It’s been a homecoming of sorts for Texas Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. When the Rangers switched Triple-A affiliates moving from Oklahoma City to Round Rock, it meant that Teagarden, who has been up and down with the franchise since his major league debut in 2008, would be playing minutes from Austin, where he spent his college days. Teagarden caught the final out of the Texas Longhorns 2005 College World Series championship. In the story, Teagarden talks about his return to the Austin area, and the support that he still receives from Longhorns fans.
The Huntsville Stars the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers and Jerry Damson Honda are running their second annual Car Survivor contest. On July 20th during the Stars game against the Chattanooga Lookouts, five fans entered the 2007 Honda Accord parked outside the main gate at Joe Davis Stadium. When they leave is up to them. By rule they get a 15 minute break every 6 hours. So that means 23 of their 24 hours each day will be spent in the vehicle. The last one out wins the car. Last year’s contest went eight days before the final contestant folded. There is no air conditioning in the vehicle so they will only have the luxury of having the windows rolled down to circulate air. The five day forecast in Huntsville shows high of at least 87 degrees for the next five days with a couple of days over 90. I have posted the contestants into videos below. Contestant Susan is tweeting from the vehicle and you can follow her @BayouBabe1210 the Stars are also tweeting updates from the contest @CarSurvivor. In addition they are running 24 Hour per day U-Stream coverage, which you can watch below the contestant intros.
UPDATE #1: After 20 Hours, none of the five contestants have left the 2007 Honda Accord.
UPDATE #2: 7:38 p.m. Central: Deborah has just left the car. She’s the first one to leave. Down to the final four.
UPDATE #3: Susan bowed out after 26 Hours. Down to 3 left in the car.
UPDATE #4: Jan has left the car. Down to the final two.
UPDATE #5: As of 11:00pm EST on Sunday both Shawn and Nathan still remain in the car. Going on their 5th day in the vehicle.
UPDATE #6: No sign of either contestant leaving the car as the contest nears the end of its 6th day.
UPDATE #7: Car Survivor is in it’s 8th day with no sign of stopping.
UPDATE #8: Car Survivor is over. Shawn wins in the 9th day.
Jason Bristol, a must follow on twitter @JasonBristol, sits down with former Tampa Bay Devil Rays prospect & Miami Hurricanes quarterback Kenny Kelly who talks about his full on crash into a concrete wall during an Independent Atlantic League game against the York Revolution. The crash seen in the video below is incredibly violent. Kelly was taken by ambulance from the field following the collision. Kelly, who plays for the Road Warriors sits down with Bristol and talks about that night, his comeback from the injury, and being thankful to not be more seriously hurt.
One night after Luis Mendoza fired a controversial No Hitter in Triple-A against the Memphis Redbirds, the combo of Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera combined for a No Hitter of their own for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals against the Arkansas Travelers. Smith went 7 innings allowing no hits, a pair of walks, and striking out five. Herrera closed it out with two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth to close out the no hitter. In addition the Naturals turned a Triple Play after Smith walked the first two batters in the 6th inning. Travelers pitcher Matt Shoemaker was a very tough luck loser as he went 9IP, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 8K’s and got the loss.
The folks at InsideTheRockies.com have put up a phenomenal piece chronicling Tyler Matzek‘s return to Low-A Asheville following nearly a month long return to California to work with his youth pitching coach Lon Fullmer, and return to the hybrid version of the Dr. Mike Marshall pitching style that he had grown up with. See below for the differences in Matzek’s delivery between high school in 2009 and now as a pro in 2011. The pitching techniques taught by Dr. Marshall, the 1974 National League Cy Young Award Winner and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology, are all but blackballed by major and minor league pitching coaches. Among the drills that are part of the program is pitching with 20 pound wrist weights and using an iron ball (see video below). The Inside the Rockies article goes in-depth with Fullmer who describes returning Matzek to the style of pitching he grew up with. The drastic action of sending Matzek home came about after the lefty got off to a 0-5 start with an ERA of 10.71, and 61 walks in 42 combined innings between High-A Modesto and Low-A Asheville. It will be interesting to see what kind of a difference the change in approach makes for Matzek, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Again the Inside the Rockies piece is a must read.
Since being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the second round of the 2009 draft out of El Toro High School in California, all Nolan Arenado has done is hit. The 20 year old is a career .307 and is currently blistering the California League to a tune of a .310 average with 24 Doubles, 1 Triple, 11 Home Runs, and 74 RBI’s as a member of the Modesto Nuts. Among the most impressive stats from Arenado’s career thus far is that he’s struck out in just 108 of his 924 career at-bats, a rate of just over 11 percent. Equally as impressive is that over 37 percent of his hits go for extra bases. Arenado played in the 2011 Futures Game and did what he does best, hitting a double off Royals pitching prospect Kelvin Herrera. We hope you enjoy our Q&A with Nolan Arenado.
TPA: What was it like being around all of the best prospects in baseball at the Futures Game?
Nolan Arenado: It was a blast. It felt so good being around players you hear and read about, and some of them I know personally, like my high school classmate Austin Romine of the Yankees.
TPA: What were some of the things you will take with you from the Futures Game experience?
Nolan Arenado: We were treated so well. All of the attention on us was nice. Playing for such a big crowd was awesome and Chase Field is a great ballpark. It was an honor representing the Rockies. You never know if an opportunity like this will come up again, so I just tried to enjoy every minute.
TPA: After a slow start to the season offensively in 2011, you’ve been one of the hottest bats in the minors over the last month or so. What adjustments did you make to help lead to your recent success?
Nolan Arenado: I did start out slow but I didn’t panic. I made some small tweaks to my swing. I have since tried to stay consistent with what I’m doing at the plate.
TPA: What type of approach and swing thought do you take with you to the plate?
Nolan Arenado: I want to drive the ball. I look for a fastball to hit. I try to do what the situation dictates, and not try to do too much.
TPA: You did a bunch of Perfect Game events when you were in high school, describe that experience, and how seeing the some of the best prep pitching in the country at the time helped prepare you for pro ball?
Nolan Arenado: Perfect Game was a good experience. The more I did them, the more confidence I got. You definitely improve when you play against better competition.
TPA: What’s been your biggest challenge thus far in your pro career?
Nolan Arenado: It is a long season. So, staying consistent in my hitting is a challenge at times.
TPA: Being from Southern California what has it been like getting to play some of your road games this year in cities close to home?
Nolan Arenado: That’s one of the best parts. I’ve been lucky to have my family and friends come out and watch me play. Their support means a lot.
TPA: What has been your best memory so far as a pro?
Nolan Arenado: I am going to have to say the Futures Game so far. I had extended family come out as well, and it was great seeing them. On the field, meeting and talking to pro players was unforgettable. Also, another highlight was working out with Tulo this past winter.
Check out the clips below to see some of what Arenado experienced while at the Futures Games