Behind The Dish - The Baseball Blog (Oct. 5)

Oct. 5, 2009


October 5, 2009
2:15 p.m.

Photo Gallery

Happy Monday, everyone. For the Oregon State baseball team, this Monday comes two days after a majority of the Beavers spent part of the weekend in Bend. This has become an annual tradition, with the club playing a preseason scrimmage in Central Oregon at Vince Genna Stadium. It started after the first national championship season and has become a real treat for the team and fans in the area to partake in every year.

I don't have a whole lot of writeup about the game, which featured the black and orange squads. I was in the dugout for most of the scrimmage taking photos, along with Ethan Erickson, a photographer from our office. Ethan was and has been a real trooper thus far, shooting volleyball's win Friday night and then braving the elements Saturday for some great images. Which, of course, you can see in the photo gallery on the page. Ethan also almost got drilled on an overthrow at first base, which narrowly missed hitting director of operations Ron Northcutt as well, who thankfully was behind a fence.

Bill Bigelow of the Bend Bulletin has a writeup of the trip there and it is available at www.bendbulletin.com. He tried keeping track of the game as much as possible, but realistically, the score mattered little. The game did make it six or seven innings - I'm not totally sure as the stadium doesn't have its main scoreboard working and was using one that was not visible by the first-base dugout. At that point, the cold weather got worse and started dumping hail and snow on Vince Genna Stadium. Coach Casey decided that that point that it was best to end it without getting anyone hurt and off to a BBQ everyone went. The team was back safely in Corvallis by 7 p.m. and the players used Sunday as a day off. For those who have never been on a team bus, it can be relatively uneventful, with most of the team getting some sleep in on the drive home. The rest were glued to watching the afternoon's movie, which was 'Happy Gilmore' or listening to an ipod or something similar. This trip did offer the chance to see some nice snowfall on one of the passes coming over from Bend. It didn't last long, and most every player has seen snow before, if not all of them, but it's not too common to see it when coming back from a game so you could say it was a nice surprise. It certainly turned a few heads.

Before the scrimmage on Saturday, the team put on an hour-long free baseball clinic with local youths. About 80 showed up in attendance and got pointers from the team's coaches and players. It was a great opportunity for the team to interact with the little guys. And since most players on the team are 18, 19 and 20 years old, it wasn't too long ago that some of the current Beavers were learning from former Beavers at camps and clinics at Goss Stadium. You just never know who the next great Beaver will be.

Meanwhile, in the Majors

We promised a week or two ago that we would touch base about Jacoby Ellsbury and Jamie Burke, who both saw their regular seasons come to an end on Sunday. Burke's season is over as his Nationals ended the 2009 MLB campaign with the worst record in the bigs. He played in 19 games with Seattle and Washington, batting .118 with two RBI.

Ellsbury, meanwhile, is going back to his third consecutive postseason as the Red Sox claimed the American League's Wild Card. He played in 153 games for Boston this season, batting .301 with a Major League leading 70 stolen bases. We reported it about a month ago that he broke Boston's single-season stolen base record. The 70 swipes this season gives him 129 for his career, which already ties him for the seventh-most in team history. Harry Hooper holds the team record with 300 from 1909-1920, so assuming Ellsbury doesn't go to another club in the next two-to-three years, he is one pace for that mark as well.

And here's a stat for you stat-heads out there. In nearly three full seasons with the Red Sox, Ellsbury has 129 steals to just 169 strikeouts. That is a pretty impressive ratio.

The team is pretty much practicing on a daily basis at Goss Stadium, so if you are in the area, go ahead and stop over.

Go Beavs!

Hank Hager

 


 

September 30, 2009
3:15 p.m.

Yes, we are about two weeks out from our last blog here on 'Behind The Dish' but there has been a whirlwind amount of news with baseball in the last couple of weeks, so I felt it would be better serve to let those stories stay at the forefront. The team actually scrimmaged yesterday under some not so friendly weather. The Beavers got patches of good, blue sky, and then would get a five minute rain cloud. And so on and so forth. But they fought through it for what turned out to be a pretty productive afternoon.

A few of the guys will be getting together with one of our photographers on Thursday night to take photos for the 'I Am Orange' materials that will be used to help promote the season. Not going to divulge those names; it's no fun that way. Just make sure to keep an eye out for some of these things over the next few months, such as posters and ticket information brochures. They'll be used on the Web site as well, just like has been the case with football, men's and women's basketball and other sports.

On the newsworthy front, Rivals.com has been doing a conference-by-conference breakdown of fall practices and the Pac-10 had its go-around on Wednesday. Here's what the site's main writer, Kendall Rogers, had to say about the Beavers.

Kendall wrote: 'The Beavers returned to NCAA regional play last season and hopes to return to the College World Series in '10. The Beavers need to improve at the plate this fall to accomplish that goal. OSU finished last season with an unimpressive .278 batting average and must replace leading hitter and catcher Ryan Ortiz. The Beavers do welcome back Jared Norris and Adalberto Santos. Offense is a question mark this fall, but the pitching is in great shape with the return of Sam Gaviglio, Josh Osich, Ryan Gorton, Kraig Sitton, Kevin Rhoderick and Tyler Waldron. The Beavers have a good chance to return to Omaha if the offense rises to the occasion.'

Kendall certainly was correct that Ryan will be missed. He was a great player on the field and someone who displayed great character off it. He was definitely a great ambassador for Oregon State. Now, of course, we wish him the best of luck in his career with the Oakland organization.

Kendall can only list so many names and in doing so missed listing guys like Stefen Romero, Tanner Robles and Carter Bell, amongst other returners who will play a key role for the Beavers in 2010.

Elsewhere, Jacoby Ellsbury and the Red Sox are gearing up for the playoffs with just a few days left in the regular season. Ellsbury has 67 stolen bases this season, which is easily a Boston record. But it's also the Major League leading mark, seven in front of Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford. I think it's pretty safe to say Jacoby will be next year's reigning stolen base king. He's also tied for fourth in all of baseball with 10 triples, which actually gives him the lead in the American League. Not a bad way for your second full season in the Major Leagues.

Last but not least, we mentioned having some baseball players on live chats. That obviously has not come to fruition yet, especially with football doing one on a typically weekly basis. Stay tuned for baseball. We'll get some guys in to talk to the fans, but not sure when just yet.

Go Beavs!

Hank Hager


September 17, 2009
2:45 p.m.

The catchers during bullpen work

The blog is back just two days after the first post in more than a couple months. Why you ask? Well, fall ball of course, which we stated just a couple days ago, is back and really in full force. I promised pictures and there are a few. Today's workout consisted of group work. The full team didn't get together today, so it was broken up. Some of the pitchers worked out at 2 p.m. with pitching coach Nate Yeskie, which is where the pictures were taken.

I forgot to mention a few days that the Beavers have had a few former players jump into the workouts and help out. Logan Boyd will be one the undergraduate assistants this season. Also back is John Wallace, who actually got into town on Wednesday after being at the football game against UNLV over the weekend. Also there is Koa Kahalehoe and Drew George. Drew did an absolutely great job as an undergrad assistant coach last season. It's always good to see those guys around. Ryan Ortiz told me a few weeks back that he should be back at one point, and wouldn't be surprised to see the likes of Eddie Kunz, Darwin Barney and Mitch Canham, among others, in Corvallis before the end of the 2009 calendar year. That's what certainly makes Coach Casey's program so stellar. His former players want to make a point to come back, even if it's just for a day to say hi.

For those of you who haven't read the release yet, the recruiting class for the upcoming season was ranked No. 25 nationally by Collegiate Baseball. The folks with the publication have Florida as No. 1. CB typically releases its rankings far before Baseball America. BA will probably have its rankings out in early to mid October so stay tuned for those.

In the next week or so, I'll get up a pro in review recap for osubeavers.com. The minor league season is over and the bigs are just about done. Jacoby Ellsbury is having a monster season for Boston and is looking like he'll be in the postseason yet again as the Sox have a pretty commanding lead in the wild card race. Otherwise, guys had great seasons, like Daniel Robertson, Cole Gillespie, Aaron Mathews and Joe Paterson, among others. Make sure to check the web site to read the recap. I don't have a specific day yet, but that will keep you on your toes, right?

I'm sure we will have a few more releases up in the next week, so make sure to check often. Even when it's a little slow here on campus, there are things to talk about.

Other than that, it is relatively quiet right now. It's been absolutely gorgeous out since the team got back into town and workouts are going well. Each of the players is excited about Saturday's football game, which has the potential to be a good one.

I'm going to throw a bit of a plug out there. If you can't make it to Saturday's game, come to our web site and check out the game day blog/chat. Even after just a few games, it has grown pretty popular, and we'd love to keep improving it. And we can't do it without you, the fan. Of course, if you have any suggestions, let us know and we'll see how we can improve the experience.

Go Beavs!

Hank Hager

 


September 15, 2009
10:30 a.m.

The blog has been off for the past few months while baseball season went into the offseason. Well, offseason for the fans and support staff anyway as the players all headed to various parts of the country for summer ball.

That time is over, though, as the team is back at Goss Stadium for fall workouts. The club met for the first time last week and got its first practice in on Thursday. They're out there six days a week, roughly, mostly in the afternoon. We'll have some pictures at some point and further information regarding scrimmages and other things of interest. I'm not sure exactly what the schedule is yet, but I'm anticipating fall ball going into late October, maybe even early November. That will all depend on what Coach Casey and his coaching staff want to do.

For now, an early report on fall ball was written by Brooks Hatch of the local GT today.

Also, rivals.com has the Beavers as one of 30 teams to watch this fall. Wrote Kendall Rogers: 'There's a good chance the Beavers will compete with Arizona State for the Pac-10 title. OSU returned to the postseason last year after failing to make a regional two seasons ago. They ended the year in the Fort Worth Regional. OSU should return to hosting a regional if everything goes as planned this fall and in the spring. The Beavers must replace position players Ryan Ortiz and Joey Wong and pitcher Jorge Reyes, but otherwise are in good shape. The pitching staff will be excellent with Sam Gaviglio, Kraig Sitton, Tyler Waldron, Kevin Rhoderick and Greg Peavey leading the way. The offense is a question mark, but freshman Andrew Susac is expected to be a solid replacement for Ortiz. It should be an exciting fall.'

Of course, Kendall also wrote about the top 10 football/baseball schools in the nation, and LSU took the top spot (which not many could argue with that). The only schools represented are in the ACC, SEC and Big 12. You can't really argue with too many of the selections, but I'd certainly hope that if there was an 'also voted for' list of teams, the Beavers would be there. What the OSU football and baseball teams have done the last 4-5 years is simply unprecedented in school history. And it doesn't look like either team is going to stop anytime soon. It's a great time to be a Beaver.

What's New

Since the blog has been away, there have been a few things that have happened with OSU baseball and former players that are of interest. The first is in regards to Marty Lees being promoted to Associate Head Coach. Marty will be in his ninth season with the Beavers in 2010 and has worked his way up from being a volunteer assistant coach his first few seasons. He's also the team's recruiting coordinator and unofficially has the team lead in most pairs of sunglasses (it doesn't seem like he ever takes them off on the field, does it?).

There's also Mitch Canham getting invited to the prestigious Arizona Fall League. This is a pretty big deal for Mitch, who ended the year at Double-A and has to be considered as a top prospect in San Diego's system. It looks like next year he'll have a good chance at being in Portland and closer to all us Beaver fans. He'll be playing for the Peoria Saguaros and some of his teammates include former Vanderbilt lefty Mike Minor (who nearly shut out OSU to start the 2008 season), former Stanford catcher Jason Castro and Jason Heyward, who is considered one of the best prospects in Atlanta's system. If Mitch has any questions about the AFL, I'm sure he'll call OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie, who played in the league in 1999 while a member of the Minnesota Twins organization.

There's also Jacoby Ellsbury etching his way into Boston's record books. He stole his 55th base a couple weeks ago and became Boston's single-season stolen base record holder, breaking Tommy Harper's mark that stood for 36 years. The Red Sox are primed to back in the playoffs this season, which would put Jacoby in the postseason for the third time in as many years (not a bad way to start a career).

Then there's Andrew Susac, one of OSU's incoming players this season. The Beavers' catcher was rated as the No. 1 prospect in the West Coast League by Baseball America. Andrew batted .205 in the league, proving he had a hard go of it against some top collegiate pitching, but also threw out 13-of-30 baserunners attempting to steal, which is a 43-percent clip (pretty impressive for a guy just out of high school). He also picked off five runners, so there are some serious tools right there.

Another summer ball note: Stefen Romero won a Cape Cod League Championship with the Bourne Braves. Stefen was all smiles at practice on Monday when he was asked what he thought about it. You can tell he really enjoyed getting out there and getting a championship under his belt. Maybe a precursor?

Get In On A Chat

The Athletics Communications Office here at OSU has begun a series of chats on osubeavers.com. We're running these chats on football game days (yours truly is the host for home games) and other selected days. On Wednesday of this week, at 12:30 p.m., a student-athlete chat with Keaton Kristick will take place, which follows one with Sean Canfield from last week.

I'd like to get some baseball players involved in these chats as well, especially when they have some more time during fall practice. Who would you be interested in having in a chat? Whom would you like to ask a question? Email me at hank.hager@oregonstate.edu and throw some ideas my way. These chats are dependent on you, the fan, so I'd love to hear who you'd want to talk to.  

For Those Of You In Medford

For those of you in the Medford area, on Thursday, Coach Casey and Todd Stansbury will be at the Rogue Valley Country Club for a Beaver Chalk Talk. It starts at 6 p.m . PT so if you are in the area, make sure to stop by and listen to what Coach Casey and Todd have to say.

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