Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jim Callis
Jim Callis chatted about the Cubs top prospects.
Jim Callis chatted about the Cubs top prospects.
Based on an apparent error in the minor league baseball database, Mets prospect Fernando Martinez was listed as having a birthday of December 10, 1986 on his player page at minor league baseball's website. Obviously, this would mean he is 20 years old and not the 18-year-old phenom that he was believed to be.If this were true, it would certainly dim his prospect status. You can breathe out Mets fans, because it is not true.
I know I've been raving about the Mexican fans--and they do deserve a ton of credit for continually showing up in team colors and bovine costumes throughout the series--but the DR fans rule.After they shoved it in a 12-0 win over Puerto Rico, Dominican fans stormed the field and celebrated for over 30 minutes . . . waving flags, jumping for joy and setting up individual pictures of people with DR flags while standing on the mound.
So . . . getting back to Mexico a second, the words "center fielder" and "Karim Garcia" don't exactly go hand-in-hand in this day and age. Garcia was tossed from Sunday's afternoon game for arguing with an umpire after getting thrown out on the back end of a double play in the fifth inning . . . while Mexico was already down nearly 10 runs.
You know that Bud Light commercial where the guy just recently had rubber floors installed in his house and he bounces beers to his friends sitting around his living room?Well, I wouldn't be surprised if they used the surface at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium as a testing area before they filmed.
Juan Gonzalez is the only player in the Series that has the same walk-up music for every AB. And it isn't quite what you might expect.
Jonathan Albaladejo--the Puerto Rico starter tonight--and I go back to 2004 when I did a series of stories in uniform in the Pirates organization. He was with the high Class A Lynchburg team I traveled with, so I sought him out on Saturday night to say hello more than anything else.
So the big showdown between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic hasn't exactly turned out that way so far . . . the DR jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and is now up 9-0 in the sixth.And I actually came up to the press box to tell you that, but then something weird happened. Like bad weird.
There have been rumors floating around San Juan all week about the Caribbean Series expanding--possibly to eight teams--and Commissioner of the Latin Confederation of Professional Baseball Juan Francisco Puello said the Series could expand to include Nicaragua and Colombia as early as next year, though Cuba is still an afterthought.
It's so weird not to already be stuffed to the gills and watching the pregame show right now. But here, the majority of people in Puerto Rico will be more concerned about their home team taking on the Dominican Republic tonight.
Mexican officials shut down lefthander Oscar Rivera for the remainder of the Caribbean Series after the 24-year-old developed some stiffness in his left lat muscle.
Every game here is show-n-go . . . meaning, no batting practice, no infield, not anything other than stretch and the starting pitchers getting warm in the bullpens."There isn't anywhere to take it," a member of one club's coaching staff said. "It's almost like this is just for fun--show up and play. There's not that intense demeanor of preparation like there is in the States, at least for this.
There are a few things I wanted to post last night, but sleep thankfully intervened--finally.So in brief, and before heading out for the day, here we go:1. The best announcement over the PA system here at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium came on Friday, when suddenly, "Mister Logan White, please return to the scout's area. Mister Logan White, please return to the scout's area." I might be the only one who thought it was funny, but maybe that's in part because it's been the only announcement I've understood completely.
You ever been 'Livin' La Vida Loca?' Well, Puerto Rico certainly is, and the song was played twice--at deafening volumes--for Gigantes celebrations on Saturday night.It's become the semi-retro theme song for a team to be reckoned with.
So apparently he goes by 'Edward' outside the U.S., but he'll always be 'Bubbie' to all of us Americanos. And let's face it: Edward Buzachero doesn't have quite the ring that 'Bubbie Buzachero' has. The Caribbean Series is flamboyant in nature, from the umpires' mechanics on calls to the extra-loud tunes being piped through the PA system. And somehow, a guy named Edward who pitches for the hometown Carolina club . . . well, it just doesn't fit.Buzachero was one of the main reasons Puerto Rico has a 2-0 record in the Caribbean Series, after working out of a bases loaded, 1-out jam against Venezuela on Saturday and then getting through the final two innings unscathed.
Mexico outfielder Jon Weber's had to fight for everything he's accomplished in his career. Signed by the Reds as a nondrafted free agent in 1999, Weber was released by Cincinnati a year later. That's when he found himself in independent ball--first the Frontier and then the Northern League.Weber batted .309 in 204 at-bats at Fargo-Moorehead in 2003 before the Athletics signed him and sent him to Modesto. He then moved onto the Dodgers--serving as a veteran presence for the prospect-laden 2005 club at Double-A Jacksonville. Weber finished 2006 in Triple-A--first at Las Vegas, then Tucson after being signed by the Diamondbacks.Weber played at two stops this winter--Hermosillo (Mexico) and Caribes (Venezuela) and we stopped to chat about what it's like to be so close to the big leagues you can almost taste it, and the flip-side of being an American player in Latin America.
This is not the same Hermosillo team that won the Mexican Pacific League title by sweeping its way through Mazatlan . . . this team managed just one run on nine hits in its first 18 innings, and now finds itself 0-2 in the Series.The final on Saturday was 9-0, as the Dominicans rolled through Mexico, pounding out 14 hits and led by Tony Batista (2 HR, 4 RBIs) and Luis Polonia (3-for-5 with an RBI triple).
Two quick plugs, first for my housemate Peter Bjarkmann, who is an expert on Cuban baseball and has a new book out called 'A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006.' His Website is www.bjarkmann.com . . .The other is for an American writer I met here yesterday named Jonathan Helfgott. Jonathan is on a fellowship for a year of what some of us can only dream of--seeing baseball all around the world. So far he's been to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Australia and Puerto Rico . . . Japan is next on his agenda. And you can read of his exploits as he travels from country to country exploring the game at http://globalbaseball.wordpress.com.That's it for now . . . just had to throw out some props. Press conference in 20 minutes, then Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela.
As of the seventh inning of Saturday's first game, the Dominicans are pummeling Mexico, 9-0. Tony Batista hit two homers, including an inside-the-park home run . . . more to come.
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