June 2010

Four LumberKings Headed to All-Star Game

Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, Brian Moran and Erasmo Ramirez all headed to Fort Wayne on June 22


Clinton, IA – Four members of the Clinton LumberKings will suit up for the West Division All-
Midwest League All Star Game copy.jpgStars on Tuesday, June 22 at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, IN.  Vinnie Catricala (starting designated hitter), Nick Franklin (reserve shortstop), Brian Moran (left-handed pitcher) and Erasmo Ramirez (right-handed pitcher) have all been included on the West roster, released by the Midwest League today.


Catricala , 21, will be Clinton’s only starter in the game.  Seattle’s 10th round pick out of the University of Hawaii and the Offensive MVP of short-season Pulaski a year ago, Catricala is hitting .286 with 17 doubles, four home runs, 34 runs scored and 28 RBI over 56 games this season.  The Sacramento, CA native is currently tied for third in the league in doubles.


Franklin has been named a reserve, edged out for the starting shortstop spot by Peoria’s Hak-Ju Lee.  Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) in 2009, Franklin is amidst league leaders in total bases (2nd with 128), extra-base hits (2nd with 28), home runs (T-2nd with 12), slugging percentage (3rd at .577), total hits (4th with 70), OPS (5th at .936) and batting average (9th at .315).  The 19-year-old leads the LumberKings with 20 multi-hit games, including six three-hit games this season.


Moran, 21, is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA over 16 relief appearances this season and has converted on two of three save chances.  Seattle’s seventh-round pick in 2009 out of the University of North Carolina, Moran has walked just three batters while striking out 36 over 29.0 innings and leads all Midwest League relievers in lowest walks per nine innings (0.93).


Ramirez, 20, is 4-2 with a 2.19 ERA over 10 appearances, seven starts in his first season in the United States.  Seattle’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 while with Aguirre of the Venezuelan Summer League, Ramirez currently ranks eighth in the league in ERA.  He’s also walked just three batters while striking out 36 over 53.1 innings.


This year marks the fourth-straight season in which the LumberKings have sent four-or-more players to the All-Star Game.  The 2007 club sent eight players, while the 2008 and 2008 teams were represented by nine All-Stars each.  Clinton’s last player to win the “Star of Stars” award was outfielder Tim Smith, who helped the West to a 5-4 win in 10 innings with a solo home run on June 17, 2008 at Dow Diamond in Midland, MI.


For more information on the Clinton LumberKings, call 563-242-0727 or visit www.lumberkings.com.  For more information on the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game and festivities, visit www.midwestleague.com or www.tincaps.com.



IRL Driver Charlie Kimball Coming to AEF

Indy Racing League driver Charlie Kimball is heading to Clinton on June 16 to make an appearance on “Diabetes Awareness Night”, sponsored by Novo Nordisk.  Read the full release below.

Charlie Kimball.jpgClinton
, IA – The Clinton LumberKings, in partnership with Novo Nordisk have announced “Diabetes Awareness Night” at Alliant Energy Field, scheduled for Wednesday, June 16 at 7:00 PM against Wisconsin.  Indy Racing League driver Charlie Kimball, the only licensed racer with type 1 diabetes in the history of the IRL will be on-hand to share his experience with diabetes first-hand.

Kimball, 25, is competing in his second season in the 13-race Firestone Indy Lights series.  The 2010 season marks his first as the driver of the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport.  Diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, he monitors his blood sugar before, during and after each race, and uses Novo Nordisk insulin Levemir (insulin detemir [rDNA origin injection) and NovoLog (insulin aspart [rDNA origin injection).


Kimball’s arrival at Alliant Energy Field coincides with his June 19 race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA.  He will be on-hand to sign autographs and speak with fans and will also join in on the LumberKings’ radio broadcast that evening on AM 1390 KCLN.


“We’re excited to have a remarkable man like Mr. Kimball come to our park and speak about something that affects so many people,” said Ted Tornow, General Manager of the LumberKings.  “His story is an inspiration for all who are coping with diabetes, and the LumberKings Baseball Club is thrilled to help him spread his message.”


Tickets for the game can be purchased by calling the LumberKings’ Ticket Office at 563-242-0727 or by going online to www.lumberkings.com.  The game will be broadcast live on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton and online at 1390kcln.com.


On the Bright Side (June 6 Edition)

Thumbnail image for brightside.jpgIt’s certainly been a while since I’ve had to roll out the OTBS segment here on the LumberBlog, but I think the events of the last two nights qualify.  In case you’ve missed it, the LumberKings lost 7-6 on a walk-off single in Dayton on Friday night, then saw leads of 2-0 and 5-3 erased in a 7-5 loss to the Dragons again last night.

While the LumberKings have slipped to 4-4 on this road trip and now 3.0 games behind second-place Quad Cities for the West Division Wild Card spot…

  1. At least there’s still 13 games remaining (including nine at home) to get it together.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but a win today and a River Bandits loss would put the Kings just 2.0 games out.
  2. At least James Jones has stayed red-hot.  Jones drove in three runs last night, including two on a bases-loaded single (highlight: 
    Jones 2-R single 6.5.10 at Dayton.mp3).  So far on this trip, Jones is hitting .300 (6-for-20) with three HR and nine RBI.
  3. At least we have right-hander Erasmo Ramirez on the mound today.  Ramirez is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA over his last four starts and is now fifth in the league in ERA (1.90).
  4. At least you can still read LumberKings’ Game Notes: 
    6.6.10 kingsnotes.pdf
  5. At least we have our first off-day since May 17 coming up tomorrow.  We’re going to need it after the nine-hour ride home from Dayton.

That’s all for now.  As mentioned, Ramirez gets the start today as this 10-game, three-city road trip finally draws to a close.  The broadcast gets underway at 12:45 PM central time on 1390kcln.com.


6/5 Notes, Highlights

The pregame interview is on hiatus tonight with some afternoon rain chasing away batting practice.  No luck so far on catching Ken Griffey, Sr.  I hope to have a new interview prior to the 2:00 PM game tomorrow with someone interesting, hopefully following a LumberKings’ win tonight.

For now, enjoy some highlights from a thrilling 7-6 loss to the Dragons last night.  Vinnie Catricala homered twice as did Nick Franklin, with Franklin’s two-run clout coming on a 3-2 pitch with two out in the ninth to tie the game.  Dayton would ultimately win in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off single by Cameron Satterwhite.


Tonight’s Game Notes: 
6.5.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney (3-3, 2.34) gets the start tonight, he’ll try and pitch the Kings to a win in game two of the three-game series against the Dragons.  There’s 14 games left in this half, and every one is a must-win with Clinton now 2.0 games behind Quad Cities for the Wild Card spot.  Listen to the game starting at 5:45 PM central time on 1390kcln.com.



Greetings from Dayton

As you can probably tell by the lack of content from yesterday, the LumberKings were rained out in Bowling Green and will not play the finale of the series against the Hot Rods.  That is, unless we schedule a doubleheader for 2011.  The two teams won’t play again till then, and the Kings won’t return to Bowling Green Ballpark until 2012.

100_1816.JPGThus, the 10-game, three-city trip moves into its final leg here in scenic Dayton.  Still the “big leagues” of Midwest League parks, Fifth Third Field is home to the Dayton Dragons, the only club in A ball that continually sells out every game.  There’s additional excitement this season with former Big Red Machine right-fielder Ken Griffey on the staff as the hitting coach.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an interview sometime in the next three games.  I know some of you are probably wondering why I haven’t weighed in on Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement yet, but I’m holding out in case I get the chance to talk to his dad.

One storyline to follow in this series.  Fifth Third Field is usually a power-hitter’s haven most seasons as the ball really jumps to left for right-handed sluggers and also gets out to right equally well.  I’ve done some checking in on Clinton’s home run numbers here over the past four seasons:

  • 2006:  6 HR in 4 games (including five in one game, two by John Whittleman)
  • 2007:  2 HR in 4 games (both by Mauro Gomez)
  • 2008:  3 HR in 3 games (two by Ian Gac, including a Grand Slam)
  • 2009:  8 HR in 3 games (Denny Almonte’s coming-out party, he hit 4 of them)

How will this year’s club fare?  The LumberKings have a league-best 57 home runs as a team and are coming off a six-HR game in pitcher-friendly Bowling Green Ballpark.  Will the likes of Kalian Sams, Nick Franklin, James Jones and Mario Martinez tee off?

One more thing to consider.  Dayton pitchers have allowed just 15 homers in 29 home games this year.  Also, don’t rule out the Dragons’ sluggers.  Chris Richburg has belted six homers (four at home) from the right side, while left-handed hitting Josh Garton has six also (three at home).   Kings’ pitchers have allowed 24 road homers this season and 35 total.

For those who regularly listen to my pregame interviews, you didn’t miss it last night, I decided not to post it with the impending rain in Bowling Green.  I sat down with James Jones to talk about his three home runs on the road trip, the six-homer game against the Hot Rods and more.

Listen Here: 
Jones Interview 6.3.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
6.4.10 kingsnotes.pdf 

Right-hander Taylor Stanton (5-2, 3.31), pushed back by last night’s rainout, will make the start tonight against the Dragons.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 PM central time, listen in on 1390kcln.com.


6/3 Game Notes

100_1813.JPGWe’re getting a ton of rain right now in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but just in case we do get this one in at some point, here’s tonight’s game notes: 
6.3.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Sadly, that’s all for now.


38th in May

The “Latest Leaders” rankings are again out for the ProBlogs portion of MLBlogs, and I’m excited to report that The LumberBlog finished 38th out of the Top 50.  That’s the highest ranking ever for this blog, higher than blogs run by the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics and several other minor league blogs.

Check out the full list here:  http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/06/latest_leaders_-_may_2010.html

Thanks again for reading, whoever you are!


The Sound of Six Homers

In case you missed it, the LumberKings won for the first time ever in Bowling Green tonight thanks to a season-best six homer game. 

The blasts, in order:  Nick Franklin (leadoff to right-center), Mario Martinez (solo, opposite-field), Brandon Bantz (completely out of the park in right), Hawkins Gebbers (just over the wall in left, back-to-back with Bantz), James Jones (laser to right-center, off the scoreboard) and Franklin again (into the bullpen in right).  Tim Morris would have had #7 if his double off the wall had been a few feet to the right.

Enjoy a whole lot of “Start your Trot”: 
Six Homer Night in Bowling Green (6.2.10).mp3


More Views from Bowling Green

100_1797.JPGThe view from the left-field pavilion, which is actually near where the bus parks.  This is where I enter the park from.


The home bullpen.  Both pens are very Major League looking and not on the warning track in foul territory like most places.


There’s an outside view of the pressbox, located on the third-base line.  It’s definitely an interesting vantage point in which I’m still getting used to after one game.


From behind the cage just prior to batting practice yesterday.  Welington Dotel remarked at how good a doubles and triples park this place is.  The Kings had two doubles last night.


A high-up view of the park from the Stadium Club, located where a pressbox normally would be.  This shot was taken just a half-hour ago.  We’re getting some serious rain right now.


Interior of the Stadium Club.  It’s definitely one of the marquee features of the park.


A team-signed Hot Rods jersey from last year’s inaugural squad.  The only former Southwest Michigan Devil Ray still with the ‘Rods is pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein.


Crossing Enemy Lines: Tom Gauthier

With a new opponent, ballpark and road city for your LumberKings, it’s a great time to renew the “Crossing Enemy Lines” segment to get you some background on the Bowling Green Hot Rods.  The subject of the interview is the Voice of the Hot Rods, Tom Gauthier.

Tom talks about the inception of the Hot Rods (formerly known as the Columbus Catfish), their quirky home in Bowling Green Ballpark, the speedsters (like Chris Murrill and Ty Morrison) that make up the Hot Rods’ roster, the move from the South Atlantic League and more.

Listen Here: 
Tom Gauthier (BG Broadcaster) CEL Interview 6.2.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
6.2.10 kingsnotes.pdf

We’ve got a serious storm over us at the present time, but if this game gets played as scheduled, it’s left-hander Jon Hesketh (2-4, 5.80) making his 10th start of the year.  He’ll go up against Hot Rods’ ace right-hander Alexander Colome (4-3, 1.91) with the first pitch scheduled (for now) at 7:05 PM.