Henry Wrigley The Caracas CrusherFormer Biscuits first baseman and Tampa Rays prospect Henry Wrigley had a good night at the plate for Caracas, hitting two homers for the Leones vs the Magellanes.
|Wrigley hits two homers, only one RBI behind league leader|
Wrigley was interviewed after the game, quotes from Leones twitter account:
"I'll remember this game for the rest of my life. Passion fans the team (has) is amazing"
"At first I whistled (sic), but you have to be strong mentally and I feel very comfortable."
"The energy here is electric. Sometimes we boo, but the excitement is awesome"
Its obvious he hasnt been slowed by the move south of the border, and is in the process of putting himself into the mix at the big league level by his strong play. He has consistently shown improvement at every level, bringing up his batting average each season since .236 in 2009 to a very solid .285 at Durham last season.
He has shown steady growth at the plate and in the field and I cant help but think the front office must have noticed that too - Henry is a threat at the plate and his non-prospect status likely stems from the numbers he accrued in lower levels. As his beard has come in, so has his baseball acumen increased. I look for Henry to make his big league debut with someone this April, be it the Rays or some other team wise enough to see what Wrigley has been doing for the past few years.
|You've come a long way, Wrigs|
He wears #81 as a Leone, but its not unusual for players there to have numbers that look like spring training roster cuts waiting to happen. I mentioned in a previous blog, but it bears repeating that these teams have a cast of thousands! I guess you never know when you might need that SEVENTH catcher.
GAME BROADCASTThe Caracas Leones game was available via the internet, I followed the link provided on the VBL website and got to see the broadcast. It was in stark contrast to some of the other games I have been seeing the past few months.
To start with, we are getting better video quality from Mars and Saturn than we are from Caracas. I would strongly suggest that the VBL pony up for an upgrade in the video room, I made a screen capture of Wrigley watching his second homer of the game. Its like watching the game through a shower door!
|Wrigley homer as seen by Mr.Magoo and viewers of VBL on the internet|
Also, I was surprised to hear the announcer cough. Often. I dont hear that from big league games, and rarely in minor league games on the radio that I listen to. Never have I heard a Japanese broadcaster cough, surely it must be the height of failure to cough on the air during a broadcast over there.
That being said, there were times Harry Caray coughed and sputtered and everyone loved Harry.
|Harry doesn't need cough drops|
Japan Ball - Yakyu BakaYakyu Baka, or field ball, is pretty popular and they have some nice games over there, as well as some very talented players from all over the world. Former Yokohama Baystar gaijin Brent Leach turned me onto a website that shows games live, and I have been enjoying it immensely.
|Brent Leach, El Trotamundos|
Currently the Yomiuri Giants are battling the Nippon Ham Fighers for the championship. The Ham Fighters are doing very well despite losing their ace pitcher to the Texas Rangers - Yu Darvish must have given them alot of money with his departure fee and the restocking has brought them to the brink of the title.
However the Giants have been playing great baseball after facing elimination at the end of the regular season and also in the playoffs, much like the SF Giants did in MLB. The two teams have many parallels, including star catchers who led the league in hitting, prima donna starting pitchers who have bad results when their mechanics get whacked out, and brilliant management from the field staff of coaches.
The Giants can win it all with a win in one of the last two games of the championship, both held at home in the Tokyo Dome. Im sure the crowd will be into it, the Giants fans are always a factor at their games.
|Giants fans look forward to the next win|
Otani UpdateThe Ham Fighters also will send their general manager and front office people to meet with the young pitchers parents on friday. The Fighters have exclusive rights among teams in Japan to negotiate with Otani, though there is some question as to if that also excludes foreign teams.
Last year, while Darvish was the biggest name coming from the East, the Orioles were taking a high school prospect in a similar situation as Otani. The player is not considered as much of a prospect as Shohei Otani, but with the Baltimore team linked to scouting Otani I wonder if it wasnt an effort to feel out the Nippon Professional Baseball League about how that would go over.
The NPB was not happy, and expressed it to MLB but didnt go so far as to make restrictions or ask MLB to butt out. Depending on how the Otani situation plays out, I expect they will do at least one of those, and maybe both.
As much has been made about a world draft by the media and MLB, but I think this is an example of how it can be a tough draft to organize. Surely Japan is gonna be pissed when MLB starts grabbing up its prospect players like schoolchildren desperately scraping up infield dirt at Koshien stadium after their tournament.
|Are these players ready to be drafted?|
BISCUITS NEWSSince this is a Biscuits blog, I try to come up with news each time, even though it is terribly slow in the offseason. Not that things dont happen, we just dont hear about them for months if ever.
Or you have to find what they havent told anyone about yet.
BISCUITS NEW FIRST PITCH GAME TIMENo official announcement has been made that I know of, but from looking at the released schedule there has been a change in the time of games on Saturdays. This season all Saturday home games have a listed start time of 6:35.
Sunday games are at 2pm in April, then shift to 6:05 for games in May and June.
Then, in a total abuse of power and desire to make players and fans suffer, games have been scheduled for three sundays in August at 2:05.
The summertime day game, previously a noon start in July known as the "Sunburn Game" has been scheduled for May 27th. Probably wise to move it to an area of lesser heatstroke.
I think its bad business for a minor league team to have complex start times. Also, having attended games often, I can say from experience that an extra half hour of cooling makes all the difference. People wont come to sit in the hot sun for an extra thirty minutes. The heat already keeps people away, having them start when its hotter is not going to encourage more attendance.
|Riverwalk Stadium clocks melt along with patrons|
A Must for the BiscuitsUnless this team addresses the heat issue, there will be fewer fans in the stands and the ones that are there actually risk injury due to heat. People jokingly call it The Oven but the fact is that there isnt a hotter ballpark in the country without cooling offered to the crowd.
Hell, places that arent anywhere NEAR as hot as we get have cooling stations, give free bottled water, offer cool and air conditioned areas to escape the heat. Even letting fans bring in their own water would be a step in the right direction, I think its the minimum the team can do after Montgomery was announced to be the third hottest city in the country.
Put it another way - picture yourself next July taking in the weekend series against the Blue Wahoos. Saturday 6:35 and Sunday 6pm the average high temp is the same as the average humidity, right around 93 and usually clear and muggy. We are getting plenty of sun at that point, so it is kind of a mystery to me why the team would think it would be better off starting the game early.
Maybe they plan on setting up a sunscreen concession.
|A way to make money from suffering fans?|
INSANE SCHEDULE = NORMAL SOUTHERN LEAGUEAPRIL 4th we open against the Birmingham Barons. Three weeks later we host them again, and we wont see them for the rest of the year unless we meet in the playoffs in September. The Biscuits travel to B'ham in May and again in the last five games of the year. Meaning we play them in four series, three in the first six weeks and one in the last week. We dont host them the same number of times in each half of the season, the first month of the Biscuits season will open and close with games against the rival Barons.
Eight of the series in the first half of the season are against teams in the other division.
Five of the series in the first half are against teams in our division.
In the second half, we face the other division six series, our own division six times. That means we play more games against the other division than our own this coming year!
We host the Mobile BayBears only one time, but have the Pensacola Wahoos three times. Both are in our division.
WTF Southern League?