Guest Post – Beloit Snappers Game Review

The following entry comes from one of our faithful Knuckleballs readers and regular GameChat participant Lecroy24fan.  Lecroy24fan chronicles his recent visit to the Twins Low Single-A Affiliate, the Beloit Snappers. Enjoy.


I was heading to  Elkhorn, WI this past weekend to visit my girlfriend, and we decided to head a half-hour down the road to Beloit on Saturday night to catch the Snappers game. Pohlman Field was really easy to find. When we arrived, it was posted that the game was moved up to 6:45 PM because of weather moving in. We walked up to the ticket booth and got Section C, Row 3, seats 1-2 for nine dollars apiece. Turns out the first Row was removed at some point, so we were to the right of home plate, second row. The section was covered by a net, so no foul balls could be had. I got to meet Chrissy Scaffidi, Director of Media and Community Relations, as well as PA Announcer extraordinaire

The game itself was a bad night for the Snappers, who were playing the Oakland A’s affiliate, the Burlington Bees. An 11-3 loss started ugly in the first and really got worse by the inning. SP Jason Wheeler just didn’t have it. He struggled through 5 innings, giving up seven runs, four of them earned. Tim Shibuya and Bart Carter also looked like they had nothing. Clint Dempster pitched the ninth and I felt like he was very dominant. Other than 2B Adam Bryant, who was 3 for 4 with a double and a triple, the bats were pretty quiet most of the night.  

Defensively, there were five errors. C Jario Rodriguez made a low throw trying to catch a runner stealing in the first, with the runner moving to third after the ball rolled into CF. JD Williams dropped a routine fly in RF and SS AJ Pettersen had a bad throw to first.

The player I was there to see was 3B Miguel Sano. He made two errors, giving him 24 on the season. The first one was on a routine grounder he never got his glove down and it went right under and into LF. His second error was on a throw that was about two feet over 1B Steven Liddle‘s head. I saw quite a few things about Sano that concern me. Every throw he makes is very high. Every grounder he stutter steps, which makes turning double plays impossible. He’s looks like he’s using an outfielders glove, which is causing him to have major issues getting the ball out of his glove. That could be leading to the stutter steps he takes. I don’t understand why these issues haven’t been fixed by now.

After the game, there was a fireworks show, which happened as planned. The rain started towards the end of the fireworks, so we headed for the exit. I would recommend Pohlman Field to anybody looking to catch a minor league game.

Thanks for sending in the post, Lecroy24fan!  During his post Lecroy24fan mentioned that he had the opportunity to meet Chrissy Scaffidi who, among the other things she does for the Snappers, recently started a blog detailing her adventures in the Minor Leagues.  Definitely an interesting read for anyone interested in some behind-the-scenes action in the Midwest League. If you have a guest post idea of your own feel free to email one of us Knuckleballers or reach out to us in one of our GameChats and we will be more than happy to give you an audience.


Guest Post – Kirsten Weighs In On The Twitterverse

Once again, we’re pleased to have a guest post from Kirsten. She may not be blogging these days, but she’s plenty active over on Twitter… and we’re happy to have her use our blog to let you know what’s on her mind! – JC

Things have changed in the sports world. When I still blogged, I relied on reading the paper and scouring infrequent updates all over the Internet to find what I was looking for. Now, there is this awesome new media called Twitter. It keeps people from getting long winded, but allows me to click on a link if I really want to know more. Twitter gathers everything up in one place, and is the inspiration behind this post.

Lately, a few things have been floating around the Twitterverse that I’d like to address from the perspective of a person who has spent much of their life playing and later umpiring ball. In the spirit of Twitter, they’re all 140 words or less.

1.) Batting order: yes, it really matters. It can be a force of stability when the team is doing well, a way to shake things up when they aren’t, take pressure off players who are struggling, or reward their talents when they are on track. It’s important to consider the skills of the player when putting them in the order…speed, on base percentage, slugging, etc, but it’s also important to consider their mentality. Some may be able to hit the ball a million miles, but dislike the pressure of batting cleanup and some may relish the challenges. That being said, sometimes you have to suck it up, trust the coach is doing what’s best for the team, and maybe even find a new spot in the lineup that suits…and sometimes the coach needs to ball up and do so.

2.) Throwing: a player can improve their throwing arm (both strength and accuracy). Status quo with the workouts, drills, and practice usually causes a plateau, which can be really hard to overcome and improve upon. It can be done, just often takes different training, drills, and a lot of throwing time/patience…and someone who is willing to throw and work with you. A player can also get lucky and find mechanical ways to improve their efficiency, but then they have to work hard to re-train their muscle memory. Of course there are biological limitations on this, a man of Casilla’s build will not be able to throw as hard as say a Cuddyer (muscle mass, ratio of long/short twitch muscles, height, etc), but a player like Revere should certainly be able to improve his range and accuracy, especially as his body matures.

Joe Mauer (photo: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

3.) Mauer playing 1B: I think he did a good job overall, but in the margins of my scorecard, I nitpicked and wrote down a lot of things I saw that he could improve upon. I don’t want to see him at 1B every day (love him behind the plate), but I think it could be a nice option to give Morneau a rest, give Mauer’s knees a rest, and still have a DH (possibly Morneau). He’s athletic enough to pull it off. I’m still confused as to why he’s Jesus at first and Judas behind the plate, but perhaps that’s a question that doesn’t have an answer.

Note: I predominantly catch, but did a lot of work a 1B in high school to help my knees out, so I can speak to the transition he’s making there.

4.) Kevin Slowey: I don’t really want to write much about pitching, but I think the Slowey thing could work out for the best. A. He could pitch really well in AAA and we could trade him for something we need (bullpen help), B. he could pitch really well and we call him up (like Blackburn last season, or was it the season before?), C. maybe he just needs to take some of the stress off his oft-surgically repaired body, get a consistent schedule back, and try again next spring. I think maybe a different work atmosphere might help too; it’s hard to play your best when criticism of the unconstructive kind is raining down.

Bits and Pieces

I wish TK could stay forever. I loved his more academic and big picture approach to the games, not just focused on the pitchers.

Apparently if you want the Baseball Gods to listen to you, write your demands on your back in Sharpie. It worked for Nick Blackburn and Drew Butera…maybe we should have something similar on the Twitter board at Target Field. Top ten hash tags that should be written on someone’s back. As a bonus experiment, we could see if it works for anyone but me.

– Kirsten

Guest Post – Kirsten’s Letter To Santa Bill Smith

We’ve got a really good group of regular readers and we have a good time (usually) hanging out together during Twins games in our regular GameChats. One of them, Kirsten, made the mistake of agreeing to do some guest posting. She tells us that Eric gets the credit for the idea behind this post. Apparently either Eric or Kirsten (or both) had a little bit too much to drink and decided these two gentlemen are, in fact, the same person:



Dear Santa Bill Smith,

I’ve been a pretty good fan this season. I have tried to be patient and stay focused on the positives, but alas, I’m only human, and could not pass up the opportunity to make my demands… ahem… requests known. I’m a good baker, so if you bring me these things, I’ll make you approximately one metric ton of cookies.

1.) Bullpen help: people whined about Guerrier a lot, but I sure do miss being able to put him on the mound every day for 2-3 innings and feel reasonably good about it. Rauch was pretty good for my confidence too. Now I find myself begging the Baseball Gods to let the starting pitchers pitch forever…. even when they suck. Swear to God, Joe Nathan makes me as twitchy as he is when he pitches.

2.) Harry Potter injury healing: I never really read the books, but from what I understand, you can drink something and it makes your bones heal! Sounds like you need to come up with some of that magic, stat.

3.) President Pelton’s Weather Machine: at my Alma mater, the President of the University had a weather machine that he busted out for all important events. This weather machine was so powerful that it could even make the sun appear on demand in Oregon. He has left the university, so now’s your chance to snag it!

4.) More fun promotions: I’m not a huge Mauer fan, but my friends and I got a lot of prank mileage out of Joe Mauer Sideburn Night. An alternative suggestion might be food specials or letting the fans pick the walk up music for the players for a game. If nothing else, we’d rip each other to shreds about something harmless instead of personal matters.

With warmest regards,


P.S. If you thought I was going to ask for something else, shame on you.

What do you guys think? What would you ask Santa Bill Smith for?