Results tagged ‘ Texas League ’

Maintaining a lawn like the pros: Part one

DSC_0349When you think summer activities, you think beautiful green lawns.  Baseball at Dr Pepper Ballpark is no exception, as the pristine condition of the field almost makes you want to invest in a new lawn mower. A beautiful field only enhances the experience on game day.

David Bicknell (or “Diamond Dave, as he’s affectionately known around the ballpark!) is the Head Groundskeeper responsible for the stunning sight that greets people as they arrive at Dr Pepper Ballpark. This field requires his attention to detail in order to be flawless or play might be affected. Infielders require a smooth, even playing surface that will give them clean hops on ground balls; that can sometimes mean the difference between a force out or an error late in a one-run ballgame.

Bicknell says that “Some players will have a desire to have their area a special way but a lot of players want it to be in a pretty standard condition. That allows them to make the plays confidently.”

The average home owner in DFW doesn’t have to consider as many details when caring for their lawn, but there are still many pain points in the spring and early summer season: Why is lawn care important? How do I maintain my lawn?  What will hurt my lawn?  Unless you’re a lawn care expert, those questions can be challenging to answer.  Fortunately, the RoughRiders very own lawn expert is here to help!

In this first of a two-part series, Bicknell provides us with some tips that any homeowner can use to service and care for their lawn, even in the north Texas heat.  Today we’ll focus on some of the techniques involved in lawn maintenance:

  1. To encourage good rooting and healthy turf, remember to water your lawn deeply and infrequently, preferably 1-2 long watering cycles each week during summer months.
  1. For a dense carpet like turf, be sure to mow your lawn with a sharp mulching blade at least once per week during the growing season, making sure not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.

In part two of our series, we’ll cover some of the key products to keep a healthy, green lawn.  In the meantime, if you just want to avoid the work and costs of lawn care altogether, The Home Depot and Scotts, proud partners of the Frisco RoughRiders, have the solution for you: free lawn care for life in the Mow ‘em Down Inning!

This season, the RoughRiders will pick one lucky contestant to be eligible to win free lawn care for life at a select RoughRiders home game.  At that game, one inning will be designated as the Mow ‘em Down Inning.  If a RoughRiders pitcher “mows down” three batters in a row by striking them all out to start the inning, the contestant will win free lawn care for life!

To enter, visit your nearest north Dallas area Home Depot, look for the Scotts Green Max display in the home and garden section, and sign-up for your chance to win free lawn care for life, along with other great RoughRiders prizes! Be sure to check out the list of participating locations and contest rules for your chance to enter.

Lawn_care_for_life_MW

Baseball term of the day: Grasser: A sharply hit ground ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Frisco vs. Corpus Christi

Currently, the RoughRiders are just half of a game behind Corpus Christi in the Texas League South Division standings. However, Frisco had sole possession of first place with the best record in the division for 54 straight days before the Hooks leaped ahead.

These are two very competitive teams who have taken completely different routes to get to their current spots in the standings. With just a handful of games remaining in the first half, let’s take a look at how Frisco and Corpus Christi reached the positions they are in today.

Frisco-Corpus by Date

Despite recently slipping below Corpus Christi in the standings, the Riders still have a chance to control their own fate in the South Division with five remaining first-half matchups against the Hooks. The five-game series will take place at Dr Pepper Ballpark from June 15-18.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: yodeler – The third base coach, especially a noisy one who may be trying to unnerve the pitcher or who shouts instructions to the runner on second base.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Springfield (6/4/16)

GAME #53
Frisco RoughRiders (31-21) vs. Springfield Cardinals (29-25)
Saturday, June 4 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
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This series: Game 2 of 3 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 5 of 12 (Cardinals lead, 3-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Luis Mendez – SS
  2. Lewis Brinson – CF
  3. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  4. Ryan Cordell – LF
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Joe Jackson – DH
  7. Alex Burg – C
  8. Zach Cone – RF
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 3B

LHP Yohander Mendez (1-0, 2.70 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday vs. Springfield (W, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Rangers Minor League Infield Coordinator Kenny Holmberg (part two)

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Springfield at Dr Pepper Ballpark…RONALD GUZMAN led the way for the Riders, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run and the decisive RBI double in the seventh inning…After falling behind 1-0 in the first on a Harrison Bader home run, the RoughRiders lost leads of 2-1 and 5-2, but quickly regained the advantage both times…JOSE VALDESPINA picked up the win after working 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, and ADAM PARKS notched his fourth save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth.

REHABBERS KEEP RIDING THROUGH FRISCO:
Rangers outfielder SHIN-SOO CHOO joined the RoughRiders on a Major League rehabilitation assignment Friday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Choo was the latest in a long string of big leaguers that have rehabbed with the RoughRiders this season.  Already, the Riders have welcomed right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH, outfielder JOSH HAMILTON, and catchersCHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS.

LOOKING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME:
With Frisco’s recent eight-game losing streak and Corpus Christi’s four-game win streak, the Riders are in second place in the South Division for the first time all season. They shared the top spot with Corpus Christi and Midland on the first day of the year but held sole possession of first place for the next 54 days. The Riders still have a chance to control their own fate in the South Division though, with five remaining first-half matchups against the Hooks and six more against third-place Midland.

NORTH DIVISION WOES:
Even with their win against Springfield Friday, the RoughRiders are still struggling against North Division foes, holding a 10-9 record against the four teams from up north. Six of the 10 wins are against Northwest Arkansas, while the Riders have struggled against the other three teams. In 13 games against Springfield, Tulsa, and Arkansas (4-9), the Riders are averaging just 2.9 runs per game. They only have two remaining first-half matchups against the North, both of which come against Springfield this weekend.

ALL KINDS OF CLOSE CALLS:
The RoughRiders have consistently found themselves in close games over the last few weeks. Eight of the last 10 games (2-8) have been decided by three runs or fewer, including three one-run games. On the season, 40 of Frisco’s 52 games have been decided by three or fewer, and the Riders have played in 18 one-run games (10-8), tied for the most in the Texas League.

BECK BUSTING OUT:
Riders outfielder PRESTON BECK has become a key contributor for the Riders over the last few weeks. Beck has reached base in 15 of his last 16 games and had his 14-game on-base streak snapped Wednesday vs. Tulsa. In that stretch, he had a six- and seven-game hit streak. Over the last 16 games, Beck his hitting .344 (4th best in the Texas League), with a double, two triples, two home runs, and nine RBI. He also sports a .385 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .525 in that span.

STARTERS STAYING STRONG:
SAM WOLFF’s 4.2 innings Friday marked the shortest start since in 17 games for the RoughRiders, but starting pitching continues to excel in that 17-game span. Starting pitchers have lasted at least six innings in six of those games, including five quality starts. No starters have allowed more than four earned runs in this recent stretch. In total, starters have combined for an ERA of 3.24 (34 ER / 94.1 IP) in that span.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
On May 19, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

ROARING RONALD GUZMAN:
Riders first baseman RONALD GUZMAN has gotten off to a  torrid start this season, most recently accentuated by his 3-for-4 performance Friday vs. Springfield. The slugger put together the first two-homer game of his career Saturday night, and his season-high nine game hitting streak ended Sunday. During the run, Guzman hit .400 (14-for-35) with five extra-base hits (2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) and 3 RBI. Guzman leads the team with 19 multi-hit games in 2016, his first year at the Double-A level.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (41), runs (40), doubles (T-1st, 14), and extra-base hits (28). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (3rd, .319), home runs (T-4th, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .592), and triples (T-2nd, 4).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:
Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have been 111 multi-hit performances out of a possible 468 lineup spots (23.7%). 28 of the 111 multi-hit performances (25.2%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 19 multi-hit games, including his 3-for-4 performance Friday vs. Springfield. Guzman is one of four players on the squad to have at least 10 multi-hit games this season.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 124-90 (.579), which is the third-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland and New York (AL). Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 33-22, Class A Hickory is 31-23, and Triple-A Round Rock is 29-24. Round Rock was ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis earlier this season.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders roster includes eight players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in the Texas 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. LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, 11),EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23),RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Texas’ top 30 prospects.

OPPOSING STARTER:
26-year-old Corey Baker makes the start against the RoughRiders tonight. The righty, in his fourth season with Springfield, has spent a large majority of his career coming out of the bullpen (124 of 160 career appearances have come in relief). This season, all 10 outings have come in a starter’s role. Baker, whose final five appearances last year were also starts, started the year 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA over the course of his first five starts, but is 0-3 with a 8.41 ERA in his last five games. His most recent start lasted just 1/3 of an inning after surrendering five runs (three earned) in a loss Tuesday at Midland. He makes his sixth career appearance (third start) against the RoughRiders tonight. He holds a 1-1 record with a career 6.14 ERA against Frisco, and his ERA at Dr Pepper Ballpark is 7.27 (7 ER / 8.2 IP).

 

May by the numbers

1 – Player promoted directly from Frisco to the Major Leagues (Matt Bush)

2 – Series sweeps (at San Antonio and Midland)

3Yu Darvish rehabilitation starts with the Riders

4 – Luis Ortiz‘s MLBPipeline.com ranking (added to the Riders roster on May 20)

5 – Home runs for Cordell (team-high)

6 – Comeback wins

– Wins over San Antonio

8 – RBI against Midland’s Trey Cochran-Gill (he is 0-3 in three relief appearances vs. Frisco)

– One-run games

10 – Margin of victory in an 11-1 win over San Antonio on May 23 (team-high)

13 – Strikeouts for Victor Payano on May 3 at San Antonio

14 – Extra-base hits for Ronald Guzman (team-high)

15 – Longest game (innings), Riders beat Midland 11-8 on May 17

17 – Ryan Cordell‘s Texas League-best hit streak (ended May 2)

18 – RBI for Cordell (team-high)

19 – Runs scored by Cordell (team-high)

37 – Cordell’s MiLB-best on-base streak (ended May 19)

42,767 – Largest crowd over a four-day period in team history (May 20-23)

11,842 – Largest crowd at Dr Pepper Ballpark (May 1), also the fourth-largest crowd in team history

050116 Darvish, Yu (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: second guesser – One who habitually criticizes the players and their manager for specific actions. “The second guessers can always make the best guess” (Ty CobbBusting ‘Em and Other Big League Stories, 1914; Peter Morris)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Tulsa (DH, 6/1/16)

GAME #50
Frisco RoughRiders (30-19) vs. Tulsa Drillers (25-24)
Wednesday, June 1 – Game one starts at 5:05
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Game one / Game two
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This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 4 of 12 (Drillers lead, 3-0)

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Connor Sadzeck makes the start for the RoughRiders in game one.

FRISCO LINEUP (Game one)

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Robinson Chirinos – C
  3. Ryan Cordell – LF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Evan Van Hoosier – 2B
  6. Preston Beck – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 3B
  9. Luis Mendez – SS

RHP Connor Sadzeck (5-1, 3.56)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at Springfield (L, 4-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Cody Palmquist

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Frisco’s series opener with the Tulsa Drillers last night was postponed to today due to rain…On Sunday, in the series finale with Tulsa, the Riders allowed a two-run homer in the first and never had a lead in a 4-1 loss to the Springfield Cardinals in the series finale Sunday afternoon…The only run for the Riders came on PRESTON BECK’s solo home run in the fourth inning…All five Riders runs in the series against Springfield came on homers…LUIS ORITZ (5.0 IP) allowed three runs and took the loss in his second start with Frisco, despite only giving up four hits…CODY PALMQUIST’s streaks of 19 straight batters retired and 12 consecutive scoreless innings both came to an end.  Frisco has lost six straight games, the longest drought of the season

NORTH DIVISION WOES:
After a 9-1 start to the season against North Division opponents, the RoughRiders have been on a skid against teams from the Texas League’s other division. Frisco has lost eight consecutive games against the North, with the last win coming in the first game of a home series against Arkansas on April 18 and 19. The Riders play their next six games against the North Division with Springfield coming to town on Friday after the current series with Tulsa concludes.

HEARTBREAK AWAY FROM HOME:
On the last six-game road trip, the Riders lost all six games, three of which were come-from-behind wins by Tulsa and Springfield. Two games in the last series with the Cardinals were lost in the final turn at-bat by Springfield, including Saturday night’s walk-off loss. The current six-game losing skid is the longest of the year, and the six losses have all come by three runs or fewer for a combined total of 12 runs.

SCORING POSITION STRUGGLES:
A big component of Frisco’s issues scoring runs on the last road trip was the club’s failure to hit with runners in scoring position. The Riders were just 4-for-36 (.111) hitting with runners in scoring position on the road trip, and the club is 1-for-its-last-24 (.042) in such at-bats. They came into the trip hitting .322 (125-for-388) and are now hitting .304 for the year.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY:
After going 15 games between quality starts, Riders starting pitchers have posted four quality starts in their last eight outings, which includes a rehab start from YU DARVISH. However, during this run of eight starts, the Riders are just 2-6. Additionally, losses last Tuesday and Thursday were the first losses this year when the Riders got a quality start (12-2).

ROARING RONALD GUZMAN:
Riders first baseman RONALD GUZMAN continues his torrid season. The slugger put together the first two-homer game of his career Saturday night, and his a season-high nine game hitting streak just ended Sunday. During the run, Guzman hit .400 (14-for-35) with five extra-base hits (2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) and 3 RBI. Of the nine games during the streak, four were multi-hit games, including a three hit-game on Monday against the San Antonio Missions.

TRIO OF RIDERS EARN MONTHLY HONORS:
On May 19, three Riders were awarded monthly honors by the Rangers. RYAN CORDELL earned Player of the Month honors, while ISIAH KINER-FALEFA was named Defender of the Month. Left-hander RYNE SLACK garnered the Reliever of the Month award.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
The RoughRiders have had the best record in team history at almost every point this season. With six straight losses, however, the 30-19 record is now three games back of the 2008 RoughRiders who were 33-16 through 49 games. The 2008 squad finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Frisco outfielder RYAN CORDELL has been one of the best offensive players in the league thus far. In addition to an impressive, league-best 37-game on-base streak earlier this year, he also leads the Texas League in numerous categories. The Riders outfielder tops the Texas League in RBI (40), runs (39), doubles (13), and extra-base hits (26). Cordell is also on the leaderboard in average (5th, .315), home runs (T-4th, 10), slugging percentage (3rd, .586), and triples (T-2nd, 3).

MULTI-HIT MADNESS:
Multi-hit performances have become a consistent trend up and down the Riders lineup this year. There have already been 108 multi-hit performances out of a possible 441 lineup spots (24.5%). 27 of the 108 multi-hit performances (25.0%) are with three or more hits. RONALD GUZMAN leads the Riders with 18 multi-hit games and is one of four players to have at least 10 games with two or more hits.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate with a winning record. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 118-84 (.584), which is the third-best winning percentage among all Minor League systems behind Cleveland and New York (AL). Every full-season affiliate in the organization has a record above .500, as Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 31-21, Class A Hickory is 29-21, and Triple-A Round Rock is 28-23. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

TOP OF THE CLASS:
The RoughRiders roster includes eight players ranked on either the MLBPipeline.com and/or Baseball America Rangers Top 30 Prospects list. 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. LUIS ORTIZ (No. 4 in MLBPipeline.com, No. 4 in BA) is the highest-ranked pitching prospect on the squad. Aside from Brinson and Ortiz, YOHANDER MENDEZ (13, 24), RYAN CORDELL (14, 11),EVAN VAN HOOSIER (18, 23),RONALD GUZMAN (22, 29), SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26) rank among Rangers top 30 prospects.

OPPOSING STARTER:
GAME ONE: Brock Stewart was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of Illinois State University. After struggling in 18 games, 12 starts with Rancho Cucamonga last year, he returned to the Quakes and went 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts to begin this season. Stewart was quickly promoted to Tulsa, where he has allowed just six earned runs over 43 1/3 innings pitched. His father, Jeff, is a scout for the San Diego Padres. REPERTOIRE: Fastball, Changeup, Slider…GAME TWO: Today’s starter Scott Barlow is off to a great start with the Drillers through his first eight games this season, posting an ERA of just 1.93, second in the Texas League among qualifying starting pitchers. After his first professional season, Barlow missed the entire 2012 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The righty was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of Golden Valley High School in California…Repertoire: fastball in the low 90s, a curveball in the low 70s, a changeup in the low 80s, and a 78-82 mph slider.

South Division set for frantic race to the finish

June is here. Whether it feels like it’s already here or it’s finally here, the start of the year’s sixth month marks the beginning of the stretch run to the end of the first half.

Here’s a look at the South Division standings as we enter play today.

TEAM W L WIN % GB
Frisco 30 19 .612
Corpus Christi 30 20 .600 0.5
Midland 26 24 .520 4.5
San Antonio 16 34 .320 14.5

San Antonio is pretty much out of it, but the other three teams have a very legitimate shot of claiming the first-half crown and one of the two playoff spots from the South Division come September.

Corpus Christi was about as impressive in May as the Riders were in April. The Hooks finished the month 21-8, including a 6-0 record against the RoughRiders. Even as some of their stars get promoted to Triple-A or sent to the disabled list, the Hooks haven’t seemed to lose a beat. The Riders face off with Corpus Christi for their final five games of the first half June 15-18 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. At this rate, it looks like that series could go a long way in determining the first-half champion.

Of course, you can’t count out Midland yet either. The RockHounds have had an up-and-down kind of season up to this point, but still remain in striking distance of first place. Midland pitching continues to struggle, with the team ERA of 4.17 ranking second-to-last in the Texas League. That said, the bats are strong enough to keep them in the race. What’s hurt Midland most has been the loss of key contributors to Triple-A, including Ryon Healy, Jaycob Brugman, Aaron Kurcz, and Daniel Mengden. The Riders play their final two games of the first half in Midland, plus four other games in Frisco next week. If they can stay in the race, those series could also mean a lot toward deciding the first-half championship.

It’s hard to say if this will be a two- or three-horse race down the stretch, but either way, it should be a fun month of June in the South Division in the quest for a first-half title.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Put a new handle on it – Time-tested advice given to a player who has just broken his bat.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Palmquist making the most of opportunity in Frisco

PalmquistAll Cody Palmquist could do was wait for an opportunity. The right-handed pitcher opened the season in Extended Spring Training, but when Richelson Pena was placed on the Temporary Inactive List on April 23, an opportunity arose in Frisco.

Palmquist joined the RoughRiders that day in Corpus Christi, not knowing how long he would be with the team. Aside from a one-day spurt when he was transferred back to Extended Spring Training, he’s been with the team ever since, and has thrived out of the Riders bullpen.

The righty didn’t take long to experience a pressure situation, making his Riders debut on April 29 against Corpus Christi, working the final two innings and earning the win against the Hooks. In the ninth inning, with the Riders up 8-7, and worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam to preserve the victory. In total, he opened the season with 12 2/3 scoreless innings, and at one point, retired 19 straight men across a couple relief outings. Through his first seven outings, he’s 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and one save.

“He’s been pounding the strike zone really well,” said Frisco pitching coach Brian Shouse. “He hasn’t shown that he’s spooked or anything out there. He’s been attacking the hitters.”

Shouse worked with Palmquist last season, when the two were with the Class A-Short Season Spokane Indians. Palmquist says the familiarity with Shouse has made his first stint in full-season baseball even easier.

“It helps a lot when you have a coach, a familiar face, someone that knows your strengths and weaknesses, and knows how to fix things when you’re not doing too well,” said the right-hander.

Shouse says he sees a lot of similarities, but also improvements, in Palmquist’s game compared to his time in Spokane, helping the 22-year-old succeed out of the gates in Double-A.

“It’s fabulous for him,” said Shouse. “It’s great for the work that he’s put in in the offseason and Spring Training and the patience that he he’s had to just wait for something to happen. He’s taken advantage of it and it’s been great for him.”

As for Palmquist, he’s not certain how much longer he’ll be here. It could be another day, a week, a month, or he may not leave at all. However, the uncertainty hasn’t changed the mentality he’s utilized since joining the Riders.

“Just live every day and pitch every day like it’s my last day and my last game,” said Palmquist. “I have nothing to lose, so go out there and give it all I’ve got.”

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Palm ball – An off-speed pitch in which the ball is gripped between the pitcher’s thumb and little finger and held near the base of the three middle fingers (the palm ) that lie slightly curved around the ball. It is released with a fastball motion by “pushing” the ball as it floats out of the hand.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Ballpark Bio: Hammons Field (Springfield)

IMG_3954

Today marks part three of a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 12, 2005 (Missouri State University, which also uses the park, began playing here in 2004)
Capacity: 6,750
Dimensions: LF – 315, CF – 400, RF – 330

We’re 225 miles down the road from St. Louis, but we’re still very much in Cardinals country this weekend here at Hammons Field in Springfield. It’s a ballpark that has a more traditional feel to it than some of the other ballparks in the league, and the vibe here has been great.

It’s a park that seems to be fueled by its fans, many of whom also root for the other Cardinals a little bit northwest of here. Yesterday, we saw a handful of people camped outside the stadium gates five hours before first pitch so that they could make sure they got one of the giveaway replica championship rings they were handing out here. That’s dedication. When the Cardinals rallied for victory last night, many of the 5,000+ fans in the park were still there and were locked in to the action.

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The folks in Springfield know the way to this baseball fan’s heart.

My favorite feature of this ballpark is definitely the hand-operated, out-of-town scoreboard behind the left field wall. If you don’t already know it, now’s the time to tell you that I’m a sucker for hand-operated scoreboards. I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on why I love them so much, but I think it’s a neat vintage feature, especially in an era where ballparks are constantly evolving.

One of the other cool aspects of this park is the batter’s eye, which is not just a giant wall/screen. Instead, it’s an area with a handful of trees, flowers, and other plants. In some ways, it’s somewhat like the large garden beyond the centerfield fence at Denver’s Coors Field. Here at Hammons Field, the batter’s eye isn’t just a nice change of pace, but it adds a lot of aesthetic value to the stadium. (Plus, as someone that grew up in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a reminder of home.)

IMG_3968

The batter’s eye at Hammons Field is pretty unique.

It may not have a Choctaw Lazy River or something else exotic like that, but Hammons Field still has plenty to like. Plus, when the dedicated fans pack the place, the atmosphere is pretty special.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming in June from Midland’s Security Bank Ballpark, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Hoopdy scoop – A curveball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riders Alumni Report: New faces in the Majors

So far this season, six former Riders have made Major League debuts. On today’s edition of the Riders Insider Blog, we check in on their progress.

Nomar Mazara

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 40 games – .325/.368/.500, 8 HR, 21 RBI

Since making his Major League debut at the beginning of the season, Mazara has become an everyday starter for the Rangers in right field. He is one of just two players on the team hitting above the .300 mark and his eight home runs are tied with Adrian Beltre for the team lead. His latest home run was a monstrous 491-foot home run Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Brett Nicholas

Promoted on: April 10

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 10 games – .257/.333/.543, 2 HR, 4 RBI

In addition to promoting Mazara on April 10, the Rangers also called up former Riders catcher Nicholas. He served well as a backup catcher in nearly a month with the big league club before being optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock on May 4. Since re-joining the Express, Nicholas has had nine multi-hit games and three 3-RBI games. In 20 games with the Express this season, he has a .329 batting average, which is on pace to set a new career-high for the catcher.

Cody Ege

Promoted on: April 24

Team: Miami Marlins

MLB Stats: 5 relief appearances, 0-0, 12.00 ERA (4 ER in 3.0 IP), 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K

Ege was shipped to Miami along with former Riders catcher Tomas Telis at the trade deadline last July in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson. Ege was promoted to the big leagues at the end of April, and spent a week and a half with the Marlins. He was optioned back to Triple-A New Orleans on May 2 and is currently on the temporary inactive list.

Matt Bush

Promoted on: May 13

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 7 relief appearances, 1-0, 1.17 ERA (1 ER in 7.2 IP), 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Bush was promoted directly from the RoughRiders to the Rangers right before the Riders began a four-game road series in Corpus Christi earlier this month. Since arriving in Texas, Bush has made a major impact coming out of the bullpen. He did not allow a run until his sixth outing Tuesday against the Angels.

Jared Hoying

Promoted on: May 23

Team: Texas Rangers

MLB Stats: 3 games – .000/.200/.000, 1 BB, 2 K

Hoying was called up to join the Rangers prior to the first game of this week’s series Monday against the Angels. He has yet to get a hit, but he reached base on an error in his first at-bat Monday and drew a walk Tuesday.

Richard Bleier

Promoted on: May 26

Team: New York Yankees

MLB Stats: N/A

Bleier joined the Yankees for the series finale Thursday afternoon against Toronto and traveled with the team for their weekend series in Tampa Bay. Although he has made an appearance for the Bronx Bombers yet, he is set to become the 144th former RoughRiders to play in a Major League game.

Bleier

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: front-and-backer – A perfect strike through the plate.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Ballpark Bio: ONEOK Field (Tulsa, OK)

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Today marks the second installment in a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 8, 2010
Capacity: 7,833
Dimensions: LF – 330, CF – 400, RF – 307

The plot of land upon which Tulsa’s ONEOK Field rests is not all that large, but the Drillers do a great job of maximizing the space they have to work with.

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With no backstop behind home plate, fans get a very intimate feel with the action.

One of the first things that struck me about the park is its orientation. Unlike most parks (including Dr Pepper Ballpark) which face North, ONEOK Field faces South. As a result, fans (and broadcasters) are lent a great view of the skyline in nearby downtown.

Inside the park, it’s been a very intimate feel, thanks to the fact that the park sits on only about seven acres. The seats are very close to the field, and the way they curve in near the foul poles makes it feel even more intimate.

Another things that’s stood out to me here is the fact that there is no backstop behind the plate (although there is a net), very similar to Dodger Stadium, home of the Drillers’ parent club.

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The left field terrace looks like a great place to watch a game with a large group.

It helps add to that intimate feel, and the tables to the left side of the area by the backstop look like a great place to enjoy a meal with a view.

In the outfield, I was immediately fascinated by the terrace seating that makes up most of the seating area behind the left field wall. With rows of picnic tables, it seems like a great place to bring a group, while having a great view of the field at the same time.

The game atmosphere in Tulsa has been great the first few nights. Furthermore, this team has done a great job of creating an enjoyable experience without the need of all kinds of attractions.

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With tight spacing in the RF corner, there’s not much foul territory to work with.

That’s not to say I don’t like ballparks with fun attractions (see my review of Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field for reference), but it’s cool to see a team keep things relatively simple and still put on a great show.

All in all, there may not be a heap of room to work with on a great plot of land near downtown Tulsa, but I’ve been impressed by how well it’s been put to use.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming this weekend from Hammons Field in Springfield, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Beany – Said of a player who is a bit off mentally, a condition attributed to being hit by a ball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball DictionaryIMG_3938 (1)

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