Monday, March 6, 2017

Spawning Season Part Four: Frontier League deals

The Goldeyes made two deals with Frontier League teams in the last few days, sending Ridge Hoopii-Haslam to the Joliette Slammers Friday, then send RHP Rob Tasin to the Evansville Otters Monday. Both deals made for players to be named later. 

Tasin was 0-1 with 3 saves and 4.50 ERA in 19 relief appearances in 2016.

Hoopii-Haslam batted .239, with 4 HR and 30 RBI in 61 games; the Hawaiian was the game hero several times in 2016, helping The Fish to key wins in their efforts to reach the post-season. Ridge is one of those character-players that quickly become fan favourites, and I have no doubt that Joliette fans will love having him.

Ridge Hoopii-Haslam celebrates in the dugout, Aug. 18, 2016.

Rob Tasin works the mound, July 14, 2016, Shaw Park.

Spawning Season, Part Three: More retirements...

On the heels of the retirements of Adam Heisler and Carlton Tanabe, two other Goldeyes have announced their retirements from baseball.

Willie Cabrera continued his stellar season after coming to Winnipeg from the Joplin Blasters midway through 2016; he wound up representing the Goldeyes at the American Association All-Star Game in St. Paul alongside David Rohm. Cabrera came as a fill-in for injured St. Paul Saints star Angelo Songco. Willie ends an 11-year career on a high-note with an American Association championship ring.

Much has been made elsewhere of the Goldeyes' key acquisitions from Joplin during 2016. Could they have won the championship without Willie Cabrera in the batting order and pitchers Winston Abreu and Victor Capellan? Perhaps the strongest argument in that case is Cabrera. He absolutely contributed at the plate: .318 batting avg., 17 HR and 77 RBI.

There is a long tradition of teams stocking up on key players in anticipation of a post-season run. The fact is, the Goldeyes didn't make the playoffs until the last day of the season. But when it came to getting a hired gun, Cabrera fit the bill and delivered as promised.

The last retirement to report could be perhaps the toughest to fill: LHP Eric Eadington. Despite having two Tommy John surgeries previously, Eadington proved to be a durable reliever that wound up being one of the most dominant lefties in the American Association. He was one of the reasons that The Fish were able to clinch a playoff spot and the championship. Here's a guy who probably could have been throwing in affiliated ball, but he came at the right time for Winnipeg.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Spawning Season Part Two: The Retirements

The Goldeyes have lost two of their 2016 American Association championship team to retirement: catcher Carlton Tanabe was the first to hang it up as a pro-ball player (in the fall), followed up by OF Adam Heisler, who announced his retirement Jan. 16, 2017.

As a strong baserunner and hitter who worked the top of the rotation, Heisler will be missed. A base-stealer of renown, Adam also graces the background image of this blog, sliding against the now-defunct Joplin Blasters.

Tanabe worked the slight majority of games behind the plate for The Fish in 2016, helping to fill the hole left by the departure of Luis Alen.

In the clubhouse,  you couldn't meet two nicer guys, they'll be missed by fans and people behind the scenes. Best of luck in the future lads!

Carlton Tanabe belts in the game winning RBI, July 30, 2016.

Retro variant Adam Heisler, August 2016 at Shaw Park.

Spawning season, Part One: Three way deal

The snow is still on the ground in the Northern Battery, but the Winnipeg Goldeyes are already well into spawning season.

Today saw a three-way deal that hauls in 1B David Bergin from the St. Paul Saints. The Goldeyes send LHP Ethan Carnes to the Gary Railcats, while the Saints get the reversionary rights to Jose Sermo. Bergin has done a lot of damage to The Fish over the years, so they'll be glad to have him in the fold for 2017.

David Bergin during the 2016 Playoffs.

Jose Sermo played with Gary and in the Boston Red Sox system for 2016.

LHP Ethan Carnes works the mound.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet your 2016 American Association Champions!

It's been quite month for the Winnipeg Goldeyes: make the playoffs in the last day of the season, come back from a 2-1 deficit to beat St. Paul, and then they do it again, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Wichita for the championship.

I thought I'd celebrate this win...after all, championship seasons don't come around often...with a special digital card set. This design will be used again, my hope is to do a complete league set in the off-season. Gentlemen, it's a been a pleasure to follow this amazon season!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 American Association/Can-Am All Star Game Part III: The Saints

While I'm obviously a Goldeyes fan through and through, I've come to really like the St. Paul Saints franchise over the past couple of years. 

CHS Field is always a blast to visit, a true baseball temple if there ever was one. And maybe it's the sense of humour that permeates their game productions. 

This season I had the pleasure to meet Mark Hamburger, Tony Thomas and Alonzo Harris more than a few times, and their contiguous enthusiasm for the game--and refusal to take themselves too seriously before and after the game--have made them three of my all-time favourites to photograph.

Tony and Alonzo are a couple of characters, I swear they should have their own buddy cop show...they never resist a chance to mug for the camera.

Family were a big part of the home run derby, here's a shot of Alonzo's pops and Tony Thomas taking in the action.

Alonzo has a sick bat and he put it to good use in the HR derby; he ended up coming in second on the night, even though he did a round with a Go-Pro strapped to his head.

He kept it up the next night at the actual game...

And Tony Thomas and Mark Hamburger represented the Saints in fine form as well.

Angelo Songco was there too; alas, he was had sustained a shoulder injury prior to the game and was unable to complete.

I suppose I should mention George Tsamis, the Saints manager. He's one of the best. The North's dugout was crawling with photographers, so at one point in the game I tried to crouch on the steps near his usual roost in the dugout. Under normal game circumstances, unthinkable...but this was a bit different. 

He was going to shoo me away from the steps, but then asked: "are you going to shoot all the players?" i.e. not just Goldeyes. 
"Yes, for sure." 
"Then you can stay." 
So, belatedly, thanks for letting me stick around, George. You're all right in my books.