June 13, 2007 June 13, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
AL Player To Portray AL Manager In TV Series: If this isn’t the most fun story of the year, then I don’t know what is. According to this article in the Terre Haute (IN) News, Road Warriors P Aric LeClair will portray Somerset Patriots manager Sparky Lyle in the upcoming ESPN series, “The Bronx is Burning.”
The article also notes that Somerset Patriots OF Elliott Ayala was cast as Roy White.
As for LeClair, he told the paper that one of the biggest problems during filming was trying to replicate the ace reliever’s famous mustache.
“I tried to grow one, but I don’t grow a mustache too well,” he said. “So they threw a mustache on me and they liked it. We just needed to look similar, since we were mostly in background scenes.”
According to IMDB.com, former Newark Bears P Tim Keinath will also be in the series, playing Mike Torres.
Max Casella, who you might remember as Vinnie Delpino from Doogie Howser, M.D., will play Dick Howser. Finally, he gets to play D. Howser. Probably not worth noting, but still…
Anyway, the Road Warriors come in to Somerset on Friday. Suffice it to say I’ll try to find LeClair and ask him about this a little bit more in-depth…
13 year MLB veteran pitcher Frank Castillo (Photo: Ashmore)
I spent about five minutes with the 13-year Major League veteran before yesterday’s marathon, and here’s how it went…
MA: You spent your first six and a half seasons in the big leagues with the Cubs, what are some of your fondest memories of pitching there?
Castillo: It was fun. It’s a great city, great ballpark. It’s a great organization, the only thing was that we didn’t win while I was there. But I definitely enjoyed my time there, I probably had some of my best years there.
MA: Curt Schilling was one out away from a no-hitter the other day. Did that bring back any memories of when you were an out away against the Cardinals back in 1995?
Castillo: It was a little deja vu, it was pretty much the same situation. I had eight and two thirds of no-hit ball, and then I had two strikes on Bernard Gilkey. I had him 0-2, and then it went to 3-2. I left a fastball up, and he punched it to right field.
MA: A few years after you left the Cubs, you ended up pitching for Boston. Both are big baseball towns that have a lot of fans that want to win now. What was it like pitching for the Red Sox, and how would you compare the two experiences?
Castillo: They’re both similar, but I think there’s more pressure in Boston for them to win. I played on some good teams, we just ended up behind the Yankees. In ’04, I got called up for about a week or ten days and got in a couple games. I spent the whole year in Triple-A, but when they won the World Series, they actually gave me a ring. I had a great time, they have some pretty intense fans.
MA: Like you said, you weren’t on the 2004 Red Sox very long. But when you got into that clubhouse, could you tell it was going to be different than it was when you were there in ’01 and ’02?
Castillo: Yeah. We had a good team in ’02, but in ’04 we had some big horses with Schilling, and Pedro and Derek Lowe. They knew they had the horses to win it, and they had a good lineup. I guess you could tell they were going to make the playoffs, but I don’t know about the World Series. But they did it, and it was good to see.
MA: Johnny Damon labeled that year’s team as “The Idiots.” Take me inside that clubhouse, what was it really like being in there?
Castillo: It was like living in a frat house, that type of thing. Guys came in and had a good time. They just wanted to have fun and win games, and that’s what they did. It carried on throughout the whole year. Even when they went down 3-0 (to the Yankees in the ALCS), they were so loose that they were the right team to be able to overcome that. And sure enough, they did.
MA: The Red Sox had a big ring ceremony on Opening Day in 2005. I know you were with the Marlins organization then — were you able to be a part of that?
Castillo: I didn’t get to do the ring ceremony, they actually sent it to my house. I was in Albuquerque, in Triple-A with the Marlins.
MA: Must be nice to go to the mailbox and find a World Series ring in there…
Castillo: Oh yeah. It’s pretty cool when you open it up, it was pretty amazing.
MA: You ended up not pitching in 2006. What led to that decision?
Castillo: I didn’t pitch at all, I kind of just shut it down. I didn’t really get any offers, so I figured I’d pitched in my last game that year. This year, I had a tryout with the Reds in February, I think it was, but nothing came of it, so I pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to play this year. But after a couple months at home, and being home last year, I got the itch. I was watching games on TV, so I decided to give it one more go and see if I can have fun and still enjoy it.
MA: You were pretty close to coming to Somerset a few years back. What ever happened with that?
Castillo: I was actually pretty close to coming. A good friend of mine, (Patriots hitting coach at the time) Danny Perez is from my hometown called me and it was pretty close, but I signed with the Pirates right before I was scheduled to come here.
MA: You have two strikes against you in that you’re 38 years old and right handed. How realistic do you think your chances are of getting back to affiliated baseball?
Castillo: I don’t know. You want to get picked up, but I basically came here just to see if there’s anything left in the tank. If something happens, great. If not, it’s no sweat off my back. I’ve enjoyed the game, I’ve had my time in the big leagues. I just want to see if I can have fun and enjoy it, and just take it from there.
MA: So how important is (tonight’s) start in gauging what exactly is left in the tank?
Castillo: It’s important. Any time you go out on the field, you want to do well. It’ll be my second time out, and hopefully I can gauge where I’m at. Hopefully I can still compete and throw well. We’ll see what happens.
Rueckel Signs With Fish: Following his mid-May release from the Washington Nationals organization, P Dan Rueckel was out of baseball. That changed yesterday when he was signed and activated by the Bridgeport Bluefish.
Rueckel carried a 28-21 career record and 3.46 ERA into this season, but the reliever struggled in his call-up to Triple-A Columbus, posting a 16.62 ERA in four outings.
However, oddly enough, he held the opposition to a .071 batting average, allowing eight runs on six walks and just one hit.
The team also placed OF Bobby Darula and P Sean Fesh on the disabled list.
Pitcher Available: The Yankees cut Double-A pitcher Paul Thorp yesterday, and if he doesn’t get picked up by an organization, he might be a nice fit in someone’s bullpen.
He’s not going to blow anyone away with his stuff, and he’s not going to be the best athlete you’ve got by any means, but he’s a solid pitcher who was 0-1 with one save and a 2.40 ERA at the time of his release.
I’d be surprised to see him in the Atlantic League, but I was surprised to see him get cut too, so…
Yesterday’s News: Check out yesterday’s post for some photos from the Revolution-Patriots game and the latest installment of “Ask The New Guy.”
To send your question to Matt Hirsh, e-mail me at mashmore AT patriotsbaseball.com – Mike Ashmore