April 2014

Ring Ceremony

Wow. Not every day to you get to watch a Ring Ceremony. That happened today at Dozer Park as Cardinals Assistant GM Michael Girsch and Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque presented the Peoria Chiefs coaching staff with their 2013 St. Louis Cardinals National League Championship Rings.

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Seven former Chiefs go deep this weekend

Seven former Chiefs recorded homeruns this weekend in major league action. Albert Pujols cranked out two, putting him at 498 homeruns for his career. The Angels were already up 8-1 on the Tigers during Friday’s matchup, before Pujols stepped into the box and brought home three more runs:


The Angels would go on to win the game 11-6 and Pujols would inch closer to the prestigious 500 club. It took Pujols only four at-bats later, before crushing number 498 which cleared the bullpen in left field during the ninth inning of Saturday’s loss to the Tigers:


The Cubs chalked up their only win of the weekend thanks to homeruns by former Chiefs Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo. In the bottom of the sixth, Barney bombed his first homer of the season, scoring Castillo and giving the Cubs a 5-2 lead:


Castillo would later add to the Cubs lead in the seventh inning with his third home run of the year. This shot to left put the Cubs up 8-4, clinching the victory:


Sunday featured two more former Chief’s homeruns, only this time it was against each other. The Astros-Athletics game matched up Marwin Gonzalez and the red-hot Josh Donaldson. Donaldson struck first, in the bottom of the first inning, with a team-high fourth homerun of the season; a two-run shot to left, giving the A’s a 2-0 lead:



Gonzalez, who singled in his first at-bat in the second, tallied the Astros only run of the game with a solo shot to right in the fourth, cutting the A’s lead in half, 2-1. This was the first homerun of the year for Gonzalez; he recorded two of the Astros’ five total hits on the game in a losing effort 1-4:



Donaldson’s teammate, and former Chief, Coco Crisp tacked on his second homerun of the year in Friday’s win against the Astros, 11-3. Crisp was one of four Athletics to homer in the win as he belted a two-run shot over the right field wall in the fifth inning:


Lastly, Texas utility man, and former Chief, Robinson Chirinos notched his second homerun of the season as the Rangers routed the White Sox 12-0. Chirinos two-run shot, in the bottom of the third inning, cleared the left-field wall by just inches:


After the mini homerun derby displayed this weekend, Pujols leads all former Chiefs in the major leagues with six homeruns; Donaldson is second with four.

Welcome Home Game Notes

It is good to be back home in Peoria where for now the sun is shining and the feed looks great. We are headed for the low 70s temperature wise and hopefully the rain forecast for later today misses us! Tonight starts a 7-game homestand which is action-packed and provides our first look at Cedar Rapids (Minnesota Twins) and the 2013 MWL Champion Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros). Tonight also give the home fans their first look at 19-year old phenom Alex Reyes who had his scheduled start last Sunday vs. Bowling Green rained out. If the weather cooperates, Reyes will start tonight and Sunday during this homestand.

Cedar Rapids was the best regular season team in the MWL Western division last year as they were loaded with prospects like Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, JO Berrios and Adam Brett Walker. This season they bring to Peoria just two of Baseball America’s top 30 Twins prospects: LHP Randy Rosario (Starts Thursday) and RHP Felix Jorge. Cedar Rapids is on a nine-game winning streak against the Chiefs after two 4-game sweeps last August.

Quad Cities won the 2013 MWL Championship after winning the second half. Last season they had a special year all the way around with two #1 overall picks in Carlos Correa and Mark Appel plus top prospects Teoscar Hernandez, Danry Vasquez, Rio Ruiz, Lance McCullers Jr,, Vince Velasquez and even a two week stint from Jonathan Singleton. The offense isn’t as loaded for the 7-9 (as of Monday) River Bandits but they have six of the top 30 prospects on their pitching staff. RHP Michael Feliz (9), Andrew Thurman (15), Gonzalo Sanudo (26), Jandel Gustave (27) join LHP Kent Emanuel (23) and Chris Lee (24). They also just added Quad Cities native and former Illini start Thomas Lindauer to the roster. Pretty cool to play pro ball in your hometown for your home team. Quad Cities will play four games at Clinton before traveling to Peoria for the weekend 3-game series.

We will see plenty of Cedar Rapids over the next three weeks with series in Iowa May 2-4 and May 12-14 but won’t see Quad Cities again until June 7-9.

Here are Monday’s Game Notes. We’ll have a lineup about 2:30 and I hope to have some fun video and photos this afternoon after a surprise event at the ballpark. Thanks for reading and hope to see you at Dozer Park this week!

Saturday Game Notes, Lineup & More Photos

An ugly game for the Chiefs last night with six errors committed, four in the 2nd inning. That frame ended a 30-inning errorless streak for the Chiefs. Today’s a new day and Chase Bookshire is on the mound. Here are Saturday’s Game Notes which also includes a look ahead at the rotation for the Cedar Rapids series which starts Monday. Speaking of Monday, that 6:30 game against the Kernels will be your first chance to see Alex Reyes at Dozer Park. Plus tickets are HALF PRICE on Monday’s so you have no excuse!

Joe Kruzel shaking up the lineup today after a couple days of what he called “A lack of concentration and focus.” Today will be the first time we see On-Base machine Michael Schulze out of the 9-hole as he moves to 2nd. Jimmy Bosco leads off as CJ McElroy gets a day off and Mason Katz slides down to the bottom of the order in an effort to get him going. Here is the full lineup

Bosco CF
Schulze 3B
Kelly C
Castillo RF
Peoples-Walls LF
Valera SS
Young DH
Stone 1B
Katz 2B
Brookshire LHP

I posted a bunch of pictures of beautiful Parkview Field on Friday but after that post I got a personal tour of the new 400 Club in centerfield from TinCaps GM Mike Nutter. Here is a look at those photos.

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Also Jeff Nycz, Mid-South Images, the team photographer for the TinCaps was nice enough to snap some action shots of the Chiefs players this series and share them with both myself and the Peoria Journal Star. Here are some of the shots he got of our guys in this series. 

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Friday Game Notes, Photos & More

Tough loss last night, if you missed it check out the game recap from the website. Also there are some video highlights (mostly pro TinCaps) in the TinCaps game recap.

This morning I’m going to point you in the direction of some great reading. Spend your lunch break on this fantastic Viva El Birdos interview of Chiefs pitching coach Jason Simontacchi. I definitely agree with Joe’s assessment, Jason is one of the best coaches in the organization and the Cardinals and Chiefs are lucky to have him. I learn something new from Jason every day.

We start a homestand Monday so make sure you check out the Homestand Highlights as we finally get back to playing Western Division opponents with four games against Cedar Rapids and three against Quad Cities next week at Dozer Park.

Not sure if we will get Juan Herrera back in the lineup tonight. He had some lower back pain between games of Wednesday’s double header and has been evaluated daily since. I’d expect him to miss this entire series which leaves us short-handed but you never know. Here are today’s Game Notes. We go to the park at 3:15 Eastern and I’ll have a lineup shortly after that.

Parkview Field in Fort Wayne is one of the best if not best stadium’s and atmosphere’s in all of Minor League Baseball. Yesterday I walked around and took about 50 photos to share with you. The apartments in LF and the 400 club in CF are new since our last appearance here in 2012. Enjoy the slideshow!

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Thursday Game Notes, Wednesday Reaction

What a great Wednesday night for the Chiefs in Lake County. The team battled through the rain and snow then shut down the Captains bats with a pair of 4-0 wins last night for the sweep. How rare was the road sweep for the Chiefs? Well the last overall sweep on the road was in Clinton back in April 2011. The last road sweep over an Eastern Division team was at the end of July/early August in 2009. In that series, Brett Jackson made his Chiefs debut going 2-6 with 2 RBI in the opener, Ryan Flaherty (now with the Orioles) went 6-for-13 and DJ LeMahieu (now with the Rockies) was 6-for-12. This is also the first five-game win streak since June of 2012.

We are now in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arrived about 2:30 am with a viewing of Super Troopers on the bus. Here are Thursday’s fixed Game Notes as Jimmy Reed will make start #3 on the season. I’ll have the lineup and some shots of Parkview Field when we head to the stadium this afternoon.

Wednesday night was about pitching for the Chiefs as Nick Petree (6ip, 4h, 0r, 5k) and Arturo Reyes (6ip, 2h, 0r, 8k) mixed their speeds, attacked the zone and dominated the Captains. Petree didn’t allow a runner past first base and Reyes didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. Both times he issued early walks he erased the runners by inducing double play balls. Both pitchers were outstanding Wednesday and fun to watch.

Ronald Castillo continues to swing a hot bat. He has now driven in runs in five straight games with a five-game hit streak. Here are his RBI from Wednesday:

Wednesday was also a big night at the plate for Steve Bean and Jimmy Bosco. Both had their first RBI of the season and each collected two hits in game two.

Bean got the Chiefs a run early with a 2-out single.

Here is Bosco’s 2-run 1b that made it 4-0. He also had a triple.

This team continues to get contributions from different players each game. That to me is a sign of a good team and a winning team. It starts with the strong pitching and good defense and the Chiefs had both in Lake County. Here’s hoping it continues in Fort Wayne where we will allegedly have temperatures in the 50s for this series.

Wednesday Game Notes & Lineup

We are ready for some baseball today! The field looks great here at Classic Park, Dan Stricko and his crew have done a fantastic job with the rain and snow the last 48 hours. I’m going to head down and get some photos during batting practice. Make sure you follow Peoria Chiefs on Instagram and Snapchat to get this behind the scenes footage.

We will play two 7-inning games today starting at 4:30 Central time. Nick Petree starts game one and Arturo Reyes starts game two. I’ll have an interview with Carson Kelly on the broadcast between games this evening.

Here are the Game Notes and the Game 1 lineup: April16Lineup

Again keep an eye out on Instagram and Snap Chat for some BP stuff over the next hour and the broadcast starts at 4:15 Central time!


Snow Out Notes, Pictures/Highlights

What an interesting 48 hours we have had in the Cleveland area. Rain all day Monday and snow today. We played through the rain yesterday and won 9-6.  We will now attempt a DH on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Here are the audio highlights from Monday as the Chiefs battled through two rain delays to win their third straight:

Ronald Castillo doubles home a run in the first:

Mason Katz makes it 4-0 in the first with a 3-run double:

Zach Loraine gets a big K in the first batter he faces with 2 on and 2 out in the 7th to keep a 6-5 lead:

These would have been today’s Game Notes. Now we will have Nick Petree and Arturo Reyes throwing in the Wednesday DH and I’d imagine all the position players will get into some action Wednesday if the weather clears. Here is the photo Lake County posted of the field this morning as the game was postponed with the snowLC Postponed

And finally a slide show of the sights around Classic Park on a dreary, rainy Monday.

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Monday Game Notes & Weekend Highlights

Nate%27s Stat Line (4)We made it to Eastlake, Ohio. Unfortunately it looks like the rain followed us here. We were rained out yesterdayagainst Bowling Green at home which got us on the road a couple hours earlier than planned. It rained most of the trip including a downpour in South Bend as we stopped for dinner. Fortunately by the time we arrived at the hotel in Willoughby, Ohio (about 20 miles NE of downtown Cleveland on Lake Erie) it had stopped raining as we unpacked. On the bus we watched Bull Durham and Blazing Saddles, both picked by pitching coach Jason Simontacchi. We also got a tour and history of Toledo, OH over the PA system as we drove through. Toledo native and Chiefs manager Joe Kruzel provided tidbits such as “Toledo is known as the Glass City” “Jamie Farr from MASH was from Toledo but you’re all too young for that” and Toledo “IS NOT Little Detroit, Ohio beat Michigan.” It was pretty funny and informative!

Today it is raining again and let’s hope we get the game in after being rained out yesterday. Plus Tuesday is calling for temperatures in the high 20s and 2-3 inches of snow. This is APRIL right? Here is my current view from the Classic Park press box:

photo (1)

Assuming we do get to play tonight, it is another look at Alex Reyes for the Chiefs. And here are tonight’s Game Notes

If you missed the highlights over the weekend, here are the five home run calls from the Chiefs Radio Network,

1. Ronald Castillo puts the Chiefs on top 3-2 Friday night 

2. Carson Kelly and Castillo go back-to-back Saturday and as you can hear, it was predicted on the air.

3. Castillo slam on Saturday

4. Katz HR to follow Castillo’s slam

And here are the Saturday HR’s on video…watch the Castillo HR at 1:20. I’ve never seen a ball hit that building in CF in my 11 years with the Chiefs

Thanks for reading, I’ll post a lineup on Twitter soon and hopefully we’ll have the broadcast at 5:10 Central Time on the Apps and Listen live links.

Some Former Chiefs in the Majors Had a Big Week

Baseball is finally in full swing all around the country, and there are former Chiefs doing great things on the field at the major league level. If you missed what some of your favorite players have done recently, here’s a quick recap:

Any bases loaded hit feels good, but when it’s a double to clear the bases, especially against your biggest rivals in your home opener, it’s extra special, as Yadier Molina’s first inning two-bagger against Cincinnati on Monday showed:

Molina would help spearhead another win the next night, as his homerun to lead off the second sparked a four run inning to tie the game in an eventual 7-5 victory:

Tony Campana of the Diamondbacks had a four-hit game on Thursday in San Francisco, including the eventual game-winning RBI single in the tenth for a 6-5 victory.

Josh Donaldson showed off his opposite field power for the Athletics, crushing a two-run shot to right-center on Thursday afternoon, helping to complete a sweep of the Twins. The homer was his first of the season.

Later in that same game, Donaldson knocked in Sam Fuld, another former Chief, with a single to complete the Oakland scoring.

Speaking of Fuld, he too launched his first long ball of the season on Thursday.

Albert Pujols hit a mammoth two-run homerun to left on Wednesday night, accounting for the only runs in a 2-0 Angels win in Seattle. The homer put Pujols into 26th place on the all-time list with 494, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff:

Oh yeah, Pujols hit a two-run dinger the night before too, that carried even further into the Seattle night, and gave him his 1,500th career run batted in:

Junior Lake smashed his first homerun of 2014 on Wednesday for the Cubs, driving one completely out of Wrigley Field in Chicago and onto Waveland Avenue:

Robinson Chirinos did the same thing on Tuesday for the Rangers, only his drive cleared everything at Fenway Park in Boston:

Chris Archer of the Rays threw seven shutout innings and got ground ball out after ground ball out in a no decision on Tuesday against Kansas City:

Dan Haren appears to be back to old form with the Dodgers, as he matched reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer of the Tigers through six innings on Tuesday, leaving in a 1-1 game:

Jeff Samardzija has pitched extremely well in his first two starts of the season, but he will be looking for his first W as the Cubs take on the Chiefs parent club, the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in St. Louis.