Saturday Links: Joe Blanton gets game fours tart

Major League Baseball

UK alum and Franklin-Simpson graduate Joe Blanton will get the start for the Philadelphia Phillies in game four of the World Series. Some had thought the Phillies might bring ace Cliff Lee back on three days rest, but his 120+ pitch performance in game one ended that chance. Blanton also got the start in game four of the World Series in 2009, when he recorded the win an hit his only career home run. I posted the video above during the ALCS, but it’s worth another look.

  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes Blanton has faced the Yankees five times in his career.
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the decision was easy because Lee has never pitched on three days rest in his career.
  • MLB.com’s Noah Coslov interviews Blanton.
  • Hal Body breaks down the decision in an MLB.com video.
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Friday Links: Louisville Slugger found liable

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

sluggerThe Yankees rallied in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the World Series at one game a piece. UK alum Joe Blanton was not used out of the Phillies’ pen, so he could still be in line for a start later in the series. Regardless of the world series, the most important news of the day may be a Montanta jury’s ruling about a Kentucky baseball company:

  • The Helena Independent Record reports Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats, was found liable in the death of an 18-year-old American Legion baseball player.
  • Barry Petchesky of Deadspin.com says the ruling isn’t likely to end the use of aluminum bats.
  • Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t yet decided his rotation plans. Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports he could use Cliff Lee on full rest in game five, allowing Blanton to pitch game four on Sunday.
  • Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reiterates what we all suspected. Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer doesn’t appear to be in the Cardinals’ plans for 2010.
  • Mark J. Miller of Yahoo! Sports jumps on the D’Backs picking up UK alum Brandon Webb’s contract option bandwagon.
  • WKU Baseball’s 2010 preview continues: “#5: Cameron Provides Consistency

Louisville baseball releases 2010 schedule

College Baseball

uoflThe University of Louisville baseball team has released the 2010 schedule it will face in its attempt to repeat as Big East Conference champions. Louisville will play 41 games against BCS opponents and 12 games against 2009 NCAA regional teams. The Cardinals will also play 31 games at Jim Patterson Stadium this season.

You can see the whole schedule here, but the in-state games are below:

  • Vs. Morehead — Tues. Feb 23
  • At UK — Tues. April 6
  • At WKU — Wed. April 14
  • Vs. WKU — Wed. April 21
  • Vs. UK — Wed. April 28
  • Vs. EKU — Tues. May 18
  • Big East Tournament — May 26-30

Thursday Links: Look ahead to WKU 2010 season

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

wkuThe Phillies had no need for UK alum Joe Blanton out of the pen in game one of the World Series as ace Cliff Lee earned a complete-game victory. Lee’s extended performance may alter the Phillies’ plan to bring him back on three days rest, so that throws Blanton’s up in the air even more.

Wednesday Afternoon Links: Draft report cards abound

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball
Chris Rusin; Photo by UK Athletics

Chris Rusin; Photo: UK Athletics

Switched up the format today. Links are coming this afternoon. Check out these stories to get you through the last day without baseball before the World Series.

  • Baseball America lists WKU alum Chad Cregar as having the best power in the Marlins’ 2009 draft, and UK alum Chris Wade as being the best defender. (Subscription required)
  • BA lists UK alum Chris Rusin as one candidate to make it to the majors first from the Cubs’ draft class. (subscription required)
  • Here’s the Astros’ Draft Report Card too for good measure. Some of these players will end up in Lexington in 2010. (subscription required)
  • Louisville Bats Examiner Jason Stella looks at Chris Heisey’s AFL performance.
  • Bats’ closer Logan Ondrusek picked up the win for Peoria in the AFL with a scoreless inning. Scott Watson allowed one run in one inning, and former Legend Daniel Meszaros pitched a scoreless inning. Chris Heisey was 1-4 with a run scored.
  • The Astros passed on former Legends’ manager Tim Bogar in hiring Brad Mills for their managerial job.

Louisville Slugger prepares for World Series

Major League Baseball

sluggerI’ve written several times about the Kentucky connection to the World Series in the form of Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, but that’s not the only Bluegrass connection to the series. As columnist Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier Journal reports, the Louisville Slugger Factory was busy Monday morning printing the commemorative New York Yankees bats for the World Series. The Phillies’ bats were finished last week, but weather and a Los Angeles Angels win pushed the Yankees’ series-clinching victory back to Sunday.

Eight Yankees position players will used Louisville Slugger bats during the series, while just five Phillies will. The company’s stranglehold on the bat market isn’t what it once was, but it still provides 60 percent of bats to Major League Baseball. Each Yankees pitcher gets two bats while position players with a bat contract get three to start the series. Every player, front-office worker, coach and even clubhouse attendant gets a commemorative bat. (Read more)

Crawford closes with this excellent summary of Kentucky’s most important role in baseball:

“As workers hustled to put finish on the bats — some are painted black, others are run through a flame to bring out the grain, and all are branded or decaled — company spokesman Rick Redman noted that even as they were waiting to see whether their bats would be shipped to New York or Los Angeles, everyone in this building knew Louisville would be in the World Series. It always is.”

Hot Rods One Year Anniversary

Minor League Baseball

hot rods

A year ago Tuesday, the Bowling Green Hot Rods officially came into existence during a ceremony at Citrus Square Park. The past year has seen the Hot Rods feature the number one overall pick in the 2008 draft, a Futures Game representative and Minor League Baseball’s promotion of the year. In fact, the Hot Rods promotion award came for “What Could’ve Been Night” featuring the Bowling Green Cave Fish, one of the mascots that lost out to Hot Rods a year ago. Bowling Green general manager and CEO Brad Taylor said this in a news release:

“What a difference a year makes. At this time in 2008, we had no name, no mascot, no stadium, temporary offices, and most importantly, no track record with our fans. Now, we’ve played a season, we loved the enthusiasm and support of the fans, and we’re already at work to make 2010 bigger and better for them.”

You can check out the entire news release here.

UK Fall Pracitce Update

College Baseball

 

BSB UK_AU Game1 Web 10

UK Coach Gary Henderson; Photo: UK Athletics

I’ve been working on other projects this afternoon, so I’m sorry about the lack of posts. Never fear though, Brent Ingram, sports information director for UK baseball, has an update of fall practice on the UK Athletics blog “Cat Scratches.”

 

UK Coach Gary Henderson told Ingram:

“The guys that have done extremely well this fall have been Bisson, Nidiffer, Wiley and Wright,” Henderson said. “Those four guys have probably had the best fall and we are very excited for those guys to emerge. At the same time I have been very pleased with the development and maturation of (left-handed pitcher) Taylor Rogers, (catcher) Luke Maile and (shortstop) Taylor Black.”

You can read the entire breakdown here.

Tuesday Links: Heisey hits third homer in AFL

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball
Chris Heisey

Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr

Still no word about Joe Blanton’s role for the Phillies in the World Series. I think its safe to say he’ll be in the pen for the first three games, but after that it’s anyone’s guess. Until we find out, here are some Tuesday morning links:

  • Baseball America says Daviess County alum Tyler Blandford had the best fastball in the Seattle Mariners draft class. (subscription required)
  • BA says WKU alum Wade Gaynor has the best power in the Tigers’ draft class. (subscription required)
  • 2009 Bat Chris Heisey was 2-4 with his third home run and teammate Yonder Alonso was 0-3 with two walks and two runs scored in the AFL Monday.
  • The Phillies rotation is still up in the air according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com repeats that sentiment.
  • However, John Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted Monday that the Phillies would use Cliff Lee in games 1,4,7; Pedro Martinez in game 2; Cole Hamels in games 3 and 5; and the game six starter is still in question.

Mr. Baseball: Where are they now?

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball
Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

While browsing the Ky. High School Record Book I stumbled across the list of Kentucky Mr. Baseballs. Did you know that seven Mr. Baseball’s have appeared in the major leagues in the last two seasons? With that in mind I thought I’d update you on the status of the Mr. Kentucky Baseballs, their 2009 team or most recent baseball status is listed.

  • 1989 — Tab Brown — St. Xavier — Drafted 1989 Atlanta Braves
  • 1990 — Darren Burton — Pulaski Co. — Retired 2001 AAA Altoona (Pirates)
  • 1991 — Trever Miller — Trinity — St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1992 — Shon Walker — Harrison Co. — Retired 1998 High A Lynchburg (Pirates)
  • 1993 — Dion Newby — Harrison Co. — Played at North Alabama
  • 1994 — Scott Downs — PRP — Toronto Blue Jays
  • 1995 — Brad Wilkerson — Apollo — Retired 2008 (Rangers)
  • 1996 — Aaron McGlone — Greenup Co. — Last season at UK 2000
  • 1997 — Scott Hodges — Henry Clay — Retired 2005 AAA Edmonton
  • 1998 — Austin Kearns — Lafayette — Washington Nationals
  • 1999 — Joe Blanton — Franklin-Simpson — Philadelphia Phillies
  • 2000 — Spencer Graeter — Ballard — Graduated from UK 2004
  • 2001 — Jeremy Sowers — Ballard — Cleveland Indians
  • 2002 — Brad Corley — PRP — AA Tulsa (Rockies)
  • 2003 — Josh Ellis — PLD — Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2004 — Collin Cowgill — Henry Clay — High A Visalia (D’Backs)
  • 2005 — Chaz Roe — Lafayette — AA Tulsa (Rockies)
  • 2006 — Nathan Adcock — North Hardin — High A Lynchburg (Pirates)
  • 2007 — Ben Revere — Lexington Catholic — High A Fort Meyers (Twins)
  • 2008 — Zack Cox — PRP — University of Arkansas
  • 2009 — Luke Maile — Covington Catholic — UK