Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Medina erases base-runners

Martin Medina made base-runners disappear as if he were shaking an Etch-A-Sketch in Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader. While it's never a good idea for a base-runner to stop running half-way home from third, outfielders probably shouldn't be losing a foot race against a catcher. And while you're at it, attempting to steal third base isn't recommended either.

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Upchurch's grab ends the game

Kannapolis saw it's 7-0 evaporate as Hickory moved the tying run to third base and the winning run on first with two outs in the final inning of Tuesday's Game 1. And on the mound, reliever Steven Upchurch wasn't so much trying to save the game as he was his own life on the final play. Talks about two birds with one stone.

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Haddow goes horizontal

We learned Monday that Mark Haddow doesn't much care if opposing pitchers are working on a no-hitter. On Tuesday, it was Haddow's defense on display as the Intimidators were protecting a 1-run lead late in Game 1.

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Three bases for Two-A-Days

Kannapolis shook of a nearly two-hour rain delay in Game 1 at Hickory on Tuesday and got right back to work in the 4th innings. It was such a long break, it was almost like two different games, so go figure the guy from Two-A-Days would be the one to jump-start the offense.

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Gotta love the rally rain

As the skies opened up in Tuesday's first game at Hickory, Kannapolis piled on five early runs. Joe De Pinto got into the mix with an RBI single. Gotta love the "Rally Rain" >>

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Herbek's immediate impact

Intimidators infielder David Herbek came off the Disabled List this week and jumped right back into the fray for Kannapolis in a doubleheader at Hickory.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hurry up and lose!

Leading 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Intimidators found themselves two outs shy of registering an official game in the second half of Monday's doubleheader at Hickory. As the rains came down at L.P. Frans Stadium and JR Ballinger took the mound, batter Kevin Torres felt he was entitled to take his time in the batters box. I, on the other hand, did not.

Listen about 20 seconds into the clip...

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Haddow breaks up no-no

Luke Jackson, the Texas Rangers' first-round pick from the 2010 draft, was cruising right along with a no-hitter in tact against the Kannapolis Intimidators. Jackson recorded two outs in the sixth inning, but then Mark Haddow stepped to the plate to cost Jackson not only his no hitter, but also his shut out. Take a listen....

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Julio Vinas

Before every Friday home game, Intimidators manager Julio Vinas joins the pre-game show to discuss how the team is looking. In this particular chat, the skipper addresses claims of tarp-sliding while in Winston-Salem last season. Oh yes, you'll want to hear this...

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Martin Medina

Catcher Martin Medina discusses everything from the pronunciation of his first name to why he walks out to Whitney Houston's "I wanna dance with somebody" when stepping up to bat in this pre-game interview.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Grant Buckner

Intimidators corner infielder and designated hitter Grant Buckner talks about joining the team from extended spring training, baseball superstitions, and coping with own his last name while playing first base.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Steve McCray

Check out this interview with Intimidators reliever/spot-starter Steve McCray. (UPDATE: McCray has been promoted to Hi-A Winston-Salem!)

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Kevan Smith

In today's pre-game interview, Intimidators catcher Kevan Smith -- rated by Baseball America as the No. 28 Prospect in the White Sox organization -- discusses his decision to leave football and focus on baseball while at Pitt as well as how one fish turned into a big hobby.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Pre-Game Interview: Kevin Vance

I caught up with Intimidators starting pitcher Kevin Vance to talk not only his own baseball experiences entering this season but to grasp a better understand of #feel vs. #nofeel.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two weeks to go

The following is the first post from the newly revived Intimidators team blog:

Two weeks to go.

Two weeks until the ballpark is transformed from an oversized office building with a big field in the back into a bustling hub of excitement and entertainment where local families and friends congregate and celebrate for six months.

Two weeks until the Kannapolis Intimidators open the 2012 against in-state rival Hickory Crawdads, one of the best teams in the South Atlantic League in 2011.

Two weeks until the hot dogs are cooked and beer is chilled (to be clear, we're not going start cooling the beer in two weeks ... we'll keep it cool as soon as we get it. Otherwise, you know, gross).

It's been a long off-season for the Kannapolis Intimidators. A long and incredibly busy off-season. Many fans are under the misconception that "there's not a lot going on for minor league teams during the offseason." Ask anyone who's ever worked in baseball, and they'll quickly swat that out to half court.

Whether we're applying fresh coats of paint or assembling the new tent that will house the new and improved Snack Shack behind the press box, there is always something to do. And with that in mind, welcome to this blog. This is something I've wanted to do for you, the Intimidators fans, since joining the organization last spring.

This will be a place to house discussion about the team, about the opponents, or just about random musings tangentially connected to this organization throughout the summer. It's cheesy to say that "this blog is for you" because I think any truly honest writer or broadcaster (or both, in my case) does this in order to have an audience. However, we didn't publish a blog during the second half of 2010 and any last year. Some fans suggested we bring it back, and *Voila!* it's back.

This won't be a space where I simply post game recaps or game notes: all that stuff will be available on the team's website just as it was last season. This blog, as of right now, is being retitled from The Daily Intimidator to a new heading: Intimidating Insight, because that what you the fans want: insight. If you're reading this, it's probably because you want to get further inside the team, both on and off the field.

Will we publish something every single day? Absolutely not (which is another good reason for the name change).

But what will we publish? What can we use this space for? Consider this. Remember the game last season on June 30 -- I know I do. It's a game I'll never forget. The first time I was truly angry on behalf of this team while broadcasting for the Kannapolis Intimidators. Manager Tommy Thompson had just been ejected arguing a call at second base. Hickory's Jurickson Profar came to the plate and launched a foul ball down the right field line. But as Profar turned back toward home plate, he saw the umpire signaling home run. Fans were outraged. I was miffed. Two more Intimidators coaches were ejected arguing the call. Somehow the Intimidators came back with five runs in the eighth inning and held on to win by one. It was a crazy night. And after that night, after the requisite PC recap was published on the team's website, it sure seemed like there was more to say about that game. This blog, this space, is where we can have those conversations.

And let's face it. If there's another game like that this season, this space will be a nice place to vent if the boys between the lines can't overcome three ejections and a foul ball home run.

We have two weeks until the season begins.

Two weeks until our boys return to the same field where they finished the 2011 campaign one win shy of a playoff berth. One win shy after finishing the season losing four of the final five games to eventual league champion Greensboro.

Some members of that team will be in Winston-Salem, reunited with Tommy Thompson as members of the Class A-Advanced Dash. Others will be back here, back at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, and that is where the 140-game uphill climb will begin.

Of course, minor league baseball is about so much more than wins and losses (although we all know it's a lot more fun when the team is on top). Seeing a member of last year's Intimidators make his big league debut in the same season was pretty special. This year Addison Reed is the No. 1 rated prospect in the White Sox organization in virtually all publications. And when the season starts in two weeks and you find yourself surveying the talent at the ballpark, ask yourself: who's next?

Two weeks to go. Let's do it.

Josh Feldman is in his second season as the "Voice of the Kannapolis Intimidators" and sixth season working in baseball. He will broadcast all Intimidators home games and select road games in 2012, and he can be found on twitter at @BigTexJosh.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dirk, Delonte put away Portland: Dal 97, Por 94 (2OT)

Saturday night the Dallas Mavericks slugged out a double-overtime victory against a spry Portland Trailblazers squad, 97-94, making one thing perfectly clear: any talk of this team being too old, too slow, too impotent to defend the 2011 NBA Championship is unfounded and premature. Reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki drilled the dagger in the second OT after newcomer Delonte West started the second extra session with Dallas' first six points to put the Mavs on the inside track to a win. In front of a go-crazy crowd, the Mavs matched the noise in the AAC with a playoff-like victory, intense and down to the wire.

Yes, some of the faces are difference, but the outcomes are incredibly similar to last season. Rather than J.J. Barea serving as the spark plug this season, West has brought a increased level of toughness while presenting a constant scoring threat. His play at point guard isn't at a level of Jason Kidd -- to be fair, throughout the history of the game, few have ever performed at that level -- however, West has been able to set up scorers in position to finish when the moment demands it. Saturday against Portland, West called his own number, sinking three jump shots from the left elbow extended as Dallas pulled out in front in the second overtime.

Jason Kidd's long-awaited return from injury may have been the pregame focus, but West played the entire second overtime period, forcing his way into the post-game headlines.

And that one constant? The one thing that makes you realize this team is and will be just as dangerous as it was last season and in years past? The Big German who drilled the game-winner. He had a chance in regulation to put away Portland on the game's final shot, but Nowitzki hit the back iron, sending the game to overtime. In double OT, Dirk got another look and didn't disappoint. As long as he is there to take the final shot, the Mavs are capable of putting away any opponent. With each attempt to end the game, Dirk spins and falls away, hitting a shot that suckers fans into thinking "not a chance," an off-balance big man fading away on one foot. And more often than not it seems, the result is a beautiful bucket.

Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 33 points, and late in the game, Mavs big man Brendan Haywood seemed overmatched trying to stop Aldridge by himself. Dallas stayed the course and worked to deny the Blazers' big the ball in overtime. In the extra 10 minutes, he took five shots, making two, after going 12-for-21 in regulation (57%).

Another constant for Dallas over the last five years, Jason Eugene Terry, a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year led the Mavs off the bench with 19 points and played most of the extra 10 minutes. JET scored eight of his 19 in the 4th quarter to keep Dallas afloat after the Mavs blew what had been an 11 point halftime lead.

Even Lamar Odom, often criticized for ostensibly wishing he was back in LA rather than hustling down the court for Dallas, got in on the action, nailing a three-pointer in the 4th quarter to buoy the Mavs' chances of success. He did not, however, play in overtime. Neither did another newcomer in Vince Carter.

When the Mavericks acquired Odom, Carter and West before the season, the back up point guard might have been the most overlooked of the three, but throughout this year he has performed the most consistently for Dallas. Head Coach Rick Carlisle entrusted the guard to lead the Mavs in the second overtime, and Dallas outscored the Trail Blazers 10-7 in the period to a seal a big win over a playoff-bound Western Conference foe. With the Mavericks up by three and Portland bringing the ball up with a chance to force a third OT, it was West's smothering defense on Jamal Crawford that forced an errant three-pointer to end the game.

As for Nowitzki, he simply continued to do what we all know he can do, what we all know he will do: knock down the shot the Mavs need to close things out. As long as he is here, Dallas will always have a shot.

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