July 2012

Superheroes Anonymous

These sneak peak previews were provided by Cinemark:

This Friday, July 20, marks the first showings of arguably the most anticipated movie of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises. It comes just over four years since The Dark Knight set records at the box office. The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final installment of the series based on Batman.

With the movie coming out, as well as the release of the The Amazing Spider-man two and a half weeks ago, and Marvel’s The Avengers earlier this year, we decided to ask the players and coaches who their favorite superhero is and why. Here are some of the responses that we got:

Cody Buckel: Batman because he shows that you don’t need super hero powers to be a hero but rather have the will and fight to see that justice is served.

Engel Beltre: Ninja Turtles because no matter their body or what they still tried to help people.

Zach Zaneski: Hercules because he is the original, most jacked superhero

James Vilade: Chuck Norris because Chuck always wins!

Jared Prince: Batman, loved Batman since I was a kid. I always have loved the old Batman movies and love the new ones too. Love his gadgets, vehicles, can and vigilante efforts.

Alex Buchholz: Batman, because he always gets the girl in the end.

Ryan Strausborger: Ninja Turtles because they have sweet costumes and ninja skills.

Jared Hoying: Wolverine because he has sweet blades that come out of his hands.

Richard Bleier: Thor. I like his hammer.

Chris McGuiness: Dos Equis Man. He’s the most interesting man in the world.

Val Majewski: Superman because he can fly.

Nick Tepesch: Hulk because he’s jacked like I am.

Eric McMahon: Iron Man. He overcomes obstacles with brain power and ingenuity rather than physical strength alone.

Carlos Olivas: Toni Olivas, my wife, because she does a lot with our girls on her own while I am working during the summer. She gets everything done that needs to be done and even travels alone with the kids. I couldn’t do this great job without her. Plus she comes to every game and I don’t even play.

Ryan Rodebaugh: Batman. He does most of his work at night.

Tim Murphy: Aquaman, ruler of the water.

Zach Osborne: (villain) The Joker. Why so serious.

Barret Loux: Spiderman. I like the movies.

Written By: Michael Damman

Our Three Stooges

Jake Brigham, Mike Olt, and Leury Garcia are our three stooges. (Photo Illustration by Jarah Wright)

In honor of the new Three Stooges movie coming out on DVD today, we decided to examine this season through the eyes of the the ‘Riders version of Moe, Larry, and Curly also known as Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, and Jake Brigham.

Mike Olt’s initials are MO making him Moe. When asked about the season is going, he said he thinks it’s going well.

“I’m happy I was able to make improvements in the off-season and build on those improvements,” Olt said. “I put them into practice and keep working hard.”

Olt is currently hitting .289 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs. On July 5, Baseball America listed Olt as the third in the top 30 prospects in the Rangers organization and 11th in all of minor league baseball.

Leury Garcia’s first name is pronounced like Larry making him Larry. Garcia said he thinks everything is going good so far this season and he wouldn’t change anything that he’s been doing.

Garcia is currently hitting .273 with 8 triples and 18 stolen bases. Baseball America listed Garcia as the 11th in the top 30 prospects in the Rangers organization.

Jake Brigham started out the season with thick, curly black hair but shaved it off making him our Curly.

Like Olt, Brigham said he thinks the season is going well for him and that he’s learning a lot.

“I’m staying healthy and getting to pitch a lot of innings,” Brigham said. “I try to learn something every time I go out there.”

Brigham currently has a record of four wins and five losses with a 4.67 ERA. He has also struck out 99 batters so far this season.

Story by Jarah Wright

Feliz Back In Frisco

Neftali Feliz pitched for two innings in tonight’s series opener against the San Antonio Missions as part of his rehab assignment. Feliz was scheduled to start for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday but after the game was rained out and the team headed out on the road, Feliz made the trip to start for Frisco.

Feliz pitched for two innings allowing one hit and one unearned run while walking two and striking out four Missions’ batters.

Originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2005, Feliz joined the Rangers organization in 2007 as part of the Mark Teixeira/Ron Mahay trade. He made his way up through the organization splitting the 2008 season with the Clinton Lumber Kings before being promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders. Feliz made 10 starts ending the season with a record of four wins and three losses with a 2.98 ERA.

He spent the 2009 season with then Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City before making his major league debut with the Texas Rangers on August 3, 2009. Feliz has been part of the Rangers bullpen ever since before being converted to a starter this season.

Feliz was put on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. He is tentatively set to rehab with Triple-A Round Rock when the team returns home for at least one start and is then expected to move back up to the Texas Rangers.

Neftali Feliz pitched for two innings Monday night. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Here are some quotes from Feliz’s press conference after his start with Frisco.

“I know I can reach back and get velocity when I need it. The most important thing is to keep my pitches low. I know I can throw it harder when I need to. I wanted to focus on keeping things low.”

“I had gone a long time without pitching from the mound, but I was trying to practice all of my pitches.”

“The first thing is to be healthy. I want to be ready to help the team. I’m trying to be ready as soon as I can and help the team in any way. I haven’t been told anything. I just have to do my rehab and work to get healthy and be better. All I know is my next outing is on Friday at Round Rock.”

Story and Video by Jarah Wright

Back To School

Zaneski is a substitute teacher in the off-season. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

At the end of each season, many of the players head back to their home towns to rest and relax. Some players like RoughRiders catcher Zach Zaneski find part-time jobs that work with their off-season training programs.

Zaneski has been a substitute teacher in his home town of New London, Connecticut for the past four winters. His dad has been a teacher for over 30 years and works at the same school. He helped Zaneski start his teaching career.

“He set me up with everything in the beginning and kind of really just helped me go through the fingerprint process and got the information for what I needed to do to get started,” Zaneski said. “He was there in the beginning to help me and guide me on what to do in certain situations which made it really helpful.”

Zaneski’s family is full of teachers. His father is a teacher, his mom is a vice-principal, and his sister is a high school art teacher. Zaneski said teaching was a great opportunity for him.

“It was actually like the perfect fit. They need subs for the winter and that’s the only time I was there,” Zaneski said. “I can work from 7 to 2 and then I can work out and focus on my baseball career as well.”

Zaneski said he uses baseball as a way to connect to the students.

“Popularity of baseball is pretty high so you know whenever they say mister you play baseball and I say yeah, we kind of have something to relate to,” Zaneski said.

Being there for the kids is one aspect of the job that Zaneski said he enjoys and is one of the reasons he keeps returning to teach each winter.

“I would say obviously trying to help the kids and reach out and you know being a role model and a good guide if they need one,” Zaneski said. “You’re there just to help the kids and do what you can do.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Fires On And Off The Mound


Tim Murphy grew up going to firehouses. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)


Many Frisco fans know pitcher Tim Murphy for firing fastballs off the mound. He always dreamed of playing professional baseball but if that didn’t work out, he had a backup plan: becoming a firefighter.

“It was something I always thought was a cool job and I don’t know if it was in my blood or what but it was something that I always thought I’d get into if baseball didn’t work out,” Murphy said.

Both of Murphy’s parents worked for Southern California fire departments.

“My dad worked for Vista Fire Department which is the city I grew up in and my mom worked for Escondido Fire Department,” Murphy said. “My dad was a firefighter/paramedic and ended up being a battalion chief. My mom originally started as a registered nurse and a base hospital coordinator. The way they used to do it back in the day was the hospital was in charge of it so she kind of oversaw three or four fire departments and then the fire departments started a specialized position for it and that’s when she moved over. They both recently retired a couple of years ago last December.”

Murphy said him and his family spent a lot of time going to firehouses growing up.

“We’d go all the time. My dad would work 24-hour shifts so it would be 24 hours on and 24 hours off,” Murphy said. “On any of the big holidays a lot of the families would go in and say hi. We’d always go in and take pies to them.”

Both baseball and firefighting have similar aspects to them including the relationships guys form to achieve a common goal.

“I feel like it’s kind of like baseball. Those guys have camaraderie too,” Murphy said. “I feel like they have a bond between them that’s what they need to that job.”

When asked if he would ever consider becoming a firefighter after his baseball career, Murphy laughed and said it would depend on how old he is.

“I mean if I’m young enough it would take at least two or three years for me to be able to accomplish that or get to the level where I definitely want to do it,” Murphy said.  “To be a firefighter out there you also have to be a paramedic. They don’t really hire just firefighters anymore. You have to have a dual role so I’d have to go to paramedic school, go to the fire academy, take all my fire science classes, and finish my degree so it’s a two to three year process.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Renny Osuna Interview, July 10, 2012

We caught up with former RoughRiders’ infielder Renny Osuna to talk about being back in Frisco.

Video shot by Jarah Wright and Michael Damman

The Journey From Frisco to MLB

Justin Grimm pitching for Frisco. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Last night Justin Grimm started for the RoughRiders for the first time since his major league debut. He was promoted to the Texas Rangers from Frisco on June 13. He said he was excited to get the call, especially with his family in town.

“They (my family) did not believe me at first. There were just like are you kidding because I was joking with them the night before,” Grimm said. “They were like oh my gosh. He’s calling his agent. He’s serious.”

The news of his call-up came so quickly that not all of his family was able to make the game.

“My brother couldn’t make it because he was the best man in one of his friend’s weddings,” Grimm said. “We didn’t have time to round up my grandparents and aunts and uncles up to come but the debut was so last minute I told them not to worry about it because there will be other games.”

After RoughRiders’ manager Steve Buechele told Grimm he was being promoted, Grimm made the 36-mile drive to Arlington.

“I went to Arlington after cleaning out my locker here,” Grimm said. “I threw a bullpen as soon as I got there because I was supposed to pitch Saturday so I was going to have an extra two days in between starts.”

For two days Grimm sat in the Rangers’ dugout mentally preparing for his big night.

“I kind of pictured myself doing good things out there for those two days,” Grimm said. “I was telling myself that I could do it.”

On June 16, Grimm made his major league debut pitching against the Houston Astros. He said the reality of pitching in the big leagues sank in while he was warming up.

“I got goose bumps warming up because as I was walking out to stretch you could hear claps and fans saying things like ‘Let’s go Grimm’ and ‘You got this,’” Grimm said. “Just hearing them hollering your name while I was throwing gave me goose bumps.”

Despite the nerves on the inside, Grimm said the biggest challenge for him in his debut was keeping control of his emotions during the game.

“You know the biggest thing was emotionally keeping it in and not getting too over amped,” Grimm said. “That’s the thing with baseball. You have to stay even keeled. Things are never as good as they seem and they are never as bad as they seem.”

He credits catcher Mike Napoli for helping him stay composed on the mound.

“Napoli kept me in that game. If I made a bad pitch or something he would let me know when we got back to the dugout like ‘hey get that over just a little bit if they were to swing at it, something like that,’” Grimm said.

The Rangers outlasted the Astros that games giving Grimm his first career major league win. To top it off, his mom, dad, and sister were there to witness it.

After the game, Grimm went out to dinner with his family, his agent, Robbie Ross and his wife before heading home for the night. He said the reality of that night didn’t hit him until he got home.

“I got in the hotel room after the game against Houston like wow I just got a win in the big leagues. It was unbelievable,” Grimm said. “People ask me how it was and if it’s everything I thought it would be and I have the same answer. It’s more. It’s a dream come true.”

During Grimm’s debut, Frisco players were rooting for him from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

“They told me that they were sitting here in the clubhouse because we had an early game or something,” Grimm said. “They were watching it like through the third inning like yeah, let’s go, that’s five in a row because I think I had struck out like five in a row or something and they said they were all getting pretty pumped so that was pretty cool.”

Grimm started last night against the Arkansas Travelers and is expected to join Triple-A Round Rock at the end of the week. When asked how it felt making his last start in Frisco, Grimm said it was awesome.

“I just went out there to work on some new pitches that I had learned,” Grimm said. “One from Jeff that I had actually started throwing at the big league level that I saw was really successful with some of those guys and I started throwing a slider a little bit. That’s just a work-in-progress. It’s not really good right now but it’s coming along good and I think it’s going to be a good pitch for the future. Looking to go up to Triple-A and just turn it around, get some hitters out.”

Through continued hard work and practice, Grimm hopes to make it back up to the big league level soon.

“I would like to get there realistically in September when they expand rosters,” Grimm said. “I want to get up there for the playoffs, maybe come out of the bullpen, whatever they need me to do.”

Grimm is tentatively scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday.

Story by Jarah Wright

Futures Game Recap

The Futures Game is a chance for major league baseball organizations to showcase talented minor league players who could make it to The Show one day. Two minor leaguers are picked to represent each MLB team. Third baseman Mike Olt and shortstop Jurickson Profar were chosen for the Texas Rangers and RoughRiders manager Steve Buechele was chosen as a coach.

Jurickson Profar was interviewed by members of the media before the game. (Twitter: @MLBFutures)

This was the second Futures game in a row for Jurickson Profar who took part in the festivities last year in Arizona. He made an impression quickly. In his first at bat in the 2012 game, he hit a home run to right field to put the World team up 1-0. As he rounded second base, he looked at Mike Olt who was playing third base for the US team and laughingly said ‘I told you.’ Profar went 2-3 with one RBI. He played shortstop for four innings before being replaced by Francisco Lindor. Profar was mic’d up during his first at bat and the video can be seen below.

However, Mike Olt played the entire game for the US team. He started the game at third base and was moved over to play first base for the remainder of the game. Olt went 1-5 with one RBI including a fly out to Profar. Olt was part of the winning team as the US team defeated the World team 17-5.

Mike Olt talked to US team manager George Brett during batting practice. (Twiiter: @MLBFutures)

Olt and Profar were not the only representatives of the Texas League in the Futures game. They were joined by eight others. Here’s a quick rundown of how the fellow Texas Leaguers did in the game.

Oscar Taveras (Springfield Cardinals): Taveras went 1-3 with one RBI. He split time playing right field and center field for the World team.

Kolten Wong (Springfield Cardinals): Wong went 0-2 and played second base for the US team.

Jean Segura (Arkansas Travelers): Segura went 2-3 and played second base for the World team.

Ariel Pena (Arkansas Travelers): Pena pitched for 0.1 innings allowing seven hits and eight runs for the World team.

Nolan Arenado (Tulsa Drillers): Arenado went 1-3 and played third base for the US team.

Jonathan Singleton (Corpus Christi Hooks): Singleton went 3-4 with one RBI. He split time at first base and left field for the US team.

Michael Choice (Midland RockHounds): Choice went 0-2 and played left field for the US team.

Ali Solis (San Antonio Missions): Solis went 0-1 and played catcher for the World team.

Written by Jarah Wright

Pre-game Ritual

Before every RoughRiders game, third baseman Mike Olt has his own way of getting ready for the game right before the starting line-ups are called — handshakes.

He goes around to every player, coach and bat boy and conducts his special pre-game greeting to each one. Some, like his and short stop Jurickson Profar’s are a little more intricate than your traditional fist bump.

By Alex Yocum-Beeman

Trevor Rosenthal Interview, July 6, 2012

One of the goals we had this season was to talk to prospects throughout the league. Yesterday we talked to Springfield Cardinals’ pitcher Trevor Rosenthal who was named Minor League Pitcher of the Month in May by the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He talked to us about spring training and his season with Springfield.

Shot by Michael Damman and Jarah Wright