July 2013

Replacing Wilson and Facing QC

After being “rained out” in Quad Cities last night the Chiefs face the River Bandits at 7:00 p.m. tonight in their first game without #3 hitter and second baseman Jacob Wilson. More on that in a bit. As for the on the field series, the Chiefs start these four games against Quad Cities in a playoff spot. Peoria is 1.5 games behind QC for the top playoff spot in the second half and 2.5 ahead of Clinton (who won Tuesday) for the wild card spot.

Tonight the Chiefs face the 2013 #1 overall draft pick Mark Appel who is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts for the Bandits. This will be his second home start and the first time both Appel and Carlos Correa (the 2012 #1 overall pick) are on the QC field together though they did both play in Ft. Wayne and Burlington in the same games. The Chiefs have never faced a pitcher drafted #1 overall in the same season in which he was drafted, or by the same team. Peoria did face Tim Belcher in 1984 with Oakland’s Madison affiliate. Belcher was the #1 overall pick by Minnesota in 1983 but did not sign with the Twins.

The Chiefs counter with Kyle Helisek (7-4, 2.97) tonight and the lefty is 2-0 against Quad Cities this season including a May win in Davenport. The two teams will play a DH on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and a single game is scheduled for Friday at 7:00.

The Chiefs made two roster moves this morning with Wilson promoted to Palm Beach and reliever Zach Russell to Springfield. Peoria adds INF Bruce Caldwell and RHP Mike Mayers. I’ll have more on them tomorrow and there is a paragraph on each in the press release linked at the start of this paragraph.

The Chiefs offense must now replace Wilson, which will likely come from a variety of sources. Expect Caldwell and Breyvic Valera to split time at second base as Valera and WIlson had done in the previous weeks. Valera of course will continue to play SS, 3B and the occasional left field. As for the batting order, Valera has done nicely in the 3 slot the last week when Wilson moved down to fourth while Jordan Walton on the DL. Walton should be back for the end of this series and back in the cleanup spot. The Chiefs will need RBI production from Valera, Walton, Wisdom, Schaffer and Caldwell to offset losing 72 RBI from Wilson.

In addition to the numbers in the press release, Wilson left the Chiefs tied for 12th in Low A-ball in home runs, 7th in RBI, 13th in extra-base hits and 25th in slugging. He hit .359 with RISP, .327 with RISP & 2 outs, hit .286 in the three-slot in 67 games, batted .297 in the 7th inning or later and hit .358 in the first inning with five homers, six doubles and 19 RBI. Wilson also led the Chiefs with 11 game-winning RBI.

Our video team of Ryan, Kristin, Andrew and Aaron put together this compilation of a few of Wilson’s Home Runs at Dozer Park this season, along with our radio calls. Enjoy and good luck to Jacob in Palm Beach and Zach in Springfield. Listen live tonight at 6:45 or follow along on twitter. Thanks for reading!

Going for the Sweep in Cedar Rapids

Another solid win for the Chiefs last night, what a clutch home run by Jacob Wilson on an 0-2 count with two outs and two on in the 7th. The best thing about baseball is that you can never predict what will happen. The Chiefs scored 4 runs over 18 innings in two straight losses at home to West Michigan on Saturday and Sunday. Since then the offense has put up 7, 8 and 8 the last three games, two of those coming against the #1 team in the league in Cedar Rapids.

Check out the rain from last night, this is off my iPhone so the quality isn’t the best but you can get an idea of the rain in the lights as Adam Brett Walker struck out late in the contest.

It is always fun to be in position to get a sweep, especially on the road. Peoria earned a sweep here June 14-16, their first in Cedar Rapids since 2007 and have a chance at another one tonight with Chris Perry on the hill. A win would go a long way for this team proving to itself that it can win against the good teams on the road. So far in 2013 the Chiefs are 25-28 on the road and 7-10 in the second half thanks to this current 4-game win streak.

Kane County and some familiar faces will be in this weekend. Will be nice to say hello to Sheldon McDonald, Andrew McKirahan and Reggie Golden who were not with the Cougars when we last played them in May. It is going to be a fun weekend at Dozer Park with the Joe Girardi Spalding High School bobble head and Fireworks on Saturday along with the Nickelodeon day guests and Sonic Super Kids Sunday. Get your tickets now!

Thanks for reading and talk to you at 6:20 on the broadcast.

Slideshow & Postcards from Cedar Rapids

I thought I’d share some of the views from our three (so far) trips here to Cedar Rapids and Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium which opened in April 2002. Click a photo to start the slideshow.

Great Start to Road Series

It wasn’t a conventional game or even what we’ve been used to from the Peoria Chiefs this season, but Wednesday was another close 1-run game and a hard-fought Chiefs win. Peoria couldn’t hold leads of 4-0, 5-4 or 7-5 but took the lead for good 8-7 on a single by Jeremy Schaffer in the top of the 10th.

The win put the Chiefs back over .500 in the 2nd half at 16-15 and coupled with a Clinton loss at Wisconsin, put the Chiefs two games up on the LumberKings in the wild card race.

Around the organization from last night:

Michael Wacha solved all the Round Rock hitters except former Chief Jim Adduci in a Redbirds win
Springfield couldn’t sweep Tulsa
Former Chief Alex Mejia’s big hit helped Hector Hernandez and Palm Beach to a win
Short-Season State College lost two close games to Mahoning Valley. 

In case you missed it earlier this week here is a STLCardinals.com article on former Chiefs pitcher Zach Petrick and his meteoric rise through the system in 2013.

Have a great Thursday, talk to you tonight on the broadcast from Cedar Rapids at 6:20 as the Chiefs try to win their third straight.

Stretch Run in the Midwest League

Today starts the final push of the 2013 regular season as the Chiefs (and the entire Western Division) are scheduled to play 40 games in 41 days. The Chiefs will alternate road and home series (3 at Cedar Rapids/3 vs. Kane County/4 at Quad Cities) before a 7-game homestand against Burlington and Wisconsin August 3-9. The Chiefs then play 3 in Clinton before the final off day of the season on August 13.

This stretch can make or break a season. The 2009 Chiefs were 48-45 at a similar spot in the season and used a 16-3 run to grab first place by early August and cruise to an 81-57 record to make the playoffs, finishing the season on a 33-12 run. On the flip side the 2008 team was in playoff contention at 51-48 coming off a July 22 off day but plummeted to a 9-29 finish and landed at 60-77 on the final day of the season.

The race to the playoffs should be a fun one in the Western Division. Cedar Rapids and Beloit have dominated all season and they are in the top two spots again this half. If it finishes that way, the 3rd and 4th place teams this half will go tot he playoffs. (Bottom line, finish among the top two non-CR/Beloit teams). Right now Quad Cities is in the top playoff spot, 1.5 games ahead of the Chiefs. Peoria is in turn 1 game up on Clinton and 3 games up on Burlington & Wisconsin. For the purposes of this post we wont include 7-22 Kane County as having realistic playoff aspirations.

Of the 40 games left for the Chiefs, 20 are at home and 20 are on the road. The Chiefs have a tough 11 games left against Cedar Rapids, the best record in the division, but none against Beloit. Peoria hosts Burlington 7 times, plays 3 at and vs. Clinton, 3 at and vs. Wisconsin, 4 at Quad Cities and 3 at and vs. last place Kane County. Overall that is a favorable schedule. Consider: Quad Cities still has 13 games combined against Cedar Rapids & Beloit while Clinton has 14 against the first half playoff teams. Wisconsin has the least with 8, all against Beloit and Burlington has 10 left.

The four games against Quad Cities next week (July 30-August 2) and then the six games against Clinton in August could be the 10 most pivotal, especially if tie breakers get involved. Here are the Chiefs current records against the other playoff contenders: Burlington 4-3, Clinton 4-6, Quad Cities 9-5, Wisconsin 7-4. Bottom line is the Chiefs need to find a way to win some road games and as long as the pitching and defense hold up, I like their chances.

The Interns

Monday’s are anything but you’re typical 9-5 job here at Dozer Park, especially when the Chiefs are away. Ever wonder who creates those graphics you see on the video board during the game, or who organizes all of your in game entertainment?

 

The workweek doesn’t end for the Peoria Chiefs office staff and interns when the players hit the road. In fact, they’re busy preparing for the next home stand to make sure you get the most of your Chiefs game experience.

 

You’ve probably seen Promotion interns Evan (@efay9), Elyse (@uhhlysee) and Jon (@jonhorath05) around the ballpark, but they are more than just the faces that grace the field between innings. They’re the brains behind the operations to all of your dizzy bat race, t-shirt toss, and Homer the mascot needs.

 

Before they take the field on game days, they’re busy making phone calls to local businesses for donations, bagging the tennis balls for our \ “Pitch-in for Charity”, organizing the music that is played during the game, participating in Homer appearances throughout the community, and writing the scripts for our PA announcer to read – just to name a few of their daily tasks.

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Ever wonder who mans the cameras and produces the content on the Chiefs Youtube page? The video interns handle these responsibilities, a platoon consisting of Aaron Wells, Andrew Chow and Ryan Bogy. As part of their off-day obligations, the trio spliced and edited clips from the recent Jaime Grace concert at Dozer Park. Without being too technical, they imported the show’s footage into a program called Adobe After Effects, which is a popular software package used to edit video content. The three then cut bits and pieces from the performance, creating a short montage of her entire act. According to Chow, the challenge of editing a musical performance like Grace’s is selecting sound bites that flow well together, but fit in a concise time frame. The group utilizes After Effect’s “cut and paste” tool to isolate the necessary bits, and the “color corrector” application to make each image look as crisp as possible.

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When you call the Chiefs and ask about ticket packages, you are often greeted by Sales Intern Paul Adelman. A linchpin in the sales staff, Adelman orchestrates ticket transactions with fans eager to get out to the ballpark. These deals can vary from groups seeking a suite, or individuals looking to check out the Chiefs on their own. Adelman notes the key to landing that big sale is to aggressively follow leads and be professional with the fan base. Apart from sales he embraces a hodgepodge of tasks including mailing birthday tickets to fans and assigning responsibilities to ushers. Adelman always seems eager to help anyone on staff and a smile consistently compliments his work.

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