Monday, June 30, 2008

Manny madness

Reading about the altercation between Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez and the team's traveling secretary made me think to the Shawn Chacon incident in Houston.

Yes, what Chacon did was wrong, but Ramirez wasn't exactly an angel. Where Chacon was released, Ramirez didn't so much as get a slap on the wrist. Why is this? Because Chacon is expendable and Ramirez isn't and no matter how wrong he was the secretary would be shown the door much quicker.

Sometimes I've encountered players home or away that carry that same degree of invincibility. Why? Because they played in the majors or received a nice bonus?

This is one of, if not my biggest, concern with minor league baseball players.

Maybe this is just Manny being Manny and assaulting a team staff member is cleared in the team handbook.

It's just annoying.

Another team extends

The Cleveland Indians and Akron Aeros extended their Player Devlopment Contract, or PDC, through 2012. That makes the second team this month to do so, joining the Philadelphia Phillies and Reading Phillies.

Both of those extensions are really no-brainers. These are just examples of teams and markets that will be off limts to the Giants should they leave Norwich or the Defnders should they decide to move after next season.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I'll be MIA until late Sunday, so enjoy listening -- or attending this weekend's games if you are so fortunate.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sergio Romo...

made his major leagued debut for the Giants Thursday, pitching an inning and striking out two batters. Congrats! He is the ninth Giant to make his ML debut this season, joining the likes of recent Defenders John Bowker, Brian Horwitz, Alex Hinshaw and Travis Denker.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Futures Game

San Jose's Kevin Pucetas and former Defender Nate Schierholtz were named today to the U.S. Futures team as part of All-Star Weekend in New York next month. Angel Villalona was named to the World team.

Ben Snyder interview

Pablo Sandoval interview

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Funny business

In what ranks as one of the funniest things I've seen this team do, the Defenders asked that for the first at-bat of every one in the starting lineup, the Outfield's song "Your Love" be played with the batter introduction.

At one point, half the team was on the top step in the dugout laughing.

That's what I call team building


Sandoval and Snyder are in; Nestor Rojas is gone and Joey Martinez is on the DL.

Sandoval falls short

Pablo Sandoval, in one of his last acts as a San Jose Giant, finished second in the home run derby prior to the California League-Carolina League All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Sandoval's two dingers in the final round -- both from the left side -- were one short of Ernesto Meija of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Random thoughts as the witching hour closes

I really liked Dave Maroul at first base. Speaking with Bien Figueroa following the game, he said that San Jose skipper Steve Decker told him in a conversation Tuesday that Maroul is such a good athlete that he can play anywhere. I think we saw that Tuesday as Maroul looked smooth at first.

Could ultra utility player be Dave's calling? He shifted from third to short a couple years ago to accommodate new teammate Pablo Sandoval's attempt to play third. Now we see Maroul moving across the diamond.

This likely spells the end of Simon Klink's stint here, which is sad. He's one of the best guys to talk to. He's honest, funny and a stand up guy.

I also saw a more relaxed Ryan Rohlinger at the plate. His homer was well hit and he looked like he has the type of swing that works well at Dodd Stadium.

Here's another thought: Going back two series to when Connecticut went to New Hampshire, every game between now and into the second week of August is against Northern Division foes. Significance you ask? If the Defenders are going to make a push for the post season, it will be decided then. In all probability, we'll know by July 15-20. One win so far against Portland doesn't help matters.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Roster thoughts

I earlier said I doubted Brian Bocock was en route to Norwich. I have to step away from that claim. Fresno placed Bocock in "extended spring training," which means he's either back with the Grizzlies or here by Friday.

This opens a slew of other moves. First, Jake Wald or Olmo Rosario are leaving here. If you want to count Rosario as an OF, than it's Wald who's on his way out of town. The problem then becomes five OFs, three spots and one of them (Eddy Martinez-Esteve) has to become you're every day DH. That also means that between Rosario, Ben Copeland, Antoan Richardson and Carlos Sosa, one is gone. Rosario may go up, but I think that's counter productive to everything the Giants seem to be doing.

Matthew Downs isn't coming, he was just added to Fresno's roster. If he was coming to Connecticut, he would have been added directly.

Romo to the Giants

No, this isn't a bad NFL trade. Sergio Romo, the Defenders closer has been promoted to San Francisco and has joined the Giants in Cleveland. To make rom for Romo, Vinnie Chulk has been designated for assignment.

Romo leaves Connecticut with a 1-3 mark and a 4.00 ERA. He had 11 saves in 24 appearances.

The absence of Romo creates one open space on the roster. The question now is who leaves with the arrival of Pablo Sandoval and Ben Snyder tomnorrow? Just one player or more?

All-Star voting

It's time for me to turn in my ballot. This is how it works: one player for each position, a DH, four pitchers, the two best pitchers on the Defenders and the team's three best position players.

1B: Nick Evans, Binghamton
2B: Steven Tolleson, New Britain
3B: Wes Hodges, Akron
SS: Jason Donald, Reading
C: Lou Marson, Reading
OF: Lou Montanez, Bowie
OF: Jeff Corsaletti, Portland
OF: Roger Bernadina, Harrisburg
DH: Mike Carp, Binghamton
P: Michael Bowden, Portland
P: Jason Jones, Trenton
P: Chris Tillman, Bowie
P: Randy Newsom, Akron
Defenders pitchers: Joey Martinez and Osiris Matos
Defenders position players: Olmo Rosario, Kyle Haines and Ben Copeland.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The newest Defenders is...

Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger. He joined the team today from San Jose. He hit .280 with 7 Homers and 46 RBIs.

What does this mean for Dave Maroul and Simon Klink? I think this means Maroul will be going to San Jose on Wednesday, since Klink can play first.

Sandoval is coming

Giants Director of Player Personnel Bobby Evans confirmed to me a few minutes ago that Pablo Sandoval will be in Norwich in a few days. There was some concern he would skip the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. But he will have the chance to play in the game first.

Martinez honored

Defenders RHP Joey Martinez was named the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week today. Martinez blanked New Hampshire 9-0 last week with seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk over seven innings with four strikeouts.

Martinez is 4-5 with a 1.73 ERA this season. He's pitched 19 scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 26.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A funny video

Jake Wald showed this to me today and I thought you would love to see this:


Change is-a coming to the Defenders, so says manager Bien Figueroa. His words were that by this time next week it will be a different team.

Maybe these are idle threats. Maybe the Giants are taking the lack of success here seriously.

What I can tell you is the first of any change comes Monday when Travis Ishikawa's roster spot is filled.

What I can also tell you is that a certain hot-hitting prospect appears to be coming this way by week's end. That's right, Pablo Sandoval, the catcher/first baseman will join the team. This is a major coup because originally the Giants had no desire to send him here.

There may be ball

The rain has stopped and the grounds crew is hard at work trying to get the field ready. The umnpires and managers walked through the field and seems no sign of a postponment.

I'll keep you updated.

Does this count as a sweep?

While today's game hasn't officially been ppd., there's no doubt in my mind it will be. With the Defenders having won the first two games against the Rock Cats, I guess we can call it a sweep.

The teams are sitting tight because there is some light breaking through and the radar images show a clearing. The problem is the warning track resembles a dirt pool.

It's too bad the weather isn't better; today was suposed to be cowbell day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Goodbye Ishi!

Travis Ishikawa, the Defenders first baseman for most of the past three years was promoted to Triple-A Fresno. He is in transit, but I hope to speak with him before the weekend is out.

He hit .291 with 8 homers, 48 RBIs, 34 runs and 10 steals this season.

Good luck and congratulations to Travis.

Also, today is the last day with the Defenders for head grounds keeper Mike Cannistra. He is off to serve as the No. 2 groundsman with the New York Mets.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This and that

An update on Carlos Sosa: He was hit in left hand in Trenton and sustained a bruise, which has kept him out of action since then. He is considered day-to-day and may play this weekend against New Britain.

The other bit of info for you is that Eliezer Alfonzo is expected to remain with the Defenders through Saturday's game. From here he will head to Fresno on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catching up

Just got in a little bit a ago from the Padres-Yankees game in the Bronx. Nice of my boys to win when I'm in the stands. The last two times I've gone there, A-Rod homered, including No. 500 last August.

Anyhow, the big news today, or yesterday as it would be, is Eliezer Alfonzo rehabbing with the Defenders. Pardon the pun, considering the guy is serving a suspension for using an illegal substance earlier this year.

This is either a very funny way of Brian Sabean and the Giants throwing Norwich a bone (watch Alfonzo not be with the team this weekend) or a weak attempt to pacify the fan base, which would like to see in the event of injury, someone along the lines of Aaron Rowand.

According to my trusty Defenders media guide, this is the first Giant to "rehab" (again, sorry) with the Defenders.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Check out my feature on Defenders first baseman Travis Ishikawa in today's paper. He discusses how faith helped him find himself on and off the field.

This counts as one of those interviews where there was so much I wanted to squeeze into the story, but there simply wasn't enough space. Ishikawa is a good guy and worth rooting for. He's really turned things around from his previous two years with the team.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Giant record

The San Jose Giants, a Single-A affilliate of the San Francisco Giants, clinched its fourth-straight division title Saturday when it captured the California League's first-half championship. The four consecutive titles is the most in league history.

Rehab assignment

There's a player on minor league rehab assignment participating in today's game. Sorry folks, it's not for the Defenders. The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent outfielder Chris Duffy to the Altoona Curve. Duffy is leading off and playing centerfield.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Celebrity" HR contest

On July 25, the Defenders will host their first anual "Connecticut Celebrity Homerun Derby" at 6:15 p.m.

Since Dodd Stadium is soooooo impossible to hit in, there will be temporary fences set up with points being awarded for non-home runs. There will be 10 contestants.

Among those expected to compete are:
Rich Cappola
Kevin Nathan
UConn football coach Randy Edsall

Don't laugh. Actually, go ahead, laugh.

An Eastern League first

Tomorrow's game between Connecticut and Altoona will feature a first by any Eastern League team, although it is one given little fanfare or publicity.

As part of its promotional events, the Defenders are celebrating Pride Night, welcoming the areas gay and lesbian community. I was a little surprised to learn after calling around to the league's other 11 teams that no one had done this before.

Team GM Charlie Dowd told me tonight that some or all advertising fails to reflect this promotion, hwever, a mistake on his part. But there is also no mention of Pride Night in tonight's in-game announcements.

"We're not social pioneers; we're just trying to market better," Dowd said.

It would have been nice if there had been greater plugging of the event, which oddly enough, is paired with the Army's birthday celebration at Dodd Stadium.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Some affiliation chatter has been brought to my attention by highly reliable sources. I am told that with Atlanta leaving AAA Richmond after this season, that Detroit would move its Eastern League affiliate to Richmond (which would be free to join any league) and San Francisco would move to Erie.

My take on this: How about the Giants moving to Richmond to be closer to Augusta and out of Norwich, and the Tigers jump from Erie to Norwich.


Leave comments here and vote in the poll on the right.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm baaaack!

Hello everyone! I hope the last week was as good for you as it was me.

While the Defenders are on the road today, they start a series with Trenton toting along the current Eastern League Player of the Week, Travis Ishikawa.

Last week he posted a .455 average with 3 homers, 5 doubles, 9 RBIs, 5 runs, 3 steals, 4 walks and an outrageous 1.091 slugging percentage. Those numbers have boosted his season totals into a very respectable, even all-star worthy, performance.

Ishikawa is batting .299 with 7 homers 14 doubles and 42 RBIs. Add to that 29 runs, 10 steals, 32 walks and a solid .471 slugging percentage.

because he's such a strong defender (no pun intended) and plays a position that is particularly weak in the Giants organization, it should only be a matter of time before he is promoted. In his third season with the Defenders, it looks as if Ishikawa is finally clicking.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

One last note

Head grounds keeper Mike Cannistra will be leaving the team as soon as he can find a replacement. He is joining the New York Mets as their No. 2 grounds keeper. It has beena trying season for Mike. He put in the new playing surface, had his apartment burned down and now is leaving for the majors.



I won't be on here for a week, as it is vacation time. It's a use it or lose deadline with the Mrs., so this was the only clear chance to get away. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me as I may have a chance to respond.

See you all soon!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Much deserved credit

With the rain delays Saturday, I want to applaud the hard work of the Defenders staff, including play-by-play man Brian Irizary, who was soaked and dirty while still having to perform his radio duties.

What I want to know is, where was his partner Matt Martinez?

Just kidding, Matt. I know you do a great job.

Just a few things

First, if you stuck around for the second game Saturday and saw the heated exchange between Bien Figueroa and the home plate umpire, I'll let you know what that was about.

Figueroa said that the umpires knew when they lifted the tarp from the first delay that there was more rain 10 minutes away. He was upset that the tarp wasn't kept on until that patch of rain passed. As a result of the stop and start, Dave McKae couldn't come back out.

Second, I want to not that despite his struggles in the opener, I tip my cap to Simon Klink for willingly and openly talking about his base running errors. Its guys like Klink who don't hide that make me appreciate how much skill baseball requires. He's also a funny dude.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who e-mailed me about my column earlier in the week. What I think some people read into my words were to not support the Defenders. That's not it. I hope every game is a sellout. These guys do play hard. Yes, there are some who complain, which we all do. But because they are public figures in our community they are scrutinized more. That's OK. But don't let any dislike for how the Giants have handled their relationship here keep you from supporting this team.