The Chiefs and Mud Hens battle for breakfast supremacy this morning at 10:30. Here are some things you’re guaranteed to enjoy:
*An in-game blog from Mud Hen beat writer John Wagner.
*Compare and contrast Durham’s Tim Beckham and Rochester’s Chris Colabello.
*On this day in 2004, the Yankees announced they’d no longer sell Cracker Jack (didn’t last long).
*From San Diego’s paper, the connection between today’s Chiefs starter and Albert Pujols.
*A rough getaway day in California for the Nationals.
Chief of the Day: Sergio Santos. For parts of three seasons, Santos manned shortstop in Syracuse. He hit just.214 in 128 games in 2006. Three years later, the White Sox picked him up and made him into a pitcher. In 2011, Santos saved 30 games for the Sox. He has since moved on to Toronto and yesterday, unfortunately, was placed on the 60-day DL after right elbow surgery.
10:15 is our airtime today as the Chiefs take on the Hens. Join us for waffles. You bring the syrup.
The Chiefs weathered an eight-hour bus ride overnight and got into the Park Inn Toledo around 7:30 A.M. Tonight, they face a Mud Hens team which nearly swept Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Here’s Tony Beasley’s starting nine:
Chris Rahl RF
Jeff Kobernus LF
Will Rhymes 2B
Chris Marrero 1B
Corey Brown CF
Micah Owings DH
Zach Walters SS
Carlos Rivero 3B
Brian Jeroloman C
*Will Rhymes was a member of the Mud Hens, in part, from 2008 until 2011. He played in 165 home games in Toledo over that time and hit .297 at Fifth Third Field.
*Catcher Brian Jeroloman makes his first start of the season with Syracuse tonight. If the name’s familiar, it’s because he played in 25 games with the Chiefs in July, August and September with the 2008 Chiefs. He hit .200 in 75 at-bats that year, the final season with the Blue Jays.
*Zach Walters moves down to the seven position for just the sixth time this season. He’s been found most often in the six spot (34 starts).
*Jeroloman is the 14th nine-hole hitter the Chiefs have used in 2013.
*Carlos Rivero is five-for-11 in the eight position this year.
Game time is 7 P.M. as the Chiefs face the Mud Hens. Download our app to listen. Search for Syracuse Chiefs in the iTunes and Google Play stores.
The Chiefs dropped a three-run decision to the Columbus Clippers last night in a high-scoring, crazy game two of the series.
Today’s stuff you’ll like:
*If you like addicting Internet games, you’ll love Geoguessr.
*Mr. Boswell from the Washington Post takes on the topic of Bryce Harper’s reckless abandon.
*The Toledo Blade’s John Wagner recaps a wild and wooly Mud Hen win. From the story–“You have to find things to hang your hat on — and build off them,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “We’ve had a couple of two-game [winning] streaks and had things get away from us on that third day, and we very easily could have sunk back to that.”
*The Crunch were #ALLin when it came to short-handed goals last night.
Chief of the Day: Today, we salute an important member of the 1985 bullpen, Tom Henke. In Syracuse, Henke saved 18 games and allowed just 13 hits in 51 innings and a third. His ERA of 0.88 led the Chiefs. Henke went on to save 311 Major-League games. He’s one of 23 people ever to save 300 games in MLB.
It’s $5 a carload night at the ballpark. Chiefs and Clippers at 7 P.M.
It’s time once again for the game show which has a maximum occupancy of 60……
(Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel!
And now, here’s your host, the man whose luggage cart always veers to the left…..Jason Benetti!
Thank you Gene Wood, and a pleasure to be along with you all for the second installment of (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel! If you’ve just joined us, this is the game where we assign a score to each of the hotels the Syracuse Chiefs stay in and tell you why.
This week’s contestant is the Durham Marriott City Center.
Nestled on Foster Street in downtown Durham, North Carolina, the Marriott towers over most of the buildings in the area and provides a generally pleasant experience for International League teams.
We’ll give you three pluses and three minuses.
1) Heart of darkness
When I was a kid, I’d get back from school on certain days and my father would be asleep. He was an air traffic controller and was preparing to work an overnight shift. He’d already worked until noon or so that day. So, in order to be ready for his rather intense job, he needed to sleep. So, it was important that whatever I did was quiet enough to be considered considerate. Even more importantly, though, his bedroom had to be dark. So, he’d cover the window with a towel or something else to simulate nighttime.
In the “what I’d really like dad is to borrow the car keys” department, I now know how Rob Benetti felt. Sometimes–like last night–baseball games run long. So, real, restful sleep requires a person to slumber until after it gets light outside. For that reason, a baseball hotel gets high marks for having window curtains which:
1) Keep the room pitch black
2) Cover the entire window
There’s not much worse than a sliver of light seeping through a cavernous room causing a 6:45 A.M. wakeup. The Durham curtains are unrivaled in the International League in the darkness they create. It’s virtually impossible to see in the room with the light off and the curtains drawn.
2) Food stuffs galore
Within a four-block radius of the Marriott is the best burger I’ve had at Bull City Brewery, the best chicken and waffles I’ve ever had at Dame’s:
Plus, theres a slew of restaurants near the ballpark which include a pizza place, a Cuban place and a bundle of sports bars. Before this season, that made Durham the foodie capital of the International League. In 2013, though, there’s more. Just a block away from the Marriott, tucked away on a one way street lies some of the best ice cream in the world at The Parlour. To any International League travel wonks, go there. Fast. They make their own ice cream and it is superb. They also feature a creative team behind the counter.
The menu lists “ice cream sandwich” as an option. Seeing the pre-made cookie sandwiches in the freezer propped near the door, I asked the woman behind the counter if I could cook up my own ice cream sandwich. They said there’s no reason why not, and off we went. They plopped a few scoops of honey chai ice cream in the middle of two chocolate snickerdoodles and created frozen Valhalla.
Sweet, flavorful ice cream + brilliant service = must-visit.
Durham’s Marriott has two elevators for nine floors and I didn’t wait more than 30 seconds for a lift. An Otis miracle.
In previous years, the Durham Marriott staff has put out fruit-flavored water in a jug next to the elevators. No dice this time, though the table is still there to taunt those of us who remember what used to be placed on it.
2) Key players
There’s a bank of doors on the side of the building which provides easier access to the hotel’s lobby by foot from the ballpark than the main entrance. After game one of the series, those doors were open. After game two, which was shorter than game one, the doors were closed. No need for them to always be open. Just be consistent. Post a time. Stick to it.
3) ‘net results
The internet access is still slow in spots. Precise spots. You know how sometimes it rains on your house and not your great aunt’s place a mile-and-a-half away? Internet in my room, 609, was spotty and generally slow. Chiefs trainer Jeff Allred, in 607, reported high, consistent speed.
9 complimentary shampoos out of 10!
Tremendous work. See you next time, when the Chiefs travel to Toledo……will there be a pizza box in the room? A (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel cliffhanger!
Thanks for stopping by for a new feature on the blog. It’s called Card Notes. As you might expect, it’s where you can find tidbits on today’s lineup cards.
1) Chris Rahl is on a season-best six-game hit streak which started with a game-tying home run in Durham Tuesday. In the last four games, Rahl has led off since Eury Perez was recalled by Washington.
2) Zach Walters has hit sixth in 30 of the 35 games in which he’s played.
3) Will Rhymes has struck out just once in his last 10 games.
4) Chris Marrero has gone no more than four straight games without an RBI this year.
5) Seven of the nine hitters in the Columbus (Cleveland Triple-A) order will hit lefty against Chiefs starter Ross Ohlendorf.
Tune in for the game starting at 6:45 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network. It’s available on your computer via this link: http://www.milb.com/multimedia/audio.jsp?sid=t552
Or you can download our app for your smartphone via the Google Play or iTunes Stores.
Oh, by the way, if you’ve recently been hitched, tonight is Newlywed Night at the ballpark.
The calendar has turned to 2013 and it’s time for the game where you can dial zero for a wake-up call 24 hours a day….
(Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel!
And now, here’s your host……the man whose television always defaults to hotel information…..
Well thank you Johnny Gilbert and thank all of you for coming along for (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel! We’ve been renewed for a fourth season and we’re pleased as spiked punch. We’re so excited to tell you about the hotels the Syracuse Chiefs stay at, we’ve created a new rating system. That’ll be unveiled after this review of the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside!
1) Club at the top of the hotel
After much key-card issuing (see con #3), the Chiefs broadcast contingent end up on the 10th floor of the Sheraton, as high as one can be at the hotel. It’s easy to be snooty when you’ve got to put your room key into a reader in the elevator to get to your floor.
The hotel is next to some pretty awesome naval ships.
Comfortable sleeping. Cushy beds, perfect pillows.
1) Wireless irritation
The Sheraton Waterside, like most hotels which think everything is getting comped, charges for internet. 10 bucks a day. This isn’t necessarily convenient, but it’s alright. Everything has a cost. So, I’m happy to fill in my room number and last name (355, Mandel is what I usually go with) to get the show on the road. There was, however, a major issue with the internet access at the Sheraton. Every two or three hours on average, I was asked to put my information in again. That led me to believe the bill for the room would look something like this:
Internet, one night: 9.95
Internet, one night: 9.95
Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95
Not only does that get irritating–I will never forget room 1019/Benetti for the rest of my life–but it gets expensive, too. The good news is, the internet was free because we were on the 10th floor.
2) Outlet maul
As a “business traveler”–defined as someone who is not in the city because he or she wants to be, but because instead he or she wants the employment which forces him or her to be–I have few needs. One is a suitable bed. Another is a shower. All rooms come equipped with these (unless you’re staying at the Days Inn in Dumfries, Virginia where, in my experience, you typically share the bed with a family of bugs who are interested in coming home with you, despite your use of the shower.). The third necessity is a power outlet or two. Even before a carpet, a dresser, an ottoman and assorted paintings and mirrors (which all rooms have, too), I need something where I may plug in my devices. They are essential now. Figure it out. The Sheraton had two outlets in the main room. They were next to each other in an odd pull-out segment on top of the desk (which, by the way, is useless unless you have something you’re working on which is set on the desk. Say, a computer.). I plugged my phone into a socket in the bathroom. Also, while I was still Lewis Black-seething about this, I walked into the hallway and saw an outlet. Yes, CFOs at the Sheraton, do not fear! The corridors at the Sheraton Waterside are perfect for your computing needs!
3) Room with a view….of others
Jeff Allred, the Chiefs’ trainer manages bumps, bruises, fractures, concussions and all things medical. Bet you didn’t know that he’s also in charge of letting the hotel know who is staying with whom on the road. This happens through a magical document called the Rooming List. Typically, the hotel gets the first List a few days prior to the team’s arrival. This allows management to get rooms ready and keys made for the team so the process of getting players into beds is smooth. It also helps night-shift workers who are generally alone behind the counter when the team gets there (we showed up at the Sheraton at 2 A.M. Wednesday). The only caveat is: the Rooming List changes when players are called up, sent down, released or otherwise. So, it’s a near-constant shuffle for the hotel folks to clear up room changes. The Sheraton played 52-pickup.
Kevin and I picked up our room key which sent us to the ninth floor. We opened the door to find one bed. Not exactly what we were hoping for, especially considering the rooming list indicating we required two. So, I went back to the front desk. The gentleman there handed me a key to a different room. Went there, opened the door…..to find…..Erik Davis and Ryan Perry getting ready to go to sleep! Four to a room! Nope. Back to the front desk. The attendant believed he had isolated which room was empty. He called a double room on the same floor and got no answer. Back upstairs…..key in door…..opened to a TV on……and Danny Rosenbaum! “So that’s who just called the room,” says a bleary-eyed Triple-A rookie who just wants some shut-eye after a nine-hour bus ride. Losing my patience, I ride downstairs one more time. The gentleman behind the desk says, “Again?” I say, “Yes.” He then says he’s going to call more rooms to see which one is unoccupied. I let him know that I’m not in the market for a game of room roulette with sleepy infielders. I ask him what the true best way to go about this is. He says, stonefaced, “Roulette.” He then begins to call rooms. I stop him and ask him to re-evaluate this plan, as it will result in players who are less-than-thrilled with me. After some discussion, he agrees and finds a top-floor room in his system which was previously reserved for a crew from the airlines who never made it in that night (just their luck). Worst part of the scenario: The guy’s insistence that someone else had made the mistake. Don’t blame your absent co-workers. Bad form.
Two complimentary shampoos out of ten.
Stay tuned later this week for another edition of (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel!
All season, teams will come to NBT Bank Stadium to stand against the Syracuse Chiefs. They will don jerseys emblazoned with animals….they will wield baseball bats of ash and maple….and they will attempt to make periodic contact with a pentagonal white object that they refer to as “home.”
They all have secrets. And those secrets are found in…..
The IL Files
Team: Durham Bulls
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Mascot: Wool E. Bull (The E stands for education)
Joined the IL: 1998.
How?: The Bulls were a Triple-A expansion franchise when the Devil Rays were added to Major League Baseball
A.K.A.: From 1902 through 1967, the team was called the Durham Bulls. In 1968, the name changed to the Raleigh-Durham Mets. The next year, it became the Raleigh-Durham Phillies. That worked so well, the name changed again in 1970 to the Raleigh-Durham Triangles (their logo was not a yield sign). Then, Bull Man beat Triangle Man for good and the team became the Bulls for good in ’81.
Other Leagues: Durham played in the Class D North Carolina State League from 1913 to 1917. The team transitioned to the Piedmont League from 1920 until 1943. After not playing in ’44, the team joined the Carolina League in ’45 until its run ended in ’97.
Notable managers: 1956–Jonny Pesky, for whom the right-field foul pole at Fenway Park is named. 1989-91–Grady Little, at whom hateful names were screamed from every spot in Fenway Park. 1928-1932–George “Possum” Whitted, who wasn’t lying in the weeds when his team won the league title in 1930.
Notable players: Bob Boone–Hit .300 in 80 games with the Raleigh-Durham Phillies in 1969 while playing third base (like his son Aaron, who may have caused one of those Grady Little epithets). Joe Morgan–The only Durham player in the Major-League Hall of Fame. Ron Gant–Led the Carolina League with 20 homers in 1986 before making his Major-League debut in 1987 with the Braves, where he played on back-to-back World Series teams.
Record holders: Woody Fair had 161 RBIs in 1946, the most ever for a Durham player. Johnny Vander Meer, the only player to throw back-to-back MLB no-hitters, struck out 295 for Durham in 1936.
Back-of-the-file: In 1922, to win their first-ever championship, the Bulls beat the High Point Furniture Makers for the Piedmont League title….the Bulls host the ACC Baseball Championship this year from May 22-26…this is the only blog post in history that does mention the movie “Bull Durham” when talking about the team….alphabetically, the last player to play for the Bulls is Andy Zwirchitz…
It’s time once again for the game which always has perfect water pressure……
(Third) Rate the IL Hotel!!!
And now your host who never disturbs…..Jason Benetti!
Well hello everyone and welcome once again to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. If you’re thinking, “I thought (Third) Rate the IL Hotel was last season,” you’re right. Our new season will debut in about two weeks. But, because the Chiefs didn’t travel to Scranton last season, we bring you our cliffhanger finale right now.
In case you just joined us, here are the rules to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. We give you three positives and three negatives of the most recent hotel the Syracuse Chiefs have stayed in. Then, we assign a score between 1 and 100. That score can be redeemed for a travel-size deodorant at the front desk.
So, without further ado, we unveil the final edition of (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. Today’s hotel: The Radisson Lackawanna Station in Scranton, PA!
1) Chug-a-chug-a. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team in the International League has been called three nicknames in eight years. Much to the delight of former P.A. announcer John Davies, they were the Red Barons in 2006. With new ownership in 2007, they became the Yankees. Now, residing in a new ballpark at the same site, the Scranton nine is called the RailRiders. This name harkens back to a rich history of early transportation and coal mining in the area. Though the new mascot doesn’t exactly shriek New Haven Railroad–it’s a purple porcupine–the team hotel does the trick. The Chiefs stay at the Radisson Lackawanna Station which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a former train station. It stopped being one in 1970 and has since become a hotel. This is fitting, what with the RailRiders and Chiefs both sporting loco-motifs. Each team has used the slogan “All Aboard” in the last three years. Maybe the Radisson has taken it too far….
2) Be married.
As I waited for the shuttle to the ballpark on Saturday, I chatted with Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Brett Henry. As we talked, two separate people asked Brett to move aside so they could squeeze by with a stack of chairs. The chairs were on their way to the central lobby within the station where, I imagine, people used to wait for the 6:15 to Elmira. I like a place that’s a wedding hot spot. The people that stay in the hotel for a wedding generally fall into three categories:
A) Nervous and neurotic
C) Overemotional and ready to burst
Two of those three sets of people are great fun to deal with as a stranger. And, it’s easy to tell who falls into the first category. The nervous and neurotic folks generally have as good of a poker face as Dr. Orin Scrivelo.
3) Eat & drink.
The restaurant in the hotel lobby has tremendous food. Reasonably-priced breakfast–$7 for a sizable portion of french toast with a hint of orange in the batter–and a wide-ranging lunch buffet are great perks. In addition, there’s a water jug near the main desk filled with icy, fruit-flavored water. Always a welcome addition.
1) Lake Eerie. An old train station, you say? Sounds like it could be haunted, Jason. You’re right, dear reader. The Radisson seems to have strange things happen inside of it. Here are a few examples:
“The player told us that one night around midnight three of his teammates were walking down the hallway on the 6th floor and encountered a ghost who last leaning over a railing. The railing overlooked the dinning room that was located six floors below. The three players stopped dead in their tracks and claim the ghost told them he was killed in a car accident. As he was talking to them, his head spun around 360 degrees. “
–Scott McCauley, former Indianapolis announcer.
“Recently, Lehigh Valley slugger Terry Tiffee felt the wrath of the haunted hotel. Tiffee was staying in room 420 and heard a knock at the door. Reportedly, he answered the door and an African American gentleman in a tuxedo, claiming to be a bellman asked if everything was OK. Tiffee thought it was a strange visit, so he called the front desk to ask about his visitor. The girl at the desk told Tiffee that the hotel employed no such person. Tiffee was sufficiently spooked to pack his bags and move across the street to the Hilton, paying the $200 per night tab himself.”
–Steve Hyder, former Pawtucket and Syracuse announcer
“Pretty soon, half of the team is joining in on stories about how a CF from another team (don’t know the name of course) swore he saw a ghost in his room or how a coach woke up in the middle of the night to his TV being turned off and pushed back into it’s standup dresser. For every guy on the team, there were 2-3 stories to be told per person and although the details seemed to be a little vague and no one knew names it was enough to get the blood going, and we still had 3 more nights in the hotel. For three straight days people came to the field, some a little more sleep-deprived than others, asking if anything happened to a teammate that night and anxious to hear another story.“
–Ryan Tatusko, current Chiefs pitcher
This season, Chiefs manager Tony Beasley told me he went to sleep with the TV on and woke up with it off. He didn’t activate a sleep timer.
I’ve never experienced the paranormal myself. Then again, it’s tough to feel anything when you go to sleep blasting Metallica in your headphones while curled in a ball in the bathtub.
2) Losing in the Sky.
Nah. Close, though.
3 Sized up.
I’d like to see the blueprints for the Radisson Lackawanna Station. It’s got to look like Q*Bert’s tower.
Some of the rooms could house a rugby tournament. Others couldn’t fit more than three people at a time. Crapshoot.
Had I been abducted by ghosts over the past few years, that score would have skyrocketed.
If that headline doesn’t make you read this blog post, I’m not sure what will. Through five games this season, the Syracuse Chiefs are the most prolific run-scoring team in the Triple-A International League. They’ve scored 42 runs, seven more than second-place Pawtucket.
*The Chiefs are outscoring all but two teams in the Pacific Coast League, the other Triple-A circuit which is known for its thin air, mountaintop ballparks and flying baseballs. The IL scored 8657 runs in 2012, while the PCL plated 11,765 runs. That’s 3108 more runs.
*The Chiefs are one of two International League teams hitting over .300 as a group. Syracuse’s .320 average is second only to tonight’s opponent, Buffalo. The Bisons have a hit in every three at-bats, .333.
*With nine home runs, the Chiefs are second in all of minor-league baseball. The Stockton Ports of the Advanced-A California League have 12. No other team has eight.
*Jeff Kobernus, the Chiefs’ two-hole hitter, has a batting average of .579, fifth-best in all of the minors.
*Jimmy Van Ostrand, who hit from the nine position last night, is tied for ninth in the minors with a .538 average.
*Zach Walters, with four home runs in five games, is third in the minors with 20 total bases this season.
Yes, all of this is through just five games, but the Chiefs offense–in a 4-1 start–has been outstanding.
Catch tonight’s game at 6:05 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network.
Good afternoon from sunny Viera, Florida where the Nationals just finished one of their 16 big-league spring training home games. Stephen Strasburg got the start and was fantastic for the first five innings. He let up just one hit and struck out five before the Braves got to him in the sixth inning. The Nats lost 7-2, but a few former Chiefs stood out.
*Tyler Moore blasted his first spring training home run of 2013 in the ninth inning off of compass-named reliever Aaron Northcraft. When Moore–who hit nine homers in 29 games in Syracuse last year–made contact, the sizable crowd at Space Coast Stadium gasped.
*Corey Brown posted a single in his only at-bat. That pushed his average to .237. Got a chance to chat with Corey after the game. You’ll be able to hear about Corey’s offseason (including his marriage) in our Inside Pitch podcast shortly.
*Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 to lower his spring average to .438. In one of his at-bats, he showed bunt on the first pitch of the sequence.
Harper leads the Nats with 14 hits this spring in 32 at-bats. Corey Brown, by the way, is getting a workout–he leads the Nats in ABs with 38. Anthony Rendon (pronounced Ren-DOHNE) has the most homers on the team with three. Rendon turns 23 in June and is a good bet to be in Syracuse sometime soon.
Kevin and I will be tweeting updates from @ChiefsRadio and @SyracuseChiefs throughout the week. Tell us if there’s someone you want to hear about.