Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back in Business

I'm going to do what I can to keep posting on here. I basically abandoned the thing last year (a marriage, honeymoon, and promotion at work will take up some time), but things are settled down, so I'll try to post (relatively) regularly.

A couple items to start the year. First, a big congrats to former Naturals Cody Clark, Carlos Rosa, Irving Falu, Kila Ka'ahuie, Dusty Hughes, and I'm sure a couple others I'm forgetting for their promotions to AAA Omaha. Remember that Ka'ahuie and Rosa both spent time with KC last year, so we're pulling for them to get back up there again this year. The big club looks surprisingly solid this year, and pitching is starting to pile up there and in the system with Hochevar and Rosa in AAA, and Dan Cortes (who was roughed up in his first start this year) here in NWA.

Others you'll likely remember from last year are Brian McFall, Jose Duarte, Mario Lisson, and Blake Johnson.

The Nats have started off on the road again this year. Thus far they're 1-1 in San Antonio. We won't get to see them until next Thursday. I can't wait to get out to the 'Vest for a few games. Remember that Friday's game includes a charitable event to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rosa Update

Former Naturals ace Carlos Rosa has now made his first major league appearance (actually 5 days ago, but who's counting?) in the Major Leagues. On June 14 he pitched a perfect inning of relief, allowing no base-runners and striking out one.

Rosa became the first former Natural regular to appear in a major league game. Another former Nat, Jeff Fulchino, is also on the 25 man big league roster. Many Nats fans, though, probably don't remember Fulchino as he only appeared in two games with NWA during the opening road trip in Texas. Nonetheless, Fulchino is technically the first former Natural to appear in a major league game (he's pitched in 4 games so far for KC) on June 8. Aside from one rough outing (he allowed two earned runs without recording an out), Fulchino has pitched well for the Royals.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I wondered this at the beginning of the season, and it's pretty tough to find good sources onMiLB stuff. This includes the Texas League, so it was hard to figure out how the playoff structure in the league works, but now that the North and (for some time) the South have their first half winners it's probably a good time for a quick post on the topic.

The season is divided into two halves, each with 70 games. The team from each division with the best record in each half (so, 4 teams North 1st half, North 2nd half, South 1st half, and South 2nd half) advance to the playoffs.

In the event, like this year in the North, there is a tie for the best record (Springfield and Arkansas both finished the first half 36-34), the team with the best record in the division is declared the winner. Presumably there are other tie-breakers (probably head-to-head would be next) if the teams have identicle records in the division.

This next part I've gleaned, but I'm sure I'll be corrected in various places if I'm wrong. If the same team wins both halves (say, Frisco wins the second half of the South - obviously Arkansas isn't going to win the 2nd half) a wildcard team is selected. I don't know if the wildcard is the team that finishes second in the second half or the team with the second best record overall (obviously the team that wins both halves will have the best record, though I suppose it's possible two teams could finish with identical records for each half, with one team winning the tie-breaker both times).

Perhaps someone who knows how the wildcard is chosen can chime in on how the wildcard is determined.

Update - Anonymous tells us that the wildcard would be the team with the best full-season record among the teams that did not win both halves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beers of the World!

One has to wonder if this was the plan from the beginning, or if the staff at the 'Vest is listening to our thirsty cries for beer variety. Regardless of their reasons, they have done something wonderful - Beers of the World. No longer will thirsty fans have to settle for the drab offerings initially put up by the Naturals' staff. Now, though it isn't Boulevard on tap like I had hoped for, we at least have variety.

1. Diamond Bear Pale Ale - An OK, medium-hopped brew from Little Rock. Not as good as many other micro-brews, but the best (read "only") beer currently bottled in Arkansas. Their Southern Blonde is probably a better beer, though none of them are anything to get excited about. 5/10

2. Sam Adams Summer - This year the Sam Adams Summer beer is a Whie Ale. These seem to be gaining in popularity, as the wheat craze dies out. I personally prefer the black ales, but this one is a nice, light, full-bodied ale with some interesting summer notes. Definitely worth having a go if you've never tried it before. 7/10

3. Anglers Pale Ale - Haven't had this yet. Expect hops.

4. Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat - "Made by 73 people in Wisconsin who care" about making beer that tastes like Fruity Pebbles. 2/10

5. Moosehead - This one really surprised me. I love this tasty, refreshing lager, but I didn't expect that they'd expect people to pay $5 for a bottle. 6/10

6. Labatt Blue - Remeber a few years ago when there were constant commercials for this beer with the bear? What happened to that? If they're using the bottles you find in the store, they're only 11.5 ounces (really). 5/10

7. Dos Equis Amber - My personal favorite Mexican beer. It's got a nice amber color and a good caramelized flavor. Expect these to sell well. 7/10

8. Guiness - Comment unnecessary. 7/10

9. Peroni - Another I haven't had.

10. Fosters - Nah. 3/10

11. Corona - Probably the most over-rated and over-priced beer on the market today (except that new Landshark - what a ripoff). Its ongoing popularity (outside Cinco de Mayo celebrations) boggles the mind. 2/10

12. Modelo Especial - Tasty brew. Worth giving a shot if you're looking to change things up. 5/10

13. Sam Adams - This one has grown on me. As hops have begun to dominate the microbrew industry, and people seek to make beer with more and more hops, it's hard to avoid giving a nod to the label that started it all. 6/10

All-in-all it's not a terrible effort. I would have appreciated more American micro-brews (New Belgium, Boulevard, Summit come to mind). It would also be interesting to see them bring up kegs of Hog Haus beers to celebrate the truly local flavor. Their beers are far superior to the Diamond Bear that comes out of LR.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

40 man MLB Update

OK - So I was only part right about the whole 40 man roster thing, and people are making me really sad by making fun of me over on Travelerocity. Funny how when you respond to sarcasm with sarcasm it gets lost. I'll admit that I totally missed the rest of the story on the 40 man roster bit. Like I've said from the beginning, though, it's a learning experience. It appears there's also something about waivers, but if I try to explain someone will probably make fun of me and hurt my feelings again.

I'd also like to apologize for taking so long between posts and updates. I've had a crazy couple weeks and things are only going to get more hectic in the weeks to come.

Anyway, I missed Poldberg bobblehead night - which also makes me sad. I was looking forward to sitting the mustachioed bobble on the shelf beside the John Mayberry bobblehead I got at the Royals game a couple weeks ago.

The Nats have been stagnant of late, and it appears that their red hot May has fizzled with the onset of June. Summer hasn't even started yet, so let's hope they aren't done. They've fallen out of first place for the first time in weeks, and will need to find a way to string together a couple wins in order to finish the first half on top.

Expect future postings to be slow in coming. I'm still sad about those meanies making fun of me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cortes' Return Home Start

Wednesday night, Arvest Ballpark was treated to the home return of Daniel Cortes. The start, Cortes' second since returning from the DL last week, was again solid. He got the win, going 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and allowing only one run while striking out five. He walked a few too many (4), but you'd have to expect his control to improve as he gets back into the groove. His season ERA now stands at an excellent 1.96.

Alumni Watch
Carlos Rosa made another start in AAA Omaha yesterday, and he must have been much sharper than he was in his debut. Rosa went seven complete, scattering seven hits, and allowing three runs. He only struck out 2, but one would have to expect the strikeouts to come with time.

Roman Colon then finished the game, going two innings for the save, allowing only one hit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Richardson's Streak

I almost forgot to post about this. As a few people probably noticed based on the streak-tracker I had posted on the blog, Juan Richardson just had his 10 game hitting streak snapped when he went 0 for 3 on May 17. I thought I'd take a minute to look at what Richardson's numbers did during the streak, as he was impressive but not great.

During the streak Richardson hit .410 (16 for 39), raising his season average from .243 to .290 (22nd in the Texas League). That's good, but not great (for a streak of this length), afterall, Shane Robinson leads the Texas League in hitting with a .410 average for the whole season. Also, Richardson scored only 8 runs, drove in only 5 RBI and hit only one bomb during the streak.

He was hot, but not as hot as you might expect for a streak of that length. Afterall, in 6 of the 10 games in the streak, Richardson managed only a single hit.