Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Midland Rockhounds July 13, 2009 Program

Very late with this as I been very busy. I'm here with July 13, 2009 program. It's a Monday night game as Rockhounds took on Cardinals affiliate Springfield Cardinals. Cardinals already in the playoffs clinching first half of the season.
The future AL MVP Josh Donaldson on the cover.
Currently last in the standings at the moment, but only four games back. Cardinals duo of Trey Hearne and Lance Lynn are 1-2 in Texas League wins. Hearne got his 10th win on Sunday pushing his record to 10-1 record so far in the season.
On the mound are Brandon Dickson and Justin Souza. This is Souza team debut after being sent up from Stockton. Dickson would get total of 8 in two seasons of the majors while Souza never made it. Dickson would spend the remaining five seasons of his career in Japan.
Nine players from Cardinals went on to majors with the big one Lance Lynn. Only Lynn, Fernando Salas, and Sam Freeman still playing to this day. Brian Broderick pitched in 11 games of his MLB career while Steve Hill played total of 10 games. Peter Kozma, Eduardo Sanchez, and Dickson are the others. Shane "Primetime" Peterson was part of Matt Holliday trade that sent him to the A's. I would see him later him that season. As for coaches all three have made it to main club with Pop Warner and Bryan Eversgerd still with the team. Former MLBer turning hitting coach Derrick May was with the team til after 2016.
Souza, Daniel Barone, Daniel Haigwood, Steve Sharpe, and Gabriel Ortiz are the new additions of the team. Raul Padron was sent down. Haigwood manage get 7 games with the team as his name never appeared on program the following month. Turns out it was his final season of his playing career. Same with Barone, despite being in majors in 2007, played four games with the team and that was it. Didn't play again til he surfaced in 2014 with independent Kansas City T-Bones. Sharpe stuck with the team through the playoff run. Spent 2010 with independent Camden Riversharks and that was his final season of his playing career.

Midland won 7-6.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Midland Rockhounds June 17, 2009 Scorecard

This program from June 17 game against Frisco Roughriders. Rockhounds went on bad stretch this month. They end up losing first half of Texas League to San Antonio (39-31) by two games finishing with 37-33 record.
Texas League All-Star was played in Frisco that year. About 24 players went on the play in the majors.
A big roster change from June 8 game as Tommy Everidge called up to Triple A.
About 11 players made it to the majors, most notably, Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland. Six (Smoak, Moreland, Craig Gentry, Manny Pina, Tanner Roark, and Pedro Strop) currently playing this season. Jose Diaz is best known as Jumbo Diaz. Chad Tracy is not Diamondbacks Chad Tracy. This one peaked in Triple A before finishing his final two seasons at independents. Ryan O'Malley is listed but never played a game for the team. Michael Schlatt hung around Rangers organization for 7 years before finishing his career in the independents. I own Thomas Diamond Rangers jersey and had him sign it despite not playing a game for the team. He was on their 40 man roster at the time. I bought it at The Ballpark at Arlington when they had player worn jerseys shop right around outfield. I don't believe its there anymore. Guilder Rodriguez finally got his call up in 2014 after 12 years in the minors. He's now coaching Rangers rookie league team. Another player that went on to become coach is Joe Torres who is currently pitching coach for Lake County Captains. Mike Micucci is currently manager of Lakewood Blueclaws after spending time with Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles-Anaheim Angels in various coaching capacities. Brant Brown is now with LA Dodgers. Jeff Andrews, who replaced Joe Slusarski few weeks into the season, stuck with Frisco til 2015.

Rockhounds shutout Roughriders 2-0

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Midland Rockhounds program June 8, 2009

Another scorecard program from Midland Rockhounds. They took on Tulsa Drillers that night. Drillers were Colorado Rockies affiliate at the time. The north and south teams play two series every season, one per half. The player on the cover is still Justin Dowdy.
Esmil Rogers who was at time one of Rockies top pitching prospect against Carlos Hernandez. There were too many players name Carlos Hernandez as well. Crunch time to first half of season crown with top teams in both leagues clinching the playoffs. Archie Gilbert continue his hot streak including going 4-4 the previous game.
Rockhounds still on top of South by 5 games while Drillers in second place behind two games to Springfield Cardinals. Look at the top 10 pitchers with lowest ERA during the time. Only four made to the majors. I thought Trevor Reckling and Kasey Kiker had better potential only to peak very quickly.

The outfielders up their batting average from the previous game I attended.
Eight players went on to majors afterwards. Five of them are pitchers with Jhoulys Chacin best of the bunch. The others are Esmil Rogers, Sam Deduno, Chaz Roe, and Xavier Cedeno. Chacin and Roe still playing to this day. Michael McKenry spent most time in the majors of the three position players. The others are Chris Nelson and Cole Garner. Garner only got four games and that was it for his time in the majors. Team included Ryan Harvey who was drafted 6th overall by Cubs in 2003 as well two Daniels as in Mayora and Carte. Both were high prospects for Rockies at the time and neither made it to the show. When Texas League started the season Stu Cole was manager. Rockies fired Clint Hurdle 46 games into the season. Cole got moved up to Triple-A Colorado Springs when Rockies promoted Tom Runnells to bench coach. Ron Gideon started the season as Rockies minor league coordinator became manager of Tulsa. He is currently 1st base coach for the Rockies. Dave Hajek was in Tulsa til after 2011. Former All-Star Bryan Harvey spent two years as pitching coach. A bit homecoming for him because he played for Midland in 1987 when it was Angels affiliate at the time.

Midland got through Esmil Rogers and won 8-2. Tulsa had bad misfortune of not able win both first (38-32; finish second) and second half (36-34; finish second) despite having most combined wins in the north division with 74-67 record.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Midland Rockhounds June 3, 2009 Program

I previously posted a game program from a decade ago of that date. It's been over a month since I went to a game. Another Wednesday game for me as they take on Northwest Arkansas Naturals. By that time I given several players personal nicknames just like I have done before. One of them is Mike "the Sultan of Swing" Sulentic.

Justin Dowdy on the cover of the scorecard program. He was no longer on the team when it was printed out. He spent the season playing in American Association for Shreveport-Bossier Captains then Wichita Wingnuts. He played til 2013 season mostly in independent leagues.
Rockhounds still on top of their division with 28-22 record ahead of San Antonio Missions. Mike Baxter, who later play for NY Mets, lead the league in batting average and tied with Chris Carter on extra base hits. Looking at pitching top 10 Esmil Rogers and Ernesto Frieri would have a longer MLB career. Trevor Reckling, Kasey Kiker, Will Inman, Omar Poveda, Trey Hearne, and Tommy Mendoza never made it to the majors.
Jared Lansford joined the team. Bottom blurb mention of former Rockhound Vin Mazzaro getting combined shutout in his first career MLB game. He spent 8 up and down seasons bouncing between majors and AAA.
About six players on the roster made it to the majors afterwards. Big name out of it is Greg Holland as became 3-time MLB All-Star and one of top closers in the league. Blake Wood spent 7 seasons in the majors with five of them bouncing between AAA and the majors. Played for Angels last year.

Daniel Cortes got a total of 14 games with Mariners in two season. On side note I witness him almost getting killed by line drive foul ball at this game while sitting in the dugout. If he didn't move in a split second it would have hit in him in the head and would been dead.

Anthony Lerew returned with a 6 game stint. Cody Clark finally got a shot with 16 game stint with Astros in 2013. Ed Lucas played 163 in two seasons with Marlins spending final two years of his career in the minors.

Corey Smith, despite crushing homeruns and driving in runs, wouldn't get the call.

Vance Wilson never returned as 2009 was his final season. He would transition to manager in their minor league system and back in the majors as Royals bullpen coach. Manager Brian Poldberg is currently manager of Royals AAA club Omaha Storm Chasers. Larry Carter would remain with Royals organization til 2014. Terry Bradshaw went on to big club as current hitting coach.
Josh Donaldson went from .192 to .288 in over a month along with 5 homeruns. Chris "the Crusher" Carter lead the team in homeruns and RBIs while they forgot to print out Tommy Everidge stats.

Rockhounds ran over Naturals 16-8 that night.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Simon Says Sweep Indy

A fantastic enjoyable race with another classic finish. Simon Pagenaud outdueled Alexander Rossi to win his first Indy 500. The look on Rossi's face and sound his voice told the story of so-close, but no win disappointment. Look at the elation from Pagenaud as completes sweep of both Indianapolis races. His month of May started with a victory on Indy Grand Prix road course follows it up with winning the pole position for Indy 500 and finishes it with a dominating victory at the big race. Both, Pagenaud and Rossi, had the best cars of the race as spent most of the race 1-2. There were plenty of good drives and some low-lights throughout entire Indy 500. Here are my opinion the best drives and the low-lights of the race.

Best drives:
Simon Pagenaud - the pole sitter dominated the race once the green flag flew leading 116 out 200 laps. Out-snookered Rossi in a the cat and mouse game passing him on the outside going into turn 3 to take the lead with two laps to go and held on to win.
Alexander Rossi - ran 2nd most of the race taking the lead when Simon pitted. Had impressive charge from 6th to 3rd from laps 140-170 after bad pit stop when refueling rig failed. Use short fill strategy which got him to 2nd when pit stops cycled through. Passed Simon on 178 for the lead just before the big crash showing him he came to win just like him setting up dual to the finish with 14 to go. 
Takuma Sato - 2017 Indy 500 winner had bad first half falling a lap down. He quietly came back from out of nowhere to threaten a challenge to the leaders in the final 14 laps before finishing 3rd.
Santino Ferrucci - he continue to turn heads in his rookie season with impressive smooth race this year. He was aggressive once he out of the pits and went wheel to wheel with 2011 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan on the warm up lane which no one done before. Showed good control when he dodged a big wreck and gunned it. He finished the race in 7th, the highest finishing rookie of the race.
Pippa Mann - why is 16th place finisher on this list? After not qualifying for the race last year, she made in the top 30 locking her in the field in a brand new team. She drove a clean race and for first time in her six races at Indy she completed all 200 laps. She even finished a position higher than five-time Indycar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon.

Low-lights:
Marco Andretti - on the 50th anniversary of his grandfather and famed Mario Andretti winning Indy and qualifying 10th you expect Marco to in contention for the win. Then the green flag dropped and so did he dropping down the order like a brick. After spending the entire race with ill handling car he finished five laps down in 26th as the final car on the track. Obviously if it wasn't for nepotism his career wouldn't lasted this long.
Jordan King Takes Out His Crew - Indy rookie Jordan King makes his second pit stop only to slid in his pit stall hitting a tire which bounced right into his right front tire changer. OUCH! 
Juncos Racing Cinderella Drive Strikes Midnight - Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing was feel good story last week as cash-strapped team qualified bumping famed McLaren team out of the race. The result gave the team a much needed sponsorship money from various companies. Their run ended on lap 73 when Kaiser spun coming out of turn 3 and hit turn 4 wall ending their race. It was second wreck for the team at the track as the clock struck midnight for Juncos Racing. 
Marcus Ericsson Nearly Made History After Spinning It Away - former Formula 1 and Indy rookie Marcus Ericsson was having fine run til he spun it going into the pits and bounced off the wall lightly damaging the car. Luckily team made repairs and send him out where he finished 2 laps down in 23rd thus avoid making bad history. If he crashed out he will be first driver to crash out at both Grand Prix and 500 races in a same year. 
What the Hell is Oriol Servia Doing? - during Alexander Rossi frantic charge from 6th to 3rd he encountered a lap car of Oriol Servia. In two occasions he pushed close to inside wall on the front straight prompting Raging Rossi shaking his fist at him when he finally passed him. Oriol must channeling his inner Eliseo Salazar.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

McLaren Spectacular Indy Failure

Famed Formula 1 McLaren team try their at Indy this year and failed miserably in spectacular fashion as their driver, two-time Formula 1 champion, Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. The team struggled the entire week getting up to speed going into the weekend. Alonso totaled a car during practice. Come qualifying Saturday they couldn't able get themselves locked in top 30 forcing them qualify for final three spots of the field with six cars gunning for it in one shot on Sunday. Alonso qualified in the field only to get bumped out by the last car on track, a sponsorless cash-strapped Juncos Racing team driven by 2017 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser.

How could this happen to well-known world racing team pumped with full of money failed miserably? I been reading articles and listening to podcasts on the subject that came out afterwards. It was series of follies that started when McLaren announced their running of the Indy 500. 

The big difference from their run in 2017 to this year is that they had partnership with Andretti Autosports, who have years of running Indycar, in their 2017 run. McLaren decide go at it alone with upstart Carlin Racing providing support. Originally they approached Ed Carpenter Racing to partner up, but they declined. Another note Andretti uses Honda engines while Carlin uses Chevy. Why is this important? Cue back to 2015 to McLaren Formula 1 season where they are in their downward spiral stretch of a difficult season along rocky relationship with Honda. After a race in Japan, their driver Fernando Alonso called the engine a "GP2" (lower tier series) pissing off Honda. When McLaren and Honda split in Formula 1 they will work with team in the future, but not with Alonso driving. Cue to late 2018 where they announce running the only engine available to them, a Chevy, for this year's Indy 500.

There is their preparation going to Indianapolis. McLaren arrogantly thought they can drive in and waltz through the field expecting to win. They end up learning the hard way what they can do in Formula 1 does not work in Indycar. Here's a small rundown on McLaren road to Indy follies....

- order a steering wheel for the car, but did not order the required paddle shifters for it because the team said they do not need them.
- electrical issues plagued their Indy test. Instead finding the problem they removed member of the team. The electrical gremlins continued, but this time it was on week on Indy practice to qualify losing valuable track time.
- purchased a backup car from Carlin and complained about orange paintjob isn't "papaya orange." The car sat in Carlin's shop being repainted and not ready when Alonso crashed in practice. Meanwhile other teams get backup ready in few hours (see James Hinchcliffe and Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports) Alonso sat by wayside for almost two days, yet again losing much valuable track time.
- poor car setup with very low ride height as bottom of the car scraping the track at times.
- couldn't converted inches to metric system.
- couldn't set up gear ratios

Fans surprised to see McLaren bombed badly, but not for those within the garages and paddock area. They knew its was going be trainwreck a mile away. The teams who been around Indy know how they must work as cohesive unit taking steps at time with setups and input to get car running in practice and make necessary changes during the time before going to qualifying. Even the brand new DragonSpeed team did it to reach their goal of qualifying for Indy 500. Juncos Racing, despite a setback, went to work repairing the wrecked car and got in the field. McLaren team turned into comical disorganized chaos with too many chiefs running it with no direction from beginning to end. The team's road to Indy run will go down as one biggest qualifying disasters at the speedway.

I bought this at COTA during Indycar race weekend. Let's say I own a piece of "reject" merchandise.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

New Addition to Bobblehead Collection

Despite the cold and on and off drizzling rain I went to Midland Rockhounds game last night. I was also there on Thursday when they lost badly to Frisco Roughriders 11-2. The weather drove the fans to stay home, but those in attendance able pick up this giveaway.
It was bobblehead night featuring Matt Olson and Matt Chapman combo. Those two were part of Rockhounds championship 4-peat from 2014-2017. Olson played in 2015 while Chapman in 2016 (and 1 game in 2014). Now teammates on the A's both won Golden Gloves award last year hence Golden Matts.
It was Star Wars jerseys weekends as Mikey White is warming up. Rockhounds take the early lead, but Roughriders would come back and win 8-5.
Small crowd due the cold and wet weather. They were able finish giving away the bobbleheads around the 1st inning.

This bobblehead will go along with Jose Canseco, J.R. Richards, Hunter Pence, Kyle Blanks, Graham Rahal, Dominic Leveille, and Paul Gilles.