Results tagged ‘ Alex Vispoli ’

The Eye in the Sky

DPB in evening glow

Have you ever thought about coming to a RoughRiders game but have a hard time getting off the fence because of the weather?  We all know that Texas weather can be a little unpredictable and sometimes it can be reassuring to just see whether it’s raining at the park, if the tarp is on the field or just how hot it is at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  Well fear not, loyal ‘Riders fans, because just in time for the off-season (yeah, maybe not the savviest timing…) we have been selected as an official weather-reporting station for WeatherBug.  As a result, we can now give fans access to the up-to-the-minute weather details, from the temperature, wind and even the time for sunset.

You can access the webpage for the new “Online Weather Center” right here.

As you can see on this page, there is even a live camera that regularly snaps a photo of the diamond below (unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s a suitable replacement for MiLB.tv, for those of you looking for a workaround to watch games over the internet).  Save the page in your bookmarks and you’ll always be able to know the weather when you’re looking to visit us for a game.  You can also find the link on www.ridersbaseball.com as one of the “‘Riders Links” below the video highlights and also as a link in the “News” section of the site.

Now, maybe if we all spend enough time staring at that webpage it will start to feel a little less like mid-July here in the Metroplex.

As always, thanks for reading!

- Alex

‘Riders on the Record: Final Words

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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.

An extra long edition this week with a double-dose of the skipper and a season finale chat with Jeff Andrews is here! It’s been a pleasure posting these each week. Thank you for your support of the Insider Blog and ‘Riders on the Record this season. We hope you enjoyed getting to hear from everyone this season. Highlights for the final edition include Phil Klein on his position on a football field, Nick Tepesch on being named the Rangers’ fifth starter and Randy Henry on how he can improve upon his stellar season.

Happy Monday and enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


After a tumultuous weekend in which the bullpen has been severely taxed, the manager Steve Buechele assesses the state of the ‘pen and who could have been on the mound among the position players. He discusses why Luke Jackson was removed in the midst of a no-hitter and explains the quick success of Nick Martinez in Double-A. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, August 26, 2013 – Catcher Zach Zaneksi


The RoughRiders catcher Zach Zaneski comes on to talk about his offseason plans and the end of the RoughRiders season. With Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez in town, Zach tells us what kind of wisdom the future Hall-of-Famer has shared with the ‘Riders backstops. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – RHP Phil Klein


For the first time in his pro career, Phil Klein was the starting pitcher. He talks about keeping his routine consistent and how excited he was to get the nod. In preparation for our fantasy football post on the RoughRiders Insider Blog, I also asked Klein where he would play on a football team. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 – 1B/C Brett Nicholas


Brett Nicholas put together a career year in 2013. He was named to the Texas League Post-season All-Star Team and a member of the Arizona Fall League the previous day, and he talks about the significance of both in the larger picture of his career. Hovering around a .300 batting average, Brett weighs in on the importance of that number to him as well. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 – 3B Ryan Rua


Fresh off his walk-off grand slam, Ryan Rua reflects on the best moments of his career. He looks back at his breakout season and assess the progress that he has made this year as well as his adjustment to Double-A pitching. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, August 30, 2013 – Rangers Rehabber Nick Tepesch


Rangers rehabber Nick Tepesch talks about his first ever rehab. He shares his story from Spring Training that ended in the nod as the Rangers #5 starter and the development of his slider that has helped him make the leap. He also explains how quick teams and players are to adjust at the big league level. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, August 31, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


RoughRiders reliever Randy Henry is putting the finishing touches on a spectacular season in his year at Double-A. Battling an elbow injury, Henry was one of the more dominant pitchers in the Texas League this season. He evaluates his year and pinpoints places for future improvement. (w/ Alex)

Sunday, September 1, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


For the final time, the ‘Riders skipper joins our own Alex Vispoli on the pregame show to discuss the end of the season. He gives his take on the significance of a .500 record and shares his plans for the offseason. (w/ Alex)

Monday, September 2, 2013 – Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews


On the final day of the season, Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews sits down to assess his pitching staff at season’s end. He talks about the development of Luke Jackson and Nick Martinez, including the significance of his Jackson’s unconventional mechanics and Martinez’s baseball smarts. A big league coach in 2008 with the Pirates, he explains the value of coaching in the majors and what he learned in his season in Pittsburgh.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sky piece - baseball cap

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

Fantasy Football (RoughRiders Edition)

Football season is officially here.  We have had preseason NFL the  past few  weeks, but high school and college kick off this weekend.  The start of the 2013 football season got us at the RoughRiders talking about what positions the current ‘Riders would play on our fantasy football teams.  This idea was inspired by a post from last year where the media team asked former RoughRiders Ross Wolf, Jerad  Prince and Strength & Conditioning coach Eric McMahon to form their RoughRiders football team.

Crew_Deuce

This year, Alex and Nathan decided they would like to take a crack at it, so they both drew up their teams based on body build, strength, speed, athleticism, and everything else they know about the current ‘Riders squad.  Eric McMahon did so well last year that he too created a team for us.  It may not surprise you to know that all three teams are quite different, based on the type of squad the three participants chose to go with.

The chatter around the clubhouse has also revolved around this topic as the players discuss who they might pick.  Nick McBride, who left Frisco earlier this month, was the unanimous pick among the pitchers as the quarterback, however with Nick gone, there is more of a discussion as to who that QB would be.  In his August 27 pregame interview, Nathan discussed this topic with pitcher Phil Klein, who labeled the positions he thinks he could fill: Defensive end if he were able to put on more muscle, or tight end if he developed better hand skills.

Nathan Barnett’s Team

Nathan_1Luke Jackson at quarterback? He didn’t even play high school football!” remarked an anonymous RoughRiders player. Okay, sure: Luke  Jackson was not a high school football star–but he did play a bit.

But I like his moxy. The composure he has shown in his short time in Double-A which has helped him to limit batters to a 1-for-18 mark with runners in scoring position combined with mid-90s heat—those have to make for great raw materials at QB.

Convinced by Alex’s wise observations about Odor, I swapped him out to the safety spot (I originally had him listed as my RB).

I am a big believer in Randy Henry at the strong safety position. A former high school and JUCO shortstop, Henry has the athletic build and leadership skills I want in a guy in that spot.

Kyle McClellan seemed an obvious choice at center. The unnamed captain of the bullpen is the perfect man to anchor the middle of what should be the most cohesive group on your team—plus his veteran leadership will be great in the huddle.082713 Roster

A point of contention in our debate here in the office was the place of Kalian Sams, who I went with at the tight end position. A physical force, 6’4”, nearly 250 pounds with good speed and great body control, Sams is the perfect target and safety net for a team with a smaller receiving core (Strausborger, Teo Martinez, Reyes). I see Sams are Vernon Davis like, big powerful upper body that can block a bit and shrug off tacklers. He might not quite have the speed of Davis, but his wheels are deceptively impressive (10-for-10 stealing bases this year in the TL). I see him as a 80+ catch TE; you can’t replace that production if you put him elsewhere.with the young QB in Jackson.

My philosophy here was to fill out the offensive and defensive line with the bigger and more powerful guys on the team, since most of the players on the ‘Riders roster could probably handle the skill positions. I think I have done that. I am particularly fond of my placement of Nicholas at left tackle. A leader on this team, selfless and one of the first off the bench to protect his teammate Rougned Odor in the near benches-clearing scuffle against the Tulsa Drillers earlier this month, there is no one I would trust more to protect the blindside of the Rangers top right-handed pitching prospect in the pocket.

QB: Luke Jackson
Backup QB: Richard Bleier
RB: Joe Benson
Backup RB: Guilder Rodriguez

WR: Jimmy Reyes and Teodoro Martinez
Slot WR: Ryan Strausborger080413 team blog

TE: Kalian Sams and Jon Edwards

LT: Brett Nicholas
LG: Arlett Mavare

C: Kyle McClellan
G: Zach Zaneski
RT: Tomas Telis

DE: Ryan Rua
DT: Jerad Eickhoff
DE: Phil Klein

OLB: Lisalverto Bonilla
MLB: Nick Martinez
MLB: Brett Teschner
OLB: Francisco Mendoza

CB: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Luis Sardinas
FS: Rougned Odor
SS: Randy Henry

K: Tyler Tufts
P: Alex Claudio

Alex Vispoli’s Team

Alex_1This is probably my favorite blog post of the season because of the debates it inspires both in the office and in the clubhouse.  With the collection of talent with this group, I’m confident that my fake football team would take any other Texas League outfit straight to the woodshed.  My team runs a standard, pro-style offense that may not stretch the field too often, but should be able to score some points. There are some weak parts of the defense, but overall it is a solid unit that should make enough plays.

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Ryan Rua

I like the idea of Rua as a pocket passer. Though he may not accrue many yards with his legs, we’ve seen his strong arm at third base this season and I’m confident he can make all the throws. His quiet confidence will also help keep the team focused on those crucial drives.

Running back: Joe Benson

A no brainer. Benson was a star tailback in high school and would carry the load for my offense.

Joe  Benson

Joe Benson

Fullback: Tomas Telis

As a catcher, he knows how to block and he will be a bowling ball that the defense will try to get past to get to Benson. In short yardage situations, I like his size; he’s like a miniature Jerome Bettis.

Flanker wide receiver: Lisalverto Bonilla

His height and strength should make him a good red zone target, à la Plaxico Burress. 

Split end wide receiver: Teodoro Martinez

Teo has good speed, which should make him good on the outside.  A little undersized, but this is as good a spot as any for the Venezuelan.

Slot wide receiver: Ryan Strausborger

A natural spot for the blue-collared Straus, who won’t be afraid to make a tough catch over the middle. A Wes Welker-type for this team, he should keep the chains moving.

Wide receiver: Luis Sardiñas

In case we need to go with four wideouts, Sardiñas should provide great speed to stretch the defense, though he is a little raw.

Tight end: Jon Edwards

An absolute matchup nightmare. Edwards is bigger than any defensive back and faster than any linebacker. My version of Rob Gronkowski.

Left tackle: Jerad Eickhoff

Big, strong and heady, I trust Eickhoff to protect the blind side and keep Rua upright.

Left guard: Brett Nicholas (offensive captain)

A team-first guy, Nicholas will give up his body to make sure we get that first down.

Center: Zach Zaneski

Big and mean when he needs to be, Zach fits the blue-collar bill as an offensive lineman. As a catcher he calls a great game and I trust him to lead the o-line.

Right guard: Richard Bleier

Not the biggest guard around, but Bleier is willing to get mean when he needs to.

Right tackle: Phil Klein

I love the height and length that Klein brings to the line. He’s a lot to get by and should give Rua enough time to deliver the football.

DEFENSE

Odor_Sams

Rougned Odor and Kalian Sams

Defensive end: Kalian Sams

The defensive version of Jon Edwards. Sams is big, fast and a nightmare to face as an offense. I feel bad for the quarterback who gets squashed by the Dutchman.

Defensive tackle: Arlett Mavare

A big body and a spacefiller, Mavare should help clog the middle and has the strength to push the offense back.

Defensive tackle: Brett Teschner

Another big body, the catcher is already used to working out of a crouching position and will hold his ground at the very least against the o-line.

Defensive end: Randy Henry

More of a speed rusher than a power guy, Henry can bring some small-town nasty to this group.

Outside linebacker: Chih-Hsien Chiang

Chiang has added weight to his frame over the years but still maintains some agility. If he can hit an opposing player even half as hard as he hits the baseball, this should be a natural fit.

Middle linebacker: Kyle McClellan (defensive captain)

McClellan_1

Kyle McClellan

Really happy to have Kyle calling the signals in the middle of my defense. An experienced veteran, there’s nothing he can’t recognize. He’s also very, very strong, extremely competitive and has a little crazy in his eye that will intimidate the opposition.

Outside linebacker: Luke Jackson

I’m counting more on savvy than speed or strength here. Jackson is a smart guy who should be able to read an offense and put himself in a good spot.

Cornerback: Guilder Rodriguez

Good size for a DB, Rodriguez brings veteran craftiness to the table and still has enough speed to stick with young wideouts. He can play the right angles and should be a tough matchup for any receiver.

Strong safety: Jimmy Reyes

With the intimidating presence Jimmy has on the mound, I have no doubt that he’ll make receivers think twice about going over the middle. Just enough speed and size to handle the position.

Free safety: Rougned Odor

Love the nastiness Odor brings to the diamond and he should be athletic enough to grab some interceptions and lay a player out. Might be a risk for penalty flags/fines for gray area hits, but you need a little of that on your team.

Cornerback: Francisco Mendoza

Mendoza has overcome injuries in the past and surpassed expectations. He plays with a chip and should be able to keep up with receivers and bring them down.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Tyler Tufts

A little quirky (just look at the beard) and a bit undersized, so this is as good a spot as any for Tuffy.

Punter: Alex Claudio

Probably the safest spot on the gridiron for the slight Claudio. Given his nasty changeup, I would imagine he could manipulate his kicks to angle for the coffin corner pretty effectively as well.

Long snapper: Nick Martinez (special teams captain)

There’s not a natural spot for Martinez, but I think he should be in a leadership role and as leader of the special teams unit his voice will be heard.

Eric McMahon’s Team

Eric_1LT-McClellan
Game experience and athletic feet.  He has the determination not to get beat around the edge.

LG-Mavare
The strength to deliver a strong down block and communication skills to tandem with Center or Tackle in a combo block

C-Nicholas
Possesses leadership and the intelligence to read the defensive front

RG-Telis
He’s a great blocker with speed enough to pull around the edge

RT-Eickhoff
Great build!  Looks the part.

TE-Klein
Tall and runs well. Sneaky athleticism.  A down-field threat over any secondary

WR #1-Bonilla
Excellent speed!

WR #2-Strausborger
Versatile speed from the edge or the slot

WR #3-Sardinas
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed!

RB-Benson
A power runner and above average agility.  Good strength to drive through a hole!

FB-Reyes
Knowledge and strength to contribute in a blocking scheme.  Speed enough for some 3rd down carries.

Jackson_1

Luke Jackson

QB-Jackson
Arm strength+++

DE-Sams
Big, Strong, and moves well

DT (Nose)-Teschner
Great strength and temperament to dominate in the trenches

DE-Edwards
Excellent size and speed off the edge

OLB-Tufts
Athletic, with the right mentality to read run or pass.  Can help in the secondary

OLB-Rua
Moves well with enough size to be the force player on the edge and cover a TE/WR down field

ILB-Henry
Good strength, size and athleticism to cover both sides of the field

Z_1

Zach Zaneski

ILB-Zaneski
The heart and soul of the defense!

FS-Nick Martinez
The coverage leader and playcaller.  He possesses good overall athleticism for the secondary

SS-Chiang
Speed enough to make a play on the ball in the air

C-Teo Martinez
Speed for coverage and the strength to secure the edge

C-Rodriguez
Intelligence and quickness to stay on a WR’s hip downfield

Nickel-Bleier
Improved speed from years past. A great double coverage guy to bat down a ball in the air.

P-Claudio
Just funky enough to get the job done right

K-Mendoza
He’s a gamer…Ready to be called on when needed

Returner-Odor
Quick on his feet and a fearless mentality

-Ryan (With much assistance from Alex, Nathan and Eric)

Baseball term of the day: rocket - A hard-hit, fast-moving line drive.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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 second RoughRiders Roundtable of the season is here!

The latest episode of RoughRiders Roundtable Podcast is now posted.  You can find the entry by clicking here.

Alex Vispoli, Nathan Barnett and Jason Cole of Lone Star Dugout –along with producer Ted Price – team up to discuss the ups and downs of the ‘Riders’ first half of the 2013 season.

In the season’s second episode of the podcast (#11 overall), the three talk about Frisco’s first baseman Brett Nicholas and outfielder Teodoro Martinez.  Nathan also speaks with newcomer outfielder Joe Benson on his start in the Rangers system.  The pitching of reliever Wilmer Font and the injury of Roman Mendez are also discussed.

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

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: pound the pavement-To swing at and miss a pitched ball

Day Trip to SeaWorld

Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio.  One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio.  Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals.  In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins.  Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.

(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)

- Alex

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

The players loved those little guys

The players loved those little guys

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn't get to visit.

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn’t get to visit.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the "voice" of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the “voice” of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan.  Not sure where Cody learned that move.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan. Not sure where Cody learned that move.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with "Brady."

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with “Brady.”

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Brady "fin-walks" at the prompt of his trainer.

Brady “fin-walks” at the prompt of his trainer.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

Here's the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Here’s the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

First RoughRiders Roundtable of the year is up!

Ted Price of DallasSportsNetwork.tv informed us this morning that he has posted the first RoughRiders Roundtable of the season (#10 overall).

You can find the podcast entry by clicking here. 

We will post a link to each RoughRiders Roundtable here on the 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) discuss middle infield prospects Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera as well as catcher Tomas Telis before diving into the divergent starts of right-handed starters Neil Ramirez and Cody Buckel . ‘Riders Manager Steve Buechele breaks down the opening day roster. Jason also weighs in on the slow start in Triple-A Round Rock of Rangers third base prospect Mike Olt. We toss around a little Nick Tepesch talk as well.

Enjoy!

Baseball term of the day – knocker – an early term for a batter 

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