, Peoria

And now, for my commentary.  There’s no real surprises or huge snubs on this list that I can see, but I was hoping to see Kenn Kasparek on this list.  Smalley is an exceptional pitcher, but Kasparek will finish with better numbers in ERA and strikeouts, most likely.  Had this evaluation been done based on numbers from May onward, Kasparek wins, hands down.

ecciZJtd.jpgAlso, another thought comes to mind.  I’m a big fan of rewarding both Gordon and Russell with the MVP award for the Loons…the man who set the table and stole 69 bases, plus the guy who drove him in with a league-high 25 home runs.  I won’t dispute those two.  However, it makes me wonder how many votes former Kings’ first-baseman Mitch Moreland (pictured left) would have needed to tie Beloit’s Ben Revere for a split of the 2008 MVP award.  That one still stings a bit.

Revere in ’08:  .379 (129-for-340), 17 doubles, 10 triples, 51 runs, 43 RBI, 44 steals. 

Moreland in ’08:  .324 (151-for-466), 37 doubles, 18 HR, 64 runs, 99 RBI.

They finished 1-2 in the league in average, but Moreland recorded his numbers in 40 more games than Revere.  I will continue to campaign for the asterisk on that MVP award, even to likely no avail.

Oh yeah, tonight’s game notes: 
8.25.09 kingsnotes.pdf


Another Sunday on the Road

Sunday getaway days are greatly appreciated by coaches, players and broadcasters alike. While there’s less time to prepare and no time to hit batting practice, it’s always a more relaxed atmosphere.  Plus, when you’re on the road like we are, you get home a heck of a lot earlier than a night game getaway (usually).

A lot of folks think “hey, you travel with the team, that’s got to be the most exciting thing in the world!”.  It is, to a point.  There’s nothing I’d rather do than this, especially when I see people in suits on hour-long lunch breaks.  However, a 140-game season is not without its mundane aspects.  There’s zero free time for our 70 home games, plenty of free time with no transportation and nothing really to do during our 70 road games.

With that, here’s a look at the preparation for a Sunday road game, i.e. my last 13 hours here in Peoria:

Saturday night, 9:15 PM:  Post-game show ends following last night’s 8-0 loss.

9:20 – 9:40 PM:  I write the post-game recap and make sure it gets on

9:40-ish:  Players mill around outside the bus and talk on their phones.

10:00 PM:  The team bus leaves for the Super 8 in Peoria.

10:15 PM:  I sit around in my hotel room thinking about either eating or working on the next day’s game notes.  Instead, I end up sitting around for 45 minutes doing neither.

11:00 PM:  I spend my third-straight meal at the Perkins across from the hotel.

12:00 AM:  Back to the room, I’ve got no motivation to work on the notes.  This is about the only time I actually get to watch TV, so I do that for a while.

2:00 AM:  I finally get sick of watching Lock Up Raw on MSNBC and go to bed.

9:00 AM:  I wake up and feel the remorse for not working on my game notes the previous night and get to it.

10:00 AM:  Getting ready, packing up my suitcase for the trip home.  In between this, I work more on the game notes.

11:00 AM:  Time to board the bus to the ballpark.  I’m not finished with the notes yet.

11:20 AM:  We arrive at O’Brien Field in Peoria.  The guy looking for autographs doesn’t ask me if I’m a player today.

11:40 AM:  I finish my notes, rather late I might add.  Normally they are done the night before, or the morning before a game.  Read ’em: 
8.23.09 kingsnotes.pdf

12:00 PM:  I start filling out my scorecard and mull over doing this blog post.

12:15 PM-now:  I’m writing what you’re reading now.


It’s not always the most exciting job in the world, but when this is your view, it’s hard to complain too much.  In the near future, I’ll give you an idea of what a home game is like for me.  I might even include video.  Stay tuned for that.


Video Feature: Zambrano Rehab Start

I did shoot a bit of video at the conclusion of Carlos Zambrano’s rehab start on Thursday just for the heck of it.  I wasn’t originally planning on posting it, but I did like how this video shows the action and also catches my play-by-play fairly clearly.  Plus, I haven’t been doing much video content on here lately, and it’s not everyday that your team faces someone with big-league service time.

In the video (just over a minute long), Daniel Carroll moves to third on a wild pitch and Kyle Seager strikes out to end the inning.  I’m a bit drowned out by the 7,600-plus that gave Zambrano a standing ovation at the end.

Zambrano Rehabs Against LumberKings.wmv

More video to come before the conclusion of this season, I promise.


Next on the LumberBlog? You Decide

It’s been my quest throughout the first 123 games of this season to try and interview a diverse range of folks and cover a wide variety of topics surrounding the LumberKings, the Seattle Mariners, the Midwest League and professional baseball in general.  I’ve done 103 separate interviews, with an additional interview done of me (thanks, Scott Savastano).  Players, coaches, office staff, opposing coaches, other broadcasters, Mariners’ brass, former Big Leaguers, a Hall-of-Famer and more have been heard on my pregame show and this blog.

As it stands today, there’s only four active LumberKings on the roster that I have not interviewed:  Daniel Cooper, Brian Moran, Tommy Johnson and Dwight Britton.  With 16 games remaining, I hope to get all four.  However, aside from those remaining four, I’d like a little fan input.

Who would you like to hear from one last time in 2009?  What questions do you want answered?  Comment below with your suggestion and your questions (no emails please), and hopefully I can make that happen before season’s end.  If your question is picked, of course you’ll get some credit here on the LumberBlog.  On that note, make sure to include your first name and location on your comment.

Tonight’s game notes for the 6:30 PM game at Peoria can be found here: 
8.22.09 kingsnotes.pdf

Let’s end that three-game losing streak tonight.


Tamez Named MWL Trainer of the Year

LumberKings’ Eddie Tamez selected by peers, Pro Baseball Athletic Trainers Society


Peoria, IL – Clinton LumberKings’ athletic trainer Eddie Tamez has been named the 2009 Midwest League Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year, announced today by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS).


The award is one of 17 presented to athletic trainers from every league in affiliated baseball.  Tamez is now in consideration with the 16 other winners for the Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year award, which will be presented at the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, IN this December.


Tamez, 33, is in his first season with the LumberKings, his third with the Seattle Mariners organization.  He spent the 2008 season with the High Desert Mavericks of the California League and also worked in the Texas Rangers system for three seasons as the trainer with Spokane in 2005 and Bakersfield in 2006-2007.  He’s a 2003 graduate of Texas A&M Corpus Christy with a B.S. in Kinesiology.


The LumberKings (24-28) continue a four-game series with Peoria (32-20) tonight at O’Brien Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or live on the web at


Good Luck, Flo and Vallejo

A brief off-day musing between laundry and cleaning…

In case you didn’t see it, former LumberKings Ruben Flores (’09) and Jose Vallejo (’06-’07) were traded by the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, respectively, in the last two days.

Flores, Clinton’s All-Star closer this season was shipped to the Milwaukee Brewers (my employer for seven-plus years) in exchange for Bill Hall.  Hall was falling out of favor in Milwaukee and he’s an old favorite of Jack Zduriencik, so he shouldn’t have a problem fitting in.  For Flores, being included in a deal like this will give him a fresh start.  He had great stuff with the Kings this year, but struggled upon return to High Desert.  The Brewers are getting a guy with a great fastball, even better spike curve, excellent intensity and outstanding character overall. 

Vallejo was traded to the Houston Astros in the high profile deal that brought Pudge Rodriguez back to the Rangers.  This deal also makes sense for both sides.  The Rangers bring back one of their all-time fan favorites (this deal is on par with Griffey’s return to Seattle in my eyes) and Vallejo gets an easier route to the big leagues that doesn’t have Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Joaquin Arias in the picture.

It’s probably been bittersweet for both leaving the organizations that drafted/signed them, but these trades seem to work best for everyone.  Good luck to the both of them.


Kings Add Britton, Lose Sanchez

Outfielder Dwight Britton heads to Clinton as Kris Sanchez hits DL


Clinton, IA -The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have announced the addition of outfielder Dwight Britton to the 25-man roster.  Britton has been promoted from short-A Pulaski to take the place of DH Kris Sanchez, who has been transferred to the disabled list effective today.


Britton, a non-drafted free agent signed by the Mariners in 2003, hit .288 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBI in 44 games with the Pulaski Mariners prior to the call-up.  The Corn Island, Nicaragua native hit .253 with six home runs and 37 RBI with Pulaski last year, .263 with eight RBI in 30 games in the Arizona League in 2007.


Sanchez hit .291 with 20 doubles, 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 72 games with the LumberKings this season.  The West Division All-Star also spent time on the disabled list from July 16 through August 1.


The move gives the LumberKings a total of 25 active players on the roster, including one on the disabled list.  No number is yet known for Britton, who joins the club in Clinton tonight.


The LumberKings (24-26) take on the Cedar Rapids Kernels (27-24) tonight at Alliant Energy Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Listen to the game on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or live on the web at