Help Support a Minor Leaguer

My Kaplifestyle “brother” Matt Paré, has a new video out. If you are a baseball fan and I know you are because you follow this blog. You are going to love this.

While I know this is a joke, I would totally do this. It’s the mother part of me, wants to take care of a poor minor leaguer. I live in a minor league town and I have seen first hand how these guys struggle.

Be Sure to check out Matt’s site and there is a way you can support him. Please hurry before he makes another funny youtube video.

http://homelessminorleaguer.com/

To all MiLB, You are not a failure!

I have been reading several stories online as the Milb season came to an end.

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There were other stories of course from other  players who felt they weren’t good enough. I am always saddened by these stories, I like to read more postive stuff. Like my brother from my Kap Lifestyle family. Matt Fields, in his most recent post he talks about staying positive. Matt is real and open and positive. He talks about being released and going to independent ball. He is honest in his emotional journey. He talks about feeling like a failure and then he uses his positivity to make the decision to go into independant ball. I admire the drive and determination. But there was a line in the post that  has gnawed at my heart for several days now. To quote matt

” On top of that, I was feeling like a failure. I knew I still wanted to play, and I had put up great numbers last year. I knew I could still do it, but psychologically, getting released twice and not getting an opportunity had me feeling like a failure.”

While Matt turned these emotions around it made me think of all the other minor leaguers out there. Sitting at home, playing on the net or video games. a little pissed off and feeling like a failure.

You are not a failure. Even if you never pick up another bat or glove you are doing something amazing; something most people will never do, you are chasing a dream. I played one season of softball and hated it, I wanted to play baseball, and because I have different body parts I wasn’t allowed. I still love the way the bat feels in my hands and I love to stand at the plate and image the crowd cheering for me. To me it is an illusion something that will never happen. But to you my minor leaguers the dream is real and you feel it and see it and sliding into a bag you can taste it.

After spending the best year of my life working in the promotions department for the Texas Rangers, I moved to San Antonio. I became a fan of minor league baseball;The Double-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres,  the San Antonio Missions. As a fan, I took these players to heart, i wanted them to all come up to the majors.  I called them my baby ducks. In the early days I saw the likes of  Nick Swisher, Hunter Pence. Two minor leaguers I became life long fans Jayson Nix and Shin-Soo Choo. Even before any of these players stepped in a major league park, I believed in them. I cheered for them.

Whenever you feel like a failure please remember these things:

  • Do not confuse setbacks with failure, in life sometimes you have to go a different direction to move forward, and sometime you have to stand still and wait before you can go.
  • Take time to think about what you are going to do next, are you going to stay or are you going to  go to another team, another league, another country?
  • Worrying about problem never solves it, create a plan. Figure out what is wrong with your game, listen to your coaches, your gut. You know what you need to do.

I am not saying I completely understand what it’s like to be a professional baseball player but what I am saying is simply this. I do not think you are a failure, I think you are awesome and I am going to cheer for you, my minor leaguers.

Cole Hamels is a Texas Ranger

Cole Hamels is on his way to Texas.  I have been reading and watching all the information I could get about the Hamels trade deal.

For those of you who do not know, “cash considerations” is a nice way to say money, and in this case, about $9 million.

I have concerns, and quite frankly, I think Hamels would be better suited with the Dodgers.

My top concerns about the Hamels trade:

His ERA is high against A.L. teams: 4.73

According to baseball prospectus, his fantasy rating gets a ding with the ballpark factor. The Rangers ballpark has a history of eating pitchers alive. (Remember Chan Ho Park?) He also gets a ding for coming over to the power-hungry A.L.

He comes from a weak division, the NL East. It has the Nationals, with a PCT of .535, and the fourth-place team (Hamels’ Phillies are last) is the Marlins, at .416. Now Hamels is coming to a strong division in the AL West. The Astros just came out on top after last night’s win against the Angels and have a PCT of .559. And the last-place A’s, who lost last night to the Dodgers, have a PCT of .441.

Him being healthy scares me. He has had no injuries. I am a longtime Rangers fan, and we have not been very lucky with the health of our pitchers. Is Hamels a ticking time bomb?

I feel like we gave up too much for Hamels, especially Jake Thompson and Nick Williams. While you never know with a prospect if they are going to be any good, I got to watch these guys play and I see something really good in both of them. I am making a call on Thompson. We are going to be sorry in a few years. Williams could be a bat for someone, and I think we are going to get hurt on this trade.

I talked before about lopsided trades, I just hope this is going to be another one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milb Texas League All Star Game

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MiLB had the Texas League All-Star Game in what I believe is one of the most beautiful Double A ballparks: Whataburger Field,

Living in San Antonio, my home MiLB league is the Texas League, which is made up of eight teams in two divisions, North and South.

Here is the Roster for the Texas League All-Star game:

2015 TEXAS LEAGUE NORTH ALL-STARS
STARTERS
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Mike Ohlman C Springfield STL
Balbino Fuenmayor 1B NW Arkansas KC
Sherman Johnson 2B Arkansas LAA
Brian Hernandez 3B Arkansas LAA
Drew Maggi SS Arkansas LAA
Nick Martini DH Springfield STL
Jorge Bonifacio OF NW Arkansas KC
Jeremy Hazelbaker OF Springfield STL
Charlie Tilson OF Springfield STL
RESERVES
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Raywilly Gomez C Arkansas LAA
Raul Mondesi INF NW Arkansas KC
Alex Liddi INF NW Arkansas KC
Terrance Gore OF NW Arkansas KC
PITCHERS
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Chris Anderson RHP Tulsa LAD
Kyle Barraclough RHP Springfield STL
Jeremy Kehrt RHP Tulsa LAD
Jeremy Horst LHP Tulsa LAD
Chris O’Grady LHP Arkansas LAA
Arturo Reyes RHP Springfield STL
Nate Smith LHP Arkansas LAA
Albert Suarez RHP Arkansas LAA
J.C. Sulbaran RHP NW Arkansas KC
Chris Thomas RHP Springfield STL
FIELD STAFF
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Razor Shines Manager Tulsa LAD
Matt Herges Pitching Coach Tulsa LAD
Shawn Wooten Hitting Coach Tulsa LAD
Leo Garcia Coach Tulsa LAD

Arkansas RHP Trevor Gott was replaced following his promotion.

2015 TEXAS LEAGUE SOUTH ALL-STARS
STARTERS
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Carson Blair C Midland OAK
Conrad Gregor 1B Corpus Christi HOU
Colin Walsh 2B Midland OAK
Ryon Healy 3B Midland OAK
Chad Pinder SS Midland OAK
Matt Olson DH Midland OAK
Travis Jankowski OF San Antonio SD
Chad Oberacker OF Midland OAK
Nick Williams OF Frisco TEX
RESERVES
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Roberto Pena C Corpus Christi HOU
Drew Robinson INF Frisco TEX
Tyler White INF Corpus Christi HOU
Nomar Mazara OF Frisco TEX
PITCHERS
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Travis Ballew RHP Corpus Christi HOU
Chris Devenski RHP Corpus Christi HOU
Ryan Dull RHP Midland OAK
Tayron Guerrero RHP San Antonio SD
Jandel Gustave RHP Corpus Christi HOU
Justin Hancock RHP San Antonio SD
Aaron West RHP Corpus Christi HOU
David Martinez RHP Frisco TEX
Jesus Pirela RHP Frisco TEX
Jake Thompson RHP Frisco TEX
FIELD STAFF
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Rodney Linares Manager Corpus Christi HOU
Doug Brocail Pitching Coach Corpus Christi HOU
Dan Radison Hitting Coach Corpus Christi HOU
Tom Lawless Coach Corpus Christi HOU
Grant Hufford Trainer Corpus Christi HOU
Mark Spadavecchia Strength Coach Corpus Christi HOU

Corpus Christi 2B Tony Kemp, Frisco 3B Joey Gallo and RHPs Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez of Corpus Christi were replaced following their promotions. San Antonio SS Trea Turner was replaced after his trade to the Nationals, and Frisco C Jorge Alfaro was replaced due to an injury.

 

Source

North beats South 9 to 4

San Antonio’s Travis Jankowski sends a home run to right field in the first. Midland’s Ryon Healy does the same in the second. In the top of the third, Frisco’s Jake Thompson comes in to pitch, and Springfield’s Nick Martini gets a double and later scores on a fielder’s choice from teammate Jeremy Hazelbaker. In the top of the fourth, with San Antonio’s Justin Hancock now pitching for the South, NW Arkansas’ Balbino Fuenmayor doubles and later scores on a single by Arkansas’ Brian Hernandez, who ends up on second due to a throwing error. Going into the fifth, the score is tied at 2.

In the top of the fifth, Frisco pitcher Jesus Pirela gives up a single to Arkansas’ Sherman Johnson. Later Pirela walks Hazelbaker. Then Pirela balks while Springfield’s Charlie Tilson is at bat. This moves Johnson to third and Hazelbaker to second. That would be all for Pirela, and hometown pitcher Travis Ballew is brought in. It wouldn’t help much, as Tilson gets a two-RBI single, and makes the score 4 to 2, the North in the lead. The South would make the game interesting in the bottom of the fifth. Arkansas’ Albert Suarez comes in to pitch and walks the first batter he faces, Midland’s Chad Pinder. Midland’s Chad Oberacker then gets a double, and the Midland boys aren’t done yet. Next is a sac fly from Carson Blair and a throwing error by Terrance Gore. Pinder scores, and Oberacker is at third. While San Antonio’s Jankowski is at bat, Suarez throws a wild pitch that scores Oberacker, and the score is again tied, this time at 4. But this would be the last time the South would score.

We go to the top of the eighth. San Antonio’s Tayron Guerrero is now pitching and gives up a single to Tilson, who would steal second. But it wouldn’t matter, as Jorge Bonifacio homers to left, making the score 6 to 4 in favor of the North.

In the top of the ninth, Corpus Christi’s Jandel Gustave is now on the mound. He walks Nick Martini and Drew Maggi,  then hits Terrance Gore. Tilson reaches on a fielder’s choice, scoring Martini. Gustave then walks Jorge Bonifacio to score Maggi. Corpus Christi’s Aaron West then comes in to pitch. He gives up a sac fly to Balbino Fuenmayor, and that scores Gore.

Final score: North 9, South 4.

Read more about the MiLB Texas League All-Star Game

Another side of being released, a sad fan’s tale

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I met Jayson Nix one day in September in 2004. He was kind and sweet, and he signed my program. After the exchange, I was his fan. You don’t choose love, love chooses you. I would of course write him, but I never got any responses to my letters.  I even wrote him as a Yankee. Oh, that killed me. On Tuesday, June 23, Jayson was released from the Iron Pigs Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies.  He was batting .167.  I was never quite sure he knew that I was cheering for him, so the rest of this is to Jayson.

Dear Jayson,

Here is where we met. Do you remember that day? I will never forget it. It’s tucked in my mind and my heart. This is the day I became your fan. Your brother was a Ranger, and I had to cheer for you. You went 4 for 5 that day.  After the game, I went to get your autograph. I called out your name, and I will never forget what you asked:

“Were you the fan cheering for me?”

You looked so serious. I thought I had embarrassed you, but when I answered that it was me, a smile came across your face. You shouted to your teammates and said:

“It’s my fan.”

Your fan. That’s what I became. I watched this guy playing for double-A Tulsa against my team, the San Antonio Missions, and he had a wonderful glove and I just saw something in him. He was going to make it the show. I just knew it.

I watched you sign with Colorado, watched you make it on Team USA and was so scared when I heard the news that you had been hit in the head. I wouldn’t hear any good news until I saw you playing in Chicago for the White Sox. I followed your career, and any chance I could watch you on television, I was glued to my set. I hated you being a Yankee. Not even my love for you could make me cheer for the Yankees, but I still cheered for you. Years later, I tracked down a baseball card.

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I saw you as a member of the Phillies, and then you were gone, sent down to the minors. And then a free agent and brought up as a Pirate. Then out again, and then the Royals got you. I was so proud, I even had made a shirt made. 10689921_10205473676988340_4701154597549651017_n

I screamed out and jumped up and down when I saw your name on the World Series roster. I saved this picture. I was so happy to see you smile. 10488065_10205599419131815_1030154536630062148_n

Then the World Series was lost, and I knew you would go to another team. I was excited about you being an O and thought for sure you were going to make the team. I watched all the spring training games you were in.

 

wpid-wp-1425518488496.jpegThen you got sent to Norfolk, and I was still watching, on Milb.tv, and still cheering. Then I had hope that the Phillies would bring you up to the show. I watched you as an Iron Pig too.11289014_10153069989259081_5906710514881462966_o

 

I always believed that if you got back to the show, you would tear it up. I always thought that was possible. Now I write this and I just wanted you to know I have been cheering for you. I believe in you and I always will. I hope you keep chasing the dream, but if you decide to retire, I understand. I just wanted you to know that I have loved these 10 years. I have loved being your fan.

Sincerely your fan,

Hollie

 

 

Baseball is life

 

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I once read a Twitter post that said, “Baseball is not life, it is something you do. Life is something you live.”  A former ballplayer wrote that, and I can understand it. But I disagree  with it. Baseball IS life.

I am back from a much- needed vacation. I toured the city of Corpus Christi while avoiding Tropical Storm Bill. While my intention to go to a single game was washed out, I was treated to a double header the next day.  The USS Lexington is close by, and I took my boys to view the massive museum.  We toured the ship, and when my youngest was too tired to go on, we headed over to the mess deck to get a drink. We passed by this case full of baseball artifacts from 1933 and ’34 Navy baseball teams.

The vision of sailors, playing baseball — I think about them on the flight deck, with gloves on, tossing a ball around.  I have a vision of the stands in the ballpark and sailors watching and cheering the other sailors playing.

I think a little bit about the Twitter quote as I walk over to Whataburger Field. The Frisco RoughRiders and the Corpus Christi Hooks are Double A-ing my fun with a double header.  I get the last ticket behind home plate.

Manger for the Hooks Rodney Linares and acting as manger for the Rough Riders Jason Hart

Hooks Manager Rodney Linares and RoughRiders Acting Manager Jason Hart exchange lineups.

I am in my seat ready to watch some baseball, when my seat neighbor appears, a nice woman with her mom and a family friend. That’s right, I am sitting behind home plate and it is girls’ night out. My neighbor  is a huge Hooks fan, and the teasing commenced as I cheered for the RoughRiders. She and I talk about baseball throughout the game. She had her favorite players, ones she liked because they were kind to her child and others that were kind to the eyes.  Yes, I was giggling like a schoolgirl over some cute ballplayers; not going to apologize for that. Baseball pants are the world’s greatest invention.  Two games, 7 innings each, and the RoughRiders lost both, but there was some good ball in there, and I see a great team.  I even have a favorite RoughRider. His name is Drew Robinson, and he wears 16 (Dean Palmer’s Ranger number) and he has a passion for the game.

The game is over, and I find the Frisco team bus. And while I couldn’t wait for the players to come out, I did meet more people.

I met the founders of Keeper of the Game Foundation, and the business card read, “Serving kids with special needs and disabilities while promoting servant leadership.”  As a mom, of two children with autism, I am in awe. I am then handed a photo of my favorite player, Drew Robinson, and I hang it here near my desk.

After saying my goodbyes and getting in the car to head back to my hotel, I am just as relaxed after a double header as I was playing in the ocean.  Baseball is life — it keeps popping in my mind. Seeing baseball artifacts on the USS Lexington, going to a double header and being with other women who love baseball as much as I do, meeting people who understand how important baseball could be to special needs children. It just made me think, this is life.

Baseball is life. Baseball connects us. It moves us, it bonds us into a community. Baseball has all the markers of life: passion, love, hatred, obsession, lust. Baseball is the perfect euphemism for life.  You may strike out more than you hit a home run, but you never stop swinging.

 

Joey Gallo, the future in the present.

 

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Joey Gallo on deck at the Big League Weekend

I saw Joey Gallo in my hometown during Big League Weekend. My first reaction. He is HUGE! I had this image of a cute little infielder, nothing could be further from the truth. He stepped into the on deck circle and Whoosh! His bat was inches from hitting me in the face.  He very politely stepped to the side to work on his swings. At 6’5″ 230 lbs he is impressive to say the least.  While playing for the Frisco Roughriders, he was hitting .314/.425/.636,another impressive stat. While I watched him, I noticed his arms are massive and his swing is that of his mentor Jason Giambi.

http://www.wfaa.com/story/sports/2015/01/28/rangers-gallo-find-mentor-in-giambi/22477325/

The question comes up is it too early for Gallo, and I am going to say NO. He’s young and a power hitter. The glove can be developed. In Texas he will be playing third base and that will help focus. During his time in the minors he has been at 3rd and left field and I think this is a mistake, he need to focus on his infield position not spread himself out.

www.baseballamerica.com/minors/expect-rangers-3b-joey-gallo/

Baseball America doesn’t see very much coming from Joey but I disagree, I see something in him and I am very excited. Its time to see if our baby duck can swim.

Hamilton Homecoming: A Time to Cheer

Hamilton stayed over an hour to sign autographs after a game

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, well these speak volumes of a changed man. I am a very loyal fan of the Texas Rangers and I admit I had my doubts but Josh has surprised me.  I am a firm believer in actions speak louder than words. In the first two photos Josh is signing autographs but when I saw that he stayed for an hour to sign more autographs that showed me he does care about the fans.

The video: well I think if there is any doubt that he is not all here it has been put to rest by a Rusty Greer like grab.

Tonight Josh comes home and I will be cheering and I hope you will be too. Go Rangers!

And the Answer is Hunter Pence

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Last week I asked: Who is this? The answer

Hunter Pence has a distinct way he hold his bat. Not a lot people in this day and age, choke up on the bat.  He has recovered from his broken arm and is once again playing for the Giants, its good to see him back.