Looking for a horse to pull for today? Choose the horse of your favorite ‘Rider!
Newcomer Phil Klein took the Derby, as he was the only ‘Rider to select Orb in the Kentucky Derby contest. With a smaller field in the Preakness, we should have a couple winners this time around…that is unless Departing takes the stakes–only utility infielder Guilder Rodriguez has the 6:1 three-year-old in the fourth position.
Five ‘Riders, all pitchers incidentally, took the chalk with Orb, but another five went with Rick Pitino’s horse Goldencents.
Like last time, the players were given a list of the names of the horses and were told nothing of the odds or their post position. Brett Nicholas, who took the alternate horse in the Derby, selected Governor Charlie in part because no one else had at the time of selection. It’s Jared Hoying’s birthday today, so he went with Itsmyluckyday in honor of the special date. Even Justin Miller weighed in yesterday, selecting Itsmyluckyday as well before he went out and tossed a perfect inning in his first outing since undergoing “Tommy John” surgery last April.
Enjoy the race today, which begins at 3:30 central (and then check out the ‘Riders game at 7:00 pm at Dr Pepper Ballpark, on KTXD or at RidersBaseball.com!). Without further ado…here they are!
The 2013 Frisco RoughRiders
Pick the Preakness Stakes Winner
***Post Position – Horse – Odds – RoughRiders player who selected it***
***(odds of winning as of May 18, 12:00 am CT)***
#1 – Orb – 1:1 – RHP Phil Klein (had Orb in Derby), RHP Roman Mendez, LHP Richard Bleier, RHP Kevin Pucetas, RHP Tyler Tufts
#2 – Goldencents - 8:1 – C Zach Zaneski, RHP Carlos Pimentel, RHP Ryan Rodebaugh, SS Hanser Alberto, C Tomas Telis
#3 – Titletown Five – 30:1 – RHP Wilmer Font, RHP Arlett Mavare
#4 – Departing – 6:1 – UTIL Guilder Rodriguez
#5 – Mylute - 5:1 – RHP Randy Henry, 3B/OF Alejandro Selen
#6 – Oxbow – 15:1 – LHP Jimmy Reyes, 2B Odubel Herrera, OF Chih-Hsien Chiang, RHP Ben Rowen
#7 – Will Take Charge - 12:1 – OF Teodoro Martinez, RHP Neil Ramirez
#8 – Governor Charlie – 12:1 – 1B / C Brett Nicholas, RHP Kyle McClellan
#9 – Itsmyluckyday - 10:1 – OF Ryan Strausborger, OF Jared Hoying, RHP Justin Miller (MLB rehab assignment)
Baseball term of the day: garden - the outfield
The Frisco roster once again sits at 25 players this week for the first time since the departure of Jake Brigham, Alex Buchholz and Ryan Feierabend. The addition of Richard Bleier, courtesy of the Round Rock Express, brings the roster back to the league limit and bloats the pitching staff to fourteen members.
Bleier is set to make his 2013 ‘Riders debut Thursday, toeing the rubber for Steve Buechele’s squad in the finale of the four-game set with the Midland RockHounds. Bleier, 26, suits up for the RoughRiders for the fourth consecutive season, spending his entire 2010, 2011 and 2012 with Frisco. A starting pitcher for his entire romp through the minors, the southpaw pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the first time in his pro career at the end of last summer.
Rehabbing an elbow strain that kept him out of the early part of the 2012 campaign, Bleier was activated on June 21 of last season and went immediately into a relief role for the Double-A club, a position he became familiar with at the close of the 2011 season. The control artist didn’t possess quite the command he had previously in his career (2.0 BB/9, vs. 1.5 BB/9 for career coming into 2013), but he was still relatively sharp (for perspective, Frisco has walked 3.7 BB/9 as a team this season).
The sinkerballer pitched out of the bullpen this past winter in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers with Team Israel. Along with Texas Leaguers Cody Decker, Ben Orloff, Jeff Urlaub and Robbie Widlansky, of course not to mention former RockHound, now Oakland Athletic, Nate Freiman, Bleier and Team Israel went 2-1 in qualifying play but was beat out by Spain who, also 2-1, had a higher run differential. In two outings, Bleier held the opposition scoreless and hitless in an inning of work and walked two batters in international play.
Bleier spent his college days at Florida Gulf Coast University, the school pushed into the spotlight in March as “Dunk City” for its high-flying hardwood ways. Taken in the sixth round in 2008, the former Eagle was the highest draft pick in school history at the time. Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) and Casey Coleman (Chicago Cubs) are the only Eagles to make the majors, and Sale is now the highest draft choice in school history, going 13th overall in the 2010 draft.
The Floridian Bleier opened 2013 getting the chance to pitch at the Triple-A level for the first time in his career. In a small sample, the walk-bug hit Bleier harder than it has in his career (7 BB in 19.0 IP — 3.3 BB/9), but he limited damage in his eight outings, including two starts, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.79 ERA.
|AA (3 seasons)||AA||14||21||5.11||82||41||297.2||367||186||169||21||51||154||1.404||1.5||4.7|
|A (1 season)||A||2||1||1.14||5||4||23.2||19||8||3||0||4||17||0.972||1.5||6.5|
|A- (1 season)||A-||4||5||4.02||14||11||62.2||61||41||28||4||14||44||1.197||2.0||6.3|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||1||1||3.79||8||2||19.0||23||9||8||1||7||8||1.579||3.3||3.8|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||7||11||4.51||23||22||143.2||165||88||72||9||20||108||1.288||1.3||6.8|
It remains to be seen if Bleier will stick in the Frisco rotation, which at the moment, has just three starters from the Opening Day roster with Carlos Pimentel, Kevin Pucetas and Neil Ramirez, or if Bleier moves back into the relief role that has defined his career the last season and a half. Of course he could be back on the shuttle to Triple-A soon enough as well.
After two late morning affairs, first pitch from Dr Pepper Ballpark is scheduled Thursday for 7:00 pm.
Baseball term of the day: barbering – chatting, as one is likely to do in a barber’s shop
The Frisco RoughRiders return home in second place in the Texas League, trailing only their opponent from this past weekend, the Corpus Christi Hooks. The ‘Riders split the four-game series with the Astros affiliate.
Today, they begin a four-game series with the Midland RockHounds, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. This is the first trip of the season for the RockHounds to Dr Pepper Ballpark; the two teams got acquainted last week when Frisco dropped three of four games at Citibank Ballpark in Midland.
The RoughRiders announced today that Richard Bleier has been added to the roster, received from Triple-A Round Rock, where he began the season. Bleier threw for the RoughRiders in each of the last three seasons. We will have more on him later in the week; he is projected to start on Thursday.
This is how the pitching matchups line up:
Thursday: Richard Bleier vs. TBA
Home stand promotions and broadcast info:
- Dollar Dog Night
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
- $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
- Friday Night Post-game fireworks
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
- Smashburger SMASH inning
- Free ‘Riders sunshade
- Kids Run the Bases
- Raising Cane’s Grand Slam Sunday
- RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
Baseball term of the day: radio ball – a fastball thrown so hard, the batter claims he can hear it but not see it
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.
This week provides our first all road edition of ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include the first Rangers rehabber in LHP Martin Perez, the Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and the ‘Riders top position player prospect Hanser Alberto. Enjoy!
May 5, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele
Steve Buechele talks to Alex about the great defense the ‘Riders have played to this point and the frigid conditions from Thursday night. (all entries this week w/ Alex Vispoli)
May 6, 2013 – Rangers rehabbing lefty Martin Perez
Before making his first regular season start of 2013, Martin Perez talks about his rehab after taking a line drive off of forearm in Spring Training and how is feeling as he prepares for a start with the ‘Riders.
May 7, 2013 – HOFer Rickey Henderson
Alex talked to Rickey Henderson. Come on. It’s Rickey Henderson — just click play.
May 9, 2013 – Shortstop Hanser Alberto
Hanser Alberto joins the pre-game show for the first time, talking about his first season of Double-A ball. The youngest player in the Texas League talks about playing with a bunch of older players and the origins of his leadership qualities.
May 10, 2013 – RHP Neil Ramirez
Neil Ramirez comes on to discuss his solid last outing when he struck out nine batters. He talks about the use of his curveball and how nice it is to have such an excellent bullpen behind him.
May 11, 2013 – Hooks Broadcaster Michael Coffin
The Voice of the Hooks chats with our Alex Vispoli on the state of the Texas League at the quarter-mark of the season. They talk about the down year offensively they have seen and what the piggybacking has done for the Hooks.
Baseball term of the day: cow’s horn - a curveball
Tomorrow is the one-month anniversary of the movie 42, the story of Jackie Robinson. The most recent Hollywood cash-in on America’s pastime has done well in the box office, but not because Alex or Ryan have piled into the local Cinemark (OK, I admit, I just saw it, so I didn’t really affect those numbers either). Baseball season can get in the way of trips to the silver screen, but with the team’s off day on Wednesday, I made the journey to big screen. It’s hard to be a fan and student of the game and not spend a couple hours, at some point, invested in a well-made interpretation of arguably the most significant story in the history of the game, so I know Alex and Ryan will make their way soon enough.
Jackie Robinson is an American icon but moreover a symbol. And like most symbols, stands for something much more than the man himself. He makes for the perfect film, yet the movie industry, for the longest time, was scared to tackle the topic. The last Robinson movie came in 1950 and was mediocre at best.
Rob Neyer over at Baseball Nation put together a great piece with some of nation’s best baseball writers, asking them to pitch the next great American baseball movie never made. I asked our crack staff of baseball afficiandos to do the same:
Though it may end up being simply a darker version of “Major League,” I think the 1986 New York Mets would make for a ridiculously entertaining film. There’s already a well-known book by former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman (The Bad Guys Won!) written to adapt to a screenplay, so there’s an actual chance that we see this on the silver screen sometime in the future.
When you think about it, there are very few individual teams that have made such an indelible mark on the game. The ’86 Mets were a team that had it all: success, stars, notorious characters and lascivious behind-the-scenes stories that could only come out decades after the other baseball team in New York won its second and most-recent championship.
Taking place in the heart of the hard-partying ’80s, Doc Gooden, Lenny Dykstra, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson eclectically mixed with each other and their teammates to finish with 108 wins and appear to fall just short in the World Series, only to have you know what happen to you know who and the Boston Red Sox. All along the way, there were hotel rooms destroyed, copious amounts of drugs taken and anecdotes that probably shouldn’t be shared with children. It’s a story and a cast of characters that makes the “Idiots” of the 2004-champion Red Sox look like choirboys.
There’s no way this would be a PG-13 movie, but that shouldn’t scare off someone from trying to capture the once-in-a-lifetime nature of the ’86 Metropolitans.
A moment in baseball history I would like to see made into a movie is the rise of baseball in Japan, and the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
On March 11, 2011, the fourth largest earthquake recorded on earth hit the coast of northeastern Japan, triggering a large tsunami with waves as high as a three-story building. Tens of thousands of lives were lost, and the destruction was tremendous for the country. The country was left in devastation and under careful watch of a radiation plant hit hard by the storm.
With the relief and recovery from the destruction, baseball in Japan was an afterthought, causing many to think that the league’s demise was imminent. In fact, the opposite occurred. Baseball was a means for the people of Japan to have their spirits lifted, with attendance for the 2011 season rising about 1,000 more than in 2010. Baseball was a source for healing.
The resolve of the human spirit is the very reason this movie should be made. It is a story of recovery and rebuilding in the toughest of times and how a common interest in baseball helped the people of Japan ease their suffering if only for a little while. Baseball was a sign of hope that the country can pick up the pieces and carry on.
As for me,
Let me start by saying that I really love America–5% ironically but mostly genuinely. I really can’t envision ever living outside this country for a very extended period of time–mostly because of baseball. This great baseball fan might be able to leave in the UK and still follow baseball season, but not me. Give me July 4th post-game fireworks, Opening Day as a near national holiday, and crisp autumn air signalling, not the coming of winter, but the arrival of the Postseason.
I bring that up because most of the great baseball stories I think need to be told are international ones. Although MLB spends plenty of time and effort trying to stimulate the American baseball labor force with programs like RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), a major pool of organized baseball labor comes from the international sphere, and more specifically, it comes from Latin America. Over 50% of minor league baseball players come from Latin America. These players are often the product of a system of “baseball academies,” facilities run by major league teams to house, feed, and teach the game to children before they “come of age,” 16 or 17-years-old when they are eligible to be signed by major league teams. The living conditions of these academies has, over the years, ranged from luxurious to borderline human-rights violating, and nowhere are they more prevalent than in the Dominican Republic: thus, I bring you…Sammy.
One of the most beloved yet controversial figures of my baseball lifetime, Sammy Sosa not only has the personality of a great film character, but also he could provide a lens into the steroid era AND the latin labor market / academies. Sosa is native of San Pedro de Macoris, a town that according to New York Times bestseller Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris (Mark Kurlansky), has produced more major leaguer per capita than any other town in the world. Yes, the world. 76 to date, according to the wikipedia page in a town of less than 200,000 people.
Anyway, it could begin on the streets of the Dominican Republic, maybe with Sosa playing ball in the streets as a kid. With Vladimir Guerrero even(!)–that would make for a great shot (nevermind that Vlad is from Nizao, about a two-hour drive from San Pedro de Macoris…and that the two are six years in age apart, it’s Hollywood).
The corked bat, the steriod allegations, the congressional hearings, the depressing Cubs, the home run chase with McGwire in summer of ’98, the skin-lightening incident–the source material is there. Like 42, the trouble will not be telling a great story, it will be condensing it.
Baseball term of the day: rake – to hit the ball very well
Today, we look at some of the prospects in the Texas League South Division and their performance this first month and a half of play. The South Division has held the lead in the league, currently occupying the top four places in the rankings.
Corpus Christi Hooks:
George Springer, CF – Springer is ranked as the 3rd prospect by Baseball America in the Houston Astros system. The 23-year-old is also the Astros’ top outfielder. In his first year at the Double-A level, George leads the Hooks this season in runs (27), hits (35), doubles (9) home runs (11) and RBIs (27). Springer also leads the Texas League in home runs, RBIs and total bases (77).
Hanser Alberto, SS – Alberto is ranked as the 15th prospect in the Rangers’ system, and is the top ranked position player on the RoughRiders’ roster by Baseball America. Hanser has hit .289 in his 30 games this season with 114 at-bats and has had 13 runs on 33 hits with an RBI of 14. As of opening day, he was the youngest player in the Texas League and the second youngest at the Double-A level at the age of 20.
San Antonio Missions:
Matt Andriese, RHP – Andriese is ranked by Baseball America as the Padres’ 20th prospect and the ninth top pitcher in the San Diego system. The 23-year-old has gone 5-0 with an ERA of 2.19 this season with seven starts, opponents hitting .196. Andriese leads the Missions and the Texas League in wins (5).
Miles Head, 3B – At the age of 22, Head is ranked 7th and the top third baseman in the Oakland Athletics’ system by Baseball America. Head’s swing is quick and compact, and he has cited as having excellent bat control. Miles is hitting .206 in 28 games with 107 at-bats and has 11 runs off 22 hits. He has hit two home runs this season. In his three games against the RoughRiders, Miles had three runs with eight at-bats striking out twice and walking four times.
In ‘Riders News:
The ‘Riders return to Dr Pepper Ballpark Monday night at 7 against the Midland RockHounds.
Baseball term of the day: Pull the trigger - to decide to swing at the pitch.
Henry, 22, didn’t allow an earned in the month, surrendering just one unearned run in six relief appearances, spanning 18.1 innings of work. The Shattuck, Oklahoma native struck out 20 and walked just one Texas League batter and held opponents to a .200 average (13-for-65). To date, the right-hander has posted a 1-0 record with a 0.74 ERA in eight appearances. Henry has tossed multiple innings in all but his first appearance of the season and began the year with a 12.1 innings scoreless streak.
Telis, 21, started 14 of the 25 games for the RoughRiders in the month of April as the catcher. Telis threw out 55.6% (10 CS/18 ATT) of attempted basestealers during the month with a perfect fielding percentage (140 TC). He enters Thursday having gunned down 46.2% (12 CS/26 ATT) of would-be basestealers, which is the best mark in the Texas League and third among all Double-A backstops. The switch-hitting Venezuelan is batting .247 on the season with seven runs, six doubles and 11 RBI in 19 games.
Strangely enough, despite Telis getting the bulk of the catching duties (18 starts for Telis / 12 for Zaneski / 2 for Nicholas), he has only caught Henry twice this season in his eight appearances. The first was on April 18th, Henry’s most dominating outing. He threw a then-season-high four innings (he has since eclipsed that number) and allowed one baserunner, a lone single, and fanned four Naturals in a 14-7 come-from-behind victory. His other outing working with Telis came on May 2nd against San Antonio. He was nearly as sharp, going another four frames. This time he didn’t even allow a hit. He did walk a couple batters and was charged with his first earned run of the season, but he earned his only win of the season in the 3-1 ‘Riders victory.
Last season, the ‘Riders piled up these monthly awards from their parent club. Justin Grimm won Pitcher of the Month in April, Mike Olt was Player of the Month in May and June, Engel Beltre was Defender of the Month in May, and Ryan Rodebaugh was Reliever of the Month in June.
Henry earned Reliever of the Month by the Rangers in May of last season as a member of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
And hey, it’s Randy’s birthday tomorrow! Happy early birthday Mr. Reliever of the Month.
Baseball term of the day: cherry pie – a poor hitter; an easy out
Happy Mother’s Day!
For those who may have forgotten that Mother’s Day is this week, be grateful you don’t live in South Korea! Each year, May 8 is Parent’s Day in South Korea. The holiday was formerly known as Mother’s Day, but changed as to not leave out the fathers.
Like in the United States, it is the day where children in South Korea pay special regards to their parents’ love and affection and say thank you for all that their parents have done for them. Flowers are a common gift (carnations and roses are the most popular), and time is spent with their parents.
As a reminder, Mother’s Day here in the US is this Sunday, May 12. Do something special for the great mothers and grandmothers in your life. Children, make breakfast for you mom and let her relax. If there is distance between you and your mom, give her a call, send flowers, and let her know you are thinking about her. If your mother enjoys baseball and you are in the Corpus Christi area, y’all could go to the RoughRiders game on Sunday at 1:05! The Rangers are in Houston playing the Astros Sunday at 1:10.
Above all, enjoy the holiday with your family!
In ‘Riders News:
The RoughRiders have a much-needed day off today after their four-game series in Midland. They begin a new series with Corpus Christi tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Neil Ramirez will start for the ‘Riders and will face Hooks right-hander Jake Buchanan.
Frisco returns to Dr Pepper Ballpark Monday night against the RockHounds to begin an eight-game home stand.
Baseball term of the Day: Ride the Pine — sitting on the bench
Rangers’ pitcher and former RoughRider Martin Perez will be returning to the ‘Riders tonight in Midland as he begins his rehab assignment. The left-handed pitcher is expected to throw four innings and is likely to make another rehab start during the team’s current road trip.
Perez’s left wrist was broken after he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Seattle Mariners infielder Brad Miller in a spring training game on March 3. Prior to the injury, Perez was in contention for a spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s third-best prospect and ranked 81st on the publication’s list of top 100 prospects in the minors.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan pitched for the RoughRiders during parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons and made his major league debut last year for Texas. He pitched in 12 big league games (six starts), going 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA (23 ER/38.0 IP). In his three seasons with Frisco, Perez pitched in 46 games (44 starts) and went 10-13 with a 4.74 ERA (110 ER/209.0 IP) and 198 strikeouts.
A few players who have rehabbed in Frisco
Nelson Cruz: Nelly has made two rehab appearances with the RoughRiders. He has played a total of six games in Frisco in 2010 and 2011, with eleven at-bats both years. He has had a total of six hits and two RBIs in the ‘Riders uniform.
Josh Hamilton: Hamilton rehabbed in Frisco for one game in 2009 and two more in 2011. On May 18, 2011, Josh hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat, and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over the Midland RockHounds.
Ian Kinsler: The former RoughRider returned to Frisco in 2009-’10 due to a strained left groin. While rehabbing with the ‘Riders, Ian played in eight games with four runs and six RBIs.
Naftali Feliz: Another former ‘Rider, Feliz returned to Frisco in 2011 and 2012 on rehab assignment with elbow soreness issues.
Some others who have been assigned to the RoughRiders include: Hank Blalock (’08), (’11), Matt Harrison (’09-10), Mark Lowe (’12), Kevin Mench (’03-04), Darren O’Day (’11), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (’09), Mark Teixeira (’04, ’07).
Baseball Term of the Day: Dent the Plate – to score a run.