Archive for the ‘ Stories From Above ’ Category

Stories From Above — The Couzens Card of Doom

As Jason has previously chronicled here on the blog, if
you’ve played baseball long enough, you’re sure to have a baseball card of
doom–the one picture that you wish had never been taken.

Now while I haven’t been playing baseball, I have had my
fair share of embarrassing pictures taken of me.

There’s the kind that I talked about on the air on Thursday
night in Scranton with my turtle shell framed glasses, or with my bifocals that
I got in second grade, but there’s also another picture that I certainly regret
posing for.

The discussion about my Card of Doom arose when Jason
and I were talking about making a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles and
how you only get to renew your license once every eight years. That also means
just one picture that you’re stuck with for 8 years whether you like it or not.

Since I just had to go in and get my license renewed, it was
time for a new picture. That meant I had to get rid of this old one:

DSC00363.JPG

Yes I know…the hair, the lack of a smile, the HAIR. It’s all
a disaster. Trust me, that hairstyle will never be coming back. I did make sure to smile
in my new picture. (Side Note: Much thanks to the kind folks at the Syracuse
DMV. I certainly recommend going in the early morning.)

Looking back at fashion trends from eras past is always a
fun thing. Bellbottoms are long gone, tie-dye should never make a return, and
leg warmers and crazy hair are so 1980’s.

Unfortunately, my hairstyle was never a popular trend
despite what any 2000’s vintage movement to bring back any of the above might say.

So I live with the poor decision to not cut my hair back in
the day. 

————————————————————————————

In other news, when Jason and I were at PNC Field in Moosic,
we made a stop for lunch at Bo Brothers restaurant. It’s located on the right
field concourse and serves some excellent smoked wings.

If you’re at all familiar with the Travel Channel show Man vs. Food, you’ll
get the concept of what we did.

Jason got the grand tour of Bo Brothers from owner Jim Ruby
and I got to eat twelve smoked wings dipped in their signature Bo Burner sauce.

Watch the video and see how it went: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSnQKwNIhhI

Thanks for checking in. As always, feel free to get in touch
at mikecouzens@syracusechiefs.com

Mike

Stories From Above–Say Cheese Edition

Good morning from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, home of Hasbro….

I left the broadcast booth around 6:45 last night while our chat with Seth Bynum was playing in order to grab something to drink from the pantry at McCoy Stadium.  A gentleman in a navy coat was standing over the chocolate pie that had been placed on the counter.  I said hello to the man and he asked me how my night was.  We talked briefly about the weather and then got to the Nationals and their success this season.  The man seemed generally knowledgeable about the game (he knew the Nationals became good recently–how much more do you need?).  I said to the man, “Yeah, and they don’t even have Strasburg yet.”  His response baffled me, especially considering the 37-shaped bubble I’ve been in recently.  He said “Who?”  I repeated the name again.  With all the qualities of a man re-varnishing a deck while answering his wife, the gentleman said “Oh yeah, he’s good.”
I wanted to say, “Good!  Good?  He gave up one hit in 12 innings during our last homestand!  He made minor league hitters look like they didn’t even have bats!”
Instead, I realized–yet again–that our corner of the universe is just that, a corner.
————————–
The Chiefs staff this season has never coached together previously.  Trent Jewett, Syracuse’s skipper, spent the entirety of his career prior to last season in the Pirates organization.  Greg Booker, the pitching coach, made his mark in the Majors as a player and coach with the Padres.  Jerry Browne was predominantly an American League player, suiting up for Texas, Oakland and Cleveland before finishing his career with the nascent Marlins.
They all have had success and longevity in the game.  With longevity comes……
The Baseball Card of Doom.
Each season, as you traders well know, players pose for the camera so their likenesses can be placed on the front of baseball cards.  A player’s career statistics can be traced through the line of cards.  Sadly, the player’s tastes in hair, facial expression and personality also are exhibited by these cards.
For each player, it seems, there is one year’s card which exemplifies sheer regret in those categories.  There is one card which says to the person on the front, “Yeah, you thought this was cool.  There’s no turning back.  Deal with it.”   It is the passing of generations in glossy 2.5 X 3.5 form.
This card is the Baseball Card of Doom.
McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket is the perfect location to find such remembrances.  Because the stands are raised above the field, autograph seekers lower their memorabilia on strings to field level. Batting practice at McCoy is like watching 50 simultaneous mine rescue missions.  Some people lower bats to the ground, others choose gloves.  More daring folks drop binders full of well-organized baseball cards near the dugout.  
Inside one of the binders at yesterday’s game was this:
IMG_0113.jpg
For Greg Booker, this is the Baseball Card of Doom.
Note the stylish break in the moustache.  It says “I don’t go all the way across–because I’m too sleek for that.”  A telltale sign of a BCoD–prominent facial hair which has long since departed.  
The issue here for Book, to be fair, is not his own doing.  The Padres uniform at the time was rather unfashionable.  If there is ever a market for taxi drivers who also serve hot dogs to their customers, the 1980s Padres duds would be a superb model for dress for the cabbie-doggers.  Considering Ray Kroc’s seminal achievement in American history (see also golden arches), this is not surprising. 
There are endless baseball card pictures on the web right now.  I encourage each and every one of you to search for the Baseball Card of Doom for current and former Chiefs.  Send them our way at jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com.  We’ll post them either here on the blog or on twitter @ChiefsRadio.
Game two tonight at McCoy starting at 6:05.  We’ll be on the air at 5:30 with the On Deck show at 620 AM locally or sportsradio620.com on the web.
Yours in timeless photography,
JB

Stories From Above–Catching Up edition

Good morning, Vietnam…..or, alternatively, Columbus.

I’m sitting here in the Hyatt (which will be shaken down for all of its good and not-so-good qualities in tomorrow’s game of Rate the IL Hotel!) and I can’t help but think of the past.  You see, my former broadcast partner, Bob McElligott, works just down the road at Nationwide Arena, the home of the Blue Jackets.  
So, by popular demand, I’ve decided to scan the baseball landscape for those Chiefs that were with us last season but are no longer in the Nationals organization.  The cast, in order of ’09 appearance:
RHP Josh Towers:  With Albuquerque of the AAA Pacific Coast League (Dodgers).  2-2, 3.00 ERA, 3BB/15K in 30 IP.  Playing for former Montreal Expo third baseman Tim Wallach (1st round pick in ’79 of Montreal)
IF Anderson Hernandez:  Here in Columbus (Indians).  Learn more about him on tonight’s broadcast.
LHP Dave Williams:  Missing in action.
OF Lastings Milledge:  With Pittsburgh of MLB.  Hitting .233 with six RBI.  Has not driven home a run since 4/20.  His third spot in lineup isn’t terribly safe with wunderkind Pedro Alvarez in Indianapolis.
IF Alex Cintron:  With Buffalo of the IL (Mets).  Hitting .243 in 11 games. 
RHP Kip Wells:  Nowhere to be found.
IF Freddie Bynum:  Side of a milk carton.
C Josh Bard:  With Tacoma of the AAA PCL (Mariners).  Hitting .212 in 10 games.  One of three catchers in Seattle chain with Major League experience.  Teammate Eliezer Alfonzo and former Chief Guillermo Quiroz with Double-A West Tenn.
RHP Saul Rivera:  Here in Columbus.
RHP Jesus Colome:  With Seattle of MLB.  Has appeared in four games, has allowed five earned runs in eight and two-thirds.  Was just brought up from Tacoma to pitch two nights ago.  To make room for him earlier in the season before he was injured, the Mariners designated for assignment….
OF Ryan Langerhans:  Off the 40-man roster in Seattle with the Colome move.  Hitting .282 in 12 games with Tacoma.
LHP Michael O’Connor:  With Buffalo of the IL.  Has a 3.12 ERA out of the bullpen with the Bisons in nine games.
C Gustavo Molina:  With Pawtucket of the IL (Red Sox).  2-for-6 in two games with the fightin’ Hoard ‘n’ Hyders.
IF Joel Guzman:  With AA Bowie of the Eastern League.  Hitting .229 in 19 games.  He plays for manager Brad Komminsk, the International League’s Rookie of the Year back in 1983 with Richmond.  Drafted six picks after Tim Wallach, mentioned above.
C Luke Montz:  Playing up the road in Binghamton of the Eastern League (Mets).  Hitting .211 with 2 HR and RBI in 16 games.
RHP Gary Glover:  Not on a roster.
OF Mike Vento:  ” “
LHP Wil Ledezma:  Closing games for Indianapolis of the IL (Pirates).  Has not allowed a run in five innings and two-thirds and has coughed up only one hit.
C Javi Herrera:  Gone (from baseball) but not forgotten.
IF Marcos Yepez:  Is he with an MLB club?  My sources say no.
RHP Jorge Sosa:  With New Orleans of the AAA PCL (Marlins).  2-1, 5.40 ERA in 3 starts.  He plays with National-for-a-minute Emilio Bonifacio.  Side note:  The Zephyrs, shamelessly cribbing from the NFL’s newly-minted title-holders, have added a fleur-de-lis to their logo.  Terrible.  Side note 2:  Mike’s brother Scott hit for the cycle for the Zephyrs two days ago:  http://www.nola.com/zephyrs/index.ssf/2010/05/scott_cousins_hits_for_cycle_t.html.
RHP Logan Kensing:  No stats.
RHP Cory Doyne:  The goggles are not on a field anywhere.
RHP Preston Larrison:  DNP
OF Corey Patterson:  Nothing yet.  Was in camp with the Orioles.
LHP Horacio Ramirez:  With Fresno of the AAA PCL (Giants).  1-0 w/3.78 ERA in 5 appearances (2 starts).  Plays his home games at Chukchansi Park.  I will always remember him because he sat across the aisle from me on our flight back from Durham through a truly terrifying electrical storm.  He was reading on his Kindle while I was looking for support.
OF Elijah Dukes:  Still no work.
RHP Marco Estrada:  With Nashville of AAA PCL (Brewers).  Has allowed just 12 hits in 23 innings.  One of the great guys from last season’s team with the fans.  Pitching for Rich Gale, the new Brewers Triple-A pitching coach.
RHP Zack Segovia:  With SWB of IL (Yankees).  After rough start, has not allowed a run in his last three outings.
OF Jorge Padilla:  With Las Vegas of the AAA PCL (Blue Jays).  Hitting .260 in 15 games.  Has stolen just two bags in three tries.
OF Norris Hopper:  Also in Nashville.  Batting .272 and currently on a four-game hit streak.
OF Daryle Ward:  Not in the American baseball realm, per se.
RHP Clint Everts:  With Binghamton of the AA Eastern League (Mets).  4.26 ERA and 1 save in 9 games.
IF Brad Eldred:  With Colorado Springs of the AAA PCL (Rockies).  .217 w/2 HR and 12 RBI in 18 games.  Started in left field two days ago.  Eldred’s hitting coach is Rene Lachemann, the former manager of the Angels.  In the “I wonder how he got hired” department, Rene’s brother Marcel is the Special Assistant to General Manager Dan O’Dowd.
Game time tonight is 6:35.  We’ll be on the air from Huntington Park at 6:00.  Tune in locally at 620 on the AM or on the web at sportsradio620.com.
I’m also fielding emails at jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com.
Talk soon….
Jason
 

Stories from above–Getaway Day edition

Good morning from the Buckeye State….

Shortly, we’ll play America’s fastest growing sensation, Rate the IL Hotel!
First, a few notes:
*Drew Storen is officially on the roster today.  He may make his Triple-A debut tonight.  The Chiefs used four relievers in yesterday’s game, so my Spider Sense leads me to believe he’ll throw.  
*Storen was replaced on the Harrisburg roster by Jack Spradlin….sorry to see Jack go.  His last outing showed that he seemed to be on the right track.
*The Chiefs have now played nine one-run games this season, good for 42.8% of their schedule so far.  They’re 5-4 in those games.  
*No word yet on what caused the scoreboard outage late in last night’s game, but it sure looked like somebody in the park popped in the VHS from The Ring.
Alright, that’s enough of that.  Time now for the game of skill, chance and extra towels that’s sweeping the nation…..
Rate the IL Hotel!
And now, here’s your host of Rate the IL Hotel!…..Jason Benetti!
<sparse applause + three guys in pillbox hats and cufflinks booing>
Thanks Don Pardo…..I don’t know how we cobbled together the cash to pay that guy, but I’m glad we did.  You know how the game works…..I’ll give you the pros and cons of the hotel the Chiefs are staying in.  Then, I’ll arbitrarily assign a score to that hotel on a scale of 0 to 50.  There is no appeals process.  But, if you’ve stayed in the hotel and care to lodge (get it, lodge!) a complaint, email jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com and I’ll give it at least a quick glance.
Today’s contestant is:
The Park Inn, Toledo, Ohio!
Pros:  
1) Within walking distance of the ballpark.  Allows for easy access to hotel room if, say, a radio announcer forgets his phone charger in the room.  Also allows for easy access to dinner around the ballpark postgame.
2) Overlooks the water.  A scenic view is a clear point-earner.
3) Housekeeping which, despite guest’s presence in the room until 11:30 AM, still cleans the room.
4) TruTV on the cable channel list.  There’s always something trashy on that network, perfect for 15-second gawking intervals while flipping stations.
Cons:
1) Terrible wireless internet.  Really, truly terrible.  First, the signal is weak on the 11th floor.  So weak that I had to go to the ballpark to do most of my work during the series.  The internet is ubiquitous, people.  It cannot be limp in your hotel.  Your rating will suffer tremendously.  In addition, please don’t require me to sign in to your wireless package daily.  It causes my productivity to decline for three minutes at the exact same time each morning.  And no, I don’t want to try out the Google taskbar.  
2) The pillows are very tiny.  I don’t know how people with larger heads than me don’t wake up and feel like an automobile driving on the dashed lane line.
3) Housekeeping which, despite cleaning the room effectively, does not leave the guest another shampoo.  Thank goodness I had that extra body lotion, though.  Thanks for leaving that for me.  ‘Cause people meet me and say, “I bet that guy uses a lot of body lotion.”  Happens all the time.
4) This one’s important.  And I know some of our players and staff read this blog.  I want to know if housekeeping left anyone else a creepy yellow rubber ducky on the side of the bathtub during this series.  I went into the bathroom this morning and there’s possessed little Daffy staring at me with his sad, empty, blue eyes.  I fully expected him to put a curse on me, ala this guy:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/124875/saturday-night-live-digital-short-the-curse    
Final score:  12.
Thanks for playing, Park Inn!  For playing today, you’ll receive a copy of our home game.  Retrieve it at http://www.ratetheilhotel.com.  Sadly, Park Inn, you’ll never collect your prize…..because the internet inside you is a travesty.
Airtime is 6:30 tonight.  Mike will have an April highlight retrospective.  I’ll have the call starting at 7.
P.S. I appreciate the emails yesterday…..keep ‘em coming and I’ll do a mailbag within the week.  Email at jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com
Jason

Stories from above–Precocious Pitchers edition

Good day from Toledo…..

News item first:  The Nationals have officially announced that Drew Storen, last year’s 10th overall pick in the entry draft, has been promoted to the Chiefs.  If Drew’s ERA were a state, it would be Rhode Island.  He compiled a 0.92 earned run average with Harrisburg and succeeded in all four of his save opportunities.  He struck out 11 and walked just one.  No word on whether Storen will join the team here in Toledo or at our next destination, Columbus.
Other notable things from the past few days:
*Chase Lambin belted his fifth home run of the season last night.  His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.080 would be 31st in all of MLB, just shy of Jim Thome for 30th.  11 of his 22 hits are for extra bases (6 doubles, 5 triples).
*The Chiefs are one of five teams in the IL not to have lost three straight games.  They’ve gone wire-to-wire in first place so far this season.
*The batter’s eye here in Toledo has been giving Chiefs hitters trouble during the series.  It’s a black canvas in center field as you’d expect, but it’s pretty slender.  Lefties say the ball actually comes out of a righty’s hand to the left of the batters eye, in line with a tan granite conference center across Huron Street.  I’ll be posting a picture of the view on Twitter shortly @ChiefsRadio.
*This is the first press box I’ve ever done a game in which has a refrigerator stocked with grape soda.  Dave Chappelle is pleased.
Gametime is 6:30 tonight.  Jeff Mandel starts for the Chiefs in his Triple-A unveiling.  His college coach, 16th-year Baylor skipper Steve Smith, will join us on the On Deck Show.  Mike will have highlights of last night’s win and other tidbits.  Listen live at sportsradio620.com.
I’d love to hear from you.  My email is jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com.
From NW Ohio,
Jason

Stories From Above — Starting Pitchers Edition

The Chiefs saw Chuck James start last night filling in for
Luis Atilano who was called up to the majors. (More on that in a moment).

James threw five innings, gave up just one hit and struck
out five in an 8-3 Syracuse win. It was the first start for James since August
6th, 2008 as a member of the Atlanta Braves. He worked quickly,
threw strikes and looked impressive for a guy that hadn’t pitched at all last
season.

After the game, James talked about coming off of a rehab
stint in extended spring training saying, “I’m sure there’s gonna be times that
I’m tired out there and all that, so it’s just good to come back and pick (up)
where I left off.”

Chiefs manager Trent Jewett was happy with James’ outing
too. “He pitched with a lot of confidence. I thought his rhythm and his pace
and his ability to throw the ball where he wanted was excellent. You want to be
cautious coming off an injury like he sustained, but he did everything you want
a pitcher to do. He worked both sides of the plate, I thought he read bats
well. Not much more you can ask out of a guy,” Jewett said.

As for Atilano, he started for the Washington Nationals last
night
in place of Jason Marquis and picked up his first major league win. It
was the first major league appearance for Atilano who threw six innings and
gave up just one run.

After the game, Atilano told MLB.com that he was excited not
just to start, but for the chance to pitch to Ivan Rodriguez.

“I threw to Pudge, hopefully a Hall of Famer. My dream
would have never been better if I didn’t pitch to Pudge. Pitching in the big
leagues and then pitching to Pudge was just incredible. Winning the ballgame is
even better.”

Atilano was off to a 2-0 start for the Chiefs.

Today lefty Aaron Thompson will start for Syracuse after
being called up from AA-Harrisburg. The Nationals picked up Thompson at last
season’s trade deadline in a deal for Nick Johnson. Thompson’s 1-1 with a 2.87
ERA this season with the Senators.

We’ll see if he can make a start like Chuck James did
yesterday helping the Chiefs to take game one of the series against Rochester.

First pitch is at 2 p.m.

Mike

 

Stories From Above–Hardware Edition

Quickie gameday ramblings:

*The world series trophy from 2008 is here in Allentown tonight.  Any messages to pass along to it?  We’ll see if we can get Eric Bruntlett to say a few words about it pregame….

*Spent a few minutes with Matt McClusky on 1410 AM in Watertown this afternoon.  I’ll be on the show talking Chiefs at 4:15 every Tuesday afternoon.  Check him (and sometimes me) out at wner1410.com.

*We’re likely going to have a special guest on the broadcast Friday night….stay tuned….

*Zech Zinicola (last night’s save-man) and I chatted for a few minutes earlier today.  Couzens is posting the conversation on YouTube right now:  http://www.youtube.com/syracusechiefs.

*Checking out of the Hotel Bethlehem is like going home after a weekend at grandma’s house–you’re sick of being offered hard candy and you can’t get the image of a yellow flowered bedspread out of your head.

Enjoy the game tonight…..On Deck Show @ 6:30….Couzens and I have the call at 7.

Jason

Stories from above–1936 edition

We are coming to you live from the Hotel Bethlehem in Allentown, which seems to have a history of being on fire:

http://articles.mcall.com/2010-02-15/news/all-news-hotelbeth-021510-cn_1_dennis-costello-hotel-general-manager-smoke
http://articles.mcall.com/1992-02-15/news/2841766_1_hotel-corporation-settled-faulty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3083gijaiQ

The hotel is taking precautionary steps to make sure this never happens again.  First, it has a rule that the wireless internet signal cannot be strong on the seventh floor.

We were rained out last night, so Mike and I went to the Apple store.  My computer power cord ceased to work yesterday morning, so I began to search for a new one in Scranton before yesterday’s game river.  I found an apple service center in Scranton and called to see if the store had power cords on sale.  This exchange ensued:

Me:  Do you sell Mac power cords?
Sales guy: No, but we should.  People call for them all the time.
Me:  Do you know where I might find one?
Sales guy:  Your best bet is the Apple Store in Allentown.

Moral of the story (and travel tip): If you need electronics in Scranton which are not made by Atari and do not involve rotary technology, go to Allentown, the comparative Silicon Valley of the Keystone State.

The Chiefs will throw Shairon Martis tonight against Lehigh Valley’s IronPigs.  He got a no decision in his first start against the snouted ones. 

Couple of notes:

*OF Marvin Lowrance has a hit in five of his first six Triple-A games.  The guy, according to the Nationals, has worked diligently on his defense over the past year.

*RHP Andrew Brown has been added to the roster, giving the Chiefs a full cabinet of 24 players.  Brown last pitched in the IL with Buffalo in ’06.

*4 of the top 10 batting averages in the Nationals’ farm system come from Syracuse (Lambin .375, Mench .348, Whitesell .308, Bernadina .300)

*Tommy John will throw out the first pitch tonight at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.  Here’s his website:  http://www.tommyjohn.net/.&nbsp; Unfortunately, the Google Ad on the right side of the page seems to always say something about “ulnar ligament pain.”  I’m not joking.

Follow me and Couzens @ChiefsRadio on Twitter.  Or, if you would rather avoid us, follow the team @syracusechiefs.  If you follow us, though, I promise each and every one of you a piece of hard candy from the creepy jar in the room here at the Hotel Bethlehem.  While I don’t break promises, you may break a molar.

Jason

Stories from above–Electric City edition

Good day,

We are in Scranton, home to this museum dedicated to the original master escapist.  Sadly, the weekdays are reserved for bus tours, so Couzens and I won’t be able to learn how to make a wildebeest disappear or something equally practical.
Interesting game last night.  The Yankees got the Chiefs to strand a Carrot Top audience (13 people) on base and still only won the game by a run.  A few notes:
-Kevin Mench is swinging the bat very well–he was 3-for-5 with a few well-struck singles in there.
-Josh Wilkie coaxed a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh to keep the game tight.
-The roster may be changing soon….got a press release from the Nats last night that announced Roger Bernadina had been optioned back to Syracuse.  With Scott Olsen scheduled to start this afternoon for the big club, the Nats could just do a 1-for-1 swap……but that’s unlikely….
-There is no free breakfast in the Radisson Lackawanna Station hotel, unless you count the oatmeal-almond bath soap and green tea and cypress shampoo.  Call the toxicologist.
Keep an eye on the YouTube page this road trip….
Jason

Stories from above–steel snouts edition

Good morning from the booth at Alliance Bank Stadium.  The Chiefs are off and rolling, on pace for 144-0.  A few notes from the first two wins over the IronPigs from Allentown:

*Trent Jewett seems to manage similarly to Tim Foli–100 miles per hour.  In the opener, his double steal with Pete Orr and Eric Bruntlett set up a pair of runs.  He’s an active manager, physically, too.  Trent spends as much time in the third base coaching box as Calista Flockhart spends at the buffet.  Not much.
*Roger Bernadina seems to show no ill effects from the ankle injury last season.  He stole two bags last year and has played a steady corner outfield.
*Josh Wilkie’s first appearance (in game two) was superb.  Scoreless 10th inning for the win.  8 out of 10 pitches were strikes.
*On a personal note, I caught the flu on Wednesday.  Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I clicked onto TNT and started watching Bones.  Very rarely do I watch TNT if I’m not ill.  I think this goes for most of America.
Airtime is 1:30.  Former Chief Rich Thompson will join me and Mike.
Jason
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