Friday Fun – Valentine’s Day

Valentines-Day-Heart LKings

It’s Friday, the end of the week, and the prelude into Valentine’s Day weekend. On a personal level, I’m not the biggest Valentine’s Day fan; quite honestly I can’t stand it. But, for the sake of those who do, we are going to have some Friday Fun (in case you didn’t catch on already, thats what most Friday blog posts will be called) by comparing potential 2016 LumberKings with our favorite messages from Valentine’s Day heart candy.

Although I have already said that I do not like Valentine’s Day, I love the candy hearts. When I was 10 years old I could down a box of those in about five minutes (I do not condone doing that by any means!). Still, it was always fun to investigate the different messages that would come on the candy. In the modern age, some of the messages are obsolete, (I for one wouldn’t ask a girl to Fax Me). Here are some of my best candy heart comparisons for potential 2016 LumberKings.

Logan Taylor - AquaSox

BE MINE – Logan Taylor

The BE MINE heart is one of desire. It says to the recipient that your presence is necessary. For the 2015 AquaSox, Logan Taylor’s presence in the lineup was a necessity. A 12th round draft pick out of Texas A&M last year, Taylor played all over the diamond. A college shortstop, Taylor played second base, third base, left field, and right field last season for Everett. He hit .267 in 60 games, knocking out four homers and driving in 42 (those 42 RBI rank 2nd among all 2015 AquaSox). Simply put, Taylor is the ideal utility man. He hits for a decent clip, has above average power, and can drive in runs. In his final year at Texas A&M, Taylor lead the Aggies in home runs (10) and RBI (52) while hitting .333 in 63 games played. Simply put, be ours Logan Taylor, because you are getting someone that can do everything and do it well.

Pennsylvania Catholic basball player selected in Major League Baseball draft

SOUL MATE – Ryan Uhl

Every baseball fan’s soul mate is the long ball. People love seeing the baseball travel out of the park, and Ryan Uhl does just that. Uhl has a very interesting background, being a 7th round pick in the 2015 draft out of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a division II school. In his senior season at IUP, Uhl put up unreal numbers, hitting .415 with a .536 on base percentage, and hit 29 home runs in just 142 at bats! Whats even more insane is that he hit 16 more home runs last year than he did in his first three seasons combined! Uhl also set a school and conference record with 74 RBI last season. He is the second player coming from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to be drafted by the Mariners in the last two seasons (Mercyhurst’s Dan Altavilla was drafted in the 5th round in 2014). Uhl got off to a fast start in Everett, but cooled off towards the end of the Northwest League season, finishing with a .259 average, four home runs, and 35 RBI. While its unrealistic for anyone to expect Uhl to perform at the same level he did his senior season in college, but for the 6’6″ 230 pound first baseman, if he shows off that power potential in 2016, he will be everybody’s home run soul mate.

Anthony Misiewicz AquaSox

YOU ROCK – Anthony Misiewicz

There isn’t as much of a romantic feel to the you rock candy heart, but what it tells the recipient is that they’re awesome. In his first professional season, awesome is how to describe left handed pitcher Anthony Misiewicz. Pronounced Mih-seh-vich, he was on point during his professional debut. posting a 3-2 record with a 2.14 earned run average over 46.1 innings with the 2015 AquaSox. Opponents only hit .189 against him, while striking out 40 and allowing only 10 walks. He was an 18th round pick last season out of Michigan State, where he went 5-4 with a 3.80 ERA over 68.2 innings in 2015. There proved to be a lot of value in picking Misiewicz, and it paid off big time in his professional debut season. If 2016 is anything like 2015, he will continue to rock.

Alex_Jackson LKings

I LOVE YOU – Alex Jackson

The classic “I LOVE YOU” heart. Simple, short, and to the point. And we love Alex Jackson, because of what he can bring to the table. Jackson was part of the 2015 LumberKings, starting the season on the opening day roster. However, the 6th overall pick in the 2014 draft struggled in his first full season, hitting only .157 with no home runs in Clinton before getting hurt. He then was on Everett’s opening day roster, and showed signs of life, hitting eight home runs in 163 at bats with the AquaSox. Jackson is only 20 years old, and while his 2015 season wasn’t ideal statistically, his potential should give LumberKings and Mariners fans alike a lot to look forward to in 2016. In other words, we love you Alex Jackson.

We hope you enjoyed this Valentine’s Day edition of Friday Fun. Happy Valentine’s Day from The LumberBlog!


Episode 1 – Seattle System Scoop

Seattle System Scoop Graphic V4

A great idea that has been developing this offseason is something you see right now, right here on this page. The Seattle System Scoop is the name of the podcast that will be recorded throughout the season, and posted right here on the LumberBlog, as well as on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Follow at Clinton LKings). Its a podcast that is a discussion about the Mariners farm system, with the contributors being myself, and the other four broadcasters from the other minor league affiliates. Those people being Mike Curto (Tacoma Rainiers) Brandon Liebhaber (Jackson Generals), Dan Besbris (Bakersfield Blaze), and Pat Dillon (Everett AquaSox).

In the first episode, we discuss the changes in the philosophy of the Mariners player development department, as well as a breakdown of Baseball America’s Top 10 Mariners prospects. You can find that list right here. Take a listen, we know you’ll enjoy our first episode. Audio Link

After 4 Years, The LumberBlog Returns

It’s been over four years since Dave Lezotte signed off from The LumberBlog, and it is time to bring this great publication back with full force. My name is Greg Mroz, and I am honored to be the new play by play broadcaster for the Clinton LumberKings. I won’t bore you all too much with biographical information, but what I promise you is that this blog will once again be a fun and informative source for LumberKings news, information, highlights, interviews, and other interesting bits of content. The goal of this blog reboot is to give you, the fans, a fun platform to interact with our team. I very much look forward to hearing your input and feedback. Stay tuned for some fun and exciting content leading up to Opening Day!

That’s It, That’s All

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.

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 at Holland’s series-evening outing last night:

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.


“Bullpen Patio” Taking Shape

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).


A Good Weekend for Holland

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.

The only Danny Rombley photo on file from his 2002 season in Clinton.

Sams went 0-for-2 with a walk while Rombley went 0-for-4.  View the full box score of the title game here:

Who knew Clinton had so many ties to the Dutch, including “the Dutch Oven“?


Honoring Gary VandenBerg

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.


AFL Update (10/10)

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.


Transforming into “Ashford University Field”

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. 



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