Former Met is your Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year

10/30/2014 12:07 PM - Devo

Chris Schwinden.jpgThank goodness for Independent baseball. I've been writing about this for years and the stories of players finding success never ceases to amaze me. 

The New York Mets drafted Chris Schwinden in the 22nd round of the 2008 amateur draft. Since 2008, the Visalia, California native has been toiling in the minors for five different organizations, including the Mets, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, and Texas Rangers. 

After years of bouncing between organizations and different levels of minor league ball, Schwinden had a year to remember, a year that fully showcased his talents. On Tuesday, the Atlantic League announced he was named Pitcher of the Year.

In 25 starts, Schwinden went 14-5 with a 2.57 ERA, both tops in the Atlantic League. His 164 plus innings pitched was also a career high. Not only did he dominate during the regular season, he was masterful in the Barnstormers run to their second league championship. In three games spanning 23 innings, he went 2-0 with 21 strikeouts, walking two and posting a 1.90 ERA.

What gives this announcement that wow factor was a statement in an article documenting Schwinden's POY announcement in LancasterOnline. It is the third straight season a Barnstormer has been Pitcher of the Year. Dwayne Pollok won the award the past two seasons.

With over 172 professional games under his belt, Schwinden, still relatively young at 28 years old, may have turned some heads with this years performance. It's hard to believe a season like this, with an award as prestigious as what he just won, can't garner some MLB interest. Only time will tell.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective onTwitter and facebookHis full bio can be seen here. 

 

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Bridgeport gets All-Star Game, former Blue Jay prospect is Can-Am's best

10/25/2014 7:45 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgBluefish to hold 2015 All-Star Game

The Bridgeport Bluefish will be hosting the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game. This will be the third time The Ballpark at Harbor Yard will host the Midsummer Classic. Bluefish general manager, Jamie Toole, is honored that the Ballpark is hosting the event. It's an opportunity to showcase the best that Bridgeport has to offer. “It’s a great honor to be able to host the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game and we look forward to putting together a fun-filled schedule of events,” says Bluefish general manager Jamie Toole. “This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the city of Bridgeport and the entire Southern Connecticut region.”

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Can-Am League POY: Balbino Fuenmayor

Former Toronto Blue Jay prospect, Balbino Fuenmayor, dominated Can-Am League pitching enroute to winning Player of the Year honors.

Fuenmayor, only 24 years old, has been a professional for over eight years. The first seven years were spent with the Jays. He never made it above Single A. The last few years he's really started to hit the ball hard. Given that most of his power numbers have come against Independent League pitching, he's on his way to becoming a complete hitter. Standing 6' 3", tipping the scales at 230 and well versed at the corner positions, power numbers and production is key.

Prior to 2013, Fuenmayor never hit more than nine home runs in a year, and hit over .300 one time (2008). 2014 was a completely different story, one that you can bet many people will pay attention to.

In his first year with the Quebec Capitales, Fuenmayor batted .347 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI. His 131 hits is a Capitales record, and fifth most in league history. Usually this sort of season comes from a player on the downturn of his career. This time it's a 24-year-old who was one of the most expensive international signings in Blue Jays history.

History has shown he's had difficulty at the plate, maybe somebody sees something different in his approach worthy of a Spring Training invite. Only time will tell, but right now he's the best the Can-Am League has to offer.

Balbino Fuenmayor.jpg

 

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective onTwitter and facebookHis full bio can be seen here.

Less Than Jake: Over 20 years and still doing it their way

10/20/2014 2:43 AM - Devo

Less Than Jake.jpgLess Than Jake has been in the music biz for over 22 years. Their style of music can be classified as a mix of Punk, Ska and Reggae. While that caters to a wide variety of generations and people, it's rarely if ever heard on the radio. Unless you specifically search out punk stations on satellite radio, it's almost entirely non-existent.

The punk culture is fascinating. The music is passionate, political, high-energy, fun, and can vary between Hardcore, Pop Punk, Skate, Ska, and Melodic. But one thing that all these artists have in common is the love of music and putting on the best performances they can for their fans. Punk is not radio friendly, yet these bands, many of them who have been around for the past 30 years, continue to travel around the world, performing in venues where every single person, regardless of status, race and religion, can sing every song word for word. The atmosphere is like no other with every fan listening to a band that means the world to them.

Originally formed in 1992, Less Than Jake has been putting out music that, not only the fans love, but they love as well. The band continues to be interactive with their fans in person and in cyberspace, and I think that's what separates them from the rest. The bands dedication to their craft and their willingness to pursue their musical dream is very commendable and inspiring for up and coming musicians, and for acts that have been doing this for years.

Less Than Jake performed at Crocks in Thunder Bay on October 16, 2014 with The Interrupters and Big D and the Kids Table and put on a high-energy, fast-paced performance. Prior to the show I had the opportunity to speak with frontman, Chris Demakes. The conversation tackles a broad range of questions, more importantly, Less Than Jake is a band that has a very dedicated following. Not as popular as the mainstream performers that are here today gone tomorrow, they have stood the test of time and can reach another generation of fans through their latest tour.

Please check out some of their performance from that night by clicking here.

The GM’s Perspective: How is Canada treating you so far on this leg of the tour?

Chris Demakes: Canada is treating us as it always has-completely awesome! It’s a great vibe up here.

GMs: You’ve been doing this for a long time; over 22 years. Music in general, has definitely changed. You are playing the music that you love, but it doesn’t necessarily fit into today’s radio friendly target market. How does your band continue to evolve and stay relevant when the landscape consistently changes?

CD: I think at this point in our career, we stay relevant by not being relevant. Relevant is a term that is thrown around as a good word. Relevant is good, but just because you’re a pop icon that’s hot for six months, and can’t sell a record after that, doesn’t mean your relevant. For us, we keep doing what we’ve always done. We take our live show to our fans. We try to release music, first and foremost for ourselves. We try to keep it as real as we can. We appreciate what we have.

GMs: They style of music you play, in my eyes, seems to be making a resurgence. Bands like the Implants are making waves, and bands that haven’t produced anything in a while are back at it. Do you think the style of music you play can be brought back to the forefront, perhaps by a younger generation of bands listening to you or the bands you are currently touring with?

CD: Absolutely. Punk and Ska is a very youthful kind of music. If you play our stuff for someone over the age of 25, they might think, even on the new Less Than Jake record, it sounds dated and sounds like the 90’s. We’ve had kids come out to Warped Tour this summer (13/14 year old kids) that tell us they’ve listened to our new record and had no idea that we’ve been a band for this long. They thought we were a new band. It’s fresh for a young kid. Depending on what perspective you come from will change your answer on that one.

GMs: Over 20 years as a band is an amazing accomplishment in today’s age. What’s the biggest change now from the time you guys first started performing?

CD: The biggest change has been the way we communicate as humans, through technology. The shows are same feeling we had when I first started! Cramming a bunch of sweaty people into a room and playing loud music. The technology has made it, in a lot of ways, easier and in a lot ways, more difficult.

GMs: CD’s have are going the way of dinosaur. It has to be difficult, but you guys have persevered and more thank likely, had to make huge sacrifices along the way with touring and doing what you do. Is touring as glamorous as people make it out to be, or is it more of a job at this point in your career?

CD: We’ve always had the idea that this was our job, even when we were young. When you’re younger, just like anything else in life, things you see and do the first time, there’s a certain excitement that comes with that. It’s different. Do we still like it? Ya. I love it in a lot of ways more now than I ever did when I was younger. Things like not drinking yourself to death every night. When you’re younger you do those things. Now I get up and I feel good, and I can walk places and take pictures and exercise. We still love what we do, it’s good times.

GMs: You don’t hear a lot of people say that anymore. You love what you do and at that point it’s not a job anymore. You go day in day out doing your thing.

CD: Your right. There’s days when it sucks and you’re running a 101-degree temperature, and have the flu. But we’ve never cancelled a show in 22 years. We’ve got on stage with strep throat, broken bones, you name it, we’ve done it.

GMs: Being a musician, you're well aware that certain songs or albums can really affect people. What’s it like when you’re on stage and the crowd goes nuts and singing right along with you?

CD: It’s amazing. You’ve connected with people who are like-minded. Most people that we’ve talked to and played to, are regular joe’s, man. They’re good people out to have a good time, and that’s the kind of energy we bring to the stage.

GMs: With professional athletics, no one can play forever. It’s a fact of life. Music is different. What do you see in the future for Less Than Jake and personally, when you’re away form the band, what keeps you busy?

CD: I’m doing some solo stuff. I’m going on my third tour at the end of December. The project is called “Let’s Go Solo”. I go out and play tiny little bars and have a good time. I’ve also been working on producing some songs for a friend of mine. When I’m not doing that, the band takes up all of my time.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective onTwitter and facebookHis full bio can be seen here.   

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: A new Pirate and the Indy's speed it up

10/16/2014 12:00 PM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgChris Peacock becomes a Pirate

Three independent seasons and six teams later, a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates is in the cards for Chris Peacock. It's been a long road for Peacock, who went undrafted out of the University of Mobile and at Faulkner State. His first two years spent in the Independent Pecos League and the North American Baseball League weren't anything to write home about. He went 4-4 with a 5.14 ERA his first year, 4-2, 7.65 the next. With experience you fine-tune your skills, and true talent emerges. 2014 was that for Peacock. He started the year off with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, winning a career best five games surrendering only nine runs in 36 innings and striking out a career-high 10.9 batters per nine innings. He joined the Wichita Wingnuts in August for the playoff push and went 2-0 in six games. During the Wingnuts trek to the 2014 American League Championship, he posted a 2.70 ERA in four games.

Chris Peacock.jpg

We will have a winner...in a shorter amount of time

The American Association wants to finish games sooner. The 2015 season will introduce an extra-inning tiebreaker to determine winners, if necessary, during all regular season games based on an existing set of rules from the International Baseball Federation and the Can-Am League. Back in November I spoke with Miles Wolff, Commissioner of the Can-Am League. He describes the tiebreaker, the same one used by the IBF that they would use during the season. "Beginning in the 11th inning, the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning's leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat. Should the player starting the inning on second base eventually score, it will count in statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but it will not count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average." Kudos to Indy Ball for again thinking outside the box. It may not be the most recognizable baseball in the world, but they continue to push the boundaries.

American Association.jpg

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's PerspectiveHe is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective onTwitter and facebookHis full bio can be seen here.  

 

 

 

 


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Myles Jury