The sports media is all over today's trade between the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers which shipped reigning Cy Young Award winner C.C Sabathia to the land of cheese and Miller beer in exchange for a quartet of prospects.
Fortunately (In my opinion), one of those four prospects wasn't 2007 HWB MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, Mat Gamel (North Shore Honu). Sure, Cleveland wanted to scoop up Gamel as part of the package received for dishing one of baseball's most dominant starting pitchers, but they must still be satisfied with the young players they got in Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson and the always interesting "player to be named later."
So where does Gamel fit into the Brew Crew's picture? With LaPorta now out of the way as far as moving up the ladder, Gamel-who will represent the Brewers in next week's All-Star Futures Game in New York-instantly becomes one of the organization's top commodities within the minor league system. The 22-year-old is tearing up Double-A pitching, and owns a .374 average to go with 31 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs and 75 RBIs in 87 games with the Huntsville Stars.
And, when you examine Milwaukee's lineup, both in its current state and looking ahead a few years, the only foreseeable holes to fill are at catcher, where Jason Kendall isn't getting any younger, and at the hot corner where aging veterans Bill Hall and Russell Branyan are doing their best as a platoon. Also, don't forget that slugger Ryan Braun was moved from third base to the outfield in order to create space for another young, power hitter--a role that could be filled at least part-time by Gamel as soon as next season.
It will be interesting to follow Milwaukee in the second half of the season, especially now that they trail the National League Central Division leading Chicago Cubs by just 3 1/2 games.
We shall C.C.
As the Seattle Mariners continue to struggle through an excruciatingly painful 25-47 season, many changes lie ahead for the underachieving organization.
Not only did the Mariners replace general manager Bill Bavasi with Lee Pelekoudas on Sunday, but this morning the franchise axed manager John McLaren in favor of bench coach Jim Riggleman. While a promising season has dwindled into a rebuilding campaign, the team expresses the hope of finishing out the year with as many victories possible while integrating fresh young talent into the mix.
This is great news for 2006 Waikiki BeachBoys catcher Jeff Clement who is back with the Major League team after a successful start at Triple-A Tacoma. It appears as if Clement is now here to stay, and that he will see time behind the plate, as a designated hitter, and possibly even at first base (as soon as the biggest underachiever of the bunch, Richie Sexon, is benched, traded or released). I'm on vacation in Seattle, and had the chance to watch last night's 8-3 loss to Florida in which Clement caught former Tacoma teammate R.A. Dickey and his arsenal of knuckleballs.
In other news from within the Mariners organization, 2007 BeachBoys outfielder Josh Womack was released. The team had basically told him he would be an "organizational player," meaning that he basically had no shot of advancing to the majors, and released him so that Womack could prove himself elsewhere. Josh is a great guy, and his dedication to the sport was made clear during his time in Hawaii and we all wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Lastly, I'll be attending Saturday's contest between Tacoma and the visiting Portland Beavers (Triple-A, San Diego), so I'll talk to as many former HWB players as I can, including (I hope) top-prospect Will Venable (West Oahu CaneFires, 2006).
Aloha from the Pacific Northwest!
Good news for a quartet of HWB alumni who were named to the Texas League (Double-A) All-Star team on Friday.
>Dexter Fowler (Waikiki BeachBoys, 2006) is on pace to be playing center field for the Colorado Rockies by 2010, but for now, he's honing his skills with the Tulsa Drillers. Interestingly, 2007 BeachBoys hitting coach Dave Hajek is also stationed in Tulsa, and relayed me a message that all of the former HWB guys there are doing great, and representing the league well. Fowler is slated to start for the Northern Division.
>Adam Bright, one of Fowler's teammates at Tulsa and with the BeachBoys in 2006, was selected as one of the Northern Division pitchers.
>Tommy Manzella (North Shore Honu, 2006) was also named to the All-Star team, and will represent the Houston Astros' Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks. Manzella saw quite a bit of action during Spring Training, and is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on. Manzella will start the game at shortstop for the Southern Division.
>Billy Hart (Honu, 2007) made the Southern Division squad as a reserve outfielder. Interesting fact: while at the University of Southern California, Hart played on the school's football team, and served as backup quarterback to eventual Heisman Trophy winner and Arizona Cardinals gunslinger Matt Leinart.
Today marks the birthday of baseball's inventor, Alexander Cartwright,
and Hawaii Winter Baseball was on hand at Nuuanu's Oahu Cemetery to pay
respects to the legend.
About 30 men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds gathered under a small tent adjacent to Cartwright's family pot in the cemetery. Some told stories about how the game has touched their lives, while others took the time to catch up with friends and recall fond memories of some of the game's greatest eras and players.
HWB President Hervy Kurisu addressed those on hand, offering his thanks to Cartwright as well as discussing HWB's goal of continuing to provide quality professional baseball for Hawaii. It was apparent that this game of baseball is not only an activity played on a field, but a unique culture in its own through which it's fans and participants can connect and pass on.
It was great to see HWB's voice from the radio waves, Don Robbs, as well as long-time Punahou coach and broadcaster Pal Eldredge among those in attendance. Also, Honolulu Advertiser reporters Stacy Kaneshiro, Kyle Sakamoto and his father Gordon were on hand as many remembered how former Advertiser scribe Ferd Borsch used to encapsulate all things baseball for Hawaii to read about.
Even Mr. Soccer himself, sports enthusiast and historian Jack Sullivan, was on hand to share memories from a recent trip to Cooperstown.
If you get a chance, head down to Oahu Cemetery and stop by Cartwright's grave--you can't miss it; the pink granite cask is fronted by dozens of baseballs and other memorabilia placed there by fans paying their respects.
Matt Wieters leads the Baltimore High-A affiliate, the Frederick Keys, with a .538 batting average and is making a great case that yes indeed, baseball fans should believe the hype.
Many wondered if the switch-hitting catcher out of Georgia Tech was worth the $6 million signing bonus Baltimore awarded him as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 draft. After spending the fall in Hawaii as a member of the Honolulu Sharks in the 2007 edition of Hawaii Winter Baseball, Wieters began his journey through the Orioles' minor league system in Frederick.
Through the team's first six games, Wieters notched a double, two home runs and a team-high six RBIs to go along with a stellar .632 on-base percentage. Fellow Sharks teammates Brandon Snyder (.333) and Miguel Abreu (.304) rank second and fourth on the squad, respectively, in batting average.
Hopefully these HWB alumni can keep up their strong performances, and climb the organization's ladder swiftly. And, don't be surprised if Wieters is wearing an Orioles uniform to end the 2008 campaign.
In about 12 hours, the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics will square off in Japan to open the 2008 campaign. It seems like an eternity since Boston rolled the Rockies to win the World Series last year, and it'll be nice to watch baseball again on a regular basis.
From what we've seen in Spring Training as far as players are concerned, this could be a huge year for HWB alumni. Not only will high profile draft pick Matt Wieters garner a great deal of attention in Baltimore, but youngsters like 2007 Sharks Austin Jackson (Yankees) and Argenis Diaz (Red Sox) could see time at the Major League level towards season's end.
And who can forget some of the league's most prominent alumni, from Ichiro to Jason Giambi and Todd Helton, some of HWB's elder statesmen should continue to put up great numbers as their careers continue on the world's grandest stage.
For you fantasy baseball owners out there, I've put together a list of HWB's "must-draft" alumni from the 2006-2007 seasons. Especially if you participate in "keeper" leagues, these guys will be around for quite a while, and should make strong impacts with you team(s) this season.
>Joba Chamberlain (Yankees; West Oahu CaneFires, 2006) will start off in New York's bullpen, and should transition into the starting rotation. He will post impressive ERA and strikeout figures, and could notch a few victories along the way.
>Ian Kennedy (Yankees; CaneFires, 2006) should start the year in New York's starting rotation, and if he can build upon his strong rookie debut last year, prepare to be rewarded.
>Joe Thatcher (Padres; North Shore Honu, 2006) has flown under the radar as one of San Diego's most productive relievers in a set-up role for Trevor Hoffman. Look for Thatcher to play a vital role in "holding" the Padres' lead in close games.
>Nyjer Morgan (Pirates; Honolulu Sharks, 2006) will start the season with the big league club, and while he might not play every day as of yet, he should find his way in the leadoff role playing center field very soon. Look out for good production in the runs and stolen base departments.
>Matt Wieters (Orioles; Sharks, 2007) will begin 2008 in the minors, but due to the hefty $6 million signing bonus awarded to the switch-hitting backstop, don't be surprised if Wieters is getting reps with the Orioles by season's end. By the time he's a regular starter, I see Wieters posting 40-50 doubles, 20-25 home runs and 90-100 RBIs per season while maintaining a .290-plus batting average.
Anybody agree/disagree with my thinking here? Who are your HWB fantasy studs for 2008
I'm sitting in the Hawaiian Airlines lounge, and thanks to the complementary wireless internet connection, I can tell you that HWB President Hervy Kurisu and I are a few hours away from boarding our flight to Phoenix: home of Spring Training's Cactus League.
We will be traveling all over the state, passing through at least seven cities with the goal of reconnecting with former players, and networking with team and league executives while sharing the mission of HWB. My goal is to interview and chat with as many former player as possible so that I can provide you (the fans!) with more stories, and to let you know how some of our alumni are doing.
If you have any "requests" for your favorite players, or questions you would like to ask, please let me know. I'll file my next report when we're settled in Phoenix, keep checking the site and posting your comments!
The wait is finally over.
Spring Training rolling into gear as teams work their way back into shape in either muggy Florida or steamy Arizona.
While we don't know for sure which members of the 2007 HWB crop will make it to the Bigs this season, HWB will do its best to keep you in the loop. I, along with Kurt Zwald, will scour the box scores and post updates daily--especially if one of the guys has a day to remember (as Tyler Flowers did today with a home run against the Dodgers).
Check out "Daily HWB Alumni Update" on the home page for the latest news and notes, both now and through the end of the season. Also, as fans, your passion and dedication to baseball and your favorite players are key to our league. If you see or hear anything interesting or newsworthy and pass it on to me, I'll post it (Thanks Lance!!).
I hope to see your comments, and please support the great bunch of former HWB players gunning for The Show!
Just as players come to Hawaii Winter Baseball to hone their skills and get some extra work in, others flock south of the border to spice up their offseasons with a dash of baseball in the Caribbean.
Three Winter Leagues operate yearly in the Central American region: the Dominican Winter League, Venezualan Winter League, and the Mexican Pacific League. The three nations along with Colombia and Nicaragua make up the Caribbean Federation. Each league sends its champion (as well as the Dominican League's runner-up) to the Caribbean Series, a six-game round-robin tournament held this year in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The team with the best record throughout the tourney is declared champion.
So, if you ever wonder why more players of Latin descent don't make the trek to Hawaii during the winter, it's because many choose to stay closer to home with the hopes of vying for the prestigious Caribbean Series crown.
Guest blogger Chris Lentine, Senior Manager of Stats Operations for Major League Baseball Advanced Media (and faithful supporter of Hawaii Winter Baseball), recently jotted down his thoughts about the "other" Winter League, and some of its Iron Men in the rough.
We all know Cal Ripken Jr. is the Iron Man of baseball.
And well he should be playing 2,632 consecutive games spanning 16 seasons. But fans of Latin American baseball, especially the Mexican Baseball League, know about a few Iron Men of their own.
Heading into the 2008 Season there are no less than 127 players who played in the Mexican League last season and played this past winter in the Caribbean Leagues at some point.
This is truly the "modern" definition of an Iron Man.
Many of these players -- while admittedly playing to make extra money -- are also playing for the love of the game and the love of their country.
Take the odd journey of Nelson Figueroa, who went 9 1/3 innings of one run ball for Mexico on Sunday in an eventual 2-1 loss to Licey of the Dominican Republic.
Only two weeks earlier Figueroa shut down Licey while a member of the Eagles of the Dominican League in their league championship series. But because Figueroa only played for the Eagles in the playoffs he was not eligible to play for them in the Caribbean Series but was eligible to play for Mexico.
But Figueroa's journey started well before that as the Mexican Baseball League's Chihuahua Dorados gave him a chance when he was out of baseball. He went 8-6 for Chihuahua before his Caribbean League duties.
His winter league numbers will surely land him a shot in spring training this March and if nothing comes from that then certainly another shot in the Mexican League.
Figueroa's journey is not unique, but it pails in comparison to some of the real Latin American Iron Men in baseball. Take super star Miguel Tejada or Major League veteran Julian Tavarez, both of whom insist on playing in the Winter Leagues and make sure that is part of their contracts with their Major League clubs.
But the Mexican League's true Iron Man is Monterrey favorite Mendy Lopez. Currently Lopez is holding down first base in the Caribbean Series for the Eagles and it hitting close to .500 for the series.
Lopez, who hit .304 for the defending champs from Monterrey, has been playing every season dating back 1992, or at least when he turned professional in 1992. Just do the math that is 16 seasons of playing baseball 11 months a year.
Lopez shows no signs of letting up and will again be a mainstay for the Sultans. He is far from alone as Erubiel Durazo, his teammate for most of last season at Monterrey and who looks to be joining him again this season. Durazo had a brief stint with Scranton-Wilkes Barre of the International League and then also played most of the winter in Mexico.
Durazo, a native of Hermosiilo, has been playing professionally since the 1997 season when he broke in with Monterrey. While not quiet up to Lopez in terms of years, you can expect to see Durazo working his way towards that same type of longevity as Lopez.
These are just a few of the "Iron Men" of the Mexican Baseball League, something for fans of the Mexican League to be very proud of.
Brett Sinkbeil, a right handed starter for the North Shore Honu in 2007, has been invited to participate in Florida's Spring Training, according to a report today on mlb.com by Joe Frisaro.
While the move does not guarantee the 23-year-old a spot on the Marlins' roster, it proves that the club is high on the prospect who compiled a 6-4 record at High-A Jupiter last season to go along with a 3.42 ERA. As a member of North Shore's dominant starting rotation, Sinkbeil finished the campaign with a 3-1 mark through seven starts in which he notched a 1.64 ERA and 24 strikeouts through 33 innings.
Sinkbeil was selected by the Marlins as the 19th overall pick in the 2006 draft. The Tulsa, OK native attended Missouri State University and is rated the No. 2 prospect in the Marlins organization by Baseball America.
Stay tuned as more players receive invites/promotions, and if you hear of any former HWB player(s) in the news, please pitch me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three time zones, 5002 miles and roughly 17 hours later, I'm finally back home on Oahu after a great visit to Nashville, Tenn. for the Baseball Winter Meetings.
We spent Wednesday meeting with and thanking Farm Directors and executives from most major league squads and some from Japan for sending players to participate in Hawaii Winter Baseball. League President Hervy Kurisu solicited comments and suggestions for making next season even better, so look for some "positive tweaks" in 2008.
As ESPN filmed "Baseball Tonight" from the convention center lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, hundreds of executives and coaches exchanged greetings and did interviews for the wide range of media. Some of the high-profile figures included St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, Philadelphia Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, and New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
Wednesday evening was dedicated to the annual Gala in which the meetings' attendees were given a chance to relax at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville. Country music and an awesome food spread greeted attendees, one of which happened to be 2007 HWB alum Antoan Richardson. The Waikiki BeachBoy was in town on vacation and stopped by to say hi and to let me know how much he enjoyed his time in Hawaii. I'll be following Richardson as he attempts to move up through the San Francisco system, and will keep you updated on his progress.
And that leads me to Thursday, a day that I spent flying from Tennessee through Detroit and Los Angeles, and finally back home to Oahu. Now it's time to reacclimate, and get back to business. What did you fans think about any of the recent trades that were announced? I think it will be interesting to see if any former HWB stars are involved in a trade for Johan Santana (especially if the Yankees are in the mix!)
Day two of the Winter Meetings here in Nashville, Tenn. is winding down, and various team executives will continue to wheel and deal tomorrow morning.
It was another productive day at Opryland, and amongst the hustle and bustle of the day's activities, baseball icons including Cal Ripken Jr., Tommy Lasorda and new Kansas City Royals skipper Trey Hillman (a former HWB product) made appearances and took a few seconds to say hello. HWB Executive Committee member Dayton Moore currently serves as the General Manager for the Royals, and gave Hillman some help in the outfield by signing free agent Jose Guillen to a three-year deal. Other than the race for Johan Santana, the Royals are also showing signs of pursuing former Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones as the club continues to push towards a winning campaign.
Speaking of the soon-to-be blockbuster deal for Santana, the New York Yankees are rumored to be offering 2007 HWB alum Austin Jackson as trade bait, so we'll keep you posted if anything happens.
That's it for now from Nashville, I'll be back tomorrow evening with the final report of our trip!
Aloha from the 2007 Baseball Winter Meetings!
I'm here in Nashville, Tenn. checking out the sights and sounds at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel as we try to bring as many ideas back to the Islands as possible in hopes of enhancing the HWB experience. It took about 16 hours of flying, waiting, and transferring planes to reach the Music City, but so far the trip has been outstanding.
While executives and team brass spent the day in closed-door meetings discussing plans for the upcoming season, I had some time to check out the trade show where hundreds of vendors showcased all kinds of products ranging from popcorn to baseball bats.
And, as the thousands in attendance mull around the gigantic hotel, so are some of baseball's largest figures including Atlanta's Bobby Cox, Chicago's Ozzie Guillen, and ESPN's Steve Phillips.
Well, that's it from Day 1 here in Nashville, I'll be back tomorrow with another report.
Former Honolulu Shark Nyjer Morgan got a chance to showcase his talents with the Pittsburgh Pirates this past September, and he continues to impress as a member of the Arizona Fall League's Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Morgan spent the fall of 2006 with us here in Hawaii where the speedy lefthander set the league stolen base record of 20 thefts. Not bad for a guy who spent four years in Canada playing professional hockey...and THEN turned himself into a starting center fielder for the Pirates.
Through 21 games with Phoenix in the AFL, Morgan has compiled a .266 batting average to go along with two doubles, two triples and 10 stolen bases and a .370 on-base percentage. It's looking like Morgan will be back patrolling center field for Pittsburgh next season, possibly from the onset of the 2008 campaign.
The 2006 HWB all-star's impressive play has helped the Desert Dogs clinch the AFL's East Division, and the club will challenge the West Division champ in the league title game on Saturday, Nov. 17. Good luck to Nyjer and all the other former HWB stars working hard to solidify jobs at the major league level!
Today's HWB game between the West Oahu CaneFires and Honolulu Sharks has been CANCELED due to heavy rain in Hilo on the Big Island. According to league officials, the game will not be made up.
As announced this morning, the game on Oahu between the Waikiki BeachBoys and North Shore Honu was also canceled due to inclement weather. I was informed that the field was under water, and it takes at least a day for the field at Hans L'Orange Park to drain, so it's fortunate that the league doesn't have a game scheduled for three more days.
The league resumes play on Thursday, Nov. 8 with North Shore vs. West Oahu (12 p.m.) and Honolulu vs. Waikiki (6:30 p.m.). Both games will be played at Waipahu's Hans L'Orange Park.
We've made it nearly 30 games per team without a rain out, so hopefully we can start a new streak on Thursday!
Sorry for the delay folks, I meant to get back on here sooner but it's taken a while to adjust to the LONG days at Hans L'Orange!
I'm sitting alongside Ken Wilson, the voice of HWB on ESPN 1420 AM, and Matt Bartlett, a vereran statistician with MLB.com. We're taking in the view from our seats in the press box--and dodging foul balls as they come screaming over our heads! The Sharks have jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, and look to have this one well in hand through five innings (hope I don't jinx it!).
Tonight's contest got off to an interesting start as University of Hawaii Warrior football coach June Jones and legendary Hawaii golfer David Ishii tossed out the ceremonial first pitches. The crowd at Hans L'Orange is spilling out on the slope in right field, and kids are banging their thundersticks all over the park.
If the Sharks can hold on to win tonight, it will bring the BeachBoys within one game of the Sharks for the HWB East Division lead. Come down to Hans tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. to see if the Sharks can sweep the series and tie the BeachBoys in the standings. You know I'll be here, so come say hi, and let me know what you think of the HWB experience!
Don't look now baseball fans, but the opening pitch of the 2007 Hawaii Winter Baseball season is almost a week away!
I'm sitting in the Hans L'Orange press box while I take a break from setting up my equipment. The field is in immaculate shape thanks to General Manager Merv Yoshimoto and his staff who've invested countless hours in making sure everything is ready to go come September 29.
It's kind of like the calm before the storm...the only noise interrupting the nearly-perfect Friday afternoon is the hum of Merv's weed wacker as he manicures the new bullpens out in right field. There is newly-installed fencing all around the field, glistening in the sun, and fresh paint on the bleachers. A few local high schoolers take batting practice and get some one-one-one instruction as they smack balls into the desolate outfield.
But not for long. In one week, some of the best young pro ball players in the world will bring their talents to Hans L'Orange for us to enjoy. I hope to see you at the park!
When I received the news that Matt Wieters, the No. 5 overall pick from the 2007 draft, is coming to HWB, I had to do a double-take.
This guy is an absolute beast who is not only a 6-5, 230-pound catcher, but also switch-hits for power, and can even pitch if necessary. Fans will no doubt be treated to quite a display when they check him out at Hans L'Orange Park on a daily basis.
His Hawaii experience will no doubt be memorable because it marks the first rung on his professional baseball ladder. When he mentioned to me that he was happy that he had signed a deal that included a $6 million signing bonus, he remarked that he was rewarded with a "fair market value."
If he is worth that record-setting bonus, then we are in store for quite a show.
Thanks to the expansion of team rosters to 40, the number of 2006 HWB alumni to see major league action has been growing, seemingly by the day. Here's a quick look at those currently on major league rosters (and if you know of/see more in action please let me know!).
-Rick VandenHurk (Florida Marlins, Starting Pitcher)
-Nate Schierholtz (San Francisco Giants, Outfielder)
-Joe Thatcher (San Diego Padres, Relief Pitcher)
-Joba Chamberlain (New York Yankees, Relief Pitcher)
-Ian Kennedy (New York Yankees, Starting Pitcher)
-Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh Pirates, Outfielder)
-Jeff Clement (Seattle Mariners, Catcher)
I believe Brian Bixler will get a shot soon with the Pirates as well...
Very rarely does a player garner such attention in
That is the case, however, as rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain continues to impress in pinstripes. Less than a year ago, he manned the mound as a West Oahu CaneFire; now he does the same in Yankee Stadium.
It seems like every time I tune into SportsCenter, some anchor or analyst is touting Joba's blistering fastball, or baffling slider--both of which have perplexed nearly every major league hitter he's come across. How important is this guy to the Yankees organization? The team has imposed restrictions on the young hurler which include not pitching in back-to-back games or entering a game in the middle of the inning to limit both physical and mental strain.
While the 21-year-old isn't expected to join the Yankees'
starting rotation until next year, it's clear that Joba "The Hut"--as he was
dubbed in college at
As the regular season winds down and playoff races heat up,
it will be interesting to see how Joba factors into
Wow, what a day.
After all the hype, all the anticipation, the deluge of media coverage--and, of course, the controversy--Barry Bonds finally connected for his record-breaking 756th home run tonight at San Francisco's AT&T Park. Sure, the rumors of Bonds' alleged use of performance enhancing substances have put a damper on this historic event, but give the guy some credit. He broke the record, and until it is proven that Bonds cheated, we should honor and celebrate the mark.
It didn't surprise me that Bonds did indeed hit No. 756, but that he did it in such close proximity to some of the other recent milestones achieved this season. We have been treated to Tom Glavine's 300th win on Sunday, Alex Rodriguez's 500th home run on Saturday, and Craig Biggio's 3000th hit earlier in the year, just to name a few. Couple those with the recent induction of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn into the Hall of Fame, and you can see why baseball fans have been spoiled in 2007.
So what's next? Who, if anyone,
will be the next Home Run King? Will it be A-Rod, who many predict has a
legitimate shot at 800 bombs? Or how about Ken Griffey Jr.; he'll need to
string together a handful of successful and healthy years to have a shot, but
don't count him out. And of course, Ryan Howard has shown signs of becoming
possibly the greatest power hitter of all time.
It will be an interesting couple of years as we watch and see if anyone can encroach on Bonds' new mark. But for now, let's celebrate the feat, and give Barry the credit he's due.
With the trade deadline now less than 24 hours away, this is the time for teams to make the necessary moves to bolster their rosters--both for the near and distant futures.
The wheeling and dealing can drive fans nuts, whether they are cheering for a contender or pretender. It's up to general managers to decide whether to pick up an experienced veteran with the baggage of a usually hefty contract, or stockpile prospects with the hopes of them maturing within the next five years.
As an Atlanta Braves fan, I love the idea of getting Mark Teixeira to fill the lack of production at first base. But is it really worth giving up Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Elvis Andrus, the top two prospects in the organization? This is the eternal dilemma faced by organizations: gamble now with the hope of making a championship run, or play it safe and stockpile talent for years to come.
Some 2006 HWB alumni have changed addresses as a result of recent deals. Last week, Joe Thatcher--the winning pitcher for the North Shore Honu in the 2006 HWB Championship Game--was sent to San Diego by Milwaukee in a bullpen swap. Thatcher has already reaped the benefits of the trade, advancing to the major league club to fill a hole in the bullpen.
And today, another pair of former
Honu in Drew Butera and Dustin Martin were sent from the New York Mets
Although the results of these deals and those to come in the following hours may not be seen for months or even years, it is definitely an interesting time to be a baseball fan. Hopefully your favorite team will make the right moves to get or stay on the winning track...as long as they don't get in the way of the Braves!
It's commonplace for baseball fans
alike to get so wrapped up in the sport, that the line between entertainment
value and "real life" is blurred. Sure, we constantly analyze and agonize over the
performance of our favorite teams, or scrutinize the outrageous contracts of
our beloved--and despised--players.
But often lost in this game we enjoy so much is the impact the sport has on the livelihood of the players, coaches and management who make a living by, in essence, putting on a show for us.
was driven home when Mike Coolbaugh was struck in the head and killed by a line
drive yesterday evening as he stood in the first base coaching box for the
Tulsa Drillers, the Colorado Rockies' Double-A affiliate. According to accounts
of the tragic incident, Coolbaugh did not have time to react to a sharp liner
off the bat of Tino Sanchez in the ninth inning of a road game against the
Arkansas Travelers. While Coolbaugh was tended to immediately and rushed to a
hospital, he stopped breathing en route.
In addition to flying their flags at half staff, all minor league clubs will pause before today's games and honor Coolbaugh with a moment of silence. And while that gesture is commendable, nothing can repair the damage done to the 35-year-old former major leaguer's wife Amanda, his two sons, and baby on the way. Not to mention the pain of losing a coach and mentor that Coolbaugh's players--including Duke Sardinha, a member of the Waikiki BeachBoys in the 2006 HWB campaign--must cope with.
So the next time you start getting bent out of shape when one of the players on your fantasy team isn't pulling his weight, relax.
It's just a game.
There are more important things in life--like life itself.
I hope you're getting used to and enjoying our new and improved home for Hawaii Winter Baseball. I'll be posting my blog entries in this space regularly, and will touch on everything from player news to interesting happenings in the world of baseball. From time to time current and former HWB players will stop by and share some of their experiences gained from their time in Hawaii, as well as with their professional organizations.
Have a topic you want to know more about or discuss? Shoot me an email at email@example.com, and I'll post and respond to them. I hope to see and hear from you soon in the K-Zone!
Your Web Editor,