Spring training is in the air, but unfortunately I’m not.
Being unemployed, it has me grounded. I just can’t afford to travel to minor league spring training.
Before the camcorder’s untimely demise, I’d planned to make a trip in May that would take me first to Cedar Rapids, then on to Rancho Cucamonga, over to Tempe for extended spring training and then back home to Florida. That trip would have cost me about $2,000, something I could have paid off in about six months but with the unanticipated $2,000 bill for the camcorder that’s just too much debt for my employment status, or lack thereof.
So I’m going to call off the Rancho Cucamonga and Tempe parts of the trip.
I haven’t been to Cedar Rapids since 2007, the year before the flood, and this year’s team should have a monster roster with all the young prospects, so I should make every attempt to be there.
If you enjoy the videos, photos and reports directly from the road on FutureAngels.com, a reminder that no one pays me to do this. Some folks are under the impression that the Angels subsidize this. They don’t. It’s all out of my pocket. Being unemployed, that pocket isn’t as deep as it used to be.
I’ve had many players’ parents tell me over the years that if I need help, I should ask for it, so I’m asking.
You can help by making a one-time donation or signing up for a $5/month voluntary subscription. Click here to learn more.
I realize these are difficult financial times, but more than ever I have to be responsible with every penny I have. My wife and I lose our health insurance on March 31, as we can’t afford it any more. We have some money saved up, but one trip to the emergency room, one life-threatening disease and we’ll be in big trouble.
Given those real-world priorities, FutureAngels.com drops down the priority list. I’ve always run FutureAngels.com as a service, not a business, absorbing about $2,000 a year in losses. That can’t happen now. So if you’ve enjoyed FutureAngels.com and want it to continue, I need your help. Thanks for your consideration.
Camcorder, we hardly knew ye.
My Sony camcorder expired this afternoon at about 3:00 PM EDT. It’s been having problems in recent months, death rattles in retrospect, and while reproducing video highlights for one of the Angels affiliates today it simply expired.
I don’t often beg for money, but if you’ve enjoyed the FutureAngels.com Video Gallery over the years I need your help if I’m going to film more video highlights in 2010.
The bottom line is I need to raise $1,920 to buy this new camcorder:
Your donation can help FutureAngels.com buy this new camcorder to film Angels minor league video highlights in 2010.
The new camcorder is a Sony HDR-FX7 HDv 1080i Camcorder.
The old camcorder bought six years ago cost about $2,500. The new one has more features — technological advancement, of course — so we’ll be able to zoom in closer and get much sharper footage than over the last six years.
As many of you know, I am unemployed and in this economy there’s little hope for a job in the near future. I really can’t afford to spend $2,000 on a new camcorder.
I’d planned to travel to Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga in May, trips that would probably cost me $1,500 – $2,000, money I really don’t have either but I was willing to take the hit on my credit card and slowly pay it back. Another $2,000 on top of that is just too much.
So if you want to see video highlights this spring from Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga, and the 2010 draft picks this summer in Orem and Tempe, you need to step up to the plate.
The best way you can help is by either making a one-time donation, or by signing up for a voluntary $5/month subscription. Click here to help.
Times are tough for everyone, I realize, but the reality is that without financial assistance I’ll have to cancel some of those travel plans, and video memories will be lost to history.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
While doing Google research the other day, I ran across something I’d written — but it had been reprinted on another site.
This wasn’t a quote. It was my entire column. It was reprinted as if that individual himself had written it.
I’m not the only victim. If you look through his site, he’s copying content wholesale from everywhere, articles and photos, passing them off as his own work.
I attempted to e-mail the responsible party at the address provided, but it bounced back with the error message, “No such user here.”
The WHOIS entry for this site lists the same bogus e-mail address. It says the site is registered to a William Day out of Rialto, California.
I tried contacting GoDaddy.com, the registrar for this site, but they say they only control the domain name, they don’t host his servers. An I.P. search by domain name server suggests he’s hosted by ThePlanet.com. I’ve contacted them to file a complaint.
I’m going to track down this kleptomaniac and serve him with legal notice to stop the pilfering. In the meantime, if anyone knows who this person is and has a valid contact e-mail address I would greatly appreciate it. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been a while since I posted, but I’m not one to post just to post.
This time of year, not much is going on in the world of the minor leagues. Spring training is nigh, pitchers and catchers report as we speak, remaining free agents scramble for remaining jobs.
Many of you know I run another web site, SpaceCoastBaseball.com, that covers professional and amateur baseball here in Brevard County, Florida AKA the Space Coast. That’s occupied much of my free time lately. I’ve been working with the two local college teams, Florida Tech and Brevard Community College, doing video and photos of their games.
Both have Angels ties.
2009 Orem Owlz reliever Mike Piazza graduated last year from Florida Tech. Many of his teammates returned to the 2010 squad. Coach Greg Berkemeier was MIke’s coach.
BCC head coach Ernie Rosseau has been around for 25 years. He’s as big a legend in local baseball as Tom Kotchman is in Angels baseball, and it turns out they know each other. Many of you have heard the tale of how Tom Kotchman found Howie Kendrick. He was tipped by a college coach about a young hitter in a small local community college. It turns out that tipster was Ernie Rosseau.
It’s hard not to think about Kotch as I watch the college kids play. I know he’s out there somewhere in this Sunshine State scouting these amateurs. I try to watch them through Kotch’s eyes, knowing he’s looking not just for the top prospects — everyone knows who they are — but also for guys like Scot Shields or Darren O’Day or Howie Kendrick, unknowns who might blossom given the opportunity. Kotch also tends to look for players who may not be legit prospects, but can help Orem by being an effective setup reliever, infield defensive whiz or backup catcher.
I still can’t quite wrap my head around the notion of a bat making a metallic “clank” sound instead of the wooden “crack” but that’s amateur ball for ya. Cheap hits abound.
At the other end of the baseball spectrum, former Angels minor leaguers are signing contracts for an opportunity with other organizations.
The latest Baseball America Minor League Transactions report has four former Angels properties signing minor league contracts with the Dodgers — Seth Etherton, Ramon Oritz, Corey Smith and Alfredo Amezaga. Corey played with Arkansas and Salt Lake in 2008. The other three played for the Angels in the majors.
And now comes word that Dustin Moseley has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. The Angels acquired Moseley in a December 14, 2004 trade with the Reds for Ortiz.
Some people ask why they sign minor league contracts when they’ve been major leaguers. The answer is that to be in major league spring training camp, they have to be under contract for legal reasons. If it were a major league contract, they’d have to go on the 40-man roster, which means someone else would have to be moved off through waivers to a minor league roster. So they’re signed to a minor league contract, auditioned in spring training, and if they make the parent club they get a major league contract.
As many of you know, I’ve been unemployed since October 2008, so it’s unlikely I can afford a trip to Tempe in March. I will have the Nationals’ spring training here in nearby Viera, where I hope to cross paths with Joel Peralta, a former Angels minor league pitcher in camp under the aforementioned minor league contract.
Someone has figured out how to make a buck while blogging. Mark Zuckerman, a former Washington Times sportswriter, now runs a blog called Nats Insider. The Times eliminated its entire Sports department a couple months ago. Mark solicited his readers to donate enough money for him to cover spring training. He asked for $5,000. He raised over $10,000.
Mark’s due in town today. We’re going to meet soon and discuss crossover possibilities. I may do videos for him which will promote both our sites.
My hope is to save my pennies for an early May trip to Cedar Rapids. The Kernels have three day games May 1-3. Daylight is golden for photographers.
I won’t rule out a trip to Tempe for extended spring training, when lodging is cheaper, but right now it’s not financially viable. I may change my mind, based on who’s held back at extended and who reports to Cedar Rapids.
I’m not as brazen about soliciting funds as Mark is, but you can support FutureAngels.com through a $5/month voluntary subscription or a one-time donation. It costs me about $1,000 to do a road trip to an Angels minor league affiliate. I doubt there are enough interested people to raise $1,000 for a trip to Cedar Rapids, but every penny helps.
MLB Advanced Media has published the final rankings of the top blogs here on MLBlogs.com. Click here to see the rankings.
In the Fan blog category, FutureAngels.com finished #9 for 2009.
According to their 2008 rankings, FutureAngels.com was #4 in the same category.
I recently asked an MLBAM official how many fan blogs are on MLBlogs.com. He didn’t give me an exact number but said that overall they have about 10,000 blogs registered on their service.
I’m not one to make a big deal about rankings — I’m more interested in quality of content — but the next time you see one of those posts that show up occasionally on fan sites falsely claiming “nobody reads FutureAngels.com” you can respond with a link to the MLB list and tell the truth.
Above is the 2010 banner for the FutureAngels.com web site home page.
It represents the Angels’ probable 2010 infield, all home grown.
Left to right, it’s 3B Brandon Wood when he was at Rancho Cucamonga in 2005, SS Erick Aybar when he was at Cedar Rapids in 2003, 2B Howie Kendrick when he was at Provo (now Orem) in 2003, and 1B Kendry Morales when he was at Salt Lake in 2007.
As always, all photos were shot by me.
The banner says “twelfth season,” which is and isn’t true.
I started my web site for the 1998 season, but it only covered the Angels and the Lake Elsinore Storm, which was then the Angels’ affiliate in the California League. (The web site was called HaloStorm.com.) During that year, I visited several affiliates and found there was a lot of interest in what was happening at the other affiliates, so in 1999 I expanded to covering the entire system, and changed the name to FutureAngels.com.
So I’ve been around for thirteen seasons, twelve of them as FutureAngels.com.
You’ll find photos starting in 1998 in the FutureAngels.com Photo Galleries.
Former Orem Owlz outfielder Trevor Pippin is with the FWBL’s Miami Diamantes. He plays the outfield and pitches in relief.
Not many articles lately, but then there hasn’t been much to write about.
I wanted to let you know that I have been busy on Angels stuff.
In particular, I’ve been researching the annual FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects report. Unlike other fan sites who write these reports, I go out to see these players myself, and I talk quite a bit with people in the organization to find out what they think are the prospects’ good and bad points.
Some statheads claim you can’t talk to the people who actually watch the players because they’re biased. Well, all I can say is that when I talk to staff on background they’re pretty honest with me. I can read a line of stats as much as anyone else, but without the context they’re meaningless.
This year, I have an extra advantage, a manager with another organization who saw some of our prospects. His opinions confirmed some of mine, but his insight also caused me to drop someone I wanted to include.
Look for the article somewhere around Thanksgiving.
Six former Angels minor leaguers are in the FWBL. Stantrel Smith, Baron Short and Anthony Sullivan are here with the Space Coast Surge. Tyler Johnson and Trevor Pippin are down in Miami with the Diamantes. Chris Garcia is in Sanford with the Seminole County Naturals. We form somewhat of an Angels clique within the league, and FWBL management is well aware these are my kids. Their Surge teammates know there’s some sort of bond among us, although I’m not sure they know exactly what it is.
The Surge were at Seminole County this weekend. Chris Garcia homered off his former teammate, Baron Short. The next inning, I was walking past the Naturals dugout when Chris comes out to take his position at first base. He sees me and puts out his hand for a high five. I’m thinking, “Sure, but you just lit up Shorty.”
Now I know how the Weaver parents feel when Jared and Jeff square off.
For those of you who remember Trevor Pippin, he was an outfielder with Tempe and Orem. He’s still an outfielder with Miami, but he’s also been pitching in relief for the Diamantes. I mentioned it to some of his former coaches, and they recalled he’d pitched as an amateur before the Angels signed him.
The box score for Sunday’s Miami-Lake County game shows that Pip entered the game as a pinch-hitter for the designated hitter, which made him the DH, then he pitched in the bottom of the 8th. If the DH takes the field during a game, then his team may no longer use the DH and the pitcher must bat. But this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the DH becoming the pitcher.
Since the DH is eliminated once he takes the field, even as a pitcher, then once he’s relieved as a pitcher anyone who follows him on the mound would also have to bat. But what if he moves from pitcher to another position? I guess the relieving pitcher would have to bat in the slot of the guy the ex-DH replaced.
This is why I hate the DH.