July 2013

Frisco RoughRiders Roundtable podcast: Mystery Meal

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Ted Price of DallasSportsNetwork.tv informed us this morning that he has posted the third RoughRiders Roundtable of the season (#12 overall).

You can find the podcast entry by clicking here. 

We will post a link to each RoughRiders Roundtable here on the ‘Riders Insider Blog. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by linking the RSS feed to your device or RSS reader.

In this episode Alex, Nathan, and Jason Cole (of LoneStarDugout.com) talk about how the Major League trade deadline is affecting the ‘Riders. Hear Alex’s overly descriptive post-game meal story from San Antonio and the potential impact of Lisalverto Bonilla and Alex Claudio with the big league club in the years to come.

Enjoy!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day – carry the mail – to steal a base

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

The RoughRiders’ ghosts of trade deadlines passed

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So Matt Garza pitched well for the Rangers on Wednesday. He tosses for the Rangers tonight. The newest addition to the organization was acquired on Tuesday from the Chicago Cubs for Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (and 2012 RoughRiders hurler), Round Rock third baseman Mike Olt (and 2012 RoughRiders home run leader), Hickory Crawdads ace C.J. Edwards and….a player to be named later.

Not a ton is known about Edwards in the national media since he is a lower-level guy. It’s from a website with a fantasy baseball focus, but RotoGraphs has a good piece up on what he brings to the table if you are curious.

There is rather strong speculation that the player to be named later (PTBNL) could end up being RoughRiders starting pitcher, and recently placed on the disabled list man, Neil Ramirez:

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Neil Ramirez, 2013

Search “Neil Ramirez” on Twitter and your browser might explode. OK, it won’t, but there is plenty of speculation out there on the subject. If you are looking for that, here you go.

As someone not on the beat of the Rangers or Cubs, someone who does not communicate on a daily basis with the front office of either side, weighing in on the subject seems meaningless and pointless. As would a look back at Neil Ramirez as a RoughRiders pitcher and Rangers prospect…because, at least for now, he still is a RoughRiders hurler and still could be in a day, a week, a month or a year. (tease: IF he is traded, we will probably do a post on his career as a RoughRiders player…stay tuned! No promises though.)

IF he is indeed traded, he joins a list of RoughRiders traded while on the roster, and looking at the old transactions, there is quite the interesting mix. With the July 31 Trade Deadline fast approaching (Wednesday!), it seemed as good a time as any to look back at the trades made by the Texas Rangers near the trading deadline that involved RoughRiders players.

To qualify for the list, the player had to be on the RoughRiders roster at some point during the same year they were traded, but I excluded some after that filter. Ideally, these are players that were on the ‘Riders roster at the time of the trade, or at least played significant time on the team. Mike Olt, for example, was on the RoughRiders roster for three days this season, but doesn’t seem to really fit the point of this list. He was on the roster in a pseudo-rehab role before returning to Triple-A.

There are also a handful of trades made by Texas in the months of April, May, November and December–I only included deals from June, July and August. If you are interested in this sort of thing, check out baseballreference.com for their trade history machine–it’s pretty neat. Additionally, each player is linked to their baseball reference page, so you can see what those players’ career shaped up like.

Anyway, enough digressing…here it is! An exhaustive list (barring the author’s mistakes and editorial omissions as always) of the Rangers deadline or near-deadline deals involving RoughRiders:

July 21, 2005: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Matt Lorenzo to the Atlanta Braves for Kevin Gryboski.

Interestingly enough, Matt Lorenzo went from High-A Bakersfield, the Rangers affiliate at the time to High-A Myrtle Beach, the Rangers current High-A affiliate (then with the Braves). His time in Frisco was brief, making ten appearances, nine starts for the ‘Riders in April and May. He didn’t pitch very well (3-5, 7.14 ERA, 1.99 WHIP) and only reached Double-A one more time in his career. It came with the Pirates in 2006. His tenure in Atlanta’s system didn’t outlast the 2005 season, and his career wrapped up at the conclusion of 2007.

Gryboski on the other hand made 11 largely mediocre appearances for the Rangers in 2005 and signed with Washington the following offseason.

June 29, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP Fabio Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Daniel Haigwood and cash

Although not a RoughRiders pitcher for very long, his inclusion on the Rangers big league roster for some time made it impossible for me to filter this trade off the list. Yes, Fabio Castro was a Ranger.

For four appearances, the then 21-year-old pitched against the Tigers, Angels, Rays and Diamondbacks as a member of the Rangers. In five outings, four starts, for the RoughRiders Castro went 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA. He went on to pitch well for the Phills for the remainder of 2006, but didn’t have much of a big league career after that. This season, he is pitching in Cancun for Tigres de Quintana Roo in the AAA Mexican League.

July 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Bryan Corey to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Mendoza

Bryan Corey made his comeback to the bigs through Frisco in 2006. He was dominant in 13 games for the ‘Riders, saving eight ballgames in 13 appearances with a 2.08 ERA. After 12 games at Triple-A, the Rangers promoted the righthander in June, and he went on to pitch 16 games for the club.

Texas designated him for assignment, however, and got Luis Mendoza in exchange before a team could nab him off the waiver wire. Mendoza would debut in the majors with Texas the following season and is still pitching at the highest level–now for the Royals.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jose Diaz to the Kansas City Royals for Matt Stairs

Attempting a run at the 2006 AL West Crown, the Rangers went out and aquired 38-year-old Matt Stairs, who didn’t hit much for the Rangers (.210/.273/.370) in 26 games down the stretch. Amazingly, Stairs went on to play five more seasons in the big leagues, none of them for Texas.

The cost was Jose Diaz, who got a quick promotion to Triple-A after a stellar start for the ‘Riders in 2006. In eight games, four starts, Diaz posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. He pitched in just four games in the majors for the Royals, all coming in 2006. The Rangers actually signed him again in 2008. He pitched for Frisco again, and made it up to Arlington for a single appearance with the big league club. He was last heard from in 2011, playing for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jesse Chavez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kip Wells

As someone who grew up in Texas and was in high school at the time, I thought I would have remembered this deal. I forgot Kip Wells was a Ranger. That’s because he made two starts for the club and was then shutdown for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. Texas reportedly had some interest in resigning Kip Wells when he became a free agent at the end of the season but did not. Chavez has carved out a decent major league career for himself.

Almost the first man on the list to actual be on the ‘Riders roster when traded, Chavez made 38 appearances before his promotion to Triple-A in late July and was traded after one appearance for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks (then a Rangers affiliate). Seven years later, he is now in the Oakland bullpen and at age 29, is having the best year of his career.

August 30, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded Mike Nickeas to the New York Mets for Victor Diaz

Finally! We come the first RoughRiders player to be traded at the deadline. The previous men were all ‘Riders at some point during these respective seasons, but Mike Nickeas was an active member of the ‘Riders roster when traded in late August, just prior to the “second trade deadline” which takes place on August 31 (for more info on MLB Transactions rules, go here).

A .248 hitter in 2006 for the RoughRiders, Nickeas was the cost for outfielder Victor Diaz, who hit a little bit for the Rangers in the final month of the season…not enough for Texas to make postseason play, however. After six plus seasons as a Mets farmhand, playing in Major League action in three different seasons, Nickeas is now in the Toronto system, pitching at Triple-A.

Jose Vallejo, 2009

Jose Vallejo, 2009

August 18, 2009: The Texas Rangers traded a PTBNL and Matt Nevarez to the Houston Astros for Ivan RodriguezThe Texas Rangers sent RoughRiders 2B Jose Vallejo (August 20, 2009) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.

Ah yes. The return of Pudge. Another August move for a push at the postseason, Pudge likely at least filled the seats a bit for the Rangers. Ivan became the primary catcher in a season filled by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Kevin Richardson. Vallejo was off the ‘Riders roster and off to Triple-A in early May, never hit much for the Astros organization and never made the majors.

July 9, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders 2B/OF Matt Lawson, RoughRiders SP Blake Beavan, RoughRiders RP Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff LeeMark Lowe and cash.

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Blake Beavan, 2010

The trade of the franchise. Right alongside the Josh Hamilton deal as arguably the most positively impactful acquisition in team history, I don’t really need to elaborate here. At least not on the big league side.

On the RoughRiders side, Matt Lawson was a productive RoughRiders hitter, batting .277 in 76 contests for the squad. Beavan was a high-floor Rangers pitching prospect who has since made over 40 starts for the Mariners. As a ‘Rider, the 6’7″ Irving, Texas native went 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 2010. He fired 12 quality starts in his total of 17 before the trade. Lueke flashed lights-out stuff for Frisco out of the bullpen, saving five ballgames with 26 Ks in just 18.2 innings as a Texas Leaguer. He has spent parts of the last three seasons in the Show, most recently with Tampa Bay. He is still striking a ton of guys out but with mixed results.

July 29, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded P Omar Poveda and RoughRiders RP Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for Jorge Cantu.

Jorge Cantu…one of the vaunted additions (along with Guzman just below) that were supposed to help the Rangers get over the hump. Nothing compares to the addition of Cliff Lee this season (how could it!), but Cantu was quite the disappointment. After hitting .262/.310/.409 for the Marlins before the trade, the declining corner infielder hit .235/.279/.327 for the Rangers in 30 games and had a grand total of eight plate appearances in the postseason (going 0-for-8), including one measly at-bat in the World Series.

Poveda was hampered by injuries and never panned out, but Evan Reed, a stalwart of the 2010 RoughRiders bullpen, had an up-and-down minor league jaunt with the Marlins. This April, the Tigers took him off waivers, and he has spent significant time with Detroit’s major league club, making his debut in the majors on May 16 against his former club, allowing a run on two hits to the Rangers. He is currently on the roster getting big leaguers out.

July 30, 2010: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SP/RPs Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Washington Nationals for Cristian Guzman.

Guzman was pretty awful for the Rangers (.152/.204/.174) after posting very solid numbers for the Nationals over three plus seasons. In 2012 he was signed by the Indians but released before the start of the season. After not making the postseason roster for Texas in 2010, he never played in a professional game again.

To get him, the Rangers gave up Tatusko, of Newberg Report fame. A solid arm for the ‘Riders that season as well, the righthander went 9-2 with a 2.97, largely as a starter. His last outing as a RoughRiders pitcher was one of his better outings: six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Corpus Christi Hooks at home on July 26. Tatusko tossed a nine-inning complete game shutout on July 16 as well, in an efficient 94-pitch effort over the Hooks at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tanner Roark was another member of the rotation primarily, splitting his time between the ‘Riders pen and starting quintet. The ‘Riders rotation took quite the hit from this trade…just like they did after the following trade:

July 31, 2011: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SPs Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to the San Diego Padres for Mike Adams.

Joe Wieland, 2011

Joe Wieland, 2011

One of the bigger impact trades on the list, the Rangers gave up two very good starting pitching prospects to get one of the best relievers in the National League at the time. For a while it appeared the Rangers would acquire Padres closer Heath Bell, and out of seemingly nowhere, picked up Adams instead.

Erlin and Wieland were both staples of the 2011 ‘Riders rotation. Erlin was 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, after his late May promotion from Myrtle Beach. Wieland was not called up from the Pelicans’ squad until mid-June but adapted quickly to Texas League batters. The big righthander was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA as a RoughRiders pitcher and pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in his final start as a Rangers farmhand on July 29, 2011. This elicited a series of blog posts on this site, including one of my favorite ‘Riders Insider Blog posts of all-time. Both have had big league time with the Padres and still are poised for solid careers.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: Ryanitisa mock disease causing faux symptoms that batters used to try and get out of the lineup rather than face Nolan Ryan

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Bubble gum and Manny

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‘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 turned out to be an abnormally coach-happy version of ‘Riders on the Record. Some fascinating insights from a variety of people in different positions, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the highlights this week. If you want to blow gigantic bubbles, be sure to listen to the one player interview of the week, when I spoke with Joe Van Meter. James Vilade shares his touching story of involvement with Diamond Dreams and don’t miss out on Jayce Tingler discussing Manny Ramirez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Manager Steve Buechele sits down with Alex to catch up on the season after their hiatus the week prior. He explains why the game was postponed in Corpus Christi when it was not raining but the field had been soaked by a long day of precipitation. He talks about the silver lining of a series of rain outs. He also weighs in on the trade discussion around Neil Ramirez and how it affected his most recent start. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 22, 2013 – RHP Joe Van Meter


Joe Van Meter is the newest RoughRiders, just making his way up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. In his second stint with the RoughRiders he discusses settling into the clubhouse for the second time and breaks down his first two Double-A appearances of the season. A skilled bubble-blower, he shares the secret behind blowing unbelievably-sized bubbles. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – Coach/Scout James Vilade


PART 1

PART 2

Rangers Scout and ‘Riders coach James Vilade is a member of the board of Diamond Dreams, an organization dedicated to the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed coaching first base when he was struck by a line drive. Following an on-field presentation the previous day in Frisco, he talks about the lengths the organization has to promote safety in the game as well as what the loss of Mike means to him personally (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart


The RoughRiders hitting coach Jason Hart joins Nathan on the last day of the brief three-game home stand for the ‘Riders against the Midland RockHounds. He touches on the improved approach of Ryan Strausborger and Hanser Alberto at the plate and the consistency of offensive leader Brett Nicholas. He also remembers his time as a player in Frisco when he had the opportunity to compete in a Home Run Derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark with big leaguers Andre Ethier and Mike Napoli. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas


Following up last week’s conversation with the RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach, Alex sat with Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas to discuss his role with the team and his award he won last season for being the best in the Texas League. Carlos pulls back the curtain on the rehab process and explains the decision-making process to put a player on the disabled list. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 26, 2013 – Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler


Rangers Field Coordinator was with the team during the trip to San Antonio. He explains the strange lack of promotions this season in the Rangers system and his take on the Rangers plans for Manny Ramirez, who is with the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He also weighs in on the scoreless streak, in which the ‘Riders have not scored in 35 consecutive innings. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Missions Hitting Coach Jacque Jones


Former big leaguer Jacque Jones is now the hitting coach with the San Antonio Missions. He talks about his transitioning to coaching quickly after the end of his playing days. He also discusses prospects on both teams, including the RoughRiders’ Joe Benson who he saw during his time in Minnesota. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: head of lettuce the event when a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, that results in the main portion of the bat (the barrel) to land within the infield.

Joe Benson is Back

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Announced today, outfielder Joe Benson has been activated off the disabled list and, although he is not in the lineup, Joe is listed on Steve Buechele’s bench tonight in San Antonio. Benson provided a spark for the RoughRiders when he arrived from on May 25, after he was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins (click for more on the Joe Benson story).

Benson, however, as has been the case in recent years, had issues staying on the field. In two months, Benson played just nine games for the RoughRiders.

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Benson played six games for the ‘Riders in May, homering in the first three contests he played in donning a RoughRiders uniform. Straining his groin running out a groundout on May 31, Benson sat on the bench, recuperating before finally returning to play on June 9 as a pinch hitter in a come-from-behind victory for the ‘Riders 4-3 in Midland. His triple set up the game-winning RBI fielder’s choice. He went 0-for-3 the following night before he was tossed in the fifth inning for arguing a call, and on June 11, after two trips to the plate, he was lifted for a defensive replacement in right field, and we have not seen him in the lineup since.

Joe was placed on the disabled list on June 19, as he had reaggravated the groin injury. After resting for a long while, he intensified his rehabbing and spent the past week terrorizing teenagers (mostly) in the Arizona League (Rookie). In seven games (five at CF and two at DH), Benson hit .417 with three doubles and a homer. Although those numbers are silly, they are not that much better that his performance at Double-A with the ‘Riders–the guy can hit.

In his nine games for the ‘Riders, Benson hit .333 with two triples and four home runs, driving in six of his teammates. Although the sample size is unfairly small to draw big conclusions, the numbers still speak loudly. His 1.289 OPS between Frisco and Arizona leads all Rangers minor leaguers this season.

The ‘Riders went 7-2 in games played by Benson, and with the current state of affair for the team, which has lost three in-a-row and five of six, his return is an extremely welcomed one for the offense, which has been shutout in back-to-back games and has not scored in 26 innings.

The ‘Riders step into the box against Keyvius Sampson tonight at 7:05 p.m., you can catch the game at RidersBaseball.com. For all the ways to listen to the game, check out our post on the new ‘Riders mobile app!

More Joe Benson nuggets can be found from his interview on the ‘Riders pregame show shortly after his arrival in May, posted on ‘Riders on the Record.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: goat’s beard – the plastic or leather flap hinged at the bottom of a catcher’s or umpire’s mask

Frisco RoughRiders: There’s an app for that

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Want to dial on your cell phone like it’s 1955? There’s an app for that. Need to email while walking? Do it safely with this app. There seems to be an app for nearly everything we need and a lot of things we don’t need these days. Want to write on your cell phone screen like it was a steamy shower door…yeah, you can do that too.

It was about time there was an app for the Frisco RoughRiders. Well, it’s here. Out this season, the Frisco RoughRiders have a shiney new app for the iPhone and Android mobile platforms. AND — IT’S FREE!

Download the app:

Download the iPhone app from the iTunes store                

Download the Android App from the Google Play store 

Listen Live to RoughRiders broadcasts

mzl.oxoyvtpd.320x480-75So this is a question that we (happily) get on occasion: “How do I listen to the game?”

Someone wants to tune it to our play-by-play! Alex calls all the games on the road and I, Nathan, join him for the home games. You can hear each game on the app, and it is one of a number of places you can go to tune in. Bookmark this page and come back if you are looking for a new way to listen!

In addition to listening on the Frisco RoughRiders app, you can tune in to the broadcast the following ways:

- At the ballpark, you can pick up the broadcast on 88.9 FM

Listen from From your PC or Mac

Listen on your Android devices

Listen on your iPhone/iPad

- Search for the “Frisco RoughRiders Baseball Network” channel on the TuneIn Radio (all MiLB broadcasts can be heard on the TuneIn app this season after the two sides agreed to a multi-year deal)

RoughRiders News

The app features a news section that pulls the stories directly from RidersBaseball.com, so the days of navigating through your browser to find news on the team is over! You can also share stories via e-mail, facebook, Twitter and text message directly from the news page.

Colby Lewis is starting for the RoughRiders?!?!

App NewsStory

This is VERY exciting news! I want to share this with my Twitter universe and/or my facebook friends, you might think. Perfect. With a couple touches of the screen, you are on your way:

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Statistics

Want to see who is leading the team in hitting? Who has the most saves? What about finding out which RoughRiders hitter has clubbed the most homers? The app is the easiest, quickest and cleanest way to find out all of this information and more!

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More!

Are you a Founder’s member? You can make your RSVP for the jcp club right on your phone. You can find details on upcoming promotions, purchase tickets, find out information about your upcoming visit to Dr Pepper Ballpark, buy merchandise, interact with fellow fans by posting photos and comments on the Fan Wall and more!

Download the app today! Happy Downloading and Go Riders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: bleedera batted ball that, as the result of an erratic roll, pop, bad bounce, or overall slowness, becomes a base hit

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders coach James Vilade active in honoring the memory of Mike Coolbaugh

On July 22, 2007, former big leaguer Mike Coolbaugh tragically lost his life after getting struck in the head by a line drive in foul territory while coaching first base for the Tulsa Drillers.  Mike’s brother Scott Coolbaugh, hitting coach for the Round Rock Express and former ‘Riders coach, started the Diamond Dreams organization in 2009 to honor Mike and his contributions to baseball and to advance Mike’s passion for the game and helping others.

Yesterday at the Frisco RoughRiders- Midland RockHounds game, on the sixth anniversary of Mike’s passing, Mason Hairston, 2013 recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Diamond Dreams Scholarship, threw out the first pitch of the game.

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Photo from Diamond Dreams website

‘Riders first base coach and scout James Vilade was called to be on the board of directors for the non-profit.  In 2007, James was on the Frisco staff in his first year coaching professional baseball with former pitching coach Terry Clark, current Rangers first base coach Dave Anderson and Scott Coolbaugh.

“Scott and I became good friends, and he asked me to become involved in an organization that was going to honor Mike’s life called Diamond Dreams,” Vilade said.  “I was the first person that Scott called to ask to be on the board of directors.  I obliged and told him anything I could do to honor Mike’s name and promote what the foundation had in mind I would do it. Diamond Dreams was born, and our main goal is to honor Mike’s life and promote safety in the game of baseball, and also impact people that have had a tragedy or tough times in the game.”

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Mike’s brother, Scott Coolbagh and James Vilade

Diamond Dreams is a non-profit that honors the memory of Mike Coolbaugh by promoting safety in the game of baseball and providing support to members of the baseball community in need.  The organization holds multiple programs that promote Mike’s legacy.  “Mike’s Extra Innings” provides care and assistance to people in the baseball community who have experienced tragedy. The “Make it Home Safe” program provides equipment for teams that are in need, focusing on helmets and other safety equipment. “The Keeper of the Game” award is given out annually to someone who embraces the baseball community and has the priority of helping people in need.  It was just announced that Jamey Newberg was this year’s recipient for his many contributions to the community and people in need.

The organization also honors two scholarship winners each year, one from Roosevelt High School where Mike went to school, and one local DFW school student.  The recipients are individuals who stand for the organization’s beliefs: community-minded, someone who embraces their community.

During the ‘Riders game on July 22, the six-year anniversary of Mike’s accident, this years scholarship winner, Mason Hairston from Plano West High School, threw out the first pitch.

“Mason is just really well-deserving of this scholarship.  He carries himself well, plays baseball, does things in the community, and goes the extra mile.  The ‘Riders allowing him to come out here and be a part of what we do with the organization every day is just special,” James said.

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Vilade with Mason Hairston during the ‘Riders-RockHounds first pitch July 22, 2013

The RoughRiders’ front office, led by president and general manager Scott Sonju, makes community a priority in everything they do, and have supported Diamond Dreams since its founding.

“Scott [Sonju] made it very clear after the tragedy of Mike Coolbaugh that anyway that he and the ‘Riders could help, it would be done,” James said.  “From top to bottom, the generosity and the care and helping us perpetuate Mike’s name has honored the game through nights like last night on the anniversary of his passing.  It’s been a great extension of our foundation.  The ‘Riders have blessed the organization.”

Because of Mike’s accident, all fielding coaches in professional baseball are now required to wear helmets.  In the early stages , coaches were resistant to the change, but every single person embraces this need for safety.

“I’m glad the rule is in place.  Unfortunately we lost a great man in baseball, but we are doing everything we can to honor him.  I coach first base, and Mike is almost always the first thing I think about stepping onto the field.”

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First base coach James Vilade and outfielder Teodoro Martinez

“For me, it’s, number one, an honor to work on behalf of the Coolbaugh family, and the community of baseball to ensure that we takes care of our own,” James said.  “I would tell any young player to be like him, the way Mike carried himself, the way he loved his family, the way he played the game.  Mike played a long time and had the opportunity to play in the big leagues.  He was very focused on family, very focused on education.  It’s been an honor just to help carry the torch and help ensure all players make it home safely.”

-Ryan

Home Sweet Home: More Colby Lewis

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The ‘Riders are back, but don’t blink–they depart for the road in just three days time. The shortest home stand of the season begins today, and Colby Lewis will take the hill for the ‘Riders for the third time. The rehabber is trying to return from surgery to a torn flexor tendon suffered a little over a year ago.

Tickets are still available for all three games; don’t miss your chance to come catch Colby in a ‘Riders uniform–it could be your last chance to do so. Alex Buchholz has turned himself into a headliner the recently as well. He is hitting .375 in July and his four home runs in the last ten days lead the entire Rangers system–big leagues and minor leagues.

Here are the probables for the three-game set, the shortest home stand of the season:

Monday: RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 10.80 ERA) vs Murphy Smith (7-7, 3.33 ERA)

Tuesday: RHP Tyler Tufts (3-2, 3.42 ERA) vs RHP Zach Neal (6-8, 4.62 ERA)

Wednesday: RHP Carlos Pimentel (8-6, 3.95 ERA) vs LHP Carlos Hernandez (5-7, 2.62 ERA)

Here are the promotions for the upcoming season:

Monday, July 22   |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

Tuesday, July 23   |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Wednesday, July 24  |  7:05 p.m.  | RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

  • Dollar Dog Night
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day:  gumshoe man – a scout

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Dangerous High Fives and Pumping Iron

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‘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.

Another week has passed, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Riders on the Record, number 15 in fact. The ‘Riders were joined by MLB rehabbers Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Colby Lewis on the home stand and Richard Bleier and Eric McMahon made their first appearances. Highlights include McMahon’s discussion of supplements and taking care of the ‘Riders training regimen and Ryan Strausborger’s new-found hobby.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 – Richard Bleier


Richard Bleier has settled in nicely to reliever duties in the Frisco bullpen after initially arriving as an addition to the rotation. Coming off a series in Corpus Christi in which the team played three extra-innings games, Bleier discusses the state of the bullpen and gives his assessment of the relief work by Zach Zaneski, one of his catchers, who threw in the 16-inning marathon a few days prior. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 – Craig Gentry


Rangers rehabber Craig Gentry gave us some time to talk about his rehab from a left hand non-displaced fracture. He talks about how he feels, the importance of rehab at-bats over plays in the field and his take on the “Kitten Face” nickname. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 – Jeff Baker


Back-to-back rehabber interviews brought Jeff Baker to the mic on Wednesday. The Rangers utility man was rehabbing from a sprained thumb suffered on an errant high-five by a unnamed teammate. He talks about another strange injury he saw as a player and voices his disappointment in being on the shelf.  (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 18, 2013 – Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon


The RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon joined the pregame show for the first time this season. Honored as the best at his position in 2012 in the Texas League, McMahon explains how he goes about his business and the ins and outs of keeping the players healthy and getting them stronger. He talks about the research he has to do on the ever-changing world of supplements and gives his take on the purpose of weightlifting. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – Ryan Strausborger


Coming off a big offensive game and his first start of the season at second base, Ryan Strausborger discusses his offensive adjustments as well as the challenge of playing in the infield after all those games in the outfield this year. He discusses his passion for baserunning as well as a new-found passion for the guitar. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: aspirin tablet – a fastball that is difficult to hit due to its velocity and/or movement

#MascotMania! Vote Deuce!

Deuce_MascotMania

Today marks the beginning of Mascot Mania, a competition where YOU decide who has the best mascot in all of minor league baseball. From now until August 1 is Round One, in which the ‘Riders mascot, Deuce, is competing against the other seven mascots from the Texas League.

Last year was the inagural year of the Mascot Mania, but the rules have changed this season. Deuce needs only to outlast the other Texas League mascots to capture victory and make it the finals.

Contest Details

Dates: Round One begins on Thursday, July 18 and runs through noon on Thursday, August 1. Round Two starts around 2 PM EDT on Thursday, August 1 and ends at noon EDT on Thursday, August 8.

Matchups: Every team will be in a group with the other teams from its League for Round One. Deuce is in a round with the other Texas League mascots. Each League winner will advance to Round Two to compete for the overall championship. The overall winner will receive a “Championship Belt”:

2012 Champion Orbit of the Albuquerque Isotopes

How to vote:

Fans can vote in two different ways –

a)      Online – Fans can vote an unlimited number of times through the online ballot. Vote here.

b)      Twitter – fans can vote via Twitter by using the hashtag mascotmania (#mascotmania) and by including the club Twitter handle in the tweet (@RidersBaseball). You can vote up to 25 times per account per day on Twitter. Retweets count as well, so encourage retweeting in your tweets. 

Sweepstakes and prizes:

The campaign features a sweepstakes where fans can win MLB.TV subscriptions, MiLB.TV subscriptions, MLB.com & MiLB.com shop giftcards. Fans can enter through the ballot or by tweeting their vote and following @MiLB.

In addition, the RoughRiders are encouraging fans to vote by giving away some sweet RoughRiders gear! A few select fans who vote on Twitter will be selected at the conclusion of the contest and will win RoughRiders merchandise, autographs or special VIP tours of Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Vote early! Vote late! Vote often! And spread the word!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: yakker a mean, sharp-breaking, overhand curveball

Battle of the Beards: Tufts vs. Bleier

Beards1

I will save you the suspense. Tufts won. At least in the battle of attrition. Richard shaved his beard on Saturday, so the fight is not a really a fair one here.

That said, this photo and graphic can forever keep his fantastic all-black (not dyed) beard living forever on the internet. We aren’t quite sure why he shaved it. He did admit that his significant other doesn’t like the beard, but that being the reason is pure speculation. For now, let’s live in the glory days, and remember what was: the best beard battle of the RoughRiders’ season.

To honor this great competition, we profiled the two beards. Now we need you to help us decide. Comment below or send us a tweet with “#BattleoftheBeards” and vote who you think has had the better beard.

RoughRider: Tyler Tufts Richard Bleier
Beard Name: Red Raider Dark Passenger
Beard Color: A little red, a little blonde, a little bit of brown — the Perfect Mixture Black
Beard Age: 3 months 3 months  Four Days
How long have you been growing beards? Since college–this is the most epic one I have ever grown though. Since I entered pro ball. We weren’t allowed to in college.
How often do you trim your beard? NEVER Often because of the curling cowlicks on the sides.
Is this a season-long beard you plan on growing? Nothing will stop it. I am not shaving it. Take it day-by-day. If it gets annoying enough I will probably shave it, but right now, I am trying to keep up with Tufts.
Beard Personality: Grouchy and angry. It would spend most of the day sleeping and playing Call of Duty. It would just be hot and sweaty all the time.
If your beard could eat one meal what would it be? Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell Whatever I am eating that day.
Why is my beard better than the opposition? Because Richard trims his. It’s gotta be the color. When I have Mitch Moreland telling me that my beard is better than Tufts’…I mean, it’s just a full black beard. Tyler’s is a good beard though…
On a 1-10 scale, rank Tyler’s beard: 10 7
On a 1-10 scale, rank Richard’s beard: 8 7.5 – Jake [Brigham], Tyler and I have been growing these for years. Jake’s is like a 2.

You know, looking back at the answers, it’s not all that shocking that Richard shaved his beard first. Tyler was just with oozing confidence for  his mane.

So now, help us decide, who had the better beard? Vote #Tufts or #Bleier by tweeting at @RidersBaseball.

Want us to profile another beard this season? Let us via twitter or post in the comments section below. Here are a few beard and other facial hair photos from this season (click for larger view):

Bleier

Richard Bleier

Tyler Tufts

Joakim Soria

Kevin Pucetas

Carlos Pimentel

Jake Brigham

Coach James Vilade

Zach Zaneski

Herrera

Odubel Herrera

Chih-Hsien Chiang

ADDENDUM: As pointed out by Jan, we missed Jimmy. A inexcusable goof. As were excluding the other fellows listed below:

Jimmy Reyes

Jimmy Reyes

Kyle McClellan

Kyle McClellan

 

Joe Benson

Joe Benson

 

Randy Henry

Randy Henry

Justin Miller

Justin Miller

 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: belly whoppera headfirst slide

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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