Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chico's headstone giveaway: R.I.P. OC

This is tonight's giveaway here in Chico. The Outlaws are giving away headstones that read "R.I.P. Orange County Flyers" with today's date. It didn't take long for one of these to get taped up in the Flyers clubhouse. We'll see how OC responds.

Mandelblatt & Pedroza interview Feldman

This was fun/weird/odd/current. Before today's game in Chico between the Flyers and Outlaws, outfielders Sergio Pedroza and Zach Mandelblatt teamed up to turn the mic on myself and ask the hard-hitting questions everyone -- allegedly -- wanted to know about my life, my broadcasting, and how I ended up doing the public address on Kids Day Out on Wednesday.

Maui taking a break

Here's a report out of Maui about why the Na Koa Ikaika didn't end up facing the Tijuana Cimarrones. It's become common knowledge about the troubles the Cimarrones have had, and they will be playing what appears to be all their remaining games in Yuma at the complex which houses Desert Sun Stadium. However, this time is it Maui that's going through issues? Na Koa Ikaika didn't make the trip to the mainland for a few games, and as a result a week's worth of games between Maui and Tijuana, Yuma and Tucson have been scrapped.

Here is the report from that was published yesterday:

Na Koa Ikaika receive unscheduled break

Posted by mauirican in Sports on 07 23rd, 2010
By Fred Guzman

Na Koa Ikaika were scheduled to play the opener of a seven-game road trip tonight in Tijuana.

Instead, the Maui team will receive an unexpected vacation in the middle of the Golden Baseball League season and not resume play until Aug. 2 when it hosts Edmonton at Iron Maehara Stadium.

Concerns about the field in Tijuana coupled with the cost of making a trip to the mainland for just four games were the reasons given for the cancellation. The games against Yuma will be made up when that team visits Maui later in the season. But the games versus Tucson will not be played.

Na Koa is already assured of a berth in the playoffs after winning the first-half titile on percentage points over Yuma and is currently leading the GBL South with a 5-1 mark in the second half.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yuma Yard Sale

Here's an interesting story about the Yuma Yard Sale that took place over the All-Star Break in Tucson:

Departing Scorpions shine in All-Star game
Comments 0 | Recommend 0
July 14, 2010 11:30 PM

TUCSON — In their last game wearing Yuma Scorpion uniforms, Daryl Arreola pitched a scoreless inning and Timmy Rodriguez scored a run after hitting a single.

But the performances of the two now former Yuma players wasn't enough for the Golden Baseball League all-stars, which lost to Northern League all-stars 9-3 on Wednesday at Hi Corbett Field.

Rodriguez and Arreola were among four players traded by the Scorpions on Wednesday, all for future considerations. Arreola went to Edmonton, while Rodriguez will play for Victoria. Also traded were Zach Cline to Orange County and Santo DeLeon to Chico.

Scorpions vice president Peter Young said the moves were made for financial reasons.

“We're in a situation where we didn't win the first half, so it was difficult to keep the highest paid players when we're getting 100 butts in the seats,” said Young, whose Scorpions finished percentage points behind Maui for the South Division title in the first half.

The team hasn't paid its players since early June. Both players said they have mixed feelings about leaving Yuma.

“I hear so many good things about the place, I'm just looking forward to the fresh start,” Arreola said. “I'm looking to get out of Yuma and continue the season I've been having. I think we're all pretty happy to move on to a new place … maybe we'll play better because we're actually being taken care of the way we're supposed to be taken care of.”

Rodriguez said he learned a lot in his time from manager Darryl Brinkley and hitting coach Dave Cash, who was a World Series champion during his major league career.

“I'm excited to go play baseball and be in an area I can be a little more comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “I learned a lot in Yuma but, still given what happened, I learned from a World Series champion and a career .300 hitter. Given everything, I was really able to progress.”

Yuma's All-Star duo did well in their final game representing the Scorpions. Rodriguez batted cleanup and played the first five innings in right field for the GBL before being lifted for Edmonton's Tom Collaro. He scored the first GBL run in the fourth, singling, stealing and scoring on a single by Chico catcher Mike Rose. That cut the lead to 5-1.

Arreola pitched a perfect top of the fifth inducing two pop-ups to the outfield and striking out the last batter of the inning in mowing down the middle of the Northern League's lineup.

GBL starter Wes Etheridge of Maui gave up three runs in the first inning as the NL banged out six hits and stormed out to the big lead. Etheridge hadn't given up more than two earned runs in a game this season.

The GBL cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Orange County's Jimmy Rohan that scored pinch hitter J.J. Sherrill of Chico.

After the NL pounded Etheridge in the first, they added solo runs in the second in third, including a solo home run by Brad Correll of Joliet.

Northern League starter Andrew Cruse, who plays for Kansas City, was the only pitcher to throw more than an inning, pitching two shutout frames.

The NL broke the game open with four in the seventh, capped by a three-run triple off the bat of Amos Ramon of Lake County.

Former Scorpion Emiliano Fruto, who pitched for Yuma last season, struck out two in the ninth representing the Toros. The GBL added a run with back-to-back doubles in the ninth.

$corpion $truggles

With the news that the Flyers acquired Scorpions LHP Zach Cline today, it appears he just escaped a crazy situation in Yuma where players haven't been getting paid and the roster -- one that had the Scorpions within a fingertip of winning the 1st half South Division title -- is coming apart at the seams.

The first report came from the Yuma Sun newspaper on July 13 when a report that players hadn't been paid in quite some time. Here's the story:

Drama surrounding Scorpions may be too much for Yuma to handle
Comments 3 | Recommend 3
July 13, 2010 10:47 PM

I was talking with someone familiar with the Yuma Scorpions and the Golden Baseball League last week about last year's situation.

We were talking about the long road the current management group had to overcome from last year's sudden roster turnover 48 hours before the start of the season. His take on the situation summed it up perfectly.

“My friend has an old saying — you can't put the (manure) back in the cow.”

But Golden Glove Baseball tried early on. They brought in talent that competed well — well enough to win the first-half South Division title if it weren't for some unfortunate breaks.

Fans, however, haven't responded. The crowds have been sparse when at one time they had made the team successful — or at least sustainable — prior to 2009. Behind the scenes, apparently, there was turmoil as well.

Chuck Heeman was brought in as general manger. He parted ways with the club after a month. But that wasn't the biggest internal struggle.

Not compared to the players not getting paid.

Of course, it's important to stress that the team is within its contractual rights. Players may file a written request for free agency with the commissioner after 14 business days past due. Commissioner Kevin Outcalt met with the team last week on what was the 14th business day. Nobody filed a letter with him, although players — including Bill Pulsipher (also the team's pitching coach) and Daryl Arreola — said Outcalt indicated the meeting counted as their written request. But Outcalt said no player has filed with the league, and that he could not talk about the closed-door meeting.

Golden Glove is based in Venezuela, and Scorpions president Ricky Smith said the team has had issues getting money from Venezuela, but has not missed a per diem payment. But that is a point of contention among the players.

Arreola told a story about having to eat at player's parents' house just to get fed. He and Pulsipher both said during three games at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, the players did not receive meal money.

Again, who do we believe? Was there a mix-up? The Scorpions lost a 20-2 game on the last day of that trip, then split two games in Yuma against the Toros before winning the last two games of the strange seven-game series — all played without an off day — in Tucson. If Arreola's telling the truth, that would explain a 20-2 loss and a three-game sweep against a team that finished below .500. It would also mean, most unfortunately, that maybe if the players had eaten, they would have won one of those games and made the playoffs ahead of Na Koa Ikaika Maui. It wouldn't have mattered about the Na Koa forfeit win against Tijuana, or the half dozen more games it played against the league-worst Cimarrones than Yuma did, or the fact Maui and Yuma didn't play in the first half.

Now, if the team makes the playoffs, they'll have to spend an estimated $35,000 to go to Maui for the first two games of the postseason. And if they do make the playoffs, they'll have to do it with a different roster.

Smith said the team can turn over 40 percent of its roster and still be competitive. If the team is strapped for some liquidity, wouldn't it make sense to trade some of its high-profile players for cash?

Of course, good luck selling that to a market that has been burned to the point where it has pretty much given up on the team. This was a fan base that was pretty much complacent when the rumors surfaced early in the year the team was moving to Mexicali — rumors that still persist and won't go away.

I like the Scorpions, I like the GBL, I like the leadership of both. I like Peter Young, the vice president of the Scorpions. He provided the most memorable podcast I have ever done. I like Outcalt. For the most part, he's been one of the most and patient sources I've dealt with. I like GBL CEO Dave Kaval.

I like covering the team and the league. I like baseball.

But I don't like the fact I have to write the following sentence.

The cow manure has been piling up during the last two years. It might be beyond the point of being able to be cleaned up.

After that, a story hit Edmonton newsstands today about the Scorpions are in Canada to take on the Capitals without paychecks coming in and their roster being depleted. This from the Edmonton Journal:

Scorpions owner hasn't shown them the money
Capitals footing Yuma's hotel bill
Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal
Published: 4:05 am

While the Edmonton Capitals go for a Golden Baseball League record 13th straight win tonight at Telus Field, the visiting Yuma Scorpions will be playing catch for fun and for free because they haven't been paid since early June.
"No money," said one of the Yuma players, who wished to remain anonymous when contacted Wednesday, hoping things would get resolved and the Yuma players would have more than per diem in their pockets for the rest of the Scorpions' 12-day road trip, which starts here.

"Can't go there, buddy," said Yuma manager and former Edmonton outfielder Darryl Brinkley, when asked to comment on his players not getting any salary for weeks, even though they came close to winning the first-half title in the South Division, barely beaten out by Maui Na Koa Kaika.

Maybe Brinkley's embarrassed or dismayed, or both.

Two Yuma coaches -- pitching coach Bill Pulsipher and hitting coach Dave Cash -- have left the team.

Yuma's Darryl Arrelola, who led the GBL with seven wins and 49 strikeouts and ranked third with a 2.59 earned-run average, had his contract purchased by the Capitals.

All-star outfielder Tim Rodriguez went to the Victoria Seals and slugging third baseman Santo DeLeon moved on to the Chico Outlaws, the team owned by Golden League commissioner Kevin Outcalt.

The rest of the Scorpions showed up in Edmonton, ready to play and putting on a happy face but disgruntled under the surface, hoping that president Ricky Smith pays them.

There was conjecture that Capitals manager Brent Bowers might have to make some calls to local players so Yuma could field a squad for the series with the red-hot Capitals, but that wasn't true.

"I don't know where that (story) came from. That's bad," Brinkley said. "Everybody is here and ready to play."

"I feel bad because I was a player at one time," said Bowers, who has a much better financial situation here, with the Capitals owned by the Oilers.

The Yuma players felt they would be free agents on July 10 after a meeting with Outcalt in their clubhouse four days earlier, airing their complaints that they hadn't been paid their salaries.

But it's July 15, and most of the players are still tugging on Yuma jerseys.

Why are they here, with the Capitals footing the bill for their hotel rooms through Sunday? The owners paid for their flights, but no salary.

"They have given us their word they are going to pay us," said the anonymous player. "We get meal money by the day but not cheques (salary)."

Why did he come to Edmonton? "Because I am here to play."

But he is playing for free? "Maybe," he said with a laugh.

"We went on some road trips this year where we didn't have meal money," Arreola told the Yuma Sun.

"We were fortunate enough to have (former pitcher) Gilbert (de la Vara, now playing Triple-A in Toledo, the Detroit Tigers' top farm club) when we were in Tuscon. He's from there and his family supplied us with food. The first time we were there, guys were showing up to the field not even eating at all. It makes it extremely hard to try and get your mind right when your body is trying to shut down."

Arreola, 27, will make his first Capitals start on Monday against the Tijuana Cimarrones at Telus Field.

"The way our offence is rolling, you throw another arm into our rotation and it's going to make our team that much harder to beat," said Bowers. "He's got seven wins now and, hopefully, he can get seven or eight more in the second half."

I will say this, the note about the Capitals paying for Yuma's hotel bill doesn't matter. The home team always pays for the visiting team's hotel stay, with each team getting 16 rooms. That's always been the case.

What does it all mean? I guess we'll have to wait to find out.


Orange County to begin second half on Saturday against St. George

FULLERTON, Calif. (July 15, 2010) – The Orange County Flyers have acquired left-handed pitcher Zachary Cline from the Yuma Scorpions to help bolster the pitching staff for the second half of the season. Flyers manager Paul Abbott and Executive VP of Player Personnel Harris Tulchin pulled the trigger at the league meeting in Tucson during the All-Star break, working with Yuma’s General Manager Peter Young to finalize the deal.

Cline, who turns 27 on Saturday, has started six games this season with the Scorpions and appeared in 14 games total during 2010. The southpaw is 2-2 this year with a 4.87 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, helping to lead the Scorpions to their best start in the franchise’s six-year history. The addition of Cline gives Orange County a strong left-handed pitcher who can work either out of the bullpen or take the ball every fifth day as a starter.

A former Big East Conference All-Star pitcher at West Virginia in 2004, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Cline in the 15th round (452 overall) of the 2004 MLB draft. That year he went 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA with the Lakewood BlueClaws of the Single-A South Atlantic League. Cline went 7-3 with Lakewood in 14 starts in 2006, and he also made three starts with the High-A Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League. He has spent the last three seasons playing in the independent leagues, and he has a professional career record of 36-25 with a 4.10 ERA over 74 starts and 98 games pitched.

The Orange County Flyers return from the GBL All-Star break today, beginning a four-game series against the St. George RoadRunners. The Flyers will finish out their first half with three games against St. George before beginning their second-half of the season with game 46 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Flyers will play eight games in seven days this week, with a four game series against the Chico Outlaws beginning Sunday. For ticket information, please call (714) 526-8326 or visit the team’s website at

NOTES: Cline faced Orange County twice this season, including a start on June 24 in San Luis, Rio Colorado, Mexico. In that outing, Cline tossed 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk in a no decision.

TODAY'S MEDIA NOTES: Click here to view online

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Broken bat breaks knee

This Flyers fan had a great, great time at Thirsty Thursday, and he purchased a game-used broken bat from the merchandise box car. Here's a reminder for all those out there, just because the bat is "broken" by baseball in-game standards doesn't mean it's still not incredibly sturdy. Observe...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nettleton Stadium

One of only three remaining teams from the inaugural 2005 season, the GBL's Chico Outlaws are always among league attendance leaders, benefitting from being several hours away from the nearest major league -- heck, or affiliated minor league -- market. The Outlaws have played home games at Nettleton Stadium since 2005.

It's a fun place to check out a game, and over the last five years has always featured crazy promotions and high-energy crowds. And even when the crowd noise isn't *too* loud, a frigging locomotive chugs past the right field wall, which always riles up the Chico faithful. Take a look around "The Nett" in the latest ballpark tour series.

Past Ballpark Tours
Estadio Revolucion - for 2 games "at Yuma"
Desert Sun Stadium - Yuma Scorpions
Telus Field - Edmonton Capitals
Foothills Stadium - Calgary Vipers
Royal Athletic Park - Victoria Seals
Bruce Hurst Field - St. George RoadRunners

Monday, July 5, 2010

Estadio Revolucion

This was -- um -- an adventure to say the least. The Flyers played a pair of games at Estadio Revolucion, a 1,500-seat facility in San Luis, Rio Colorado, Mexico. Orange County played "at Yuma" here in San Luis for two game of the June 21-24 series against the Scorpions, giving the GBL a chance to test the facility and the market in case the Tijuana Cimarrones are unable to return to their 18,000-seat -- yes, 18,000 -- home in TJ after a month-long road trip to Canada.

It's not exactly the perfectly manicured playing surface you'd find as an NCAA D-I school like Cal State Fullerton or at a former Triple-A park like Telus Field. No, no. This is definitely a unique experience. From music and announcements being made during at-bats (like through the swing of the batter), to stray dogs running through the concourse, Estadio Revolucion was an experience unlike any other we've had this season.


Past Ballpark Tours
Desert Sun Stadium - Yuma Scorpions
Telus Field - Edmonton Capitals
Foothills Stadium - Calgary Vipers
Royal Athletic Park - Victoria Seals
Bruce Hurst Field - St. George RoadRunners