Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Pratte on time

Balls, strikes -- and clocks? (Springfield News-Leader)
Nearly 20 years later, Evan Pratte remembers stepping into the batter's box with one eye on the pitcher and the other on a ticking clock.

"I thought we were playing a basketball game at some points, it was moving so fast," Pratte, a former Missouri State infielder, said of the clock used in Missouri Valley Conference games in 1990 and '91.

Players adapted, Pratte said, under the threat of automatic balls or strikes being called for violations.

The plan was scrapped the following year, but college baseball could be on the clock again -- in all of NCAA Division I --as soon as next season.
. . .
"It'll speed up the game a little bit, for some teams more than others," Pratte said. "But I think teams will adjust."

Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 Recruit: Drew Carlile, C

Drew Carlile, C
Poudre HS (Fort Collins, CO)

2010 Offense: .451 BA, 3 HR, 26 RBI

Poudre's Carlile catches a scholarship to Missouri (
Things ended up working out great Monday for Carlile, who performed so well at the camp that he will play collegiate baseball for the Tigers next year after he was offered and accepted a scholarship later that evening.

"My goal all along was to play Division I, and I really wanted to play in a good conference," Carlile said. "I really liked the campus and the town, and the coaches were great."
. . .
Carlile became the sixth 2010 graduate from Fort Collins who will play Division I baseball.
. . .
Carlile hit .451 with three home runs and 26 RBIs as senior, but his most impressive stats probably came off the field. He graduated 13th in his class with a 4.2 GPA and as a member of Poudre’s vaunted International Baccalaureate program.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Great photo of Kyle Mach, with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the Democrat Herald.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Folgia heats up in July

Anybody noticed how hot Greg Folgia has been lately?

After hitting a respectable .275 in April for the Lake Valley Captains, Folgia really struggled for the next two months, hitting only .143 in May and .114 in June.

But since the beginning of July, Folgia has hit for a .303 average and a .485 slugging percentage. Over a seven game stretch through Wednesday of this week, he went 9-for-24 (.375) with two homers, one double and eight RBI.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Rangers put Ian Kinsler on DL (
The Texas Rangers placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained left groin.
. . .
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Kinsler experienced the groin problem for the past three days. The team decided to shut Kinsler down following an MRI on Wednesday, hoping the injury will heal in the next two weeks.

"Anytime you strain a groin, it's serious," Washington said. "He's been playing with it. But this is too important. We want to have him down the stretch. We need him to play. We don't want a sprain to become a pull. This way we can get the 15 days and get it over with. It would be easy for something to get worse."

Vote for Aaron Senne for Big 12 Athlete of the Year

Vote for Big 12 Athletes of the Year (
Today is the last day to vote for Missouri athletes Sarah Shire and Aaron Senne, both nominees for Big 12 Athlete of the Year. This prestigious award is given out by the Big 12 Conference to both a male and female athlete to honor their yearly accomplishments. For the second year in a row fan voting will be considered in the final selection of the 2009-10 Big 12 Athlete of the Year.

Aaron Senne has been nominated for the Male Big 12 Athlete of the Year. Senne holds a school record for career hits, and is the first player at Missouri to hit .400 since 1988. Senne was named Co-Big 12 Player of the Year and earned All-American third team honors in addition to Academic All-Big 12 and Academic All-District honors.
Click Here to Vote

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SimmonsField Photo: Retro Unis

Four veterans of the 1910 Tigers:
O'Byre, Besheer (captain), William Harper, Eugene Hall
(Savitar photo)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2011 Schedule

Missouri popped up on a 2011 schedule release today:

USC announces 2011 season schedule (
The USC baseball program announced its 2011 schedule which will begin with a tournament at Dedeaux Field (Feb. 18-20) featuring Missouri, North Carolina and Cal Poly.
Sounds like a great tournament field on the opening weekend of the season!
2/18 Southern California
2/19 Cal Poly
2/20 North Carolina

As we do every season, we're be piecing together a tentative 2011 MU Baseball Schedule, based on schedules released by opponents, scurrilous rumors and e-mailed tips from people in the know.

And eventually some kind person with connections will send us a tentative schedule.

Right now, this opening series is all we've got.

So if you've got any info to share, my email is

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Max Scherzer experiences a no-hitter . . . from the wrong side

Rays 5, Tigers 0: Matt Garza deals Detroit a no-hitter (
A baseball season that, by the week, seems to be running backward on the Tigers, introduced some new freakishness Monday at Tropicana Field.

Just when it looked as if Max Scherzer was about to take a no-hitter into the seventh inning, it was his gun-slinging counterpart, Matt Garza, who instead stole the showdown.

Behind a belly-high fastball that put the Tigers in knots, Garza pitched the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay history, and the first no-hitter against the Tigers in 20 years, in mowing down Detroit, 5-0.
. . .
"That's why it's a weird game," said Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, who was one of the few Tigers to hit anything hard against Garza, when he socked a sixth-inning fly to deep center. "One hit, and we're down, four-nothing."

That one hit was a grand slam by Joyce, on a 3-2 fastball, that soared inside the right-field foul pole for Joyce's third homer of the year, and his second slam. It came after Scherzer had walked two batters, sandwiched around a catcher's interference call on Laird, which loaded the bases with one out for Carlos Pena, another of the one-time Tigers who now plays for Tampa Bay.

Scherzer struck out Pena on a 3-2 fastball. He didn't get the same fastball, on the same count, past Joyce, who fouled a 3-1 fastball into the right-field seats before blasting Scherzer's next heater into the blue chairs in deep right.
And friends of Max will enjoy the photo of his reaction to giving up the grand slam

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

■ Great fame-action photo of Mike Liberto at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Recruiting: Informed Athlete newsletter

The latest monthly Informed Athlete newsletter is available from former Mizzou-Dad Rick Allen, including information about new phone contact rules going into effect August 1st.
The father of a basketball prospect was quoted as giving his son this advice to follow during the recruiting process: "I told him not to put the emphasis on the school but on the people. He knew that a lot of different schools have great facilities, but I wanted him to find out what the people are like. They are the ones molding his life."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MU 2010 Recruit: Dusty Ross, RHP

Dusty Ross, RHP
Vernon College (Vernon, TX); Iowa Park HS (TX)
6'3", 225 lb, R/R

2010 Pitching: 3-6, 7.63 ERA, 74-1/3 IP, 75 R, 63 ER, 95 H, 53 SO, 38 BB,

Iowa Park grad Ross to pitch for Missouri (
Former Iowa Park standout Dusty Ross, who has played the past two seasons at Vernon College, will join the Big 12 next year.

Ross, a pitcher, has agreed to play at the University of Missouri. He currently is playing with the East Texas Pump Jacks, in Kilgore, of the Texas Collegiate League.

Ross leads the Pump Jacks and is second in the TCL with seven saves. The 6-3, 225-pound right-hander has 31 strikeouts in 26 innings

Mizzou Baseball

Agents taking heavy hits (Columbia Tribune)
For years Missouri has taken a proactive approach in dealing with agents and preparing athletes for professional careers, led by the school’s compliance department and longtime director, Mary Ann Austin. Ten years ago, Austin helped establish the school’s Professional Sports Counseling Panel made up of several MU School of Law professors who advise athletes on managing pro careers. In years past, the panel has brought in independent consultants and former MU athletes to share their experiences with agents and contracts, including basketball’s Jon Sundvold, football’s Jerome Sally and baseball’s Phil Bradley.

“It gives students the chance to talk to somebody who isn’t paid to give them advice,” said Bob Bailey, assistant dean of the law school and the panel’s chairman.

SimmonsField Photo: Under the Lights

Simmons Field at Night, circa 1984 (Savitar photo)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The perfect Hinge

Who can a blogger use as an example of the perfect batting style? Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer and . . . Aaron Senne.

Whip (

In order to believe what I believe and why, you first have to understand a concept called the hinge angle.[1] The hinge angle is the angle formed by the front forearm (line E-W) and the barrel of the bat (line H-W). Most good hitters set the hinge angle at between 80 and 100 degrees.
. . .
This is also true of Aaron Senne. In the clip above, of him hitting a home run to left field, notice how he holds the hinge until the last frame before contact. Only between the last two frames does the hinge angle change.

Mizzou Baseball Coaching Search

Jamieson seeks top recruiter (
“Even if I had” hired a coach “or was going to hire somebody in the next couple days, I couldn’t say anything,” Jamieson said. “I think we’d like to have everything done by the first week of August, as far as in the official capacity.”
. . .
“Coaching philosophy’s important, but recruiting is a big piece to this,” Jamieson said. “We’re only as good as our players. The person that we bring in is going to have responsibilities as it relates to that, and that’s a big part of the decision.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

NCAA Rules Committee update

■ NCAA rules committee proposes to mandate pitch clock (
The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee has voted to implement rules that address the pace of play and proposed an alteration to the rules governing obstruction by fielders.

After allowing the use of a pitch and between innings clock experimentally last year, the committee voted to mandate the use of a timing device and implemented penalties for non-compliance.
. . .
The committee also proposed a slight change to the obstruction rules, in an effort to provide fielders the ability to make a play on a thrown ball during a play at a base. Previously, any contact made between a fielder and runner could be called obstruction unless the fielder had possession of the ball. In the new proposal, a fielder that has established himself will be provided the opportunity to field the throw without penalty.
. . .
The committee approved two points of emphasis for this rules cycle as well. . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

■ Random quote of day:
I made kind of a neat observation from where I was sitting on the third base side. When Bowie lefthanded Starter Rick Zagone pitches from the windup, I could see his foot above his head before he goes to the plate. An extremely high leg kick is something rarely seen in today's game. It seemed to work for him though. (

Accident Report

Interstate 70 crash injures three teens (Columbia Tribune, 7/21)
Charges are pending in a crash in which an Odessa teenager allegedly rear-ended a Columbia teen when they were driving on Interstate 70 last night, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report.

At about 5:05 p.m. yesterday, Garrison P. McLagan, 19, of Columbia was driving a 2010 Ford east near Mile Marker 23 in Jackson County.

A Garrison P. McLagan also is listed as a sophomore at the University of Missouri and as a member of the Missouri baseball team.

Our best wishes go out to Garrison.

3 Mizzou Tigers in 1 MLB game

Scherzer stops Tigers' seven-game skid (
They had their chances, none better than in the fourth inning, when Michael Young led off with a triple to the fence in left-center field to put a runner in scoring position for the heart of the Rangers order. Up came Ian Kinsler, who drove in three runs in each of the first two games of the series.

Scherzer couldn't get him to bite at a pitch on the outside corner, leaving him with a 3-0 count against an All-Star hitter who has 16 RBIs with a runner on third and less than two outs this year. A walk would've put Scherzer back to even, but it would've put a second runner on for MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero.

"I'm thinking, 'Don't worry about the run. That's going to score,'" Leyland said. "Just get that guy."

Scherzer wasn't thinking about the run at all. His mentality?

"Pitch well. Keep executing," Scherzer said. "I know Kinsler's aggressive. I know he's a good hitter, and I knew that he can execute 3-0."

Kinsler didn't go after the fastball over the plate for 3-1. He went after the next fastball at the belt, but fouled it back to run the count full.

"I was putting good fastballs on him, and he was fouling them off," Scherzer continued. "That's why I decided to go with the changeup out of the zone. If I walk him, I walk him. If not, that's my best pitch at that point. That's Gerald behind the plate knowing that situation, too. We were on the same page with that pitch."

It's one of the secondary pitches Scherzer has executed much better since returning to the Tigers six weeks ago, and it caught Kinsler swinging early for the first out.

By comparison, he needed just three pitches to retire Guerrero, but none of them fastballs. After fouling off a first-pitch changeup, he swung and missed at back-to-back sliders, the second of them darting off the plate as Guerrero tried to reach it.

"He's very aggressive and he can hit anything," Scherzer said. "He hit a bomb off me earlier this year. I know he's very good. I was able to mix it with him. It allowed me to finish with my slider and he finished it out of the zone."

With the sacrifice fly no longer in play, Scherzer escaped the jam altogether with one more pitch: a changeup that Josh Hamilton grounded to first.

"That's the first time I've ever done that, with a man on third and nobody out and strand him," Scherzer said. "I was coming off the mound with a big smile."

[Trrip note: MU alum Doug Mathis also appeared in the game, pitching a perfect 8th inning in relief for the Rangers, his first appearance since being called back up from Triple-A

Farewell to Luke Cassis

Tony Vitello isn't the only member of the MU Baseball staff leaving the Tigers. Word has come that Luke Cassis, Director of Operations, is also moving on.

Luke is headed back to Chicago, where he will enroll at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Cassis played middle infield for the Tigers from 1999-2002, became a volunteer assistant coach, and then became Director of Operations in 2005, assisting with the day-to-day operations for the Tiger baseball program.

Long-time fans will remember that Luke spent a couple of years in the broadcast booth alongside Tex Little. His friendship with the players and involvement int he day-to-day activities of the team gave him a depth of knowledge that made him a valuable color commentator alongside The Voice.

Cassis knows what he's talking about (Columbia Missourian, March 26, 2004)
Luke Cassis is not shy about criticizing his former teammates. In fact, he gets paid to do it.

Cassis, a former Missouri baseball player and student assistant coach, moved into the broadcasting booth this year, providing the color commentary for Tiger baseball radio broadcasts on KTGR 1580/AM in Columbia.

“I try not to be critical at all, I try to be more positive than anything,” Cassis said. “If somebody messes up or does something bad, I’ll point it out. They know what they should’ve done so it’s not a big deal to say anything on air.”

Cassis finished playing for the Tigers in 2002. A four-year letter winner, he batted .262 with 59 RBIs in his last two years and started 157 games in the infield during his 183-game career.

When his eligibility expired, Cassis moved into the role of student assistant coach, giving help to players and helping with batting and fielding practice.

“At the time, we had 19 newcomers on the team,” Cassis said. “They had never been a part of Missouri baseball, so, more or less, I helped them get acclimated with the program.”
. . .
Missouri played its 24th game Wednesday, and Little said he is amazed how much progress Cassis has made for a broadcaster with no prior experience.

“I think I have had experience playing Nintendo,” Cassis said. “I used to do that all the time when I was a little kid, you know, broadcast the games in my room.”
. . .
Although Cassis spends many afternoons and nights talking about Missouri baseball, he has another part-time job at Johnny’s Beanery, 212 E. Green Meadows Road, where he is a bartender and cook. He graduated in the summer of 2003 with a degree in general studies.

Cassis said his true love is baseball, though, and he has enjoyed his role as a broadcaster, player and coach.

“I would like to play, but I think anything to be on the field; I think coaching would be my choice, but broadcasting is fun,” Cassis said.
From out of the darkness (Columbia Tribune, March 30, 2001)
Luke Cassis doesn’t remember much about the collision. His teammates and coaches on the Missouri baseball team will probably never forget it

The Tiger junior laid down a perfectly placed bunt during one of MU’s intra-squad scrimmage games last October and hustled down the line. But as he reached first base so did the ball and the second baseman.

It was a violent convergence that left Cassis unconscious for over three minutes - an eternity by knockout standards - as his teammates and coaches waited for him to come out of it and for the ambulance to arrive.

"It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen or been around in college athletics," MU coach Tim Jamieson said. "In baseball you don’t deal with things like that. You don’t deal with people being unconscious for as long as he was. It was a pretty scary thing because you don’t know what’s happening.

"An ambulance came and we didn’t know if he was gonna live or gonna die. We didn’t know what was going on and we didn’t understand it."

Cassis suffered a brain contusion causing him to miss the rest of the fall semester. The injury also forced him to drop out of school because of severe headaches and dizzy spells in the classroom prevented him from concentrating.

"It was kind of a freak thing," Cassis said. "I don’t really remember exactly what happened. Early on ... I might have had some tendencies to be very careful and cautious when running down the line, but that’s all passed now.

"Just yesterday I got hit in the helmet with a pitch so that was good. I don’t have to worry about that any more."

Jamieson credits the collective experience of Cassis’ frightening injury for giving his team a strong mental approach in the face of adverse situations. What could’ve been a career-ending tragedy - or worse - has actually been turned into a positive by the Tigers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rumors, anyone?

A few names are surfacing in the rumor mill about prospects for MU's new Assistant Coach:

  • "According to one source, Missouri is interested in AZL Rangers manager (and Mizzou product) Jayce Tingler for its open assistant coach job." (Baseball America's Aaron Fitt on

  • Another source tells me that UT-San Antonio pitching coach Jay Sirianni is on the short list. Sirianni is a former Nebraska Cornhusker pitcher. Check out this interview with Sirianni.

  • And yet another tip says a coach currently at Oral Roberts University has been considered.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Nippert to DL, Rangers recall Mathis (
The Texas Rangers placed right-handed pitcher Dustin Nippert on the disabled list Tuesday as a precaution and called up Doug Mathis from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Nippert was hit on the right side of the head Monday in Detroit by an Austin Jackson line drive in the sixth inning. Jackson's line drive sent Nippert crumbling to the ground and a hush fell over the stadium as players and fans feared he had been seriously injured.
. . .

The Rangers were forced into the move because they used seven pitchers Monday.

"We needed some help in the bullpen, and they told us that Dustin should probably take four or five days off, so we decided to do the smart thing and be extremely cautious with him," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Mathis, who is 1-1 with a 6.98 ERA this season for the Rangers, is capable of pitching multiple innings.

"We need someone who can go long right now, and Mathis can do that," Washington said.
Tigers' Jim Leyland can't explain road woes (Detroit Free Press)
Rick Porcello's ERA is 4.37 at home and 7.55 on the road. Jeremy Bonderman's ERA was 3.63 at home entering Monday and 6.11 away. Armando Galarraga's ERA is five runs more on the road. And Max Scherzer's is almost two runs better at home.

Scherzer has no explanation for the staggering difference. But he knows this: "The difference is why we are winning at home and not on the road."

More on Tony Vitello

Vitello is ultimate players' coach (Columbia Tribune)
“Coach Vitello ran up to the umpire and just threw his hat down,” said former Missouri pitcher Kyle Gibson, who was a freshman that season. “When he got tossed, everybody in the stands was on him. As he was leaving, he was waving to the crowd. He was loving it.

“That’s the story that sticks out in my mind, because when you have a coach who fights for every player like he did, that’s a pretty special guy to play for.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Random quote of the day

"Max Scherzer for 2013 Cy Young." (White Sox Observer)

Official: Vitello to TCU

Vitello joins baseball staff (
TCU baseball head coach Jim Schlossnagle announced the hiring of Tony Vitello as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator. Vitello comes to TCU after spending the last eight seasons as the recruiting coordinator at Missouri.

"We searched nationwide for the right fit for our program, and Tony clearly emerged as one of the nation's most aggressive, hard-working and knowledgeable recruiters," said Schlossnagle. "He comes widely recommended and has been a major part of Missouri's outstanding baseball program over the last several years."

"The timing could not be better to join the baseball family at TCU," said Vitello. "The athletic department as a whole is taking off, but the baseball program recently impacted people nationwide with the exposure they earned in Omaha."

In his eight seasons at Missouri, the Tigers made the postseason seven times. Vitello was a three-year letterwinner for Missouri from 2000-02 before joining the staff as a volunteer assistant in 2003. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach in 2004. He has served primarily as the pitching coach, while assisting with the hitters and serving as the first base coach.

"He is an outstanding teacher and coach," remarked Schlossnagle. "The fact that he is a former infielder who has been coaching pitchers at a very high level proved to me that he is a tremendous teacher regardless of the skill or area of the game. I'm excited for our current players to get the opportunity to improve under his watch and be a part of the energy he will bring to our program."

Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball have routinely ranked Vitello's recruiting classes among the top 25 nationally. His 2008 class was ranked No. 11 by Baseball America and three of the last four years, his classes have been ranked in the top 25 by Baseball America.

As the pitching coach at Missouri, Vitello's staff has consistently been one of the top in the Big 12, including a 3.36 ERA that led the Big 12 and ranked 11th nationally in 2006.

During his tenure, Vitello recruited and developed 19 pitchers who were drafted by major league teams, including current major leaguers Max Scherzer and Doug Mathis and recent first-round picks Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson.

"Living in Fort Worth is going to be tremendous," raved Vitello. "The way the community has fully embraced TCU baseball is only going to add to the program's momentum. I am anxious to learn from two coaches as accomplished as Coach Schlossnagle and Coach Randy Mazey, but above all I am eager to work alongside our players to see what kind of progress we can make from one day to the next."

MU pitching coach headed to TCU (
Tony Vitello arrived at Missouri as an infielder without many prospects. When his playing days concluded, he reinvented himself as a pitching coach.

He developed into one of the hottest up-and-coming assistants in college baseball.

But for Vitello to reach his goal of becoming a head coach, he needed a new challenge.

Yesterday, Vitello accepted a position as assistant coach yesterday with TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. He will be working with the infielders and hitters while serving as the Horned Frogs’ recruiting coordinator.

“I’m extremely jacked up to be here, because it’s a new challenge,” Vitello said in a phone interview last night. “It’s a good environment here. And it’s a little breath of fresh air in my career.”

[Trrip note: Matt Nestor goes on to talk about the process that led to this hiring, and talks to Nick Tepesch on how this will affect his decision]

Coaching carousel still hot and heavy (
In another high profile assistant opening, TCU – as we first reported – filled the spot vacated by now Houston coach Todd Whitting with Tony Vitello, who previously was an excellent assistant at Missouri.

[Trrip Note: "First reported" after it was reported here at ]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Aaron Senne

Have you noticed former Tiger first-baseman Aaron Senne's (07-10) rise in production as his season rolls on with the Jamestown Jammers?

June stats: 45 plate appearances, 38 AB, .289 Avg, .356 OB%, .421 SLG, .294 BABIP*

July stats: 54 plate appearances, 47 AB, .362 Avg, .426 OB%, .468 SLG, .405 BABIP*

His season batting average is up to .329, and his season average at his home field is .410

*BABIP = Batting average on balls in play: a statistic measuring the percentage of plate appearances ending with a batted ball in play (excluding home runs) for which the batter is credited with a hit.

Statistics Source:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MU 2011 Recruit: Brett Graves, RHP

Brett Graves, RHP
Francis Howell HS, StL
6'1", 170 lb, R/R

2010 Pitching: 4-1, 1 SV, 1.76 ERA, 47-2/3 IP, 48 K, 17 BB
2010 Offense: .477 avg, 11 2 2B, 3 3B, 26 RBI, 40 R, 19 SB, .525 OB%,

2010 MSHSBCA All-State Class 4

2010 All Gateway Athletic Conference South

Graves is the starting QB for Francis Howell Football

Howell's Graves pledges to Missouri (
Graves will be the first Vikings baseball player to go to Missouri since Nick Wilfong in 1997. . .

Perkins has watched Graves grow up and continue to improve, both on the field and as a leader. He said college coaches are intrigued by Graves’ ability, as a pitcher, to throw in the high 80s and low 90s.

SimmonsField Photo: Basket Catch

Zane Taylor, 2003-2006

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tony V

"Just spoke with tcu coach jim schlossnagle. As we reported early this afternoon, vitello is a done deal to tcu. Signed and delivered." (Kendall Rogers of on twitter)

The man behind the draft picks (Columbia Missourian, 6/9/09)
When Tony Vitello elected to transfer from St. Louis Community College to MU to play baseball, the expectations weren’t exactly high. His own father, who was also Vitello's high school baseball coach, called him a "little bit above average" baseball player.
. . .
As part of his dual responsibilities, Tony Vitello has helped attract and develop some of the nation’s premier pitching talent year after year, in spite of spending his Missouri playing career as an infielder.

“I don’t think it’s ever been much of an issue at all except for the fact that in recruiting battles, the opposing teams like to bring it up,” Tony Vitello said of his playing background. “Hopefully the numbers are there that now we can point to and say, ‘Hey, as a group, we coach our guys with success.’”
. . .
The polish Scherzer shows on major league mounds is a testament to his time under Vitello and others at Missouri according to Vitello’s father, who coached against Scherzer in a district game between DeSmet Jesuit High School and Parkway Central.

“He had that velocity that he still has right now, but it was uncontrolled,” Greg Vitello said. “His body language was horrible on the mound, and I think once he got to Missouri, with a little bit of direction, he really turned his qualities into a first class act. I’ve seen that happen to any number of pitchers on the Missouri staff.”
. . .
Missouri’s 35-man roster features 17 players from outside the state. Tony Vitello cites the recent success of the entire athletic program and “goofy connections” for helping expand Missouri’s reach.

He said recruits are getting tougher to read, although his background with pitching prospects can make the job a little bit easier.

“More and more, I feel like I have a little less power than I really think I do. Most guys find a match for what they’re looking for, whether it be a nice stadium or whatever,” Tony Vitello said. “If it happens to be they want to improve as a pitcher, kids on their own now are bringing up Max or Aaron, as opposed to us having to force feed it to them.”
Announcing his presence with authority (Columbia Tribune, 4/30/2010)
“None of the kids that have gone in the first round for us, or even the top five rounds, have ever dealt with that at all,” Vitello said. “They’ve all been kids who have developed.”

At least one still is working on it. Before this season, his third in the majors, Scherzer talked about improvements he’s continued to make on his offspeed pitches.

And that’s where Vitello will compare Tepesch to Scherzer. He’s still developing and will continue to improve long after his career at Missouri is finished.

“He’s a guy who gets better every day, who is nowhere near his ceiling right now,” Vitello said. “I think you turn on a TV four or five years from now and he’s pitching, you’re going to see a different look.”
Missouri pitchers selected in first round of MLB Draft (Columbia Tribune, June 9, 2009)
Vitello, who coached both pitchers, said that Crow needs to start pitching immediately, to work past his notorious slow starts, and that Gibson needs to fill out his tall, lanky frame.

“Both pitchers have a good work ethic," Vitello said. "They are also super talented, otherwise they would not have gone in the first round.”
Bulked up ace key for Tigers in tourney (Columbia Tribune)
Missouri pitching coach Tony Vitello knew the best way to get results out of then-freshman Kyle Gibson — the long and lean right-hander was not going to back down from a challenge.

So Vitello set up a running competition to see which of them could reach 200 pounds the quickest.

Gibson had an extra obstacle to overcome. He had the metabolism that you would expect a 6-foot-6, 168-pound youngster to have.

To not only put on that weight but to maintain it during a long, grueling season was not going to be easy. He lifted. He ate three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day. And it was a lot of work.

So of all the stats Gibson has collected during his three-year career at Missouri, his favorite is 40. He is now a solid 208, and he has bragging rights over his coach.

“I was at 190, and he was at 192, and he was always ragging me because he weighed more than I did,” Gibson said. “I just had to put him in silence, because he talks enough during practice.”
Missouri is home away from home for Tigers outfielder (Columbia Tribune,3/24/2008)
As a star pitcher and outfielder at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn., Senne could have gone just about anywhere. Recruited by UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Stanford, along with Nebraska, Iowa and the home-state Gophers, among others, in a sport that is dominated by warm-weather teams, the Tigers were at a disadvantage. But when Missouri recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello came to visit, Senne listened.

“Prior to that, I knew nothing about Missouri,” Senne said. “I didn’t even know Missouri was in the Big 12, or had a big school or anything.”
Attack! Attack! Attack! (
While speaking to Max Scherzer not too long ago I learned about his interest in statistics and sabermetrics. His interest began while pitching at the University of Missouri when pitching coach Tony Vitello stressed the importance of “A3P percentage.” Attack in three pitches, as explained by the Diamondbacks flamethrower, refers to a pitcher retiring a batter within three pitches, or having two strikes on him following the delivery of the third pitch. As an evaluative tool, it helps pitchers focus on getting ahead, and improves their aggressiveness on the mound.

According to Max, the results were cut and dried: regardless of “stuff,” those with the highest A3P percentage were the most effective pitchers. He experienced these results firsthand as his collegiate numbers and success improved as his “attack percentage” increased. Intrigued by this idea, I decided to investigate whether or not it held true at the major league level in any way.
■ Lest we paint the departing Vitello as Saint Anthony, we should keep him humble by bringing up "The Grab", early in Vitello's career as a first base coach, as Title slips away (Columbia Missourian, 5/31/2004)
James Boone had five RBIs, including the apparent grand slam that turned into a single after the coach’s interference call. He was involved in another strange scoring play after a two-run single in the first.

After three straight walks in the third, Boone hit a ball into the left-field seats. As he was about to round first, though, coach Tony Vitello grabbed him to keep him from passing another runner. While he never past the other runner, Boone was ruled out. He was credited with a three-run single and Missouri led 6-2.

“I don’t hit too many home runs, so I wasn’t jogging out of the box. I was watching the ball,” Boone said. “Unfortunately, that run could have cost us the game.”
Everyone knows that Tony Vitello, the Mizzou ballplayer, was known as a team leader, but was not among the leaders in numbers . . .

. . . or was he?

Tigers set records in winter testing (, 12/8/2000)

And do you know what Tony Vitello majored in as a young undergraduate?

■ University of Missouri senior Tony Vitello, a graduate of DeSmet High, was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Baseball Team. The Florissant resident, who is majoring in general agriculture, was named to academic second-team for players with grade point averages of 3.0-3.19. (StL Post-Dispatch, 5/20/2002)

Tony V to TCU

Several public and private sources have now confirmed the still-unofficial departure of Tony Vitello for an assistant coaching job at Texas Christian University.

From Twitter:

Kendall Rogers, It is not official according to a source at TCU, but multiple sources tell me Missouri's Tony Vitello will be replacing Todd Whitting at TCU . . . Assuming the paper work goes through, Vitello is an excellent hire and replacement for TCU..... He really did a nice job while at Missouri.

Aaron Fitt, Baseball America: Confirmed that Missouri assistant Tony Vitello is headed to TCU, pending some red tape. Love this hire for Horned Frogs.

So why would Tony V leave MU for TCU? Here's my answer to the question posed at

nwtiger1: Should we really be losing assistants to other assistant roles? I am all for a head coaching opportunity for him but it doesn’t seem TCU should have more resources than Mizzou for baseball. Maybe I am way off base.

trripleplay: The TCU job is with a program that has been spending more and more to become a real player, just went to the CWS, has one of the hottest pitching prospects on the roster, is getting a ton of press, is located in Baseball Alley, and is the most often mentioned candidate to join the Big 12. It’s a good move for him. In 3 years he’ll be head coach at some Big 12 or SEC school

Tony Vitello headed to TCU?

I heard the rumor first on
I heard Coach Vitello was leaving, anybody know?
Then I got an e-mail from another person close to the Tigers, telling me he had heard the same thing.

There has been no official announcement, no official confirmation, but the rumor is that Mizzou Assistant Coach Tony Vitello will be leaving the Tigers to take a position with the TCU Horned Frogs.

Most knowledgeable Tiger fans have known for quite a while that Coach Vitello has a great future ahead of him. His abilities as a coach, his success in developing pitchers who have gone on to be 1st-round draft picks, and his reputation as a top-notch recruiter all have made him a valuable commodity in the college coaching circles.

TCU is an attractive destination, having made a trip to the College World Series this year, and being one of the primary candidates named as a possible addition to the Big 12 conference.

The Horned Frogs recently lost a long-time assistant coach to the Houstan Cougars, which creates a job opening for an up-and-comer like Tony.

Again, this is only rumor at this point. There's enough talk going around that I would expect some sort of word to come soon about this, though.

Here at we wish Tony well if he is indeed moving on.

Whitting returns to Houston Dugout (
Whitting and the University of Houston mutually agreed Friday that the time was right. Seven summers after his departure, Whitting became the eighth head baseball coach in school history. Athletic director Mack Rhoades on Friday morning finalized an agreement with Whitting to replace Rayner Noble, a former Cougars star who had presided over the program the past 16 seasons.

One person familiar with the terms of the agreement said UH made a five-year commitment to pay Whitting approximately $150,000 per year. Whitting, 38, had been the associate head coach for the TCU Horned Frogs, who are coming off a 54-14 season and their first appearance at the College World Series. In seven seasons at TCU, Whitting helped the school to a 305-134 record and seven NCAA tournament appearances.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Conference Hokey Pokey

Baseball excited for Nebraska matchup (The Daily Collegian)
Penn State and Nebraska's baseball teams have combined for more than 6,000 games played and nearly 4,000 wins since both programs began playing more than 100 years ago.

Yet, the two programs have never faced each other on the diamond.

That should change in two seasons, when Nebraska begins competition as a member of the Big Ten.
. . .
Penn State pitching coach Jason Bell, who played and coached in the Big 12 at Oklahoma State, recently spoke with Nebraska assistant coach Dave Bingham.

Bell said Bingham shared the same feelings with the potential matchup as the Lions. Bingham believed Nebraska had a natural fit in the Big Ten and said the Cornhuskers were looking forward to the change.

Bell said there is no difference in the style of play between the two conferences, but he said Nebraska will have to adjust to a few differences in rules in the Big Ten.

The Lion coach mentioned the disallowance of over-signing players in the Big Ten -- something that's allowed in the Big 12 -- as one of the minor adjustments the Cornhuskers will face. Over-signing allows programs to use money from potential draft picks for future scholarships before those prospects sign major league contracts.

Nothing else to post so I posted this

From 30-Year Old Cardboard, an interesting blog about Baseball Cards:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Ball

2010 Player Profile: Ryan Gebhart (
When I saw the Oilers last, I was really excited about Gebhart's offense. He shows a great combination of aggressiveness and patience. On the one hand, he can work the count and get the pitch he wants, and doesn't seem to swing at junk pitches. On the other, if he gets something he likes on the first pitch, he's not afraid to jump all over it. He has a very good eye and can be a tough out. Looking at the stat sheet, he isn't hitting for a high average (.211), but he's walked 33 times in 90 at-bats, which brings his on-base percentage up to a team-best .427. He'll get on base one way or another. And once he's on, he's a threat on the paths: 14 for 17 in steals this year.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Rangers' Ian Kinsler is praised for all-around success (Dallas News)
"I'd like to think I get better every year," Kinsler said. "The longer you stay in the game, the more you try to become consistent. ... As far as the numbers are concerned, every year is different. There aren't too many guys in the game who can go out and put up the exact same numbers every year."

Kinsler's time with the Rangers is proof of that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

21 Reasons to Love College Baseball

2010 MLB All-Stars that fans of college baseball saw before the fans of "real" baseball ever heard of them:

American League

• 3B Evan Longoria, Long Beach State Dirtbags / Tampa Bay Rays

• LHP David Price, Venderbilt Commodores / Tampa Bay Rays

• 2B Ian Kinsler, Missouri Tigers
/ Texas Rangers

• 1B Ty Wiggington, UNC-Asheville Bulldogs / Baltimore Orioles

• LF Jose Bautista, Chipola JC Indians / Toronto Blue Jays

• RF Nick Swisher, Ohio State Buckeyes / New York Yankees

• LHP Cliff Lee, Arkansas Razorbacks / Texas Rangers

• RHP Andrew Bailey, Wagner Seahawks / Oakland Athletics

• LHP Matt Thornton, Grand Valley State Lakers / Chicago White Sox

• RHP Justin Verlander, Old Dominion Seahawks / Detroit Tigers

• RHP Jered Weaver, Long Beach State Dirtbags / Los Angeles Angels

National League
• DH Ryan Howard, Southwest Missouri State Bears / Philadelphia Phillies

• LF Ryan Braun, Miami Hurricanes / Milwaukee Brewers

• RF Andre Ethier, Arizona State Sun Devils / Los Angeles Dodgers

• CF Michael Bourn, Hoston Cougars / Houston Astros

• CF Marlon Byrd, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets / Chicago Cubs

• RHP Heath Bell, Rancho Santiago College Dons / San Diego Padres

• RHP Tim Hudson, Auburn Tigers / Atlanta Braves

• RHP Tim Lincecum, Washington Huskies / San Francisco Giants

• RHP Evan Meek, Bellevue Community College Bulldogs / Pittsburgh Pirates

• RHP Brian Wilson, Louisiana State Tigers / San Francisco Giants

Summer Ball

Aces beat Texas Tomcats 5-4 in extra innings (
The Tomcats were defeated by the Alexandria Aces last night on a walk off single in the bottom of the 13th inning. The Tomcats led the game 3-2 late, but the Aces were able to score in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game at three apiece. The Tomcats looked to be on their way to an extra inning victory as they scored a single run in the top of the 12th inning, but the Aces came back and matched them in the bottom of the frame. The Aces used a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 13th inning to secure the victory. The Tomcats were led at the plate by Relly Mercurio who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a walk, and an RBI as well as Andre Rodriguez who went 3-for-5 with a walk and an RBI. The Tomcats fell to 14-13 on the season as the Aces improved to 8-16. The Tomcats will take on the East Texas Pump Jacks at home in Weimar tonight starting at 7:05pm.

Tony Vitello becomes Chicago Cubs owner

Cubs win it all (SBNation Chicago)
The cold-hearted Cubs owner, Tony Vitello, had bought the team from Bill Wrigley in 1981, at the same time the real owner, Tribune Co., formally assumed control from its de facto minority owner (due to discount broadcast rights it received from the Wrigleys) position since 1948.

Mizzou Baseball Recruiting: Potential 2011-12 Recruit

Tyler Hunt, RHP, Westran HS (Huntsville, MO)

2010: 6-2, 60.2 IP, 133 K, 27 BB, 1.15 ERA.

Tyler Hunt has been looked at by Mizzou as a baseball pitcher. Hunt has thrown the shot put 43 feet and has a 20 plus strikeout game to his credit in two seasons at Westran. Tyler Hunt pitched a no hitter against Knox County last spring.(

■ Area's hardest thrower reached 95 mph this season without losing control and was Hornets' top slugger with a .460 average, four home runs and 32 RBI. (Columbia Daily Tribune 2010 All-Area Baseball Team)

Randolph County's Embree, Hunt being looked at by MLB scouts (Moberly Monitor Index)
Tyler Hunt of Westran High School in Huntsville and Corey Embree of Moberly were invited by a MLB scout to participate in a Philadelphia Phillies tryout combine held at Lee's Summit, Mo. on Tuesday.
. . .
This was Hunt's first MLB workout session, and Embree's third since last August and he has been invited to participate in 2 more this summer.

Both players are playing ball with a club team that plays games throughout the summer at several showcase venues held at college sites. Hunt, who also is considering a career playing football, is playing baseball this summer on an 18U team in the Kansas City area named Kansas City Mets.
■ Thanks to mizzou4316 at for tipping us off to this potential Tiger recruit.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Aaron Senne makes Fenway Park debut with game-ending at-bat:

Jammers cap off solid week with win at Fenway Park (
Jamestown added a run in the top of the sixth on Ozuna's fourth hit of the game and threatened for more before the rains came. The Jammers had the bases loaded with two outs and a 2-2 count on Aaron Senne before the umpires called for the tarp and after a 33-minute delay, called the game.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Ball

Hardoin, Bombers shut out Joplin (
Zach Hardoin threw seven strong innings Saturday night to lead the Sedalia Bombers past Joplin 5-0 in a M.I.N.K. League road game.

Hardoin gave up six hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and one walk.
Oilers edge out Bucs at home (Peninsula Clarion)
The Oilers came right back in the bottom of the first off of Bucs starter and loser Mark Joukoff. Grimes led off with a single and moved to third on a stolen base and an error. Ryan Gebhart then walked.

"He swings the bat well for us, so it's good to start off with him," Machado said of Grimes, who was hitting .315 coming into Friday's game. "Then Gebhart is an on-base machine, so it seems like our three, four and five hitters always have guys on base."

2010 Mizzou Recruit: Danny Murphy. 2B/SS

I have heard from a reliable source that 2B/SS Danny Murphy is NOT an officially signed scholarship recruit for Mizzou this Fall, but that he will be enrolling at Missouri for classes and intends to make a try at walking on to the baseball team.

To read more about Murphy, see our previous profile at

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Baysox's Zagone trips up Trenton (
Bowie Baysox starting pitcher Rick Zagone held the Trenton Thunder to two runs over six innings Saturday night in the Baysox 6-2 victory. The left-hander allowed seven hits and a walk while striking out four en route to his first victory for the Baysox.

"It feels good," Zagone said after the game. "A couple of guys came up and said congrats, and it just feels good to get the 'W'. Up here, you're going to face good pitching every day, so you've just got to go out there and do your own thing. Their guy was carving us up, so it was a good battle for a while."

2011-12 Mizzou Recruit: Brett Thomas, RHP/SS

Brett Thomas, RHP/SS
Oak Ridge HS (Oak Ridge, MO)
6'2", 190 lb, R/R

2010 Stats:
• Pitching: 7-2, 0.59 ERA, 59-1/3 IP, 92 K, 25 BB
• Offense: .547 Avg, 1.147 SLG%, 40 RBI, 12 HR, 5 K
2009 Stats:
• Pitching: 4-1, 1.91 ERA
• Offense: .411 Avg, 19 RBI, 5 HR
■ 2010 MHSBCA All-State Class 1 Baseball Team, 1st team

■ 2009 MSHBCA All-State Class 1 Baseball Team, honorable mention

■ 2010 Missouri Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Class 1 first team

■ 2010 All SoutheastMissorian Baseball Team, 1st team, co-player of the year

Southest Missouri co-player of the year: Oak Ridge's Brett Thomas (

Thomas, the co-Southeast Missourian player of the year, pitched four shutout innings June 25 in front of the Missouri coaching staff. All four of his pitches -- fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup -- were effective and his velocity reached 88 mph.

He was offered a spot on the Missouri roster by coach Tim Jamieson and pitching coach Tony Vitello the next day. And Friday, just nine days after becoming an eligible recruit, Thomas verbally committed to the Tigers.
. . .

"Definitely this winter I changed a lot with my mechanics -- just where I release the ball, leg kick, everything," he said. "I had no torque from my hips, that was a big thing.

"I could always throw, but they said I wasn't as good as I should be, basically. Talent got me far enough but to make that next step to become really good, you've got to make adjustments. You can't just ride that forever."

He's hoping to take a few more steps at Missouri a year from now.

"They give you every resource possible to make yourself as good as possible and reach your potential, so I couldn't use that as an excuse if I didn't pitch well at any other college," Thomas said. "Basically [Vitello] just wants me to come in and work hard, and he thinks I have good potential. If I do that, I'll be fine."

■ Several photos of Brett Thomas at

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

■ A pair of MU recruits were named to the Texas Sportswriters Association All-State Team
Senior pitcher Rob Zastryzny, junior second baseman Brett Bell and sophomore shortstop Wyatt Mathisen earned first-team honors.

Moody senior pitcher Michael Franco and Calallen junior designated hitter Tanner Vandevere were named second-team all-state.

Zastryzny, who will play baseball at Missouri next season, went 16-1 with a 0.40 earned-run average and struck out 190 batters in 104 innings. He also batted .405 with 9 homers and 47 RBIs.
. . .
Franco was Moody’s ace, went 15-0 and led the Trojans’ to within a win of the Region IV-4A final.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

■ MU Recruit Matt Linderer, DuBourg standout gets starting call at Rawlings showcase (Surburban Journal)
Linderer was the starting pitcher for the Missouri and set the tone for what turned out to be quite the pitcher's duel and a 2-0 Missouri win over a group of Illinois All-Stars in the nine-inning contest.

"I didn't know I was starting until we got in the tunnel before the game," Linderer said. "I really wouldn't have minded to have come in later in the game and see how things were going. But I am a starting pitcher, and I felt good although it was a little hard to adjust to the mound after warming up on flat ground."
And, from the same article, we see once again that the St. Louis media continues to report that Danny Murphy is Mizzou-bound:
Mehlville's Danny Murphy, the Suburban West Conference Player of the Year who is going to join Linderer at the University of Missouri, hit the ball as hard as anybody in the game. But the second baseman, who led off for Missouri, had nothing to show for it with a ground out and two line drive outs to the outfield.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors & Minors

Tigers in the Pros Update (
Four members from last year's Missouri team have seen action in the minor leagues. Aaron Senne (07-10) has a .286 average in 13 games played for the Jamestown Jammers (Florida - A). He has four doubles and hit his first home run as a professional on June 29, as he went 3-for-4 and drove in five runs in that game.

Brett Nicholas (2010) is hitting .270 in 11 games played this summer. His last eight games played have been as part of the Spokane Indians (Texas - A) and he has had at least one hit in seven of those eight games.

Tyler Clark (08-10) has pitched in five games for the Connecticut Tigers (Detroit - A) and is 1-0, picking up the victory with two innings pitched in relief on last Friday, while Michael Liberto (09-10) has played in six games for the Arizona Royals as part of the Arizona Rookie League. . . .

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Tigers' Scherzer just another figure filbert (
I snipped the real meat of the piece, in which Scherzer says the only thing he finds particularly useful is PITCHf/x, which is more raw data than sabermetrics, per se. At its heart, that data is simply the modern version of pitch-charting, which has been used by pitchers and coaches for many decades (if haphazardly). . . .

Big 12 Baseball

Mike Anderson's replacement in waiting?

Erstad returns for "chance of a lifetime" (
15 years after he last played for Nebraska, Darin Erstad is back as a volunteer assistant, the university announced Thursday. And just to clarify his new status, Erstad is not staking a claim to the No. 17 jersey he wore when he was a first-team All-America outfielder and the top pick in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft.

“I’m not a player any more. I’ll take whatever number they want to give me,” he said Thursday afternoon. This is “pretty cool. I’m probably not as green or rough around the edges as I was when I signed out of high school, but my allegiance to the Huskers is a little stronger now.”

So, why Nebraska now? And why coaching?

The first question has a three-pronged answer that starts with Erstad wrapping up a 14-year major-league career last season with the Houston Astros. . . .

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Royals prospect Crow struggles to find his old form (Kansas City Star)
“I was really looking forward to the season,” says Crow, a native of Topeka. “At the time, I was hoping to come here and do really well and get moved up fast.”
. . .
Picollo says Crow has made some mechanical adjustments in his delivery and they’re already starting to pay dividends. Minor things, Picollo explains, such as keeping his front side closed longer and keeping a consistent release point.

Summer Ball

For Alaska Goldpanners, home is where the wins are (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
“There’s not too much to do,” said center fielder Ryan Gebhart, who spent last summer playing in Fairbanks with the Fire, “and there aren’t many options for food. And we’re stuck in the dorms.”

Gebhart’s teammates were quick to say that less-than-satisfactory field conditions at Growden Memorial Park were another reason they were excited to cut their week-long ties with Fairbanks.

“It’s not so bad, though,” Gebhart rebutled. “One negative positive is the drive. It’s really long, but it’s so amazing. It’s why I came back to the ABL for my second year. Alaska is a great place to be. It’s got the best scenery.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Draft Update

Tepesch waiting for a call (
Honestly. I haven't heard anything."

Tepesch would be willing to get his pro career started. However, the Rangers are in the midst of filing for bankruptcy as they prepare for an ownership change. That leaves Tepesch and some of their other draft picks uncertain about their future.

"I've heard they're getting a new owner. I think it's going to be based a lot on what happens with that."
[Story includes video]

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Aaron Senne adjusts to move from MU baseball to the minor leagues (Columbia Missourian)
Senne, who was the 317th overall draft pick, is batting .302 with one home run and 14 RBI through his first 14 games. He said he’s never taken it easy on the field. Rather, he has learned the importance of eating and sleeping right.

“You can’t go out and do stupid stuff when you’re not at the park,” he said.

Besides playing games every day, he has experienced another unavoidable aspect of minor league baseball — staying in hotel rooms that are less than glamorous.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mizou Baseball in the Majors

Texas Rangers turn to Doug Mathis while Rich Harden rehabs (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

. . . So, the Rangers will turn to either Mathis or Matt Harrison on Saturday. It will be Mathis if he isn't needed in long relief before Thursday.

He had been a starter at Triple A since being demoted there May 15, going 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA. While the numbers aren't great, said Mathis, he's feels great on the mound.

"I'm working on trying to be consistent with everything instead of trying to do too much," he said. "That's what I was doing early in the season. My numbers aren't good, but I've been throwing a lot better down there."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You Make the Call: Which MU alum in the Minors has the best shot at The Show?

It's time for our annual mid-summer "You Make the Call" poll question:

Which of the former Tigers currently in the Minor Leagues has the best shot at making the Major Leagues?
  • You can vote for more than one player

  • I have not included MU alums in the Independent Leagues

  • I did not include Doug Mathis, who is currently at Triple-A, since he has already been in the Majors and will almost certainly be back

  • Voting concludes August 15th

  • It's all for fun. Vote early. Vote often. The voting is booth is over there, to the left.

Luck be a Lady

A great article that applies to all sports, not just (holding my nose) soccer:

We're fortune's fools ( [thanks to RockMNation for the linkage]
And yet, if the role of luck was mentioned in the teams' respective fates, it was only in passing. More often, it was ignored altogether even though it was absolutely blatant. That's typical. Sports lay bare luck. But even then it is routinely ignored.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Not a K (
Volcanoes third baseman Kyle Mach is the most difficult batter to strike out in the league by a wide margin.

Mach entered Sunday with a one strikeout per 26.5 plate appearances. Jesus Morelli of Boise is second at 9.86.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Nicholas home run sparks Spokane (
Catcher Brett Nicholas homered and drove in three runs and the surging Spokane Indians defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils 6-3 in Northwest League baseball action Wednesday night.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ian Kinsler named to AL All-Star Team

All-Star Tigers, part 5

Former Tiger Ian Kinsler selected for 2010 MLB All-Star Game (Columbia Missourian)
Ian Kinsler, former Missouri baseball player and current second baseman for the Texas Rangers, has been selected for the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 13 in Anaheim, Calif. This is Kinsler’s second selection to the All-Star team.

Kinsler will be a reserve for the American League team. He finished second at his position in voting behind Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. Pedroia is injured and unavailable to play in the game, so Kinsler replaces him on the roster.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

MU recruit Myles Smith was named to the Max Preps Medium School All-American 2nd team.
Myles Smith, Divine Child (Dearborn, Mich.), Infield, Sr - An all-state pick by the Detroit News, Smith helped lead Divine Child to the Division 2 championship over Grand Rapids West Catholic. Signed to play at Missouri, Smith batted .343 with eight home runs, 11 doubles and 30 RBI. He also went 8-1 as a pitcher with a 1.58 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

■ Starting pitcher Rick Zagone fared well in his Double-A debut, but he didn't factor in the decision as the Baysox topped Erie, 4-3, at Prince George's Stadium, says the Baltimore Sun.
Zagone gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings, striking out six batters and issuing three walks.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

All-Star Tiger, part 4:

Kyle Gibson, RHP, is included as Eastern League reveals 2010 All-Stars (

Summer ball

All-Star Tiger, part 3

James Hudelson , MU recruit, has been named to the Prospect League All Star team. James is having a great summer as the closer for the Hannibal Cavemen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Ball

All-Star Tigers, part 2

Texas Collegiate League announces All-Star rosters (
The Texas Collegiate League today announced North and South rosters for the 2010 TCL All-Star Game, to be held Monday, July 5, in Victoria.
. . .
Texas also holds down three of the four starting infield positions. Speedster Brock Hebert, whose 26 stolen bases are closing in on the TCL record, starts at shortstop alongside teammate Eric Garcia.
. . .
South reserves are infielder Brian Nephew and outfielder Conner Mach, both from the host Generals, and Tomcats catcher Nick DeSantiago.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

All-Star Tiger

Grizzlies' Bond, Edlefsen PCL All-Stars (Fresno Bee)

Fresno Grizzlies second baseman Brock Bond and pitcher Steve Edlefsen made the preliminary Pacific Coast League roster for the 2010 Triple-A All-Star Game.
. . .

Bond, who has played in 76 of the Grizzlies' first 80 games, will start at second base for the PCL. He is batting .300 with 17 doubles, one home run and 28 RBIs. He was the No. 6 vote-getter, the PCL said.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tim Hawkins: Former MU Tiger a Big Hit in Comedy

One of the recent additions to our list of MU Jersey Numbers is #25, Tim Hawkins.

Hawkins played Outfield for the Tigers from 1988-89, leading the 1989 Tigers in many categories and earning several awards:
  • Batting average (.372)
  • Hits (83)
  • Doubles (16)
  • Triples (8)
  • RBI (59)
  • At-bats (223)
  • All District IV
  • All Big 8
  • All Big 8 Tournament
He is tied for third for all-time MU single season triples (tied at 8 with his teammate, Dave Silvestri), is tied at #6 in career triples (11), and is #7 in Career Slugging Percentage (.562).

Hawkins' bio at refers only briefly to his baseball days, focusing more on the career path he has followed in the years since:
A former All-American baseball player, he traded the sports stage for the comedy stage and never looked back. The St. Louis native taught himself to play guitar and tested the waters at area comedy clubs. But he determined early in his career that he did not want to focus on the comedy club circuit alone. “People love stand-up, but many choose not to go to comedy clubs. So we’ve gone underground, even counter-culture in a way. And it’s a blast.”
I had heard of Tim Hawkins, the comedian, and watched a number of his videos online. I had also heard of Tim Hawkins the Mizzou Baseball player (his time at Mizzou ended just before I began following the team).

But I never made the connection that they are one and the same until a teammate supplied his jersey number and mentioned he is a comedian ("He said the first time I met him I spit on his shoe. That is why I’m afraid to show up at one of his shows. I have a feeling I might be a part of the act.").

Here's one of my favorite YouTube clips of Tim Hawkins' comedy. There are a lot more on YouTube and at

More Jersey Numbers

I've updated our list of MU Jersey Numbers and the players who wore them, based on some e-mails. I was glad especially to add another Tiger who went on to a career in the Major Leagues.
#4 Dave Silvestri (Played several years in the Major Leagues)

#9 Chris Benak

#11 Kevin Uhrhan
#12 Tom Ciombor

#25 Tim Hawkins

#27 Mike Rogers

#28 Matt Greer

#29 Steve Powers

#29 Marcus Adler

#32 Tim Danze