Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Tosoni leads Explorers, Hall gives Ducks a boost

07/22/2014 4:18 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

  • Canadian Rene Tosoni is quietly having a solid season for the American Association's Sioux City Explorer's. I spoke to Tosoni earlier this year about his experiences in the game and what he's doing right now shows the dedication he has to get back in affiliated baseball. After 63 games, Tosoni leads the team in hits (66), home runs (6), base on balls (29), doubles (17), tied for lead in triples (2), and second in RBI (34).
  • Aside from all the Tracy McGrady hoopla, there was still an All-Star Game going on, and the Sugar Land Skeeters took down the very best the Atlantic League had to offer. The Skeeters scored two runs in the bottom of seventh to break a 3-3 tie and held on to win 5-3.
  • Former big league veteran Bill Hall has signed with the Long Island Ducks. This marks his second stint with the Ducks. Hall has been around a long time and is best known for his eight years with the Milwaukee Brewers. That is obviously where he put up the best numbers of his 11-year career. Originally drafted by the Brewers in the 6th round of the 1998 amateur draft, the Ducks are adding someone that can play any infield position and anywhere in the outfield. Hall was an integral part of their 2013 championship run, and will no doubt contribute again this year according to Ducks president and general manager, Michael Pfaff. “He was an important piece of our championship team in 2013, and we look forward to having him back again this season.”
  • Journeyman Casper Wells has signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish. Wells has bounced around the bigs since 2010. Hall has four big league seasons under his belt spending time with the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies. In 277 games, the former 14th round pick of the Tigers, is a career .230 hitter. He has 25 career home runs and 81 RBI.

 Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He 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 on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Tracy McGrady call it quits, retires from baseball

07/18/2014 4:35 AM - Devo

Tracy McGrady retires.jpgTracy McGrady is best known for being a basketball player, a great one at that. He played 15 years, averaging nearly 20 points per game, but retirement didn't sit to well with him. He had a dream to play professional baseball. Far-fetched yes, but the independent Sugar Land Skeeters saw an opportunity and ran with it.

McGrady worked with Roger Clemens and was even clocked at 90mph during off-season workouts. He performed admirably against Alvin College in a preseason warmup, throwing 15 pitches, nine of those were for strikes.

Throwing strikes ultimately became McGrady's downfall.

Making the team was a long shot in the eyes of most, but it's a good move for an indy team. The Skeeters are one of the best indy teams out there and they can draw. They've sat atop the attendance leaders each year since their inaugural 2012 season pulling in over 1 million fans. They put a winning product on the field and have seen big names likes, Roger Clemens, Scott Kazmir and Jason Lane, (all with MLB experience) take the field. Having McGrady on the mound made perfect sense.

Unfortunately, the stars didn't align and McGrady has officially retired from baseball, according to CBS Sports.

Purely for PR, McGrady participated in the Atlantic League Home Run Derby and went Yasiel Puig putting up a donut. He was named starter for the All-Game and took the hill for the last time. He gave up one run on one hit. After recording his first professional strikeout, McGrady walked off the mound to a standing ovation and announced his retirement.

Overall, the numbers aren't that impressive. In four starts he went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. He walked 10 guys.

In an interview with CBS, McGrady's dream of playing baseball was realized. Even though it didn't turn out the way he way he liked, the experience is something he will never forget.

“This has been an awesome year. Not having my basketball career end the way I wanted but having the opportunity to be friends with some of the guys and get to know them and compete with them, learn from them every day, it’s been an honor.”

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He 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 on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Ohka's still around, D-Train's parked in Connecticut

07/14/2014 8:18 PM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

  • Tomo Ohka, best known for his stint with the Montreal Expos between 2001 and 2005, is perfecting his knuckleball with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. Ohka has been out of North American baseball since 2009. Since then he's been toiling around the Japan Central League for the  Yokohoma Bay Stars and reinventing himself as a knuckleball pitcher in the Japanese Independent Leagues. In his first year with the Bluefish, Ohka is 4-6 with a 4.63 ERA.
  • Dontrelle Willis is back in the Atlantic League. Last year the former NL Rookie of the Year split time between the Long Island Ducks and the Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels (Salt Lake Bees). Willis was granted free agency at the end of 2013. He went 2-1 for the Bees posting a 6.43 ERA while walking 14 and striking out 12 in 21 innings. Willis was signed by the San Francisco Giants in January of 2014, but was released in April after appearing in two games for the Triple A Fresno Grizzlies. In 2/3 of an inning he walked one and threw three wild pitches.
  • Since Mark Hendrickson signed with the York Revolution he's been dealing! He's appeared in 31 games surrendering less than a hit per inning (7.6), which is very similar to the 7.3 he put up with Triple A Norfolk last year. He's only struck out 17, but all that means is is that he's making pitches when he has to and getting outs. He's not in it for the glory of the K, but the familiarity of an out. By the way, Hendrickson hasn't given up a home run all year.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He 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 on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Sqor CEO Brian Wilhite has a unique platform for the new age athlete

07/09/2014 5:02 AM - Devo

SQOR.jpgSqor has come up with an ingenious way to enhance the fan/athlete relationship.

They have taken the social media experience to a whole other level, With the click of a button any athlete or team on the Sqor roster can create their own content in real time. News on any team or personality is available at your fingertips. Today's sports personalities are creating content that is fully available to members of Sqor giving them an interactive experience like no other.

I had the pleasure to speak with Sqor CEO, Brian Wilhite, who talks about their commitment to this new platform.

The GM’s Perspective: Can you give the reader’s an understanding of what Sqor is and what your company is trying to accomplish?

Brian Wilhite: We’ve built a social network dedicated specifically to sports, but more specifically to the athlete/fan relationship. I was looking at the world of sports a few years ago (I started the company approximately three years ago), and I observed that something was missing in the sports eco-system. And if you think about sports globally and with the World Cup going on right now, most of how the sports product is delivered to us around the team, the league, and the game.

What I thought was missing was a product that was dedicated to the athlete, the great performances of the athlete, and that relationship with the fan and the athlete.

Athlete’s today move around, not like years ago. Years ago or decades ago and you were a San Francisco Giants fan you knew team from the time you were ten years old until you went to college. Now that team changes every couple years. The athletes come and go and the bond or affinities you develop with these players, and once they leave or move on to a different team, that relationship kind of dies. It shouldn’t be like that.

We built our product: Sqor, which focused exclusively on sports. We have editorial content and social content all coming into one place. As a fan you select the athletes and the sports, and the team you want to follow, and at that point forward you get relative content.

GMs: Is there any interaction between the fan and the athlete specifically. On twitter you can message back and forth. Is there anything like that on Sqor?

BW: Yeah, we’re starting to see a lot more of it. One of the features (tool sets) that we built into our platform is that we’ve made it easy for the fan and the athlete to create and publish content. As a fan, we all want to get closer to the athlete. The closer we are, the cooler it is. We see a lot of athlete’s publishing exclusive and unique content on Sqor. There is a way for the fan to comment on it, and now we are seeing a lot of interaction back and forth. Just this week we had quite a few MMA fighters going back and forth with posts, and we had one in particular that was making some posts about the training he was doing this weekend. A couple of the fans commented on the how much they appreciate how he approaches the health aspect and commented on how successful he was.

You begin to witness this whole dialogue that occurred and that’s what it’s all about.

GMs: Especially for a fan to read the content written by the athlete, and in-turn have the athlete respond to the fan, it really means a lot.

GMs: What has drawn these athletes to your company?

BW: One is that we speak to them and let them know that we are on the same side of the fence. We are all about making them better at controlling, managing, and really speaking with their audience. By investing our resources and building a software platform that is dedicated to that athlete and that fan/athlete relationship.

The benefit to doing that is that we are giving the athlete the ability to control and manage the messaging in addition to the back-and-forth with the fans. The athlete can really take ownership of that fan base. Other platforms don’t do that.

The athlete is the content creator. It’s their content, their audience, and that’s why we’re around the athletes. We do a revenue share with the athlete and help them monetize their audience. Unlike other sports portals that are out there that simply build the audience on the backs of the athletes and don’t revenue share, we don’t do that. We’re financially aligned and philosophically aligned with all parties involved.

GMs: How does the athlete strike up a relationship with Sqor?

BW: Sometimes athletes go to Sqor.com and they send us direct messages or their agents or handlers contact us. But most of the time we work with agents/agent groups and public relations or their marketing team and explain Sqor to them.  It’s typically the athlete’s agent we work directly with when trying to bring them on board.

GMs: If I read correctly, Brett Favre is one of your biggest supporters and is actually on the Board of Directors. How did Mr. Favre become so involved with your company?

BW: Through a mutual relationship, I was introduced to Brett through his agent approximately four years ago. We sat down and I talked with him about my vision, and what I wanted to do for the athlete.  I showed him some of early versions of Sqor and how it worked.  It was a really good conversation, and Brett understood my vision and what I wanted to build. He was really excited about it and one of the things he said was “I wish you were doing this ten years ago”. Brett saw the value and wanted to be supportive and be as helpful as he could. That night we built that relationship and over the last four years we’ve evolved, the product has evolved and Brett has become more involved. He’s been a big part of us keeping our north star focus on the athlete, and his/her fan base. Brett is a great advocate and a great guy to have in the company.

GMs: For anyone trying to reach out and join up with Sqor or log in and get connected, what’s the easiest way?

BW: Easiest way is to go to Sqor.com and you can have a great experience right from your browser whether you’re on your mobile device or computer. Or you can download our iOS app for Apple. We’re going to have an Android app towards the end of July. When you join, you can select a few athletes to follow, some teams to follow, and from that point forward you’ll start experiencing the product. I encourage followers to follow other fans as well. You can start building your network that way.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He 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 on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.