Archive for April 5th, 2010

Know Your Radio Broadcasters, Part Two…

April 5, 2010

And now the conclusion of my lengthy sit-down interview with Trenton’s new radio broadcasting team, Justin Shackil and Jay Burnham…

Mike Ashmore: I know you guys are excited about what’s going to be going on between the white lines this year in Trenton as well…what are you looking forward to from an on-field standpoint in 2010?

Jay Burnham: “We’ve been talking a lot about the pitching.  In particular, D.J. Mitchell…he’s a guy who comes with pretty big fanfare, and he should do very well with a good defense behind him.  I’m jealous of you guys, you got to see two championship teams here.  I know the team was decent last year, they weren’t horrible…there can be seasons in minor league baseball, trust me, where you’re out of it by July.  We’re excited about the pitching, and I’m sure the Yankees are too.  Justin mentioned Austin Romine, and he’s another guy who comes with a pretty big set of expectations on his back.  But it’s fun to see the people that you might not expect filter in and do the little things, guys I like to call the Luis Sojo ballplayers.  The guys you don’t think of having won championships, but when you look back, they have…you’ll find a lot of guys in minor league baseball where they know they’re probably not going to make it to the major leagues, but certainly will scrap and claw to get there.  Those are the dudes you see out at most of the community appearances, fans get to know them, fans love them.  So I’d say pitching and the unexpected, to answer that question.”

Justin Shackil: “I would definitely go with the pitching.  I mean, covering the Yankees organization like you have, you’ve been hearing for several years now how all the Yankees minor league talent is really stuck in the lower levels of the organization…well, I think this is the first year where you’re going to see some of that talent start to ascend to the upper levels of the organization, and they obviously have to stop here in Trenton to do that.  Just thinking about names like D.J. Mitchell, Jeremy Bleich, Hector Noesi or whoever comes here, they’re going to be exciting guys to watch.  Also, and I didn’t really think of this until you said it, but guys who sort of regain a little bit of their prospect status and maybe there will be one person on a team who’s like that per year.  I think that’s cool…you’ll be able to watch that during the season and experience the joy that he’s going through.”

Mike Ashmore: Are there guys on some of the other teams around the Eastern League that you guys are looking forward to seeing?

Jay Burnham: “You take Portland, with a guy like Tim Federovich possibly coming.  He finished his season in Salem last year.  You do get excited about seeing those other top prospects.  I was actually thinking about it today, but they were saying Strasburg isn’t going to start the year in the big leagues…but with the catchers, the Pirates have Tony Sanchez, a guy they took out of Boston College last year…when is the last time you saw all these strong catching prospects.”

Justin Shackil: “Geez.  Casey Kelly, Travis D’Arnaud, Phillippe Aumont…there are so many guys that could come through here…”

Mike Ashmore: Hmmm…all right, what’s the coolest thing that either one of you guys has called?

Jay Burnham: “July 28th, 2008.  Bruce Billings, 30th round draft pick out of San Diego State, threw a no-hitter against the Lakewood BlueClaws.  That’s the only no-hitter I’ve been able to broadcast.  And it came from what everybody calls “the nicest guy.”  Just one of those improbable guys…it might have been a getaway day, I think it was.  Lakewood was heading back home, and yeah…he threw a no-hitter, and I think Asheville won, 10-0.  That’s probably the exciting ending I’ve seen…that and a walk-off home run to end a season in the playoffs, which hurt.  That one was like a kick in the stomach for two or three months.”

Justin Shackil: “Honestly, I’ve probably called just north of 100 baseball games between 50 games at Gateway and 50 other games at Fordham…so the coolest thing I’ve called baseball wise was probably just broadcasting a Frontier League game from a hot tub down the right field line.  That was pretty cool.  Very dangerous, but we still did it anyway.  Overall, it definitely had to be the U.S. Open with Melanie Oudin, who’s probably going to be the next big thing in American tennis, her with her three upsets…and then Del Potro upsetting Federer for his first major title was really cool.  It was strange because, you had 20,000 people rooting behind Federer last year, and through the course of the match, it just totally swayed for Del Potro.  Everyone wanted to see the upset.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Malec Joins Camden Riversharks

April 5, 2010

The 2009 Trenton Thunder’s mass exodus to the Atlantic League continues, and one of the game’s true good guys has found a home there.

Thunder Fan Favorite Award winner Chris Malec has signed with the Camden Riversharks.  He’ll join Richie Robnett on the team, and James Cooper (Newark) as everyday players from last year’s team who have slipped through cracks and found their way into independent baseball.

Malec spent most of the last two seasons with Trenton, the exception being a 19-game call-up to Triple-A Scranton last year.  In five years in the Yankees organization, Malec was a .285 career hitter in 512 games played.  He has a career .772 OPS, and tied a career high with nine home runs last season.

Unofficially, Malec will make his Riversharks debut on Thursday, April 15th when Camden travels to Flemington, NJ (five minutes from blog headquarters) to play the Somerset Patriots in a spring training game at Diamond Nation at 1 PM.  His regular season debut comes exactly a week later, when the regular season kicks off on the 22nd against Cooper and the Bears in Newark.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Romine Headlines 2010 Thunder Roster

April 5, 2010

The Trenton Thunder released their 2010 roster.  Let me get the names out right away, then I’ll add some thoughts later…

PITCHERS (13): Cory Arbiso, Wilkins Arias, Jeremy Bleich, Noel Castillo, Wilkin De La Rosa, Grant Duff, Christian Garcia, D.J. Mitchell, Lance Pendleton, David Phelps, Ryan Pope, Josh Schmidt, Eric Wordekemper

CATCHERS (2): Jose Gil, Austin Romine

INFIELDERS (7): David Adams, Neall French, Brandon Laird, Luis Nunez, Kevin Smith, Justin Snyder, Marcos Vechionacci

OUTFIELDERS (4): Daniel Brewer, Edwar Gonzalez, Austin Krum, Damon Sublett

The first thing that jumped out at me is that there are 26 guys on this roster.  They can only carry 24 active players, so two guys are either going up, going down or “getting hurt.”  There is no break after the first four games of the season, so they will need a fifth starter…so they can’t can’t buy themselves some time that way as they have in season’s past.  Just based on the numbers, one pitcher and one infielder will likely find themselves inactive come April 8th.

Austin Romine and D.J. Mitchell unquestionably headline the newcomers in Trenton this season…Mitchell, being a pitcher, could move much quicker than Romine, although Romine will likely be the player most people keep an eye on this season. 

10 pitchers return from last season, but only one catcher, three infielders and two outfielders.  Here’s hoping Noel Castillo got better, and here’s wondering what Josh Schmidt and Eric Wordekemper have to do to start a season in Scranton.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Also…

April 5, 2010

Times of Trenton beat writer and good friend John Nalbone did a Q&A with Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner that you guys should check out as well.  Good stuff.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Media Day Tomorrow

April 5, 2010

The Trenton Thunder will be holding their annual Media Day tomorrow afternoon.  This will be my first opportunity to meet many of the new players who will be joining the team in 2010, and also my first chance to get reacquainted with some of the guys returning from last year.

I’ll be sure to rehearse my “My name is Mike, and I’ll be annoying you all season” speech. 

Anyway, if anyone has any questions for any of the anticipated new guys…the team has not released a roster yet, no…then feel free to pass them along and I’ll do what I can.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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