August 2010

Power Surge

CuneoAction.jpgTonight, the Boise Hawks used a seldom seen boost of power to record their fifth-straight home series win against the Everett Aquasox, earning a 4-1 victory, before a sellout crowd of 3,544.  The Hawks have now won each of the last five series at home against the Frogs since 2006 – including a pair of series sweeps.

It was the long ball that propelled the team to victory tonight, as the team hit a season-high three home runs in the win.  Ryan Cuneo got the party started with a long solo shot over the right-field wall in the fourth inning.  One out later, Jeff Vigurs hit his first professional homer, just over the right-field wall.  In the fifth, Richard Jones ended a month-long homerless drought, smacking a ball to straight-away center for his team-high fifth home run of the season.

It was the third time this season that the Hawks have hit two home runs in a game (Jones and Alvaro Ramirez hit homers vs. Salem-Keizer on June 22; Jones and Jesus Morelli hit homers at Salem-Keizer on July 15), however, it was the first time in over four years that the Hawks have hit more than two homers in a game – dating back to July 17, 2007, when Bill Moss, Marquez Smith, Tony Thomas, and Jonathan Wyatt hit dingers at Everett.

Pitching was also key – as Austin Kirk ended a personal three-game losing streak with five innings of four-hit ball.  Even more impressive was the outing by Larry Suarez, who tossed three shutout innings – without allowing a walk.  Aaron Kurcz slammed the door, notching his sixth save of the year in six chances.

DROUGHT OVER FOR GIBBS: Switch hitter Micah Gibbs leads the Hawks against left-handed pitchers – hitting .355.  However, it isn’t the same against righties – as Gibbs recently snapped an 0-for-38 slump with a single last night, his first hit against a right-hander since July 13.  He is now 4-for-74 this season left-handed.

SerranoAction.jpgROSTER MOVES: Three Hawks will not accompany the team to Vancouver tonight, as Juan Serrano left this morning for Mesa – where he will spend the next six days working out with the Mesa Cubs (as a defector from Cuba, Serrano is unable to enter Canada)…Jordan Latham will also miss the trip North – thanks to his legal issues that kept him away from the field in 2009, while Larry Suarez will join the team as soon as he received his visa.  All three players will return to the Hawks by next Wednesday at the latest.  The team is expected to receive a pair of relief pitchers in time for Friday’s game.

WEST BOUND AND DOWN: The bus will leave Memorial Stadium in about 30 minutes – pointed westward, with the destination, Vancouver, B.C. – 604 miles overnight.  The team will stop for a rest around the Tri-Cities (probably around 3 a.m.), and a breakfast stop north of Everett (probably around 9 a.m.), and after the annual crisis at the U.S.-Canada border (last year, it took us all day), we should be to the Accent Inn around 1 p.m.

LOOKING AHEAD: The series with Vancouver at Scotia Bank Field should be a doozie, as the C’s lead the West Division race.  Look for coverage of the new video board at the stadium – which has the best quality picture in all of minor league baseball, a new video of the Great Sushi Race.

A Saturday Night Adventure (in Homedale, that is)

tyler-colvin.jpgJust as Pat Dillon, the longtime Voice of the Everett Aquasox, joked about before we left Everett Memorial Stadium last Monday night – the trend for the Boise Hawks and the Everett Aquasox continued tonight – the Hawks hanging on to defeat the Frogs, 7-6, at Memorial Stadium, on Tyler Colvin (pictured left) bobblehead night.

Most wouldn’t call it a trend – since the Sox just completed a five-game sweep of Boise in Everett.  However, although the Hawks have dropped nine of their last ten games in the North Puget Sound – the Aquasox have had their own “House of Horrors,” Memorial Stadium in Boise.  Last year, Everett dropped 4-of-5 to the Hawks, in 2008 – Boise swept the Frogs…as Everett has dropped ten of their last 11 games and 20 of the past 22 games in Boise, since 2005.

Errors hurt the Hawks in this one, as a fourth inning error allowed an unearned run to score, and a fifth inning error prolonged the inning, allowing Hawkins Gebbers’ two-run single that put Everett up, 4-3.  But something that had eluded the Hawks in the past month saved them tonight – the longball, as Arismendy Alcantara launched a two-run homer in the sixth, giving Boise the lead for good (Alcantara has the only two homers for the Hawks since the middle of July). 

latham.jpgWith it being an Applebee’s After Party night – extra innings were expected, and nearly occurred, as a Kevin Mailloux RBI triple in the ninth put the tying run on third with one out.  However, Centennial product, Jordan Latham buckled down, getting a pair of groundouts to pick up his first save of the year with the Hawks (and his 12 save overall this year).  It marked the first time in the five Applebee’s After Party games that a game had not gone extra innings (including a game-winner last year in 13 innings against Everett).

GAME NOTES: Alcantara had his second four-hit game of the season, and just the fourth four-hit game of the year for the Hawks…Eric Jokisch got the start, going four solid innings – however, recorded a walk for the first time in three appearances…Dustin Fitzgerald picked up his second win, tossing four innings, allowing just one earned run – much better than the nine hits he surrendered against the Frogs in Everett last Sunday…Alvaro Ramirez saw his hit streak snapped at 16 games – with the Hawks now boasting four of the five longest hit streaks in the league in 2010 (Ramirez-20, Matt Szczur-18, Ramirez-16, Richard Jones-14).

HEADED TO PEORIA: With the promotion of Welington Castillo to the Cubs, it set off a chain-reaction of roster moves throughout the organization…Jonathan Mota was called up to Iowa from Tennessee to fill Castillo’s spot, while Mario Mercedes was promoted from Peoria to Tennesssee.  That opened a spot for Jose Guevara, who moved into full-season ball for the first time, earning to promotion to Peoria.

WHERE WAS SAFFORD: During the series against the Tri-City Dust Devils, fans were noticing that media relations intern, Chad Bates, was getting a little-bit more play-by-play action, in fact, calling four innings of the 4-1 loss to the Dust Devils on Friday night.  The reason?  Saturday night marked the Owyhee County Fair and Rodeo’s final night in Homedale, and a big night for my little cowboy, PJ, who got to be front and center at the biggest Idaho Cowboys Association event of the summer – and it was something that I wasn’t going to miss.

Rodeo2.jpgSo while I was watching PJ lasso in the sun along the Snake River and play to the crowd inside the rodeo arena, Chad was living the dream that so many people wish they had an opportunity to do – call a professional baseball game on the radio solo.  It was a great evening for the Safford family – although I will say, the dust at the fairgrounds rivals some of the dust we have seen at Gesa Stadium in the Tri-Cities in the past.

Tomorrow night, it is back to reality – as the second half of the longest homestand of the year continues on, as the Hawks – winners of five of their last six home games, welcome skipper Jody Davis back into the dugout – with his six-game suspension by the Northwest League served. 

Rainy Night in Boise

MemorialStadiumRain.JPGTo me, it seemed as if it was deja vu – Saturday night in Everett again, as nearly four-tenths of an inch of rain fell in Boise on Wednesday, almost identical to the infamous night from the weekend.  However, kudos to the tarp and drainage at Memorial Stadium, the tarp kept the infield in outstanding shape, while the drainage in the outfield soaked in the deluge (actually helping the grass that has turned a deep, deep green – thanks to Zamzow’s).

Speaking of the tarp – what a great investment, something that the majority of Northwest League teams do not have.  In fact, only three clubs own one – Everett, Boise, and Vancouver, while Salem-Keizer, Tri-City, Spokane, and Yakima do not have one (Eugene does not need an infield tarp with their artificial surface at PK Park), with Spokane already losing one home date due to rain.

President/GM Todd Rahr was very up-front as to how the game was going to go – pushing the start time to 7:45 p.m. (sticking with it, even when the rain subsided at 6 p.m.)  It was a very different approach than what I saw in Everett on Saturday – as the Hawks staff worked like a well oiled machine, while it seemed like Everett tried to rush things along.  If they would have told the fans/coaches/umpires, “Hey, lets start at 9:05” – the fiasco that ensued probably wouldn’t have occurred.

Jody.jpgTHE SUSPENSION: I haven’t weighed in on the six-game suspension for Jody Davis – who is limited to what he can and can’t do during that period in terms of baseball-related activities.  Did Bob Richmond and the NWL have to be harsh – I think so, as they needed to send a message to the rest of the league and to Minor League Baseball, that this sort of activity shouldn’t be tolerated.  But in the same instance, in looking at it from Davis’ view – he was protecting his players and if I were one of the 27 guys in uniform for the Hawks, I would know that the guy wearing #7 definitely has my back.

THE MEDIA: Many thought that the incident would be a black eye for the Hawks, but it was far from that…both Idaho Sports Talk and KIDO’s T&T had Rahr on, while all of the television stations spent multiple days talking about the issue.  Most of the chatter – especially on blogs in the Valley and along the Cubs network was taking the side of the Hawks skipper – including some Cubs fans wanting to take up a collection to pay for the undisclosed fine that Davis will pay the NWL.

NEWS AND NOTES: The ride home from Everett was a long one – as the air conditioning on the bus did not work, as the team was a sweaty mess when they arrived in Kennewick around 2 a.m. in the morning for a pit-stop…Alvaro Ramirez has continued to hit, running his hit streak to 14 games, 34 of his last 36 games, with his average at .381 – tops in all of short-season ball…Brent Ebinger and Cam Greathouse continue to roll as a piggy-back, allowing just one earned run over their last 17 1/3 innings of work.

WelingtonCastillo.jpg#79 AND COUNTING – The Boise Hawks saw their 79th player make their Major League debut on Wednesday, as Welington Castillo (pictured left), who played for the Hawks in 2006, was called up by the Chicago Cubs and went 1-for-3 with a double off Barry Zito.  He is the fourth former Boise player to make their debut this season – joining Josh Donaldson, Andrew Cashner, and Casey Coleman as part of the ever-growing list.  Also earning a call up was former NWL All-star – Micah Hoffpauir, who had 20 homers and 81 RBI at Iowa before earning the promotion. 

Boise Hawks Alumni Report #6 (August 8)

As of August 8, a total of 138 former Boise Hawks are currently playing professional baseball – from the independent circuit to the Major Leagues.  There are currently 19 former Hawks in MLB – including two players from the 2008 team (Andrew Cashner and Casey Coleman).

Read the entire Alumni Report here –

A forfeit? And I thought I’ve seen everything

Forfeit1I have been a baseball fan for nearly all of my 34 years – watching the Seattle Mariners at the Kingdome when they were horrible, watching the Tacoma Tigers at Cheney Stadium during the glory days of the Bash Brothers (even when they were in Tacoma in 1986 and 1987), seeing a triple play at Memorial Stadium in 2005, and all of the Memorial Stadium magic over the last few years.

Forfeit2But truly, tonight was something in another realm – a forfeit of a minor league game that wasn’t because of unruly fans (aka – Disco Demolition Night).  And worse – it was the Boise Hawks who forfeited the contest.

Watch the final two minutes of the “game” as it happens tonight

On a rainy day in the Puget Sound area (picture of the tarp on the field at 6 p.m. tonight) – it was unclear whether or not the game would, or wouldn’t, be played.  Around 6:50 p.m., the grounds crew began removing the tarp and spent the next 90 minutes getting the field into playing shape – which included at least a half our of work in left field where the excess water from the tarp had formed into puddles.

Forfeit3Finally, at 8:25 p.m. – play began (to the delight of the fans, as it was the annual Frogstock event for the Aquasox – with a fireworks show to follow, and the team wearing tie-dyed uniforms), and the Hawks didn’t wait long – as Everett starter Eric Thomas needed just six pitches to get out of the first, with the Hawks swinging at each first pitch.

In the bottom of the first, Eduardo Figueroa gave up a double to left to lead-off man, Terry Serrano.  After two outs, Kevin Rivers followed with a base-hit up the middle, making it 1-0.  The next batter, Hawkins Gebbers, lined a ball into left, but as Ryan Cuneo went to play the ball – he slipped on the wet warning track and fell – allowing Rivers to score from first, making it 2-0.  Skipper Jody Davis, who felt all along the field was unplayable, came out and protested to plate umpire, Matt Mullins, that the field is in bad shape.  After a five minute conversation, Davis pulled the nine Hawks in the field off and into the dugout.  Field umpire, Matt Heersema then left for the clubhouse and returned about ten minutes later – after lengthy discussions with both managers, Mullins and Heersema told the Aquasox to take the field – with or without the Hawks.  (As pictured at the top of the blog) So Gebbers returned to second, the coaches went to their boxes, and Evan Sharpley, the next batter, got in the box.  After waiting the mandated five minutes as required in the MLB Rule Book, Mullins went to the Hawks dugout, giving Davis one last opportunity – when he declined, the game was deemed a forfeit, a 9-0 win for Everett.

Forfeit4What ensued was difficult for me to watch and describe – it was probably my toughest 30 minutes of radio in my career (and I have had some tough days on the microphone in my 16-plus years).  The team was being berated from the fans and needed an escort (as an entire group) to get off the field – all while I was trying to describe what was going on and keep a level head (while knowing that we had to play eight innings of commercials to pay the bills).

In one case, I know exactly what the skipper was doing – protecting his players and the Chicago Cubs from injuries, earning the respect of the 27 men in the clubhouse – as I know that if one of the players would have been injured, the Cubs would not have been pleased with the decision to keep the game going.  There was standing water on the warning track around the field and left field had drainage issues after the tarp was emptied.

On the flipside, I feel for all of the kids in attendance who were looking forward to watching a game – maybe their only game they’d get to see all year.  Everett is a community that has struggled financially with the recession and a lot of men and women are out of work – and this might have been their lone game they got to go to.  The Aquasox front office lost out on eight innings of concessions, eight innings of merchandise sales with a crowd of 3,000 – then will have to give out vouchers for another game to each of them.  It also hurt a charity event for Everett, as the tie-dyed uniforms were supposed to be auctioned to the fans following the game – part of the Frogstock promotion.  They did, however, get a nice fireworks show.

And for the Boise Hawks and I, it is a PR nightmare.  As soon as the game was over and reports of the forfeit surfaced – my phone (and Facebook) lit up.  People won’t look at it as the Chicago Cubs farm-hands forfeiting the game, it is the Boise Hawks – just before the team hosts its longest homestand of the year and during a tense time with the on-going process of a new stadium talks.

When it is all said and done – I am looking forward to Sunday afternoon, baseball as it was intended (hopefully).

QUICK HITS: Following the game, Major League Baseball Advanced Media stats service informed me that the statistics from the game will not count – so the runs allowed by Figueroa will not go against his ERA…it will also protect the 11-game hit streak for Alvaro Ramirez, who led off the game with a groundout to first…during the rain delay, the team had some fun with Webbly the Frog (Everett’s mascot), hula-hooping in front of the dugout (video is grainy)…it marked the first rain delay of the season for the Hawks…it is unclear who the starting pitchers will be tomorrow, as neither pitcher logged more than 20 pitches (Dustin Fitzgerald was the scheduled Sunday starter, with Eric Jokisch the back end of the piggy-back)…the loss for the Hawks was their eighth road defeat in their last nine games. 

An Inside Look at Everett

Everett2.JPGSince I was unable to make the trip to Everett due to work obligations last year, it marks the first trek to the North Puget Sound area for me since we began “On the Mike” last year – which means, I need to give you a birds-eye view of the third-oldest ballpark in the Northwest League (behind Vancouver and Spokane).

Take a look at Everett Memorial Stadium from field level

Everett Memorial Stadium became the home of the Everett Giants back in the mid-1980s and was affiliated with San Francisco until the Mariners moved down from Bellingham in 1995 – resulting in the Aquasox and the closest affiliated team with their parent club in the NWL.  The park has a seating capacity of around 4,100 – which, depending on the weather, will be pushed to the limit on Saturday night for their annual Frogstock event, where the team will be wearing tie-dyed uniforms (which are pretty sweet).

AquaVision.JPGIt is actually owned and operated by the Everett School District – with the adjacent Everett Memorial Stadium (same name), a 10,000-seat football stadium literally next door (which gives the Hawks a nice place for strength and conditioning training for pitchers during batting practice).

The park has some of the smaller overall dimensions in the league – 325 down the left field line, only 380 to center, 340 to right center gap, and 330 to right.  There is a 14-foot high wall around most the park, it rises to 18 feet in left center, and to 20 feet at the manual scoreboard in right center, before dropping to 10 feet for the homer porch in right.

EverettScoreboard.JPGSpeaking of the manual scoreboard, it is part of a dying breed in the Northwest League – as just a few years back, Vancouver, Everett, Yakima, and Eugene all had hand-operated scoreboards.  Now, only Vancouver and Everett remain – though both clubs have outstanding high-quality, hi-definition video-boards.  I still like the “Hit it Here, Win a Suit” sign that used to be on the scoreboard at Ebbets Field in New York.

QUICK HITS FROM THE BALLPARK: The Hawks dropped a tough 12-5 decision to the Aquasox tonight, as four Boise pitchers combined to walk eight Everett batters and allow a season-high four home runs.  Nine of the 12 runs were a direct result of the walks or homers…Alvaro Ramirez led off the game with a double, extending his hit streak to 11 – but his multi-game hit streak was snapped a six…on the flip side, Micah Gibbs had a good night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, snapping an 0-for-27 drought that saw his average dip to .093…also gone is the Hawks homerless streak, which ended at 17 games, as Arismendy Alcantara lined a solo homer over the manual scoreboard in right for his longball of the year – the first Boise homer since mid-July…the Hawks have hit 16 homers as a team, Yazy Arbelo of Yakima has hit 11 by himself, while Everett as a team has hit 43.

Everett3.JPGWE WANT OUR ESPN BACK, PLEASE: The Holiday Inn in Everett (view from the room is to the right) is one of the nicer stops in the league, but they are having issues with their cable television…only 19 channels are working at the present time, including five shopping channels.  However, the lone ESPN channel that was on the line-up was recently replaced by…the Weather Channel, so for score updates, the computer or Blackberry is the best option.

SIGN OF WHERE WE ARE:  In the Seattle Times, it talks about the high temperature today was 65 degrees…with the record high for the day at 91…which is the average temperature on the date in Boise. 

Cool and Cloudy in Everett

EverettMemorialIt was definitely a shock for the Boise Hawks last night during their opening game at the other Memorial Stadium in the loop – Everett Memorial Stadium – as the game-time temperature was 66 degrees, with a breeze (and the temperature dropped as the night rolled on).  Pitchers that had brought their jackets were huddled in the bullpen, while the ones who didn’t, were visibly cold.

A rough start by Juan Serrano led to four Everett runs in the first innings – and the Hawks were never able to recover.  Boise left runners at first and second in both the third, fourth, and seventh innings – including a strikeout of Pierre LePage, representing the tying run in the seventh (which looked high and out of the zone to me and skipper Jody Davis).

WebblyDoll.jpgAlvaro Ramirez had his sixth-straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 – having hit safely in 30 of his last 32 games.  On the flip side, the Hawks failed to hit a home run for the 17th straight game, dating back to July 18 against Spokane (a three-run homer by Ramirez).

AN ADDITION TO THE COLLECTION: Over the last year, we have started a collection of stuffed mascots for my son – beginning with a Dusty the Dust Devil doll last year.  He now has a Boomer the Bear doll from Yakima, a Otto the Spokaneasaurus doll from Spokane, a Sluggo wobblehead from Eugene, and a Humphrey the Hawk plush doll.  When we return to Boise, add Webbly the Frog to the list, one of Everett’s two mascots (along with the unique, Frank the Hot Dog – whom I received a bobblehead off a few years back).

CY YOUNG WINNER IN TOWN: Friday’s game will have a special guest in house, as former American League Cy Young winner, Dave Stewart, will be on hand to sign autographs at the ball park.  He is doing a tour of the west coast – and was in Vancouver last night.  Next week in Vancouver, Hall of Fame outfielder, and former Cub, Andre Dawson, is supposed to make an appearance.

Shipyard.jpgTIE-DYED UNIFORMS: Saturday is Everett’s annual Frog-Stock, in which they have multiple bands that play during the day on the stadium grounds – ala Woodstock in New York.  To further promote the event, the Aquasox will wear tie-dyed uniforms that will be auctioned off to charity.

ALONG THE SOUND: The team hotel here in Everett is just two miles from Puget Sound, a salt water inlet that connects Seattle to the Pacific Ocean.  The Port of Everett is a bustling trade area, but it is also home to the U.S. Naval Shipyard – which has helped revitalize this portion of Snohomish County.

A Complete Effort, now on to Everett

thorp.jpgA five hour bus ride this morning got the Hawks over the Cascade Mountains and settled into the Holiday Inn in Everett, Wash.  An interesting trip it was, with a stop in the thriving metropolis of Thorp, Wash. (between Ellensburg and Snoqualmie Pass) at a fruit stand, then the fun of noon-time traffic on I-90 in Bellevue – thanks to the Blue Angels practice for the Seafair event on Lake Washington this weekend.

E_aquasox_2010_hat.jpgI am looking forward to heading to Everett Memorial Stadium and see the new logos for the Aquasox up close and personal – since they now use a sideways trident logo (similar to the original Seattle Mariners “M”), looking like an E

Wednesday’s win at Tri-City was possibly the most complete effort by the Hawks this season, getting timely hits against a pitcher that spent Spring Training in Major League camp, both ends of the piggy-back start throwing outstanding, and a trio of double plays in the field that secured the 7-0, two-hit shutout.

As he has all season, Alvaro Ramirez was the table setter, leading off the game with a ringing triple to right – his fourth of the season, with Pierre LePage slapping a single to right through a drawn-in infield to knock home the first of three RBI.

pjcowboye.jpgMore importantly was in the third, great situational ball by the Hawks…a hit and run with runners at the corners by Dustin Harrington scored a run, with LePage knocking another in with a single.  The team then capitalized on an error in the fifth, with Elliot Soto knocking a double off the left-field wall, nearly hitting his first pro homer.

Cam Greathouse was stellar, throwing all three pitches for strikes – in any count, allowing just one hit in five innings to get the win.  Brent Ebinger continued the effort, tossing three shutout innings, also allowing just one hit.

THE PICTURE I ALLUDED TO: I was talking about my son, PJ, on the broadcast last night – wearing all of his cowboy attire.  So, here is the picture of him – looking like the best 2-year-old cowboy in Caldwell.

Quick, Quick Ball Game

HotDogTri-City.JPGIn a flash, those two methodical games on Saturday and Sunday against the Vancouver Canadians were in the rear-view mirror, as the Hawks and Tri-City played the shortest game so far of the 2010 season, a mere one hour and 59 minutes, as the Dust Devils defeated the Hawks, 3-0.  It marked the third-straight season that Boise has played a game quicker than two hours – this coming from the club that has recorded the longest cumulative time on the diamond in 2010…the Hawks played a 1:58 game in 2008 against Spokane at Memorial Stadium, then played a 1:58 game last season at Everett.  In all three instances, the Hawks lost.

The silver lining of the game was three-fold, as Alvaro Ramirez had both Boise hits off starter Chad Bettis, the second-round pick out of Texas Tech for the Rockies.  Ramirez has now recorded four-straight multi-hit games, and seven multi-hit games in his last eight outings, raising his batting average to .384.  On the mound, Eric Jokisch had his best outing as a professional, allowing just four hits and a run in four innings, without allowing a walk.  Dustin Fitzgerald tossed three shutout innings as well in the loss.

A LOOK AT GESA STADIUM: I had a chance to get some video from field level at Gesa Stadium during batting practice on Monday night.  You will notice the sunshade on the left side of the video at the start, and can see how as the sun sets to the West, that the seating bowl will go from 100 degrees to 80 degrees in an instance.

WWSMustard.JPGA HOT DOG ISN’T A HOT DOG WITHOUT…I talked about the mustard that they have at the ballpark – Walla Walla Sweet Mustard by AJ’s Edible Arts out of Pasco…absolutely fabulous.  Even better, is after talking with the owner, fans in Boise can purchase it in the City of Trees, as the Boise Co-Op carries the product – I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.

GLAD I PACKED THE LONG PANTS: When the team heads to Everett on Thursday, they will be in for a shock, as temperatures in the Puget Sound area are expected to be in the upper 60’s at best – instead of the 90-100 degree weather the team has faced for the last six weeks.  Hope the fellas packed their jackets – I know I did.

ON THE WIRE: Former Boise Hawk, Drew Rundle, who was released in June by the Cubs, was recently signed by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Quick Hits from the Tri-Cities

Coleman.jpgLots of news and notes coming out of the first day in the Tri-Cities of Washington (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland) – not to be confused with the Quad Cities of Iowa/Illinois.  First and foremost, the 78th former Boise Hawk made his major league debut last night, as 2008 alum, Casey Coleman, pitched two and a third innings of relief in the Cubs 18-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.  It was an inauspicious debut for the Florida native, allowing six runs on eight hits, but he did make history – becoming the first third-generation pitcher in the big leagues (as his grandpa, Joe, pitched in the 1940s and 1950s, while his dad, Joe, was an American League all-star in the 60s and 70s with the Tigers).  Coleman joins Josh Donaldson and Andrew Cashner as first-year MLB players from the Hawks in 2010.

Thumbnail image for RamirezAction.jpgAlvaro Ramirez continues to hit, and hit often, recording his sixth multi-hit game in his last seven starts – hitting a smoking 16-for-29 during the stretch, and leads the league heading into Tuesday’s game with a .381 batting average.  Ramirez had now hit safely in 27 of his last 29 games, and has reached base in all but two of his games played this year.

On the flip side is the struggles for the three Hawks catchers – as Micah Gibbs, Jose Guevara, and Jeff Vigurs have had their issues with the bat in 2010.  The trio comes into Tuesday’s game with a combined batting average of .125 (23-for-184), while Boise catchers have allowed opponent base stealers to convert 81-percent of their stolen base attempts, the highest average in the league.

Along those lines, where has the long-ball gone?  The Hawks head into Tuesday’s game having gone homerless in their last 14 games, dating back to a eighth-inning three-run homer by Ramirez against Spokane on July 18.  The 15 homers by Boise ranks seventh in the Northwest League, as Eugene has hit 13 homers in 2010.

BIG ON ORANGE JERSEYS: The online auction for the Main Street Mile game-worn orange Hawks alternate jerseys has begun at, with the minimum bid for each of the jerseys at $100.00.  The winners will receive the actual jersey off the back of their favorite Hawks player or coach.  I will begun to drum up business on the website, as when I checked this afternoon, not one bid had been made on the site.

High Heels {and} Highlights

from a woman in BASEBALL . . .

The Cougars Den

Major League fun since 1991. The official blog of the Kane County Cougars.

Muskat Ramblings's Carrie Muskat has been covering Major League Baseball since 1981 and is the author of "Banks to Sandberg to Grace: Five Decades of Love and Frustration with the Cubs." You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Here, she blogs about the Cubs.

Ben's Biz Blog

The Greatest Minor League Baseball Blog of All Time