My apologies to regular readers for not posting more content as of late, but I’ve been going through a pretty large personal and professional transition. This week is my final week as the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations with your Clinton LumberKings. I have accepted a new position with the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. There, I’ll be putting my writing skills to work as the new Media Relations Coordinator. It’s a huge jump for me in a lot of ways, but I’m hoping my six years of experience here have prepared me well for the job.
The move unfortunately means that I won’t be contributing to this blog anymore. On my “things I’ll miss about Clinton” list, posting on the LumberBlog will probably rank second behind the radio broadcast itself. I started this thing back in 2009 not really knowing what I was going to do with it, and eventually it became a way to share all of my daily work with you. I’ve said it before, but I’m continually surprised with how many visitors the blog generates monthly. The LumberBlog finished #28 on the MLBlogs Top 50 list this past month and has been in the Top 50 for every month since May of 2009. All of that traffic for a blog covering a small-market, low-A team.
I’m certain that the next LumberKings’ voice will pick up blogging where I left off, but this blog itself is now closed. I’m planning to keep it as an archive of my work from the past three seasons. Thanks again for reading regularly or simply checking in every now and again, it has meant a lot to me.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that searches on Derek Holland spiked my blog traffic over the weekend. That sort of thing will happen when you toss 8.1 scoreless, tw0-hit innings in the World Series, easily the biggest pitching performance in Texas Rangers history. The former LumberKings ace is now firmly entrenched into baseball lore.
And, if you missed it, here’s a look via TexasRangers.com at Holland’s series-evening outing last night: http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?c_id=tex&content_id=19943841&topic_id=25588886
I’d love to say that I knew he’d be this good when he was dominating Midwest Leaguers just three years ago, but I’d be lying. He was special then, but he was historic last night.
There’s a new addition coming to Ashford University Field for 2012. The “Bullpen Patio” will be a new group area with high-top tables positioned just behind the LumberKings’ bullpen down the left-field line. Groups of 10-50 will be able to reserve the patio for just $12 a person.
Check out the “Bullpen Patio” as it takes shape:
It’s obviously a ways from being finished, but hopefully you get an idea of the area it will occupy. If you’d like to reserve a date for the “Bullpen Patio”, do so by calling 563-242-0727. Tell ‘em Dave sent you (you won’t receive a discount for this).
Former LumberKings’ left-hander Derek Holland may have given up four runs on three homers over 4.2 innings on Saturday, but he and the Texas Rangers are headed back to the World Series via a 15-5 win over the Detroit Tigers. That means fellow former Kings Ian Kinsler (’04), Mitch Moreland (’08), Craig Gentry (’07) and Neftali Feliz (’08) get another shot at that ring, while Holland gets to keep growing the playoff ‘stache. The Rangers will meet the Maikel Cleto-less St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the phyiscal city of Holland must be celebrating right now after the Netherlands captured the 2011 IBAF World Cup title with a 2-1 win over Cuba on Saturday. The game, played in Panama, featured former LumberKings Kalian Sams (’09-’11) and Danny Rombley (’01-’02) in the lineup, while infielder Vince Rooi (’01) remained on the bench.
Sams went 0-for-2 with a walk while Rombley went 0-for-4. View the full box score of the title game here: http://ibaf.prod.kgroup.eu/stats/2011/panama/games/76.htm
Who knew Clinton had so many ties to the Dutch, including “the Dutch Oven“?
For those of you tuning in to Game 3 of the NLCS tonight, you’ll see an addition to the Milwaukee Brewers’ uniforms. The “GV” patch has been added to honor the memory of Brewers’ Director of Grounds Gary VandenBerg, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer.
I wanted to briefly say a few words about Gary, who became my first boss when he hired me on to the Brewers Grounds Crew in 2000. For 30-plus years, nobody served the Brewers better than Gary, and he never looked for the spotlight for doing so. He was as kind and understanding a boss as anyone could ever ask for, yet he imparted a strong work ethic and sense of pride in all of us that worked for him. It was with his lead that we all strived to be the best Grounds Crew in baseball.
I worked for Gary for five full seasons and parts of two more and can say that his example of professionalism and attention to detail is something that I hope has rubbed off on me. The Ryan Brauns and Prince Fielders of baseball get the attention, but it’s people like Gary that truly make an organization great.
He will be missed greatly by all of us who donned the yellow Grounds polo.
The Peoria Javelinas are off to a 1-4 start and in last place in the three-team AFL West division. Shortstop Nick Franklin (’10) is off to an 0-for-8 start, but has walked an AFL-high four times in three games and has scored twice. On the mound, right-hander Forrest Snow (’10-’11, pictured) is 1-0 with a scoreless 3.0 innings and three strikeouts. Lefty Brian Moran (’09-’10) has an ERA of 9.00 with two runs over his first 2.0 relief innings. Right-hander Steven Hensley (’09) has already served up a whopping five earned runs over two-thirds of an inning in his first outing for an ERA of 67.50.
Right-hander Evan Reed (’08) has thrown two scoreless outings for the Surprise Saguaros, each totaling one inning. He’s walked one while fanning three in that span.
You can keep checking here for periodical AFL updates (please do, I need the traffic this time of year), but if you want up-to-date information, stats, stories, etc., go straight to the source.
It’s 77 degrees in October, perfect conditions for some sign hanging. The new “Ashford University Field” sign that will adorn the top of the scoreboard is going up today. Here’s a photo:
The sign should be completed today. Other signage (the main entrance in front of the park, the wind screen around the top of the grandstand) is also either up or will be in the near future.
A post now about four days overdue, but here’s a look at former Clinton players participating in the MLB playoffs, broken down by team:
Texas Rangers (5 Players, 1 Coach): RHP Neftali Feliz (’08), LHP Derek Holland (’08), 2B Ian Kinsler (’04), 1B Mitch Moreland (’08), OF Craig Gentry (’07). In addition, bullpen coach Andy Hawkins was Clinton’s pitching coach in 2003.
Detroit Tigers (0 Players, 1 Coach): No players, but manager Jim Leyland began his coaching career as the skipper of the Clinton Pilots back in the early 70’s.
Philadelphia Phillies (2 Players): INF Wilson Valdez (’01) and OF John Mayberry Jr. (’06).
Milwaukee Brewers (1 Player, 1 Coach): RHP Kameron Loe (’03). Manager Ron Roenicke played outfield on the talented 1977 Clinton Dodgers club.
Arizona Diamondbacks (0 Players, 1 Coach): No players, but third-base coach Matt Williams was a Clinton Giant in 1986.
The New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals all are without former Clinton players or coaches.
The 20th season of the Arizona Fall League formally kicks off today, and five former LumberKings are set to participate. Pitchers Steven Hensley (’09), Brian Moran (’09-’10) and Forrest Snow (’10-’11), plus shortstop Nick Franklin (’10) are on the Mariners-affiliated Peoria Javelinas roster, while pitcher Evan Reed (’07-’08), now a Florida Marlins farmhand, will pitch for the Surprise Saguaros.
Peoria hosts Salt River at 12:35 PM Mountain Time (I believe that should be 11:35 AM here), while Surprise heads to Scottsdale for a 6:35 PM MT start (5:35 PM here). I’ll be checking in periodically to see how they’re all doing.
Initially overlooked but not forgotten, former LumberKings’ outfielder Chad Tracy (’07) is part of the USA team participating in IBAF Baseball World Cup in Panama City, Panama. The US squad has defeated Cuba for the gold medal in each of the last two World Cup finals. The tournament started on October 2 and runs through the 15th. Hopefully I’ll have something for you on Tracy in the near future as well.
At last, the exhausting two-week process of recapping the season is finished. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the 75th year of Clinton baseball (and a lot of things you never realized you wanted to know) is available for reading here: 2011 Clinton LumberKings Final Report & Bios
If you catch any typos, omissions or any other screw-ups within the 20-page report, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you…a congratulatory email response.
One more thing before I end the post. The Seattle Mariners ended their regular season on a low-note with a 2-0 loss to Oakland in what was the sixth-straight loss for former LumberKings’ left-hander Anthony Vasquez (’09-’10). However, not lost in the box score was a play that epitomized the success of this team in churning out Major Leaguers in recent seasons. Seattle turned a 1-6-3 double play…right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) to shortstop Kyle Seager (’09) to first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08). I’m excited to see a full MLB season from all three in 2012.