Tagged: Webcasts

The Minor League Game of the Week

Garret Anderson (pictured) and Maicer Izturis were in the lineup on rehab assignment July 1 when the Quakes hosted Lancaster.

July 1, 2007 — The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes slug it out with the Lancaster Jethawks at The Epicenter.

Lancaster was the California League’s top offense in 2007. They scored 1,081 runs in 140 games — that’s 7.7 runs per game, and 206 more than the second highest, Lake Elsinore. That number was helped, naturally, by playing in their high-octane high-desert ballpark, Clear Channel Stadium (formerly known as The Hangar). But those numbers are just so far beyond anyone else that you have to give their offense some credit, and they certainly brought their bats this day to The Epicenter.

The Quakes brought their own bats too, led by catcher Ben Johnson, who hits two homers and a double. Outfielder Chris Pettit, recently promoted from Cedar Rapids and in the middle of a standout season that will earn him the Angels minor league player of the year award, also homers.

On the mound for Rancho Cucamonga is Tim Schoeninger, making his Cal League debut after an outstanding first half with Cedar Rapids. Also in the lineup for the Quakes are Angels players Garret Anderson and Maicer Izturis, making rehab appearances.

Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Jordan Walden made his professional debut on June 21, 2007 against Ogden.

June 21, 2007 — Jordan Walden makes his professional debut as the Orem Owlz host their Pioneer League rivals, the Ogden Raptors. Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

Orem and Ogden have a great rivalry. Orem is to the south of Salt Lake City. Ogden is to the north. Orem is in the heart of Mormon country. Ogden is a blue-collar community descended from the Old West’s major railroad hub. Orem is an Angels affiliate, Ogden is a Dodgers’ affiliate.

It’s always fun when these two teams hook up. Ogden fans drive down to Orem and get rowdy. Orem fans will drive up to Ogden to support their players, but get razzed by the blue-collar crowd. Ogden has staged promotions making fun of their Mormon friends.

But there are a lot more division titles and pennant in Orem than in Ogden. Nyah.

As noted, J-Wal makes his first start. Walden would go on to start for the Owlz in the Pioneer League title game against Great Falls. He recently ranked third on the 2007 FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects Report. In my recent interview with Angels’ farm director Abe Flores, he compared Walden to John Lackey. Some have compared Walden to Roger Clemens (without the HGH allegations).

Plenty other players contribued in this game. Second baseman Hector Estrella was 3 for 4 with a homer and two singles. Right fielder Donato Giovanatto was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a single. Shortstop Jerry Gonzalez added three singles.

This was the third game of the season for the Owlz, who ended up the Pioneer League champions yet again under manager Tom Kotchman.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Adam Morrissey homered on his birthday when the Travs hosted Wichita on June 8, 2007.

June 8, 2007 — The Arkansas Travelers host the Wichita Wranglers in a Texas League contest.

FutureAngels.com was there to cover the game. It was my first visit to Dickey-Stephens Park, the Travs’ new stadium in North Little Rock after 75 years at historic Ray Winder Field in Little Rock.

You’ll find video clips from this game in the FutureAngels.com Video Gallery.

Second baseman Adam Morrissey was the big story. A former Cubs, A’s and Rangers property, Adam took his minor league free agency after the 2006 season and signed with the Angels.

June 8 was Adam’s birthday, so his teammates set up the native Aussie for a prank in the bottom of the first inning.

As he came to bat, they arranged for the PA to play the suggestive "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls, an Australian rock band. Adam responded with a homer over the center field batter’s eye, the first in the park’s history.

Morrissey was 3 for 5 in the game, adding two singles. He was interviewed after the game by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sportswriter Todd Traub.

Click Here and you can watch Adam’s homer and his post-game interview. (You need Windows Media Player and a broadband Internet connection.)

Nick Adenhart, the Angels’ top pitching prospect, was the starting pitcher that night. Click Here to watch a video clip of Nick pitching that night.

Click Here to listen to the game.

Next week, we’ll kick off the Orem Owlz’ 2007 season with Jordan Walden’s first professional start.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Ben Johnson was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI in the Bees’ May 18 game at Fresno.

May 18, 2007 — The Salt Lake Bees romp at Fresno in a Pacific Coast League contest.

Several players contributed to the offensive fireworks. Howie Kendrick was on rehab assignment with the Bees; he hit a three-run homer in the top of the 2nd. Right after him was Brandon Wood, who then hit a solo homer. Those who’ve followed the Angels minor leagues over the years know that Kendrick and Wood are good friends who hang together away from work. They were an infield duo with Provo in 2003, Cedar Rapids in 2004 and Rancho Cucamonga in 2005. Howie received a mid-season promotion in 2005, separating the duo except for a mutual 2005 stint in the Arizona Fall League. So this game was an opportunity to reunite them, with Kendrick at 2B and Wood at his familiar shortstop position.

Ben Johnson had three hits in this game for three RBI. Ben had been sent from Rancho to Salt Lake on May 10 while the Bees were a bit thin in the catching ranks, and returned to the Quakes after his May 20 appearance. Later in the season, he was promoted to Double-A Arkansas. He’s one of those "good soldier" organization players who goes whereever he’s needed; he might have the inside track on the Arkansas catching job to start 2008.

Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Sean O’Sullivan pitches on May 13 for Cedar Rapids at Clinton.

May 13, 2007 … Sean O’Sullivan, who will be named the Angels’ 2007 minor league pitcher of the year, gets the start as the Cedar Rapids Kernels visit the Clinton LumberKings.

This game has some visual aids.

I travelled to Cedar Rapids on May 12 to shoot four games — two in Clinton, then two in Cedar Rapids. The towns are separated by about 80 miles of farmland, so it was a two-hour drive one-way across rural Iowa.

The trip was well worth it, because Alliant Energy Field is an historic ballpark, built in 1937, and these "classic" parks are disappearing fast.

I shot plenty of video that day, which is in the FutureAngels.com Video Gallery. You need Windows Media Player and a high-speed Internet connection (cable modem, DSL) to watch. Among the highlights:

Starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan. Sean went on to be named the Angels’ minor league pitcher of the year.

Ryan Mount’s steal of home. The play is in the 4th inning. P.J. Phillips takes off for second, and after he draws the throw from Clinton catcher Kevin Gossage (the nephew of “Goose”) Mountie takes off for home.

Aaron Cook closes for the Kernels in the 9th. It’s always fun to watch submarine pitchers, especially from home plate which is where this video was shot.

You’ll also find May 13 clips in these videos of Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger, Julio Perez, Chris Pettit, Matt Sweeney, and Mark Trumbo. Pettit went on to be named the Angels’ 2007 minor league player of the year.

This group should arrive largely intact in Rancho Cucamonga for 2008, the best group of talent to hit town since the 2003 team that featured Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Dallas McPherson, Ervin Santana, Jake Woods, Mike Napoli and more.

From a personal perspective, the trip was my first to Cedar Rapids since August 2003. It costs about a thousand dollars to do a trip to Cedar Rapids or Arkansas, when you add up plane fare, hotel room, rental car, meals and general running-around expenses. Even though four years had passed, everyone recognized me right away and were happy to see me.

Broadcaster John Rodgers didn’t know I was coming, but as soon as we crossed paths in the Clinton ballpark he gave me a big hug and invited me up to the press box. I was supposed to do analyst work with him on the May 15 game, but we got rained out. He recorded a pre-game interview which aired on May 17; you can hear it on the MiLB.com webcast archive.

Host parents Lanny Peterson and Tom Pumroy were generous enough to take me to breakfast. Host parents are one of the many unsung heroes in minor league baseball. They open their home to flat-broke minor leaguers who need only a clean bed and a shower because they’re so busy with baseball. Tom and Abby Pumroy host the Latin players as Abby is bilingual. Host parents get to know these players when they’re still accessible and often establish lifelong relationships, whether the player goes on to stardom or obscurity.

Anyway, lots of fond memories from this series, and the May 13 game was one of them. Click Here to listen. It’s actually Clinton’s webcast, featuring broadcasters Gary Determan and Dave Lezotte. Dave also handles media relations and was very helpful with my access to their park. Dave’s career began with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he worked with former Angels broadcaster and minor leaguer Daron Sutton. We talked about Sut, which is one of the great things about the “inside” part of baseball — you can always strike up a conversation about mutual friends. The uniforms may differ, but for the most part it’s one big happily dysfunctional family.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Brad Coon led the Angels’ system in 2007 with 56 stolen bases.

April 30, 2007 … The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes visit the Visalia Oaks in an early California League contest.

Center fielder Brad Coon is the star of the show. Normally known as a speed merchant with little power, Brad muscled up for a homer and triple. At season’s end, Coon led the Angels system with 56 stolen bases. In 74 games (299 AB) with Rancho, his AVG/OBP/SLG were .258/.311/.344. Promoted on June 27 to Double-A Arkansas, in 58 games (226 AB) his numbers were .301/.372/.385.

In the recently published FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects Report, I wrote about how pitcher-friendly is the Travs’ Dickey-Stephens Park, so let’s look at Brad’s home/road splits. At home, his line was .265/.311/.363. On the road, his line was .336/.427/.407. (113 AB for both.)

People ask me who’s a “sleeper” in the system. Coon might fit into that category, although at age 25 (December 11, Happy Birthday) he’s behind the age curve. The Angels are into speed, and Brad is someone the Angels have hoped would move up quickly.

Tampa Bay top prospect Justin Upton is in the lineup for the Oaks. Robert Mosebach gets the start for the Quakes.

Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

The Minor League Game of the Week

Nick Green ranks #8 on the new FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects Report.

April 26, 2007 … The Arkansas Travelers host the Tulsa Drillers in an early-season Texas League contest.

Travs starting pitcher Nick Green, recently ranked #8 on the FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects Report, shows why he’s worked his way into the top prospect rankings with authoritative analysts. In seven innings, Nick allowed no runs, only one hit, struck out five and walked one.

There’s another subplot to this story that wasn’t evident at the time.

Tulsa starter Jonathan Asahina took a line drive in the face in the 5th inning, suffering what was eventually diagnosed as a fractured skull. He didn’t appear in a game until August 4. Travs broadcaster Phil Elson calls the injury the most frightening he’d seen in six years of broadcasting … but that would only last until July 22.

When the Drillers returned in mid-July to Dickey-Stephens Park, they had a new hitting coach, Mike Coolbaugh. He’d joined the team on July 3, replacing coach Orlando Merced. In the 9th inning of the July 22 game, Coolbaugh was coaching first base. A line drive foul struck him in the neck, killing him almost instantly.

So this game serves as a prologue for an even greater tragedy yet to come.

A reminder that you can donate to the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund, which supports his wife and two children.

Because of Coolbaugh’s fatal injury, major league general managers voted on November 8 to require base coaches to wear helmets starting in 2008.

Click Here to listen to the April 26 game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.