Sunday, December 28, 2014

Baseball Pickups & Black Monday- NFL Style


First of all, I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. As I wrap my last article before the new year, I wanted to show everyone my new baseball PC (personal collection) pickups and give my thoughts on the Black Monday that is coming up in the NFL.  First, let's start with the pickups.

Baseball Pickups & Pulls
My family has a tradition of going out to hit the stores early before the post-Christmas rush comes. My sister had been waiting all week to get a giant Lego Friends set. Anyway, we went to Target to look for the set. I picked up three 2014 Bowman Platinum rack packs. I really wanted to open this product but never had a chance to. I was looking forward to opening that later. Then, we went to a local baseball collectible store called Fan HQ. I recommend checking it out if you live in the Eastern Minnesota region, the owners are very nice & reasonable with their prices. Anyway, I wanted to buy something nice because I saved up and had some Christmas money to spend. I immediately went to look at the autographed baseballs & their game used collection. I saw some nice baseballs and it took me a while to decide, because I wanted to decide if it was the right purchase if I was going to buy a mid to high end value baseball. I also was going to buy something else a little smaller, but not sure what I was going to get. I ended up getting one small item and a HUGE item. The smaller item was a Nick Gordon signed draft day 8 x 10, and the big one, well the picture can describe it for you.

BOOM! A Cal Ripken signed HOF baseball w/HOF 2007 inscription! It also was a bonus that it was double authenticated from Ironclad Authentics and MLB Authentication. The picture doesn't do this ball justice, We went home after that and I opened the three Bowman Platinum Rack Packs. The first pack, BOOM! I hit a Michael Ratteree Refractor Auto. Then, nothing for seven more packs. Last pack, I hit a Scott Schebler Refractor Auto. Those and the Dominic Smith green refractor base (016/399) were the hits. Here are the pictures of the BP autos and the Gordon 8 x 10.

Now, I'm going to cover the NFL Black Monday that is tomorrow. Black Monday, for those who don't know, is the day where NFL teams fire coaches and start fresh for the next season. Everytime there is a Black Monday, there is always one or two teams that will surprise the league. I will cover the teams by division. Teams in BOLD will be the ones I predict that will have changes. Let's start with the AFC:

AFC East:
  1. New England Patriots
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Miami Dolphins
Joe Philbin will not be canned this year, but don't expect that they won't be making any moves. Their last playoff appearance was after 2008. They need major overhaul this year to satisfy the Miami fans.

4. New York Jets

This is a guarantee lock. Rex Ryan tells media outlets he expects to be fired and is already cleaning out his office. Expect the Jets to clean house and start fresh for the 2015 season.

AFC North:
No changes here. I would be surprised if anything happens.
  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Cleveland Browns
AFC South:
  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Tennessee Titans
AFC West:
  1. Denver Broncos
  2. San Diego Chargers
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will have to find their 19th head coach. Dennis Allen is still head coach, but it's inevitable that he'll be canned. The Raiders need to get a grip, because this will mark Oakland's 3rd losing straight season.

NFC East:
  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. New York Giants
  4. Washington Redskins
NFC North:
  1. Detroit Lions
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Chicago Bears

Expect the Bears to completely revamp everything. Coach Marc Trestman and the other coaches already know that they'll be fired. The Bears haven't had a losing season since 2009 and the GM and President will need to implement major changes for next year.

NFC South:

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West:

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. San Francisco 49ers
Pretty easy call here. Harbaugh is expected to take the Michigan job with a huge $48M dollar contract. It is expected he will confirm and his family will go to Ann Arbor on Tuesday.

4. St. Louis Rams

Please comment if you disagree or if you have any questions or if you're interested in any of my pickups.Thanks! Also, I'm taking items for Twinsfest on SUNDAY ONLY. If you're interested, please shoot me an email- and we can keep a correspondence. I also have an interview in queue that should be up by the end of the week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

130 Day Update w/Maxx Tissenbaum- Down Under

A few months back, I interviewed Rays catching prospect Maxx Tissenbaum in the first week of July (if you want to see the original interview, click here). Around late August when the Arizona Fall League rosters came out, a select few individuals were chosen from each team to participate in an alternate fall ball league called the Australian Baseball League. Maxx was selected to play on the Brisbane Bandits. If you have any questions on this interview, please comment below! Let's begin!

1.Who are some of the toughest pitchers you’ve faced so in the Australian Baseball League?

We've only played 5 games so far, so it's a little tough. We faced a left handed reliever on MelbourneKazuki Miyata , and he had an awesome slider. It was really late breaking so it was hard to pick up on.

2.Where was your first Australian home run and who was it against?

My first home run was in our third game of the year against Adelaide. It was a 3-2 pitch and I got it pretty good. Our ballpark isn't very deep so when I hit it I knew it was gone.

3.Do you wear batting gloves and do you wear one under your glove when you are fielding?

I wear batting gloves when I hit, but not when I catch. I prefer to feel the glove on my hand.

4.What is the biggest stereotype about Australians?

Tough one, I'm not really sure I've found any about them. Normally it's the Aussie guys making "American" jokes.

5.Favorite thing about Australia is…?


6.What are your goals for the Australian Baseball League?

Get better as a catcher. I'm trying to bring my receiving blocking and throwing up to speed before spring training.

7.Funny story about the Australian Baseball League?

Our third game of the year the announcer called our team onto the field and our starting pitcher wasn't ready yet. We stayed in the bullpen while the whole team was on the field.

8.How far do you think you’ll be up this year?

It's way too early to tell, I just want to go back an compete for an every day job defensively. I DH'd a lot last year and I want to show that I can catch regularly.

9.How have you adjusted to the time change?

I set my phone clock to Brisbane time a few days before I left, and made sure to try and sleep on the plane according to Brisbane time.

10.Projection for the Maple Leafs this season..

Anywhere but last? It's been hard to follow so far because the Internet cuts in and out some times.

11.Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

10 years? I don't know where I'll be next week, 10 years is a long time. I'm focused on shorter term goals.

12.Weirdest thing about the Australians…?

Some of the words they use aren't exactly "okay" in the USA.

13.When do you come back to North America?

Depends on the outcome of the year. Could be as late as February 8 if we win Brisbane its first ever Claxton Shield.

14.Do you live with a host family or do you room with anyone in Australia?

We actually got apartments, so I'm living with Tommy Coyle from my team this year. The other two Rays guys live two doors down.

15.What differences are there between the ABL and the MiLB?

Biggest one for me is the schedule, both over the season and day to day. During the season we play every day, here we play Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday only. On game day it's different in that we don't have major locker room facilities here, so we show up, get changed and play. It's much more similar to a college summer ball schedule day to day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Recap of the Smurf Turf


I recently took a trip out to Boise, Idaho about one week ago and was fortunate enough to see a Boise State vs. Fresno State football game! It was an incredible experience and I'll recap it for you. I'll rate each part from 1 to 10.


An unique attribute about Boise State is that they have a different theme on what the fans should wear each home game. So this game, it was a orange out. We (meaning me, my dad, cousin and uncle) showed up about a hour early. I made the assumption that we wouldn't have very great seats, because my aunt said that they weren't going to be very good seats. On the contrary, they were great seats. In the beginning, Fresno State's offensive linemen gathered by the end zone to do O-Line drills. It was also neat to see them stretch also about half an hour prior to kickoff. My rate for the pre-game:

The Game

The Boise State-Fresno State rivalry is one of the biggest rivalries in the Mountain West Conference, with Boise State leading 12-5 all time. The rivalry looked like it would come to an end in 2013, when there was spectulation that Boise State would move to the Big East Conference. The game itself was controlled by Boise in the first half, then Fresno State picked up some steam in the second half, but Boise State won 37-27, regaining the Milk Can for the 2014 season. My rate for the game:

The Atmosphere and Food
The atmosphere at Albertsons Stadium was electrifying. I liked it especially since there was no alcohol served at the stadium. It prevented the fans from being stupid and making irrational decisions. I could tell some fans got drunk before the game and it showed. One guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Y'all seen my eyedrop? It looks like a waxing crescent. Let me know if y'all find it because my boys gonna win and I wanna see it." That was one example of a drunk fan. The food prices were very reasonable. You could get a meal for around $8 (at a Twins game that would buy you two beers). My rate for the atmosphere and food:

In conclusion, I would love to go back to see another game. It was a great experience and a plus that the Broncos won. My overall rate of the game would be a:
As part of my blog goals, I would love to get to 4,000 views by Thanksgiving (if possible). Please recommend to your friends, colleagues and who ever would be interested. Thank you for reading!


My interview with.....?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Autograph Successes- #162,163,164,165 and 166 on the year- Carl Erskine and Rosell Herrera

I received two TTMs in the past couple of days.
-Carl Erskine, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher signed 4/4 from me with 5 inscriptions on each.
-Rosell Herrera, Colorado Rockies #6 prospect and World Team representative in the Futures Game.  I have about 13 of the Team World's autographs. Please comment below if you want to see more of my successes or anybody in particular.


Monday, September 1, 2014

End of Summer

As I start school tomorrow, I have a blog post just to say a few items of discussion.
1. I won't be blogging as much because I have school and I fall baseball coming up.
2. Yes folks, I have another interview lined up. I'm not going to reveal it, but here are two clues: It has something to do with kangaroos and a maple leaf. Hmm...

Please comment below if you want to see anything new with my blog or if you want to see anybody in particular interviewed. Let me know.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Padres vs. Twins In-Person Autograph Recap

I went to the Padres vs. Twins game today. It was an awesome day with the Padres coming on top in extras. Here is what I got:
Sorry for the hard to see autographs in the first picture
Tyson Ross was very nice and signed 2 8x12's for me and so did bullpen catcher Griffin Benedict.
Tyson Ross (lower right hand corner) and Griffin Benedict (left of the logo)
Selfie with Griffin Benedict

Ross and Benedict
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MLB Trade Deadline- Cespedes to the Sox

As you most of you know by now, the A's are going all in. They traded their best player and HR Derby champ, Yoenis Cespedes, to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. Let's just pretend that this was the only trade of the day (we'll analyze the other trades later). In my opinion, I think Cespedes will thrive in Boston. In fact, I think he'll do even better Boston because of the shorter dimensions. Look below: Here is a couple of spray charts for Cespedes. This will provide a power bat to the desperate Sox lineup as he has hit more home runs then the three outfielders of the Sox combined (14 homeruns while Cespedes has 17). Graphs are courtesy to FanGraphs.

 Yoenis Cespedes' average home run was about 382.8 feet in Coliseum. Cespedes will do even better within the hitter friendly confines of Fenway.

Now let's analyze the Athletics side of the deal. Acquiring Lester and Gomes will certainly help the A's already bolstered starting rotation and Gomes will be #5 or #6 in starting lineup with big shoes to fill in Cespedes.  WINNER: Athletics. They strengthen their rotation and get Gomes, but Gomes' WAR (Wins Above Replacemnent) is -0.8 and I'm not sure if the Athletics can afford Lester's high salary if they sign him to a long term deal. More to come on this hectic day..

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My 5th Interview with Jordan Ribera

As of now on my 5th interview, the interview process for me just seems to get easier with each interview. Jordan Ribera, a former College World Series champion, was kind enough to give me an interview as a member of the Modesto Nuts.  Here's the recap of the interview:

Question #1
Who are some of the toughest pitchers you've faced so far this year?

Answer: The lefty Wandy Peralta from the Bakersfield BlazeBryce Bandilla and Matt Lujan from the San Jose Giants.  Peralta works quick, he has a good two seam fastball that has good movement on it. Bandilla has great accuracy and he can throw 95-97 mph on his fastball.  Lujan has a great curve ball and really fools hitters with his off-speed pitches.

Question #2
What are some of your biggest fears when you are up to the plate?

Answer: Getting hit in the head with a fastball.

Question #3
When and where was your first professional home run?

Answer: I was with the Tri-City Dust Devils vs. Boise Hawks  in Boise. It was a 3-1 fastball, and it hit the top of the fence and bounced off the top of the wall and went off. 

Question #4
How do you change your approach against a side-arm or submarine pitcher?

Answer: It's completely different; the ball tails and it sinks.

Question #5
What are some of your baseball related "pet-peeves"?

Answer: When a pitcher works too fast and when you don't have time to get out off the box. It's also frustrating when you can't step out and break the pitcher's rhythm.

Question #6
When is the biggest stereotype about minor leaguers that common fans perceive?

Answer: The financial aspects of the minor leagues. I make about $1,100 a month so it's not much to live on. FUN FACT: I did the calculations and let's say that there are 30 days a month. A typical minor league team has about 1-2 days off a month.  An average minor league baseball player at the Class A advanced level makes about $12.64-$13.09 a game. That's not much to live on.

Question #7
Interesting facts about you are....?

Answer: I'm a great cook and I like anything that includes a board (wakeboard, surfboard, skateboard, etc.)

Question #8
What was your favorite professional team growing up?

Answer: The Cincinnati Reds.

Question #9
What are your individual goals?

Answer: To finish strong, improve power numbers and to continue to play better.

Question #10
What is the coolest name in minor league baseball besides your own?

Answer: The El Paso Chihuahuas.

Question #11
When do you believe you'll be contributing in the Majors?

Answer: I hope to be contributing in 2 1/2 years.

Question #12
What do you plan to do after baseball?

Answer: Coach or get into real estate. Real Estate has always been something I've wanted to do.

Question #13
Were you a dual or single sport athlete growing up?

Answer: I was a dual sport athlete. I was actually recruited by Fresno State to play football instead of baseball.  If I did play football, I would've been a middle linebacker.

Question #14
How was it like playing at Fresno State?

Answer: It was an enthralling experience. I won the College World Series when I was a freshman. I equally enjoyed playing under Mike Batesole , the manager for the Bulldogs.

Question #15
How did it feel to be Western Athletic Conference player of the year?

Answer: It was a honor and I felt that all the hard work paid off. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recap of All-Star Weekend

I want to first say thank you to everyone for 2,000 views.  This is a big milestone for me and I appreciate everyone who viewed my blog. I will recap the All-Star Weekend day-by-day. Here we go:

Friday- Fanfest Day #1
My friend and I arrived at Fanfest around 9:00 when the gates opened and my first reaction was WOW. It was a baseball fan's dream. For being the opening Fanfest day, it was surprisingly slow. As soon as you walked in, there was a giant baseball with signatures on the ball ranging from Ted Williams to Tony Oliva. There was lots of game-used memorabilia there and even a Jackie Robinson signed jersey.  Around 11:15, my friend and I decided to jump into the Juan Berenguer autograph line. Only about 15-20 people were there so it was very easy to get his autograph.

After that, we walked for about 15 minutes, then I got a notification on my phone that said this:
BREAKING NEWS: 2 Time NBA Champion LeBron James Says He Will Sign With Cleveland.
Wow. That was awesome. After that, we walked over and saw these guys:
Ferguson Jenkins and I.
Mudcat Grant, Luis Tiant and I just hanging out.
 Anyway, then we went to Tim Laudner line to get his autograph (because like I said, not a lot of people were there) and I got this:

Corey Koskie also signed for me (picture not shown).We didn't do anything notable until about 2:00 when I saw that Jose Berrios was going to sign. Awesome! One catch: he would only sign programs... OK then. I was in line and Berrios showed up about 10 minutes late, but it was still a thrill to see him. 

Day 1 recap is over. It was an awesome day, could you top that? 

Saturday- Fanfest Day #2
It was pretty much the same day for Day 2. Except there were a lot more people there. At about 10:55 we went in line for the Fred Lynn signing, at noon.  By 11:15, there was a line  around the corner and they started asking for your name. Once I got up there, I got this:

He was awesome, then the best two autographs of the day happened in 45 minutes. Jack Morris was finishing his Q&A session with the fans, and I said- "Mr. Morris, can you please sign my baseball?" He did the hand motion saying "Toss the ball champ" and I threw him the ball with my fine tip blue Sharpie. That was a pretty sweet autograph for a guy that should be in the Hall of Fame. Then, my friend and I took a lunch break (Orlando Cepeda's auto line was filling up at noon for a 3:00 session) and then went back to the Q&A session and I didn't recgonize who Mr. Morris and the woman were interviewing. I asked the guy next to me, "Hey, who are they interviewing? Juan Marichal?" "Nope, Orlando Cepeda." I immediately got my pen and ball out and got to the front of the borders/handrails and waited for Mr. Cepeda to finish his Q&A session. He ran a couple minutes late and then Armed Forces media interviewed him and then he came. He signed for a guy on my left with two old SI covers, then this happened:

WOW. I saved about 2 hours from waiting in line. That was probably my favorite autograph. My friend and I walked around until I saw that Kris Bryant was signing at 3:00. Someone was already waiting in line at 11:30. I popped in line around 1:55 and by the time it was 2:15 there were about 75 people in line. By 2:35, they only let people have one item signed. Here's what I got:

Done with Day 2 Recap. Last, but not least, Futures Game.

Sunday- Futures and Celebrity Softball Game
I went with my friend, Wilson, to the Futures and Day #1 of Fanfest. I was excited to see 15 former 1st round picks play.  We arrived around 1:50ish (gates open 2:00, first pitch- 4:00). We ran down the U.S. side and the autograph crowds were two to three people deep. I tried for a spot and Alex Meyer came over. He signed for the guy next to me and for Wilson, then said "I gotta go guys, I'll get ya later." Darn!  Here are some pics before I begin my next story:
The World team has their backs to the camera and U.S. team is on the opposite side.
After we took the pictures, Wilson and I went to the World side and waited over there when there was less of a crowd. The side eventually got busy, then 10-12 guys came out from the World team and just started signing for everyone. Here's what I got (feel free to comment below if I incorrectly identify any of the signatures):
Top to bottom; (Domingo German and Dalton Pompey)

(Francisco Lindor, Enny Romero, Javier Baez and Gabriel Guerrero)

(Steven Moya, Luis Severino and Tayron Guerrero)

(Alfonso Alcantara and Maikel Franco)
That's all the autographs I got. Out of the autographs I got (12), 11 of them (Tayron Guerrero didn't make the cut) are Top 20 Prospects  in their respective organizations. In MLB's Top 100 Prospects, (2) are in the Top 10 (Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor) (3) in the Top 20 (Baez, Lindor and Franco). Maikel Franco, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez are all #1 prospects in the Cubs, Phillies and Indians organizations.  Pretty good autographs! Anyway, here are some edits/pictures that I took:

That's my recap from All Star Weekend-None of this is for trade or for sale. Feel free to comment below!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My 4th Interview with Maxx Tissenbaum

My 4th interview ran like clock work. Maxx Tissenbaum, a Canadian shortstop turned catcher for the Charlotte Stone Crabs was nice enough to interview to me for an awesome 20 minutes. Maxx is also a blogger and was named a Florida State League Mid Season All Star.  If you want to check out his blog, click HERE! Here's the recap from the interview!

Question #1
Who are some of the toughest pitchers you've faced so far this year?

Answer: Jose Berrios (J.O. Berrios) or  Daniel Norris Berrios is a power pitcher with a 94-95 MPH fastball and Norris is a pitcher with a 92 MPH fastball with a big, looping curveball.

Question #2
What are some of your biggest fears when you are up to the plate?

Answer: Try not to be afraid with an 0-2 count, I'm usually confident with an 0-2 count unlike most hitters. 

Question #3
When and where was your first professional home run?

Answer: It was my first season, 3rd or 4th game. I was with the Eugene Emeralds (San Diego Padres short season affilate) and we were playing against the Spokane Indians (Texas Rangers short season affilate) in the Northwest League. It was a line drive home run over the centerfield wall, and I assumed that it wasn't going to be a home run, but then it cleared the wall when I was about halfway to first.

Question #4
How do you change your approach against a side-arm or submarine pitcher?

Answer: They don't throw hard, so you got to wait and let the ball come to you.

Question #5
What are some of your baseball related "pet peeves"?

Answer: I don't like when the batters or pitchers have fidgets (ex. David Ortiz with the spitting into the hands and Nomar Garciaparra readjusting everything after every at bat).

Question #6
What is the biggest stereotype about minor leaguers?

Answer: That hearing "professional baseball athletes" you automatically assume that we are rich athletes. Everyone assumes that baseball players are rich, because of hearing big names like A-Rod and Pujols getting an absurd amount of money to play baseball.

Question #7
What are some funny facts that your teammates don't know about you?

Answer: I used to do movies and commericals and I play hockey as often as I can after practices.

Question #8
Your favorite pro team is...?

Answer: Ehh I might get in trouble... but a toss up between the Yankees and the Rays.

Question #9
What are your individual goals?

Answer: Get as much work as I can in as catcher and receive the ball behind the plate. SIDE NOTE: I asked who the toughest pitchers with the most signs were, he said that his roommate Kevin Brandt had the most complex signs.

Question #10
What is the coolest name in minor league baseball besides your own team name?

Answer: Omaha Storm Chasers and Durham Bulls.

Question #11
When do you believe you'll be contributing in the Majors?

Answer: In a few years.

Question #12
Who was your biggest influence growing up?

Answer: My parents. They would hit ground balls to me after school and practice with me after school.

Question #13
How many blog views do you have and what do you blog about?

Answer: I blog about our season. I have about 22,000 views on my blog.

Question #14
How close were you to sign with the Blue Jays?

Answer: Not very close at all... the Jays picked a ton of Canadian players before me and said that unless something crazy happens, we aren't going to sign you. I had my heart set on college anyways.

Question #15
What was your experience like playing in the Arizona League?

Answer: It was a long, brutal schedule and there were 115-120 degree days in the summer and the schedule was basically a three hour practice then a game. The games were usually really slow, because everyone would be tried and they would make a lot of errors.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My 3rd Interview with Gosuke Katoh

My 3rd interview went very well. Gosuke Katoh, a second basemen for the New York Yankees , is the #10 prospect in the Charleston River Dogs  organization. He is highly touted by many scouts and many said that the Yankees had a steal taking this guy in the 2nd round in the 2013 MLB Draft. Here is the recap from the interview!

Question #1
Who are some of the toughest pitchers you've faced this year?

Answer: Hunter Harvey and James Dykstra because they have so many different types of fastballs.

Question #2
What are some of your biggest fears when you are up to the plate?

Answer: Sneezing during a pitch.

Question #3
When and where was your first professional home run?

Answer: It was last year and it was my first hit for the GCL Yankees.

Question #4
How do you change your approach against a side-arm or submarine pitcher?

Answer: Sidearm pitchers usually have a lot of tail and sink on the ball so I look to go the other way and see the ball up.

Question #5
What are some of your baseball related "pet peeves"?

Answer: Stepping on the lines.

Question #6
Do you wear batting gloves and do you wear one when you field?

Answer: I wear batting gloves and I wear one for extra padding under my glove.

Question #7
What is the biggest stereotype about the minor leaguers?

Answer: Everyone thinks the Minor Leagues are miserable, but we have a great time.

Question #8
Interesting facts about you are....?

Answer: I love listening to dance music.

Question #9
Favorite pro team is..?

Answer: Gotta be the Yankees.

Question #10
What are your individual goals?

Answer: Contribute to the Yankees and win a World Series.

Question #11
What is the coolest name in minor league baseball besides your own?

Answer: Kannapolis Intimidators.

Question #12
When do you believe you'll be up contributing in the Majors?

Answer: That's not my decision, so I don't know.

Question #13
What do you plan to do after baseball?

Answer: Help others with their dreams.

Question #14
Were you a dual or single sport athlete?

Answer: I played soccer until 6th grade.

Question #15
Who was your biggest influence growing up?

Answer: Ichiro Suzuki.



Friday, June 20, 2014

My 2nd Interview with Devante Lacy

My 2nd interview went very smooth. Devante Lacy, an outfielder for the Johnson City Cardinals, was kind enough to interview with me for 14 minutes today via phone call. He was very nice and I enjoyed interviewing him. Here we go!
Question #1
Who is the toughest team you will face this year?

Answer: The Kingsport Mets, they know us really well and they've seen us in spring training so they already have a scouting report on our team.

Question #2
What are your biggest fears when you are up to the plate?

Answer: That I get injured again. I want to play a full season so I can contribute as much as I can to this team.

Question #3
Where and when was your first home run?

Answer: It was in spring training. We were playing in Jupiter, Florida and we were playing the Marlins. The pitcher threw an inside two-seam fastball and I knew as soon as I hit it, it was gone. The ball was a line drive to centerfield and I thought that it would hit the top of the fence. SIDE NOTE: I asked him if he got the ball back (He said no, some kid took it, and he grabbed a ball and wrote his name on it).

Question #4
How do you change your approach against a sidearm or a submarine pitcher?

Answer: I really don't change my approach when I'm up to the plate. I have the same approach with a pitcher that pitches over the top. I wait back until the ball crosses and until it gets deep in the strike zone and then I make contact and connect.

Question #5
What are some of your baseball related "pet-peeves"?

Answer: Not really that I know of... Well when I was in track back in high school, I put all my markings and stuff on my left side of my body. I pull up my sock on the left side of my body and it's just what I've done since Little League.

Question #6
Do you wear batting gloves when you are hitting and when you are fielding?

Answer: Only when I'm hitting.

Question #7
What is the biggest stereotype about minor leaguers that most fans perceive?

Answer:  That people think we are a bunch of gangbeaters. We come in and work hard like everybody else and we also take it one day at a time like everyone else.

Question #8
An interesting fact about you is......?

Answer: That I'm a huge skater fan. I go skating a lot on the weekends.

Question #9
Your favorite pro team is...?

Answer: I gotta go with the Cardinals.

Question #10
What are your individual goals?

Answer: I want to go out and be the best that I can be and contribute as much as I can to the Cardinals.

Question #11
What is the coolest name in minor league baseball besides your own?

Answer: The Danville Braves.

Question #12
When do you believe you'll be up contributing in the Majors?

Answer: I'm not sure on that. I want to take each day here in the Minors one day at a time.

Question #13
What do you plan to do after baseball?

Answer: I plan on working in my dad's construction & electricity company after baseball.

Question #14
Were you a single or dual sport athlete?

Answer: A dual sport athlete. I participated in football and track (besides baseball).

Question #15
Who influenced you growing up?

Answer: I admired my parents a lot. My dad was always there to help us and my mom always put the food out on the table for us and helped us a lot with our homework and problems.

Question #16
Did you ever qualify for the summer Olympics in track?

Answer: Haha no it was just for the workout.

Question #17
Who did you play under at Cedar Valley?

Answer: I think it was a guy by the name of Robert Dally.

Question #18
How did you get injured?

Answer: The first time I was in batting practice and a teammate hit me with a bat in the genitals. The second time I was working out and I tore an AC joint in my shoulder.  My plan for this year is that I play a full healthy season.

Question #19
How fast can you run?

Answer: I think I could run a 4.4 second 40 yard dash time.

Question #20
Do you live with a host family or do you sublet an apartment?

Answer: I live with a host family.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

My First Interview with Joe Ausanio- Bowler, Wrestler or Pitcher?

My first sports interview went very well. Joe Ausanio, former relief pitcher for the New York Yankees and current Director of Baseball Communications for the Hudson Valley Renegades  gave me an awesome 13 minutes over the phone to interview him. Without further ado, let the recap begin!
Interview w/Joe Ausanio:

Question #1:
What baseball player did you look up to in the Majors growing up?

Answer: Fred Lynn, Boston Red Sox CF. 

Question #2
How close were you to sign with the Atlanta Braves in 1984?

Answer: Not very close, I wasn't ready yet. I wanted to go to college and get a degree before I went pro.

Question #3
A total of 18 pitchers have gotten Tommy John surgery this year- what are your thoughts on that?

Answer: I'm not really sure on that, Charlie. Most of these players are very quick to go under the "knife" It could be because they are quick to get surgery. I'm honestly not sure.

Question #4
What pitches could you throw and who was the most intimidating hitter you faced?

Answer: I threw a split-fingered fastball and sometimes mix in a slider. I was never really intimidated by any batter, but Frank Thomas was a huge presence at the plate. He was a monster.

Question #5
How was it like playing for Buck Showalter?

Answer: He was a very fair manager, he was a numbers guy. He was always straight up with you, honest manager.

Question #6
Some interesting facts about you are....?

Answer: Well I could've been a professional bowler. I used to work at a bowling alley and I used to bowl 100 games a week. SIDE NOTE: I asked him if he every bowled a perfect game before (Oh yes he said) I also was a wrestling tag-team partner with WWE wrestler Gold Dust. SIDE NOTE: I asked him if 90% of WWE was fake (He said yes they were presented with a script, but the pain was real)

Question #7
What is one stereotype about Major League pitchers that most fans perceive?

Answer: That pitchers aren't good athletes. Some pitchers could be basketball players, football players, etc.

Question #8
Favorite food to eat in the Majors...?

Answer: You know Charlie I used to get into trouble for this a lot, but I loved McDonalds. I really liked Big Macs, they were just so good.

Question #9
Who did you play under at Jacksonville University?

Answer: Tom Bradley, former pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. SIDE NOTE: Bradley was the person that gave Goose Gossage the nickname "Goose". Bradley called him that, because whenever Gossage was on the mound, he always saw "Goose Eggs" on the board.

Question #10
How long did you play with the Mets for?

Answer: Less then a year, then I signed with the Rockies until the tailend of 1996.

Question #11
What was your best game?

Answer: My first (and only) Major League save against the Detroit Tigers. I pitched three scoreless innings and struck out Lou Whitaker, who was a great player.

Question #12
What did you major in at Jacksonville University?

Answer: Physical Education & Recreation

Question #13
What aspects of Major League baseball do you think need to be improved/refined?

 Instant replay system is very beneficial and it needs a little refining. I personally think we need to get rid of Bud Selig. He is an owner, not a neutral third party. I honestly think I could do a better job then him.

Question #14
Best player you've seen come through the Hudson Valley Renegades system is...?

Answer: Josh Hamilton was just an amazing baseball player when he came through here and when he came back for his rehab stint. Evan Longoria was a close second also.

Joe Ausaino was a pleasure to interview and if anyone has any questions  or comments on the interview with Joe Ausaino, feel free to comment below. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Upcoming MLB All Star Game & Surprises

As the All Star Game is almost one month away, there as been a ton of surprises so far this season.

1. Miami Marlins:
They've been very surprising so far. They also picked a stud in Tyler Kolek, a  6'5" right hander who can throw 97-99 mph consisently. Giancarlo Stanton with the power surge of 17 homers so far, the Marlins are in a good spot.

2. Tampa Bay Rays:
Uhh what's up Rays? 24-42, they also hired "The Rainman", a 72 year old Seminole tribesmen thought to have brought "supernatural powers to the team" What?  Bobby Henry walked around the field, then promptly said that "They are ready to go" Maddon also hired a DJ, got a penguin, a snake and other interesting items to loosen the team up. Weird.

3. Toronto Blue Jays
12 games above .500, the Blue Jays are streaking! They could be a dangerous threat to contend for the World Series. Edwin Encarnacion has 20 homers and 53 RBIs and he is a monster. If they keep going like this, the AL East will be theirs.

All Star Game Updates

American League All-Star Voting

Matt Wieters, BAL

Brian McCann, NYY

Derek Norris, OAK


Miguel Cabrera, DET

Jose Abreu, CWS

Albert Pujols, LAA


Robinson Cano, SEA

Ian Kinsler, DET

Dustin Pedroia, BOS


Josh Donaldson, OAK

Evan Longoria, TB

Manny Machado, BAL


Derek Jeter, NYY

Alexei Ramirez, CWS

J.J. Hardy, BAL

OF 1

Jose Bautista, TOR

Adam Jones, BAL

Michael Brantley, CLE

OF 2

Mike Trout, LAA

Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY

Carlos Beltran, NYY

OF 3

Melky Cabrera, TOR

Yoenis Cespedes, OAK

Nick Markakis, BAL


Nelson Cruz, BAL

David Ortiz, BOS

Victor Martinez, DET

National League All-Star Voting


Yadier Molina, STL

Buster Posey, SF

Jonathan Lucroy, MIL


Adrian Gonzalez, LAD

Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

Freddie Freeman, ATL


Chase Utley, PHI

Dee Gordon, LAD

Neil Walker, PIT


David Wright, NYM

Nolan Arenado, COL

Pablo Sandoval, SF


Troy Tulowitzki, COL

Brandon Crawford, SF

Jean Segura, MIL

OF 1

Yasiel Puig, LAD

Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Angel Pagan, SF

OF 2

Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

Charlie Blackmon, COL

Justin Upton, ATL

OF 3

Carlos Gomez, MIL

Ryan Braun, MIL

Mike Morse, SF