Saturday, January 17, 2015

Just like that -- the camp is over

The camp concludes with a silent auction and live auction -- I think the final tally raised was over $30,000 which was clearly a record, many generous campers who bid on various items.

After the dinner is one the highlights of the evening when Stan Dickman announces the camp awards.  Now last year -- sorry Pro Staff -- I really think the awards were "kind of" strange.  Not that any of the winners were not worthy it just was interesting who got what award and why -- plus I probably had sour grapes....see other blog post. This year's awards were pretty much spot on!  Every camper who got an award really deserved it and many "first time" award winners which is awesome.  The camp has such a good crop of players to actually nail down these awards can be very difficult. Congrats to those who won an award tonight -- I was nominated for the Gold Glove, Cy Young, and MVP award -- so that is really, really nice - but the real award is the teammates that you get to know and the friends you made during the week.  Super week guys, can't wait to do it all again next year.

So long Papa Smurf - you will be missed my friend.

Not sure if I am going to make another post - but if you are attending Twinsfest make sure you stop by the booth and say HI to myself or Rob who will be taking care of the duties of "manning the booth".  We will look forward to seeing some of the Pro Staff at Twinsfest as well.

Find me on twitter -- @fantasycamper

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Quick Recaps of the Championship Games

It was a beautiful day in Fort Myers -- a little chilly in the morning but skies and sunny.

The first pitch of our game was a little earlier than reported but it was 65 degrees at 9:30am as the 38 Special was matched up against our team the PED's.  It has been a great week, super group of guys so we will look to cap off a good week and make it a great week by winning today.

Schmidt was matched up against Borgeson in the pitching department.  Shane pitched two very solid games for us earlier in the week so looking to get the third one today out of him.  We got to Borgeson in the first matchup and touched him up for 7 runs - so a repeat of that would be very nice.

After a scoreless first inning, Schmidt got out of a slight jam in the top of the 2nd.  We plated a run in the bottom of the 2nd to get an early lead 1-0.  Both teams were held scoreless in the 3rd and Schmidt kept 38 off the board in the top of the 4th and the game is cruising along.  In the bottom of the 4th the PED's were able to put a nice rally together and score 2 runs to go up 3-0.   38's put together a rally led by a rocket double by Borgeson and drew the game closer to 3-2 going into the bottom of the 5th.  The bottom of the sixth we go with the score still at 3-2 and I came up to bat with guys on first and 2nd, I hit a flare over 2nd base which was good enough to score another run to put us at 4-2.  Schmidt came out to finish up the game in the 7th inning - he hinted to me that if he got in trouble I might come in relief but I knew he was up to the task.  He was able to get 2 quick outs to start up the inning.  Mr. Pirate (Pittsburgh fan) laced a double down the right field line and the tying run comes to the plate.  Schmidt got the final batter to fly out the left and the PED's win the "RED" division championship.

The Blue Division Championship matched the Warriors vs the Sleepers.  The Sleepers plated a run in the top of the 2nd to strike first, but the Warriors came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the 3rd to take a nice lead (which at the time seems like a lock to win the game) - the Sleepers had a few guys on but could not break through and get runs on the board needed to beat Anderson on the mound.  The game ended up being the same score as ours -- 4-2 with the Warriors winning the "BLUE" division championship.

Tonight is the final banquet where they will hand out various awards (MVP, Cy Young, Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year, and the Kirby Puckett award) and to cap out a great week.

Shout outs to my teammates (especially the Rookies) this week for a great week - super team, better teammates and since Papa Smurf is retiring from baseball after camp - I am glad to be a part of sending him off a winner!  Papa you are the best.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday, January 16, 2015

Saturday Matchups and Watch the Games online tomorrow

If you want to catch the games tomorrow you can via a livestream audio and video by going to:

I think if you click on the baseball link you should see a boxscore with the team names.

9:45 AM (EST) "Red" Division Championship
PED's vs 38 Special

12:15 PM (EST) "Blue" Division Championship
Warriors vs Sleepers

The early game -- 38 Special are on a 3 game win streak since we beat them on Weds 7-0.  I do think we have the better overall team - our pitching matchup is probably edge to them with Tarron pitching but our offense and defense overall has to be better, so give us the edge there for both.  We have faster guys and hopefully fresher legs.  Schmidt will throw for us and if he gets in trouble I will probably come into the game - the hope is he pitches really well and we can play tight defense.  I pitched a pretty clean game against 38 so not sure if I should start the game but I am going to defer to Schmidt and if he wants to take the ball going to let him do it.  He is a solid pitcher and as long as he throws strikes we will be in good shape.   I say runs get scored and this game is something like a 6-3 win for the PED's.

Afternoon Game - The Warriors get the pitching edge matchup with the best pitcher in camp, he did throw on friday so how effective he can be on Saturday - we will find out.  Warriors have at times struggled on offense and defense is solid.  Sleepers bring an overall game to the table - not great in any one area but good across the board.  I am going to give them the edge on defense and offense.  I generally pick the team with the pitching edge because that is the equalizer, but I think the Sleepers will prevail with a 3-2 win - they just are good enough to win game like they have all week.  Clearly the surprise team (from my perspective all week).  Will be a good game.

Now to get some sleep.....more than 5 hours would be nice.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday's games are in the books

It was a chilly morning (per Fort Myers) with temps in the low 60's but a solid north wind at around 15 mph kicking around for the start of the friday games.   The "unofficial" standings turned into official standings when I made it into the locker room this morning and it confirmed all the seeding and the matchups.  I forgot to report that yesterday afternoon in anticipation of pitching today that I did "cold jacuzzi" for 8 minutes - the water was a check that....a coldish 50 degrees.  The first 2 minutes were complete torture, when you body enters that cold of water it sends shockwaves -- I could barely breathe!  After a torturous 2 minutes I began to adjust and my toes when basically numb -- I stayed in there for a total of 8 minutes and when I got out and warmed up I felt very good.   Well this morning I found myself in the same jacuzzi but this time it was was much warmer at around 100 degrees and did a good 10 minute soak -- got stretched out by the trainers, a little 'atomic balm' to keep the muscles warm and loose -- and we are ready to play some baseball.  I was starting the game and the last two years my friday's at camp have been less than spectacular -- in fact, down right awful -- pitching 12 innings and giving up 18 runs is not what I call even average pitching. So I was on a mission to stop the history of poor friday performances.  I felt good in the bullpen and noticed one of the better umpires in camp was behind the dish -- confidence was high.

The top of the first I went out and was able to induce a fly ball, a ground ball, and struck out the ROY from last year (#2) with a nice outside change up to end the inning.   We got started in the bottom of the first with some hits (I had one of them) and with 2 outs Schmidt came up with a clutch hit over the left fielder which scored 2 runs -- it was followed up by another RBI hit and the PED's strike first to lead the game 3-0.  I went out for the 2nd inning to build upon my solid first inning -- it really didn't work out that way -- I walked the first batter, and then the 2nd batter.  I struck out the third hitter to get some relief, but then I hit (barely) the next batter with a pitch (it grazed his jersey) to load up the bases.  I struck out the next hitter and followed it up with a fly out to left to end the inning. I escaped some danger there.  I also escaped a big time potential rally in the 5th inning when they left the bases loaded as well. The 6th inning commences -- both teams were doing a good job getting a few a base runners on here and there but rallies were being killed (mostly by great defense and some timely strikeouts) -- game is still at 3-0.  I got the first batter out and then walked the next batter.  Abby G came up and grounded out to first sending the runner to 2nd.  Yoda was up to bat (and his nickname is Yoda because he looks like Yoda and it's true) - I had this batter 0-2 (I struck him out the last time he was up) and the next pitch I threw inside almost hitting him and the runner advanced to third.  The next pitch Yoda reached out and hit an RBI single to center field to make the game 3-1.  I was able to get the next hitter but a 2 run lead going into the 7th was not comfortable.  I hit into a FC grounder to the SS and on the next play scored on a single to RF to make the game 4-1 and to add a much needed insurance run.  The 7th inning I was going to face the last guy in the batting order and then the top two in the lineup -- Saggy's didn't have an up and down super team but they certainly had some good hitters in the mix and they were all coming up to bat.  I got the first batter to pop out to shortstop and then the next batter flew out to left - 2 outs.  I gave up a base hit to the follow batter setting me up with another match up with good old #2.  *Quick side rant -- while I really don't know this guy so I should not talk smack about him -- but he won the ROY (Rookie of the Year) award last year and I must still have sour grapes that a friend of mine didn't take home that hardware -- so long story short -- this blogger really, really wanted to get this guy out.*  I struck him out in the first inning with a changeup and he grounded to third (in which the umpire called him safe enough though he was out......oh well) so this is the 3rd AB of the game for him. I was able to get strike one and also strike two on him -- a good fastball and then a breaking ball that jammed him but he fouled it off.  #2 is a quality hitter with a good compact swing -- so I looked for the sign and Papa Smurf called for another deuce - I focused myself ready to throw the best pitch of the day -- and I did -- I snapped off a curveball that ended up being in the dirt -- #2 swung and lost his bat into the field of play -- strike 3 and the game is over -- PED's win and move on to the Saturday game.  I let out a loud "Yeaaaaaa" and pumped by fist as Papa Smurf came out behind the plate to congratulate me -- I felt a little bad but in the moment of being a competitor sometimes you have to yell a little bit.  It was nice to get the friday game slump out of the way and only give up 1 run over the 7 innings.  I ended up getting 3 wins this week and not sure if I will be going tomorrow for #4.   I ended up going 2 for 3 and scoring two runs so it was a pretty good game for me.  I am happy for the rookies on the team who will get the full experience and any veterans who have not played on Saturday for a while -- it was a 2 year drought for me, but I am not going to complain at all.

We will be playing 38 Special, coached by Brunansky & Hrbek, they won an 11 inning grudge match with the Stingers 7-6.  Stingers were leading in the 7th inning by 2 runs and a simple play was not made to end the game and allowed 38 special to tie it up and move on to extra innings.
The #1 seed Yo Julio's lost 6-4 -- while leading going into the 7th inning 4-3 they had 2 outs and nobody on and proceeded to load up the bases -- a seemingly harmless ground ball to the SS turned into a disaster and another hit later they gave up 3 runs.
The Warriors defeated the BSer's 3-1 and high drama was in the air as well -- in the 7th inning the BSer's had two on and nobody out -- but couldn't find the right hit to get the runners home.

Games are tomorrow -- 9:45 AM (Eastern Time) -- PED's vs. 38 Special
12:15 PM - Warriors vs. Sleepers

These games are broadcast live via stream on the internet --

Hammond Stadium is still under construction so the games will be played right at the complex rather than in the usual "big league" field.

Kangaroo Court tonight and Camp Karaoke this evening at the bar - should be a good time!

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday morning thoughts

Well it is a usual friday morning -- I am up early, I am always amazed at how little sleep I get when I am at camp - my mind is ready to be playing baseball so sleep is like a treasure - I generally only get 5 (maybe 6) hours of decent sleep, so instead of just laying in bed wishing I was sleeping more I just get up and write a blog post -- so here I am.

Let's do a little recap -- if my unofficial standings are true I was fairly ok in my 'bold' predictions -- my comments were pretty good I missed on 38 special & Sleepers (they flip flopped) - 38's ran into pitching problems and finished up 3-4, but the Sleepers were 4-1 at one point.  Yo Julio's led by a deep veteran bunch and good rookies are all around the best team in camp with lots of balance I give them the nod in their matchup against the Sleepers.   The best matchup will be the BSer's led by Dave Hinnenkamp vs the Warriors and Lance Anderson -- this game will probably be a one run game.  I am going to lean Warriors but this could go either way.

I had our team in the top four -- but I was not that off since we finished 4-3.  I really felt the teams were as even as you can get them when they were announced and that played out with a lot of parity.  The bottom four teams are still good teams - the C.S. Stingers are one of the best 2-5 teams I have seen at camp so I am glad we are not matched up against them today.  We play the Saggy B's and they have zero pitching which helps us a lot - but we are not a sho-in to win at all.  I will be pitching and look to shut down that lineup and I hope we can get our bats going early to help me out.  I give us a good chance and with 38 special winning 2 games on thursday they carry the momentum and win on friday as well.

The Rookie-Pro Camper game is in the afternoon, it is a real bummer that because of the construction at Hammond the rookies will not get a taste of the big league ballpark but it will still be a good time. I generally play for the Pro Staff and room the outfield but we will see how my legs are feeling after pitching this morning.

It really has been a very good week, a great group of rookies this year (not that the past years have been bad) so just another memorable great week in the books!  Let's finish it off with a win on friday!

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~