Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Iglesias to PawSox, FOX to McCoy, and a $26 Hot Dog

We’ve all heard it said that things are “Bigger in Texas.”  After living in the Dallas-area for the last two years working for the Texas Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, I will personally attest to the truth of that statement. However, during my time in the Lone Star State I can honestly say that I never saw anything as “Texas” as the recently unveiled $26 two-foot long hot dog that will soon be sold at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The dog itself weighs one pound and by the time you add Texas chili, caramelized onions, jalapenos, and a specialty cheese sauce, the meal is estimated to have somewhere around 2,500 calories. Who’s hungry?

Mmmm, does anyone want seconds? (Brad Newton/Texas Rangers)

Report From The Fort

  • Iglesias will begin 2012 in Pawtucket, but how long he stays with the PawSox is unkonwn. (Kelly O'Connor)

    By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news that uber-shortstop-prospect Jose Iglesias has been optioned to minor league camp and will open the season at McCoy Stadium. According to Rob Bradford of, the decision had to “do with a combination of Iglesias perhaps starting to go the other way in regard to his confidence, along with the continued encouragement gained from watching [Mike] Aviles.”

  • This means that Aviles will be the Red Sox Opening Day shortstop with former St. Louis Cardinal utility-man Nick Punto coming off the bench. Iglesias, who has a .235 career Triple-A batting average, could use some more at-bats in the International League before becoming a mainstay at Fenway.
  • PawSox first baseman Lars Anderson was also optioned to Triple-A this morning. Lars was in his fourth Major League Spring Training and has appeared in 24 big league games in his career. The former 18th Round selection in 2006 lead the International League and topped Sox farmhands with 80 walks last season. He tied for 7th in the IL with 78 RBI and tied for 3rd with 136 games played.
  • This morning the Red Sox also reassigned right-handed pitchers Justin Germano and Doug Mathis and outfielder Josh Kroeger to minor league camp. I saw Germano start a minor league game in Ft. Myers and was impressed. He struck out five batters – two looking – and utilized a strong curve ball.
  • Don't worry, Michaela. I'm not upset that you didn't want to film my blogging today. (

    Have you ever wondered what a minor league broadcaster does from 9-5 this time of year? If you’re curious, I’ve spent the majority of today working on our Game Notes by updating all of our batters’ and bullpen notes. If you’re curious what the rest of our front office is doing, you can learn all about it thanks to Michaela Johnson, host of the Rhode Show on FOX Providence. Michaela has been here today working various jobs around McCoy Stadium: merchandising in our team store, processing ticket orders, arranging lockers in our clubhouse, even receiving a Coors Light keg order. Her “day in the life of” piece will air from 9-10 a.m. on April 5th.

Thanks to some recent subscribers to the blog: battleforthebaylzackinjemiller1965billbosox, and jbarker001. You can subscribe by entering your email address in the box in the top-right corner of this page. Who knows, it might be the best decision you make in the next five minutes.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of some passes that arrived to my desk today. My new job is now official.



JetBlue Park Retired Numbers Courtyard

Just because I’m back in Rhode Island doesn’t mean I can’t still write about my time in Ft. Myers. One of my favorite features of the the new ballpark is the Retired Numbers Courtyard outside “Gate E.” I took some photos of the display before I left and wanted to make sure you had a chance to see them.

Joe Cronin

Carl Yastrzemski

Johnny Pesky

Jackie Robinson

Ted Williams

Bobby Doerr

Carlton Fisk

Jim Rice

Flower Bed Next to the Numbers

Outside “Gate E”

My broadcast partner Steve Hyder is now in Ft. Myers for the entire week. You can check out Steve’s updates by reading his blog.



Goodbye, Ft. Myers

My first Spring Training was a blast.  I saw nine different games, met some terrific people, and learned a lot. I’m timing things right because this morning it’s raining for the first time all week.

Yesterday I went to the PawSox game at the Twins’ facility with my friend Mike Antonellis, the “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs.” Here are some pics from yesterday’s game.

Former PawSox and Red Sox player, Aaron Bates. Now with the Twins, Aaron was the first player I ever covered to get called up to the big leagues.

Aaron talking with Mike after the game.

Red Sox outfield prospect Alex Hassan playing in his first minor league game since being sent down from big league camp.

Billy Buckner, no relation to Bill Buckner, pitched yesterday for the PawSox. The 28-year-old has appeared in 36 major league games (21 starts) since 2007 with Kansas City and Arizona.

Jeremy Kehrt appeared in seven games (two starts) for the PawSox last year.  The righty pitched for Scottsdale in the prospect-driven Arizona Fall League this past off-season.

The PawSox fell to Rochester 6-2 yesterday with Kehrt getting the start, pitching two innings, and suffering the loss. Both of Pawtucket’s runs came on RBI groundouts in the fifth inning. The only real offensive highlight was a sixth-inning triple by J.C. Linares to right-center. The ground shook when he slid into third base.

This will do it for me from beautiful Ft. Myers.  Today is a camp day for the PawSox (no games), but tomorrow they’ll host Rochester at 1:00 p.m. EST. My broadcast partner Steve Hyder will be down here for a week starting  tomorrow and will have lots of coverage on his blog which can be read here.

Thanks for your terrific readership this week – it’s been a privilege writing for you each day. I’m sure Spring Training 2013 will be even better, but before then, I’m counting down the 11 days until Opening Day 2012 on April 5th at McCoy Stadium.

Hope to see you there.



PHOTOS: Red Sox vs. Yankees at JetBlue Park

Well before Bobby Valentine created a stir by saying he was upset by Joe Giradi’s decision to end Thursday night’s game in a 4-4 tie, it was a circus at JetBlue Park for one reason: Terry Francona.

The former Red Sox manager was part of the ESPN broadcast team covering the game and the media went crazy over Tito’s return to Red Sox Spring Training.  Below are some pics I took throughout the day.

Every reporter in the house wanted to talk with Tito before the game.

Francona looked like he enjoyed seeing some familiar faces from the Boson media. 

Bobby Valentine talking with David Ortiz during batting practice.

PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler throwing BP before the game.

The view of batting practice from the dugout.

A single Rawlings MLB baseball on the Shop costs $16.99. Maybe this is why parking at Fenway costs so much?

Red Sox super-shortstop-prospect Jose Iglesias taking some infield during batting practice.

Bobby Valentine chatting with Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser of ESPN. Buster Olney is sitting to the left.

This was taken about two hours before first pitch. Gates open at JetBlue Park 90 minutes prior to the start of the game. One security guard told me that there were people who camped out overnight!

This was a real thrill for me to be able to see these three great broadcasters: Joe Castiglione, the “Voice of the Red Sox,” Don Orsillo, the TV voice of the Red Sox on NESN, and all the way at the end is Dan Schulman of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

The Monstah.

There is seating on top of the Monster and in the Monster.  You can’t see it well in this picture, but there is netting in front of the seats in the Monster to protect the fans.

Pesky’s Pole in right field already getting some signatures.

The view from on top of the Green Monster. 

Today I’m off to the Twins’ complex for a 1:00 first pitch between Pawtucket and Rochester with my good friend and “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs,” Mike Antonellis. More on today’s game coming later tonight.



Catching Up With Don Orsillo

I always get a kick out of interviewing fellow play-by-play broadcasters, and boy was it fun interviewing the “Voice of the Red Sox” on NESN, Don Orsillo.

The former Pawtucket Red Sox play-by-play man talks to me about his time with the PawSox, who is impressing him so far in Spring Training, and how he was able to break into the NESN TV booth. My thanks to Don for taking some time out of his day to chat with me and share a few laughs.



Beckett, Saltalamacchia, & Bogaerts in Same Minor League Game

This will be a quick post, but I wanted to share a few pictures I took from one of the minor league games going on right now at Fenway South.  There’s much more fanfare at this particular game because Josh Beckett and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both started.  As an added bonus for the fans, Xander Bogaerts, arguably the Red Sox top minor league prospect, is at shortstop.

More content coming later this evening.  I hope you enjoy the Red Sox vs. Yankees game at 7:05 ET.  Judging by the number of TV trucks at JetBlue Park, my guess is that it will be on any channel you turn your television to tonight.



AUDIO: Interview with’s Gordon Edes

Gordon Edes does an outstanding job covering the Red Sox for The long-time Boston sports reporter was kind enough to let me interview him inside the press box at JetBlue Park Wednesday afternoon. We chatted about his impressions of the Red Sox Spring Training, what he thinks the club will do with Jose Iglesias, and, most importantly, his terrific Spring Training tan.

In addition to joking around with Gordon, I spent the majority of Wednesday around the Red Sox minor league camp. The PawSox had about as exciting of a Spring Training game as you’ll find, edging the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A, Twins) 4-3 thanks to a walk-off home run by left fielder Ronald Bermudez. The 23-year-old, who hit only three homers in 85 games last year, scorched a high-inside pitch deep to left field with one out.  All four Pawtucket runs came via the long ball Wednesday, thanks largely to J.C. Linares’ three-run bomb in the eighth inning.

Justin Germano started for the PawSox and pitched four impressive innings.  Germano, who appeared in nine games last season with the Indians, showcased a nasty curveball and struck out five batters – three looking.  Germano appears to be one of those guys on the bubble right now.  He has big league experience and is doing everything he can to hold a spot in the Red Sox bullpen come Opening Day.

Former Pawtucket catcher and recent off-season Red Sox signing Kelly Shoppach played in the Triple-A game Wednesday.  He hit second in each of the first four innings and finished 0-for-4. (Funky stuff like this happens sometimes in minor league Spring Training games.)

All three of the Red Wings’ runs were scored off right-hander John Maine who allowed a two-run double and later a wild pitch that allowed the runner at third base to score.  Maine is looking to regain some of his form from 2007 when he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA as a member of the New York Mets.

Tony Pena, Jr. tossed the final three innings and looked sharp, striking out four and allowing just one hit.

I’ll be back at the minor league complex early Thursday morning to watch batting practice and grab a few more interviews. Later in the afternoon I’ll be putting together our PawSox Insider radio show which will air Saturday, and then at night I’ll be in attendance for the Red Sox vs. Yankees game from JetBlue Park.  Be sure to check back for more content throughout the day.



From the Backfields to the Broadcast Booth

Yesterday was as much fun as I thought it would be. Not only did I get to watch the PawSox game in Port Charlotte followed by the Red Sox game at JetBlue Park, I had the great privilege of watching the majority of the Red Sox game from the WEEI broadcast booth above home plate.

Joe Castiglione is entering his 30th year as the “Voice of the Red Sox” and it was a real thrill to be in the booth next to him while he was calling the game.  Joe and his broadcast partner Jon Rish are terrific guys and they were even kind enough to answer some of my questions between innings.  What I maybe found most interesting is that Joe carries with him a small blue three-ring binder that contains a hand-written notecard with information on every Red Sox player and every opposing player as well.

Joe writes down things he reads in the media guide, online, or that he gets directly from a player.  He told me that when he physically writes it down, he retains the information much better than when he types it (I’m the same way).  Throughout the game he would write new information on certain players’ cards for use later in the season.

Here’s a look inside the Red Sox broadcast booth at JetBlue Park.  To the left is Jon Rish, on the right is Joe Castiglione. Through the glass to the right you can see former PawSox broadcaster and current Red Sox TV broadcaster on NESN, Don Orsillo.  Next to him in the navy shirt is the one-and-only Jerry Remy.

Today the Red Sox are on the road playing the Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, but I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 game this afternoon at home against Rochester.  But before I leave for the ballpark I wanted to share with you some more pictures I took from yesterday’s game in Port Charlotte.

Not many hot dogs were served from this concession stand behind the minor league field where the PawSox and Durham Bulls played yesterday.  It did, however, provide some shade which was in short supply.

So much for the shade! This was my view for most of the game (throwing a Gatorade towel over my head never seemed like such a good idea).  Although it got a little warm at times, I was at least grateful that they had bleachers set up for spectators to sit on.

PawSox outfielder Daniel Nava getting loose before the start of the sixth inning.

Only in Spring Training can you find a dugout as charming as this one.

Eammon Portice pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning including two strikeouts, but before he took the mound he was busy charting pitches behind home plate.

The Texas Rangers called Port Charlotte their Spring Training home for 15 years before leaving in 2002 for a newer ballpark in Surprise, Arizona.  In 2009 the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement with the county to invest over $27 million in renovation costs in order to bring Charlotte Sports Park up to state-of-the-art standards. The renovation costs were more than five times the ballpark’s original cost of $5 million.

I’ll talk with you again late this afternoon/early evening to update the blog on today’s PawSox game.  For live updates during the game you can follow me on Twitter.  Have a great day!



Live From Ft. Myers: Day 2

David Ortiz is at the plate as the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays play in front of a sellout crowd tonight at JetBlue Park.  I’ll watch the game soon enough but right now, from my seat in the press box, I want to get you up to speed with what happened earlier today in Port Charlotte between the PawSox and Durham Bulls.

Chris Balcom-Miller (left) started for Pawtucket and went four innings, allowing two runs.  The PawSox scored their first run thanks to a 2nd-inning solo shot off the bat of catcher Matt Spring (below). Unfortunately, that was half of the club’s run production on the afternoon.   In the 6th inning first baseman Mauro Gomez singled and scored on an RBI double by right fielder J.C. Linares.

Caleb Clay (0-1) came on and worked a scoreless 5th inning but then allowed the go-ahead run in the 6th inning to suffer the loss.  Lefty Hunter Jones could not keep things close and was charged with five runs over  two innings. Eammon Portice tossed the bottom of the ninth inning (even though the Bulls were up by six) and retired the side in order, including a pair of strikeouts.

Today’s loss marks the first of the Spring for the PawSox who are now 5-1 in Grapefruit League play.

PawSox Notebook

  • Daniel Nava’s solid hitting continued today with a double to center field (the wind helped it some).
  • Will Middlebrooks did not play in today’s game; Gomez played only as the DH.
  • Parking at JetBlue Park is $9.00.  That’s $9.00 more than you’ll pay for parking at McCoy Stadium.
  • Tomorrow I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 p.m. first pitch against Rochester.
  • I’m on the hunt for the best local fish taco.  If you happen to know where that might be, please let me know!
Time for me to go be a fly on the wall in the Red Sox radio booth with Joe Castiglione and Jon Rish.  Tomorrow morning I’ll post some more photos from today’s game.

Talk with you then.


AUDIO: Interview with’s Jonathan Mayo

It was a nice surprise to find Jonathan Mayo, the top minor league writer for, at JetBlue Park yesterday afternoon.  He was kind enough to give me about 10 minutes of his time to talk all things Red Sox minor leagues.

Jonathan had some interesting insights on Bryce Brentz, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Lavarnway.  We also talked about how stacked the Sox system is offensively and how the club’s pitching prospects aren’t quite as deep.  You can listen to the interview in its entirety by using the embedded audio player above.

Today should be a busy day for me.  I’m leaving my hotel in Ft. Myers around 11:45 a.m. and will travel about 40 minutes north to Port Charlotte to watch the 1:00 first pitch between the PawSox and the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay).  Like yesterday, I’ll be tweeting live updates and the occasional photo (where the players look like they’re about a mile away).

After the game, it’s back to Ft. Myers to watch the Red Sox 7:05 p.m. start against Toronto. It promises to be a long – but fun – day.  My hope is to update the blog once I’m back at JetBlue following the PawSox game.

I’ll chat with you then.




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