If your ever in Southern California during the baseball season, make sure you get to a Lake Elsinore Storm game. These folks put on one of the best game day experiences in all of minor league baseball. From Charlie Sheen Night (complete with a Charlie Sheen Bobblehead giveaway), to the Grounds Crew Gorilla’s in game antics to All You Can Eat Wacky Weenie Wednesdays and so much more the Storm continue to draw fans in droves to Lake Elsinore Diamond to see the San Diego Padres High-A affiliate play. The Storm are among the teams up for the 2011 Larry MacPhail Award for outstanding promotional work that will be awarded at the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas. The video below is a highlight reel of the team’s marketing and promotions initiatives from the 2011 season and is a blast to watch.
The Stockton Ports, the High-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics took home the 2011 California League North Division championship with a series win over the Modesto Nuts. Check out this video of the post game celebration. 46 year old manager Webster Garrison, who was a career 0-9 with a walk in his five game major league career with the A’s back in 1996, shows his young ball club that he still has some dance moves left over from his playing days. Following the show by Garrison, the team continues the party pounding out a rhythm beat on stools, buckets, laundry baskets, and anything else they can find. It’s pretty cool. The Ports went on to lose to the Lake Elsinore Storm in California League finals.
The Lake Elsinore Storm’s Grounds Crew Gorilla, who had an epic battle with former Los Angles Dodgers and current Seattle Mariners outfielder Trayvon Robinson back in 2009 (see the second and third videos below), debuted a new act tonight during the Storm’s game Tuesday against the Inland Empire 66ers. He throws jumps through a barrier, barrel rolls down a large berm, and then drops another five or six feet onto the field, and still finds the energy to do the worm. Someone give the Gorilla a raise. Be sure to watch his battle with Trayvon “Gorilla Killa” Robinson if you haven’t seen it. It’s awesome.
Concussions and an inner ear disease known as bilateral vestibulopathy have ended the once promising career of San Diego Padres shortstop prospect Drew Cumberland. The Florida native was forced to hang up his cleats at age 22 after battling excruciating headaches and dizziness he had been experiencing since high school became so severe that doctors feared for his future well being had his career continued. Reading the fascinating article below makes it all the more remarkable that Cumberland was a standout on the diamond as a pro, quickly establishing himself as one of the top hitting prospects in the Padres organization. His best season as a pro came in 2010 when he hit a combined .350 with 18 Doubles, 4 Triples, 7 Home Runs, and 21 Stolen Bases in 75 games between the Low-A Lake Elsinore Storm and the Double-A San Antonio Missions. The performance earned him a spot in the 2010 Futures Game. In the story Cumberland talks about hiding the awful effects of the condition for as long as he possibly could, the nightmare of pain he endured on a daily basis during his career, and coming to terms with moving on. It’s a must read article.
UPDATE: Cumberland is going to try to continue his career in 2012 after finding that his condition can be controlled. Best of luck in his comeback!!! You can read the full story: Cumberland has opportunity to resume career — MLB.com
The Padres may have a breakout second base prospect in the form of 20 year old Jonathan Galvez. The native of the Dominican Republic is batting .300 with 25 Doubles, 5 Triples, 8 Home Runs, and 60 Rbi’s for High-A Lake Elsinore in the California League. Galvez has also been very effective on the bases stealing 29 in 35 attempts. All of those offensive numbers are career highs, except for Home Runs, he is two off of last year’s total of 10. In the story, Galvez talks about working hard to improve defensive skills (40 errors in 2010) so they match his hitting prowess and the joy his family felt when he originally signed with the Padres.