Hope all of you out there had a brilliant holiday week. The question is, which week is truly the “holiday week.” Is it the one during which Chanukah starts? And how do we decide whether or not Chanukah has a C? And when does it get an extra k? I’ve asked around and simply can’t figure it.
Jason’s #9–Adventures in RadioLand
When you tune in to a Chiefs game on your radio, smart phone, iPad or computer, you hear anything ranging from one single pitch to a full game. And Kevin and I appreciate whatever you’re dropping in for. We, however, see it all (or a good chunk of it, as the case may be (due to travel, weddings, conflicts or safaris to South Sudan). Last season, from the Chiefs broadcast booth, we witnessed:
*224 home runs
*223 double plays
*74 sacrifice flies
This is the part of the blog where I’d normally include a clip of Chuck Barris on The Gong Show saying, “We’ll be back with more stuff.” But, there’s no Gong Show clip which is appropriate for even most audiences (in the one I’m watching right now, Chuck says, “But what do I know, I thought Idi Amin was a zany guy” and “…so far they’re a big hit with winos and some forms of plankton.”).
Along with the loads of baseball things and other oddities we see, sometimes things go, let’s say, haywire in the radio booth. Frankly, any time one’s major habitat is labeled a “booth”, any number of cooky things may happen. So, as we wait for 2013, here are a few of my favorite moments of the 2012 season in Chiefs audio.
*There are typically no calls to action in these blog entries. This time, we ask that you vote, either in the comments section or on Twitter @SyracuseChiefs for the one you like most.
A) Unpleasant Valle Friday
On August the 10th, the Chiefs were playing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in game one of two. One of the novelties of the series was Phillies’ young-gun catcher Sebastian Valle’s ascent from Double-A. We were excited to see what he could do close-up…
B) A Weekend in the Hampsons
Sometimes, when players just seem like they fit in a certain situation, we say they pass the “eye test.” But, what happens when the eye test fails?
C) Puppet Masters
In our postgame show, we enjoy providing you memorable highlights from the game that just concluded. We trust that this one will roll around your mind for a while…
Vote away. Happy New Year.
That Pawtucket comeback was fun. We should have Garrett create an app for it.
Jason’s #10–T.M. is On My Side
And on that comeback app–patent pending–we could include a young man whose “see ball, hit ball” approach worked out better for his fans than it did for the idleness of the baseball. 25-year-old Triple-A rookie Tyler Moore came to Syracuse from Brandon, Mississippi, which bills itself as a “city of growth and stability.” If that is true, Brandon will assuredly grow from 21.3 square miles and stabilize its population around 16 thousand.
On April 29th–after hitting seven home runs in 23 games with the Chiefs–the kid from Mississippi made his Major-League debut in Los Angeles, a city of 503 square miles and 3.8 million people. He made his Hollywood premiere significantly better than that of Waterworld by going 1-for-3.
The Nationals, though, were cruising along in the first two months of the season like they were the opposite of the Achille Lauro. So, Tyler Moore played in just 12 games before May was out. On the first of June, Moore was shipped back to the Chiefs by way of Indianapolis, where the team was concluding an eight-game road trip. It took a very short time to learn that the country boy hadn’t been corrupted by the big city.
Moore’s 2-for-5 night helped catapult the Chiefs to a 7-5 win. That ended up as the only victory for the Chiefs in that series.
The following night, Moore tormented Indy pitching again, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles against the Indians. It was clear that Tyler Moore was not going to be around the minor-leagues for any significant length of time. And he wasn’t. After that 5-for-9 return, Moore suited up in just four more games for the Chiefs.
That didn’t mean that he was forgotten in Syracuse, though. He and his two roommates–Corey Brown and Seth Bynum–made a pact at the beginning of the season that the person of the three who got called up first would pay the remainder of the rent for the season. Smart businessmen, Seth and Corey.
Why are we doing #11 on 12/12/12? Because we’re alternative numerologists. We are the Alice in Chains of calculation.
Jason’s #11–The Hunt for Red’s October
You have to understand one thing about nicknames in baseball. They generally come from easiest thing to call someone. Zach Duke = Dukey. John Lannan = Johnny. Corey Brown = Brownie. Add a y sound, create a nickname.
Sometimes, there’s a little more thinking involved. For example, Chiefs pitcher Jeff Mandel has become affectionately known as Howie. It’s quite handy. It serves as a signal to the pronunciation of Jeff’s last name AND opens up a universe of Deal or no Deal references. And this:
For those of you that haven’t seen Bobby’s World, it was a rather psychedelic somewhat-live-somewhat-cartoon series which featured the now-mullet-free Howie Mandel. If you have a chance to catch the series, take it all.
Sometimes, nicknames don’t always have the same full-clubhouse appeal. So, when Greg Booker nicknamed new Chiefs catcher James Skelton “Red” in May, there were some folks who didn’t quite grasp it. Booker’s contention was the name fit, but also that the backstop was built a little like ol’ Red Skelton.
Yes, James came through the Tigers organization as a catcher. But that doesn’t mean he looked like one. Alll 5’11”, 165 of him was converted to the infield in 2009. And so, when he arrived in Chiefsville last year, Skelton drew a few glances for his size, or lack thereof. But, as we find out so much in life, it’s not wise to judge a bat by its glover. Or whatever that phrase is.
Skelton’s plate discipline (five walks to four strikeouts in his first eight games) and his ability to man a pitching staff brought smiles to the faces of both manager Tony Beasley and Booker. In game two of a doubleheader against Louisville on June 6th, Skelton made the whole team grin.
Skelton turned what could have been a lost great start from Mandel (five innings, one hit, five strikeouts) into a victory for the Chiefs. By the way, that hit was one more than Skelton had with Louisville in nine at-bats in 2011.
Sadly, though, Skelton’s season was shortened significantly five days later. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs were in town and Skelton was behind the plate. He singled in his first at-bat and the Chiefs took a 1-0 lead on a first-inning double play ball. Then, in the fourth, the IronPigs rallied and Kyle Hudson was at third.
That play left Skelton with a dislocated shoulder and put him on the shelf for a month and a half. It was an odd situation. Skelton had to vacate the plate to catch the throw from Teahen up the first-base side of home. Hudson, a former football player at Illinois, sought out the contact and rendered himself out. Skelton played in two games the rest of the year for the Chiefs including the season finale in which he scored two runs.
Will James Skelton ever make it to the majors? Who knows. He won some hearts in the Chiefs clubhouse in 2012, that’s for sure. Kevin’s back on Friday with #10.
“Beat that, Benetti.” Really? A challenge? Well there’s no better way to one-up a person than to do approximately what he did….and do it a little better.
And so, a comeback victory against Rochester it is. En garde, Brown.
#12: Tea for Four, and Four for J-Mike
One of the most entertaining aspects of a Triple-A baseball season is the release of the Opening Day roster. What prospects will be in Syracuse? What will the starting rotation be like? The question I always like to ask is, “What players who have had Major League careers?” It’s generally fun and informative to be around guys who have put on Major League uniforms. They’ve got happy memories, have learned from the best and are somewhat looser than players who have never tasted the bigs (and, thus, are a little more nervous about their legacies and where they currently stand).
This past season, two of the “previously writ large” names in Syracuse in April were Mark Teahen and Jason Michaels. Teahen was, if you ask him (and his tongue is remotely close to his cheek), was the inspiration behind Michael Lewis’ mega-hit, Moneyball. Michaels won a World Series with the Phillies. The one thing the Chiefs seemed to have was game-tested knowledge and leadership.
Congress has knowledge and leadership and is walking toward something comfortingly known as a “fiscall cliff.” This, I think, is happening because John Ratzenberger won the lottery.
With all of that veteran impetus, though, the Chiefs opened the season 4-13. In game 18, on a rather temperate Wednesday evening in Rochester, the Chiefs went down 4-0 in the fourth inning. After two walks and a single, Mark Teahen came to the plate and did what he had done a career-high 18 times with the Royals in 2006:
It was a big one. Teahen’s grand slam tied the game. Rochester came back to score in the home half of the seventh, though. So, the game entered the eighth with the Chiefs down a run. Against new reliever Tyler Robertson, Teahen walked. Tyler Moore singled through the left side of the infield. Bryce Harper, then, attempted to give an out with a sacrifice bunt, but Rochester wouldn’t let him. Third baseman Michael Hollimon didn’t handle the bunt cleanly and everyone reached safely. Michaels was next:
Two slams. Five innings. And a 10-5 win over the Red Wings. Michaels only played 20 more games after that one in his career. He retired to become a coach in June.
The Chiefs won 11 of the 16 games last season with Rochester…..and there may be one more of those games on my list. Along with your kiss.
P.S. Kevin: That you mentioned “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” without including Comedy Tonight might be the most depressing thing that’s happened to me since Hi-C stopped making Ecto Cooler.
The Chiefs take on Toledo at 7:00 tonight at Alliance Bank Stadium. If you tune in tonight to our broadcasts on Time Warner Cable Sports (Me and Steve Grilli) or on The Score 1260 (Kevin Brown), you might hear:
*The Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony is tomorrow night. Former Baltimore Oriole Scott McGregor will be inducted along with four others (Carlos Delgado was inducted at the Hot Stove event in February).
*Toledo starter Drew Smyly went to high school at Little Rock Central. That’s the same school which, 55 years ago, was the test case for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. Read more here.
*Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli is allowing opponents to hit only .186 this year.
*The Nationals, at 73-45, have the best record in baseball by a full two games.
*Former Chief Horacio Ramirez has been signed by the Cubs. Ramirez, a former Atlanta Brave starter, threw with the Chiefs in the first year of affiliation with Washington, 2009.
All this and more at 6:45 on The Score 1260 and at 7 on Time Warner Cable Sports.
On August 18, the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame’s Class of 2012 will be inducted prior to the Chiefs’ game against the Indianapolis Indians. Here on Inside the Chiefs, we’re catching up with the soon-to-be Syracuse Wall of Famers.
First up, one of the most popular players in Chiefs history: Stu Pederson. The right fielder (who played for the L.A. Dodgers for part of the 1985 season) was a member of the Chiefs from 1988-92, suiting up for 473 games. Among the highlights of Pederson’s Syracuse career was a walk-off grand slam to win the final game of the ’91 campaign and being a member of the ’89 International League pennant-winning club. Pederson’s popularity with Chiefs’ fans was so high that the team hosted a “Stu Pederson Night” during the ’91 season.
Stu sat down with our intern, John Nolan, a short while ago for this question and answer session:
What comes to mind when you think of your time as a member of the Chiefs organization?
John and Tex. They were just great people. When I got there, they welcomed me in. We formed an instant relationship. They were great people — really nice to myself and my family. When I think of Syracuse, the first thing I think of is Tex and Johnny and their whole family. They’re like one big family.
What are some of your best memories from your playing days in Syracuse?
I got my 1,000th hit there. But you know, just being at the old MacArthur Stadium, where so many all-stars had played before, that was memorable.
Why do you think you became such a fan favorite?
I don’t know the exact reason, but I would imagine with Syracuse being a blue-collar type town, it’s because I was a hard-nosed player. I wasn’t the fastest guy, or the guy with the most power, or anything like that. I played my hardest every time out. That’s how I was taught to play and I displayed it.
Part of your popularity probably had something to do with the way fans simply embraced yelling your name. Heck, your name was even printed on t-shirts and megaphones. Was MacArthur Stadium’s famous chant of your first name something you experienced throughout your career?
That was kind of unique to Syracuse. People used to call my name, “Stuuuuu!”
When I played in San Antonio, the P.A. announcer there did it. But in Syracuse, it kind of took on a life of its own. I still have the t-shirt that says “Stuuuu!” on it.
You played in Syracuse from 1988-92. After a year or two, players often decide to move on to another club. What kept you with the Chiefs for five seasons?
I felt comfortable there. John and Tex make you feel comfortable. Rather than bounce around from different teams and different organizations every year, I enjoyed Syracuse and I still loved playing baseball. To me, baseball is baseball. Would I have liked to have made it back to the big leagues? Sure. But I thought Syracuse was as good as any minor league city I was gonna play in, so that’s why I stayed.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the 2012 Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame induction class?
It’s an honor. It’s a great honor with so many great players having gone through Syracuse and playing there. Obviously it’s not based on what I did in the major leagues, but based on what I did in Syracuse. It shows the appreciation the people of Syracuse have for me as a ballplayer.
So with your playing days over, what is Stu Pederson up to now?
Living in the San Francisco area. Married still to my wife, Shelly. We’ve been married for almost 28 years. We have four kids – three boys (Champ, 24, Tyger, 22, and Joc, 20) and a daughter (Jacey, 14).
I have my own business — a ticket business. We sell tickets for sporting events, concerts, and theater events.
Still love baseball. I coach high school baseball and a travel team during the summer time. I really enjoy it, trying to help some of these younger kids reach their dream.
And finally, what do you hope your legacy is with Syracuse baseball fans?
Played hard. Gave it everything he had. Played the game the right way, played hard.
This comes from one of our media relations interns, John Nolan (who himself will be interning for NBC on its Olympics coverage this summer)….
Corey Brown, Zach Duke, and the rest of their Chiefs teammates aren’t the only residents of Chiefsville garnering headlines these days. In fact, five members of the Chiefs front office have been the subject of recent feature articles.
The Syracuse New Times made Chiefs Director of Communications and play-by-play voice Jason Benetti the cover boy of its July 3 edition. Chris Baker’s article explores how the ever-prepared and clever Jason has overcome a near-death experience as a young child to become a “Wonder Mike.”
And Jason isn’t the only one in the Chiefs broadcast booth to be profiled of late. Jason’s broadcast partner Kevin Brown was the subject of Ben Meyers’ story on “The ‘Other’ Voice of the Chiefs” for Federal Baseball on July 14. Meyers shares how Brown actually grew up aspiring to be a zookeeper. Fortunate for radio listeners of the Chiefs, though, the 22-year-old Brown overcame tamed his dreams and is now displaying his skills as a broadcaster.
(By the way, in case you missed it back in May, even one of our interns made news. Bill Spaulding received the 2012 Jim Nantz Award for being America’s top collegiate sports broadcaster. And although this didn’t come with a trophy like the Nantz Award did, additional congratulations to Bill for also recently being named the fiance of Deanna Payson.)
Finally, the limelight in Chiefsville was also cast on three others in the office: Wendy and Ariel Shoen, and Desirée Ellison. Meet the Diamond Girls by Jill Romano in the July issue of Syracuse Woman’s Magazine chronicles how Wendy, Ariel, and Desirée have found success working in an industry dominated by the opposite sex.
Who will be highlighted next? Keep scanning the headlines to see. For now though, once you’re done reading about Jason, Kevin, Desirée, Wendy, and Ariel, come find them at Alliance Bank Stadium to discover how the sundry crew is even more outstanding in person.
Thank you Charlie Tuna. It’s a pleasure to be here along with you folks for another edition of (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. It’s been a long time……20-game homestands and All-Star Breaks aren’t great for ratings, that’s for sure. If you’ve just joined along, we present to to you a recent hotel the Syracuse Chiefs have stayed in, list three pros and three cons and assign a rating between 0 and 100. This week’s contestant is the Downtown Durham Marriott!
1) Internet improvement. Two seasons ago, when the Chiefs went to Durham, I had keys for a pair of rooms at the Marriott. I wheeled my suitcase into the first room and opened my computer. The web wouldn’t load. I called the front desk The man there said the music wouldn’t play. He also said that he’d reset the Internet. That didn’t help. So, as a test, I brought my computer to a different floor and connected to the Internet. Worked fine. See, some hotels have routers scattered on every other floor. That leaves the evens (or the odds) with weak wireless. That was the case in that situation. So, I got a different room. This time around, the Internet was great in multiple locations. Nicely done on the fix.
2) Proximity to sustenance. Kevin and I had our first ever chicken and waffles experience just steps from the hotel’s side door (see below).
Also, a few blocks away was a neat little free-range burger joint with absolutely delectable food. Plus, the park is nearby.
3) Generally nice. The carpeting is nice. The walls are nice. The towel carts are nice. The drapes are nice. There’s something to be said about being clean and nice. No real big blemishes. That’s perfect in my book. Nice. (No, I don’t want your thesaurus. Nice of you to offer, though.)
1) Water switcheroo. They used to have a tankard of flavored water at the exit. Now they don’t. That’s like when grocery stores used to have Boku. Now they don’t. Terrible.
Goes well with capers.
2) Overreaching engineering. The ice machine on our floor was unavailable. So, there was a neato sign in front of the alcove in which it was housed:
Very informative, but let’s be honest, engineering wouldn’t be that cordial. Do you know any engineers? Would they apologize for any inconvenience? That’s like Boris Badenov apologizing for chasing a flying squirrel.
3) Pillows. Where do they teach that all beds need to have 6000 pillows on them? If so, can I guest lecture? Nine carpets on the floor make the floor lumpy. 250 scoops of hot fudge on a sundae make the ice cream taste goopy. And 206 pillows tend to clutter a bed. Stop it.
Rating: 91. Very good. Any effort made on improving quality of Internet is worth bonus points.
Chiefs are back from the break tonight with a 6 P.M. suspended game against SWB. Catch it all on The Score 1260 or online at thescore1260.com.
It’s time for another edition of Fab Four Friday, where we join arms with Chiefs pitching coach Greg Booker and walk down memory lane (Penny’s intellectual sister). Each week, Booker chooses a song and we talk about where it came from, why it’s a classic and other odds and ends. This week, originally released as the B-Side to “Help!”, “I’m Down.” As a side note, today is Greg Booker’s birthday. So, if you see him at the park, wish him a happy one.
Greg Booker: Paul loved Little Richard as he was growing up. He always went around singing his stuff and he could really hit the notes Little Richard did. In his own words, he said he could do Little Richard well with the “horse-screaming-like thing” so he decided to write his own song in that category.
Jason Benetti: We’ve talked a couple of times about influences and it spans from Little Richard to Roy Orbison. Those are two extremely different types of music.
Booker: I would say I agree, very much so. I guess that leads them to some understanding as to how they come up with so many songs. We have to remember that in Liverpool or England at that time, they didn’t get a lot of American radio. They had to rely on a few certain artists the record companies would get records in. It was guys like Elvis Presley and Little Richard. I’m sure they liked them, but when that’s all you’re getting, they didn’t get any stuff on the radio.
Booker: The same reason Avery likes “Bye Bye Bye” by ‘NSYNC. When he was young, it probably made him jump around a little bit. He would kill me if he knew I said that.
Benetti: He may very soon.
Booker: In looking at some of the footage of The Ed Sullivan Show when they were there, they played this on their third live Ed Sullivan Show September 12, 1965.
Here’s the story of how The Beatles ended up there:
Booker: This was also the first song ever recorded by Aerosmith. They used it as a demo trying to get their first album released or recorded. Eventually, the whole thing died and never was done. The Beastie Boys also loved this song. They recorded a 1986 version of it. With Michael Jackson owning the catalog, he wouldn’t let them release it.
Booker: George sings great harmony in this. If you listen, you can really hear the hard drum and the hard bass through this. It’s just like “boom.” One of the real songs where you can hear George’s harmony perfectly. I think he’s just unbelievable. Something about Ringo’s drum here is harder. When he does it live at Shea Stadium, John plays the electric piano or organ with his elbow.
Benetti: And there’s the scream, very Little Richard.
Booker: Right. Get the video of John playing with his elbow. He’s having a blast. You don’t get many songs where you can really hear George’s vocals. He’s only saying “I’m down”, but it’s awesome.
Benetti: John’s really in the background there.
Booker: He doesn’t have a lot in this song other than a couple of “I’m down”s which you can’t really hear.
If you have any comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s some stuff you’ll enjoy:
*Highlights from last night’s close call with the PawSox.
*Donnie Webb talked to new catcher Koyie Hill postgame.
*Strange stuff involving a former Chief reliever.
*Amanda Comak on Strasburg’s inning limit.
The Chiefs try to make it three straight over the division leaders tonight. Our airtime is 6:45. Hope you can join me and Kevin on The Score 1260 and thescore1260.com.