July 2010

Deadline Day (Media Relations Mutterings)

-Kevin Zeni, Media Relations Assistant

As all you die-hard baseball fans know, and as you not so diehard fans are about to find out, the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is this afternoon. While several clubs have already made some substantial moves over the last few days and weeks, some of the biggest and most exciting action doesn’t occur until seconds before the 4 P.M. Eastern Time deadline.

While many folks believe that these trades solely affect just the major league teams, and in some cases that is the case, more often than not, it is minor league players like the ones here in the South Atlantic League that become parts of these big deals. Already, SS Jimmy Paredes of the Charleston RiverDogs and SS Jonathan Villar of the Lakewood BlueClaws have been shipped to the Houston Astros organization in separate trades involving Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.

While no players have been traded away from the Crawdads active roster, at least not yet, the trades made by the parent club Texas Rangers to acquire Cliff Lee, Jorge Cantu, and Christian Guzman will shakeup several of the organization’s Minor League rosters. As players at the upper levels get traded in each of these deals, guys from the lower levels get the opportunity to move up a level in a domino effect, thus affecting several teams’ rosters.

The deadline is always an exciting time with teams that have fallen out of the race moving veterans to cut costs and teams looking to make a stretch run into the playoffs picking up those veterans to give them that extra edge. I can’t wait to see how the next few hours unfold.

Kevin enters his first season as media relations assistant with the
Crawdads and second year in minor league baseball, after spending the
2009 campaign with the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League
(High-A).  The Los Angeles, California, native is a 2009 graduate of the University of La Verne.

Chad Cregar (Radio Readings)

-Graham Doty, Broadcast Assistant

There are baseball players who have been blessed with a canon for an arm or with blazing speed.   You hear the term “5 tool baseball player” mentioned.    Then there are players who are productive through hard work and determination.   Chad Cregar of the Greensboro Grasshoppers fits into the later category.

Chad and I are both from Oxford, Mississippi, a picturesque college town in the northern part of the state.   Chad is a year older than me, but we played little league baseball together.   Even in little league, Chad could hit the baseball.   Most guys that age change sports with the seasons, but not Chad, he was a baseball player.

In Chad’s senior year at Oxford High School he helped lead his team to the state championship.   He batted something north of .500 and, I believe, that he was the team Most Valuable Player.   Three of his fellow teammates signed baseball scholarships with big name Southeastern Conference schools.   There were no suitors for Chad.   Very quietly, he signed with our local community college, Northwest Community College and prepared himself to play at the next level.

At Northwest, he did what he had always done, hit the baseball.  He had two productive years at Northwest and this time there was a Division 1 scholarship offer.   Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, gave Chad the opportunity to continue to play the game of baseball.

In Chad’s first season with the Hilltoppers, he enjoyed a year that very few players have ever experienced.   He was in the top-5 in the nation in home runs (21) and runs batted in (82).  He received many honors and looked forward to the major league baseball draft.   Again, there were few suitors and he was not drafted until the 47th round by the Chicago Cubs.   Chad did what he had done in the past and very quietly went back to work and decided to return for his senior year at WKU.

His senior year was more of the same.   He finished with 16 home runs and 63 runs batted in. The Hilltoppers earned a spot in the Oxford Regional.   WKU beat Missouri twice and lost to Ole Miss once.   They found themselves in the position of having to beat Ole Miss, the home team, twice in order to advance to the Super Regional. 

Ole Miss took an early lead and added several runs until they had a commanding lead.   By the bottom of the seventh the Ole Miss fans felt this one was in the books.   The Ole Miss right field section is the student section, Ole Miss’ answer to Wrigley Field’s bleacher bums.    The students began to taunt Chad, who was playing right field.   He answered their taunt by raising his hand to the bill of his cap and nodded ever so slightly.

In the eighth inning, with his team down to their last six outs, Chad came up to the plate and promptly hit a shot over the center field wall.   The Hilltoppers scored six runs in the inning to tie the game.   They took the lead in the ninth and Ole Miss, in a state of shock, was unable to respond.

An unusual thing happened in those two innings.   Chad, through his play and the manner that he carried himself, won the respect of the student section.   He became “off limits” to any taunts for the rest of the regional.   It was something to behold.

The dramatic victory set up a final game with Ole Miss.   WKU’s pitching staff was depleted and Ole Miss responded with a great pitching performance from Drew Pomeranz.  Ole Miss won the game and the regional.   Chad finished his collegiate career in his home town in front of his friends and family.   This time around he was drafted in the 15th round by the Florida Marlins.

Chad and his Grasshopper teammates have one more game to play at L. P. Fran Stadium.   Pull hard for our Crawdads, but keep an eye on Chad.   He is a very fine example that hard work and determination pays off.   He plays with a lot of heart and he carries himself with a lot of character.  

Graham is in his first season as
broadcast assistant with the Crawdads.  The Oxford, Mississippi native
graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2010 with a degree in
broadcast journalism.  He has spent the last two summers broadcasting
games for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod Baseball League.  He
enjoys all Ole Miss Athletics and spending time with family and friends.

South Atlantic League All Stars: Where are they Now? (Radio Readings)

-Graham Doty, Broadcast Assistant

Now that the first half and All Star game have come and gone, let’s take a look at the all star players that have moved on from the South Atlantic League.  Each team had at least one player that participated in the all star game that took place in Greenville, SC on June 22.  Many of these players have been promoted.  Here is the breakdown for each team.

Asheville Tourists:

They had five all stars and two have moved on.

RHP Alan DeRatt was promoted to the High A Modesto Nuts.
He has appeared in two games and has pitched a total of 3.2 innings.  He has 5 strikeouts and 1 walk.

3B Joseph Sanders was also promoted to the High A Modesto Nuts.
He has 1 hit in 24 at bats and has also scored 2 runs.

Charleston Riverdogs:
They had three all stars and one has moved on.

CF Zoilo Almonte was promoted to the High A Tampa Yankees.
He is batting .265 with 3 RBI through 9 games with the Yankees.
He already has 4 stolen bases.  He only had 7 in 58 games with the Riverdogs.

Hagerstown Suns:
They had five all stars and one has moved on.

RHP Trevor Holder was promoted to the High A Potomac Nationals.
He is 0-1 in 4 starts with a 3.48 ERA.
He has 11 strikeouts and 2 walks in 20.2 innings.

Hickory Crawdads:
Our Crawdads had five all stars and one has been promoted.

CF Miguel Velazquez was promoted to the High A Bakersfield Blaze.
He is batting .286 through 6 games with the Blaze.
He has 4 RBI and has also scored 4 runs.

Rome Braves:
They had two all stars and one has moved on.

RHP Arodys Vizcaino was promoted to the High A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

He has started 3 games for the Pelicans and has yet to pick up a win or loss.
He has 11 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 13.2 innings.

Savannah Sand Gnats:
They had six all stars and four have been promoted.

RHP Brandon Moore has been promoted to the High A St. Lucie Mets
He is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts for the Mets.
He has 12 strikeouts and 4 walks in 11 innings.

C Kai Gronauer was promoted to the High A St. Lucie Mets.
He has been on fire batting .344 through 9 games.
He has 1 home run and 6 RBI.

SS Wilmer Flores was promoted to the High A St. Lucie Mets.
He is tearing the cover off the ball, batting .431 in 13 games.
He has 1 home run and 8 RBI.

LF Juan Lagares was also promoted to the High A St. Lucie Mets.
He is batting .173 through 13 games.
He has 6 RBI and 3 stolen bases.

LHP Mark Cahoon was promoted to the Double A Binghamton Mets.
He is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 3 starts.
He has 7strikeouts and 2 walks in 14.2 innings.

None of the all stars from the Augusta Greenjackets, Delmarva Shorebirds, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Greenville Drive, Kannapolis Intimidators, Lakewood Blueclaws and Lexington Legends have been promoted yet.  I will keep you updated on their progress and all the other players in the South Atlantic League.

Graham is in his first season as broadcast assistant with the Crawdads.  The Oxford, Mississippi native graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2010 with a degree in broadcast journalism.  He has spent the last two summers broadcasting games for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod Baseball League.  He enjoys all Ole Miss Athletics and spending time with family and friends.