Results tagged ‘ RoughRiders ’

Cordell crushes his way into the record books

Ryan Cordell etched his name into the RoughRiders record books in the second inning of last night’s 5-2 victory over Corpus Christi.

Cordell blasted his second grand slam of the season, which is awfully impressive. But in addition, it was also his second one of the week. His first one was on Saturday against Northwest Arkansas.

With two grand slams already, Cordell became the only Minor Leaguer to reach that mark so far in 2016. He joins Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper as the only other player in professional baseball to accomplish the feat this year.

Cordell has already surpassed Frisco’s total number of grand slams as a team last season. The Riders only hit one, coming off the bat of Pat Cantwell on June 24 against Midland. Frisco’s largest number of grand slams as a team in a single regular season is five, occurring in both 2009 and 2013.

Last year, Renato Nunez (Midland) hit grand slams on back-to-back days against Frisco on September 5 and 6. The RockHounds hit more grand slams in 2015 than any other team in Texas League with seven, while the RoughRiders were tagged for a league-high five.

Brett Nicholas was the last player to hit two grand slams for the Riders in 2013.

The last time the Riders hit grand slams in the same week as a team was in 2013. Ryan Rua knocked one out against Corpus Christi on August 28, and Teodoro Martinez followed with another on September 1 at Midland.

Prior to Cordell, Brett Nicholas was the most recent Rider to hit two grand slams. His were also in 2013, on April 28 against Corpus Christi and August 18 facing Tulsa.

Mike Olt and Chris McGuiness hit grand slams two days apart in 2012, on June 9 and 11 against San Antonio and Midland, respectively. McGuiness went on to slug another one later in the season on August 12 at Northwest Arkansas.

Jason Botts and Ian Kinsler were the only RoughRiders to hit grand slams in the same game on July 21, 2004. Botts’ grand slam came off San Antonio’s Felix Hernandez, just over a year before “King Felix” made his Major League debut with Seattle in August 2005.

Cordell joins Nicholas, McGuiness, and Chad Tracy as the only players to hit two grand slams in the same season for the Riders. Tracy’s two came in 2009 on July 10 against Springfield and August 7 against San Antonio. Adam Fox also had two grand slams for Frisco, one in 2005 and another in 2009.

33 different players have combined to hit 38 grand slams for the Riders in team history. However, nobody has ever hit more than two. But if the bases are loaded again for Cordell in his time with Frisco, he will have a chance to become the first.

Riders grand slams by year (regular season only):

2016:

Ryan Cordell (2)

 

 

 

2013:

Brett Nicholas (2)

Jared Hoying

Teodoro Martinez

Ryan Rua

 

2010:

Emerson Frostad

Matthew Lawson

 

 

 

2007:

Brandon Boggs

Salomon Manriquez

 

2004:

Jason Botts

Patrick Boyd

Ian Kinsler

G.J. Raymundo

2015:

Pat Cantwell

 

 

 

2012:

Chris McGuiness (2)

Engel Beltre

Mike Olt

 

 

2009:

Chad Tracy (2)

Adam Fox

Tim Smith

John Whittleman

 

2006:

Casey Benjamin

Kevin Mahar

 

2003:

Ryan Soules

Laynce Nix

 

 

2014:

Trever Adams

Joey Gallo

J.T. Wise

 

2011:

Michael Bianucci

Renny Osuna

 

 

 

2008:

Ben Harrison

Stephen Murphy

Corey Ragsdale

 

 

2005:

Adam Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: apply the whitewash – To shut out; to keep the opponent from scoring.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Sadzeck starting strong in 2016

For Connor Sadzeck, the road to Frisco and a spot on the Rangers 40-man roster was a unique one.

The Crystal Lake, Illinois native was selected by Texas in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft after his freshman year at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, located 45 miles northeast of Midland. After a year with short-season Single-A Spokane, Sadzeck shined in his first full season with Single-A Hickory.

Sadzeck won 12 games for Class A Hickory in 2013. (Photo by Tracy Proffitt - Hickory Crawdads)

Sadzeck won 12 games for Class A Hickory in 2013. (Photo by Tracy Proffitt – Hickory Crawdads)

The righty went 12-4 for the Crawdads and led the South Atlantic League with a 2.25 ERA. He was a candidate to start the 2014 season in either High-A Myrtle Beach or Frisco. However, things did not go according to that plan.

In the offseason, Sadzeck had “Tommy John” surgery and was unable to pitch in 2014. However, he came back even stronger than ever. His fastball was clocked as fast as 101 miles per hour, according to Baseball America.

On the road to recovery, Sadzeck and his newfound velocity made the journey out west the following year with High-A High Desert in the California League. Two years later and 3,000 miles away from his last stop in Hickory, he experienced many up and downs during 11 games and eight starts with the Mavericks.

“I was feeling it out and learning how to pitch again,” Sadzeck said. “I was throwing a lot harder than I had been, so I was just learning how to pitch with that newfound velocity.”

On the first day of August, Sadzeck received his promotion to the Riders. The highlight of his month with the Riders came on August 20 at Tulsa. Sadzeck pitched six no-hit innings against the Drillers in his only win of the season with Frisco. He threw 88 pitches in the outing before he was relieved, which was his highest pitch count since returning from the surgery.

“Last year, I felt pretty good coming back,” Sadzeck said. “I felt strong last year. I think I had a little stint two starts into the season where the shoulder flared up a little bit, which was normal. But I felt pretty strong throughout the year.”

During the offseason, while pitching with the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, Sadzeck received a call from the Texas Rangers sharing the news that he had been added to the 40-man roster.

“Our pitching coordinator gave me a call in the morning and let me know I was going to be added,” Sadzeck said. “But the toughest part was I couldn’t say anything until it was officially released. It didn’t feel real because I couldn’t share it with anyone for about five hours until it was released. But it was awesome and a great day.”

When the news of Sadzeck’s addition was finally released, the first people he called were his parents. The tight-lipped pitcher had managed to not say a word to anyone, even his mother and father, until it was official.

“I didn’t want to jeopardize anything, so I did not let them know right away,” Sadzeck said. “I know they would be excited and probably tell some people. So I didn’t share it. But I called them first after it was announced, and they were obviously ecstatic.”

Sadzeck was joined on the 40-man roster by many former Riders as well as current pitcher Jose Leclerc. This year, in his second season at the Double-A level, Sadzeck has been focusing on making several adjustments to help improve his skills on the mound.

“So far this year, I have been kind of dialing it back and learning how to stay within my mechanics,” Sadzeck said. “It has been helping me keep the ball in the zone. I am very excited about this year and seeing how I can bounce back a little better down the stretch this year.”

Sadzeck earned a spot on the Rangers 40-man roster and is one of 17 Riders returning from last season

Sadzeck earned a spot on the Rangers 40-man roster and is one of 17 Riders returning from last season.

If his first start was any indication, Sadzeck may be in for another milestone campaign like the one he had three years ago with Hickory. On April 8, Frisco’s second game of the season on the road against Northwest Arkansas, Sadzeck hurled six scoreless innings and only allowed two hits in a win.

Despite only striking out three batters, Sadzeck was extremely efficient on the mound in the start. He only needed 64 pitches to get through his six innings of work, and he also induced a pair of ground-ball double plays.

“I felt like I was just pitching to contact, throwing my fastball over the plate,” Sadzeck said. “The velocity was good and my breaking pitches were effective as well.”

He followed up the impressive first start with another win the following week in the RoughRiders’ second home game at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Sadzeck held the same Naturals to just one run and struck out five batters in his second straight victory.

Sadzeck is currently ranked the No. 27 prospect in the Rangers organization, according to MLB Pipeline. He is one of six players on the RoughRiders roster listed in either MLB Pipeline or Baseball America’s list of the Top 30 Rangers prospects. Although the expectations are even higher this year, Sadzeck believes he is prepared to succeed with the Riders this season.

“I think last year I just put a lot of pressure on myself because I was coming off ‘Tommy John’ surgery, and knew I had the possibility of being added to the 40-man roster,” Sadzeck said. “I added that stress to myself. But this year I can kind of rest easier, knowing that I’m healthy, and I can be a little more relaxed.”

Sadzeck is one of the 17 players returning to the Riders this season, including four of the five pitchers in the starting rotation. This year’s Frisco team begins with a whole lot of veteran experience, as the group continues their quest for a first-half division title, a berth in the Texas League playoffs, and their first league championship since 2004.

Sadzeck (2-0, 0.82 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start of the season tonight at 7:05 against Corpus Christi. Listen online or through the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard).

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: ancient mariner – A poor infielder.

The beginning of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798): “Like the Ancient Mariner, he stoppeth one of three. / By the long gray beard and glittering eye, / Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”

The Mariner detained one of three young men going to a wedding feast and mesmerized him with the story of his youthful experiences at sea.

Bob Edwards (Fridays with Red, 1993, p.45) mentioned a letter from John Bunzel, who attributed the term to Red Barber: “One afternoon he described a game in which the shortstop kicked away two ground balls before making a good play on the third–at which Red declared, ‘Like the Ancient Mariner, he stoppeth one of three!”

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

2016 Riders vs. 2008 Riders

With another victory over Northwest Arkansas last night, the Riders continue to keep pace with the 2008 squad for the best start in team history at 7-1.

2008 RoughRiders:

Date:

4/3 at SPR

4/4 at SPR

4/5 at SPR

4/6 at ARK

4/7 at ARK

4/10 vs. SPR

4/11 vs. SPR

4/12 vs. SPR

Result:

W, 6-3

W, 2-1

W, 7-4 (11)

W, 5-3

W, 8-0

L, 12-5

W, 8-3

W, 4-2

Record:

1-0

2-0

3-0

4-0

5-0

5-1

6-1

7-1

2016 RoughRiders:

Date:

4/7 at NWA

4/8 at NWA

4/9 at NWA

4/10 at ARK

4/11 at ARK

4/12 at ARK

4/14 vs. NWA

4/15 vs. NWA

Result:

W, 2-0

W, 6-3

W, 9-1

W, 6-4 (12)

W, 1-0

L, 6-3

W, 7-3

W, 7-1

Record:

1-0

2-0

3-0

4-0

5-0

5-1

6-1

7-1

There are many similarities in the way the two teams started their season. They both lost their sixth game. They both won three of their first eight games by two runs or less. They both won a road game in extra innings.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the numbers through the first eight games and see how the two teams compare statistically.

Offense:

Batting Average

Runs scored

Home Runs

Extra-base hits

Pitching:

ERA

Strikeouts

Hits Allowed

Walks Issued

Defense:

Errors

Double Plays

2016 Riders:

.272

41

4

28

2016 Riders:

2.07

59

50

30

2016 Riders:

2

12

2008 Riders:

.271

45

8

26

2008 Riders:

3.04

51

61

23

2008 Riders:

4

9

Elvis Andrus was one of 27 players on the 2008 Riders to make it to the big leagues

Elvis Andrus was one of 27 players on the 2008 Riders to make it to the big leagues

Very similar, indeed.

27 of the 57 players who appeared in a game for the RoughRiders in 2008 ended up playing Major League Baseball at some point in their career. Frisco made it to the 2008 Texas League Championship Series but lost to Arkansas in a thrilling five-game series.

If this year’s team continues to follow in the footsteps of their fellow Riders from eight years ago, this will surely be another historic year of baseball at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Greyhound squad – The daily list of players cut from a Major League club’s Spring Training roster, who then presumably leave for their Minor League assignments on Greyhound buses

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm: Rangers Organization Leading Respective Divisions

The RoughRiders have won six of their first seven games and lead the Texas League South division, but they are not the only team in the farm system playing great baseball right now. Every team affiliated with the Rangers, including the big league club, has a winning record and are in first place in their respective divisions.

Texas Rangers (MLB):

Two former Riders, Nomar Mazara and Brett Nicholas, have already made their Major League debuts with the Rangers in the first two weeks of the season. In Mazara’s first five games, he is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with one home run in his first game on April 10. Nicholas has only played in two games, but he is 2-for-8 with a double and two runs scored. The Rangers are tied with the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim for first place in the American League West.

Former Rider Jared Hoying leads the PCL in RBI (12)

Former Rider Jared Hoying leads the PCL in RBI (12)

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Round Rock is currently in first place in the Pacific Coast League American Southern division. The Express have a 5-3 record, including a four-game sweep of the Iowa Cubs in the first series of the season. Joey Gallo (Riders ’14-15 – Rangers No. 1 prospect, MLB Pipeline) is leading the PCL with four home runs, and Jared Hoying (Riders ’12-13) paces the league with 12 RBI.

High Desert Mavericks (High-A):

Travis Demeritte (Rangers No. 19 prospect) is leading the Mavericks’ explosive offense. Demeritte is third in the circuit with a .435 batting average, while posting league-high totals in home runs (5) and runs batted in (9). High Desert is in first place in the California League South division, leading Lake Elsinore and Rancho Cucamonga by one game.

Dillon Tate signs autographs for fans at Spring Training

Dillon Tate signs autographs for fans at Spring Training

Hickory Crawdads (Single-A):

Dillon Tate (No. 4 prospect), the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, picked up his first professional win Thursday. Tate struck out a career-high 10 batters over six shutout innings in Hickory’s 6-1 win over Kannapolis. He held the Intimidators to just four hits, did not walk a batter, and threw 53 of his 65 pitches for strikes. The Crawdads are in first place in the South Atlantic League Northern division with wins in seven of their first eight games.

Stay tuned for more updates from the farm system over the course of the season.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: gopher hunter – A sharply batted ground ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

A Look at the Archives: Riders Home Openers

Last week, prior to the first game of the RoughRiders season at Northwest Arkansas, Ryan wrote a piece about the magic of Opening Day. While Opening Day is certainly something to look forward to, only half the teams in a league actually begin their season at home.

For the other teams, like the Riders this year, Opening Day comes on the road. Sure, there is magic in the air when the players step out on the field for the first time. But it is a different feeling when you are the visitors and not the ones receiving cheers from the crowd.

22324479124_824b59543e_o

Home openers are always special, no matter if they fall on the first game of the year or the ninth. For this year’s Riders, the home opener is scheduled for today after the team won five of six road games to begin the season.

While Frisco’s record on Opening Day is 8-6, their record in home openers is not nearly as pretty. The Riders are 4-9 in the first game at Dr Pepper Ballpark, including a 0-8 mark in home openers after beginning play on the road.

Here is a look at the year-by-year results in home openers at Dr Pepper Ballpark:

April 9, 2015 vs. Arkansas: L, 8-4 (Attendance: 8228)

April 4, 2014 vs. Northwest Arkansas: L, 3-1 (Attendance: 8211)

April 11, 2013 vs. Arkansas: L, 6-3 (Attendance: 9267)

April 12, 2012 vs. Springfield: L, 4-3 (Attendance: 7258)

April 7, 2011 vs. Springfield: W, 6-2 (Attendance: 7150)

April 8, 2010 vs. Springfield: W, 2-1 (Attendance: 8301)

April 16, 2009 vs. Springfield: L, 11-9 (Attendance: 7342)

April 10, 2008 vs. Springfield: L, 12-5 (Attendance: 9771)

April 5, 2007 vs. Arkansas: W, 3-2 (Attendance: 8458)

April 6, 2006 vs. Midland: W, 4-2 (Attendance: 8816)

April 12, 2005 vs. Corpus Christi: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 8723)

April 18, 2004 vs. Tulsa: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 10,773)

April 3, 2003 vs. Tulsa: L, 16-2 (Attendance: 10,685)

The RoughRiders will try to snap their four-game losing streak in home openers when they take the field tonight against the Naturals. Last week, Frisco swept Northwest Arkansas in a three-game series at Arvest Ballpark to begin the season. LHP Frank Lopez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound for the Riders against LHP Matt Strahm (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Naturals.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: four-ribeye steak – synonym of grand slam

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

It’s a RoughRiders World

This week, the initial RoughRiders roster for the 2016 season was announced. The 26 players on the roster come to Frisco from four nations and 12 different states in the U.S. Here is some addition information about the cities each of our players call home.

RoughRidersWorld

Simi Valley, California – Cody Buckel

  • Population: 126,871
  • Fun fact: Home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
  • Notable baseball player: Jered Weaver

San Diego, California – Matt Bush

  • Population: 1,381,069
  • Fun fact: Nicknamed “The Birthplace of California”
  • Notable baseball player: Ted Williams

Henrico, Virginia – Reed Garrett

  • Population: 321,924
  • County surrounding Richmond, VA
  • Fun fact: Home of Richmond International Raceway, home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races twice a year
  • Notable baseball player: Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Juan Grullon, Victor Payano, and Jose Valdespina

  • Population: 1,506,233
  • Capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic
  • Fun fact: Oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas (founded in 1496)
  • Notable baseball player: Albert Pujols

Esperanza, Dominican Republic – Jose Leclerc

  • Population: 70,588
  • Fun fact: One of three municipalities in the Valverde province
  • Notable baseball player: Hector Noesi

San Jose de Guanipa, Venezuela – Frank Lopez

  • Population: 76,914
  • Fun fact: Also known as El Tigrito
  • Notable baseball player: Odubel Herrera (RoughRiders ’13-14)

Easton, Maryland – Adam Parks

  • Population: 16,687
  • Fun fact: Location of the Third Haven Meeting House, the oldest Quaker meeting house
  • Notable baseball player: Harold Baines

Valverde Mao, Dominican RepublicRichelson Pena

  • Population: 106,818
  • Nicknamed “Ciudad de los Bellos Atardeceres” (City of the Beautiful Sunsets)
  • Fun fact: Holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the Dominican Republic (109.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 43 degrees Celsius)
  • Notable baseball player: Pedro Borbon

Crystal Lake, Illinois – Connor Sadzeck

  • Population: 40,743
  • Fun fact: The tradition of giving gold coins to the Salvation Army anonymously began in 1982
  • Notable baseball player: Mike Myers

Ninety Six, South Carolina – Ryne Slack

  • Population: 1,998
  • Fun fact: Origin of the city’s name is a mystery
  • Notable baseball player: Bill Voiselle

Rapid City, South Dakota – Sam Wolff

  • Population: 67,956
  • Fun fact: Known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills” and the “City of Presidents”
  • Notable baseball player: Mark Ellis

Des Moines, Washington – Alex Burg

  • Population: 31,011
  • Fun fact: City was homesteaded by a group from Des Moines, Iowa
  • Notable baseball player: Brandon Mann

West Islip, New York – Pat Cantwell

  • Population: 28,335
  • Fun fact: Situated on the South Shore of Long Island, exactly halfway between Manhattan and Southampton, N.Y. (45 miles from each)
  • Notable baseball player: Nick Tropeano

Langley, British Columbia, Canada – Kellin Deglan

  • Population: 25,081
  • Fun fact: Langley represented Canada in 2011 Little League World Series
  • Notable baseball player: Brett Lawrie

La Vega, Dominican RepublicRonald Guzman

  • Population: 235,698
  • Fun fact: The city was moved to the bank of the Camu River after an earthquake in 1564
  • Notable baseball player: Jonathan Villar

Honolulu, Hawaii – Isiah Kiner-Falefa

  • Population: 390,738
  • Fun fact: Jackie Robinson played football with the Honolulu Bears, a semi-pro, racially integrated team in 1941. Robinson left Honolulu on December 5, two days before the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Notable baseball player: Ron Darling

San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican RepublicLuis Marte

  • Population: 245,397
  • Fun fact: Capital of Duarte province
  • Notable baseball player: Hanser Alberto (RoughRiders ’13-14)

San Juan de los Morros, Venezuela – Luis Mendez

  • Population: 125,347
  • Fun fact: Capital of Guarico state
  • Notable baseball player: Franklin Morales

Licey Al Medio, Dominican RepublicAlberto Triunfel

  • Population: 69,321
  • Fun fact: Santiago’s Cibao International Airport is located here
  • Notable baseball player: Gabriel Arias

Dallas, Texas – Preston Beck

  • Population: 1,281,047
  • Fun fact: Dallas is the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States
  • Notable baseball player: Ernie Banks

Tamarac, Florida – Lewis Brinson

  • Population: 63,793
  • Fun fact: Motto is “The City for your Life!”
  • Notable baseball player: Matt Ford

Stone Mountain, Georgia – Zach Cone

  • Population: 5,802
  • Fun fact: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech includes the line “let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia”
  • Notable baseball player: Brandon Phillips

Orangevale, California – Ryan Cordell

  • Population: 33,960
  • Fun fact: Known for its rolling hills that offer the best views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and its foothills
  • Notable baseball player: Manny Parra

Simpsonville, South Carolina – Joe Jackson

  • Population: 19,056
  • Fun fact: Home of the 2008 Little League Softball Champions
  • Notable baseball player: Red Barbary

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: arm behind the barn – the undiscovered pitching phenom that early scouts were always in search of

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Spring Training Travels Day 6: Baseball Lifers on the Back Fields

This marks the sixth day of the RoughRiders Media Relations Department’s travels at Spring Training in and around Phoenix, Arizona. In this installment, Steve Goldberg tells the story of a RoughRiders fan who has traveled with the Rangers to Spring Training for the past 27 years. All installments can be found here, including Day 1Day 2, Day 3Day 4, and Day 5.

Nathan, Ryan, and I have spent the majority of our week here at Spring Training out on the back fields in Surprise, covering former RoughRiders and other players that will soon be a part of the team.

When you watch a game on the back fields, it is an entirely different experience than taking in the action at the main stadium. There are small crowds of about 50 people made up of mostly players, coaches, a few writers, and a handful of Minor League baseball fans.

Field Watering 2

A groundskeeper waters one of the back fields before a Minor League game in Surprise.

I was watching the Rangers squad play the Royals the other day and encountered a fan sitting next to me who was a Northwest Arkansas Naturals season ticket holder since their inaugural Texas League season in 2008. Every time a former Natural stepped up to bat, she screamed their name and said, “Come on! Hit a home run! It’s your turn now!”

The second day we were here, Ryan and I had just finished talking to Ryan Strausborger when two RoughRiders fans approached us. They introduced themselves and recounted their memories of Strausborger playing at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Sheree Bernstein and her mother Edie are loyal Riders fans and Rangers fans. Sheree, a founder of the Riders Booster Club, has followed the Rangers to Spring Training for the past 27 years and can frequently be seen on the back fields in Surprise watching the Minor League games.

Sheree and her mother Edie have countless Spring Training stories about their experiences with former RoughRiders and Rangers over the years. They are season ticket holders at Dr Pepper Ballpark. As much as they love attending RoughRiders home games, they also enjoy the feeling of watching past, present, and future Riders play on practice fields in front of very small crowds.

After meeting Sheree and Edie, I asked if they would share their Spring Training story with our readers here on the blog. They agreed. The following words are Sheree’s.

I would consider us “baseball lifers”. We might not have played or started life as fans. But somewhere along the way, the game and interest in those that play it, run it, and also love it grabbed a hold. We don’t foresee a time it’s not a big part of our lives.

Sheree Bernstein

Sheree Bernstein watches from her lawn chair as former RoughRider Jurickson Profar awaits the first pitch of his at-bat.

It all began for me when I became an ‘Astros Buddy’ in the mid ‘70s. Going to Astros games in Houston was a way for me to spend quality time with my dad. My love for baseball evolved over time. Mom and I both have spent time as baseball employees. I was an usher, and Mom was a hostess at Dr Pepper Ballpark’s JCPenney Club.

Spring Training has been a big part of our baseball lives for the last 27 years. We started back at the Rangers’ camp in Port Charlotte, Fla., and continued on to the current complex in Surprise. We love the climate, the scenery, the people, and the immersion of baseball for a couple weeks each year.

Mom likes to remember seeing Elvis Andrus when he was young and shy. She has enjoyed seeing him grow into a team leader. Not to mention, he is also an All-Star caliber player.

We love Spring Training so much because it is an opportunity to meet up with friends and get to see the big league team come together up close. We also reacquaint with former players who have already come through Frisco and those that may soon be arriving. We love the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to see the players develop, grow, and mature from one year to the next.

As you can see, Sheree’s passion for baseball is evident. The small handful of fans like Sheree and Edie who attend the Minor League games feel like they are a part of the action on the opposite side of the chain-link fence.

The back fields provide a much more intimate Spring Training setting than the main Surprise Stadium. The “baseball lifers” like Sheree, Edie, and that Northwest Arkansas Naturals fan know that even though the players on the field may not be superstars yet, their opportunity is just a few steps away.

And that, to me, is the most beautiful thing about baseball.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: foozler – a lucky base hit

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

SDCS Game Three Notes: Do or Die


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

A 3-2 win for the Midland RockHounds in game three sets up a must-win scenario for the RoughRiders in game four of the Texas League South Division Championship Series. Click here to read the Game Two recap.

Much has attention has been paid the RoughRiders for their “prospect-packed” roster, and deservedly so. But a pair of prospects on Midland’s veteran-laden lineup have played a key role in the outcome of this series. Daniel Robertson, the number one prospect in the A’s organization, drove in a run in his Double-A debut to give Midland a 1-0 lead. Fellow infielder Matt Chapman, in his first full year of professional baseball, batted 2-for-3 on Friday with two RBI, a double and a back-breaking home run off Alec Asher in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie. Chapman’s home run was a particularly sharp dagger because the ‘Riders had managed to tie the score in the top of the inning.

It’s not like the A’s are stacking Midland’s roster for a playoff push, either. Robertson arrived after his Advanced-A Stockton squad fell in the California League playoffs. He replaces Hiro Nakajima, who broke his wrist in game one at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Chapman, meanwhile, takes the place of Jefry Marte, who was shut down on the final day of the regular season with an oblique injury.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 2/3, R, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SB, SO

Odubel has had a great series with five hits in three games. He also has three RBI, three walks, a double and a home run. The ‘Riders will need him to stay hot to have a chance in game four.

In case you missed it:

-Frisco outhit Midland 9-8.

-The ‘Riders had a chance to score early with men at the corners in the first inning. They stranded both runners and abandoned men on second and third in the seventh with the score knotted at 2-2.

-The RoughRiders scored another unearned run on a throwing error by Max Muncy in the third inning. There has been at least one unearned run scored by either team in all three games of the series.

-Nick Williams has a hit in all three games of the series.

 

Game two starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff shares his thoughts about what went right and what went wrong against the RockHounds in a 6-3 loss on Thursday:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

SDCS Game Two Notes: Balk


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The ‘Riders crashed from their Game One victory high and fell from grace in a hard way. Midland took a grueling game two 6-3 on Thursday as the series shifts to Midland for the next two nights. Click here to read the Game Two recap.

Let’s hope the RoughRiders just needed to get a game like this out of their system. At times, it was flat out ugly. The ‘Riders committed four errors, including three alone on catcher Jorge Alfaro. Midland also drew eight walks and placed a total of 20 men on base (more than two per inning on average).

At that rate, it seemed like the RockHounds constantly had runners in scoring position with their paws on the RoughRiders’ throats. And yet, the game was tied at 3-3 in the ninth when, alas, the ‘Riders lost their composure. Midland scored a run on a wild pitch and another on a balk and really did not have to do a whole lot to take the win away from the ‘Riders. It was given. Furthermore, Jason Wood was ejected after second base umpire, Clay Park charged Erik Hamren with a balk that allowed Jeremy Barfield to score and put the Hounds up 6-3. Afterwards, as Park walked back to his position, he allegedly caught some verbal flak from Odubel Herrera and ejected the RoughRiders’ second baseman as well.

As disappointing as it was to see the ‘Riders unravel, the came out in the bottom of the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs. The RockHounds had to haul their closer Jose Flores out of the bullpen, so the ‘Riders certainly made Midland sweat a bit at the end.

Ultimately, the game was a clunker for the bullpen and did not end on a high note for the starter, Jerad Eickhoff. The righty slogged his way through his first five innings but had grudgingly allowed just one unearned run and stranded six runners on base. But he walked his final batter faced, Matt Chapman, a call-up from Low-A in just his second Double-A game. Eickhoff could not close out the Hounds in the sixth and the bullpen proceeded to blow a 3-1 lead. Ryan Rodebaugh walked the lone man he faced (the nine hitter) and Joseph Ortiz gave up consecutive run-scoring hits and the two-out rally brought Midland right back into the game.

Star of the Game: SS Hanser Albert0 – 2/4, R

Hanser continues to build off a strong end to the regular season. He has three hits in two postseason games with a double, a run and two RBI.

In case you missed it:

-Midland did not hit a ball out of the infield in the ninth inning.

-A total of three balks were charged in the game (two to Frisco).

-The RoughRiders left the bases loaded in the first and the ninth innings.

-Nick Williams has been red hot at the plate in the playoffs, but continues to be a liability in the field. On Thursday, he drove in two runs on a single to left, but was thrown out trying to sneak into second on the back end of the play to end the inning. Nick also dropped a can of corn in center field in the eighth inning. Jake Skole replaced him in the field in the eighth inning.

-After the ‘Riders scored on a suicide squeeze play in game one, Midland answered with a suicide squeeze of its own on Thursday. The Hounds also socred on a safety squeeze by Conner Crumbliss in the sixth inning.

-There has been at least one unearned run in both games of the series.

 

Game one star Odubel Herrera chats about his strong performance in the playoff opener:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

SDCS Game One Notes: ‘Riders Strike First


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

An attack plan of aggressive hitting and baserunning, coupled with sturdy situational pitching, propelled the RoughRiders to a 7-3 win in the opening salvo of the Texas League South Division Championship Series. Click here to read the Game One recap.

Those with a tendency to overreact (guilty) may have grown concerned when the RockHounds put the first two men on base with nobody out in the first. Chi Chi Gonzalez exonerated himself well and picked up three straight outs (good situational pitching) to ferry the game to the bottom of the first when all of a sudden…BANG! The ‘Riders put a six-spot on the board and took control of the game.

Odubel Herrera’s leadoff home run opened the scoring, but Trever Adams turned the tide when he pushed a bunt brilliantly up the third base line. It caught the RockHounds completely off guard in an example of the aggressive hitting tactics employed by Jason Wood’s squad. Joey Gallo then reached on an error by first baseman Hiro Nakajima and Midland suddenly looked rattled. After J.T. Wise bounced out, a wild ball four to Nomar Mazara brought home Adams and the levy broke. The bottom of the order rattled off three straight run-scoring hits and before you could blink, the scoreboard read 6-0 ‘Riders.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 1/3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SO, SAC

He may have been the Texas League batting champion, but few expected Odubel to turn on Nate Long’s 0-2 offering and send it way out of the yard to right field. The native of Zulia, Venezuela only cracked two long balls in the regular season with Frisco, but discovered a pitch in his wheelhouse and delivered the first postseason home run for the RoughRiders.

After the RockHounds chipped away at the lead and made the score 6-2, Odubel came through again on the bunt side of a perfectly executed sacrifice squeeze. It reestablished a five-run advantage for the ‘Riders in the fifth inning and helped discourage any thoughts of a Midland comeback. Odubel helped his team in a multitude of ways at the plate in the form of flashy power and yeoman finesse.

In case you missed it:

-The ‘Riders scored six runs on five hits in the first inning. Five runs scored after Nakajima’s error in the first inning and thus were unearned.

-San Antonio was the last team in the Texas League to score six or more runs in the first inning of a playoff game. The Missions dropped seven run on the RoughRiders in game four of the South Division Championship Series on September 10, 2011.

-The half dozen runs in a single inning is tied for the second-highest run total for the RoughRiders in team history. The ‘Riders also scored six runs in their inaugural season against the Wichita Wranglers on September 4, 2003 in game three of the East Division Championship Series (the divisions were realigned prior to the 2006 season).

-Frisco posted a seven-run fourth inning in game three of the East Division Championship Series against the Tulsa Drillers on September 9, 2004. The ‘Riders would go on to capture their lone Texas League crown later that month.

-Frisco batted around in the first inning and sent ten men to the plate.

-The RoughRiders racked up all eight of their hits in the first three innings…

-…But that didn’t stop the ‘Riders from scoring in the fifth. In an impressive display of small ball, Nick Williams drew a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hanser Alberto. A throwing error on third baseman Max Muncy allowed Alberto to take two bases and move Williams down to third. Jason Wood boldly called for a sacrifice squeeze and Herrera dropped the bunt right into no man’s land between home plate and the mound. Williams bolted home and scored before the RockHounds even fielded the bunt. It was another unearned run for the ‘Riders.

-Midland first baseman Hiro Nakajima was injured on the Alberto sacrifice and left the game in the fifth inning. Nakajima reached to his left to reel in a wide throw from Muncy at third when his extended arm was clipped by Alberto as he raced to beat the throw. Chad Oberacker replaced Nakajima at first for the rest of the game.

-Midland’s last chance came in the eighth inning. Will Lamb, who pitched a flawless seventh, ran into trouble when Kenny Wilson tripled to start the frame. Lamb then walked Muncy, which brought Josh McElwee out of the bullpen. McElwee allowed an RBI single to Kent Matthes and then walked Jeremy Barfield to reload the bases. Uh oh. But in the finest example of situational pitching last night, McElwee retired the next three batters in order to strand the bases full and hold the Hounds to just one run in the frame. McElwee suddenly turned the corner when he struck out Dusty Coleman on three pitches. D’Arby Myers popped out to short on the second pitch of his at-bat and Oberacker went down swinging to retire the side. McElwee ended the inning on eight straight strikes and flashed a very impressive slider that fooled Midland considerably.

-Jake Skole replaced Nick Williams in center field for the ninth inning.

 

Double-barrel action in the bullpen today featuring Jason Wood and Wednesday’s starter Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers