June 2009

It rains in Boise?

rain.jpgWhat a weird ball game at Memorial Stadium tonight, as for the second-straight evening, the Hawks bullpen allowed a staggering 11 runs – watching a 5-1 lead turn into a 12-7 loss, dropping the club to 0-2 – joining Eugene as the only team in the loop without a win.

First off – Robert Hernandez was stellar in his season debut.  In reading many blogs about Extended Spring Training, Hernandez was a guy who most thought would end up in Peoria – but found his way to the Treasure Valley and allowed just four hits and one run in five innings.

Josh Lansford allowed a pair of runs, but after he settled down in his first appearance as a pitcher (he tossed last year in Tennessee in a mop up role), showed a live fastball.

However, it went downhill fast in the eighth, just as a rain squall moved over Memorial Stadium.  Yes, not a typical Boise summer thunderstorm, but literal rain.  When I moved to the area in 2001, my boss at The College of Idaho, Marty Holly, told me it never rains in Idaho – and it really is true, since normally from May to September, the only rain we receive are in pop-up thunderstorms.  Not last night, as an off-and-on downpour started in the fifth inning, with the bulk of the precipitation falling in the eighth – just as Mike Perconte made his 2009 Hawks debut.  You could tell he could not get a good grip for his slider, which is his out pitch – with a couple hits, a pair of wild pitches, a hit batter, and a walk allowing Tri-City to close within 5-4.  Enter Yohan Gonzalez, who threw seven of his first eight pitches for balls, walking in the tying run, then allowing a Jeremiah Sammy seeing-eye two-run single to give the visitors the lead for good.

Lost in the loss was solid performances from both Cliff Anderson and George Matheus, who each had three hits – although you could definitely tell Anderson is still hobbled by a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL in Peoria.

NOTES – In eight innings this year, Boise starting pitchers have allowed just two runs, while in ten innings, the bullpen has allowed 22…four different players (Hak-Ju Lee, Logan Watkins, Matt Cerda, Jose Valdez) each have two errors through the first two games…tonight’s crowd of 2,618 was one of the bigger early season Sunday crowds in recent memory…as part of the 20th-year history of Memorial Stadium, Tri-City pitching coach Darryl Scott returns to the scene of where he began his pro career, as a member of the 1990 Boise Hawks – where his battery mate was catcher Troy Percival…

THE BACON – Following Monday’s game, the Hawks will hit the road for a five-game road swing to Salem-Keizer, with the club leaving town via charter bus immediately after the game…look for insight in the roadtrip here throughout the week – with hopefully some video or photos to bring you close to the action.

Comeback Complete for Rockies Beerer

beerer.jpgOpening night at Memorial Stadium was very much like the other opening night’s I’ve seen over the past seven years – a great sellout crowd, a solid fireworks show, some mistakes, and an entertaining ball game.

Yes, the Hawks committed seven errors (the first time they had recorded seven errors in a game since both the 2005 and 2006 seasons – they did record nine errors in a game at Yakima in 2004 – and won the game 6-5), and yes Reggy the Purple Party Dude wasn’t at the ballpark (flight delayed out of Philadelphia and could not get a connection from Phoenix), but lost in all of the glitz and glamour was the dramatic return of Tri-City outfielder, Scott Beerer.

Beerer is not your typical Northwest League player – in fact, he has been here before, pitching for the Dust Devils at Memorial Stadium at the end of the 2004 season.

Yes, Scott Beerer was a pitcher – a REALLY good pitcher, drafted out of Texas A&M in the 2nd round back in 2003.  He had 21 saves in the South Atlantic League and was on the fast track to big things in the Rockies organization, before an elbow injury ended his career in 2006. 

He decided to step away from the game at that point. He went to school in Los Angeles to pursue a career as a fireman and studied to be an Emergency Medical Technician at UCLA. But in the summer of 2008, Beerer started to feel that competitive itch again, and asked the Rockies player development director if he could make a return as a position player.  After a workout for a scout, Beerer was trying to become the next Rick Ankiel.

Prior to tonight, he had five plate appearances in the minor leagues, going 0-for-5.  Tonight, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, three RBI, and had the chance for the cycle in the ninth, before Dionis Nunez plunked him with a fastball – while hitting in the clean-up spot, instead of the No. 9 spot in the order.

NOTES – The number carousel for the Hawks continued, as players cannot decide on which jersey number suits them.  Mike “Sauce” Perconte has settled on #30, Alvaro Sosa returned to his original #15, and Hak-Ju Lee (who went 3-for-5 in his much anticipated debut) to #7.  Newcomers Cliff Anderson (who was shortly with the Hawks in 2007) is #22, while draft pick Jordan Petraitis is #37…fundamentals were not the key for Boise defensively – two of the errors were on Matt Cerda throws to second, two errors were charged to Lee on a single play (bobble and then an errant throw), George Matheus, who had three hits, airmailed a throw to first, Logan Watkins short-armed a throw to first, while Jose Valdez threw a ball from centerfield into the Tri-City dugout (this does not include a pair of Hawks picked-off by Dust Devils starter Sheng An-Kuo, a bases loaded double play ball, and the first out of an inning recorded at home plate…Boise will add another pitcher to their roster on Sunday, as eighth-round draft pick Robert Whitenack from SUNY-Old Westbury (the first D-III player selected in the 2009 draft) will join the team.

For Real…

The Hawks had an easy time in their exhibition win over a primarily 35-and-over All-Star team from Boise, claiming a 21-2 victory – but it is for real on Saturday night vs. Tri-City.

Jose Valdez had a pair of triples, showcasing the speed that allowed him to swipe 26 bases in the Dominican Summer League last summer, while John Contreras, George Matheus, and Jae Hoon Ha each had three hits.

After Larry Suarez struggled with his command – exiting after two innings of a scheduled three inning appearance, converted pitcher Andres Quezada was impressive, fanning four batters.

The weather was more problematic than usual, as rain forced the start time back 21 minutes to 7:36 – as home plate and the pitchers mound was covered during the squall.  More rain is in the forecast over the weekend – which probably will make usage of the Memorial Stadium tarp.

A sellout crowd will be on hand Saturday for Opening Night – and will be entertained by Reggy the Purple Party Dude…who is pretty funny.

NOTES – Mike Perconte arrived from Peoria and was in uniform, wearing No. 35…Jose Made was promoted to Peoria, while draft pick Cody Shields was sent to Mesa for an unspecified injury.  It is expected that Cliff Anderson will join the team from Peoria, while 28th Round pick Jordan Petraitis of Miami (Ohio) will join the team from Mesa.  Tomorrow’s game is set for 7:15 p.m., although with 20th Anniversary of Memorial Stadium hoopla before the game, start time will more than likely be late.  All 76 Hawks games are carried live on flagship station 1350 KTIK-AM and online at www.boisehawks.com, while all 38 home games will be available with live video, through either www.milb.com (click on the multimedia page) or at www.boisehawks.tv.

Five Years Ago with the Hawks

Harvey.jpgOn back to back nights in 2004, former Cubs first-round pick (and current OF with the Tulsa Drillers in the Rockies organization) Ryan Harvey hit two of the more impressive home runs – one over the centerfield wall in Yakima, and one over the centerfield wall in Tri-City.  To this day, they are the only two homers hit to that part of those parks that I’ve ever seen.

In doing some clean-up in the press box, I found old play-by-play tapes and recovered the audio for you.  You will need Windows Media Player to listen to the highlights.

Highlight1.wma (Harvey’s HR in Yakima)

Highlight3.wma (Harvey’s HR in Tri-City)

NOTES – The Treasure Valley All-Stars that the Hawks will be playing their exhibition game against on Friday are not high school/college players, but the top players in Boise’s Over-25 and Over-35 men’s baseball league.  The squad will be coached by Andy Swenson.

 

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers…

numbers.jpgPrior to media day, the team made multiple changes to their numbers – as jerseys did not fit and players traded numbers.

Number changes – Gonzalez 41 (was 22), Sierra 33 (was 23), Nagel 43 (was 26), Quezada 34 (was 29), Antigua 16 (was 32), Sosa 38 (was 15), Lee 14, Shields 40 (was 17), Interim Manager Font 26 (was 13), Pitching Coach Rosario 32 (was 16)…

OF NOTE: Larry Suarez will get the start tomorrow against the Treasure Valley All-Stars, with Jon Nagel getting the opening day start against Tri-City.  Robert Hernandez will start Sunday, with Su-Min Jung getting the call in Monday’s series finale…it is expected that Mike Perconte will join the team tomorrow from Class-A Peoria, one of many roster moves that are expected from the Cubs prior to opening day.

The Birds Fly into Boise

pizza.jpgWith the typical fanfare that the Chicago Cubs brass has grown accustomed to each June, the newest version of the Boise Hawks have landed in the Treasure Valley.

The 27 players on the roster, along with two coaches and two roving instructor arrived at Boise Airport at 1:13 this afternoon – greeted by throngs of fans, Boise Hawks Booster Club members, and TV cameras.

Jon Nagel, who will make his professional debut in Boise, along with returning Hawk, Ryan Sontag were featured in local sportscasts – as was pitching coach David Rosario.

The team was also treated to a pizza dinner at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel – where the annual Host Family “lottery” ensued, with the players sent home to their various residences.

Thursday is the first workout at Memorial Stadium – preceded by 90 minutes of Media Day (picture taking, interviews, etc.)

NOTEWORTHY: Hawks staff will have to monitor the weather over the weekend, as the wild June weather in Idaho continues.  KIVI-TV’s Scott Dorval warned of possible strong storms on Friday night into Saturday morning and Saturday night into Sunday morning – meaning the tarp crew needs to be on alert.  Speaking of alert, we had a glimpse of the Tri-City Dust Devils roster – and just as the Rockies have done in the past, have a 32-man crew at the present time.  One thing Colorado has been able to do – sign draft picks, as no fewer than 13 2009 draftees are headed to Pasco.  Currently, the Cubs “officially” have signed four.

The Trouble with Rosters

Today saw the Chicago Cubs announce the 26-man roster that will make up the initial 2009 Boise Hawks.  Or will it?

After days of speculation, an original roster had the names that Treasure Valley fans will cheer for – including five players (Sean Hoorelbeke, Josh Whitlock, Jose Made, Ryan Sontag, Josh Lansford) who have played at Memorial Stadium before.

However, just as soon as the roster was announced – the changes began.  First, it was the removal of a player from the roster and addition of another, then came the announcement that manager Casey Kopitzke will not be in uniform on Opening Day (Cubs Minor League Infield Coordinator Franklin Font will skipper the club on an interim basis, with Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas serving as team spokesman), and finally, when the numbers of the players were revealed, a 27th player (Yohan Gonzalez) magically appeared on the roster.

The big question is, who will be coming off the plane at Boise Airport tomorrow?

On the roster were three draft picks, but none higher than the 14th round (Danny Keefe 14th, Cody Shields 15th, Greg Rohan 21st) – which this will definitely change as the summer rolls on.

Four Days until Opening Day, But Who are the Hawks?

Welcome to the first of many blogs here with BoiseHawksRadio –  it should be a lot of fun here in 2009

 

Safford.JPGFour days an counting until the newest version of the Northwest League season begins on Saturday – but for the Boise Hawks, fans (and all of us with the club) wonder – who are the Hawks.

Hopefully by the end of today we will know – as the Cubs are expected to release the initial list of players for the team (typically anywhere from 25-28)…however, 45 players total played for the Hawks last year, so it won’t take long for a carousel of roster moves to begin.

Couple of neat things – Steve Holley from cubs.scout.com has reported that the Cubs 5th round pick, Wes Darvill of Langley, B.C. has signed with the club, but will not report to Mesa until July – as he is playing for Team Canada.  Also, look for a story coming up on the Hawks website boisehawks.com on former Hawk, Joel Peralta, who is having a nice summer with the Colorado Rockies – as I got to sit down with Troy Renck, the beat writer for the Denver Post.

I look forward to hearing all summer from the fans and look forward to talking to you each night on 1350 KTIK The Ticket.

Mike

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