Blog: Posts From September, 2010

Players from Touching the Game, Alaska – Where are they now?

If anyone is looking for proof that the Alaska Baseball League still produces top notch talent, they can just purchase a copy of our Touching the Game, Alaska DVD.  Many of the players featured in the film had terrific seasons in 2010.  As far as the Alaska League players we talked to and followed during the summers of 2006 & 2007, we had our first one make it to the Major Leagues.  Pitcher Robbie Weinhardt who played for Athletes-in-Action in ’06 was called up to the Detroit Tigers in mid-season and appeared in 27 games. Most of the other players are at the AA level, but are moving up. Former Goldpanner Beau Mills who we featured in the film had an up and down 2010. Playing for (AA) Akron, Beau got off to a poor start at the plate, then after an injury and some off the field problems, rebounded to finish the season strong.  Look for him to be at (AAA) Columbus next year. Beau’s former high school and Panner teammate Chris Schwinden made a big jump to (AA) Binghamton this year and was one of their top starters. 2006 Midnight Sun Game winner Chris Kissock also made the jump to (AA) Reading. He was also selected to play in this year’s prospect-rich Arizona Fall League.  A couple of Peninsula Oilers who appear in the film have also reached the AA level, pitcher Andre Lamontagne with (AA) Huntsville and infielder Jake Kahaulelio with (AA) Carolina.  Kahaulelio, who lead the Oilers to the 2006 ABL title, is making the switch from SS to 2B.

Some of the Alaska League alumni in Touching the Game already in the Major Leagues had huge years in 2010. Congrats to former Goldpanner Michael Young and former Anchorage Buc C.J.Wilson, as they were significant parts of the AL West winning Texas Rangers. Wilson has become one of the Rangers top starting pitchers.  A couple more former Bucs had terrific seasons as well.  Jered Weaver has become the ace of the Angels staff and was second in the ML in strikeouts, and Heath Bell had a monster season as the Padres closer with 44 saves and an ERA under 2.00. Finally, it’s great to see former Mat-Su Miner Jed Lowrie back playing with the Red Sox.  After a year and a half of injuries, he’s looking again like the prospect the Sox drafted out of Stanford.

“Touching the Game” films make great gifts this holiday season!

Any fan of baseball or documentary films in general will love our inside looks at two of the most significant amateur baseball leagues in the U.S. The Cape Cod Baseball league and the Alaska Baseball League have been providing starting grounds for countless Major League stars.  See what the leagues are all about, and hear from those Major Leaguers who experienced them.  “Touching the Game, The Story of The Cape Cod Baseball League” and “Touching the Game, Alaska” are both feature-length documentaries that bring you to parts of the country where summer baseball is a tradition.  Meet the people and watch the players that make these leagues a true slice of Americana.  Both DVDs also contain many “extra” features you will enjoy as well.  You can order either DVD individually, but the best deal comes if you order both Touching the Game films. Right now, you can purchase both DVDs together for just $34.95. Just go here, to give the gift of baseball this holiday season!

Players from Touching the Game, Cape Cod – Where are they now?

It is always fun to check up on the players we followed in the summer of 2003 on Cape Cod.  Not every Major Leaguer shoots through the minor league system in a couple years.  For some, the journey to the majors is a long and arduous, taking many years to get there.  Some players have great minor league careers only to hit that glass ceiling of becoming a regular MLB player. That seems to be the point that many of our guys are at now 7 years after playing in the CCBL.  Here’s an update on some of the guys who appeared in Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League: Andy Laroche began 2010 as the Pittsburgh Pirates starting 3B.  He hurt his back and while on the DL, lost his starting job to Pedro Alvarez. He has not played much since, and rumors are the Pirates might be looking to deal him in the off-season.  Pitcher Dave Purcey started the season at (AAA) Las Vegas as the Toronto Blue Jays are making him a middle relief pitcher.  He is now back with the Jays, and is doing well in that role. Justin Maxwell had been penciled in to start in the Washington Nationals outfield, but a poor spring training sent him to (AAA) Syracuse where he also struggled at the plate.  He is now up again with Nationals trying to crack their lineup.  Outfielder Trevor Crowe has had a good year for the Cleveland Indians batting around .250.  He should be a fixture there in the coming years.  After a poor start, Sam Fuld ended up batting .272 for (AAA) Iowa. Unfortunately the Chicago Cubs have no room right now in their outfield for Fuld.  Jeff Frazier had a terrific season at (AAA) Toledo, and made his first Major League appearance with the Detroit Tigers in August in a game at Fenway.  He too has a bunch of people in front of him in Detroit with no where to go. After spending 2009 in Independent League ball, Cesar Nicolas returned and had a good season for (AA) Erie, but had to shut it down early due to a knee injury. Tommy Manzella who began the season as the Houston Astros starting shortstop, also struggled at the plate and dealt with injuries.  He is now back playing for the Astros. After batting .267 with 15 HR’s at (AAA) Lehigh Valley, John Mayberry is a September call-up with the Philadelphia Phillies, as is Brandon Boggs with the Texas Rangers as they head towards the playoffs.