Today marks the beginning of a new series where we’ll take a look at each opposing team’s roster and examine why they’re here – the “trickledown” effect of sorts from who’s in the major leagues. With the Chiefs in Buffalo, it’s time to examine the roster for the Bisons – the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets.
Catcher: Jean Luc Blaquiere, Lucas May
This group looked 50% different just a few days ago, with Rob Johnson starting two of the three games the last time the Bisons played Syracuse. But the veteran backstop’s been placed on the disabled list after suffering a left knee sprain. May’s a 27-year old with 37 big league at-bats in 2010, so he’d likely be the next catcher in line over Blaquiere, who hit just .229 with Double-A Binghamton last year and has all of two at-bats this season.
Up in the major leagues, Josh Thole’s got a firm grip on the starting job with a .317 average, and backup Mike Nickeas is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. Outside of an injury, this isn’t likely to change much.
First Base: Valentino Pascucci, Josh Satin
Ike Davis had a solid 2010 and strong 37 games before an injury in 2011 – but with a .185 average through 22 games, there’s room for improvement for the Mets’ major league first baseman. It might not come from the Bisons’ primary first basemen, though. Satin’s been turned almost exclusively into a first baseman with Buffalo this year, but he’s hitting .275 with just a .294 on-base percentage through this season. Satin shot through the Mets’ system last year and got some experience with the big club at the end of the season, but he’s likely not enough of a power hitter to make the jump.
Pascucci, on the other hand, is more than enough of a power hitter. But the Triple-A veteran isn’t on the 40-man roster and doesn’t have much major league experience. He played with the Bisons throughout Buffalo’s entire season last year – heading to the majors after the Triple-A season ended – and seems likely to stay with the Herd for the duration of 2012.
Second Base: Bobby Scales, Michael Fisher
Daniel Murphy’s been playing a solid second base for the Mets, with Justin Turner providing versatility as his primary backup. There likely won’t be a change from Triple-A, since neither Scales nor Fisher is on the 40-man roster. Scales, a longtime minor leaguer with a few big league games sprinkled in, seems likely to provide Triple-A depth for the Mets. Fisher’s in his second Triple-A season after hitting .259 with four home runs in 65 games last year.
Shortstop: Omar Quintanilla
Quintanilla’s played 227 games in the major leagues between 2005 and 2011, but after a 1-for-22 output last year and a .172 average in 2009, he’s not on the 40-man roster for the Mets. If the mets needed a utility infielder in a pinch, Quintanilla could be an option, but he’d have to overtake 40-man players Satin and Zach Lutz. Quintanilla hasn’t been in Double-A since 2005, so expect to see a good chunk of the veteran with Buffalo.
Third Base: Zach Lutz, Brad Emaus
Lutz just returned from a brief trip to the Mets, where he was 1 for 8 with five strikeouts in five games in his first time on a major league roster. The third baseman played just 72 games in 2010 and 63 in 2011 due to a number of different injuries, but he’s provided pop when healthy – 47 home runs in 286 career minor league games. As a 40-man player, he could certainly see some time in the bigs again, though David Wright won’t ever be in trouble of losing his job this season.
Emaus started last season with the Mets after New York claimed him in the Rule V draft from Toronto. Since then, it’s been a rocky road. Emaus was designated for assignment after 18 days in the major leagues and sent back to the Blue Jays, who promptly traded him to Colorado the next day. This January, Emaus was traded to the Red Sox, who released him in early April. Two weeks later, Emaus signed with the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is apparently a real thing. And then a week later, the Mets re-signed him.
(Hang on, let’s pause for a moment to take a breath now…)
Emaus has posted great numbers in Triple-A in his career, and that’s likely where he’ll stay for the duration of 2012.
Outfield: Fred Lewis, Dustin Martin, Vinny Rottino, Matt Tuiasosopo
This is a relatively easy group to figure out for Buffalo. Outside of a few rehab games for Lewis, none of these four outfielders played in Double-A last season, and none of them are on the 40-man roster, either. With Scott Hairston, Andres Torres, Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Mets are set in the outfield, with Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin, both up from Buffalo, as backups. Jason Bay’s on the disabled list, so either Baxter or Valdespin is likely to return to Triple-A at some point, and outfielders Adam Loewen and Corey Wimberly are sitting on the Bisons’ disabled list – meaning this is a Bisons group that could get very crowded very quickly. The only other two outfielders on the Mets’ 40 man roster are in Double-A (Juan Lagares) and Single-A (Cesar Puello), so don’t expect a ton of upward movement here.
Starting Pitchers: Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Garrett Olson, Dylan Owen
Familia and Hefner are the two 40-man starters here, with Harvey – one of the Mets’ most prized prospects – not far behind. New York’s rotation so far has been mostly good, with four of the five spots in no danger of being replaced – Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey. #5 starter Dillon Gee’s sporting a 4.85 ERA in four starts, but that’s mainly due to a single poor start. Unless there’s an injury, this staff is likely set.
As for the current Bisons hurlers, Hefner, Olsen and Owen have all posted strong numbers and have past Triple-A success. Harvey and Familia have been up and down, but both pitchers are prized prospects who should get every chance to prove their worth at this level. Owen will likely be bumped to the bullpen when Chris Schwinden returns from the major leagues. Schwinden, a 2011 IL All-Star, is currently up in the majors with Mike Pelfrey on the 15-day DL.
Relief Pitchers: Fernando Cabrera, Josh Edgin, Jack Egbert, Justin Hampson, Brad Holt, Chuck James, Jeff Stevens
The Mets’ bullpen certainly has some room for improvement, with Manny Acosta (9.00 ERA) and Miguel Batista (7.84) off to slow starts. But – as you might be able to guess by now – none of these seven Buffalo relievers are on the 40-man roster. But in case there’s a move to be made, the Bisons have a few strong options. Cabrera – the team’s closer – sports a Bisons-best 0.87 ERA in nine games, while former major leaguer James has a 1.17 mark in eight games. With a 3.04 team ERA, there are plenty of options in Buffalo for the Mets, should New York need them.
Check back tomorrow for a profile of new Chiefs infielder and Buffalo native Jim Negrych. And please send us your ideas for segments you’d like to see or players you’d like to hear about at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Don’t forget to tweet at us as well @ChiefsRadio.
Respect the game. Some players might toss that phrase off as a trite baseball cliché, in the same book as take it one game at a time or give 110%. Josh Johnson, the newest member of the Syracuse Chiefs, isn’t one of those players. After talking to the 26-year old infielder on Monday, that was readily apparent.
“My dad was a big league ballplayer,” said Johnson, “a big inspiration in my development. He always told me to respect the game and hustle on and off the field. Nobody’s better than the game. This game’s going to continue for years beyond mine, so if I can leave my little mark on the game and inspire a young man to play the game as hard as Pete Rose inspired a young man to play the game respectfully, then that’s my ultimate goal.”
Charlie Hustle himself would be proud of the way Johnson’s gone about his business after two days in Syracuse. The switch-hitting infielder’s collected two hits and made a number of strong defensive plays – this after hitting .395 with seven extra-base hits in his first 11 games with Harrisburg this season. The jump from Double-A to Triple-A often overwhelms players – but Johnson doesn’t seem to be one of them.
“It’s the same game,” Johnson said when asked about the transition. “I’m going to stick with my same routine, nothing new. They’ve got to throw strikes. I’ve got to catch the ball. I’ve got to make my plays on defense. It’s the same game.”
On defense, Johnson, who’s listed at 5’11 and 170 pounds, has a bit of an unorthodox throwing motion. Some players, like Pawtucket’s Jose Iglesias, can field and throw a ground ball so smoothly that the ball never seems to touch their hands. Johnson is not one of those players. Think David Eckstein, who seems to put every ounce of strength he has and more into his throws, and you’ve got an estimation of Johnson’s play. And that’s the way he likes it.
“I like to throw the ball as hard as I can,” says Johnson. “I like to run the bases hard. I just try to do everything 100%. As long as I just continue to play my game, I’m a high energy guy, hustling on and off the field, respecting the game.”
Chiefs fans might see Johnson all over the field this season. He’s played five different positions in the minors – second base, third base, shortstop, center field, and left field. And his father, Larry Doby Johnson – yes, named after the American League’s first ever African-American player – was a major league catcher over parts of five seasons. So…does that mean the Chiefs could even have an emergency catcher on their hands?
“No,” says Johnson with a laugh. “Definitely not. My dad was a catcher and I see the wear and tear it has on those guys’ bodies. I don’t think I’ll be volunteering my services.”
Nor will he volunteer his services to pitch – unlike the other Josh Johnson, the Miami Marlins’ ace. It’s a silly comparison to bring up – yes, the two professional ballplayers share a name. They’re also about eight inches apart, play completely different positions, have a different skin color and have never played for the same organization. It seems outrageous that anyone would confuse the two, right? Would that ever really happen?
“All the time,” says a smiling Johnson. “(People) always, for some reason, believe that I’m a lighter-skinned, taller, hard-throwing righty. But I’m not too sure how they can confuse us. It happens all the time – they ask me to sign cards, and I sit there and I look and I see a guy flipping a ball up, looking with a mean face and a Marlins hat on.”
This Josh Johnson’s concerned with blazing his own path to the majors. Maybe he’ll get there and face his namesake one day in a division battle. But even if the Chiefs’ newest player doesn’t get there, it won’t be for a lack of trying – or a lack of respect. For his father, for his team – or for the game.
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KB here…I’d love to say that I’m writing this from Florida, but alas, Jason and I have returned to the not-as-warm North. The good news? It’s 70 and sunny today on Long Island, and I hear it’s about the same in Syracuse. I’ll be 315-bound in a couple of days, so that’s great news. We’ll be rolling out a couple of new videos from Florida in the next few days. Here’s Jason with likely Chiefs relievers Lee Hyde and Jeff Mandel to start it off.
Here’s the second set of pictures from our trip to spring training. They’re from today’s Nationals/Yankees game from Space Coast Stadium in Viera, the home of the Nats’ spring training complex.
That’s all for tonight. Jason’ll have some thoughts tomorrow morning.
Hello Chiefs fans – here’s a look at some pictures taken by our crack photography staff (also known as me and Jason) during the Nationals’ last two games. The first set is from Washington’s trip to the Atlanta Braves at the Wide World of Disney ESPN Complex from yesterday, March 14, and the second set is from Washington’s home game against the New York Yankees from today, March 15. Here’s our first set…
Hello from sunny and gorgeous Viera, Chiefs fans. We’ve been down here for two days now and it’s safe to say this is one of the best places on Earth. We may not come back for a little while.
Anyway, we walked around the minor league complex today and talked with players and coaches from the Nationals organization alike. The mood is certainly sunny around the camp – and it’s always sunny when chatting with Chiefs reliever Ryan Tatusko. (And in Philadelphia.) Here’s a video look at what’s new with Ryan.
Be sure to let us know what you’d like to hear or see from spring training. Shoot us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Really thrilled I get to review a collection of Rick Astley’s greatest hits. I suppose this narrowly beat out The Criterion Collection’s Roberto Beningi pack. Hey, this has four out of five stars on AllMusic.com! About two and a half more than I expected.
The first track is Never Gonna Give You Up. I won’t reviews this because everyone’s heard it a million times, but I will link to this video as a bonus. And yes, this is real.
And that is the only Rick Astley song I’ve ever heard. Let’s proceed.
Track two is called Whenever You Need Somebody, which I think was an alternate title for Never Gonna Give You Up. And wait…what is this…it’s the SAME drum introduction as Never Gonna Give You Up! Am I being RickRolled by Rick Astley himself? Every lyric in this is a vague cliche. Brutal stuff. The chorus starts with “whenever you need somebody”, and I keep thinking he’s going to say “whenever you call me, I’ll be there.” Similar melody. Not good.
Track three is Together Forever, which allegedly reached #1 in the U.S. charts in 1988. Really glad I wasn’t born until the following year. Searching “together forever” on YouTube gives me two Rick Astley results, followed directly by this, which is definitely way better…
So, back to Rick Astley…guess what? It’s the EXACT SAME INTRO. AGAIN. This is absolutely ridiculous. Oh, wait, I recognize this chorus! And yes, Never Gonna Give You Up would fit perfectly into the melody of this one. I don’t think you’d need to do any kind of editing with the pace at all. Rick would apparently “move heaven and earth to be together forever with you.” So many synths. Yikes. I have to seriously resist the urge to not sing “never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down” at the chorus.
Next up: My Arms Keep Missing You. Oh, lord. The first three YouTube results are for a song of this title by “Danzel vs. DJ FRANK.” Right. As for Rick…hey, it’s a drum intro that only partially sounds like Never Gonna Give You Up! Highlight of the album! Anyway, this is more totally generic lovey-dovey stuff. Here’s the chorus:
“My arms keep missing you, who’s been kissing you since you went away?
My arms keep missing you, I keep wishing you’d come back today.”
Cringe-inducing stuff. There are TEN songs left on this compilation? Just brutal.
Track five is next and it’s She Wants To Dance With Me, a former Canadian #1 that Astley performed at the 1989 Grammys. It was, according to Wikipedia, “Astley’s first self-composed single that he released.” Oh, no.
On to the song…oh my, it’s a synth intro, not a drum one! Well, the drums kick in after a couple of seconds, so that’s sort of a lie. More of the same stuff as the first four songs here…if I had a nickel for every time Rick says “she wants to dance” in this song, I’d have a double-digit amount of nickels. Whoa…is that a saxophone solo at roughly the two-thirds mark of the song? Yes, sir! Not horrible, which is high praise at this point.
Track six: Take Me To Your Heart. I think all these song titles are lines from the movie Top Gun. If you can guess what two instruments this song sounds with, I’ll give you…absolutely nothing. This song is way different than the first five in that it has backup female singers in a call-and-response chorus, and…nothing else different at all. Would it kill you to do SOMETHING else, Rick?
Don’t Say Goodbye is track seven. I am perilously close to doing just that. I will listen only if this doesn’t open with a drum/synth intro…
Oh my goodness, it doesn’t! It opens with Rick’s voice alone! (Damn it all.) This is another potential nickel-maker with the phrase “don’t say goodbye, girl.” I don’t know if I can take any more of this. We’re only midway through the album, too. Time for some quick summaries at this point.
Track eight is I Don’t Wanna Lose Her, the only track on this compilation without a corresponding Wikipedia page. I think every beat and lyric is cut and pasted from another song on this album. Track nine is Giving Up on Love. I know I am at the moment. (Also, I guess Rick lost her.) This opens with a drum followed by some synthy-bells-type stuff straight out of a Christmas song. Here are two amazing sentences from this song’s Wikipedia page:
1) “The song notably contradicts the theme of faithfulness to a lover Astley had been known for with songs like “Never Gonna Give You Up“, “Whenever You Need Somebody” and “Together Forever“, causing some to feel betrayed by Astley.” RICK! YOU FILTHY BETRAYER!
2) “ Astley later admitted in 2009 that the single was released as a ploy to draw in teenage girl listeners, and that he had not in fact given up on love.” PHEW!
Track ten is It Would Take A Strong Strong Man, in which Rick claims “my heart’s been hurtin’ when I see you flirtin’, every night out on the floor.” Is Rick at the club every night? Or is his girlfriend just talking to the kitchen tiles? More lyrics here include “my heart starts achin’, my hands keep shakin’”…is he stealing lines from AC/DC? Track eleven is Hold Me In Your Arms, which must have been a Journey song. Wikipedia says “it was Astley’s first true self-penned ballad but suffered on the charts largely due to his deteriorating relationship with the UK press.” Bloody ‘ell, Ricky. He tries really, really hard to sing this one all meaningful-like. Doesn’t work.
We’ve now reached the part of the album that no one cares about, since the next song is a cover of Doris Day’s When I Fall In Love. Once you get to the cover songs on this compilations, we’ve run out of any quality original material. This song has also been covered by Nat King Cole, and it’s pretty clear that Rick is trying to sound exactly like Nat on this one. Doesn’t work.
Track thirteen, the second-to-last one, is titled Cry For Help. Well, it’s a little too late for that. Amazingly enough, this is the first song off of Astley’s third album – this dude stacked his hits together. This is some sort of a soulful ballad with lots of piano and choir, a happy and head-bobbing choir. Not terrible, but totally unmemorable. The final song is Hopelessly, which was apparently his last single for about eight years, since Astley retired until 2001. It’s very average, but hey, apparently Rick Astley was a backup singer on Can You Feel The Love Tonight on the soundtrack for The Lion King! Awesome!
This was bad, but at least I discovered lots of great Rick Astley facts, like the fact that he has only made $12 off of his video’s plays on YouTube since he wasn’t a songwriter. Oops.
All right, JB, ball’s in your court…since you’re such a fitness freak, your goal is to review the latest edition of Men’s Health. A quick Google search reveals a recent David Beckham cover – sounds right up your alley.
As always, we encourage you to send us your best suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Does it feel like baseball season yet? My scorebook arrived in the mail today, and the weather’s been significantly better already than it was at the start of last season – so, in a way, yes. Jason and I will be heading down to Florida soon for a week at spring training, but most of the Nationals players, coaches and executives are already there. I caught up with one of them last week – Chiefs trainer Atsushi Toriida, who’ll return for his second year with Syracuse in 2012.
How much travel has gone into your offseason?
A lot. After the season, my parents came over from Japan for the first time – my uncle, aunt, wife and kids all came together. At that time I was in Washington, D.C., so we did a tour in D.C. We went to New York after that and stayed there three or four days and then flew to Niagara Falls. Then we came back to New York and then they flew out to Japan. My wife and kids drove down to Florida and we stayed here until the beginning of December. Then we flew back to Japan December 1st or 2nd. We stayed at my wife’s place for about a week, then we went to my parent’s place which is about two hours away by plane. We stayed there for about a month, then flew back to my wife’s place for about two weeks, then came back to Florida January 24th. So…we’ve been traveling a lot. *laughs*
How tough has that been on your kids?
My daughter just started going to school this month. She’s only three years old and she’s going to pre-K in Florida and she loves it. My son is just one so he doesn’t have to worry about school yet.
So how did the offseason feel for you?
It was good. I spent a lot of time with my family and my wife’s family, we get together a lot from Christmas to New Year’s. My parents love to see my kids.
When did you find out you were coming back to the Chiefs?
Well, my contract is up at the end of October so usually they call or email me every year. They said you’re going back at the end of October, so that’s what I expected after the season finished because I didn’t see any moves on the big league side.
How much will you miss Randy Knorr this year?
A lot. Not only me, but all of Syracuse will miss him a lot. But we get Tony Beasley, who’s a pretty good guy. I like him a lot, too. We can have a lot of fun with Tony.
This seems like it will be another fun coaching staff.
Definitely. I know (new Chiefs hitting coach) Troy Gingrich, we’ve been on the same team for three or four years. Last year was a different kind of fun. Tony’s a pretty successful manager in the minor leagues, so we expect to win more. The fact I know the hitting and pitching coaches already makes it easier for me to work with them.
Is anything different now that you’re going into your second year in Triple-A?
As a trainer, every year is different. I can’t really expect whats going to happen, I need to prepare for anything. Traveling-wise last year, there was stuff I’d never done before, like flying to different cities. But I can prepare a lot of things before the season starts, hotels and flying and such, because I now know how it goes. So that’s going to give me a lot of confidence. Last year I was excited to go to Triple-A, but this year I feel more confident and like I can prepare a lot of things better this year.
What was the highlight of your offseason?
My daughter turned three years old last year. In Japan at ages three and seven we have some kind of traditional ceremony. Usually, people do it in the summertime, but we did that in December after we get back home. She and my wife dressed up in kimonos, and we went to a shrine to do some ceremony stuff.
How much are you looking forward to the season?
As an organization, a lot of people expect the major league team to do better than in the past. Since I started working for the organization, we really didn’t have a lot of winning big league teams in the organization, but this year will be different. We expect the MLB team to win. That’s going to give a lot of motivation and confidence to the minor league teams. That’s something new to me.
I don’t know how I had never seen Annie Hall, either, before you ask. I’m somewhat ashamed of myself, to be honest, but glad I was forced to remedy this in our latest edition of the Culture Challenge. An excellent choice by Jason. My real-time thoughts of the movie are as follows…
I like having Woody Allen face us right away. Feels like we’re kind of intimately linked to the character. Is he conscious of the movie of his life? This is slightly bizarre. Are all the characters now talking straight to the camera?
I know why I like this so far, this is just a 8-minute version of Curb Your Enthusiasm. That must be why Jason picked it.
I totally sympathize with Woody Allen for not wanting to go in to the movie after two minutes. I hate doing that too. Nicely done, Woody.
The dialogue in this movie theatre scene is just exceptional. This is an absolutely amazing scene. I could watch this about ten times over.
“Why are you so hostile?” “Because I want to watch the Knicks on television.” Woody has an early onset case of Linsanity.
“What’d you do, grow up in a Norman Rockwell painting?”
This initial visit to Annie’s house is just about the most awkward encounter of all-time. In fact, I have no idea why Alvy is still there. Still sort of endearing, though.
“I have bad plumbing and bugs.” ”You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
Christopher Walken is here! Just tremendous. Woody Allen in a rabbi outfit! Nearly as tremendous.
“Well, I have to go now, Dwayne, I’m due back on the planet Earth.”
Woody stopping random people on the street is amazing. I love when he meets the couple who admits they are shallow and empty.
“Darling, I’ve been killing spiders since I was 30.”
Hapy to see Alvy and Annie get back together. Didn’t think I would care that much about this fake romantic relationship.
It took an hour and seven minutes, but Paul Simon is here and I am thrilled. I saw his name in the opening credits. Paul Simon makes everything better.
I imagine the scene where Woody Allen sneezes and blows the cocaine everywhere was the first of its kind, since I have feel like I have seen that at least three other times.
Woody Allen calling the laugh track “immoral” is amazing. And I totally agree.
I’m not taking many notes because I’m just soaking in all the great lines. But Paul Simon’s character going to the Grammys is a funny little self-aware touch. Speaking of funny, Woody Allen trying to drive.
What a great movie. There is no action here, no great sense of adventure, no plot twist, no one memorable scene, no overuse of music, no slow-motion – just lots of talking. I don’t know if I’ve seen five movies in my life with better dialogue than Annie Hall. I certainly can’t think of one off the top of my head. I was unfairly upset at Annie Hall for a bit since it unfairly beat out Star Wars for Best Picture at the 1978 Oscars (and let’s face it, nothing should have beat out Star Wars) but it’s absolutely a deserving winner as well.I’ll probably buy this one. Woody’s latest, Midnight in Paris, was my favorite film of 2011, and this is certainy a notch up on Midnight in Paris. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Hey, speaking of Midnight in Paris…
From Woody Allen to Woody Allen we go. Jason, you get the 2011 version of the world’s most neurotic director for next week. Bonne chance.
Anybody else feel like baseball season is right around the corner? There’s a reason for that…it is. (Though that’s a bit of a lengthy corner, still.) We’re about a month and a half away from the Chiefs’ 2012 opening day, and for the most part, we don’t know who’s going to be there. One name we have a pretty good idea on, though, is Seth Bynum. The IL All-Star should start his fourth year with the Chiefs this season, and he returned to the Chiefs Hot Stove last week in Liverpool. Hope you got a chance to chat with Seth there – but never fear if you don’t, because we did. Here’s what the slugging middle infielder had to say about his offseason…
Kevin Brown: I hear you’ve had an eventful offseason so far.
Seth Bynum: I’m a proud papa. I have a little daughter, she’s six weeks old – Madison Jade. It’s life-changing. It’s awesome.
KB: How stressful is it being a first-time father?
SB: You get worn out. You don’t get much sleep. You have to coordinate with your wife, your partner on how things go, but overall it’s wonderful.
KB: She didn’t accompany you to Syracuse, obviously, but your dad Kurt is here. Is this his first trip to Syracuse?
SB: First trip to Syracuse, yep. I wanted to bring him, I showed him around town today so he’s like a kid in a candy store. He’s pumped.
KB: I know last year he got to go to Fenway Park for the game and he said he was a lifelong Red Sox fan. You had a big day, too, with a couple of hits. You reflect back on it now, a couple of months after – how much fun was it?
SB: It was awesome. You can’t explain it into words. I mean, ever since you’re a little kid you want to play in that ballpark. You go there, your first game there, and your father’s there, the one who’s coached you your whole life…it was a great moment.
KB: So outside of the new kid, what’s your offseason been like?
SB: It’s been interesting. I went to Venezuela and played there for a month. I struggled a little bit, but it was a culture shock for me. It’s a different world, a different experience but I loved it. I’ve just been working out and getting ready for the season.
KB: I know a bunch of different guys from the organization were down there in the winter…did you play with anyone from the Nationals?
SB: I played with Carlos Maldonado – he actually got me the job down there.
KB: First time playing winter ball ever?
SB: I played in Puerto Rico three years ago. But Puerto Rico and Venezuela, they’re totally different.
KB: What is the difference?
SB: The crowds. In Venezuela, you get 20,000 people a night. Puerto Rico’s on the come-up, I heard, but when I played there, there weren’t many fans. (In Venezuela) they heckle you, man, they’re all over you.
KB: You’ve got a new manager this year, Tony Beasley. What’s your experience with him?