The Farmers Market – Angels Minor League Notes

 

 

 

 

 

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Salt Lake City Bees (Triple-A, 28-42, 12.5 games back in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Southern Division)

The Bees have won three in a row and seven of their last 10.

Efren Navarro is fourth in the PCL in hitting with a .328 average. The first baseman has also knocked four home runs and driven in 39.

During Salt Lake City’s three game winning streak, the bats have exploded for 28 runs and 41 hits versus the Oklahoma City Redhawks (Houston Astros) and Colorado Springs SkySox (Colorado Rockies).

Conversely, the pitching staff has not held up its end with the highest ERA (5.81) in the PCL.

 

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Inland Empire 66ers (High Single-A, 25-45, 19-games back in the California League’s Southern Division)

The All Star break has arrived in the California League and the 66ers enter the halfway point losers of six of their last 10.

The Sixers will send pitcher Austin Adams as the lone player in uniform to the California League/Carolina League All-Star game on Tuesday June 17th in Wilmington, DE.  Current Travelers pitchers Kurt Spomer and Nate Smith were also selected but will not participate.

Jose Rondon has ben a true bright spot for Inland Empire in the first half hitting .333 (4th in the CL) and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 contests.

 

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Burlington Bees (Single-A, 37-31, 7.5 games back in second place in the Midwestern League’s Western Division)

The Bees have won seven of their last 10 and are 21-13 at home so far this season.

While the offense has struggled, Burlington’s pitching staff is second in the Midwestern League and has a league high 23 saves.

Eric Aguilera is the only Bee hitting above .300 at .301and stands second in the league with nine home runs and 41 runs driven in.

 

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Orem Owlz (Rookie)

The Owlz have not begun play in the short season Rookie ball.

 

Seven Travs Selected to Texas League All Star Game

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The Arkansas Travelers are proud to announce the rosters for the 2014 Texas League All-Star Game presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Seven Travelers players headline the North Division squad which will be led by Travs manager Phillip Wellman and his coaching staff. The Texas League’s annual showcase will be played for the first time at Dickey-Stephens Park on Tuesday, June 24.

Three Travs position players were chosen as All-Star starters including both infielders on the right side; first baseman Brian Hernandez, currently third in the TL with a .319 batting average, and TL hits (70) and doubles (19) leader Alex Yarbrough, who will start at second base. Outfielder Adam Melker was also voted in as an All Star starter.

The Travs starting pitching rotation is represented by Michael Roth (4-4, 2.81 ERA in 10 starts) and Orangel Arenas (5-2, 2.47 ERA in 13 games). David Carpenter (2-0, 1.13 ERA, 3 saves) and Cam Bedrosian (1-0, 7 saves, 1.47 ERA) were chosen as All-Star relievers.

Wellman will lead the North Division team along with Travs pitching coach Pat Rice and batting coachTom Tornincasa. Athletic trainer Greg Spence and strength and conditioning coach Joe Griffin will also represent the Travs on the North Division All-Star coaching staff.

As the coaching staff for the league champion from the previous season, Rich Dauer and the San Antonio Missions coaching staff including pitching coach Jimmy Jones, batting coach Francisco Morales, athletic trainer Daniel Turner and strength and conditioning coach Eric Wood will lead the visiting team from the South Division.

Balloting for the Texas League All-Star Game was conducted by votes gathered from managers, coaches, broadcasters and beat writers representing all eight teams.

Ticket prices for the Texas League All-Star Game are as follows; Box seats for all ages are $13. Reserved tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children 14-and-under. General admission tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 14-and-under. Any ticket is $1 off with a military ID. No discount coupons or group rates are available for the game. Purchases can be made in person at the Travs box office, over the phone at (501) 664-1555 or online at Travs.com. Online sales are assessed a $1 convenience fee.

Click here to see the Texas League All-Star Rosters.

Players who are injured or have been promoted to a higher level will be replaced by players currently on Texas League rosters.

Buckner to Headline All Star Gala

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Little Rock  – The Arkansas Travelers have a limited amount of tickets available for the Texas League All-Star Gala on Monday, June 23 at the Little Rock DoubleTree at 6:00 p.m. Attendees will be treated to an unforgettable night which includes guest speaker Bill Buckner and an autograph session with the 2014 Texas League All-Star Teams.

Advance tickets are available for $150 per seat and $1,300 for a table of 10, but space is limited so those interested should contact the Travs box office at (501) 664-7559 immediately to reserve a spot. Dinner is included with the price of the ticket. No tickets will be sold at the door.

The Travs are excited to announce Bill Buckner as the guest speaker for the Texas League All-Star Gala. One of the most recognizable players in baseball during his 22-year Major League career, Buckner amassed 2,715 hits and a .289 batting average for the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and Royals. Winner of the 1981 National League batting crown, Buckner was one of the top first basemen in the game during a career that spanned four decades. 

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“I played my first Double-A game in Little Rock (with the Albuquerque Dodgers) so I’m looking forward to going back,” Buckner said. “I liked playing in Little Rock. It has a real baseball town feel to it. I’m also excited to see Dickey-Stephens Park for the first time since I played at Ray Winder Field back in 1969.”

Buckner recently retired from the game of baseball after spending the last two seasons as hitting coach in the Chicago Cubs organization at the short-season affiliate in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. 

“We’re honored to have Bill Buckner join us for this All-Star celebration,” said Travelers General Manager Paul Allen. “Our fans, the all-star players and Texas League executives are in for a real treat with Mr. Buckner’s experience in the game and reputation as a great speaker. This gala is going to be a memorable event.”

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The Travelers host the Texas League All Star Game at Dickey-Stephens Park on Tuesday, June 24. 

An Entire State Pulling Together – How You Can Help.

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A statement from Arkansas Travelers General Manager Paul Allen

“The entire Arkansas Travelers Organization is deeply saddened by the devastating storms that hit Arkansas last night,” Travs General Manager Paul Allen said. ” Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragic event.  We felt that it was our social duty to help inform fans of the different avenues for which they could help victims of this storm.   The Travelers and Arkansas Food Bank already had a Food Drive set up for this evenings game and the events last night reassured us the importance of why we put on these type of promotions.  The Travelers are accepting all types of donations such as Non-Perishable Food Items, Bottled Water, Blankets, Flash Lights, Batteries, Diapers & Wipes, etc. throughout this entire week.”

 

pray

 

If you can’t make it to Dickey Stephens, people can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small like last night’s.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those effected by this tragedy.

Dave Barr (@daveabarr)

The Piano Man

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There are things at Dickey Stephens Park that scream baseball and take us back to our childhoods.

Since 2008, Trey Trimble has played a major role in that experience sitting behind his organ.

What once was a staple at every ballpark before laptops and the internet – the organ got you pumped to yell CHARGE, provided the melody for the beloved seventh-inning stretch and kept us entertained between innings on a beautiful summers night.

 “That’s what it’s all about,” Trimble said. “Trying to recreate the Golden Age. I play mostly songs from the 1940’s. Definitely nothing newer than the 80’s.”

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There are only two organ players in all of Minor League Baseball with Trimble of course being half of that number. Music has always played a major role in his life, but being the organ player for the Travelers was something that almost didn’t happen if it weren’t for his family.

“My Grandmother saw an ad in the paper,” Trimble recalled. “I didn’t want to go. I’ve always been shy – she made me try out.”

So during a rain delay six-years ago, Trimble made his Travs debut.

“It was pouring down rain,” Trimble said. “Management sat me down in front of an old 1960’s organ. I had never played the organ before in my life. I had always played the piano! They said here you go, start playing and we’ll hear you as we walk around the ballpark. I didn’t know what to play so I started with the Mario Brothers theme song, went on to some TV show themes and a little Rag Time.”

Not hearing from anyone, Trimble stopped playing and started searching for the Travs front office. He found them and he’s been in the organ box ever since.

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It’s quite a story really for an ultra-talented guy who is self taught. That’s right Travelers fans – self taught!

“I think it’s truly a God-given talent,” Trimble said smiling. “I have grown up around music all of my life coming from a very musical family plus I was home-schooled so there was always music surrounding me. I tried lessons but that didn’t last long as soon as they found out that I couldn’t read music.”

Amazing!

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Growing up along side his love of music was also a love of baseball.

“I’m a Rangers fan but of course a much bigger Travelers fan, ” Trimble chuckled. “I used to go to Ray Winder Field as a kid and watch the Travs play and listen to Rich Pharris play. Little did I know that I would end up following in his footsteps.”

As you can image, there are great stories to be told when you’re trying to play during a game and the organ box is right there in the concourse – fair game for everyone.

“Oh yea, fans come by and use it as a table while they are eating,” Trimble said. “Still haven’t eaten someones food though. One time a bird landed on the box and just sat there for like eight-minutes listening to me play. Could not believe it.”

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The most requested song is no doubt Lynyrd Skynard’s “Free Bird” and the marriage proposals have been a plenty.

“I’ve got great memories of doing this and know that there will be a ton more,” Trimble said. ” Some of my fondest come from that very first season back in 2008. It was my first year and the Travelers won the Texas League title. Foul balls have scared me to death. People ask me to play weird songs like the theme from “House”. It’s a great way to spend the summer.”

Dave Barr (@daveabarr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How’d They Do That?

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Much has been written about the Los Angeles Angels and it’s “lack” of talent down on the farm.

Because of free agency, finishing in the middle of the pack, lack of Latin America signings and simply trading away prospects like pitchers Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, who has since returned to the Halos and shortstop Jean Segura – the cupboards aren’t exactly over-flowing.

The Angels have not had a first round pick in either of the past two Major League Baseball drafts.

Here’s the twist. Whether it’s been due to great coaching or maybe the fact that the Angels front office crew led by General Manager Jerry DiPoto are better at evaluating talent than given credit for – the Arkansas Travelers, since 2011 have won more games in the North Division of the Texas League than any other team including the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and Springfield Cardinals both of whom are constantly stacked with highly rated talent.

In the post Mike Trout era (2011 to present) the Travs have won 217 games to date – more than the Tulsa Drillers, Cardinals and Naturals. During that time period the Angels farm system was ranked no higher than No. 15 among all MLB clubs according to Baseball America and as low as dead last the past two years. In that same time period the Royals (Naturals) had the best farm system in 2011 and No. 2 in 2012. The Cardinals were tabbed the best minor league system in all of baseball in 2013.

Also during that time – the Travs represented the Northern Division twice in the Texas League Championship Series (2011, 2013) and won more games last season (74) than they have in their 13-year affiliation with the Angels. It was also the most since 1998 when Arkansas was linked with the St. Louis Cardinals.

It’s all good food for thought as the Angels will have a first round selection this year and are diligently working to rebuild the farm system. Arkansas currently has six of the Halos top 10 prospects taking the field at DSP with the addition of Cam Bedrosian to the roster.

Travs fans though,  hope the poor rankings and lot of wins and success trend continues.

Dave Barr (@daveabarr)

 

Travs Announce Texas League All Star Game Plans and Tickets

 

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Little Rock – The Arkansas Travelers announce plans and tickets for the 2014 Texas League All-Star Game presented by Farm Bureau Insurance on Tuesday, June 24! For the first time Dickey-Stephens Park serves as the site of the Texas League’s marquee event, which includes hot air balloon rides, autograph sessions, post game fireworks and the Home Run Derby presented by Heart of Arkansas United Way.

Tickets to the 78th Texas League All-Star Game presented by Farm Bureau Insurance will go on sale this Thursday, April 10. Online sales at http://www.Travs.com are available beginning at 9:00 a.m. with each ticket assessed a $1 convenience fee. The box office will also take in-person or phone orders at (501) 664-7559 beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Ticket prices for the Texas League All-Star Game are as follows; Box seats for all ages are $13. Reserved tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children 14-and-under. General admission tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 14-and-under. Receive $1 off with a military ID at the Box Office. No discount coupons or group rates are available for the game. 

The event begins on Monday, June 23 with the Texas League All-Star Gala at the Little Rock DoubleTree. This event features an Autograph Session, Catered Dinner and Guest Speaker. All-Star Players will have a choice of two private morning events; a golf tournament at Pleasant Valley Country Club or a skeet-and-trap shoot outing thanks to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation.

A limited amount of tickets for the Texas League All-Star Gala will be available for purchase on Thursday, April 10 as well at (501) 664-1555. Individual gala tickets are $150, a table of ten is $1,300.

Gates open at Dickey-Stephens Park for the Texas League All Star Game at 3:00 p.m. and the first 1,500 fans inside get a free copy of the All Star Game Program. Then the North Division All-Star Team, led by Travs manager Phillip Wellman, takes the field for batting practice at 3:15 p.m. followed by the South Division All-Star Team at approximately 4:15 p.m. Each team will have a free autograph session after their batting practices in the dugout for fans on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Texas League Home Run Derby presented by Heart of Arkansas United Way begins at 6:00 p.m. A special target will be placed past the outfield wall which features a $100,000 charitable jackpot if a player hits it with a home run. 

Then at 7:15 p.m. the first pitch of the 78th Texas League All-Star Game presented by Farm Bureau Insurance is thrown. After the game stick around for a huge post game fireworks extravaganza to cap off the event.

Travs Talk will be your home for Texas League All Star Game information and coverage,

 

Phone Home

 

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Sports teams and leagues are always looking for ways to connect with their fan base. Tonight and this season as you follow the Travs either at Dickey-Stephens or on the road there are a couple of apps for your iPhone / iPad and Andriod mobile devises and tablets that will serve you well.

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MiLB First Pitch

MiLB First Pitch, the official mobile application for Minor League Baseball, has arrived for Android devices in 2014. With 160 teams from Triple-A down to Rookie ball, get live updates for every game as well as complete stats, schedules, standings and latest news for each club. First Pitch is the premier app to follow the top MLB prospects for the 2014 season.

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Features:

  • Video highlights, scores, stats, news, rosters and standings for 160 teams
  • Select favorite teams by level and by MLB affiliate
  • Gameday pitch-by-pitch as available

 

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MiLB Inside the Park

All the fun of Minor League Baseball is now at your fingertips! MiLB Inside the Park delivers an interactive, inning-by-inning lineup of all the game day fun. You’ll be able to…

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Features:
• Vote for between-inning contests, like mascot races
• Sign up to participate in on-field contests
• Share your game day photos with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
• Earn rewards for discounts inside and outside the ballpark
• Interact with your ballpark map
• Explore your team schedule, promotions, tickets and more!

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The NEW Arkansas Travelers app- COMING SOON!

Dave Barr (@daveabarr)

Bacon, Mascots and Baseball – A Fans Guide To Opening Night at DSP

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It’s finally here.

Arkansas Traveler fans have been waiting for this day since September. It’s Opening Night 2014 at Dickey – Stephens Park.

As with any offseason there are changes and this one was definitely no exception.

Travelers General Manager Paul Allen fills you in on what to expect when the gates open in North Little Rock.

With out a doubt, the most noticeable difference between this year and last is the rebranding of the organization.

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“When fans come to Dickey-Stephens this season there will definitely be a different feel,” Allen said. “We took the rebranding of the team very seriously. The process was a long one and it was important to get it right. We knew that we would never change the name. We also knew that we wouldn’t stray too far from our colors and that a horse would always be a part of this team and our mascot.”

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Ace and Otey were born.

“A lot of people have been talking, that’s for sure,” the second year GM said. ” It’s tough to stay relevant in the offseason. Continue to engage our fans. There were bookends to this story. Shelly was retired at the end of last season and then a couple of weeks ago – the unveiling of our new mascots.”

So Shelly was retired and Ace was created to replace her. What a difference in the two.

“Ace is the guy you want to get you an out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Allen said. “In many ways he is the complete opposite of Shelly in that he’s a super hero type yet still a lovable and a great representation of the Travelers like Shelly was for so many years.”

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The talk of Arkansas and Minor League Baseball has been Ace’s right hand man and Dickey-Stephens good luck charm – Otey.

“RC Otey was a great Arkansan, a great Traveler and our groundskeeper for many years,” Allen commented. ” Greg Johnston (Travs current groundskeeper) grew up under RC and learned everything he knows from him. When we decided to create Otey, we wanted to honor someone who meant so much to the organization for so long. Greg has a great relationship with the Otey family and called to ask permission to name one of our mascots after him. They felt honored and were very excited.”

So the uniforms are new. The lids are new, the logos and mascots are new – and many things around the ballpark are new in 2014 as well.

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Physically speaking there are some changes that fans need to know about at DSP,” Allen said. ” The gift shop area has changed. We moved it to the space where Bumps Home Plate restaurant used to be. It allowed us to double the square footage of the shop to allow fans a more convenient and less crowded shopping experience. It also now has an external door which means fans can come shop and enjoy the air conditioning 30-minutes prior to the game.”

New food choices are always a news maker and there’s nothing better than BACON!

We have a great partnership with Petit Jean Meats,” Allen said. “We have renamed The Hot Corner and tabbed it The Bacon Station. You can get burgers, philly’s and lots bacon. New this year to are roasted nuts. It’s one of the best smells ever and you can get a whiff throughout the stadium concourse.”

Another new addition is the Iron Horse Whiskey Stop along the third base concourse.

“You can get just about anything you want to drink there, Allen said Wednesday afternoon. ” From customized drinks and premium spirits to five different craft beers from Arkansas Craft Beer Distributors.”

Everyone loves giveaways and the first three nights of the home schedule has them.

On Thursday and Friday night, fans will receive those coveted magnet schedules thanks to Papa Johns,” Allen said. “Then on Saturday it’s one of my personal favorite things the wall calendar. We have a great partner in Church at Rock Creek and they are the presenting sponsor for a great calendar for the baseball fan. It starts in April and ends in March. It’s definitely a baseball fans calendar.”

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One of the great new shirts you can get at the Arkansas Traveler.

Opening day is always special. No matter if it’s the actual first day of the season or the home opener a week later.

“There will be a buzz because it’s opening night,” Allen said. The gates will open at 6:10pm and we are ready to play some baseball.”

Dave Barr (@daveabarr)

 

An Innprovisation

As expected the Travelers innprovised and were able to secure rooms for everyone in a nearby hotel for the night. All is well in the Travelers Baseball Universe for now. The guys will get rest and be ready for tonight’s game at Dr Pepper Ballpark against the Frisco RoughRiders at 4:00 p.m. 

The weather is another story because there is rain in the forecast for the entire day in North Texas. As I overheard someone say in the lobby, “We went from dust storms in Midland to rain in Frisco. Makes sense.” 

One thing I’ve learned about this team in just a short period of time is they seem to roll with the punches. They’ve battled through broken down buses, dust clouds and now a hotel hiccup and so far have a 2-1 record. We’ll see if they keep rolling here in Frisco.Right now they’re rightfully sleeping…finally.

 

Phil