Ryan Rowland-Smith Not Helped By Defensive Lapses

Photo: (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Ryan should have had a scoreless outing.   Photo: (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

“Walks and errors will kill you every time” – so the old saying goes.  It certainly turned what should have been a good day for Ryan Rowland-Smith into a very ordinary day.

Ryan had come on in the 4th to relieve the D’backs starter Trevor Cahill, who had given up 5 runs, and successfully finished off the inning.   He then went back out in the 5th and it was going well for him getting the Giants power hitters Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey out.   A walk to Hunter Pence followed by a misjudged fly ball at LF by Mark Trumbo [reminiscent of his play at the SCG] suddenly had Ryan with runners on 2nd & 3rd when he should have been back resting in the dugout.   Of course the walk and that error hurt when a single to RF drove in both runners and ruined Ryan’s day.  They were the only runs he allowed.

So in 4 outings so far this week Ryan’s line is now 4.1IP, 5H, 3R, 3BB, 4K, 6.23ERA

Whitecaps Manager Andrew Graham Says Players Ready For Home Opener

Andrew Graham and the Whitecaps come into the home opener after a four-game split at Dayton. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Andrew Graham and the Whitecaps come into the home opener after a four-game split at Dayton. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

By Peter J. Wallner | pwallner@mlive.com

COMSTOCK PARK, MI –West Michigan Whitecaps manager Andrew Graham isn’t worried how his team will react Tuesday in what won’t be a typical home opener with the reconstruction of fire-ravaged Fifth Third Ballpark as a backdrop.

“We just got back from Dayton and they opened the season there and had 8,000 fans screaming and they were fine,” said the first-year manager.

“I don’t think they will be overly jacked. I mean, most of these guys have played in big programs. They will be excited to take to the field for the opening game, but after that it’s another baseball game.”

Click to read the full article 

A – Adamson, Atherton, Battaglia, George, Kandilas, Wade

Corey Adamson - off to a strong start

Corey Adamson – off to a strong start

Corey Adamson has had a good week.   After 5 games with the Lake Elsinore Storm he is hitting an impressive .412 collecting 7 hits in 17ABs, scoring 4 runs and an RBI.   His promotion has obviously not fazed him.

After being claimed by the Oakland A’s Tim Atherton started the season in their High A team, Stockton Ports and has had 1 outing so far.   He threw 4 innings for 4H, 2R, 1HR, 3BB, 3K.

Ryan Battaglia, with the Indians’ Carolina Mudcats, has had limited game time getting 3AB, going hitless.

Tampa Bay’s Darryl George has appeared in 2 games in this first week for Bowling Green Hot Rods going 1-7 with 2RBI.

Like Corey Adamson David Kandilas has played in 5 games in the first week of the 2014 season.   In 14ABs he has 4H, 3R, 2BB for a .286 average.

Logan Wade was promoted to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Tim Atherton’s old team and is hitting .273 after 3 games including his first home run.  He has had 11AB, 3H, 1R, 1HR, 1RBI

Melbourne Aces Manager Phil Dale Steps Down

dale23By Melbourne Aces

The Melbourne Aces have announced that Phil Dale who has managed the team since the inaugural season has decided to step down and focus on his many baseball ventures that he is currently working on. Phil has contributed both on and off the field since the Major League Baseball funded Australian Baseball League was re-launched four years ago.

“We knew the time would come when Phil would step away given he has many other baseball interest he is working on” commented General Manager Windsor Knox, “He is been here for the organization since day one and I am personally grateful for the support and knowledge he has passed on to us over the years and we wish him every success in the future”.

Phil has long contributed to Melbourne’s baseball success both on and off the field since the re-launch of the Australian Baseball League; leading the Victorian Aces to a Claxton Shield in 2010 and coming perilously close to winning the title again in 2012.

Phil will be refocusing his attention on his diverse baseball commitments including his duties as Pacific Rim Scouting Director for the Atlanta Braves, his work as National Pitching Coordinator with the Australian Senior Team and Academy Programs Team and his duties on the National Baseball Operations Committee.

The Aces will be conducting a global search for a new Manager and will look to have one appointed in the near future.

Did Dodgers Pitchers Get Thrown On Barbie?

Australia trip might have affected Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson.

The LA Dodgers practise at the SCG for the first time on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/los-angeles-dodgers-and-arizona-diamondbacks-baseballers-hail-newlook-scg-20140318-hvjy7.html#ixzz2wJhnKRLt

The LA Dodgers practise at the SCG. Photo: Getty Images

By Dylan Hernandez/latimes.com

SAN DIEGO — Complaints about the season-opening series in Australia resurfaced before the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday at Petco Park, this time centered around how the overseas trip might have resulted in injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson.

Kershaw, who strained a back muscle pitching in Australia, will be sidelined, at least, for the remainder of the month. Wilson joined him on the 15-day disabled list with an irritated nerve in his elbow.

The Dodgers shortened their spring-training camp to the facilitate the trip, something one player blamed for Kershaw and Wilson’s health issues. The player, who did not want to be named, pointed out how the Arizona Diamondbacks, the other team that went to Australia, have also lost their No. 1 starter and setup man. The injuries to Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez of the Diamondbacks were severe; both recently underwent major elbow operations.

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt wasn’t as certain the condensed camp was responsible, but he didn’t rule out the possibility, either.

“There’s no way anybody could,” Honeycutt said.

Honeycutt was critical of how little time his pitchers were given to prepare for the season. As it was, the Dodgers had a shorter off-season than usual because they played into October.

Of the Dodgers’ early-season and spring schedules, he said, “I don’t think enough thought’s been put in that process.”

Honeycutt, who was pulled aside by a Dodgers public relations manager before speaking to reporters, made it a point to say of the Australia trip and Kershaw’s injury, “I hope there’s no correlation. I’m not saying that’s the reason.”

However, he later said, “I just feel like you always put health in front of the situation.”

Honeycutt said that he would have liked his starting pitchers to pitch in a minimum of five spring training games. Kershaw pitched in four.

Kershaw wouldn’t speculate what led to his injury.

“You can look back on a lot of different things and second-guess, but at the end of the day, it happened, so I’m trying to not to think about what you could have done better because I felt I was as prepared as I possibly could be for the season,” Kershaw said. “I felt great all spring training. It’s just one of those things.”

Honeycutt also complained about how the Dodgers had several days off before and after the games in Australia, as well as how their domestic season opener in San Diego was played on Sunday, a day before most teams opened their seasons.

“Then they’re asking us to come back and play before anybody else plays, move our schedule up a day?” Honeycutt said. “That doesn’t make any sense, either.”

And with the Dodgers playing only 19 exhibitions in Arizona, Honeycutt thought relievers also didn’t pitch enough in spring training.

Wilson certainly felt he was underprepared.

Wilson downplayed the severity of the latest problems with his elbow, which has been surgically repaired twice, most recently less than two years ago.

“It’s just slight discomfort,” Wilson said. “I think everything will be fine once I get four, five, six innings under my belt, just to kind of finish spring training.

“I wouldn’t want to go out there and flip a coin on trying to get outs while trying to get my work in. It’s not fair to the team, it’s not fair to myself. I need to get work in now at a competitive level without causing any harm to the team.”

Wilson said he felt he had to rush to get ready for opening day, which led to him to throw too hard in his fourth and final Cactus League game on March 15.

“I didn’t bounce back like I’d like to,” he said.

Wilson didn’t report his problems to the training staff.

He pitched a scoreless inning in Australia but said he didn’t feel right. He said he again felt something was wrong when he pitched Sunday in the Dodgers’ first game of the series against the Padres. Wilson gave up three runs without recording an out in the loss.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com
Twitter: @dylanohernandez

 

James Beresford – Will He Be Our Next Major Leaguer?

Beresford 2This article was written by Seth Stohs during Spring Training and published on twinsdaily.com.

The Minnesota Twins have certainly had a strong connection to Australia, especially the past dozen years. They have signed pitchers such as Michael Nakamura, Grant Balfour and Liam Hendriks. They have even signed hitters like Glenn Williams and Luke Hughes.

In 2005, the Twins signed an infielder from Australia named James Beresford. Since signing with the Twins, he has represented Australia in several international competitions including the World Cup and the World Baseball Classic.

He has had the opportunity to become a free agent each of the past two seasons, yet he has decided to remain with the Twins. Last year, he made it to the highest minor league level and put up his best offensive numbers. He is again at big league camp looking to make a positive impression.

Beresford is likely to spend much of the 2014 season in Rochester with the Red Wings, but he is being given an opportunity to compete for a bench job with the big league club.

A younger and slim [skinny?] James Beresford with fellow Victorian Justin Huber

A younger and slim [skinny?] James Beresford with fellow Victorian Justin Huber

“It’s been fun. I can’t really control how much game time you get, but they’ve given everyone a bit of opportunity. It has been great to go out there and play. It’s been a good start. Just enjoying it and hoping to get a few more at bats in the next week or two.”

Considering his long road to get to this point, these types of opportunities are pretty special. When he was signed, he was very young and very thin. He was the definition of a project and has had to work very hard to move up each level. He spent a year with the GCL Twins, a year with the Elizabethton Twins, two full seasons in Beloit and a year in Ft. Myers. In 2012, he played in New Britain.

He returned to New Britain to start the 2013 season. He played 45 games and hit .316 before moving up to Triple-A Rochester. He played in 58 games for the Red Wings and hit .298 and helped the team get to the playoffs. Combined, he got on base just over 36% of the time as well.

The 25-year-old has needed that time to develop properly. He needed to mature, physically and mentally. Each level gets a little bit tougher.

Regarding the move to AAA, Beresford said, “It’s just been a progression. Moving up to AAA, I struggled for the first two weeks, getting used to the league and that type of thing. The pitchers… you’re typically not going to see guys who throw as hard, but they throw a little more offspeed in hitter’s counts. So you can’t always be gearing up for fastballs. You just have to adjust because they don’t have the 96 mph fastball. They tend to throw their sliders and changeups for strikes in hitter’s counts. That’s the biggest adjustment. It turned out to be a fun season, making the playoffs. It was a good year.”

This past offseason, Beresford became a six-year minor league free agent for the second straight year. This time around, he quickly re-signed with the Twins. There were several reasons that made the decision pretty easy for him.

“Just the things the Twins said to me. Pretty candid things. The positive things they had to say. The opportunities they said they were going to give me. And, I definitely saw a chance to get up to the big leagues this year provided I play well. I don’t see a big difference. I signed a little bit later last year just because I wanted to see what the market was like. After we saw what was going on, we decided that signing with the Twins was the best option. This year, they were just really aggressive and I wanted to get back straight away so it was a positive thing.”

Beresford played almost exclusively second base in 2013. In 2012, he spent equal time between shortstop and second base. Prior to that, he played nearly exclusively short. The move to second base likely has much more to do with Danny Santana than Beresford who feels prepared to play all three infield positions as a utility player if needed.

“I’m pretty comfortable playing all three positions. Probably most comfortable at shortstop and second just because that’s where I’ve played the last couple of years. The good thing about third is it’s just a reaction position. Ball is hit hard, you don’t have much time to move and think. So I think third is probably a little easier to pick up. Second base has been good to work on the pivots and double plays. It’s a lot different than shortstop where momentum’s taking you toward first base. At second, there’s a different turn, so that was the biggest adjustment I had to make last year.”

Being an Australian playing baseball in the United States certainly presents challenges not only for the player but for his family. Beresford says that his parents come to the States every year, usually for about two weeks. However, technology has allowed them to watch him play most of his games.

Click to read the complete article:

Rowland-Smith Makes Long Journey Back To Majors

Photo: (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Photo: (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com

PHOENIX — It had been three full seasons in between Major League appearances for D-backs left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. And after pitching the ninth inning in relief Wednesday night against the Giants, Rowland-Smith said it was worth the wait.

“It went well; I was a little nervous,” Rowland-Smith said Thursday only hours before the two teams concluded their four-game Opening Series at Chase Field. “I’m always nervous the first time out there for the season. You’re trying to get the monkey off your back. The fact that it’s been three years was kind of weird. But once I settled in, I was just trying to make pitches.”

Rowland Smith last threw in a big league game as a member of the Mariners against the A’s on Oct. 2, 2010. Since then, he’s had to overcome some injuries and circumstances to get back on the mound in the Major Leagues.

At this juncture, Rowland-Smith was the big beneficiary of the D-backs’ decision to carry a 13-man pitching staff this early in the season. That may change when Cody Ross finishes his Minor League rehab from hip surgery. The outfielder left for a stint at Triple-A Reno on Thursday.

“I feel great,” Ross said Wednesday night. “I have no idea how long I will be there. They haven’t told me.”

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Ross will have two days on and one off as he begins to round back into baseball shape after last season’s horrific right hip injury.

Meanwhile, Rowland-Smith is trying to take advantage of the situation.

“I had injuries, but I don’t know whether they kept me out of the big leagues or not,” said Rowland-Smith, who allowed a single, walked one and whiffed one in his one inning of work against the Giants. “I got hit in the hand trying to bunt one year. I hurt my back one year. And then last year I had an appendectomy. I was having a great year, so that was a real shame. I was in the Minor Leagues with the Red Sox.

“So little things like that, a couple of things outside of my control, but otherwise when you’re in a situation like I was the last couple of years, you have to be stellar to get a chance. It’s timing or situations.”

Note: Ryan threw the 7th yesterday against the Rockies for 1INN, 2H, 1R, 1K.

NZ’s Eden Park Tries To Lure Major League Baseball

Eden-Park-Auckland-2013By Sarah Harvey/stuff.co.nz

Major League Baseball looks set to arrive in New Zealand after a high-powered Auckland delegation met US backers, seeking to organise an exhibition game at Eden Park.

If financial backers are found, an All Stars team of players from the 30 US Major League franchises could assemble in Auckland in November 2016.

A pitching mound and diamond would be created, and at least two games could be played over a couple of days. The All Stars would play both an intra-squad game and, potentially, against the New Zealand team, the Diamond Blacks.

The games could mean big money and exposure for Auckland and New Zealand – Major League Baseball (MLB) revenue is expected to top $9 billion this year. Baseball is also a major attraction in Asia.

The initiative follows a successful venture last weekend at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which hosted two warm-up games and the opening two games of the MLB regular season, attracting crowds of almost 40,000 to each game.

The showpiece cost Sydney backers many millions of dollars but brought huge attention to the game in Australia as the MLB continues to target new markets. An Eden Park extravaganza is seen as an extension of Australian moves.

The Auckland delegation who went to Sydney to meet MLB backers, including the owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise, included Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn, Sky TV chief executive John Fellet, Eden Park Trust chief executive David Kennedy and representatives from Auckland Council’s tourism arm, ATEED.

Flynn said the response from MLB was “very positive”.

He said Murray Cook, who managed the creation of a diamond at the SCG, visited Eden Park about 18 months ago and said it would be possible to fit a baseball field on the Auckland ground. The diamond in Sydney was created in 17 days and similar speed would be necessary in Auckland, to fit in between cricket and rugby.

Kennedy said that since the refurbishment of the stadium in time for Rugby World Cup 2011, the trust had been looking to open the stadium up to other sports. November suited Eden Park’s schedule.

There are no confirmed financial backers but a number of baseball-mad private investors travelled with the delegation to Sydney.

Flynn and others hope to interest a private backer to secure the funds needed for the project to get going.

Sky’s Fellet, himself a big fan of baseball, said that if MLB came to New Zealand, his network would play host broadcaster and send footage back to the major sports channels in the US.

“I would be first in line to get tickets,” he added.

Brett Riley, the chief executive of ATEED, said MLB saw New Zealand as an “exciting growth market”.

In the past four years the number of people playing the sport here has grown from fewer than 1000 to more than 6000.

There are also plans afoot for a baseball academy in Auckland and to build a boutique baseball stadium in the city.

- © Fairfax NZ News

Why MLB Thinks Australia Is On Verge Of Baseball Boom

scg18laBy Pete Williams/Sporting News

For roughly a century, the Cincinnati Reds kicked off the Major League Baseball season by hosting a festive afternoon game that inspired hopeful fans of teams everywhere to think in terms of blank slates, renewal and World Series possibilities.

Baseball’s oldest team still opens at home, facing the Cardinals on March 31, but gone is the traditional opening day, replaced by a Sunday evening “Opening Night” affair pitting two high-profile teams on ESPN.

For the last 15 years, MLB has played its first games even earlier and further away from Cincinnati. Since 1999, when the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres met in Monterrey, Mexico, baseball has opened in Tokyo four times (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) and San Juan, P.R., once (2001).

This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers will square off at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia on Saturday and Sunday, marking the earliest start to an MLB regular season and the first games played in the Southern Hemisphere.

The two-game series, part of baseball’s ongoing global marketing efforts, will draw attention to how the sport has grown steadily over the last generation in the “Land Down Under.” Just as an influx of Japanese players in the majors in the late 1990s boosted interest in the sport there, Australia appears to be on a similar timeline today.

“The globalization of our game continues to be paramount to Major League Baseball, and Australia is an essential part of our long-term efforts to grow the sport,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig says.

Cricket and rugby still attract more interest than baseball in Australia, which trails nations such as Japan, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic when it comes to fan interest and producing big leaguers.

But since 1986, when Craig Shipley became the first Aussie in the modern era to reach the majors, the country has transformed from baseball start-up to emerging world power. The 2000 Olympics in Sydney featured a dramatic upset win by Team USA over Cuba for the gold medal. An Australian Academy was established by MLB a year later. In 2004, Australia won a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games, and last year marked the inaugural appearance of an Australian team at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Then there’s Grant Balfour, the fiery Sydney native who last season notched a career-high 38 saves with the Oakland A’s. Balfour once entered games to the 1980s hit “Down Under” by Australian rock group Men at Work before switching to “One” by Metallica and becoming an All-Star and fan favorite in the Bay Area.

Along with MLB’s 75-percent investment in a new Australian Baseball League in 2010, the steady flow of Aussies into the majors and appearances by the country in the World Baseball Classic, have allowed America’s pastime to carve a sizable niche in Australian sports.

“It’s a sport that’s on the verge of booming over there,” says Damian Moss, the Sydney native who pitched for the Atlanta Braves and three other MLB teams from 2001-04. “It’s still battling against cricket and other sports, but it’s definitely on the map now. I don’t know if you could say that 20 years ago.”

Australia has produced 31 major league players all-time, led by 19th century infielder Joe Quinn. Other Aussie standouts include former Milwaukee Brewers catcher David Nilsson, a 1999 National League All-Star; Shipley, an infielder for five teams over 11 seasons; former lefty reliever Graeme Lloyd, a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees; Balfour, the 10-year veteran who last year became the second All-Star from Australia; and side-winding reliever Peter Moylan, who joined the Dodgers last year after seven seasons with the Braves.

Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw (AP Photo)

Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw (AP Photo)

“Given Australia’s population (22 million) and the competition for athletes with other sports, the country has done pretty well,” says Shipley, now an assistant to Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers. “But there’s still a lot of room for the sport to grow.”

Major League Baseball’s history at the Sydney Cricket Ground dates to December 1888, when Spalding’s World Tourists played a series of exhibition games, including a Dec. 15, 1888 contest that attracted 5,500 spectators. The Sydney Cricket Ground will be fully renovated to a baseball configuration and MLB standards in order to host the Opening Series.

Baseball still flew under the radar in Australia when the 2000 Olympics began in Sydney, which had built two new venues for the Games. Still, the sport became one of the more popular tickets in Australia, which had hosted a crowd of 114,000 at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics when baseball was a demonstration sport and the U.S. defeated Australia 11-5.

In 2000, baseball was a medal sport for just the third time and professionals were eligible for only the second Olympiad. But since the late-September games coincided with the end of the MLB season, the only household name on the U.S. roster was catcher and former World Series MVP Pat Borders, who at 37 had been playing for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A affiliate.

Borders mentored a talented staff of pitching prospects that included Ben Sheets, Roy Oswalt and Jon Rauch. With Tommy Lasorda as manager, the team upset a heavily favored Cuban squad to win Team USA’s first and only Olympic gold medal in baseball.

“It was a great atmosphere,” recalls David Fanucchi, who served as Team USA’s public relations director and authored a book on the team called Miracle on Grass. “Sydney is a thriving metropolitan city that, like the rest of the country, appreciates baseball.”

After the Olympics, Major League Baseball and the Australian Baseball Federation established the MLB Australian Academy Program (MLBAAP), which has served as a model for ensuing international MLB academies.

Hosted at Palm Meadows Baseball Complex in Gold Coast, Queensland, since 2001, the Academy Program enables MLB clubs to sign and develop young Australian players in their native country in preparation for an eventual move to the United States.

In terms of Little League participation, Australia trails only the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Then there’s the new Australian Baseball League, which MLB has supported, along with the Australian Baseball Federation, since 2010.

Such grass-roots organizations from the youth level to the professional ranks is in stark contrast to the 1980s and ’90s, when many of the Aussies who made it to U.S. professional baseball did so almost by accident.

Shipley had dropped out of high school and was working at a bank at 16 when a Cardinals scout who had seen him play recommended he go back to school. As a condition of readmission, Shipley had to play rugby along with baseball, eventually attracting the attention of the University of Alabama.

Moss rarely had pitched as a kid, but a Braves scout signed him after watching him fire a laser from right field to third base during a game. Moylan washed out as a Twins prospect in 1998 and was working in pharmaceutical sales before re-emerging during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, signing with the Braves for $30,000. Balfour grew up in Sydney swimming and playing soccer and rugby before discovering baseball.

“I fell in love with the game,” Balfour says. “But reaching the majors? That’s not something too many kids thought about much growing up in Australia—at least not back then.”
Shipley, the one-time Dodger now employed by the Diamondbacks, says the two-game series should provide a look at both how baseball has grown in Australia and the potential it has to develop further.

“There’s going to be significant impact around the games while those teams are in the country,” he says. “The key is how to capitalize on that impact and have the game become even more prevalent in the public consciousness. It’s a really great opportunity for the sport.”

This content originally appeared in the Sporting News 2014 Baseball Yearbook. To order a copy, click here.

Daniel Schmidt Q/A – Big Lefty Headed To Holland

schmidt1By Dan Vaughan/TalkingBaseballAustralia

Daniel Schmidt is the all time winning pitcher in the ABL. The “Big Lefty” sat down with Talking Baseball Australia and touched on all things baseball. From the pinnacle in both the USA and Australia Schmidt has also seen the challenges that the game brings. The consummate professional and class act had a season that almost seems like a Hollywood screen play. Yet, his story is one that has to speak loud to fans about following your dreams and knocking on every door and kicking them in when given the opportunity. The glamorous life of baseball is only glamorous to a small percentage the rest face the challenges with a love for the game that is hard to find in any line of work. “Schmidty” opens up about the wild year it was.

TBA: You had great finish to the season for you but really were solid all year. What was the key?

Daniel Schmidt: I certainly had my struggles in the first month of the season where I had those poor starts against Sydney and Brisbane. I really had to sit down and assess what I was doing differently to the successful year I had in the US. After breaking things down, I realized that I was trying too hard and not pitching within my capabilities. My ability to generate ground balls and pitch with movement is what allows me to be successful. Every pitcher wants to throw harder, it’s human nature but it doesn’t always guarantee success. You have to know what your strengths are and pitch to them, be comfortable with who you are. Once I made that conscious decision to focus on staying within myself, not trying to over throw the ball and keep it down, I was able to have more consistent starts.

TBA: You don’t throw upper 90s so what is the key? As a lefty a change is big but what is your approach?

Daniel Schmidt: These days, it’s not unusual to have a handful of guys on your pitching staff throwing 90mph. I’ve never been that guy even though I have tried to on numerous occasions. Throwing hard opens up opportunities to play at the higher levels but it doesn’t always guarantee success. Batters are accustomed to seeing pitching that hard on a regular basis now which makes it a whole lot harder to just “throw a fastball by him”. You need to set batters up with your off-speed pitches. An 88mph fastball looks like 92mph when you have thrown them a serving of offspeed pitches. My changeup is my best pitch but when I mix in my curveball and cutter after batters have been seeing sinker, changeup for a number of innings, it makes it a lot harder for them to decide what pitch is coming. I’ve been told that despite my funky delivery, I manage to hide the ball from the batter well so they don’t see it out of my hand until I release it. I believe it’s a combination of factors that helps make a successful pitcher.

TBA: With the club now notching another Claxton Shield and finals appearance is that what you expected in October?

Daniel Schmidt: Despite our early season struggles in November, we knew we have a great ball club. We still have the same core group of guys that we have had over the past half a dozen seasons and during that time, has seen us enjoy a lot of success. When you mix in a quality group of imports and some of our young stars coming up from the junior ranks, you get a well rounded unit. We have always believed that we are one of the best teams talent wise on paper but when you mix that with team chemistry, it is the primary source of our frequent success. We have been really lucky that each season, the imports have gelled with our group and team culture seamlessly. We have enough leaders on our team that everyone is held accountable for their actions and their role. We always expect to be playing in playoffs come crunch time as we know that if we do the little things right, we should be here.

TBA: When we talked to you and others (Heat players) last us summer it seemed like you boys were ready for a championship season?

Daniel Schmidt: Last season was bitterly disappointing. To not be able to bring the series to a game 3 of the championships felt like had let one slip away. You have all offseason to think about those type of series but it only makes you that much more hungry to get back there and win the whole thing the next year. We feel that last season made us that much stronger for this years championship…

TBA: Europe over the states?

Daniel Schmidt: I feel that I am finished with my Independent baseball career in the US after 5 years of slogging it out trying to get visas and compete for jobs. Teams in Indy ball don’t have the money of the MLB teams which means paying for visas and flights is difficult for them. They tend to just sign local talent these days. I also feel like the way my US season finished last year, with winning a championship, was a sign from the baseball gods above that I can now move on from Indy ball and that it’s time to see new places and experience new things. Asia would definitely be something I would look at down the track as well as they take their baseball very seriously over there.

 oOo

Click to read the rest of this outstanding interview with Dan by TBA 

Our [TBA] thanks to Daniel Schmidt and we wish him the best as he take his resume to the Netherlands. For fans who want to follow the Twins Honkbal in the Honkbal Overgangsklasse in the Netherlands here are the links to the team website. Our thanks to Daniel Schmidt for his time and we wish him the best in the coming season.

For more excellent articles from the folks at TBA click on the link in the Blogroll on the right of our page.

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