Friday, June 29, 2007

Game Report: Yuma @ Reno (6/29/2007)

This pic is of my son and Yuma manager Mike Marshall. Having grown up in the Los Angeles Area, I saw Mike a lot as an outfield for the Dodgers. He was really nice and also signed autographs for the crowd. Not sure my son Luke thought this was very cool since he was having fun high fiving the mascot (see below) but he'll appreciate it later :)

Onto the game. Well, Reno just came off a 3-game series at St. George where they scored an insane 44 runs. Yuma, having started at a blistering 12-2 had dropped the last seven. So it would be interesting to see what would happen to two teams that were better than their current records.

The game ended up being a heartbreaker for the Reno faithful. You guys know what I harp on every game...pitching and defense. This time, the pitching was really good. Dusty Bergman went 7-2/3 with 9 strike outs. I was thinking to myself that the Sox, who average over 2 errors a game, were doing well defensively. Then 3 errors later and a string of hits off Dusty Bergman in the eighth, who was left in just a little too long, sent the Sox to a 6-3 defeat.

Madrid and Hall blasted homeruns early and it looked like the Sox were on their way to another home win. But again, defense killed the team. Nothing too egregious this time--not like Mike Done dropping a pop fly or Jose Rodriguez throwing the ball into the outfield on a pick off attempt as we have seen in the past. But as we have seen too many times, if you give guys chances to beat you eventually they will. That was the case tonight and it definitely sent the home crowd out saddened after a pretty good game of baseball that was 3-2 Sox entering the eighth.

On another note, the Sox added two players before the game. Though they are not on the website roster or on the league transaction page, the roster handed out at the game now included C Joe Milton and OF Juan Senreiso. Senrieso, from the Dominican Republic, was the Sox starting left fielder tonight. He played in the Texas and Kansas City Organizations after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He spent last year with High Desert (A) and Wichita (AA). He only got 15 at bats with the latter but with the former he hit .287 with 15 HR, 60 RBIs, and 19 SBs in about 400 at bats. Unfortunately he also had 117 strike outs so that will be something to watch. I couldn't find any info on Milton so he may be a professional rookie.

Due to other committments, I won't be at the park until Tuesday but I will be listening to the games which now are broadcast on the internet. Check out the Sox official site for the link.

Attendance was 1456.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thank you St. George!!!

There is nothing like playing a team with a 8.03 ERA that allows opponents to hit .338 when you really need a win. And the Sox did just that as they swept the St. George Roadrunners on the road to move to 3-11 on the road and move out of the oh-fer category away from Pecolle. They now also get the fortune of facing Yuma who is on a 7-game skid after starting the season 12-2. Things are looking up for the Sox and it is about time. Here is a quick run down of the St. George series.


-- The offense came to life with 52 hits and 44 runs in just three games. Wow!

-- Every position player who was in a slump broke out in convinving fashion and the numbers are starting to look the way they should for the team. Some examples:

  • Victor Hall (.316, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 10 SB)
  • Carlos Madrid (.349, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB)
  • Jose Rodriguez (.344, 5 HR, 13 RB, 1 SB)

-- Every starter is finally over the Mendoza line and the team batting average is at .261


-- The team continues to commit too many errors and contiues it average of over 2 per game. They now have 43 on the season in addition to 16 wild pitches. These have resulted in 28 unearned runs.

-- Injuries continue to plague the team. Nick Moran missed a scheduled start due to shoulder stiffness and Jordan Devoir fouled a ball off his shin causing a contusion and a bone chip. Moran is scheduled to start on Saturday so we'll see what happens; Devoir is out indefinitely. To help stem the tide, OF Kane Simmons was brought in. He is a professional rookie who went 2-4 last night in his debut. The GBL commissioner said Les Is working on bringing a couple more AA veterans this weekend. I hope we can get that done.


-- Pitching continues to be an issue. Though the Sox scored 44 runs in three games, they allowed 30. Neither pitching squad has much to brag about.

-- The Reno starters had an ERA of 10.77 and averaged just under 4 innings per game; the Sox relievers had an ERA of 7.67 and averaged about 5 innings per game. There is way too many things wrong with all four of those numbers so we are not out of the woods on the pitching side. The only change is that now the starters are starting to get beat up. Remember that these numbers came against a 3-16 team.

-- Mike Peck continues to struggle since joining the Sox a few days ago. He had a 13.50 ERA during this series and now is at 0-0 with a 16.20 ERA with the Sox; before that, he was 0-2 with a 19.06 ERA with his previous team.

-- Marshall Plouffe continues to self destruct when he enters the game. He was slated to be our closer and looked good converting his first save. Since then, he has really dropped off a cliff. This series he had a 18.00 ERA and now stands at 0-1 with a 12.71 ERA on the season. Jason Martinez also struggled early but he is back on track now pitching fairly well. Hopefully Marshall can do so too.

That is all for this time--I'd love your feedback. I'll be at the park on Friday.

See you at the yard.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Road woes continue


Baseball fans love stats but Silver Sox fans probably don't like that one. It is the teams record on the road this year.

The Sox came home for a short 2-game series and swept the expansion St. George Roadrunners. Things seemed to be clicking and then the bus pulled up for the trip to Long Beach.

And, after getting swept by the Armada, things just looked ugly. Two of those games saw the Silver Sox get shut out. One had a season high 5 errors committed by the Sox and they now have 37 through 16 games, the most in the league. Four of the nine starting position players are batting under .200. And the team found out it now has its third player gone for the season when it was released that J.J. Sherrill will have season ending surgery. And, J.J. Johnson is on the shelf and the status of #3 starter, Keaton Everitt, is still up in the air. The team hasn't released any information on him but he missed his last start and was pulled after a couple of innings from his start prior to that.

The road trip continues tonight with a three game stand in St. George. On a positive note, Reno has crushed St. George with an 2-0 record and a combined score of 10-2 when they first met last week. Of course that was at Peccole but if there is a team who may provide an opportunity for the Sox to break the 0-11 road record, it will be the Roadrunners. But the Sox have to buckle down and cut down on the mental mistakes.

The 37 errors, including 11 by shortstop Justin Devoir alone, need to decrease significantly. The two first place teams demonstrate that pretty clearly. First place Yuma has 22 and second place Orange County has 16.

Then, the batters have to cut down on strike outs which are way to high. Chikazawa is averaging a K every two at bats and Madrid and Done about every three at bats.

And the pitching, while getting better, has to do more. It may seem unfair when the pitching is doing a lot better but they can't count on the defense to hold small leads. The team has given up 25 unearned runs this year. That means control has to be a focus. Wild Pitches (11 in 16 games) and poor Strike Out to Walk Ratios (Bergman for example has 14 SOs to 13 walks) are areas of concern.

25 unearned runs, by the way, means the Sox spot the opponents over a run and a half per game on average. You add the team ERA of 4.36 and that means, again on average, that the offense has to score 7 or more runs to win each game. With a team batting average of .225 and less than a home run a game (they have 14 on the season) that is just not going to happen consistently. Their runs per game average is 3.75 by the way.

And for one last stat, the season is 21% over. With a little over 3/4 of a season left, time to turn things around is slowly expiring. Though Yuma has come back to earth a little, they are still 12-6 and have a 7 game lead on the Silver Sox. That will quickly become a double digit lead by the half if the Sox can't turn it around quick.

On the positive side, the team has 21 stolen bases, 38 extra base hits, and, with one exception, the starting pitchers have a WHIP around 1.00. So the opportunities to score are happening and or being manufactured and the starting pitchers are not putting a lot of guys on base to come around and hurt them later.

Here's hoping they have a little magic up their sleeve and Les' new pitcher pick-ups will stay as solid as they have looked early on to take some pressure off of the starters...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Game Report: St. George @ Reno (6/18/2007)

Well, the Sox pulled out a close one tonight with a 2-1 win over St. George to not only put themselves back on the winning track but also to have a great showing by the bullpen.

When we showed up, the two J.J.s took up seats just in front of us (see above). The Sox Website said they would be back tonight so I was surprised to see them in street clothes. I talked to J.J. Johnson and he said it will probably be about another week before he was back in the line-up. He confirmed he took the foul ball off the nose and he was wearing shades at night so I assume he's still feeling the effects of that incident.

6/19/07 UPDATE: Curt Jacey, Assistand GM of the Sox, was on the radio tonight and announced that J.J. Johnson has to have surgery on a bone under his eye and will be out for some time and placed on the inactive list. Sherrill had an MRI today with the results due tomorrow. And Keaton Everitt has an injury that kept him out of the game tonight (Matt Paris made another spot start).

But the pitching and defense are what dominated this game. St. George threw former Detroit Tiger Mark Woodyard who looked great pitching the entire game (8 innings) giving up just two runs. But he would be out dueled by Nick Moran (who only went 4 innings incidentally so he didn't qualify for a win), Josh Evans, and Adam Nikolic. And though the box score will show 3 errors by the Sox, there were two huge defensive gems that preserved the lead. Travis Tully sprinted to make an outstanding diving catch on a hard liner in the outfield and Mike Done made an excellent diving stop and gunned out the runner at first. Done for his part definitely made up for dropping a pop fly at second earlier in the game.

There was a scary moment when Masa Chikazawa took a foul ball off the shoulder but he was able to continue. With the other two big bats nursing injuries, it was good to see he wasn't hurting too bad.

All in all, a great game with the Sox playing great baseball. Unfortunately, I won't be there tomorrow night but I will try to listen to the last half of the game on the radio. Hopefully, they can keep the winning ways rolling!

Attendance for the game was 979.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The nightmare roadtrip comes to an end

Picture from

Wow, what a difference a week makes. The Sox got hammered on the road with the following events:

-- They lost every game (0-7) including a 20-11 loss to Yuma. They now stand at 2-8 in last place.

-- They've committed 20 errors which is an average of 2 per game.

-- Their team ERA is above 5.00 and that includes 2 relief pitchers (Martinez and Plouffe) who are a combined 0-3 over 9 appearances with an ERA over 16.00 between the two of them.

-- Two of their best offensive weapons (Johnson and Sherrill) went down with injuries and neither went to Yuma to help battle the red-hot Scorpions

It was a rough week and now they head back to Reno for a two game homestand. There were some positives last week including:

-- Jose Rodriguez has 4 HRs which leads the league. He came into the season as the back-up catcher so I for one am glad the GBL uses the DH so we can keep his bat in the line-up.

-- The team batting average finally climbed above the Mendoza line (barely) so hopefully that is a sign the the offense is starting to click

Now the Sox will have to dig deep to get a win against the Roadrunners tomorrow night. They have to recover from a 12-hour bus ride back to Reno the will put them in around mid-morning and then be ready to play rested St. George squad who will have a full night's sleep after finishing a set in Chico and is riding a 2-game winning streak.

I'll be at the game tommorow night hoping the Sox can get back on the right track. Getting Sherrill and Johnson back will be key as will getting the bullpen back on track. The starters have dropped to a four man rotation after the retirement of the injured Brian Keating. And that bullpen which has looked shaky has also put in a lot of innings recently. But championship teams find a way to win and Les Lancaster is a winner so if anyone can get this team to play up to its potential, it will be him.

There was one transaction of note: The Sox signed OF Gary Snyder but then released him two days later after he got two games in the outfield and batted .222 with 4 strike outs in 9 at bats.
See you at the yard.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quick Hitter Comments to end the week

The Sox have a day off today and they can definitely use it. They are 2-5 behind some shaky outings by the bullpen and a weak offense.

The team ERA is 2.87 but that doesn't tell the whole story. While the starters have been solid and inning eaters at that, the bullpen has blown a couple of saves. Josh Evans has been pretty strong; Nikolic has a sub 3 ERA but one of his appearances led to a Sox loss. Perhaps most disappointing is is our now former closer Marshall Plouffe is 0-1 with 1 save and a 7.71 ERA.

The position players aren't helping the cause with a .197 team average, getting picked off base multiple times, and 12 errors over those seven games including 5 by Jordan Devoir.

We also have some roster turbulance with Brian Keating retiring and the two J.J.'s out with minor (I hope) injuries.

And their next three games are against the 6-1 first place Yuma Scorpions in the 106 degree Arizona heat.

I am sure Les Lancaster is working with these guys to get them on the same sheet of music. It is early in the season and these guys are too good to be playing this badly.


If you wonder where I get my stats, it is from the Silver Sox stat page on Howe Sports Data:


I will be leaving town this weekend for a San Jose Sabercats game so my game scores section won't be updated for a couple of days. But I'll be back at the park on Tuesday to bring you another game report.


I know a lot of people are reading this blog but I've only got a few comments. Please let me know your opinions and thoughts. I allow anonymous posts so you don't even have to sign up with blogspot. Just join the dialog, let me know your thoughts on the Sox and the league, and let's have a place where people can talk shop on the GBL


Those of you in Reno remember the days of no pro ball. We have an incredible gift with the Silver Sox so make sure you support them. And support their sponsors as well. Let them know you heard/saw their commercial in conjunction with the Sox. And, no, I don't work for the team. For those who don't know, I work at the University of Nevada Reno ROTC department. I'm just a baseball fan who wants pro ball in our community for a very long time. Now if any of you want to join ROTC, I probably can help you with that...


Don't miss the Long Beach Armada blog (link to the right). It is done by the team photographer so there are really great pictures there also.


That's all for now. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Triple A Coming to the Sox' backyard and answers to questions about the league from the GBL commissioner

Well the big news in Reno today is the announcement that a group has purchased the Tucson Sidewinders with the intent to move them to Reno to begin play in 2009. What this means to the Silver Sox is unknown right now.

Will the market support two teams? The Silver Sox attendance for opening day weekend averaged 1740 with the high coming on Saturday at 2216 for Fireworks night. Last year, the average attendance was 1573. And the break even point given in various interviews was in the 1600-1800 range. If many of those fans are pulled away by Triple A, the Sox could be in trouble. But with both teams playing on many of the same nights, it will be a hard sell for many to watch indy ball when the next big thing may be playing a couple of exits down or a big star is doing a rehab with the AAA team. I hope the Sox have a plan to react to this new info. They'll probably need to do whatever they can to get attendance way up in Reno and build brand loyalty so it makes that choice I just mentioned that much harder when the AAA team opens its gates. Peccole is a nice park but one can only imagine the amenities the new stadium (rumored to be in the $30M range) will have to offer.

But enough on the speculation. I also wanted to share some feedback the commissioner of the league gave to some questions I had. Kevin Outcalt is an excellent representative of the league and his user friendly approach is refreshing. Mayber some of the questions you have are the same as mine. For that reason, I'll post them below.

Does the sale of the Fullerton Flyers put the rest of the league at a disadvantage?

All teams, including the Flyers are under the same cap rules. However the GBL Bylaws do allow the Flyers to exceed the cap if they are willing to pay a luxury tax (similar to cap rules in most professional leagues). I like the innovativeness and marketing skills of the Flyers' new ownership group as they've already made noticeable awareness improvements with their use of James Denton (Desperate Housewives actor who is part owner) in marketing and season ticket sales campaigns and the re-branding/naming of the team to the OC Flyers to expand their reach broader in Orange County.

Are advertising budgets really low or does Reno just not do it?

Reno does have an advertising budget and is slated to begin about 60 days before the season with print, radio, and TV ads. That begins late next week -- I'll send you a separate email with the entire campaign if you are interested so you can watch for their ads. The Silver Sox did not have a radio deal last year, but one for this coming year is already completed. You'll be able to listen to all Reno games, home and away, on ESPN Radio which is, I believe, KPLY 630 AM in Reno. You're right, that should have happened in the first year but didn't get done. I'll respond to your email with some questions about effectiveness of the various Reno media in reaching fans that I'd love to hear your thoughts on.

How does a team get its players? Are there tryouts in every city or at a central location with a draft process. Do teams get their players back (those who decide to return)?

Teams have the ability to exercise a one year option for any players they want to bring back for another season. By November 15th players must either have their options exercised for the next year or they become free agents. Most GBL teams exercise options on 10-12 players. They fill the rest of the roster from either tryouts, the Arizona Winter League, working the MLB release lists, or by having players and agents contact them directly looking for a job. Your manager, Les Lancaster, is also considered one of the best in independent baseball at building winning teams and has taken his team to the playoffs in all but one of his eight years of managing and has twice earned Manager of the Year awards. One of the keys to his success is the stunning number of players that he gets signed by major league organizations which has given him a tremendous reputation with recently released players and agents. Les even had two of his off-season signees placed with the Orioles and Royals before they even played a game for the Silver Sox this year.

What is the GBL Salary Structure?

There is no minimum or maximum salary, but the monthly player payroll cap of approximately $20K for a 22 (or in some cases 21) man roster does put the monthly average salary at about your $1K figure. This applies to all teams, league-owned or locally-owned, although teams can go over but pay a cap excess fine/tax. Most teams have a number of rookies at the low-end, a number of players around the average, and a few more experienced players over. Our salary structure is very similar to the Frontier League ($600-$1200), but less than the Atlantic or Northern Leagues that go after more veteran players.

Why don't you have a Disabled List?

We eliminated the DL and Waiver Wire this year as, in our experience, they are really tools to constrain player movement. Stockpiling of players and placing them with phantom injuries on the DL, or selecting every player on Waivers to tie them up and keep them from playing for rivals are two unhealthy practices that occur frequently in Indy ball. In the GBL in 2007 for a short-term injury, the player stays with the team and recovers. For a long-term injury the player is either released and becomes a free agent after they have rehabbed, or can go on his team's Inactive List - player's choice -- and return to their team when they are ready.

Again, great responses from the league commissioner.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Game Report: Chico at Reno (6/9/2007)

Well, the three game set came to an end with another Reno victory. It was made a nail biter by another bullpen breakdown. Les Lancaster said that was his concern and for two of the three nights, the bullpen was shaky after a strong performance by the starter.

Keaton Everitt was very strong pitching through a little trouble late but managing to put in seven solid innings were he allowed just one run. By that point, Reno was up 6-1 but the bullpen had another weak outing. Adam Nikolic came on but had control problems as he gave up a single and then three walks that would bring the score to 6-2 when that run was "walked" home. Jason Martinez came on and also gave up a walk. Marshall Plouffe was next in the chute. He is our closer and enters to "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead. He was really good last night but he got stung with a double and then a homerun that brought the game to 6-5. He struck out the last batter to end the inning but not before there were some definite nervous moments at the yard.

The bench players made their bid to be everyday players as Madrid, Sindlinger, and Rodriguez had strong performances for the Sox. They got the starts last night and made the most of them. Madrid had a couple of key hits including a shot that put the Sox on the board first. Sindlinger got on and put himself in a position to score and Rodriguez launched a homerun.

Derrick Loop looked pretty good early for the Outlaws though his move to first did cause some controversy. It was pretty close to a balk a couple of times and this was not lost on the Sox who argued their case to the umpires after Loop picked off two.

The crowd was the smallest of the year at 1301.

The Sox now go on the road. I won't go to another game until the 19th but you can still expect a couple of posts a week until then. I have some ideas including some thoughts the commissioner of the league posted in response to some questions I had as well as a few other baseball related items.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Game Report: Chico @ Reno (6/8/2007)

Before I get to the game I wanted to include the controversy over the PA announcer ejection from last game. The League Commissioner, Kevin Outcault, weighed in with the following on the Our Sports Central board:

After reviewing the umpire ejection report, a fairly unique one given that we haven't had an Announcer ejected before, and discussing the event with the folks in Reno and the GBL Supervisor of Officials, here's what we are going to do:

- Mike will issue a public apology at the Reno/Chico game tonight to the umpire crew.

- He will no longer use sound bytes or annoucements aimed at the umpires of any type during the game.

- To gain a better perspective of the skill needed to be a professional umpire, he will then take the field for the first inning on the 3rd baseline as the third umpire. He will be in complete umpire uniform and make easy calls, if any. Any close plays will be called by the professional umpires on the field so the integrity of the game is not affected. He will then return to the press box at the end of the inning.

Well, I was there to see it and, with shaky voice, Mike did apologize and did the job at third base. He even continued to announce players with a wireless mike over at third.

I picked up the Reno Gazette Journal this morning and found that the story was picked up by several news outlets and even made it's way onto .

The managers weren't receptive to it accoring to their comments in the RGJ:

Mark Parent (Chico): "I say you leave things off the field off the field and things on the field on the field. But I don't own the league. They obviously have reasons why they do things. I've never heard of that happening (ejecting a P.A. announcer) before. I've been around a long time. I guess it happens but I've never heard of it"

Les Lancaster (Reno): "I personally don't think it should be done because it is minor league baseball. To me you're making a mockery of the game. But in independent baseball everything is possible. From that standpoint, it is a good idea. I also think it (the announcer umpiring) shows up the umpire (who ejected him). I think it should be just let go"

My take? Well I think I made it clear I didn't agree with the ejection. But the league agreed with the umpires that this incident crossed the line. So from that perspective, I see the logic of having Mike umpire. There were safeguards in place that he could be overruled by the actual umpires if there was a close call so it didn't affect the game. And it did get national media attention so at least people hear about the GBL. Of course, you always run the risk of people also dismissing the GBL as a circus side show when they hear this especially after Canseco and his horrible pitching or the new Armada team name also make national news. Hopefully the baseball purists will also see the number of players sold to the pros and the level of baseball being played here. But as for the umpire decision, I think it is innovative punishment. Now we need to do the same for fans that heckle a guy who is having a bad day and tell everyone in the stands how they could do it better. Let them face Nick Singleton or Nick Moran a couple of times while the player who had the bad day heckles them. I'd pay to see that :)

Speaking of Nick Moran, there was a game last night and he pitched pretty well. Steve Jones also did well for Chico. I may have to start keeping score at these games since the boxscores aren't in the paper for the second day (odd, since they were for the exhibition game but not the regular season?) and not on the Silver Sox website yet either. But these guys did strike out quite a few...I just don't know how many.

Reno went down early 2-0 but tied it up on a Victor Hall blast. That is the second time in two nights a member of the Sox outfield sent one deep to tie a game with one swing. Hall is supposedly the guy with the least power so I think J.J. Johnson needs to send one deep to gain the trifecta. Doing so at Peccole is no easy feat. Look at the dimensions. I'm a D-backs fan as you know and Pecolle is bigger than Chase down the lines (340 vs. 330) and only 7 feet shorter to straightaway center (400 vs. 407). It makes for more extra basehits but homeruns are a little harder. Still, the Sox have 3 in 2 days so that is nice.

Reno ended up going ahead on a two-base error committed on a Travis Tully grounder to Chico SS Jesse Kovacs. And, the Reno bullpen did its part making the lead stick behind strong performances by Josh Evans (wearing #16, not the #19 in the program), who got the win, and Marshall Plouffe, who got the save. Reno is on the board with their first win of the year!

The game ended with a fireworks show which was pretty good. The game also ended with a couple of cool moments I observed that really show this team has some quality individuals on it:

1. I saw Travis Tully sit on the field to watch the fireworks after everyone else left. I think it is nice that a pro ball player still thinks watching fireworks at the ballpark is a cool thing.

2. Big thanks to Victor Hall, Nick Moran, Jose Rodriguez, and Adam Nikolic who ran the guantlet of kids (including mine) to sign autographs for about 20 minutes after the game. The kids all line up behind the dugout so they knew what they were getting into.

Announced attendance for the game: 2216.

Another great night by the Silver Sox on the field and Dwight Dortch's crew off the field. We had a blast.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Game Report: Chico at Reno (6/7/2007)

Opening night for the Sox was a great time. It started with a ring ceremony presentation to last year's players and the raising of the championship banner in left field. We really needed something like that for atmosphere as the park is definitely the homefield of a college team...the scoreboard, the marquee, and the concession stand all say "University of Nevada". And the outfield wall is lined with pictures of Wolfpack players who made the pros like Lyle Overbay, Chad Qualls, and Chris Singleton. There are a couple of sponsor signs that have the Sox logo on them but other than that it feels like we play at someone else's field. I can't wait for the day when the Sox have their own field because they deserve it.

The Sox used great spring training uniforms. They looked like style the D-Backs used to wear where it looks like a shirt underneath with another shirt on top with the sides cut out. Really sharp. Tonight, they were back in a traditional jersey but they had their names on the back. I think that is a great move as it helps the fans learn the player's names. I think when they can relate to one or two or gain at least a cursory familiarity, it can only help to build loyalty to the team.

The game was pretty exciting. Nick Singleton, the Chico pitcher, looked good while Dusty Bergman looked a little shaky with a lot of pitches that seemed to get away from him. But the good news is they both left with the score 4-4. The Sox were down early, 4-1 until J.J. Sherrill's monster bomb tied it up.

Les Lancaster said that his concern this year was the bullpen. Matt Parris came on in relief. He looked great in the exhibition game last Saturday but was a little shaky during this outing. He struck out the side but allowed a couple of runs in the process.

The radio announcers kept commenting that Masa Chikazawa is a fastball hitter and struggles with the breaking pitches. Well, not sure if that is the case but the one fastball he saw in the 8th was sent over the left field wall which was nice to see. By the way, the announcers also said the stadium was packed but it seemed like the stadium was maybe half full or less. Hopefully they were wrong about Chikazawa too or it may be a long season.

Unfortunately, that was the end of the Sox offense and the game ended 6-5.

A couple of memorable non-game daughter got to run the bases and beat Nugget around so she won a shirt they will be sending her. I am glad she got picked because she thinks baseball is boring and that made her have a great time.

The other was not so great. After the 7th, the umpire (#45) threw out the PA announcer. Why? Because he played a sound clip from the movie Major League that said "We got hosed on that call". And after he was ejected, there were no more announcements, player introductions, or music. That is pretty wierd. Imagine watching a Giants game and seeing Jon Miller get booted and have the rest of the broadcast be silent. A PA announcer and the music he plays serves to energize the crowd at key moments. Kicking him out seemed a little over the top. The GBL plays with 2 umpires so you can expect some close calls. They need to have a thicker skin. It is not like the PA announcer told people to harrass the ump or throw trash on the field.

After the game, my daughter was also happy to get Masa Chikazawa and J.J. Sherrill's autographs and can't wait to go back tomorrow and try to get some more. It is fireworks night and I think the Sox are primed to even this series after a close one tonight. Great game...thanks to all the Silver Sox staff and players for an excellent night of baseball.
Announced Attendance Figure for Opening Night: 1704.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Game Report: Chico @ Reno, 6/2/2007 (Spring Training)

We attended the first game of the season last night and it was a fun experience. The weather threatened for the whole of the game and even sprinkled on us three times but it was still a great time.

The music was well chosen and they did a couple organ music spots--I hope they do it more often as it is key to adding to the drama of a baseball game when used at key moments. Hopefully the team sticks with the walk up music it used so we can start to associate it with a particular player when we hear it (just like the majors).

The stands were pretty empty--we counted about 150 people during the third inning but then again it was just a practice game. And it was only mentioned as part of news articles in the paper instead of in an actual ad. But that was fine with me. It was nice to stretch out a bit.

The game itself was interesting. All of the Silver Sox position players got in on the action so everyone got a look. And the game was going fast (it was at two hours in the middle of the 7th) so an extra inning was added so more guys could play.

Reno won 8-5 which is great, though meaningless, in an exhibition game. But the players did well manufacturing runs (Victor Hall swiped one easily as did Gabriel Riley) and Masa Chikazawa crushed the ball twice for a 2B and a 3B. Matt Parris looked great in the starting role and the Outlaws pretty much couldn't get the ball out of the infield against him. There was an outfield blunder of a ball falling between two Silver Sox who will go nameless for now. But other than that and the late game runs scored against (and by) the second squad, the team looked awesome and I am really looking forward to the season starting.

If you were there, let me know your thoughts on the game!

Update: As spring training comes to an end, the Sox trimmed their roster by releasing the following players: RHP Zook Richardson, C Chris Lebouef, C Robert Perkins, C Robert Davis, OF Josh Buhaglar, INF Patrick McCray, INF Jake Wheeler, INF Gabriel Riley, and RHP Kenneth Evoniuk.

Good luck to all of them in pursuing their baseball dreams!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Spring Training and your projected starting line-up

Being an independent baseball fan requires a person to have a suspension of disbelief. By that I mean a fan has to treat the team just as they would a major league team. They have to buy merchandise, they have to know the stats of their players, and they have to attend practices and other events just as they would if the name on the marquee said "New York Yankees" or "Barry Bonds".

In that vein, I attended a spring training work out session for the team on WED. I and a co-worker brought the total to fans watching the team to "2". But it didn't really matter. I got a good look at the team (though to be honest about the only guys I recognized besides the coaching staff were Hall, Chikazawa, and Madrid as the uniforms were sterile--no numbers or names). I also got the chance to see Les lancaster directing players and giving advice on mechanics which was a neat experience. We stayed for about 90 minutes of a inter-team scrimmage which showed some good pitching, some decent offense, and a situation where three players didn't call the flyball properly leading to Les making sure they knew that wasn't going to cut it on the Sox. All in all, a good session to watch.The Sox do have an exhibition game against the Chico Heat on Saturday at 4PM which I plan to be at with my family. It will be a first look at the team in action.

And, like your favorite MLB team, we should know projected line-ups before the game so we see if there are any battles for the various positions. Here is where they stand:

C: Masashi Chikazawa
1B: Cody Nowlin
2B: Mike Done
SS: Jordan DeVoir
3B: Dustin Hahn
OF: J.J. Sherrill
OF: Victor Hall
OF: J.J. Johnson
SP: Dusty Bergman, Brian Keating, Keaton Everitt

There's your team, Reno! If you want to learn more about them and their lifetime stats, go to the baseball cube site at the right.

Welcome to my blog

I decided to do a blog after posting a few times on the Our Sports Central GBL site (link to the right) and enjoying the chance to write about our home team. So why a blog about our local independent baseball team? Two reasons:

1. I believe in the mission statement of the GBL: Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up watching professional baseball.

2. I live in a professional sports wasteland: Reno, NV. For a city that has almost a quarter of a million people, we have exactly zero pro sports major leagues, no arena football, no minor hockey, no affiliated minor baseball. But we do have the Silver Sox. And I for one love baseball and love having a home team. I plan to support them and to do my small part in making sure they are part of our commuity for years to come.

So what GBL experience do I have. As bad as it sounds, I have only attended one game in each of the previous seasons. I have followed the league via the web extensively but I have not seen a lot of baseball. I drove to Chico in 2005 (about 3 hours from Reno) to see Rickey Henderson and his San Diego Surf Dawgs take on the Chico Outlaws. And in 2006, I actually lived in Washington DC but I made the time to fly back for the first ever Silver Sox game.

This year will be different. I work on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno and am about a 5 minute walk from Peccole Park where the Sox play. It will be a fun summer and I plan to see as many Sox games as possible--or perhaps as many as my family will allow :)

So expect a couple of posts a week or so. I will definitely post about every game I go to but I will also put up other posts as I think about them. I'd love to hear your thoughts also as to what you want to see on this site.

Thanks again for reading.