2015 CFBBQ Road Trip

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. Opening Day is right around the corner as the major and minor league seasons are set to start spectacularly soon. That means that the two of us will soon be embarking on our third annual CFBBQ SUMMER ROAD TRIP. *applause track* *balloons fall from ceiling* Two years ago, during the 2013 season we drove from our houses in DC to the Field of Dreams in Iowa and made our way back through Chicago and the Midwest League. Last year, we drove from DC to Texas and back, hitting up the Southern, South Atlantic, and Texas Leagues in the process. This year we decided to go even bigger, even further, and even longer.

On our first road trip, Jordan and I joked about one day doing a trip from Petco Park in San Diego to Safeco Field in Seattle. We laughed it off as a pipe dream; no way would we ever have the skills, smarts, or organization skills to pull that off. Well, we still don’t have any of those things, but we’re doing it anyway.

Just like last year, we’ll be writing all about the trip over at Baseball Prospectus. The plan is to put up a post a day chronicling our adventures. There’s a good chance we’ll set up some sort of meet up in at least one of the cities we come to. We love talking baseball and we hope to get the chance to do that with some of you guys.

San Diego to Seattle (All Times PT):

Thursday, May 21st: Chicago Cubs @ San Diego Padres – 6:10 PM

Friday, May 22nd: Visalia Rawhide (ARI) @ Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) – 6:00 PM

Saturday, May 23rd: San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers – 7:10 PM

Sunday, May 24th: Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) @ Lancaster Jethawks (HOU) – 2:00 PM

Monday, May 25th: High Desert Mavericks (TEX) @ Bakersfield Blaze (SEA) – 12:00 PM

Tuesday, May 26th: Colorado Springs Sky Sox @ Las Vegas 51’s – 7:05

Wednesday, May 27th: Maybe Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) @ Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) – 3:05 PM but for sure San Jose Giants (SF) @ High Desert Mavericks (SEA) 6:35 PM

Thursday, May 28th: Detroit Tigers @ Anaheim Angels – 7:05

Friday, May 29th: Bakersfield Blaze @ Visalia Rawhide – 7:05

Saturday, May 30th: Lake Elsinore @ Stockton (OAK) – 7:00 PM

Sunday, May 31st: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics – 1:05 PM

Monday, June 1st: Pittsburgh Pirates @ San Fransisco Giants – 7:05 PM

Tuesday, June 2nd: Pittsburg Mettle @ Sonoma Stompers – 6:05

Wednesday, June 3rd: Driving day

Thursday, June 4th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 7:10

Friday, June 5th: New Orleans Zephyrs @ Tacoma Rainiers – 7:05

Saturday, June 6th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 7:10 (CespedesBBQ/Lookout Landing event prior to game)

Sunday, June 7th: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – 1:10

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Lucas Giolito Without His Curveball: Still Really, Really Good

When going to see top-tier pitching prospects while they’re still in the minor leagues, you can often expect to see at least one pitch in their repertoire that stands out above all as “that pitch” that “you need to see”. Maybe you saw Gerrit Cole’s routinely ridiculous fastball sit comfortably in the 96-98 MPH range while he was in Double-A. Maybe you got a glimpse of Taijuan Walker’s 92 MPH cutter as he was tearing up the Midwest League. Or perhaps you were #blessed by the presence of Kevin Gausman’s particularly obscene change-up. This year, the pitch that has received high praise from both real scouts and Twitter-scouts alike, is Lucas Giolito’s curveball. Often referred to as “the greatest breaking ball in the history of modern civilization”, Giolito’s hammer of a curve has earned rave reviews all year long. I saw Giolito pitch in mid-June at home against Greenville, and the curve was all that it had been hyped up to be. Low-A hitters had essentially no chance to square it up, let alone make contact at all. In that June outing, Giolito relied heavily on getting ahead in the count with fastballs low in the zone, and utilized the curve as his failproof out pitch whenever he needed it. His third pitch, a developing change-up, was used sparingly and clearly needed some work. Last night, I saw Lucas Giolito pitch for the second time this year. He allowed two hits through five shutout innings while walking two and striking out six Delmarva hitters. He did not throw a single curveball.

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The Time I Struck Out A Minor League Pitcher

Yesterday, I pitched against a professional baseball player. What did you do yesterday?

BFF of the BBQ Kieran Lovegrove was the unlucky victim forced to stand toe to toe against America’s ROOGY. The setting was less than ideal, as I would prefer to be in a Major League park wearing actual baseball clothing. Forced to suffer through the reprehensible conditions in the parking lot behind the State College Spikes stadium, I had a great deal to overcome.

PITCH ONE:

https://vine.co/v/M20pFI09Hw0/embed/simple

I knew the legend known as Lovegrove struggles with hard stuff in under the hands so I decided to start off the at-bat with a two-seamer on the inner half. The devastating arm-side run on my fastball was too much for him to handle as he jammed the ball foul the other way.

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The CFBBQ Road Trip: A Recap

We returned home late last night from our nearly two-week long baseball road trip extravaganza. If you’re wondering why we haven’t had any content here, it’s because all of our daily road trip journal entries have been featured at Baseball Prospectus. We are very happy with how the series turned out, and the series has been made completely free over at Baseball Prospectus for all to read. Below are links to each day’s post with brief descriptions of what we wrote about:

INTRODUCTION AND ITINERARY

In which we explained what the series would be and why we’re doing it.

DAY ONE: LYNCHBURG

Summary: The beginning of the trip and our first game.

Game: Frederick Keys (Orioles) at Lynchburg Hillcats (Braves)

Interviews: OF Kyle Wren and RHP Lucas Sims

DAY TWO: ASHEVILLE AND HICKORY

Summary: We saw two Low-A games in one day. Raimel Tapia was awesome.

Games: Lexington Legends (Royals) at Asheville Tourists (Rockies) and Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) at Hickory Crawdads (Rangers)

Interview: 1B Correlle Prime

DAY THREE: HUNTSVILLE

Summary: We went to an awful stadium with awesome people. Kris Bryant did Kris Bryant things.

Game: Tennessee Smokies (Cubs) at Huntsville Stars (Brewers)

Interview: INF Josh Prince

DAY FOUR: LSU

Summary: We went to a college baseball regional game where the baseball was okay but the college was spectacular.

Game: Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana State University

DAY FIVE AND SIX: HOUSTON

Summary: We attended two games at Minute Maid Park; the first as fans, the second as media.

Games: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros

Interviews: 1B Chris Carter and OF Dexter Fowler

DAY SEVEN: We got lazy and didn’t write anything.

DAY EIGHT: DALLAS

Summary: We saw a game in Round Rock before heading North to Dallas and the Texas Wranglers.

Games: Omaha  Storm Chasers (Royals) at Round Rock Express (Rangers) and Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers

DAY NINE: FRISCO

Summary: We went to Dr. Pepper Ballpark and drank a lot of Dr. Pepper. We also saw another baseball game.

Game: San Antonio Missions (Padres) at Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers)

Interview: RHP Alec Asher

DAY TEN: LITTLE ROCK

Summary: Bill Clinton World and disappointing Angels prospects.

Game: Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals) at Arkansas Travelers (Angels)

DAY ELEVEN: BACK TO HUNTSVILLE

Summary: We went back to Huntsville because the people there are awesome. Then the rain came.

Game: Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks) at Huntsville Stars (Brewers)

DAY TWELVE: BACK TO HICKORY

Summary: We returned to Crawdad Land to see a RIDICULOUS baseball game and some talented Dominican teenagers.

Game: West Virginia Power (Pirates) at Hickory Crawdads (Rangers)

Interview: INF Nick Vickerson

DAY THIRTEEN: WINSTON-SALEM, DURHAM, AND GOING HOME

Summary: We saw two rainy games and finally headed home.

Games: Carolina Mudcats (Indians) at Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox) and Norfolk Tides (Orioles) at Durham Bulls (Rays)

 

The Perfect Game Vault: Part 2

Just like most human beings, baseball players were young at some point in their lives. I can tell you from experience, being the 17 year old doofus I am, that being young can lead to the making of mistakes. In the case of many current big leaguers, these mistakes were photographs. Photographs that will live on forever on the beautiful thing we call the Internet.

All these wonderful photos were found on perfectgame.org. Accompanying each photo are a few quotes that each player said during their photo shoot (probably).

Click here for Part 1.

Alex Gordon

“Has anybody seen my neck?

“No, I don’t really like the bearded look.”

Cliff Pennington

“I just don’t care.”

“What pimple?”

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Previewing the 2013 Home Run Derpy

Several weeks ago, Ian Miller and Riley Breckenridge were talking about the upcoming Home Run Derby on their Prodcast. There was an off-hand comment about how they should have a Home Run Derpy tournament instead. So if we’re stealing the idea…we apologize deeply. But it was a difficult thing to pass up. This isn’t exactly a tournament, but it’s an appreciation of our eight participants in a slightly different manner. It’s a shame Jeff Karstens won’t be the one pitching to them next Monday night. Anyway, let’s get started.

The American League

CAPTAIN: New York Yankees 2B Robinson Cano

Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis

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