Results tagged ‘ Baseball ’
Well, unfortunately we were unable to play the final game of our road trip in Akron due to some extremely wet weather but it did mean we got to jump on the bus back home to Curve, Pa. and get home earlier. We ended up leaving Canal Park a little before 8 last night and got back to the ballpark at roughly 11:20 p.m. It was a lightning-filled bus ride home as we drove through the storm to make it back to Altoona.
Altoona finishes its first roadie 3-3 and as one of the better hitting teams in the league through its first six games of the 2013 season. It’s also been a homer-happy Curve team early on in 2013 with the club mashing seven home runs through six contests. When did the Curve hit their seventh home run in 2012? It came on May 2, 2012 in Erie when Brock Holt connected for a homer at Jerry Uht Park.
One thing that did result from our rainout in Akron is that Casey Sadler will now start tonight’s home opener instead of Jameson Taillon. Taillon is now scheduled to pitch Friday night when three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey visits Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Another fun thing about coming back from a long seven-game trip (other than sleeping in your own bed of course) is that all the cool stuff you ordered while you were on the road is waiting for you at the ballpark when you get back. For the players, it’s always a quick trip up from Spring Training to Altoona and not all of their gear and/or housing furnishings have arrived by the time we kick off the season. So we were greeted by boxes and boxes of cool stuff.
Our manager Carlos Garcia looked like he was greeted by a new driver for his golf game while others had shipments of bats, new mitts, cleats and other game-ready stuff. What did I have waiting for me? A few linen shirts for the summer months plus a new insurance card and a savings bond from 1997. #SliceofLife
Tonight’s home opener begins has an official first pitch of 6:30 p.m. but the pregame festivities will get started a bit earlier as we here at the Curve pay tribute to Robert “Bo” Forney. Forney had been a bat boy with the team since the 2008 season and developed many close relationships with past Curve players as well as the front office staff at the ballpark. There will be a limited number of Bo Forney patches available for sale at tonight’s opener with the Senators. All proceeds from the sale of the patches will benefit the American Heart Association.
Also taking place will be an in-game silent auction of signed, game-used memorabilia from the March 30th Pirates-Curve Exhibition. Bo’s father Ron will throw out the first pitch at tonight’s game while his sister Shannon will be tonight’s Kunzler Honorary Team Captain. A framed bat boy jersey with the Bo patch on the sleeve will also be presented to the Forney family pregame.
New at the Ballpark
If you’re coming on down to tonight’s home opener be sure to check out some of the new things at the ballpark like our new habanero Curve burger, the new MoJo Speed Pitch Machine down near the wall of fame and Sandy Candy Land near the Galliker’s Fun Zone. That’s not all that’s new but just a sliver of new things to try in your visits to Curve, Pa.
It’s nearly 6:30 a.m. and it’s time to finish up the morning news with WTAJ-TV. How about Glenn McComas getting some TV love early this morning with that habanero Curve burger?!!
The days without baseball are dwindling Curve fans because as the February calendar closes that means we will have the comforts of America’s Pastime to keep us company. With new baseball seasons, hope springs eternal and every team is in first place (how about that for an uber-cliched sentence?). In all seriousness, though, it’s great to have baseball news to write about and we’ve got some exciting things coming up here in 2013.
Will we see the first Pirates lineup 1-9 in the batting order of all Curve players? We think that 2013 might be the year for that if some of the former Curve hurlers of recent years can take the hill and start for the Bucs, especially once rosters expand at the end of the year, if not before. But, we’re getting waaaay ahead of ourselves because it’s still February 21st.
With that said, we’ll be announcing our entire promotional calendar next week beginning on Monday with our Fireworks dates to be followed up by our Giveaway schedule on Tuesday. We’re going to try and throw a little twist into things for the announcement of the giveaway items as we’ll be announcing one giveaway item every 30 minutes on our Twitter account (@AltoonaCurve) starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. There are some pretty neat items on the list and we can’t wait to share them with you so follow along during your work day (don’t get caught though!).
The releases will continue on Wednesday with our Entertainers and Special Guest appearances and then our theme nights, community nights and special jersey auctions on Thursday.
15th season Bobblehead #3 Participants
Y’all have been great in helping us out through our first two Bobblehead voting contests with the winners being Sean Burnett (to be given away on June 8 thanks to UniFirst) and Andrew McCutchen (to be given away on July 5 thanks to Nuts for You).
With that said, we still need to figure out who the third bobblehead giveaway will be. Aaaaaannnndd…here is the list of players that will be voting-eligible in this final bracket. Seeding and a start date for the voting will come in the next few days.
Final 15th Bobblehead Bracket Participants (covering seasons 2009-present): Pedro Alvarez, Josh Harrison, Brock Holt, Jared Hughes, Brad Lincoln, Starling Marte, Rudy Owens & Tony Watson
New AltoonaCurve.com Launching Tuesday Afternoon
Also on the horizon for the Curve faithful is a sleek, slick new design for AltoonaCurve.com. We’ve been working on the new site design for awhile now in conjunction with minor league baseball and we hope that you like the new streamlined design and some of the functionality it will bring in terms of keeping tabs on your favorite team! Want a sneak peak? There ya go!
Picking the Oscars
So, now that you’re all up to speed with some of the happenings here in Curve, Pa., let’s dive in to what everyone will be doing this Sunday and that is watching the Oscars! Since I’m one of the resident movie buffs on staff (Director of Groups Corey Homan gives me a run for my money), I guess I’ll once again take a stab a projecting Oscar winners. If we turn back to last year’s pre-Oscars blog here, I think I ended up not doing so well. In fact out of the categories I picked, I got 0 out of 8 right! So that means, only up from here. I made a more concerted effort to see more Oscar-style films this year to redeem myself so we’ll see how I fare this time. I’ll pick the same categories as last year
Best Visual Effects (The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, Snow White & the Huntsman)
Right off the bat, I’m going to go with Life of Pi (one of the 4 best picture nods I actually didn’t see). Heard nothing but great things and honestly, everyone already gave Peter Jackson his awards with the Lord of the Rings series. Snow White bored me (but that was because I was watching it while training for an 18-mile race I paid for but never ran).
Pick: Life of Pi
Best Animated Feature Film (Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates!, Wreck it Ralph)
I saw two of the five in this category in Brave and Paranorman. Brave, in my personal opinion, was atrocious. I fell asleep watching it twice at two different times. Wreck it Ralph looked funny but I really enjoyed the animation-style of ParaNorman. Plus, our resident soon-to-be-published cartoonist on staff loved that film so he can’t be wrong, right?
Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams/The Master, Sally Field/Lincoln, Anne Hathaway/Les Miserables, Helen Hunt/The Sessions, Jacki Weaver/Silver Linings Playbook)
BOOM! I’ve viewed three of these five..I’m getting better. The one’s that I’ve watched in this category are Lincoln, Les Mis & Silver Linings. Taking a caveat to the fact I have not seen The Master or The Sessions, I still don’t see how Hathaway doesn’t take this one home for Les Mis. The only thing that was weird to me was that she was in the movie for only the first hour and 30 minutes of the 4-day marathon (I liked it, don’t get me wrong). But her time in that film was tremendous.
Pick: Anne Hathaway/Les Miserables
Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin/Argo, Robert De Niro/Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman/The Master, Tommy Lee Jones/Lincoln, Christoph Waltz/Django Unchained)
Again, viewed three of five here with exceptions to The Master & Django. I know Waltz is an awesome actor (not on SNL last week — not funny) as is Hoffman. I’m picking Tommy Lee Jones from Lincoln. Pretty solid performance, lots of talking (the entire movie was talking) but he stood out and broke up the oratories nicely. De Niro really helped me feel uncomfortable throughout most of Silver Linings so that is also a consideration but edge to Tommy Lee, plus, he has to be happier than at the Golden Globes, yeah?
Pick: Tommy Lee Jones/Lincoln
Best Actress (Jessica Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook, Emmanuelle Riva/Amour, Quvenzhane Wallis/Beasts of the Southern Wild & Naomi Watts/The Impossible)
Failed in this category, only seeing two of the three (0 dark and Silver) but I heard nothing but tremendous things about Naomi Watts in The Impossible and I’m disappointed I can’t catch it before Oscars. Going with the friends polled on this one.
Pick: Naomi Watts/The Impossible
Best Actor (Bradley Cooper/Silver Linings, Daniel Day-Lewis/Lincoln, Hugh Jackman/Les Mis, Joaquin Phoenix/The Master, Denzel Washington/flight)
My best showing so far, 4/5 movies viewed. I cannot sing to save my life. Hugh Jackman does it throughout an entire movie and, in my opinion, does it relatively well. Loved Lincoln and Lewis was tremendous and Bradley Cooper (as noted earlier w/De Niro) did quite a job to make me feel uncomfortable but laugh at the same time in Playbook. Throwing darts here………….
Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis/Lincoln
Best Director (Michael Haneke/Amour, Benh Zeitlin/Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ang Lee/Life of Pi, Spielberg/Lincoln, David O. Russell/Playbook)
David O. Russell illustrated a nice roller-coaster ride in Playbook and it (of the films I saw here) had me the most excited/intrigued/etc after I left the theater.
Pick: David O. Russesll/Silver Linings Playbook
Best Film: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
I’ll throw out Armour, Beasts, Django, Life of Pi because I didn’t see them. Of the 5 I saw, I hope Silver Linings or Les Mis wins……Darts again….
Pick: Les Miserables
Ok, I’m hoping for one, one correct this year. An 0-for-16 across two years means that I’m awful at picking movies and should probably stick to watching Top Gun for the 1,024th time.
A few months back we had our first installment of meet our newest Curve staff members with hockey-extraordinaire Steffan Langguth, which went over quite well with all of Steffan’s fans in the area. In this edition of Better Know a Curve Staffer, we introduce you to one of Steffan’s new running mates in Luke Johnson, who has just joined the Curve as a Ticketing Sales Associate. Luke joins the Curve after spending the 2012 season as an intern with the Modesto Nuts of the California League, who by the way have a phenomenal logo set if any one cares to check it out.
Anyways, the Q&A with LJ:
CBB: First off, welcome to Curve, Pa. Luke. Great to have you on board. We’ll start you off with an easy question like what is the meaning of life? Too bold? Ok, seriously, your name is Luke. In a given week, how many Star Wars references do you get made about your name? Have you ever dressed up as Luke Skywalker for Halloween?
LJ: Thanks, it’s good to be in the world-famous Curve, PA. I would say around 4 Star Wars mentions is average. First week in Curve, Pa. was above average though, (Thanks Homan). Can’t say I ever dressed up as Luke Skywalker for Halloween, that would be too much.
CBB: Did you know that (according to Wikipedia) Luke was the 43rd-most popular baby name in the United States in 2006, up from 111th in 1987? I mean, there aren’t too many uber-famous Luke’s that come to mind. I can think of a few off hand and they would be Luke Perry from 90210 and “Cool Hand Luke”, the film with Paul Newman. Do you feel any extra pressure to succeed because your name is quite rare compared to Mike or Bill.
LJ: It’s an up and comer evidently, and Wikipedia doesn’t lie. Cool Hand Luke and Luke Skywalker are probably the most famous. I don’t feel any extra pressure to live up to the name but if I’m half as legendary as either of those ill consider it a win.
CBB: In reading up on your bio on our website, our fans can find that you like the Anaheim Angels (which, if you weren’t aware are now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, ahem), the Anaheim Ducks, UCLA, the Minnesota Vikings & Timberwolves. Why such an eclectic mix of favorite teams? Were you aware that you have two things in common with the famous Gordon Bombay in that you A. Like the Mighty Ducks and B. Have spent time in Minnesota (he was the Minnesota Miracle Man, FYI)?
LJ: Well this is the first time I’ve been compared to Gordon Bombay so that’s an honor, and yes he is the one and only Minnesota Miracle Man. Growing up in So Cal, it was easy to become an ANAHEIM Angels (Angel Stadium is located in Anaheim, Calif. 35 miles south of LA) Anaheim Ducks and UCLA fan. The Vikings and Timberwolves come from me disliking the Lakers, Rams, Raiders and Lob City didn’t exist when I resided there.
CBB: When you found out that there is a Chipotle less than 2 miles away from Peoples Natural Gas Field, how excited did that make you on a scale of Chips and Guac (being the least excited) to Burrito (most excited)? The scale would go as follows: Chips & Guac—Tacos—Salad—Burrito Bowl—Burrito.
LJ: I would say Burrito with a side of chips and salsa and a drink. I’ve been known to eat a lot of Chipotle so the close proximity is definitely a plus. It will also make up slightly for the lack of taco trucks in Curve, Pa.
CBB: Have you ever gone by the nickname “LJ” or been referred to as “Grand Ma Ma”? (Editor’s Note: I seriously hope he is old enough to know who Larry Johnson is and for those that don’t know, I’ve included a link to the old Converse commercial below)
LJ: LJ has been used here and there, Cool Hand, Skywalker, Lukester. None have stuck though; maybe Grand Ma Ma is the next big thing. I did rock the Chuck Taylor’s as a kid. (Side note I had not seen the commercial until now.)
CBB: You are originally from Southern California near Rancho Santa Margarita, what do you miss most about being in California? In-N-Out is an acceptable answer….just saying
LJ: In-n-out for sure. Also: the beach, the weather, Angel Stadium, Disneyland, Taco Trucks (specifically the D St. truck in Modesto), the abundance of great Mexican food, the views on PCH, and 60 degree weather on Christmas to name a few.
CBB: Being new to Curve, Pa. you have yet to really be overly-influenced by our mascot crew yet as they’re hard at work at their desks in the offseason and don’t have time to campaign for votes. But if you had to pick, right now, which of our four mascots do you like the best?
LJ: Well, my vote is for sale. Perhaps a friendly royal rumble is the best way to decide my favorite. Al Tuna ,they tell me he’s the rally mascot, would be a solid sleeper bet, a Steamer and Diesel Dawg combo could pose a threat, but I would put my money on Tenacious, someone who looks that intense all the time has to be legit. This could change once I seem them all in action in March, though.
CBB: You listed travelling as one of your interests. Where are some of the places you have visited and some places you would like to visit?
LJ: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places in my life. All over California including: San Diego, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe. I‘ve also been to Seattle, Hawaii, Banff Canada, Hilton Head S.C., Savannah, Ga., Charleston S.C., Chicago, Washington D.C., and most recently Paris. Some places I would like to visit are: NYC, Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, London, and Italy.
CBB: Help us settle a territorial linguistic debate please. Your fellow ticketing associate Steffan Langguth claims you “have a catch” while as the editor of this blog I claim you “play catch”. Who’s side are you on?
LJ: It has been known since prehistoric times that you “play catch.”
See sorry Ray Kinsella, but you goofed up on your line (at the 1:58 mark of this clip below)….it’s not “have a catch”.
PirateFest 2012 Recap
You might have seen a few posts from the Curve on our social media sites this past weekend from PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The three-day event was quite packed with nearly 17,000 fans coming out to get a glimpse of the Bucs (16,986 to be exact). That attendance total was 400 fans higher than last year’s event and it was the largest-ever attendance at PirateFest (16,839 was the previous highest set two years ago).
If you came out to check out the festivities, you probably stopped by our booth as did some of the former Curve players that were in attendance. Below is a giant collage of some of the happenings surrounding the Curve booth over the weekend. A big thanks to all the former Curve who stopped by and we can’t wait to have them all back for the Pirates-Curve Exhibition here on March 30th.
The Winter Meetings in good ol’ Nashville, Tenn. wrap up today with the Rule V draft, which starts in about seven minutes as I begin today’s blog on Thursday so maybe by the time I finish it, we’ll have some Rule 5 chatter in here as well. The Curve contingent are on their way back to Curve, Pa. as we speak but that didn’t stop GM Rob Egan from filing his report from the last three days at the Opryland Hotel.
Winter Meetings Final Wrap: Farrell Family Takes Biz-cation in Nashville
Nashville, Tenn. - While walking through the labyrinth that is the Opryland Resort, I ran into Altoona Curve infielder Jeremy Farrell. While at first I was surprised to see him, of course I shouldn’t have been. The Farrell family not only has members that play and manage in the game, but also one who now markets products to Major and Minor League teams. The family roster has also recently expanded. All of them have convened here in the Music City for the Baseball Winter Meetings.
First, and most familiar to Curve fans, is Jeremy. The Pirates’ eighth round pick in 2008 has played third and first base for Altoona for the past two seasons. I’ve always admired Jeremy for his positive demeanor and love of the game even as he’s faced some adversity during his time in a Curve uniform. After having a really good first half in 2011, he was selected to play in the Eastern League All-Star Game. However, a wrist injury prior to the game kept him from playing. Thankfully, the Eastern League offered him an opportunity to still attend the festivities in New Hampshire. Unlike some who would take the opportunity to have a couple of days off, Jeremy readily accepted the chance to be in Manchester so he could interact with his fellow All-Stars and spend time with family and friends who had planned to be there.
In 2012, Jeremy didn’t have the season he had hoped, but he remained professional on the field and positive off the field. The main reason he had to be upbeat away from the game was the anticipation of his first child being born. Shortly after the season ended, his wife Bridget gave birth to their son. Fast forward eleven weeks and Jeremy was walking through Opryland with a stroller holding young Kason, when we saw each other.
During our conversation, Jeremy relayed that he, Bridget, the baby, and Jeremy’s mother and father are all in Nashville. His father, John, is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox and, yesterday, he made the circuit of television and radio interviews with the national media covering the Winter Meetings. The elder Farrell spent the last two seasons managing the Toronto Blue Jays, was pitching coach for the Red Sox from 2007-10, and, before that, was the Indians’ Director of Player Development (2001-06). A former Major League pitcher, John tossed the stitches for the Indians, Angels, and Tigers from 1987-96.
New mother, Bridget, meanwhile, may be working the hardest of all the Farrells at Opryland. She launched a new business earlier this year called Bani Bands. Her flagship product is an athletic-style headband that has recently been licensed to be sold to both Major and Minor League teams. Licensing allows Bani Bands to use the logos and names of the teams that purchase the head bands to sell in their stores and online. By all accounts and judging from the foot traffic at her trade show booth, business is good. Oh, by the way, she’s also been caring for the baby on breaks and during the evenings after the trade show shuts down. Talk about impressive.
All the while, Jeremy’s mother, John’s wife, Bridget’s mother-in-law, and Kason’s grandmother, Sue, has been on hand supporting the family however she’s been needed, while no doubt being proud of all they have accomplished on and off the field. Enjoy the biz-cation, Farrell family. You’ve earned it.
CURVE CONTINGENT WRAPS UP AGENDA
The Altoona Curve delegation finalized its four-day visit to the Winter Meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with visits to the Baseball Trade Show, the Eastern League meeting, and the annual Gala which was held at Dave & Busters. During our visit, some of the baseball celebrities we witnessed up close: former Pirates’ General Manager and current Reds’ Special Assistant to the General Manager Cam Bonifay, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, former San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman, MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons, and former Curve manager and current Cubs’ skipper Dale Sveum.
See you back in Altoona, Curve fans
Other tidbits from Nashville…
One of the coolest things about the Meetings is the Trade Show, which affords MiLB and MLB execs alike to take a look at some of the newest items that hopefully catch fire across the grid. One thing I personally didn’t expect to see was this photo, sent from Dir. of Merchandise Claire Hoover. Apparently they had some tattoo stands there. And well, C.O.O. David Lozinak got inked up….
Pirates Moves in Nashville (Trades, Rule 5, etc.)
The Bucs did make one trade while they were in Nashville and it involved 2012 Curve catcher Ramon Cabrera, who was dealt straight up to Detroit for LHP Andy Oliver. Cabrera batted .276 in 112 games for the Curve this season while hitting 22 doubles, two triples and three homers. The backstop from Caracas, Venezuela really turned it up from July on, batting .301 in 22 games in July, .340 in 27 games in August and a 2-for-5 day in his only game played in AA in September. He was called up to AAA at the end of the season and saw a bit of action in the Triple-A playoffs. This offseason he was playing winter ball for Caracas in the Venezuelan League (.234 through 20 games at the time of this post).
Oliver, who just turned 25 on Monday, spent this entire season with Toledo of the International League where he was both a starter and a reliever. In 28 games (19 starts), Oliver was 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA. He amassed 112 strikeouts in 118.0 innings pitched but also walked 88. His numbers as a reliever were far better than as a starter (3.78 ERA in nine games) but opponents actually had a tougher time hitting him as a starter (.227 BAA).
Curve fans might remember Oliver from when he pitched with Erie in 2010 (making his pro debut after being drafted in ’09). He made four starts against the Curve that season, going 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA while holding Curve batters to a .198 batting average. He made his MLB debut that season with the Tigers, making five starts before being sent to Triple-A. He also had a brief stint in Motown in 2011, making a pair of starts.
On the Rule-5 front, the Pirates acquired RHP Ethan Hollingsworth in the Triple-A Phase of the draft. Hollingsworth was 5-11 with a 4.82 ERA in 34 games (eight starts) between Double-A (NW Arkansas) and Triple-A (Omaha) in 2012. Since he was selected in the AAA phase, he does not need to satisfy the requirement of being on the 25-man active roster for Pittsburgh. Only players that are selected in the MLB phase must fulfill that requirement.
Flipping the coin to the other side, the Pirates lost IF Elevys Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the AAA phase of the Rule 5. Gonzalez, who tore up the FSL in 2011, began this year in a Curve uniform and had a tough time adjusting to Double-A. He batted .196 in 50 games while hitting two homers but never seemed to be fully acclimated. After a mid-season assignment to Bradenton he hit .216 in 45 games for the Marauders.
Popping back up on to the radar as well in the Rule 5 was 2010-11 Curve RHP Tom Boleska, who was claimed off Minnesota’s roster by the Baltimore Orioles. Boleska did not play in affiliated ball in 2012 but rather for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. Boleska dominated the circuit, posting a 1.76 ERA in 46 games while amassing 29 saves. His strong season earned him a signing by the Twins before he was nabbed by the O’s earlier today.
That’ll about wrap up today’s blog. I watched Nashville last night but didn’t see any of the Curve members make it into any of the shots. Oh well…
Don’t forget the Pirate Caravan rolls through Peoples Natural Gas Field next Wednesday from 6:30-8 p.m. with former Curve OF Jose Tabata, C Michael McKenry, former Curve Pitching Coach Ray Searage and broadcaster Bob Walk. Fans are asked to bring a toy for the Toys for Tots drive to the free event.
We figured we’d better get this post up early this week because a severe food coma is calling most of the US with Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday and then the official start of holiday shopping madness on Friday with Black Friday. I apologize for the hiatus over the past few weeks in regards to the blog but sometimes world travelling doesn’t always lend itself to the easiest internet access.
That being said, we’ve got a few things to cover this week on the blog. Firstly, for those that didn’t see last week, Pirates-Curve Exhibition tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning December 1st in person only at the box offices at the ballpark during our Inaugural Holiday Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone and online sales will follow on Monday, December 3rd beginning at 9 a.m. On the theme of the Bazaar, we’re hoping to put quite a shopping experience together for area residents who want to take care of some of their holiday shopping early at the Bazaar! All of our vendor spots are currently full (75 total) and we have a wide variety of different merchants and vendors so we’re pretty excited about that.
In addition, we’ll also swing the doors open on our Curve Holiday Store, which will be housed here at the ballpark this season. It’ll be open during regular office hours and then Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. up until Christmas.
Arizona Fall League Wraps Up Play
One of the winter ball leagues has come to a close as the calendar progresses through November and that is the Arizona Fall League. The Pirates (and Curve for that matter) were well represented in one of the most prestigious offseason leagues that MLB has to offer. Here’s a brief breakdown of what Pirates farmhands were able to accomplish in the short season.
1B Matt Curry: .253, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 13 BB, 23 K (23 games) – The Curve’s first baseman for most of the past two seasons, Matt Curry got his first shot in Triple-A towards the end of this season and followed it up with this stint in the AFL. The Dallas, Texas native hit .283 in 13 games away from Scottsdale Stadium and spent a majority of his games (15 of 23) batting in the cleanup spot for the Scorpions. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattyCurry17.
2B/SS Gift Ngoepe: .261, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 BB, 15 K (16 games) – Someone fans in Altoona might get to know at some point in 2013 is second baseman Gift Ngoepe, who hails from Pietersburg, South Africa. Ngoepe spent all of the 2011 campaign with the Bradenton Marauders and boasted a .232 clip with 11 doubles, 5 triples and 9 homers in 124 games. He’s one of the better defensive playes in the organization but is still waiting for his bat to develop. He really turned it up towards the end of his AFL stint, hitting safely in each of his last six games (10-for-21, .476), including two three-hit games.
2B/OF Adalberto Santos: .299, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 14 BB, 14 K (21 games) – Proving once more that if you put a bat in his hands he can hit the ball, Oregon State product Adalberto Santos had one of the better averages on the team at .299 for any player that played in at least 20 games. The Bronx, N.Y. native hammered lefty pitching to the tune of a .474 clip (9-for-19) while batting .292 in 24 at bats with men in scoring position. Santos was also getting steady reps at second base during the AFL, playing one third (seven of his 21 games) at second. He also played two games at third during his time in the Grand Canyon state. You can follow Adalberto on Twitter at @SantosSwag.
RHP Vic Black: 1-1, 11.81 ERA, 1 SV, 10.2 IP, 11 BB, 11 K (12 games) – Altoona’s go to closer during the 2012 regular season, the AFL seemed to be a challenge for Black, who had opposing hitters bat .370 off him in his 12 games appeared. His ERA was a direct result of a big inning where the Amarillo, Texas native gave up seven earned runs on three hits while walking four in 0.2 IP. You can follow Vic on Twitter at @vic_black_2.
RHP Brandon Cumpton: 0-0, 2.57 ERA, 0 SV, 14.0 IP, 7 BB, 6 K (11 games) – Brandon Cumpton took the ball 27 times as a starter for the Curve in 2012 but worked solely out of the bullpen during his first AFL stint. Fall league hitters batted just .229 off the Evans, Ga. native and Georgia Tech product. He kept opponents from touching home plate eight of his 11 appearances for Scottsdale.
RHP Kyle Kaminska: 3-1, 1.61 ERA, 28.0 IP, 4 BB, 21 K (6 games – all starts) – Kaminska joined the Pirates organization along with Gaby Sanchez in the trade that sent Gorkys Hernandez plus a competitive balance pick to Miami. After a brief stint as a reliever with the Curve, Kaminska was then assigned to High-A Bradenton to be converted back into a starter, where he dominated. The Ohio native was subsequently called back up to Altoona to make his final start of the 2012 regular season before getting ready for Arizona. All the starter did was go 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .208 clip. He finished the AFL season among the league leaders in ERA (3rd, 1.61), innings pitched (2nd, 28.0 IP), WHIP (4th, 0.93), lowest batting average for a starter (1st, .208) lowest BB/9IP for a starter (1st, 1.29) and fewest baserunners/9IP (2nd, 9.32).
RHP Tyler Waldron: 0-0, 3.14 ERA, 14.1 IP, 6 BB, 11 K (10 games) – A fellow Oregon State alumn, Waldron also pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the AFL after starting most of his MiLB career up to that point. Opponents had a tough time tracking his stuff, mustering only a .167 clip against him in his 10 games on the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions. He was particularly effective against the lefties, holding them to a .120 batting average in 25 at bats (righties hit .217 in 23 at bats). Tyler is also on Twitter and you can follow him at @twallywaldron.
Lastly this week on the blog we’ve got a nice Thank You from Tyler Maun, who has decided to move on from the Curve as he prepares for the next step in his life. I had great pleasure in working with Tyler this season both on and off the air and he’ll be missed in Curve, Pa.
If there’s one thing that comes along most in Minor League Baseball during the offseason, it’s change. Players get released and signed, teams change locations and names and logos (Hillsboro Hops, anyone?), and front office staffers move on. With that, this is my fond farewell to Curve, Pa.
It was a pleasure to be one half of your radio team for a season and serve alongside my good friend Mike Passanisi for an awesome season in Altoona. I cannot even begin to list the amount of incredible people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and work with here, but just know that the tally goes on and on. The passion that the people of Altoona have for this team and this franchise is incredible, and it makes me feel immensely proud to have been a part of that, even for just a short while. From the rest of my fellow front office staff members to our players, gameday employees, ushers, concessions workers, and most importantly, our fans, I was able to be a part of a unique and incredible thing in 2012, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for an amazing experience. Thanks for letting me mildly entertain (or annoy) you on the radio for a summer. It’s the greatest job a guy could imagine, and it was a privilege to do it here.
As we all get older in life, we realize that priorities change, and for me, the biggest of those in my life did so about six weeks ago when I got engaged to my lovely fiancée Natalie. With a wedding on the horizon in less than a year, it feels like the right time to be heading back home.
So in just a few short days, off to Denver I go, but I’ll be pulling for the Curve from a couple of time zones west. If you’re reading this or you tuned into a game this season or we saw you out at the ballpark once or 70 times, you’re a major part what makes this job and this team and this industry special. Thanks for that. We all appreciate it more than you know.
With that, safe travels to all as you embark on your Thanksgiving travels this week. We’ll catch back up next week with a look at what’s coming up at our Bazaar and also some more travelling pics from Al Tuna, who jetset his way out to Ireland with one of our fans.
Rule: In 1908 the sacrifice fly rule was adopted, revoked, but then re-instituted in 1954.
Reasoning: Although not as deliberate a sacrifice as a sacrifice bunt, the sacrifice fly can be used as an important strategic move in any baseball game. Simply getting a baserunner to third with less than two outs is a tough task and teams will want to score that run, the sacrifice fly allows that to happen without the benefit of a hit. The rule itself is good in my opinion, I think if you can be ‘doubled off’ a base, then you should be allowed to advance from the base on a caught ball as well. It adds more scoring to baseball, and can be the difference between a win or a loss and that’s fine, because I feel the run is earned. The part of the rule I don’t agree with is the fact that it doesn’t count as an at-bat.
If a player hits a sacrifice fly, it counts only as a plate appearance and not as an at-bat, so it doesn’t hurt their batting average. However, how many sacrifice flys are truly that, a sacrifice? Most sacrifice bunts are exactly that, giving up yourself to move a baserunner, however, a far less percentage of sacrifice flys are truly the intended purpose of the hitter. Some hitters may be trying to simply bash a home run and hit a sacrifice fly by mistake. I think the sacrifice fly should count against a player’s batting average, because they already receive an RBI as a reward and it can’t be proved if they are truly making a sacrifice.
Rule: 1889, Four balls becomes a base on balls
Reasoning: The rule was bumped down from 6 in 1884, and 5 in 1887, let’s face it, if you can’t throw three strikes before four balls, a walk needs to occur.
Rule:1968, the anti-spitball rule was written
Reasoning: That’s gross.
Rule: 2008, Limited instant replay allowed on home runs or fair or foul calls.
Reasoning: If you have the technology, use it. I’m not saying balls and strikes should be determined by a computer, but similar to football, I think the managers should be allowed one challenge each game that may be used on out calls on the basepaths. The variable of a strikezone adds to the intrigue of the game, but the rule of safe and out is so cut and dry that I think if a play is going to change a game drastically, a replay can be used. Only allow one a game so the run of play isn’t affected. If this rule were amended, we’d at least have one more perfect game in MLB history!
The Curve Home Opener is April 14th!