Our 19th #SummerOfBaseball team – the Clinton LumberKings! @LumberKings

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The 19th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Midwest League – the Clinton LumberKings!

The Clinton LumberKings are the Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The LumberKings were founded in 1954 and have been playing at Ashford University Field in Clinton, Iowa since inception. They’ve used the LumberKings moniker since 1994 and over the years, they have been affiliated with the White Sox, Pirates, Pilots/Brewers, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Reds, Expos, and Rangers prior to their current affiliation with the Mariners since 2009.

Orel Hershiser and Mike Scioscia played for Clinton on their way to the bigs. Since becoming affiliated with the Mariners, former LumberKings who have made it to the majors include Ketel Marte, Chris Taylor, Brad Miller, Carter Capps, Roenis Elias, Brandon Maurer, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, James Jones, Nick Franklin, and Kyle Seager.

Thank you LumberKings for sending in a ball and participating in the #SummerOfBaseball – check out their team website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t500 and give them a follow on twitter at @LumberKings

The 18th #SummerOfBaseball – the Lancaster Barnstormers! @gobarnstormers

lancaster barnstormers

The 18th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is from the Independent Atlantic League – the Lancaster Barnstormers!

The Barnstormers are the defending 2014 Atlantic League champions and play at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster Pennsylvania. The team was founded in 2003 and played their first season in 2005 under the management of former New York Met Tom Herr and is currently managed by former Major Leaguer Butch Hobson.

The Atlantic League is widely acknowledged as the top Independent League and many major leaguers have gone through the league’s ranks. Notable major leaguers who have played for the Barnstormers indluce Pat Misch, Casey Fossum, Luke Hughes, Ben Francisco, Chris Schwinden, Cory Wade, Ryan Braun (the other one), Antonio Alfonseca, and Jose Cabrera.

If you’re in Lancaster, go catch a Barnstormers game – the Atlantic League season runs from April to September. Check out their website lancasterbarnstormers.com and give them a follow on twitter at @gobarnstormers

Thanks for sending in a ball and participating in #SummerOfBaseball

Our 17th #SummerOfBaseball team – the DuPage County Hounds! @DC_Hounds

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The 17th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Midwest Collegiate League. Let’s give a big friendly Helloooooo to the DuPage County Hounds!

The Hounds play in Lemont, Illinois out of the Lemont High School Sports Complex and currently have the best record in the league heading into the final few days of play. In the 2014 Major League Draft, several former Hounds heard their names selected, including infielder Paul DeJong, who played for the 2012 squad and was selected in the 4th round by the St. Louis Cardinals and is off to a great start to his professional career, hitting .333 through his first 29 games with 10 doubles and 5 homes, already earning a promotion to Class A Peoria. The Chicago White Sox in the 9th round selected former Hound LHP Ryan Hinchley who is currently with Great Falls in the Pioneer League.

So if you’re out in Lemont in the near future, or heading out there next summer – go catch a Hounds game! You may just be seeing the next superstar in the making!

Check out the Hounds website at dupagehounds.com and give them a follow on twitter @DC_Hounds

Our 16th #SummerOfBaseball – The Savannah Sand Gnats – @gnatsbaseball

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Today’s ball is the 16th in our #SummerOfBaseball series and one that I’m really digging. Not only is it from another one of the Mets minor league affiliates, it’s a used official South Atlantic League ball and it’s coming in from the Savannah Sand Gnats.

I’ll freely admit that I have a soft spot for the Gnats. Their mascot, Gnate the Gnat is a friend of mine and I’ve openly campaigned for Gnate in Mascot Mania the last two years. This is the last year that the Sand Gnats will be in Savannah as the big club announced they will relocate to Columbia, South Carolina for the 2016 season.

The Sand Gnats started out as the Savannah Cardinals when they were affiliated with St. Louis from 1984-1995 before changing their name to the Sand Gnats in 1996 when they became the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They retained the moniker through affiliations with the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets. Current Mets Third Base Coach Tim Teufel was the team’s manager in 2007, the first year of affiliation with the Mets.

Since becoming affiliated with the Mets in 2007, notable players who were once Gnats include Juan Lagares, Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores, Eric Campbell, Josh Satin, Jeurys Familia, Chris Schwinden, Matt den Dekker, Wilfredo Tovar, Josh Edgin, Gonzalez Germen, Collin McHugh, Darrell Ceciliani, Erik Goeddel, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, Dilson Herrera, Kevin Plawecki, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Dario Alvarez, and Akeel Morris.

The team plays their games at Historic Grayson Stadium, which was built in 1926.

I’m going to miss seeing the Mets in Savannah in 2016 and I really hope that the are able to get another team into the stadium and keep the Sand Gnats tradition going.

If you’re in Savannah, go catch a game – give my buddy Gnate a follow at @gnatethegnat and give the Sand Gnats a follow at @gnatsbaseball. Check out their website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t543

The #SummerOfBaseball – No. 15 – Tampa Yankees @TampaYankees

tampa yankees


The 15th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is coming to us from one of the Mets rivals. From deep in enemy territory, straight from George M. Steinbrenner field, the Tampa Yankees sent in a ball.

The Tampa Yankees are the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and play in the Northern Division of the Florida State League. The team plays their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field (formerly known as Legends Field) which is a mini replica of Yankee Stadium. The team was founded in 1994 and the Yankees are the only major league team with which the organization has been affiliated.

The team is led by Luis Sojo, who broke our hearts with the game winning RBI for the Yankees in the deciding game of 2000 Subway Series.

Notable former Tampa Yankees on their way to the big leagues include Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Mike Lowell, Nick Johnson, Dioner Navarro, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, Brett Gardner, Phil Coke, Francisco Cervelli, John Axford, Ivan Nova, and Dellin Betances.

Former New York Met Lee Mazzilli also managed the team in 1997 and 1998.

So thanks to the Tampa Yankees for sending in the ball and participating in the #SummerOfBaseball – give them a follow in twitter at @TampaYankees and check out the team website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t587

Our #SummerOfBaseball series No. 14 – Boise Hawks – @BoiseHawks #HawksRock

boise hawks

The 14th installment of our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Boise Hawks! The Hawks are the Short-Season Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and play in Boise, Idaho in the Northwest League.

The history of the Hawks dates back to 1987 when the organization operated as an independent team in the Northwest League before becoming an affiliate of the Angels beginning with the 1990 season. During their 11 year affiliation with the Angels, they won the League Championship 4 times. After the 2000 season, the Hawks changed their affiliation to the Chicago Cubs where they remained for the next 14 seasons and won two more League Championships. The 2015 season marks the first year they are affiliated with the Colorado Rockies.

Some of the notable players who have passed through Boise on their way to the show over the years include Garret Anderson, Troy Percival, Jarrod Washburn, John Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez, Dontrelle Willis, and Jeff Samardzija.

Chicago Cubs rookie Third Baseman, All-Star, and Home Run Derby participant Kris Bryant also passed through Boise in 2013, where he hit .354 as a Hawk.

Check out the Boise Hawks website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t480

Check out their twitter at @BoiseHawks and check out their hashtag #HawksRock! Make sure to say hello!

Thanks Hawks for sending up the logo ball and for participating in our #SummerOfBaseball series!

#SummerOfBaseball Series No. 13 – The Atlanta Braves @Braves

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The 13th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is once again from the Major League ranks and the heated rival of our New York Mets – the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves knew I was a Big Mets Fan and they were still cool enough to send up an official Major League Baseball with Rob Manfred’s stamped signature and the Atlanta Braves tomahawk logo.

We all know the story of the Braves – the franchise history dates back to 1871 in Boston. They first began using the “Braves” back in 1912. They moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and they’ve been in Atlanta since 1966. They played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium from 1966-1996 before they moved into Turner Field in 1997. The place which has been a historic House of Horrors for our Mets and they’ll be moving into the new SunTrust Park for the beginning of the 2017 season.

The Braves have won three World Series titles in their existence, the most recent in 1995 and their only one in Atlanta came in 1995 when they defeated the Cleveland Indians in 6 games. The team won 11 straight Eastern Division Titles from 1995-2005 under the guidance of Bobby Cox.

True Home Run King Hammering Hank Aaron was an Atlanta Brave. Orlando Cepeda was a Brave. Hoyt Wilhelm, Phil Niekro, Joe Torre, and Bruce Sutter were Braves. The Braves had the triple-headed monster pitching staff of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz when they had their prolonged Eastern Division run (much to our Mets chagrin).

So thank you Atlanta Braves for sending in a #SummerOfBaseball. Check out their twitter @Braves – the team’s website is braves.com

Our 12th #SummerOfBaseball feature – Frisco Roughriders – @RidersBaseball

frisco roughriders


The 12th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes from the Texas League – the Class-AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers, the Frisco Roughriders.

The Roughriders are names after the 1st U.S. Volunteer Calvary Regiment during the Spanish-American War which was led by future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and sport the “Swinging Teddy” logo. They have been an affiliate of the Texas Rangers since the team came to Frisco in 2003.

The Roughriders play their home games in Dr. Pepper Ballpark, which holds 10,600 fans and the franchise was named by Forbes as being the 4th most valuable franchise in Minor League Baseball in 2012. The team has won four South Division titles in the Texas League and were the League champions back in 2004.

Some of the notable players who have passed through Frisco on their way to the show include Elvis Andrus, Joaquin Arias, John Danks, Chris Davis, Scott Feldman, Neftali Feliz, Adrian Gonzalez, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Laynce Nix, Alexi Ogando, Scott Posednik, Jurickson Profar, Justin Smoak, Mark Teixeira, Edinson Volquez, and C.J. Wilson.

If you haven’t seen the Full House jerseys the Roughriders wore last month during a game, check out the link here – http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/frisco/headlines/20150612-roughriders-to-welcome-uncle-joey-with-full-house-night-tonight.ece

So if you’re in Frisco, catch a Roughriders game. Check out their team website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t540

Give them a follow on twitter at @RidersBaseball

Thank you Frisco Roughriders for sending in a Swinging Teddy logo ball for the #SummerOfBaseball!

#SummerOfBaseball Series 11 – Cedar Rapids Kernels @CRKernels & @t_hildy

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The 11th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series once again comes to us from the Midwest League, who I must say is a league which has really been coming through. Today’s featured team is one of the oldest teams in the country, with a history which dates back to 1890 – the one, the only Cedar Rapids Kernels.

The Kernels are the Class-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and have been affiliated with the Twins since the 2013 season. They’ve been known as the Kernels since the 1993 season, but over the years they’ve also been known as the Reds, Giants, Astros, Cardinals, Red Raiders, Braves, Raiders, Indians, Rockets, Bunnies, Rabbits, and Canaries.

The team has played in the Midwest League since 1962 and they’re currently managed by Jake Mauer, the older brother of current Minnesota Twins superstar Joe Mauer.

Over the years, there have been many former Kernels who have made it to the show including notables Jerry Reuss, Ted Simmons, Bob Brenley, Rob Deer, Chili Davis, Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, Chris Sabo, Rob Dibble, Reggie Sanders, Trevor Hoffman, Bengie Molina, John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, and Mike Trout.

The Kernels were kind enough to send up an official Midwest League ball signed by the team’s closer Trevor Hildenberger. Trevor has been putting up some sick stats in the Midwest League. Entering play on July 18th, Hildenberger has been pitching to a miniscule 0.82 ERA with 13 saves while punching out 59 batters in 44 innings while allowing just 23 hits and 5 walks with a WHIP of 0.64. If he keeps on putting up numbers like that – we’ll certainly be seeing him in the Show before long.

So give the Cedar Rapids Kernels a follow on twitter at @CRKernels and check out their website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t492

Give Trevor Hildenberg a follow at @t_hildy and you can say you knew him before anyone else!


On deck – the Frisco Roughriders

Our 10th #SummerOfBaseball team – the South Bend Cubs! @SBCubs

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The 10th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is the South Bend Cubs!

The South Bend Cubs are the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Midwest League. The 2015 season is the team’s first year of affiliation with the Cubs. From 1994-2014, the team was known as the South Bend Silver Hawks when they were an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and from 1988-1993 they were the South Bend White Sox when they were an affiliate of the other team from the Windy City. The team is currently in the first year of a four-year player development contract with the Cubs. The Cubs play their home games at Four Winds Field.

The Cubs were definitely on with their #SummerOfBaseball game – they sent in an official Midwest League Ball signed by members of this year’s squad.

Check out some of the guys who signed the ball!

Jason Vosler – 21 year old infielder and 16th round pick of the Cubs in the 2014 draft and local to my neck of the woods who attended Don Bosco Prep High School.

Gleyber Torres – 18 year old Venezuelan Shortstop prospect hitting over .300 in his minor league career.

Erick Leal – 20 year old RHP out of Venezuela.

Jordan Minch – 22 year old LHP drafted in the 35th round of the 2014 draft.

Andrew Ely – 22 year old second baseman drafted in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft.

Corbin Hoffner – 21 year old RHP drafted in the 14th round of the 2012 draft

Jake Stinnett – 23 year old RHP and 2nd round pick in the 2014 draft.

Rashad Crawford – 21 year old outfielder and 11th round pick in the 2012 draft.

Ryan McNeil – 21 year old RHP and 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft.

David Bote – 22 year old IF/OF and 18th round pick in the 2012 draft.

Thanks to the South Bend Cubs for taking part in #SummerOfBaseball! Give them a follow on twitter at @SBCubs and check out the team’s official website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t550


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