Jeff Mathis was the starting catcher on April 26 when the Bees hosted Sacramento.
April 26, 2007 — The Salt Lake Bees host the Sacramento River Cats in a Pacific Coast League squareoff between the Triple-A affiliates of the Angels and the Oakland A’s.
Jeff Mathis and Joe Saunders, two names mentioned recently in trade rumors, are in the starting lineup. The game also features the first rehab appearance by Chone Figgins after breaking two fingers in spring training. Brandon Wood had just been called up to the big leagues, so Kendry Morales returned to Salt Lake and makes a critical pinch-hit appearance late in the game.
The webcast begins with a pre-game interview of Matt Brown by Bees broadcaster Steve Klauke.
Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen.
Nick Adenhart took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of his Double-A debut April 7 at Frisco.
April 7, 2007 … Nick Adenhart squares off against major leaguer Eric Gagne as the Arkansas Travelers visit the Frisco RoughRiders.
The former Dodgers closer and free agent signed a deal during the winter with the Texas Rangers. Still recovering from a 2006 herniated disc injury, and not far beyond recovery from “Tommy John” surgery, Gagne needed more work so the Rangers assigned him on rehab to their Double-A affiliate in Frisco, Texas, a Dallas-Ft. Woth suburb.
Gagne pitched only the first inning, and gave up a solo homer to shortstop Sean Rodriguez.
Later in the season, Texas would trade him to the Boston Red Sox.
Adenhart, meanwhile, was ranked the Angels’ top pitching prospect entering the 2007 season. At age 20, he was one of the youngest starting pitchers in the Texas League. His debut was outstanding, taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning.
Nick’s name now comes up in trade talks, most recently in rumors about Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
The annual FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects report will be on-line by the end of the month. As you might suspect, he’ll be the top-rated pitcher, assuming he isn’t traded. More about Nick in that article.
The official box score shows it was 43 degrees at game time. The Midwest and much of the nation was in the midst of a cold snap at the time.
The Travs’ Phil Elson calls the game. Phil is a very talented young broadcaster. I’ve said many times he’ll be a big-league broadcaster one day. This webcast is the direct feed between Phil and the station, so you’ll hear him talking to the engineer between innings instead of the radiocast commercials.
Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player.
Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney was among the Las Vegas players in the lineup April 5 at Salt Lake.
April 5, 2007 … It’s opening night at Franklin Covey Field as the Salt Lake Bees host the Las Vegas 51s in a Pacific Coast League contest.
Put another way, it’s a matchup of the Angels’ and Dodgers’ Triple-A teams, with plenty of future major leaguers in the lineups.
Among the future Dodgers that day were Tony Abreu at 2B, James Loney in RF, and Andy LaRoche at 3B. Loney would go on to play 1B for the Dodgers, but in the early days of the 2007 season the Dodgers played Mitch Jones at first for the 51s.
The future Angels starting for Salt Lake included Nathan Haynes in CF, Jeff Mathis at C, Brandon Wood at 3B, Kendry Morales at DH, Nick Gorneault in LF, Terry Evans in RF, and Matt Brown at 2B.
Having been raised in Southern California, I always perk up when the Angels’ and Dodgers’ minor league teams square off in the minors. Those contests are now possible at four of the six minor league levels:
- Triple-A: Salt Lake vs. Las Vegas
- Advanced-A: Rancho Cucamonga vs. Inland Empire
- Class A: Cedar Rapids vs. Great Lakes
- Rookie-A: Orem vs. Ogden
An Arizona League matchup is likely in 2009 when the Dodgers move from Vero Beach to Glendale AZ, so they should face the Tempe Angels.
The only remaining linkup would be in Double-A, where the Dodgers have their affiliate in Jacksonville FL. The Dodgers had a long and rich history in the Texas League, most recently with San Antonio, but a management decision a few years ago to concentrate their affiliations on the east coast to be near Vero Beach led the Dodgers to leave Texas for Florida. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers file to terminate on Jacksonville after the 2008 season and seek to return to the Texas League, but many of those teams are affiliated with regional favorites so their opportunities may be few.
Anyway, Click Here to listen. You need Windows Media Player.
|Today’s Colorado Rockies stars Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe were in the Tulsa Drillers lineup on July 6, 2003 to face Bobby Jenks and the Arkansas Travelers.|
The new Minor League Game of the Week has a deliberate World Series flavor.
As the Colorado Rockies took the national spotlight with their incredible post-season run, I thought, "Hey, I know some of those guys." Sure enough, some of them were playing for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers in May 2003 when I visited Ray Winder Field in Little Rock to photograph the Arkansas Travelers.
Two of the Drillers, Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe, homered in that series, a portent of things to come. The Rockies’ presence in the World Series this week is proof of what happens when a team is patient and builds from within instead of caving to the instant-gratification demands by a few big-mouths in the press and fandom who don’t represent the majority that know better.
On July 6, 2003, the Drillers hosted Arkansas and faced Travs’ starting pitcher Bobby Jenks. This game really sums up all the problems Bobby had while he was an Angels property. This was his first Double-A start after rehabbing an elbow injury two months earlier. It was his second year at Arkansas after being suspended in 2002 for trying to sneak alcohol onto the team bus. And Bobby’s weight problems were rather obvious.
When shut down after his May 2 appearance, Jenks had made five starts, pitching 23 innings, striking out 27, walking 19 while allowing only 16 hits and had a 3.52 ERA. In this game, he started off wild, but when he left the mound after the 5th inning he’d allowed no runs, only one hit, and struck out six while walking four.
After the 2003 season, Jenks pitched in the Arizona Fall League, then went on to winter ball. With only a few weeks’ rest, he reported early to the Angels’ spring training camp in mid-February. With an already brittle elbow, it’s no wonder it stress-fractured on him again on April 19, 2004 when Salt Lake was at Fresno. FutureAngels.com was there; Click Here to watch the video of Jenks’ injury. (You need Windows Media Player and a high-speed Internet connection to watch.) By the way, the trainer racing to Bobby’s rescue is Adam Nevala, who today is one of the Angels’ trainers.
Jenks went to the minor league camp in Mesa for rehab and didn’t pitch again that year. While in Mesa, ESPN: The Magazine published an unflattering profile of Bobby in which he admitted to burning his own flesh for kicks. Jenks was suspended not for the article, but for a reported fight with a Mesa teammate.
Even with all the disciplinary problems, the poor physical conditioning, and the bum elbow, the Angels kept him around — until December 17, 2004, when they attempted to move him off the 40-man roster to the Triple-A roster, so they could make room on "the 40" for pending free agent signee Orlando Cabrera. That meant he had to pass through waivers. The Chicago White Sox claimed him.
Some people engage in revisionist history, posting on fan boards that the Angels stupidly "released" their best pitching prospect. The facts are (1) Jenks wasn’t released, he was claimed on waivers as the Angels tried to put him on the Triple-A roster, and (2) Jenks’ career at that point was pretty much in the toilet.
After that season, Jenks’ minor league career ERA was 4.97. In 391 IP, he had 401 strikeouts but also 270 walks — 6.2 free passes per nine innings. The last time anyone had seen him throw in a game — that would be the above video clip — his velocity was down into the mid-80s. He self-restraint was not far above that of a wild animal, and his ill-advised ESPN interview didn’t help. Beating up a teammate wasn’t the last straw, but Jenks’ future was so clouded at that point that it didn’t make much sense to continue protecting him on the 40-man roster while risking the loss of top prospects in much better physical condition and with their heads screwed on straight.
Fortunately for Bobby and his family, the White Sox acquisition seemed to wake him up to the reality that he could lose his means of income and spend the rest of his life pumping gas for a living. (And in a self-serve world, there aren’t many calls for that skill these days.) Jenks was on the mound when the White Sox won the 2005 World Series, and those blinding themselves to the facts surrounding Bobby’s departure started a disinformation campaign on fan boards to make it look like the Angels had let him go without cause.
So with all that historical context, Click Here to listen to the game. You need Windows Media Player to listen. The Travs’ broadcaster is Phil Elson, who will be a big-league broadcaster one day, you’ll see.
He’s a relief pitcher now, but in 2003 Warner Madrigal was an outfielder with the Provo Angels.
August 15, 2003 … The Provo Angels host the Missoula Osprey in a Pioneer League contest. Click Here to listen. You need Windows Media Player.
The recording has a few delays at the beginning. That’s due to Internet congestion during the original webcast. It clears up after a minute or two.
Three future major league Angels are in the lineup — Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick and Matt Brown. Catcher Bobby Wilson, who was at Salt Lake this year and will be the next callup should Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli falter, is the DH in the game.
A couple other players in this game are of interest.
Warner Madrigal, now a relief pitcher who was with the Cedar Rapids Kernels this year, was a young power hitter prospect back in 2003. He’s in the lineup for Provo, batting cleanup and playing right field. Warner was 5-for-5 in the game with a triple, double and three singles. In 2008, you’ll probably see him in the Rancho Cucamonga bullpen with his high-90s fastball.
The starting pitcher is Abel Moreno, who finished the year at 10-0 with a 2.38 ERA and was named the Pioneer League’s pitcher of the year. He disappeared from the Angels’ system after the 2004 system, unable to get a visa to leave the Dominican Republic. Abel ran into legal problems of a non-criminal nature, ending his career for the time being. But I just did a Google search and found he played this year in the fledgling Israel Baseball League where he was 1-3 with a 5.60 ERA in six starts.
Casey Kotchman homered to help Scottsdale overcome a ten-run deficit.
Today marks the return of the Minor League Game of the Week webcasts on FutureAngels.com. Each week from now through Opening Day 2008, I’ll post on the site a recording of a minor league webcast involving one of the Angels’ minor league affiliates.
Click Here to listen to this week’s game, a 2003 Arizona Fall League contest between the Peoria Javelinas and the Scottsdale Scorpions. Angels players on the Scottsdale roster included Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Dallas McPherson, and Nick Gorneault. Former Angels farmhand Tim Bittner was the starting pitcher, and current Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher was the Scottsdale pitching coach that fall.
The game was noteworthy for many reasons, one being that Scottsdale rallied from a 14-4 deficit in the bottom of the 7th to win 15-14. You’ll hear a couple current major leaguers from other organizations play in the game, including the Dodgers’ James Loney and Seattle’s Cha Seung Baek (he starts for Peoria). A tragic aspect is the presence in the lineup of Cincinnati outfielder Dernell Stenson, who was murdered a week later.
Minor league webcasts started in the late 1990s. The first I recall was the Durham Bulls, who archived their radiocasts for later playback. A few minor league teams invested in setting up their own webcasts, but it was only in the last couple years that most teams have added a webcast option. A big difference is that Minor League Baseball’s web site MiLB.com offers to webcast games for free, a big savings for the teams as they usually had to pay some Internet service provider to do it for them.
I started archiving our minor league webcasts in 2003. I use a product called Total Recorder from High Criteria which basically captures anything coming over a computer’s sound card. The professional version has a timer feature that will go to a specific URL, which allows me to program recordings overnight and during the day while I’m at work. Since all five Angels affiliates now webcast through MiLB.com, it’s a matter of setting Total Recorder to go to the URL for the last night’s webcasts and saving them to an MP3 file.
At season’s end, I send CD-ROMs with the MP3 files to the broadcasters at each affiliate so they have them for their archives. I keep an archival set myself. They now go back five seasons to 2003.
The first few games this off-season will be "classic" games from prior seasons, but by December we’ll be listening to 2007 games. Part of the idea when I started these archives was to play in future years memorable games featuring players who went on to the big leagues. So in future years, we’ll do more "classic" games, maybe in parallel with current season replays.
These recordings are a great way to keep your baseball flame burning during the off-season. Many times during the dead of winter I turn up the volume on my computer and fill the house with a "classic" game called by one of our many talented broadcasters. There’s nothing like listening to John Rodgers, Phil Elson or Steve Klauke describing a humid July pitchers’ duel when outside it’s a dreary Sunday afternoon.
So enjoy, and please feel free to post a comment about these games. I know people listen to them because I see the hits in my site’s logs. I’m just curious to know what are your experiences with these webcasts.
Orem Owlz manager Tom Kotchman spends his springs scouting for the Angels in Florida.
A new episode of FutureAngels.com Radio is now on-line. You can get to the show through the FutureAngels.com home page at www.futureangels.com.
You don’t need an iPod to listen, although if you have one you can download the show, of course. All you really need is just a computer. When you get to the TPS Radio page, just click on the right-arrow next to the sound icon and it’ll start to stream to your computer. You can also transfer the show to your computer as an MP3 file.
Personally, I think this is the best show yet.
The first segment is an interview with Paul Mosley, an original "future Angel" who was signed by the Angels out of Saugus High School in June 1961 at age 17. He was sent straight to Statesville, North Carolina, to play for the Angels’ Class-D team, the Statesville Owls. Paul has some amazing stories to tell, including how the Statesville front office literally set fire to the infield to dry it out.
How I found Paul is a story in itself … If you’ve followed the podcasts and the web site, you know I’ve been doing research into the early days of Angels minor league baseball. A colleague of Paul’s stumbled across the site as he did research looking for Statesville Owls memorabilia. He wanted to know if I had any suggestions.
I pointed him in the direction of Bill Moose, the local historian and SABR member who’d been so gracious in researching the town paper last year. (It helps that he’s a columnist for the paper.) Bill knew someone in town who had kept Owls memorabilia.
Then I asked if he might arrange for me to interview Paul.
Quite honestly, Paul was absolutely stunned that anyone even remembered the Statesville Owls, much less cared to research them.
A flood of memories emerged from his past. Mind you, this was 46 years ago.
(I can’t even remember whether I brushed my teeth last night.)
Until Monday, my research into the Owls had yielded just stats on a page, and clippings from a town paper.
And now … here’s one of them.
Paul talks casually about his teammates, bringing them alive as real people. I knew the names from the clippings, but not their personalities, their life histories, and their experiences in Statesville.
The Statesville Owls live.
We’re going to try to track down more of them. Who knows, maybe a reunion is in the future.
The second segment in the show is an interview with Orem Owlz manager Tom Kotchman, who’s currently scouting Florida in preparation for the June draft. He was quite tired, as this time of year he logs hundreds of miles every day traversing the state. Kotch had a great story to tell about who he thinks is the best high school hitter in the state … and why that player won’t be drafted in June.
The third segment is an interview with Quakes manager Bobby Mitchell. Recently on the FutureAngels.com Bulletin Board, someone claimed the Angels teach their minor leaguers to "hack." So I put the question directly to Mitchell, who of course debunked it. It’s fascinating how some people on fan boards dream up these fantasies then latch onto them as if they’re real.
And the final segment is a review of the last month for the Quakes and the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Anyway, go listen to Paul Mosley. What an incredible story.