Movie Review: A Player to Be Named Later

Movie reviews on a sports site? Damn right if that movie is about sports. Today was a rain day so I had some spare time. That should be obvious with the post activity. With a little luck Netflix stopped by the house and brought me “A Player to be Named Later.” This is a great movie that follows the 2001 Indianapolis Indians through their season. More to the point it follows five players. Those players are Marco Scutaro, Kyle Peterson, Micah Franklin, Brad Tyler, and Allan Levrault. The movie starts off at the Brewers minor league camp. You hear from all the players as well as the men in charge of the minors for Milwaukee. That is where I learned the fun stat that only 6% of the players in minor league camp ever make it to the bigs. I would like to know what percentage of players even make minor league camp. From minor league camp the movie shifts to Indy where the players meet Wavin’ Wendell Kim who will be their manager for the year. They are told to play their best, and to interact with the fans. They are told that they are here to get better to move up, but they are also there to entertain the fans. The movie then settles in to show how each of the players handles the season. I don’t want to ruin that ride so I will not go into specifics. Some interesting things I learned from the movie though. A typical Triple A player makes less than $40,000 a year. The typical MLB player makes $75,000 a week. What a difference. They get that kind of money to play 144 games in 150 days taking buses to away games. It can’t be the best life, but when you move concrete for a living it doesn’t sound too bad. If you are a baseball fan, then this movie is for you. Having just been at Victory Field for the first time it was cool to see a movie based there so quickly after being there. Watch the movie, and feel just a little bit worse when you boo your local player for doing something that you think is bad. The movie is worth renting just to see the young girl talking to the pitcher along the railing about how he usually doesn’t get people out. His reaction is priceless.
One thing to look for when you watch the movie is in the bonus features. Apparently Deion Sanders did not want to give an interview one day while playing for the Louisville Bats so they interviewed Kyle Peterson instead. The interviewer just asked Kyle the same questions that he was going to ask Neon Deion, and Kyle’s answers are great. It is a short segment, but well worth it.

Where are they now?
Scutaro: Playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. I actually was able to see him in person in 2006 when he was playing for the Oakland A’s. He went 1-3 playing second base in Frank Thomas’ return to Chicago. Now that I have seen this movie I will follow him a little closer.
Peterson: 2001 was Kyle’s last season in professional ball. He had surgery following the season, and never played again. He is now an announcer for ESPN. His humor is what makes him fun to listen to, and some of that can be seen during the movie.
Franklin: Played until 2004. Signed with the Diamondbacks in 2002, but was released after the playing the season in Tuscon. Signed with the White Sox in 2004 and played with Birmingham until they released him during the season. Finished the year with Tuscon before hanging up his cleats. His last Major League game was in 1997.
Tyler: Played all three outfield positions as well as 1st base for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Ended a long career after that season.
Levrault: He is another pitcher that I have seen in person. I saw him the year before the movie was made. He is the pitcher who pitched the 15th inning in the marathon that I was able to see in County Stadium. He gave up a double to Sammy Sosa that gave the Cubs the win. He appeared in 19 games for the Marlins in 2003 before bouncing around the minors until 2007.

All player data obtained from baseball-reference.com and retrosheet.com

Scotty Pods is Back!

From what I have seen on the internet today it looks as if Jerry Owens is going back to Charlotte, and Scott Podsednik is headed back to Chicago…well not really. He is headed to Arlington to join up with the White Sox. Some of the best baseball that I have ever watched was in the begining of 2005 when Scotty was tearing up the basepaths. When he got on base you jumped to the edge of your seat. Now when I hear his name I think of what could have been. Once he started seeing the supermodel he has had constant groin issues. Coincedence? I will let you be the judge. Maybe he can give us some more thrills in the coming weeks. He is not what I think of when I think of a center fielder, but we need somebody to do something out there. I think that Anderson is doing a decent job, but if he is hurt we need anyone but Owens right now. We are in a three way tie for first right now with the Twins just behind. There is not a lot of room for error. Maybe the man who made me forget about Carlos Lee will be the difference.

Quite The Opposite Of What You Would Think

Tuesday’s doubleheader did not go close to how I thought it would. I thought that the 1st game with Colon going against a pitcher with a longer last name than experience would be the high scoring affair. I was dead wrong. The Sox scored two runs on two hits to win the game 2-1. The finally got some timely hitting. After a walk to Fields, Quentin singled, then Pauly hit a double down the line that scored both runners. That was all he offense for the Sox. Colon pitched a great game only giving up one earned run. Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks came in to close the game out. An error by Fields made the 9th inning exciting, but Bobby did his job and sealed the deal for the Palehose. The Sox sent 27 men up to the plate in the game, and still came away with the victory. That just ensured that Owens would only go 0-3 instead of 0-4.

The second game seemed to take forever to start. The first game ended so fast that we had to wait around for the 7:11 start of game two. The Sox brass did pull a great move and show the Bulls game on the jumbotron while we were waiting though. I thought that this game would be a pitchers duel. Danks going up against Felix Hernandez. I was half right. Hernandez pitched a great game going 8 strong innings striking out nine. The Sox got their only run in the ninth off of Ray Corcoran when the game was well over. Danks had his first bad outing of the year. He only went four innings giving up five runs. His ERA was under one, but had to skyrocket after this outing. The Mariners had a great day. Russell Branyan had five hits in five at bats. Betancourt was on base five times as well, but was 4-5 getting on in the ninth on a Broadway error. The Mariners won easily 9-1 to even the series. After an exciting first game, this was hard to watch. I spent a lot of the second game glancing down at my phone watching the Bulls blow the game against the Celtics on ESPN Gamecast.
On a side note I can only wonder if this will be the last game that I will see with Jerry Owens in a Sox uniform. He played in both games, and did nothing to show that he can stay around here. He had so much promise, but maybe the expectations became too much for him. Maybe he needs a fresh start with no expectations to achieve his potential. Either that, or he could be one of the fastest beer truck drivers on the South Side.

After going almost twenty years without seeing Ken Griffey Jr. play I was able to see him once again on Tuesday. I love the fact that I have now seen him in a Mariner uniform, but I wish it could have been in his prime. He is on of the greatest players of this generation, and someday may set the highest percentage for Hall Votes. He was a shining star in a troubled time for baseball. He was on pace for the home run record when it still meant something in 1994 when the strike cut short the season. He helped get baseball back to some respectibility when the steroid issues started coming out. He is proof that the good guys always rise to the top. He hit a double in the fourth inning of the first game that almost got out of the stadium. It would have been a huge thrill to see a home run by ‘the kid.’ I have seen Sosa, Thomas, and Thome hit home runs in the 500′s, but never one in the 600′s.

I was excited about the fact that I was able to see two games for the price of one, but the weather almost made it a bad time. The temp stayed around 39 degrees for both games, but I started feeling it at the end of the second game. Even though we were getting bombed I decided to stay and take the entire doubleheader in. Maybe we can do another one of these in June or July huh?

Homer = Strikeout

What does that mean exactly? Today I was at the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) game against the Louisville Bats (Reds). Homer Bailey was on the mound for Louisville, and boy did he look good. He struck out 15 batters in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out the side in three innings, and just made the Toledo hitters look bad. I heard his name in the off season thrown around as possibly coming to the White Sox, and after seeing him pitch I wish that he would have done just that. The final score was a laugher at 10-3 with Kevin Barker accounting for four of those runs for the Bats. Apparently I am becoming a Bats groupie. Their stadium is just over the border in Louisville so who knows? The way I have been visiting Minor League Stadiums lately it is a possibility.
Fifth Third Field is absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I don’t want to get into it this late at night. I will talk a little more about the park in a future write up.

Did I Mention that I Hate the Buckeyes?

Purdue played a doubleheader today during the Black and Gold game. I was able to watch the first three innings of game one, then after the football game I watched game two. Purdue dropped both of them to Ohio State. Purdue has a good baseball team, but needs to get over the hump to become a great baseball team. They have some good players on the squad that might get them a finish in the top half of the Big Ten. It was a beautiful day for baseball though, and I took advantage of it. I just wish the Boilers could have given the Buckeyes a run for their money.

Black and Gold, but no Glitter

Today I sat through the Black and Gold game at Purdue. I say sat through because it was missing something. Players are on the field in pads, but it just isn’t the same without a game on the line. It was nice to see the Boilers, but most of the offense that they can expect to have in ’09 did not play. The receiver corps are thin, but our incoming freshmen should fix that. One good thing about the slim receivers was the fact that Kris Staats got some playing time. He is the holder on Field Goal attempts, but he also got some work in at wide out. No balls thrown to him though. Some day he will catch a pass at Purdue.

Victory for the Bats at Victory Field


After threatening to go for years I finally made it to Victory Field tonight. A Triple A club that is 2.5 hours away, and I have never gone. I have been waiting for a weekend series with the Charlotte Knights, but it has not come or I was busy when it did. I decided to go to this game between the Louisville Bats (Reds) and the Indians (Pirates). A future NL Central showdown.

Louisville struck for four runs in the first two innings, then were silent the rest of the game. Two errors in the first inning really set the table up for the Bats, and they did not dissapoint. The difference in the game tough was a 2nd inning Matt Maloney home run. What makes that special is the fact that Maloney was the pitcher. In my only other Triple A game Glendon Rusch was pitching for the Iowa Cubs and hit two home runs. I guess minor league pitchers can hit. Former Sox player Danny Richar was 2-4, but I would rather have Getz right now.
Victory Field is great. I am glad that I finally was able to get here, and now that I know what I am in for I will be back sooner rather than later.

On Dollar Monday played on Wednesday we get two for Tuesday

Sound confusing? Monday’s South Bend Silverhawks game was cancelled so they moved the dollar Monday game to Wednesday and played a doubleheader. The Silverhawks split the twin bill, but it was a great day for baseball. The Silverhawks are having trouble drawing, so I don’t know how many more Opening Week games I will be able to go to at Coveleski. It is a great way to spend the day though. Fourteen innings of baseball for $1 is alright by me.
I am still amazed at the lack of attention people pay at these games. A line drive comes flying in on the first base side nearly beheading some kids, and nobody pays any attention. They go right back to talking with their backs to the plate. It will take a tragedy for people to pay attention I think. That is one reason why I don’t go to dollar night anymore.

Opening Day!!

The most beautiful day of the year is here…Opening Day. Every team is even in the standings (almost I guess since games have been played the two previous days). I love Opening Day, and I have been lucky enough to be at the Sox home opener the last two years. Billy Pierce (not Barack Obama) threw out the first pitch, and Mark Buehrle took the mound for the Sox. They were in trouble until the 8th when Jim Thome played small ball and hit his 542nd home run to put the Sox up 4-2. Big bad Bobby Jenks came in to seal the deal for the Sox. Great games like this only mean that I will be going to more this year. Bring them on I say!