First, Pirates catcher Neil Walker moved from behind the plate to third base, which, while not shocking, was still a bit of a surprise considering the 2004 first-round pick only played five games at catcher above high Class A.
Now, the L.A. Times is reporting Angels shortstop Brandon Wood is finally making the move to the hot corner. Scouts believe the 6-foot-3 Wood can fit the profile of the modern shortstop in the mold Cal Ripken or Alan Trammell, but his size, blossoming power and the team’s need for a third baseman are the ultimate reasons for the shift. [...] Continue Reading »
At the time of the 2006 draft, I would have exercised the No. 1 overall pick on Brad Lincoln. The Pirates wound up taking him fourth overall, and he didn’t pitch much in his first pro summer because of a strained oblique. That didn’t worry me, but this does: The Pirates held him out of their first spring-training workout yesterday because he has a forearm strain and irritation in his right elbow. [...] Continue Reading »
The Pirates were planning on getting Neil Walker some work in at third base last season, but it took the 11th overall pick in 2004 longer to recover from offseason wrist surgery than expected.
Now that move is official, as Walker began taking ground balls in Bradenton, Fla., today. [...] Continue Reading »
We actually only went with a top prospect for the Series, but here are the top 10 things that I loved about being there.
10. Tony Batista not being able to stop his momentum and running all the way into right-center field whenever he ranged to his left at third base.
9. Juan Gonzalez. Do I really need to say any more?
8. Game 1, Day 1: 18-innings. And that was only the first game.
7. Game 2, Day 1: Only 9 innings, but ended just after 3 a.m. Went to bed with the sun already at full blast.
6. Mexican fans. They kind of creep me out a little with the wrestling masks and the time the guy dressed as a red bug with antennae was milking the guy dressed as a cow’s udders on top of the dugout while the guy dressed as a rancher danced and shouted cheers into a bullhorn. You’d never see that in South Bend. [...] Continue Reading »
The United States came in fourth place at the 2007 Caribbean Series . . . in credentialed media personnel (which is such a hugely valuable piece of information).
Puerto Rico (180) was first, Dominicana (54) second, Venezuela (40), U.S. (37), Mexico had 21 and there was one lonely Colombian also.
Jose Lima gave one of the best performances of the Series, in what was the best games of the entire week. And it didn’t even matter that he lost.
After pitching eight brilliant innings, Lima allowed a double and then a walk before being pulled in favor of Arnaldo Munoz, who gave up the game-winning single to Javier Valentin as Puerto Rico salvaged a victory to finish a game behind the Dominican Republic. But the game didn’t really matter, as the Dominican Republic had wrapped up the Caribbean Series title the night before when Puerto Rico lost to Venezuela. [...] Continue Reading »
There is a higher level of security here in Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium than at any other time during the Series, and as of the top of the ninth inning, they are now lined up on both the right and left field lines . . . about 20 on each side.
Still tied, 0-0 heading into the ninth . . . after Lima shut PR down again in the eighth.
You normally hear this about 10 times a night at any game in the States. But I think this was the coolest time I’ve ever heard it . . . right as Juan Gonzalez was digging in to face Jose Lima with runners on first and second and two outs in a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth.
Lima took him to a 3-2 count before Gonzalez flew out weakly to right to end the inning.
Venezuela first baseman Randall Simon was suspended by the Caribbean Baseball Federation for three years on Wednesday.
He apparently left Aguilas in the Dominican at midseason–even though he was under contract–then signed another deal with Aragua in Venezuela. [...] Continue Reading »
Don’t tell that to the sellout crowd, the bands and dancers circling the concourse, or especially the DirecTV mascot.
Yeah, that’s right–mascot.
Even though the Dominican has already clinched, fans from both teams are out in full force, and after two innings and already a whole lot of dancing in, we’re all tied at 2-2.
With its final chance, Mexico entered the win column with a dramatic, 4-3 win over Venezuela on Wednesday.
With the score tied, 3-3, Heber Gomez led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple, and Gil singled him in to score the winning run a batter later.
And now, it’s Lima Time.
At the beginning of the tournament, there were commemorative 2007 Caribbean Series baseballs for sale at the souvenir stand.
But not since they ran out of balls to play with yesterday.
“I gave them my last three dozen,” the manager of the stand said. He actually said he sold them, though I’m really not certain how a transaction like that goes down.
And at 10 bucks a pop, that’s a pretty expensive three dozen. [...] Continue Reading »
I know we’re supposed to be talking the final day of the Caribbean Series and everything, but let’s talk Cuban defectors for a second.
Well, one in particular.
I just had a scout run 18-year-old outfielder Ryde Rodriguez (who isn’t actually a defector since he left the country legally) under the bus. [...] Continue Reading »
I know I didn’t get the chance to blog much yesterday, but I am certain there will be much more heading your way today. I mean, it’s Jose Lima on the mound for the Dominican Republic for crying out loud.
And to think I didn’t even mention the between-innings spotlight on a suite behind home plate where some guy was wearing sunglasses and a bandana and was lip synching “Livin’ La Vida Loca” while surrounded by scantily-clad women dancers . . . or my first complete sentence in Spanish: “Lo siento mi espanol es muy malo.”
Anyway, I promise I’ll be around more tomorrow. Until pregame Lima Time, CK
Yorman Bazardo–who has been outstanding since the Mariners designated him for assignment after signing Jeff Weaver–and Francisco Butto were two of the main reasons Venezuela was able to put away Puerto Rico on Tuesday and hand the Caribbean Series title to the Dominican Republic. [...] Continue Reading »
I’m seriously sorry for not blogging today like I have in previous days–18-hour days can burn you out . . . fast.
So Puerto Rico lost the chance to win its first Caribbean Series title since 2000 after losing to Venezuela, 3-1.
Things might have been different if umpires actually made the right call on Cesar Crespo’s home run in the seventh. Crespo hit a long fly ball down the left field line that was hooking when it approached the foul pole, but coincidentally, I was actually sitting down in the left field corner–my brother-in-law was randomly in town and those were our seats–and the ball hooked at least five feet into fair territory. [...] Continue Reading »
Mexico fought admirably, but the Dominican Republic was too much in the end, knocking off Hermosillo, 5-3.
Now it’s up to Puerto Rico . . . if they beat Venezuela tonight, they meet the DR tomorrow with a chance to push the Series to a one-game playoff on Thursday.
Jose Lima will pitch against Puerto Rico tomorrow, but other than that, pitching details are tough to come by.
Editor’s Note: These were some of Chris Kline’s musings from the first day of the tournament, but now that he has photos of the Aguilas mascot, we’ve bumped it back to the top to give visual evidence of the mascot, and to let you all decide whether this is supposed to be an eagle, a chicken or parrot.
There are so many things to say about the atmosphere here at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium on the first day, but here are just a few observations and breakdowns [...] Continue Reading »
Here’s to home plate umpire Francisco Ramirez–yelled at consistently by players and managers all night long in Puerto Rico’s 4-2 win over Mexico.
I just hope the guy got home OK.
After Jon Weber was ejected in the 10th inning, it looked like the ringleaders of the Mexican contingent–led by the rancher guy, the dude with the wrestling mask and a Hermosillo jersey and the guy with the green, red and white beard that sparkled–seemed like they were out for blood. [...] Continue Reading »
So Puerto Rico wound up keeping Mexico winless after scoring a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning, but things teetered on getting ugly in the bottom half of the inning.
As I earlier ‘reported,’ Durazo was ejected in the fifth inning. Well, let’s just say it was a rough night for home plate umpire Francisco Ramirez all around. [...] Continue Reading »
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