Rochester Red Wings Report: One line on every new member of the 2022 Rochester Red Wings

During the 2022 season, I’ll have occasional reports on games I’ve attended of the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Last night’s 3-2 loss to Syracuse was, for such a close game, a rather nondescript one, as the Wings were foiled by a lack of clutch hitting and a would-be tying run being thrown out at the plate.

So, instead, I’m updating my opening day look at the team by having one line on every member of the Red Wings who was not on the opening day roster. I am not including Alcides Escobar, who is on a rehab assignment.

Here we go:

  • Cory Abbott was acquired by the Nationals off waivers from the Giants in May.
  • Joan Adon is looking to get back to Washington after being sent down with a 1-11 record and 6.97 ERA thus far in the show this season.
  • Luis Avilan is an MLB veteran of 458 games, primarily with Atlanta and the Dodgers.
  • Matt Brill came to the Nationals organization after initially being with Arizona, and was moved from AA to AAA in early June.
  • Zack Burdi, currently on the IL, saw some MLB time with the White Sox and Orioles last season.
  • Sam Clay first made his Rochester Red Wings debut in 2019, during the Twins era.
  • Matt Cronin had a minuscule 0.55 ERA in AA Harrisburg before being called up to the Wings in late May.
  • This is Danny Dopico‘s first year in the Nationals organization, having previously been with the White Sox.
  • Aside from Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry is likely the biggest pitching prospect in the Nationals system.
  • Patrick Murphy has pitched in 35 career MLB games.
  • Sterling Sharp is not related to former NFL player Sterling Sharpe, as should be clear by the fact their last names are spelled different.
  • Mason Thompson has a 3.86 ERA in 25.2 career IP in Major League Baseball.
  • Taylor Gushue had a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2021.
  • Curacao’s Junior Martina has leapfrogged AA to join the Red Wings.
  • Ildemaro Vargas has seen MLB time with Arizona, the Cubs, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh.
  • Josh Palacios‘ uncle, Rey Palacios, is both a former big leaguer and a longtime Rochester firefighter.

The Red Wings continue their series against Syracuse through Sunday.

The best defunct baseball team identities for every MLB city (Part 2: National League)

The history of baseball is full of team names that no longer exist. This brings up the question, however: what is each city’s BEST former baseball identity? And are they better than the current one?

I’m going to look and find out. I started with the American League, and now on to the National League.

A few rules:

  • These are professional team identities only. No amateur teams.
  • For cities with multiple teams, I’ll go with either a team that is located in the same general area or which has historical connection.
  • Team names that have migrated (such as Giants or Athletics) can’t be reused.

Let’s begin again after the jump:

Continue reading

The best defunct baseball identities for every MLB city (Part 1: American League)

The history of baseball is full of team names that no longer exist. Just this year, for example, the Cleveland Guardians have taken the place of the team known as the Cleveland Indians. This brings up the question, however: what is each city’s BEST former baseball identity? And are they better than the current one?

I’m going to look and find out, starting with the American League.

A few rules:

  • These are professional team identities only. No amateur teams.
  • For cities with multiple teams, I’ll go with either a team that is located in the same general area or which has historical connection.
  • Team names that have migrated (such as Giants or Athletics) can’t be reused.

Let’s begin after the jump:

Continue reading

Random assorted predictions for the 2022 MLB season

  1. The Los Angeles Dodgers will defeat the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series.
  2. Related to the above, the Blue Jays will win the AL East.
  3. Also related to number one, the Dodgers will win the NL West.
  4. The Braves will win the NL East.
  5. The White Sox will win the AL Central.
  6. The Brewers will win the NL Central.
  7. The Astros will win the AL West.
  8. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be AL MVP.
  9. Juan Soto will be NL MVP.
  10. Robbie Ray will repeat as AL Cy Young Award winner.
  11. Logan Webb will be the mildly-surprising NL Cy Young Award winner, unless deGrom gets back sooner than expected.
  12. Bobby Witt Jr. will be AL Rookie of the Year.
  13. Seiya Suzuki will be NL Rookie of the Year.
  14. The Mariners will break their postseason drought, reaching as a wild card.
  15. The other two wild cards in the AL will be the Red Sox and Rays.
  16. Aaron Boone will be fired after failing to make the postseason.
  17. The NL wild cards will be the Mets, Giants, and Padres.
  18. Shohei Ohtani will NOT pitch in the All-Star Game, but will be voted in as a hitter.
  19. LEAST-BOLD PREDICTION: The Orioles will stink.
  20. BOLDEST PREDICTION: The Miami Marlins will actually be pretty good and remain truly in the playoff hunt into the final week or two of the season.

One line each on every member of the 2022 Rochester Red Wings opening day roster

One line (or at least a sentence- it could be longer than a line depending on your screen) on every member of the opening day roster of my hometown Rochester Red Wings. They range from statistics to trivia and everything in between. Of course, it’s possible that this roster will change drastically in just a few days once MLB begins its season.

  • Alberto Baldonado made his first MLB appearance late last season, striking out Bryce Harper during his debut.
  • Cade Cavalli is considered the Nationals’ top pitching prospect and should be the top man in the Rochester starting staff to begin the season.
  • Tyler Clippard was a two-time All-Star for the Nationals earlier in his career and will begin in Rochester primarily due to the fact he was signed late and needs more time to build his arm up.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. won a World Series title in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Jace Fry played in the 2006 Little League World Series for Oregon.
  • Reed Garrett returns to North America after pitching two seasons in Japan for the Seibu Lions.
  • Hunter Harvey has pitched in 26 career games with the Orioles and joined the Nationals organization in late March.
  • Gabe Klobosits had a 2.45 ERA in 18.1 innings last season for the Wings while also spending time in Harrisburg and Washington.
  • Francisco Perez made his MLB debut last season for Cleveland.
  • Erasmo Ramirez has pitched in 216 career MLB games, primarily for Seattle and Tampa.
  • Luis Reyes was signed by the Nationals in Aug. 2012, when he was just 17.
  • Jefry Rodriguez split time between Rochester and Washington last season.
  • Seth Romero missed time this spring with a stiff back, hampering an attempt to start the season with the big club.
  • Aaron Sanchez was the 2016 AL ERA leader and made the All-Star Game that season for Toronto.
  • Curtis Taylor was acquired off waivers from the Toronto organization in December.
  • Lefty Carson Teel primarily played with Harrisburg in 2021 but did make five appearances for the Wings.
  • Jackson Tetreault threw all six innings in the Wings’ 4-0 rain-shortened loss to end the 2021 season.
  • Logan Verrett has pitched in 57 career games in MLB and has also had time in Korea and the independent leagues.
  • Jordan Weems split last season between the Oakland and Arizona organizations, including seven games in MLB.
  • Tres Barrera split time between Rochester and Washington last season, and actually hit better in MLB than he did in AAA!
  • Although he reportedly retired, longtime MLB catcher Welington Castillo is listed on the team’s roster, albeit not listed as not being with the team.
  • Chris Herrmann is no stranger to Rochester, having played here for parts of three seasons during the Twins era.
  • Wilmer Perez played some winter ball during the off-season in his native Venezuela.
  • Luis Garcia is once again the youngest member of the Red Wings (born: 5/16/00), and is considered one of the top prospects in the Nationals organization.
  • Bahamas-born Lucius Fox may be the fastest man on the team with 142 stolen bags during his minor league career so far.
  • Joey Meneses was the IL MVP in 2018 and played for Team Mexico in the Olympics last season.
  • Jake Noll was last season’s team MVP and was named to the league’s All-Star Team at the end of the season.
  • Adrian Sanchez hit well in Rochester last season while splitting time between here and Washington.
  • Richard Urena was with the Buffalo Bisons the last several years and so is likely familiar to many Red Wings fans.
  • Andrew Young played in 58 games for Arizona last season before being selected in the MiLB Rule 5 draft by the Nationals.
  • Nick Banks is from Chris Herrmann’s hometown of Tomball, Texas.
  • Donovan Casey was one of the player acquired in the Max Scherzer trade last season.
  • Matt Lipka hit .291/.352/.449 between AA and AAA in the Arizona and Milwaukee organizations in 2021.
  • Cole Freeman has twice been named to Washington’s organization All-Star Team by MiLB.com, but this will be his first season in AAA.
  • Andrew Stevenson has played 248 career MLB games, all with Washington.
  • Princeton grad Alec Keller is said to have retired according to MiLB.com, but is still listed on the team’s roster- albeit not with the team.
  • Manager Matt LeCroy returns for his second year as manager and third overall (he played for the 2007 team).
  • Hitting Coach Brian Daubach hit 20 or more HRs for four straight seasons in Boston from 1999 through 2002.
  • Pitching Coach Rafael Chaves has MLB pitching coach experience, as he held the Mariners job in 2006 and 2007.
  • Development Coach Billy McMillon was the skipper of the Worcester Red Sox last season

Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0: Spider-Man, Uncle Ben, and the Mets

In Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0, I take an updated look at some of the more unusual places that I previously covered where baseball has reared its head in pop culture and fiction. In the process, I clean up some mistakes of mine and add some more perspective.

Note: The original version of this post can be found here. It has some mistakes and out-of-date information that has been corrected in this post, but remains up for posterity.

As the latest Spider-Man film continues to break records, there is perhaps no better way to start up Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0 than by renovating one of my old posts about the web-slinger. Now, ole’ Web-Head is no stranger to Bizarre Baseball Culture, having had shown up on several occasions (including fighting Doctor Doom alongside Billy the Marlin), but those were generally promotional comics that happened to feature Spider-Man. Peter Parker Spider-Man (Volume 2) #33, by contrast, is canon. It happened in the main Marvel Universe and presumably could be referenced by any writer working in those stories today. This issue from 2001 is about Peter Parker’s relation with his late Uncle Ben, and how baseball was a bond between them.

Now, before we begin, I’d like to write a bit about Spider-Man in general. What made the Marvel characters different when they first started appearing in the 1960s was that they were, in general, more relatable and flawed than the DC counterparts and the Marvel superheroes that had been created in the 30s and 40s. The Fantastic Four was often bickering with each other (like an family does), the X-Men were shunned by most of society (Stan Lee has said that being a mutant is basically meant to be a stand-in for being a minority), the Hulk was shunned by basically all of society… and Spider-Man, for lack of a better term, was a loser.

Okay, maybe not a loser, but definitely the closest thing there had been up to that point: an unpopular kid with no parents, only one family member of any sort (Aunt May) and little money. To make matters worse, when supervillains weren’t coming after him, the press and/or the police were. If things could go wrong for Peter Parker, they probably have. Parents? Dead. Uncle? Dead. Aunt? Perpetually sick. First true love (Gwen Stacy)? Murdered (and, amazingly, never came back to life). Second true love (Mary Jane)? Marriage magically annulled in a story far too stupid to talk about. At one point in the not-that-distant past poor Peter Parker evensaw his body body-snatched by Doctor Ocopus while he was forced to die in “Doc Ock’s” cancer-ridden body (don’t worry, he got better). But all of this pales in comparison to the greatest, most horrible fate to ever fall upon Spider-Man:

Being a fan of the New York Mets.

(JUMP)

Continue reading

Looking back and waiting for spring

Well, now that the smoke has mostly settled from the World Series, it’s time for a look back at it and a look forward.

First off, the World Series itself. It was, admittedly, not the best series to end the season on. Both clubs had some off-the-field baggage (Houston with the cheating scandal, Atlanta with the continued existence of the chop as well as how they had become a prop for some politicos), and the series highlighted some of modern baseball’s most frustrating features (such as early pitching changes and the degradation of base-running ability for all but a few).

Still, it had some great moments and some big personalities. Freddie Freeman, a Hall-of-Famer in the making (the player most similar to him statistically through the age 31 season is Eddie Murray), now has a ring to show for it. Max Fried had a coming-out party that helped solidify his place as one of the best pitchers in the NL (he had been great the previous two seasons as well, but sometimes the playoffs knocks people higher in the conscious). Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall proved to be perhaps the best trio of mid-season replacements in years, if not ever, a masterstroke for the Atlanta front office. On the Astros side, the usual suspects were joined by unexpected people like Zack Greinke, who will now likely go down in history as the last pitcher (aside from two-ways like Ohtani) to get a hit. And the two dugouts were run by old-time baseball men in a new-age baseball world: Brian Snitker and Dusty Baker, who both fittingly have deep ties to the late Henry Aaron and his family.

Ultimately, I consider any series that goes at least six games “good.” Nobody likes a sweep or a near-sweep (save for the team that wins, of course). So while the games themselves were, with one or two exceptions, hardly the most entertaining that baseball could give, I am generally happy.

Now, of course, is the offseason. It could prove tumultuous. A lockout in December is considered so likely that The Onion has already made a joke about it. The fact that the work stoppage will come during December is, ironically, probably a good thing, as it makes it more likely that some sort of new Collective Bargaining Agreement will come about before games are lost. However, given the greedy stubbornness of the owners as well as the (largely justified!) grievances of the players (who, frankly, got pantsed in the last CBA), the ultimate outcome is unknown.

What is known as that when a new CBA does come into force it is likely that baseball will have shifted into yet another new era. It is considered all-but-certain that the DH will become universal, and other rules changes will likely also be either implemented or be put on the road to being implemented. The financial rules will also doubtless change, although given the very nature of the CBA those are likely the hardest to predict.

And so we wait…

Finally, a word on Buster Posey. In my opinion, the three most important on-field people in the long history of the New York/San Francisco Giants are (we can argue a bit on the order) John McGraw, Willie Mays, and Barry Bonds. The fourth most important? Buster Posey.

Updated bare-bones no explanation given predictions

Everything I had to say about last night’s check-swing ending was on Twitter last night, so instead I’m updating my bare-bones postseason predictions to reflect who has made the LCS round.

ALCS: Astros over Red Sox in 7

NLCS: Dodgers over Braves in 5

World Series: Dodgers over Astros in 6

World Series MVP: Mookie Betts

Bare-bones no-explanations-given postseason predictions

No explanations, only predictions. Do I have reasons? Am I just going by my gut. Too bad, I’m not telling you!

AL Wild Card: Red Sox over Yankees

NL Wild Card: Dodgers over Cardinals

ALDS: Rays over Red Sox in 5, Astros over White Sox in 4.

NLDS: Dodgers over Giants in 4. Braves over Brewers in 5.

ALCS: Rays over Astros in 6.

NLCS: Dodgers over Braves in 5.

World Series: Dodgers over Rays in 6.

World Series MVP: Justin Turner.

How to forfeit a game

Last night, the Rochester Red Wings were shellacked by the Buffalo Bisons, 20-3. As the game dragged on in its last innings and the Red Wings turned to a position player to pitch, Wings’ announcer Josh Whetzel wondered if maybe baseball should have a mercy rule or maybe a way to forfeit when things get too ugly.

Well, there is one way to forfeit. Sort of.

Take a look at the MLB rulebook. Now, head down to pages 85 and 86, the part on unsportsmanlike conduct. Make note of rule 6.04(a)(4), which says that no one can “Make intentional contact with the umpire in any manner.”

You’ve doubtless seen this rule in action before: a manager or player is arguing with an umpire after a bad call, and touches them. They are then usually immediately ejected.

So, in theory, you could have your players line up in a row and start touching the umpire until enough players are ejected that there aren’t enough to continue, thus ending the game.

Of course, there are other easier ways to forfeit (see rule 7.03). You can just refuse to come out and continue playing, for example. Or you could continually break rules. Or the thing that, if properly enforced, would probably lead to a wave of forfeits, rule 7.03(a)(2):

Employs tactics palpably designed to delay or shorten the
game;

Yeah, like that will ever be enforced…