Scott Kazmir roughed up by Camden Riversharks
07/30/2012 5:21 AM - Devo
Two steps forward and two steps back…
After shutting out the Long Island Ducks for four innings last week, Scott Kazmir experienced a setback in his latest outing.
In just over three innings Kazmir was roughed up for seven hits, five earned runs, and three walks-good enough for a no-decision. But in this comeback story, it’s definitely not the best ending.
Four starts since Kazmir joined the Skeeters prior to the All-Star Break, he sits at 0-2 and his ERA is a scary 12.54. Over nine innings, he has surrendered 18 hits.
Obviously this is not the way he would want things to go, and one quick look at the numbers and you know there’s no way any scout or MLB organization would take a second glance at him.
Considering Kazmir went 13 months without pitching professionally, this will continue to be a process, but it’s certainly not nearly enough of a sample size to draw a conclusion.
Every fourth or fifth day, regardless of the outcome, Kazmir continues to toe the rubber, trying to find what made him so special before. It could be this week, it could be next month, but from what we have seen, he will not give up. And that’s something very rare in today’s world.
How can you not root for his success?
Interview with the Implants: A Punk Rock collaboration with no limits
07/28/2012 8:04 AM - Devo
When I went to school in Nebraska, I had the pleasure of playing with a great group of guys. In between my sophomore and junior season, we had a bit of a rebuild. York brought in a new coach, with a new philosophy. Along with a new coach we got new recruits from California, specifically: Feather River College and the College of the Siskiyous.
Not only did we become a better team, but my new teammates introduced me to a whole new world of music: Punk Rock. But not just any Punk Rock, Southern California Punk.
When people think Punk, they automatically think, Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Clash. Over time it became Face to Face, Pulley, Strung Out, NOFX, MxPx, Bad Religion, and more.
In the late 90’s, the style of music dominating the airwaves was a pop lovers dream; *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees. Coincidentally Nick Lachey is part owner of the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
But, when I heard Disconnected by Face to Face for the first time I couldn’t believe my ears. What the heck was this sound, and who were these guys? Lucky enough, what I was introduced to in the late 90’s has stuck with me to this day, and you will never see me go far without, a Pulley, Strung Out or Face to Face CD.
Sounds Like: Strung Out, Ten Foot Pole, Pulley, The Tank
5 musicians, friends from (Strung Out, Pulley, Ten Foot Pole, The Tank & ex-Death By Stereo,) who have played shows together in their respective bands, form a new group as an outlet to release what everyone has been screaming for.
I was lucky enough to connect with the band on twitter @implantsband and they were gracious enough to conduct an interview with me. And for those unfamiliar with the band, there is a pretty nice baseball connection in it for you.
Devon Teeple: Can you give me some background on the formation of the band. How did all of this come about?
Implants/Jim Blowers: Basically it started out with me having some songs that I had with Pulley, but they were not Pulley style songs, but I did want to record them so, it’s a matter of getting together with some people that could play drums, and bass and stuff like that. So when we are at the studio recording-it wasn’t really meant to be an actual band.
From there Rob Ramos from Strung Out was showing a lot of interest in getting involved and he had some songs as well, and the rest of the band came together. We got Ken (Conte), Chris Dalley. Chris Del Rio, our bass player, was the first guy I hooked up with because he had some great song ideas. And it wasn’t until we got to the studio and started recording that we heard how good the songs were. We thought we should take this to the next level. So that’s where we are right now, with a couple shows under our belt.
DT: Your style is very rare these days, and it’s something that caught my attention immediately. Why do you think it’s stayed out of the mainstream even after all these years?
Implants/Chris Dalley: I think the main reason why you don’t hear it so much is how the way “Punk” is looked upon. Also, a lot of labels, especially in the 90’s, wanted to maintain that, “true to punk thing”, where they are the typical anti-establishment kind of people, and would not submit stuff to the radio. I think if Strung Out had a chance to be on the radio, I think it would be a much different story than it is right now.
It’s a totally different scene here now and I think it could work.
DT: What do you think of the so-called “Supergroup” tag some have labelled you with?
Implants/ Jim Blowers: There’s some things you can’t control, and I’ve never thought of us like that. When Pulley first got together, that was a legitimate “Supergroup”, because they had guys at the top of their game, guys like: Matt Riddle, Scott Radinsky, and Jordan from Strung Out and Jim from Strung Out. That seems more like a “Supergroup”. We are more like a bunch of friends that got together. If they want to call us that, that’s fine with me.
Chris Dalley: It comes more from people who hear the names of the bands that we come from to call us that. I’ll talk the compliment though.
DT: What are your plans for an album? I have read that you have approximately 12 songs waiting to be released?
Implants/Chris Dalley: It’s an album with twelve songs that were recorded a while ago. And at the moment Ryan Green, is mixing them down, and once he is done with that we’ll move on to the next phase of mastering it, then shopping it.
Jim Blowers: We released/posted three songs on facebook a while back. We didn’t anticipate it taking this long, but all of this is self-financed, and it’s pretty DIY on our end. The fact that it’s taking so long is just the nature of the beast.
Chris Dalley: I think also in the long run, to make sure we are doing it right, and not rushing it will also pay off in the long run. We started recording this album in April of last year and because our other bands were on tour and doing other things, we wanted to make sure the songs work, and make sure it was that “All killer, no filler” type of thing. We feel that all the songs on it are killer!
This is the second time the record’s being mixed since Ryan Greene took over and he’s done an amazing job. I’m not sure, if you know who Ryan Greene is but, he has quite the history of working with the top bands of our genre.
He’s known for mainly doing the NOFX albums in the 90’s, Lagwagon, Strung Out, No Use for a Name, and Pulley. He was a sought after guy in his heyday. Now he’s even bigger because he’s the guy who produced Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
He’s a friend of ours, we all know him, and he agreed to work with us and we’re very stoked that he’s a part of this thing. It’s only adding to what my original vision was of this band which was, I kinda like this 90’s sound of punk rock, this sort of melodic thing the 80’s and 90’s had that people aren’t doing anymore and that’s pretty much the only thing the members in the band know how to write. And so, what you’re going to hear is that sound because we’re not in any mood to change any time soon. All the ingredients are there, we’re pretty stoked.
DT: If I’m not mistaken Mr. Jim Blowers is also lead guitar in the band Pulley. The lead singer is Mr. Scott Radinsky. Radinsky played professional baseball for 11 years with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians. He is now the pitching coach for the Indians. What was it like knowing that your lead singer had other commitments other than the band? It had to be difficult, right?
Implants/Jim Blowers: The funny thing is, that’s why he got asked to leave Ten Foot Pole, (his previous band). Ten Foot Pole started to take off and they started to get offers to do all these tours and again, it was the early 90’s and the money was really good. The band wanted to make a year-round thing out of it. When Pulley started, and it was a fun thing, a side thing, it was never meant to be a full-time band. Everyone who got into it, people who were original and people who came after, always knew that.
It was a foregone conclusion that there’s a four month window every year when Scott’s going to be home. And Scott’s totally dedicated those four months out of the year to do as much as he can with the band. But it is what it is.
No one ever frets about whether it would be great to go on tour this summer, or do this and that. We already know. So we make the best of those four months, and everyone is happy.
DT: On the flip side, it had to pretty cool to know that you had a member of your band that was not only a professional musician, but playing a sport at its highest level.
Implants/Jim Blowers: Absolutely. I knew Scott in high school and when he was pitching, and to see him go as far as he did was great. He went straight from high school to getting drafted by the Chicago White Sox. When you know a person for that long, you always just look at them as your friend. It’s when you see him on TV wearing the uniform and he’s on the field, that’s when you take a step back and say “hey, I know that guy!”
DT: You have all been in bands that have seen all sorts of success, been on worldwide tours, released several successful albums, and have done what most us could never do. How tough has it been to start a brand new band from scratch?
Implants/Chris Dalley: When you have a thing where you’re building from the ground up, it’s like a baby. We’re at the forefront of what’s starting here. While, it’s tough at times, we’re all known from our other bands. It’s not like we’re new and starting a band in a garage and nobody knows who your are.
Jim Blowers: The intention of the band was more to get these guys to play because Rob’s a great guitar player, and Chris is a killer drummer and Ken’s an awesome singer. Let’s get all these guys in here and record something. If something happens with it great. If something doesn’t happen, that’s cool too.
It wasn’t like we went into this thinking it’s all or nothing.
I’m really surprised it’s gone as far as it has, look; we’re doing an interview on the phone with you right now. If you told me a year ago this was going to be happening, I would’ve thought you were crazy.
A lot has happened that I didn’t think was going to happen. And to say we started this band with any intentions, I don’t think there were any intentions, other than to record some really good songs.
Chris Dalley: On top of that, the first time we got together as a band was in February of last year, and we didn’t do our first show until May of this year.
Jim Blowers: And everything was backwards. Our priority was to record. Once we heard the music in the studio, we knew everything was coming together, and thought we should probably start doing some shows. It was completely backwards.
DT: I have to admit I am very naive when it comes to the music world and the business side of it. What is the process when it comes to finding a label to sign you? Do you approach ones that have dealt with you collectively in the past or, search for a new start-up?
Implants/Chris Dalley: The process we’re gonna go through is we have some friends, who are long term friends with labels like Epitaph. But we’re gonna ask them to approach them for us with a demo and a press pack.
DT: Something I have been wondering, but not sure if it’s possible. You all seem to work very together and with multiple connections in the music world why not create a music company to prospect for new and up-and-coming bands when your playing days are done? What a better way to keep everyone involved and at the same time mentor the new stars? Imagine what a new band would think when you approached them?
Implants/Chris Dalley: We’re always keeping our eye out for new bands, and there’s a couple bands that we’ve played with that I’m really impressed with. For the time being this is what we know how to do. I know how to kick ass on drums and play in your face music. And I don’t want to have a distraction. If I know a certain someone is in the crowd that night, I would definitely want to hook a friend’s band up if I knew they were really good. For the time being, I want to concentrate on this.
I’ve seen bands do what you’re asking and try to get involved with different aspects of the music business. Most of the bands that try to stray away and try to get involved in different aspects of the music business, hurt their careers and see their music hurt because of it.
DT: If fans and followers were looking for more information on the band where can they find it?
Rob is on tour with Strung Out right now. When he comes back in August, we’re looking to do a couple shows in San Diego, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and a show in Anaheim California.
We don’t really want to go on tour until we have something to release to everybody. If they like us, they can buy the album right then and there.
The reason why we’re playing these little shows right now is we’re getting used to playing with each other and playing songs live. When the album does come out, and we’re actually able to tour on it, we’re going to be as good live as we are on the record.
We would also like to thank those that have supported us along the way:
Gatorz Vizion, Yamaha Drums, Fender Guitars, Jackson Guitars, and Paiste Cymbols
The GM’s Perspective would like to thank you for your time and it was really great getting to learn more about the band. I for one can’t wait for the album and wish you all sorts of success and for those interested, give the Implants a like on their facebook page, follow them on Twitter and checkout their ReverbNation page.
Thunder Bay Border Cats rack up 18 hits, hang on to defeat St. Cloud Rox
07/27/2012 5:17 AM - Devo
In what seemed like an almost guaranteed victory turned into a nail-biter.
Despite stringing together multiple hits in the top of the ninth inning and scoring seven runs in the last two, the St. Cloud Rox dropped an 11-10 decision to their division rivals.
In the first of a two game series, the Thunder Bay Border Cats took it to the Rox pitching staff, pounding out 18 hits.
A six-run fifth, in hindsight, put the game out of reach for the Rox. The Border Cats roughed up Rox Starter Zach Hirsch, the team leader in ERA, for 12 hits and eight earned runs.
Cat’s starter Blake Fonfara, a junior out of Lipscomb University in Tennessee, held the Rox in the check for the majority of the night. Fonfara was dealing during his six innings, giving up four hits, two earned runs, and striking out two. Fonfara, now 4-1 on the season, was never really in any trouble at anytime during the game.
The big bat for the Cats, was their newest recruit Jerrick Suiter, a 6’4” 235 pound outfielder/pitcher from Texas Christian University (TCU). Suiter, a 35th round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001, made one heck of a first impressions going 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBI.
On a great evening for baseball, the Border Cats put on thrilling display for a great crowd. And tonight, the Cats host the Rox in Game 2. Game time is 7:05pm at Subway Field.
Scott Kazmir throws up goose eggs for four innings
07/23/2012 4:43 AM - Devo
Thirteen months with no professional baseball can seem like an eternity, but for Scott Kazmir, it’s just another bump in the road on the return the glory.
Two starts into his comeback tour with the Independent Sugar Land Skeeters and Kazmir was sporting an ERA of 36.00…
Probably not the best number when you're looking to return the big leagues.
Things finally turned around on Saturday, when Kazmir went four scoreless innings against the Long Island Ducks.
Sitting at 0-2 after two starts, the last thing Kazmir could afford was to blow up for a third consecutive time, because the likely hood of making it to five would be highly unlikely. Kudos to him for continuing to go out there, many would have given up a long time ago.
In front of nearly 6,500 people, Kazmir threw at total of 64 pitches (41 for strikes), and held the Ducks scoreless while ringing up three and walking none. According to Newsday he was topping out at “88-89 miles per hour”.
And that’s an improvement when compared to the pedestrian 86 miles per hour he was recording when he last stepped on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels.
This is only one game, but a colossal step in the right direction for someone who was nearly written off by the entire baseball community. Kazmir expressed his sentiments after his outing Saturday,
"I felt a lot more in control," he said. "My first two outings, I was kind of dusting off the cobwebs. It's been a while since I've been out there competing against hitters. You can throw bullpen sessions as much as you want, but once you get out there with live hitters, it's different."
Regardless if he makes it all the way back, it’s really a thrill if you’re a Skeeters fan because you’re in the midst of one heck of a journey. Someone had to go through some very strenuous circumstances to go from MLB to the Atlantic League in the course of a year, but imagine how fulfilling it will be when he toes the rubber in the show one more time.