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.

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