Bull Durham, The Musical

by A.J. Coltrane

Here at CSE we love Bull Durham enough that we have multiple pets named for characters in the movie.

The next (and first) CSE road trip to New York will need to include Bull Durham, The Musical:

From MiLB.com:

…Bull Durham, the iconic 1988 comedy from Minor Leaguer-turned-Hollywood director Ron Shelton, is being made into a musical. The production, adapted for the stage by Shelton, is set to premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in September 2014 in advance of a Broadway run.

The link includes an interview with Ron Shelton.

Next on the road trip docket — Harry Potter On Ice!

Actually, no. I’m not travelling to New York to see that when it happens.

Tossing a Ball to the Fans

By Blaidd Drwg

The River City Rascals of the independent Frontier League, instituted and then reversed a rather interesting policy concerning players and coaches tossing balls into the stands.

From ESPN.com (this is the entire piece):

A unique policy devised by a baseball club in the independent Frontier League was quickly reversed after commenters on social media panned the move.

The club, the River City Rascals, which plays in O’Fallon, Missouri, posted a sign in its home dugout that said that, as of yesterday, players and coaches would be charged for throwing balls into the stands.

“Players and coaches will now be fined $5 for each ball that is tossed into the stands,” the sign read. “We ask that you return every ball back to the dugout, including at the end of innings and games.”

The notice warned team personnel that the $5 would be taken directly out of their paycheck and that it was ownership’s wishes that this was not discussed with fans.

But after negative reaction over taking away a common fan friendly practice filled Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday night, a club official acknowledged it reversed course by the morning.

“We have reversed it, but won’t be discussing it any further at ownership’s request,” said the team’s general manager Dan Dial.

The 14 Teams in the Frontier League have a $75,000 salary cap for a 24-man roster, which means players are earning as little as $600 and as much as $1,600 a month. They are subsidized with meal money and free housing.

I know that independent teams operate on a shoestring budget, but that is beyond silly. Did they think that this was the 1910’s, not the 2010’s, where games would routinely use the same ball for the whole game?

Box Score Mania – Hops win in 19!

By Blaidd Drwg

On July 7th, the Hillsboro Hops and Vancouver Canadians played a single game double header plus, going 19 innings in just a hair under 5 and a half hours. You can view the box score here.

The most interesting thing in the game, as told by Rich Burk’s Blog:

Hops outfielders recorded only two putouts in the 19 innings, both by center fielder Taylor Ratliff. Left fielder Jordan Parr fielded four Vancouver base hits, and Ratliff fielded two (their only other hit was a bunt single). Hops right fielder Zach Esquerra never touched the ball in 19 innings.

Amazing that in a game where the opponents had 70 plate appearances, the right fielder did not touch an in-play ball a single time in 19 innings. Just amazing.

"…And It Feels Alright…"

By Blaidd Drwg

This isn’t really that interesting a story, but I found it to be rather cool that Mariners scout, Alex Smith, made an appearance in Bull Durham without knowing it for 25 years.

As it turns out, a real-world baseball card, Smith’s 1987 Durham Bulls ProCards release, got some screen time as a bookmark used by Annie Savoy as she decided to read Walt Whitman poetry to Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.

And Smith, now the Northeast Scouting Supervisor for the Seattle Mariners, had no idea.
“I received your message, ironically on my birthday,” said Smith, who turned 50 on Monday. “What a unique, interesting gift to find out my baseball card was used in the movie. Never knew that! My initial thoughts? Pretty cool!”

Oh, the real reason for this post is to just include my favorite song from the movie: “I Got Loaded” by Los Lobos.

“…And It Feels Alright…”

By Blaidd Drwg

This isn’t really that interesting a story, but I found it to be rather cool that Mariners scout, Alex Smith, made an appearance in Bull Durham without knowing it for 25 years.

As it turns out, a real-world baseball card, Smith’s 1987 Durham Bulls ProCards release, got some screen time as a bookmark used by Annie Savoy as she decided to read Walt Whitman poetry to Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.

And Smith, now the Northeast Scouting Supervisor for the Seattle Mariners, had no idea.
“I received your message, ironically on my birthday,” said Smith, who turned 50 on Monday. “What a unique, interesting gift to find out my baseball card was used in the movie. Never knew that! My initial thoughts? Pretty cool!”

Oh, the real reason for this post is to just include my favorite song from the movie: “I Got Loaded” by Los Lobos.

Minor League Baseball Returns to PDX

By Blaidd Drwg

Minor league teams have a habit of coming up with some interesting names. Currently, you have the Winston-Salem Dash, the Kannapolis Intimidators, Mahonig Valley Scrappers, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (I love that name) and Lansing Lug Nuts, just to name a few.

For the 2013 season, minor league baseball is coming back to the Portland area in the form of the Hillsboro Hops. The logo?

Nothing like combining two of my favorite things; baseball and beer. I might be buying myself one of their hats when they are finally available. On an interesting side note, the Hops replace the Bears in the NW league. The humor of this – Yakima is actually the largest hops producing region in the country. Oregon, specifically the Willamette Valley (close to Hillsboro), is second.

The Bad News Bears

By Blaidd Drwg

It is possible that the Newark Bears had these guys in the field for a recent game against the Capitales. It is independent minor league baseball afterall.

The good news: Newark Bears pitcher Mike Ness tossed a no-hitter and won 3-0 against the first place Quebec Capitales.

The bad news: The Newark Bears defense committed 6 errors in the game.

Yes, it is the Can-Am league and yes, neither team is loaded with major league talent, but 6 errors are inexcusable in a professional game (especially when 2 of your coaches are Ken Oberkfell and Tim Raines). The amazing part is the Capitales didn’t manage to score a run in the game, considering the Bears committed 3 errors in the 3rd inning (stranding a runner on 3rd). Also interesting was that the 6 errors were committed by 5 different players, with only the Bears 3B Tucker Nathans committing 2 errors.

The Second Coming of Billy Hamilton

By Blaidd Drwg

Alexander Hamilton, not to be confused with either of the Billy Hamiltons, Vince Coleman or Rickey Henderson, getting ready to demonstrate his stolen base technique.

In case you don’t know who Billy Hamilton was, he was a speedy outfielder who played from 1888-1901, and depending on whose numbers you go by, stole somewhere between 750 and 900 bases in his career and happens to be a Hall of Famer. Billy Hamilton is also a 21 year old speedy infielder, currently in the Reds minor league system at class A Bakersfield.

Why do I mention this? Well, the current incarnation has plenty in common with his predecessor. (And no, I can’t find any evidence they are related). Last year at Class A Dayton, Billy Hamilton Mark 2 stole 103 bases in 123 attempts in 135 games. This season, Hamilton has stolen 101 bases in 122 attempts in just 80 games. Considering his pace, he can pass the “modern” minor league stolen base mark (since 1962) of 145 set by Vince Coleman (more on him in a minute) back in 1983. Hamilton probably has a great chance of doing this since he is sporting a 413 OBP and a 322 BA and playing in the California League where high altitudes and hot, dry nights cause a little additional offense.

I don’t know if Billy Hamilton will ever have much of a career in the majors, since he doesn’t hit for any power (career 389 SLG in the minors) and is really not a good fielding SS (career 937 fielding percentage) but he might stick around for a few season as a reserve OF/pinch runner type guy (see Otis Nixon) based on his 80% success rate in stealing bases.

Back to Vince Coleman for a minute – I had actually stumbled upon his 145 SB stat a few weeks ago when I was reading the back of his baseball card. Did you know he was only one of three players to have 3 – 100 SB seasons (and the only one to do it 3 consecutive years)? The other ones – Rickey Henderson and none other than the original Billy Hamilton. How’s that for bring this back around full circle?