Blog: Posts in “Alaska Film” Category

Sale of TTG DVDS for the John Martin Fund

We were saddened last fall to learn that Touching the Game and longtime New England Sports Network videographer John Martin was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). John was a huge part of the filming of Touching the Game, Alaska working behind the camera on both our 2006 and 2007 trips to the land of the Midnight Sun. John also spent 19 years at NESN filming Boston Red Sox Baseball and Boston Bruins Hockey. A huge baseball fan, he was there for the 2004 Red Sox historic World Series Championship.

John and his wife Adrienne are the parents of two young girls. The John Martin Fund was established to help John and his family through any financial hardships in the coming years. John is well known and liked in the Boston sports community. On August 17, he will be honored at the Oldtime Baseball Game, and annual charity event started by Boston Herald writer and Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League narrator Steve Buckley. We will be a sponsor of the event and from now through Labor Day will sell our DVDs at a discounted price, with all proceeds going to the John Martin Fund. Please help out in any way you can. Thank you.

Ed Cheff to be inducted into National College Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Lewis-Clark College baseball coach Ed Cheff was selected to be part of the 2012 class inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cheff spent 34 seasons coaching at LCSU and has also spent many summers coaching in the Alaska Baseball League.  We focused on Cheff in our 2009 documentary film Touching the Game, Alaska. A true baseball original, you can view our segment on Cheff from the film here.

Cheff, who retired in 2010, was one of seven individuals named to the 2012 class. He is joined by a number of college baseball greats including former major leaguers Nomar Garciaparra, Lou Brock, and Brad Wilkerson. The 2012 class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the College Baseball Night of Champions celebration on June 29-30 in Lubbock, Texas.

Former Anchorage Bucs GM Dennis Mattingly passes away.

Dennis Mattingly who founded the Anchorage Bucs, and ran the team for close to 30 years passed away.  We were able to spend some time with Dennis, as we interviewed him for our film Touching the Game, Alaska.  A passionate baseball man, Dennis told us many great stories from years past of baseball in Alaska.  He will be missed.  For more, the Anchorage Daily News posted an article here.

More info on the Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival

The Hall of Fame has posted all the information on the 6th annual Baseball Film Festival. It can be found here.  Touching the Game, Alaska will screen in Session 3 which starts at 2:00pm on Saturday, October 1.  If you are near Cooperstown, NY, come on by!

Touching The Game, Alaska selected for the 6th annual Baseball Film Festival!!!

We recently were notified that our 2009 documentary Touching the Game, Alaska has been selected to screen at the 6th annual Baseball Film Festival to be held Sept. 30 – Oct 2, 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.   More details on the festival will be forthcoming, but this is exciting news!

Chris Schwinden gets September call up for the Mets

Former Alaska Goldpanner pitcher Chris Schwinden will make his Major League debut for the Mets on Thursday 9/8 as he will start the first game of a double-header against the Braves.  Schwinden was featured in Touching the Game, Alaska as our camera crew followed him and teammate Beau Mills on a fishing adventure outside of Fairbanks. Both Schwinden and Mills grew up in Vasalia, CA. The highly touted Mills, the 2007 1st round draft pick of the Indians, is on the cusp of making it to the Major Leagues himself, but Schwinden is one of those unlikely stories that often come out of the Alaska Baseball League. After his summer in Fairbanks, and a year of college ball at Fresno Pacific, he was a 22nd round draft pick of the Mets, but progressed quickly through the minor leagues having an excellent season this year as the #1 starter at (AAA) Buffalo.

Beau Mills returns, Chris Schwinden excels

During the summer of 2006, while filming Touching the Game, Alaska, we were able to spend a day fishing outside of Fairbanks with a couple players from the Goldpanners, infielder Beau Mills and pitcher Chris Schwinden.  Both players came from the the same home town of Visalia, CA.  While Beau Mills, son of Houston Astros manager Brad Mills, was a highly touted prospect at Lewis-Clark State College, Schwinden was just starting to get on the radar at Fresno Pacific.  In the 2007 MLB draft, Mills was the 1st round pick (13th overall) of the Cleveland Indians.  His ’07 an’08 seasons in the minors were stellar as he was on the fast track to the Indians, but his batting average dropped in ’09.  In 2010 while playing for the (AA) Akron Aeros, Mills continued to slump at the plate.  He also had some off-field issues, as well as nagging injuries.  Mills’ attempt to get off to a fresh start in 2011 was slowed by tendinitis in his Achilles heel, and he spent the first six weeks of the season in extended spring training in Arizona.  This past week, Mills returned to the Akron Aeros on a mission to show the Indians that he is still a top prospect.

Chris Schwinden, who was drafted in 22nd round of the 2007 MLB draft, by the New York Mets, has been nothing but sensational in the minor leagues.  This season, Schwinden started in AA pitching for the Binghamton Mets, but has already progressed to the AAA Buffalo Bisons.  So far in Buffalo, Schwinden is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA, and many are saying he could get a call-up to the Mets before years end.

You can see both Schwinden and Mills on the fishing trip, and playing for the Alaska Goldpanners in Touching the Game, Alaska, Order it on DVD today!

2011 Alaska Baseball League schedule released

The upcoming 2011 ABL season schedule can be found here.  The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks will be playing a shortened schedule this year due to financial issues, but the Midnight Sun Game will always be played. This years game is on June 21. Check out the schedule of all six teams. Those wanting a true baseball experience will not be disappointed by traveling to Alaska this summer to see the ABL!

NEW VIDEO – Texas Rangers Michael Young and C.J. Wilson talk about baseball in Alaska

The Alaska Baseball League is well-represented on the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers.  Starting 3rd Baseman Michael Young, and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson both gave us interviews for Touching the Game, Alaska.   Here are some of their comments about playing summer baseball in the 49th state.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Longtime Goldpanners President Bill Stroecker dies at 90

Fairbanks, Alaska community leader and ABL icon Bill Stroecker has died after suffering a recent heart attack.Stroecker was a key figure in all aspects of business and community life in Fairbanks, was an avid outdoorsman and talented musician, and he was one of the main figures behind the evolution and continue existence of the Fairbanks Goldpanners and the entire Alaska Baseball League. Stroecker’s father Ed even played in the first Midnight Sun Game in 1906. The full News-Miner story can be found here. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill’s family and friends, and to the Goldpanners’ organization and the fairbanks community at large.