Results tagged ‘ Matt Hicks ’

Spring Training Travels Day 1: And We’re Off!

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This marks the first day of the RoughRiders Media Relations Department’s travels at Spring Training in and around Phoenix, Arizona. All installments can be found here.

The offseason is a blur. It feels like just a few weeks ago that I had the amazing honor of calling a Carolina League Championship with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and now, here I am, four months into a job of my dreams, getting ready to head back to Spring Training.

It’s easy to get romantic about Spring Training–so I am going to indulge myself. The high skies, the dry mountain air, the popping of mitts, the cracking of bats, the buzzing of the diehard fans, and the crackling of cleats on the concrete walkways all coalesce to make for baseball heaven. Fans have the opportunity to experience the ballpark aromas, the pace of a baseball game, and the sounds of the public address announcer bouncing around the ballpark well before the season truly begins in April. It’s like getting a sneak peek of a blockbuster movie: it’s totally legal–you’re even invited. Yet it feels like somehow, despite being a John Smith or a Jane Doe, that you get to pull the curtain back in a way that can make you feel like you have special insider access.

With-a-doubt, this was and still is true for me (now, I am just fortunate enough to have a little more access). Even before I ever went, Spring Training was stuff of legends. My baseball-loving grandfather got in the habit of taking grandchildren out to Rangers Spring Training (then in Port Charlotte), and I looked forward to the chance for years. My older cousins came back with stories of meeting our heroes, of watching them up close, and of spending time in a baseball lover’s Mecca.

Then, grandpa got older, didn’t feel up for making the trip, and my excursion to the Sunshine State never happened.

Ten years later, I made it (this time to Arizona), and it was magical. A buddy of mine and I drove from LA to Goodyear to watch the Rangers and Padres…and drove back all in the same day. That’s how badly we wanted to go. That day, Josh Hamilton hit his first Rangers homer, a grand slam in a Rangers blowout.

Now that is one serious group of hitters

Now that is one serious group of hitters (March 2014)

I was hooked. I made it out to Spring Training each out of the next two years while in college.

Then I started working in baseball. Schedules made things tough, but I did make it back my first year in Myrtle Beach back in 2014. Lo and behold, one of the Rangers broadcasters was sick, and I was asked to fill in on the radio side with Matt Hicks. Cue terror and utmost excitement.

The point is not to show off that I had the chance to call a big league Spring Training game (don’t worry I did plenty of that back then). The point, rather, is that Spring Training is Magic Kingdom for me: The Most Magical Place on Earth.

The point, is that today it begins. In a week there will be tons of great stories to tell, and we cannot wait to tell them to you. Over the next six days we will be posting here on the Riders Insider Blog and on Riders social media channels, including our BRAND NEW, “Riders Media” twitter account, which will be more focused on providing in-depth content on Riders players, statistics, and insights from me, Steve Goldberg, and Ryan Rouillard on a daily basis.

So, until tomorrow…when we will be out in baseball’s favorite desert…so long!

– Nathan

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

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

 

Baseball And Bacon

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is a popular party game where people try to link themselves to the Hollywood star. During a brainstorming session, the idea came up and all of us started laughing. We never realized that we would find not one, but four links to the Frisco RoughRiders. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Circle of Bacon.

The first chain begins with none other than Kevin Bacon. He was in A Few Good Men with Tom Cruise, which is a great movie by the way and it has a baseball tie-in because Cruise’s character loves playing baseball. Back to the chain, Tom Cruise was in Interview With A Vampire with Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt was in Moneyball with Brent Jennings who was portraying Ron Washington. Ron Washington is the manager of the Texas Rangers, which is the parent club of the Frisco RoughRiders completing chain one.

The second chain begins much like the first. Kevin Bacon was in A Few Good Men with Tom Cruise who was in Interview With A Vampire with Brad Pitt. The chain changes because Brad Pitt played Billy Beane. Billy Beane played for the Jackson Mets, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets that were part of the Texas League, from 1982 to 1984. The Jackson Mets moved to Binghamton and joined the Eastern League in 1991. The Houston Astros took over the Double-A franchise renaming it the Jackson Generals, where the team remained until 1999. Nolan Ryan and his group took over and moved the Generals to Round Rock eventually becoming the Round Rock Express where they claimed the Texas League title in 2000. The owners of the Round Rock Express acquired the Triple-A franchise in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and moved that club to Round Rock. The Double-A version of the Round Rock Express moved to Corpus Christi eventually becoming the Corpus Christi Hooks who compete against the RoughRiders in the Texas League.

Through Corpus Christi we can complete the third chain all the way back to the original source, Kevin Bacon. Hooks’ broadcaster Matt Hicks was an extra in Major League which starred Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen was in The Three Musketeers with Kiefer Sutherland. Kiefer Sutherland was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon completing the circle of bacon.

Lastly, we decided to have a little fun and make another connection to the RoughRiders family. Kevin Bacon was in A Few Good Men with Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise was in Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman. Dustin Hoffman was in American Buffalo directed by Michael Corrente who shot the movie in his hometown of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pawtucket is the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox. The lead broadcaster for the Red Sox is none other than former RoughRiders’ broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith.

These chains explain how everyone in the world quite possibly could be connected to Kevin Bacon. Are you?

Written by: Jarah Wright

Graphics by: Alex Yocum-Beeman

Mendonca, Team USA Take Silver

As you might have seen on ESPN, Team Canada topped Team USA yesterday to take the gold medal in the Pan American Games.  A familiar name to RoughRiders’ fans, Jimmy Van Ostrand, drove in both of Canada’s runs as they edged Tommy Mendonca and the US team, 2-1.  For what’s it’s worth, Matt Hicks, the “Voice of the Hooks,” told me at one point during the season that Van Ostrand was one of the best guys he’s ever met in minor league baseball.

Tommy Mendonca celebrates with his teammates at home plate. (Arnulfo Franco/AP)

Mendonca, the ‘Riders 2011 everyday third baseman, batted seventh in the championship game and finished 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.  However, those numbers aren’t a fair representation of his overall performance during the Games.  In the opener of the Pan American Games, the Fresno State product went 3-for-4 with two doubles, six RBIs and two runs scored as the United States thumped the Dominican Republic, 20-2.   In his first three tournament games he hit .455 with nine RBIs.

Along with Van Ostrand, the Canadian team featured Northwest Arkansas’ Tim Smith and Jamie Romak.  Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker, the Texas Leauge Pitcher of the Year, joined Tommy on the US squad.  As did Matt Clark (San Antonio, ’10) and former RoughRider Chad Tracy.

Game 6 of the World Series is tonight (maybe).  The Cardinals’ batting practice is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. with the Rangers hitting an hour later if possible. Game 6 has officially be postponed due to rain.  We’ll have to wait until Thursday.

-AG

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