Dinger Dog wins Timber Rattlers’ Food Fight contest

The Dinger Dog is the winning entry in the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ Fan’s Choice Food Fight contest this year. (Photo courtesy of the Timber Rattlers)

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will add the “Dinger Dog” to the menu at Fox Cities Stadium for the upcoming season after the specialty sausage won this year’s Fan’s Choice Food Fight contest.

The Dinger Dog is a bacon-wrapped Cher-Make hot dog covered with nacho cheese sauce, crispy fried onion rings and barbecue sauce, all on a toasted pretzel bun. It overwhelmingly beat four other finalists (BLT Hot Dog, Beer Cheese Pretzel Burger, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, and Poutine Hot Dog) by getting 50 percent of online votes cast in the contest. The five finalists were chosen from 75 fan submissions.

The Dinger Dog will be available at the Brew City Grill on the first-base side of the concourse.

Posted in Midwest League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment

Lugnuts unveil new baseball caps

The new cap designs unveiled Wednesday by the Lansing Lugnuts.

The Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday unveiled a trio of new baseball caps to be worn during the upcoming season.

They are part of a new look for the Lugnuts, who will also unveil new home, road and batting practice uniforms during their “Opening Day Block Party” event at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Cooley Law School Stadium. The event, which begins three hours before the team’s home opener, will include appearances by the team, autographs, a Battle of the Drum Lines, a live concert by local band Global Village, and other entertainment.

“I love the new look,” general manager Nick Grueser said in a press release. “For the first time since 2004, the Lugnuts have a revamped logo, caps and uniforms. It has everything feeling new and re-energized heading into our 22nd year in Lansing.”

Here is a description of the new cap designs (and two returning ones), courtesy of the Lugnuts:

The new Lugnuts road cap features a gray crown serving as the background for Luggie the Lugnut’s familiar face, paired with a black brim. An alternate red Luggie paired with a black brim will serve as the team’s new batting practice cap.

The ‘Nuts will also wear a special script L cap, featuring a stylish gray L shadowed in red on a black background and paired with a red brim. The cap will be worn as the first of two alternate caps, showcased during select games.

Two familiar Lansing Lugnuts baseball caps return: The previous road cap, with a black brim, red crown, black L, and Luggie, will now be worn during home games at Cooley Law School Stadium. The previous home cap, an all-black model featuring Luggie the Lugnut, will be worn as the second alternate cap.

On a personal note, I’m glad the cap with a gray Luggie on an all-black background will still be used, as that’s one of my favorite Midwest League hat designs. I even bought a toddler-sized version (which also features a red L) for my daughter to wear when her head grows big enough for it!

In the mood to hear the Lugnuts’ catchy team song, “Go Nuts!”? I linked to it in this previous post.

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Lindor, Baez go deep for Puerto Rico in win over Mexico

Former Lake County Captains shortstop Francisco Lindor circles the bases after hitting his second homer for Puerto Rico in Saturday’s game vs. Mexico. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Associated Press)

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor homered twice and Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez added a late-inning dinger to help lead Puerto Rico to a 9-4 win over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.

Both players drove in three runs, and teammate Carlos Beltran had three hits and a run batted in.

Lindor, runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, played for the Lake County Captains in 2012. He batted .257 with 6 HR, 42 RBI and 27 SB in 122 games.

Baez played in the Midwest League that same season, logging 57 games with the Peoria Chiefs. He batted .333 with 12 HR, 33 RBI and 20 SB.

As noted in my last post, Beltran briefly played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 1996, batting .143 (6-for-42) in 11 games.

Mejia goes granny for Indians

Indians catching prospect Francisco Mejia hit his first home run of the spring Saturday, clubbing a grand slam to cap a seven-run 7th inning for Cleveland in its 7-6 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Mejia is best known for his 50-game hitting streak last year. The hitting streak — baseball’s longest since 1954 — began when he was playing for Lake County, and ended in High-A after he was promoted to the Lynchburg Hillcats 24 games into the streak.

He batted .347 with 7 HR and 51 RBI in 60 games with the Captains last year before his promotion to the Hillcats. He also played for Lake County in 2015, batting .243 with 9 HR and 53 RBI in 109 games.

Posted in Carolina League, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Lynchburg Hillcats, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, World Baseball Classic | Leave a comment

Ex-MWLers star in Puerto Rico’s 11-0 win over Venezuela

Several former Midwest League players starred in Puerto Rico’s 11-0 win over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic on Friday.

The game, played in Jalisco, Mexico, featured at least two RBI from four different players, including three MWL veterans. Ex-Midwest Leaguers also were responsible for two of Puerto Rico’s three homers.

Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and two runs batted in. He batted .296 with 12 HR and 70 RBI in 95 games with the 2012 Beloit Snappers.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina had two hits, including a two-run homer in the bottom of the 6th inning. He batted .280 with 7 HR and 50 RBI in 112 games with the 2002 Peoria Chiefs.

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa also homered in that frame for his only hit of the game, and made a pair of great defensive plays at third base. He batted .320 with 9 HR and 86 RBI in 117 games with the 2013 Quad Cities River Bandits.

Astros outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran drew two walks (including one with the bases loaded) and had an RBI single. He briefly played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 1996, batting .143 (6-for-42) in 11 games.

Archer, Jones star in USA win

Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer made a stellar start and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones drove in the winning run for the United States in the team’s 10-inning, 3-2 win over Colombia at Marlins Park on Friday.

Archer struck out three batters in four perfect innings. Although WBC pitchers are allowed to throw up to 65 pitches in a first-round game, Archer likely was pulled after 41 pitches because any pitcher who throws at least 50 pitches in a game must rest at least four days, whereas a pitcher who throws 30 pitches must rest only one day.

Archer pitched in the Midwest League in 2009, going 6-4 with a 2.81 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 66 walks in 109 IP for the Peoria Chiefs. He pitched for Lake County the previous year, when the Captains were still part of the South Atlantic League. He went 4-8 with a 4.29 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 84 walks in 115.1 IP for the 2008 Captains.

Jones drove in two runs in Friday’s game. He doubled home a run in the 6th and singled home the winning run in the 10th. He batted .267 with 11 HR and 72 RBI in 130 games with the 2004 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Tampa Bay Rays hurler Chris Archer delivers a pitch for Team USA during Friday’s World Baseball Classic game vs. Colombia. (Getty Images photo)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Atlantic League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, World Baseball Classic | Leave a comment

Ex-Snappers power Australia in WBC rout of China

Former Beloit Snappers infielder James Beresford hit a grand slam for Australia in the World Baseball Classic on Thursday. (AP photo by Shizuo Kambayashi)

A pair of former Beloit Snappers powered Australia to an 11-0 rout over China in the World Baseball Classic on Thursday at Tokyo Dome.

Luke Hughes gave Australia the lead with a two-run homer in the 3rd inning, and added a two-run double in the top of the 7th inning. James Beresford hit a grand slam in the top of the 8th inning, making the score 11-0 and putting into effect the “mercy rule” that ended the game after China failed to pull within 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Beresford walked three times earlier in the game.

Former Florida Marlins farmhand Trent D’Antonio also drove in a pair of runs for the Aussies.

Hughes played for the Snappers in 2005. He batted .257 with 7 HR and 42 RBI in 72 games. He last played in the majors in 2012.

Beresford spent two seasons with the Snappers. In 2009, he batted .289 with 38 RBI and 15 SB in 114 games. In 2010, he batted .297 with 59 RBI and 14 SB in 126 games. He made his MLB debut for the Minnesota Twins last year, but spent most of the season in Triple-A.

Related reading

The Midwest League had two Australia-born managers in 2014. At that time, I wrote a post about them and the 13 former Midwest League players who reached the major leagues. (Beresford is not among them because he hadn’t made his MLB debut yet.) You can read that post here.

Puk could pitch for Beloit

The Oakland Athletics assigned their top pitching prospect, left-hander A.J. Puk, to minor-league camp earlier this week. I anticipate him starting the season with the Snappers after he posted a 3.03 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 32.2 innings (10 starts) for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters last year.

Puk was drafted No. 6 overall last year. In its recent issue about top American League West prospects, Baseball America said this about Puk’s future: “When he throws online to the plate, Puk is difficult to square up and shows a ceiling of a front-end starter, but he must become more efficient with his pitches and more consistent with his command. At worst, he could become a dominating high-leverage reliever.”

Top Oakland A’s pitching prospect A.J. Puk will probably start the season with the Beloit Snappers. (Photo by Greg Bessette/Vermont Lake Monsters)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Midwest League, New York-Penn League, Vermont Lake Monsters, World Baseball Classic | Leave a comment