Results tagged ‘ Joe Mikulik ’
Frisco RoughRiders (1-0, 1-0 1st half) at Northwest Arkansas Naturals (0-1, 0-1)
Friday, April 8 – 7:05 pm
Arvest Ballpark (Springdale, AR)
Audio: Listen online or through the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Watch: MiLB.TV (NW Arkansas feed)
This series: Game 2 of 3 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 2 of 12 (Riders lead, 1-0)
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
- Ryan Cordell – LF
- Lewis Brinson – CF
- Alex Burg – C
- Ronald Guzman – 1B
- Alberto Triunfel – 2B
- Preston Beck – RF
- Joe Jackson – DH
- Luis Marte – SS
RHP Connor Sadzeck (0-0, -.–)
RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at NW Arkansas (W, 2-0)
SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)
LAST TIME OUT: The RoughRiders shut out the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 2-0 on Opening Night, behind six innings of scoreless from FRANK LOPEZ and a trio of relievers. LEWIS BRINSON notched a pair of hits, while RYAN CORDELL picked up the lone extra-base hit, an RBI double in the third that put the Riders ahead for good. Northwest Arkansas had its chances with a lead-off double in the fifth and the bases loaded in the eighth but went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving seven men on and hitting into a game-ending double-play. MATT BUSH picked up his first save of the year in his first outing since 2011, facing the minimum around a single from Zane Evans.
TOP OF THE CLASS: The RoughRiders enter the season with six players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock in August. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21),SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26).
STREAKING START: Over the course of team history, the RoughRiders have had a fair amount of success following an Opening Day victory. Frisco has a 4-3 record in the second game of a season after winning the first, and they are 4-1 in these games since 2007. The best start to a season was when the Riders reeled off five straight wins on the road against Springfield and Arkansas to begin the 2008 campaign.
STAY IN THE YARD: Last night, Frisco and Northwest Arkansas played the only Texas League game that did not feature a home run. Bruce Caldwell (Springfield) and Mott Hyde (Corpus Christi) both hit solo home runs in their teams’ respective Opening Day victories. The Midland-Arkansas contest featured three home runs. Eric Aguilera (Arkansas) mashed two solo shots to give him an early league lead, and Jaycob Brugman (Midland) hit a three-run dinger with two outs in the first inning.
RANGER DANGER: Although the big league club lost 4-3 to the Angels on an Albert Pujols walk-off single, yesterday was a successful day for all the Rangers’ affiliates. Triple-A Round Rock jumped out to an early 7-1 lead over Iowa and cruised to a 7-3 win. Jared Hoying (Riders ‘12-13) hit a two-out grand slam in the third, and Chad Smith (Riders ’15) earned the win in relief. High-A High Desert doubled up Inland Empire 10-5 behind Travis Demeritte’s (No. 21 prospect, MLB Pipeline) two home runs, and Single-A Hickory topped Kannapolis 5-1.
MATT’S ALL, FOLKS: Last night, MATT BUSH made his debut in the Rangers’ organization and earned his first save since August 24, 2011 with Double-A Montgomery. Originally a shortstop, the San Diego native was selected No. 1 overall by his hometown Padres in the 2004 MLB Draft. Bush was converted to a pitcher prior to the 2007 season and later spent two years in the Tampa Bay Rays’ farm system.
KEEP THEM OFF THE BOARD: All of CONNOR SADZECK’s 16 career wins have come when allowing two earned runs or less. He has allowed two earned runs in a win on just one occasion, with Single-A Hickory on May 25, 2013 against Kannapolis. Sadzeck has allowed three or more runs 15 times in his career without a victory.
FRESH START FOR FRISCO: After finishing 2015 with a 60-79 overall record, the RoughRiders are looking to improve this season. Frisco went 29-41 in the first half and 31-38 in the second half last year. The Riders ended the season in third place, 28.5 games behind Corpus Christi, in the final Texas League South division standings.
FAMILIAR FACES IN FRISCO: The Riders’ initial roster features 18 players who appeared in Frisco last season. Dallas native PRESTON BECK is back home in the Metroplex once again after playing 93 games with the Riders last year. Despite the large number of returning players this year, only five were on the 2015 Opening Day roster.
SKIPPING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: JOE MIKULIK has returned for his second season with the RoughRiders. He is the eighth manager in RoughRiders history, and the fourth to return for a second consecutive year. The veteran skipper is in his 18th season as a Minor League manager and has 1,122 all-time wins. 938 of his victories were recorded with the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League (Class A), setting both a team and league record.
To our loyal blog readers,
It’s been awhile since our last post. Apologies on that.
You can expect to see consistent content here moving forward. Since last we wrote, much has changed. I, Nathan Barnett, have returned to the organization, filling the role as the leader of the Media Relations department here in Frisco, taking over after a well-lead four-year effort by my former mentor Alex Vispoli. Some fans may remember me from the 2013 season, when I served as a Media Relations Assistant under Alex.
But enough about me. I am thrilled that I will be joined by two excellent up-and-coming stars in the business that are sure to entertain our fans here on this space and on the air as well.
So, without further ado, Steve Goldberg and Ryan Rouillard, in their own words.
Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, once said, “Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
This holds true not just about writing, but also about everything in life. No matter how grueling your schedule may be on a given day, it is a thrill to have a job that you love. For many people, that may love may stem from things like art, history, and literature. Or architecture! (Seinfeld fans, anyone?)
But the love and inspiration for my career comes from baseball. It always has been, and it always will be. Every time I broadcast a game or write a feature story, I recall the experience of the first baseball game I attended and the emotions I felt that day.
I was born a few blocks from Fenway Park in Boston, so baseball naturally slipped into my blood. But my first game was not in Boston. My family moved to Houston in the summer of 1998, and my father took me to the Astrodome the following year.
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in May, but the rain outside was not an issue since the Astros played indoors. The Astroturf field was very bizarre, certainly not like the grass fields I played tee-ball on. I could not stop looking at the roof high over the diamond and the giant American and Texas flags hanging above the wall in deep center field.
The game began, and I was amazed with how much better it was to be there in person instead of just watching it on television. The roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the smell of fresh hot dogs created the perfect atmosphere to enjoy America’s pastime.
I stared up at the press box and envied the broadcasters, who I heard (and imitated) nearly every day from home. They truly lived the dream, sitting in the catbird seat at a baseball stadium every single day.
Later in the game, I asked my father if we could leave our seats for a few minutes to get an ice cream.
“Let’s watch this next batter,” he replied. “Then we can go.”
The mighty, right-handed hitter for St. Louis stepped into the box moments later. Two red birds sat perched on a yellow baseball bat atop the word ‘Cardinals’ in script on the front of his grey jersey. On the back of the uniform, he donned the number 25 with the last name ‘McGwire’ printed in red letters above.
This Mark McGwire fella had just set a new single-season record by hitting 70 home runs the previous year. But I had no idea, at the time. I was just a five-year old, starry-eyed boy awaiting the upcoming events in the game but battling with an ever-present craving for ice cream.
My father was keen about watching this one particular player bat, so I made sure I paid close attention too. Sure enough, McGwire connected with the baseball, and it soared far beyond the outfield wall. As he rounded the bases triumphantly, Dad turned to me with a grin below the moustache on his face.
“Let’s go get some ice cream.”
I returned to my seat with a Chipwich, an ice cream sandwich nestled between two chocolate chip cookies. I still vividly recall how delicious it tasted. Every time I have seen a home run since, I think back to that Chipwich and remember my feelings after McGwire hit that monstrous home run. I knew from that day forward, I wanted to be a part of the ‘larger than life’ game of baseball forever.
Nobody can recall every single pitch, but there should always be key points that stand out to viewers. As a broadcaster and a writer, I keep this in mind when considering the defining moments of a game. You never know what five-year-old, starry-eyed kid in the crowd may be gazing up at the press box envying your job. While eating a Chipwich, of course.
It has been almost 17 years since I first realized my passion for this sport. My first year working in professional baseball took me from my alma mater, the University of Missouri, to Charleston, S.C., and then all the way to Melbourne, Australia.
Now, I am ready to begin the 2016 season as a Media Relations and Broadcasting Assistant for the RoughRiders. Just a four-hour drive from my childhood home in Houston. Back in the Lone Star State.
I hit my growth spurt in 6th grade, well before most of my friends. As a result, I grew up hearing people tell me I had the bulk to play football, or the height to play basketball. Despite all the outside noise, baseball has always been the clear number one in my life.
Growing up just a few miles east of Seattle, Safeco Field was my home away from home in the summers. I couldn’t get enough of venturing into the Emerald City with my dad and taking in the unique buzz running throughout a baseball stadium.
I grew up idolizing local stars, such as Edgar Martinez and Ichiro Suzuki (I missed Griffey’s first stint in Seattle by a few years). My desire to be like them someday led me to start playing baseball at a young age. But over time, I found a new member of the team to idolize: legendary Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus.
Niehaus, a Hall-of-Famer, was my companion through the airwaves whenever I wasn’t at the ballpark. His unbridled passion and love for baseball only furthered my love for America’s pastime. He would commonly say he never worked a day in his life because he was having so much fun behind the mic, and it was obvious to me listening at home. He became so special to me that I felt like I had lost a family member when he died in 2010.
With Dave as an inspiration, I was the kid who muted the “Backyard Baseball” broadcasters and did it myself. Even sometimes at Safeco Field, I would sit in section 330, just above Dave, and try and call my own game. My dream of broadcasting withered for a few years in high school, but in my senior year, I had a chance to resurrect it when I called Mercer Island High School basketball games on the school’s station. Even though it wasn’t baseball, I had so much fun behind the mic, further understanding why Dave sounded as giddy as he did every night.
When I got to the University of Oregon in 2012, there was no question in my mind that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I got actively involved with the campus radio station, KWVA, during the school year. That place has been – and still is – a great influence on my career. In the summers, I broadcast collegiate summer wood-bat baseball in the West Coast League. I was in Victoria, BC in 2013, before returning stateside to work in Yakima, WA the last two summers. My time in the WCL, where I was calling baseball almost every day for two months, only strengthened my love for baseball and being around such a special sport.
Now, here I am, just a few weeks from graduating and beginning what I know will be a fantastic journey with the RoughRiders. Maybe I could have made it work had I tried football or basketball, like everyone suggested, but I’m not sure either of those would have made me as happy as I am now. Baseball is, and will always be, where my heart lies. I can’t wait to spend another season behind the mic, where I hope my love of the game radiates through the airwaves, just like it did for me with Dave.
As for me, I introduced myself to our readers back in 2013, and, to borrow an old cliche, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Since my time in Frisco, I had the privledge of working with the mighty Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Carolina League during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the first as a member of the Rangers farm system and last year as a Cubs affiliate.
We made the finals in 2014 with a handful of past and future RoughRiders: Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell, Chris Garia, Preston Beck, Royce Bolinger, Kellin Deglan, Jose Leclerc, Cody Ege, Cody Buckel, Chad Bell, Chad James, Luis Parra–the list goes on. That was a special team, a special group of guys that had put together an absurd 2013 season with the Hickory Crawdads (we had Joey Gallo, and Jorge Alfaro, and Nick Williams, and Chi Chi Gonzalez all earlier that year). The club came up just short of a title, skippered by Joe Mikulik by the way, falling three games to one in the Mills Cup Finals.
The team captured the crown in year one of the Cubs era in 2015. It was a joyous ride, and I was incredibly proud of those players too.
I cannot wait to get going in the 2016 season (okay–there is still a lot to do before then, so I CAN wait, but still excited!).
Fortunately for all three of us, we don’t have to wait until April 7 when the team plays the season opener in Springdale against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. We will be headed to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona next weekend and will be sure to share our thoughts from the desert!
Baseball term of the day: hamfatter – a vociferous baseball fan
(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the week’s pre-game radio interviews, usually with RoughRiders players and coachs. You can find all the past entries here.
Week four of ‘Riders on the Record was nearly an all-home edition. In the midst of the RoughRiders eight-game homestand, we spoke with Tyler Tufts, Zach Zaneski and Phil Klein for the first time this year. The ‘Riders hit the road on Friday night and Alex chatted with Teodoro Martinez for the first time this year before game one of the four-game series in Midland against the RockHounds. Highlights include the Rangers outfield philosophy from Joe Mikulik, Phil Klein’s emotions when throwing a perfect game in summer collegiate baseball, and Teodoro Martinez discussing the origin of his nickname “Cafe.”
April 28, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele
The Sunday conversation with Steve Buechele followed the worst defeat of the season for the RoughRiders, an 11-0 loss to the Corpus Christi Hooks. He talks as a former player about how mentally tough it can be to come from behind when down by a big margin. He empathizes with the difficulties Cody Buckel is having this season and, conversely, examines the tremendous start of Randy Henry.
April 29, 2013 – RHP Tyler Tufts
RoughRiders pitcher Tyler Tufts has had quite the year. From a promotion to Triple-A to a life-threatening medical emergency, 2012 was a wild ride for the right-hander. He talks about the fallout from the medical emergency including a silver-lining experience he took in with his family at the ballpark he grew up going to.
April 30, 2013 – Rangers Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik
The Texas Rangers Outfield Instructor Joe Mikulik made his first trip to Frisco during the home stand. He explained what he does and what his job entails. He talked about the progression of the outfielders from level to level and the significance of situational defense in the Texas Rangers system.
May 1, 2013 – C Zach Zaneski
RoughRiders catcher Zach Zaneski talks about what it is like to be behind the plate to catch Frisco pitching. He explains the success this season for Carlos Pimentel and the decision to call a slider on a 3-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth the night before.
May 2, 2013 – RHP Phil Klein
Following his Double-A debut, a three inning outing with the Frisco RoughRiders, Phil Klein talks about his journey since his 30th round selection by the Rangers. He explains his increase in velocity and his early experiences in Texas.
May 3, 2013 – RHP Ryan Rodebaugh
After a blisteringly cold and windy day at Dr Pepper Ballpark, Ryan Rodebaugh discusses his first ever professional start in the difficult conditions. He’s asked about his college career as a starter and how he managed to block out the cold to pitch three scoreless innings in the spot-start.
May 4, 2013 – OF Teodoro Martinez
The son of a former big leaguer, Teodoro joined us on the pre-game show for the first time this season in the RoughRiders first trip to Midland. He talked about his improvement at the plate and his work with hitting coach Jason Hart. He also talks about the influence of his family on his baseball career and the notoriety of his father among baseball circles.
Baseball term of the day: Chin music – a pitch thrown up and inside on a hitter, usually designed to get the hitter to back off the plate