Friday, November 14, 2008

Stanley's Tiger tale

Former Wild Things starting pitcher Patrick Stanley has signed with the Detroit Tigers.

Stanley played for Washington in 2006 (8-4, 2.72) and had his 2007 season cut short by an injury. He played last year with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Stanley had a big first half of the season with Newark and made the all-star game before tailing off in the second half. For the season, the right-hander had a 10-8 record - he had a six-game winning streak - with a league-leading 151 strikeouts. His 4.90 ERA was seventh-best in the league, which tells you something about the offense in the Atlantic.

This is Stanley's second stint in affiliated ball. He spent two years as a relief pitcher in the Colorado Rockies' system before joining the Wild Things.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Golly, Roger

Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Roger Mason has been hired as the pitching coach for the Traverse City Beach Bums.

Mason played nine years in the major leagues including two (1991-92) with the Pirates. He appeared in 89 games (all in relief) with Pittsburgh, compiling an 8-9 record and 11 saves. Mason played in the postseason for the Pirates in both seasons and had a save in Game 5 of the NLCS against Atlanta in 1991. He also was on the Phillies' 1993 World Series team.

Mason had a 22-35 record in his major-league career, which included stints with Detroit, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia and the New York mets.


Chillicothe, Richmond together again

They will be playing baseball – in the same league - again this summer in Richmond, Ind., and Chillicothe, Ohio.

Richmond, Chillicothe and Slippery Rock – all former locations for Frontier League franchises – have landed spots in the newly formed Prospect League, a an 11-team wood-bat league for college players that will have teams from Pennsylvania to Missouri.

The Prospect League absored six teams – Quincy, Ill., Hannibal, Mo. and Springfield, Ill., Danville, Ill., DuBois County, Ill., and DuPage County, Ill. – from the Central Illinois Collegiate League. DuBois County is based in Huntingburg, Ind., and was home to the DuBois County Dragons of the Frontier League. Those teams will form the Prospect League's West Division.

Five teams in the East Division will be Richmond, Chillicothe, Slippery Rock, Butler and Lorain, Ohio. A sixth team could be added within a week.

The Chillicothe team will be known as the Paints. Slippery Rock will play at Slippery Rock University and Butler will play its home games at Pullman Park. Richmond will play at Don McBride Stadium (pictured), the former home of the Richmond Roosters.

Teams will play a 54-game schedule with all but four against division foes.

The Central Illinois Collegiate League has a rich tradition, having produced 175 major leaguers, including Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, Kirby Puckett and Mike Schmidt.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

No surprise: Rumfield new manager in Florence

I had been waiting for something to appear in print on this, but ...

The Florence Freedom have hired Toby Rumfield as their new manager. Rumfield, a former second-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds, spent the last two years as manager of the River City Rascals, compiling an 83-109 record. This past season, River City finished 47-49 and 13 games out of first place.

Rumfield replaces Jamie Keefe, who "resigned" after four season as Florence's manager. The Freedom did not make the playoffs during Keefe's tenure.

While this looks like a simple transaction of replacing one manager with another, let's face it, you could see this one coming a year ago. Florence's general manager is Kari Rumfield, who happens to be Toby Rumfield's wife. The Freedom will probably deny it and deny it, but it sure looks like Keefe was forced out so Toby Rumfield can work with the same organziation as his wife.

It reminds me of when former Marquette University basketball coach Al McGuire - one of my all-time favorites - was asked why his son Allie was the starting point guard instead of a more experienced player. Ole Al simply replied, "Because I sleep with his mother."

There is one catch to the hiring. Florence owner Clint Brown said it's a one-year deal for Toby Rumfield and the ballclub will have a different manager in 2010.

"I'm confident this is the first instance in professional baseball of a married couple simultaneously occupying leadership roles in both the front office and in the field," Brown said. "While we are fortunate to have a highly experienced baseball man like Toby Rumfield available to us, this will be a one-year arrangement. After coaching the Freedom next season, Toby will continue to chase his dream of coaching in affiliated baseball and we will begin our search for a permanent manager for our ballclub."

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Traverse City hires manager

The Traverse City Beach Bums announced that Gregg Langbehn has been hired to manage the team in 2009.

Langbehn has a similar background to former Wild Things manager John Massarelli. He spent the last 10 years as a coach in the Houston Astros system and was manager of the Lexington Legends of the Class A South Atlantic League last season. Lexington is the Astros' low-Class A affiliate. Massarelli had managed the Astros' high-Class A affiliate in Salem, Va., before coming to the Wild Things in 2004.

Langbehn replaces former Wild Things shortstop Jon Cahill, who managed the Beach Bums to a 96-96 record in their first two seasons in the Frontier League.

"I think we may have outdone ourselves," said beach Bums owner John Weurfel. "Sometimes you can sign someone way out of your league, and it doesn't work. But I was like, 'If I want somebody, I'm going for it.'

"He's been around. To stick with one organization 10 years tells you there's something there."

Langbehn was one of eight candidates to make the final cut. He interviewed for the vacancy in mid-October.

Photo from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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