Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving in Camp" sketched Thursday 28th 1861, by Alfred R. Waud
 Library of Congress
Just remembering ...

Family and friends and community; past, present, and future.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is It Spring Yet?

We have to wait 139 days before we can go to the DBAP to see a Bulls game. What can we do before then?

Well, we could go down to take a look at Spring Training. I’ve never done that, but I’m looking very closely at a couple of programs put on by Road Scholar (formerly Elder Hostel) that takes you to visit the Rays and the Yankees … and you get to watch a couple of games. 

The first is in early March. That’s only 110 days off! And there’s another one the week after that. 

Maybe … 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 Moonlight Graham Awards

Each year Watching Durham Bulls Baseball recognizes the hitter and pitcher who has spent the least amount of time in a Durham Bulls uniform. The award is named in honor of North Carolinian Archibald “Moonlight” Graham who famously played only two innings for the New York Giants in 1905, never coming to bat.

We have just a few criteria for selection: Not considered are players who come through on a rehab assignment, played only in postseason (did not apply this year, obviously), or (for the pitcher) a position player thrown to the wolves at the end of a game.

The 2012 Winners

 Infielder Robby Price

Robby Price came up from the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and played second base in the last two games of the season (Sep 2 and 3) at Knight Stadium against Charlotte. He did well at the plate with 3 hits (all singles) in 6 ABs. Price is 24 years old and out of the University of Kansas (his home town). He doesn’t show up in the top prospect lists that I’ve seen. After ending the season with the Bulls he went over to Montgomery to lend a hand in their playoff games. He has never played at the DBAP. At a guess he will start 2013 with the Montgomery Biscuits. Stats. Box Scores.

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher Jim Patterson

On September 3rd, at Knight Stadium, Patterson came on in relief for Lance Pendleton and pitched 3 ⅓ innings. It was a rainy day and the game was called after seven innings. 2 hits, 4 Ks, no runs scored, pretty good. Prior to that game Mr. Patterson had also been with the Charlotte Stone Crabs where the 23 year old had a decent season. Left-handed relief pitchers are always in short supply. We could see him in 2013. Stats. Box Score.

Congratulations to Robby and Jim! Good luck in 2013!  

About Moonlight Graham

Archibald “Moonlight” Graham achieved lasting fame as a character in the W.P. Kinsella novel, Shoeless Joe, and then became even more famous when he was played by Burt Lancaster (and Frank Whaley) in the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams. As a ballplayer he played two innings in the major leagues as a right fielder for the New York Giants in 1905. He never came to bat. You can look it up. He did, however, go on to a career as a well-loved physician in Chisholm, Minnesota.

Of interest to us is that he was a North Carolina native (born in Fayetteville, grew up in Charlotte); graduated from UNC (where he played baseball); and was the older brother to UNC President and US Senator Frank Porter Graham. If you find him an intriguing character, the Wikipedia article is a good start. There’s a nice NBC piece done on him a few years ago. And then there’s a terrific book by Fayetteville writer (and Bulls fan) Brett Friedlander and Robert Reisling, Chasing Moonlight. Copies of the book are in the Wake County Library system, Amazon, and I found my copy at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hemstitching: Rays Prospects, Rich Thompson, and more ...

In the weaver’s world the word hemstitching is used for two purposes: to tie up loose ends (literally, because an “end” is a thread in a warp) and for decoration.

  • The best site for keeping an eye on upcoming Rays (and the source of some terrific stats analysis) is apparently dropping out of the game. Rays Prospects has announced that it is going dark. Too bad. They were very helpful to WDBB when I was trying to get going. Doug Milhoan, Kevin Gengler, Jim Donten, BurGi, good guys all. Now am I going to have to chase down this winter league stuff on my own?
  • Rich Thompson decided on free agency after he was “outrighted” to the Bulls last week. Thompson was one of the few good things to happen to the Bulls last season. On the other hand, at 33, with a taste of the big leagues in his mouth, and with the Rays dumping him, you have to think he felt he had to take a shot at going it alone. Good luck, Rich. Here’s hoping you land in a good place.
  • Rays Index has put up a Rays roster payroll projection for 2013. Scroll down near the bottom to see several current Bulls (and 40-man roster guys). Check out the notes. Cork Gaines, as usual, has some interesting thoughts. 
  • In spite of a stellar post-season, former Durham Bull Delmon Young is being dumped by the Detroit Tigers.
  • In the Winter Leagues a couple of potential Bulls are doing OK, notably Kevin Kiermaier, Henry Wrigley and (!!!) Alexander Torres.