June 27, 2007 June 27, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Headlines: Hurst traded somewhere, press releases inconclusive…Spivey Speaks…Boyd to Phillies…Lucca to Bridgeport…Tommy John: We couldn’t get Sandy Aracena…Cafiero Out Three Weeks…2005 10Q with Hurst
Hurst Dealt To ‘Sharks…NO, BARNSTORMERS: Heeeeee’s baaaaaaack. Jimmy Hurst, who won the Atlantic League triple crown with the Newark Bears in 2002, is heading to the Camden Riversharks.
UPDATED: According to someone with knowledge of the situation, HURST WAS SENT TO LANCASTER. The press release Winnipeg sent out is incorrect. According to the source, it is just Hurst’s rights that were dealt — and he may or may not report.
Hurst was dealt from the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League, who just signed former Ducks and Patriots OF Anton French.
Hurst has played for Newark, Nashua and Atlantic City. He was also famously dubbed “The Mouth of the South” by teammate Damian Sapp, for his outspoken ways.
The former big leaguer was hitting .236 with four home runs in 32 games with Winnipeg at the time of the deal.
As for Frenchy, he was the subject of this piece in the Winnipeg Sun. The only inaccuracy in it is that it says he was released from the Atlantic League earlier this summer. He chose to leave, he wasn’t released. Big difference.
Spivey Speaks: I caught up with Major League All-Star second baseman Junior Spivey before today’s Bluefish-Patriots game in Bridgeport. Here’s what the future AL All-Star had to say…
You’re putting up some pretty nice numbers this year after a rough year in Triple-A in 2006…
“I was injured last year, let’s get that straight. I played with injuries, and I was injured all year. So that was the deal.”
So with that said, are you finally 100 percent now?
“I’m 100 percent, I’m playing. I could have easily went on the DL last season, but I didn’t. But I’m healthy this year.”
All right. So you played in the Major League All-Star Game back in 2002. Does the All-Star break coming up kind of bring back any memories of that experience for you?
“I haven’t thought about it. I haven’t thought about it at all. I’m not thinking about anything that happened in the past, to be honest with you.”
Hmmm…so let’s focus on the future then. Are you surprised that you’re still here with the kind of numbers that you’re putting up?
“I have no control over that, so I’m not giving it that much thought either. You can only control things that you have control over, and things that you can’t control, I don’t give much thought.”
Has your experience in the Atlantic League been different than what you expected when you first signed up?
“Oh yeah, no question. My expectations going into the league were that I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t realize that the level of competition was going to be as good as it was. To me, it’s comparable to Triple-A ball; some days it’s Triple-A and some days it’s Double-A. It’s very competitive, it’s really opened my eyes a lot.”
Boyd To Phillies: The Bridgeport Bluefish have lost OF Shaun Boyd to the Philadelphia Phillies organization. This makes him the fifth player the Phils have signed out of the league this season. He’ll be assigned to Single-A Clearwater, which is a little surprising considering he’s been to Triple-A.
Boyd was hitting .345 with 4 HR and 24 RBI at the time of his signing.
Lucca Talking to Bluefish: And the annual Lou Lucca circus has begun, but it isn’t with the team you might think. According to Rich Elliott of The Connecticut Post, the Bluefish are in talks with the infielder to join the team, likely as a replacement to Luis Figueroa.
Elliott also writes that C Tommy Rojas will have knee surgery and miss four-to-six weeks, leaving them with just Kelington Made behind the plate, and John Nathans, who has caught the last five games.
And, when Rojas does return, Elliott writes that it won’t be as a backstop.
There is a big name catcher who has turned down several teams already, telling them that he isn’t playing this season. I wonder if BASA will try to call him one more time…
Picking up Sandy Aracena from the Road Warriors has to be an option as well.
An Update From Tommy John: I spoke to Bluefish manager Tommy John, and he said that while the team’s first option was to pick up Sandy Aracena from the Bluefish, HE WAS TOLD BY JOE KLEIN THAT ARACENA IS NOT AVAILABLE TO ANY TEAM AT ANY TIME.
So instead, they’ve signed Marcos Sanchez, who you might remember from Camden and Newark. Or you may not…
I guess the league wants Aracena to rot on the Road Warriors instead of giving him an opportunity to join one of the better teams and really showcase himself. I’m sure league officials won’t be happy with that opinion, but is that not the truth?
Also, according to John — to update Rich Elliott’s story — Lucca will be joining the team tomorrow.
Cafiero Out Three Weeks: According to Ducks manager Dave LaPoint, Ducks utility player Rob Cafiero will be out two to three more weeks after requiring surgery to remove an infection from his shin. Cafiero was with the team yesterday in Newark.
Ten Questions With Jimmy Hurst: Here’s an old 10Q I did with Jimmy Hurst in 2005. As you can see, he’s pretty much a writer’s gold mine with how honest he is…
Ten Questions with Jimmy Hurst by Mike Ashmore – atlanticleaguebaseball.com
June 8, 2005
What is your best moment in baseball?
“When you’ve accomplished what I’ve accomplished when I won the Triple Crown, I’d have to say that by far. Winning the Triple Crown takes consistency and hard work every day, and that’s what I did. So I’ve got to say 2002 with Newark was my best accomplishment.”
When you won the Triple Crown, did you actually receive anything for it (i.e. an actual crown) from the league or the team?
“You know what man, that was amazing to me. I didn’t get anything from the Atlantic League, I didn’t get anything special from the Newark Bears. The fan club made me a crown and gave it to me. Not only that, we won the championship at the same time and I led the playoffs in offense. I led in average, home runs and RBI in the playoffs. Everybody sort of blew it off like it was nothing, but I knew what it was. I got rewarded for it by going to Japan though, so that’s the biggest reward.”
How about your worst?
“It’s got to be with the Atlantic City Surf, being released recently while I was doing well. They tried to say I was making too much money…come on. That’s something else that really upset me. With my accomplishments and what I’ve established in this league…they’re going to call me in the office and tell me they’re releasing me with what they had on that team? That’s got to be one of my worst moments in baseball.
Hmmm…with a $3,000 max, how can you make too much money in the Atlantic League?
“Thank you. And being a man…Jeff Ball, instead of him just being a man and coming out and saying I want Ozzie Timmons, my guy, back. Be a man, don’t come to me with no baloney. Don’t come to me with a bunch of crap, like you did. I’m losing a lot of respect for guys in this league, because they don’t know how to be men. Just be a man. I’m a grown man, don’t play no games with me.”
Who would you say is the most talented player you’ve ever played with?
“Mike Cameron, by far. He had speed, all the tools you know. I watched the guy in the Southern League and the Midwest League hit 30 home runs from the leadoff spot. We came up in Birmingham, one of the biggest parks in baseball. And with those playing conditions, he’s playing center field. He used his legs a lot. Great arm, great speed, just a five tool player. And to prove me right, he’s been a Gold Glove winner twice now.
The Tigers called you up in September of 1997. How did you find out you were going up?
“I came into the clubhouse and I wasn’t in the lineup and the night before I had just hit two home runs. I was wondering why I wasn’t in the lineup and Buddy Bell just said to go sit down. We were in the locker room, and he said to sit down, I was getting a day off. Then, before the game was over with, they called me in the office and said congratulations, you’re going up to Detroit.”
You made your big league debut on September 10, 1997 against the Seattle Mariners. What do you remember most about that game and how nervous were you?
“To be honest with you, I’m not going to say it was so much nerves. I was ecstatic about being there, but I felt like it was overdue because I had some fine Triple-A seasons. If you look at some of my numbers and some of the big league camps I had, I felt I should have made some teams out of spring and I didn’t. So I really didn’t feel intimidated by being there, I just felt like it was overdue.”
I wanted to go through some of your Major League milestones with you. Tell me about your first hit and first home run…
“My first hit was in Oakland. It was a cold night in Oakland, man. Pinch hit, matter of fact. It was a double to right center. But it was freezing, freezing cold.
“First home run was on a Sunday Fox Game of the Week. It was day game and off of David Wells in Detroit. 3-2 fastball in my second at-bat – I had doubled in my first at-bat off him – second at-bat, I went deep off the roof in Tiger Stadium.”
Did you get to keep the baseballs?
“Yes I did, I have them.”
In 2003, you played with a team in Japan. What was that experience like?
“I never thought I’d see a different brand of baseball. Everything we do here in America, they do the opposite. We sit back and play the hops here, and they charge a lot of balls. We’re taught to weight training, and they believe in a lot of repetitions to build strength, which I don’t believe in. They do more conditioning, they do a lot more throwing. Pitchers there throw a lot more than the guys do here. You might see a guy in Japan, instead of throwing on the side or throwing a bullpen, throw in relief for two innings.”
Did you ever have any issues with the language barrier, etc.
“I had a translator, but Japanese is a tough language. It’s probably the hardest language to learn in the world if you’re an American. But I had a translator, that helped a little bit. And you’d meet some guys on the military bases, and that really helped me. I knew it wasn’t going to be my home, so I just dealt with it while I was there.”
You spent last season in the Northeast League. How did your experience there compare to what you’ve experienced in the Atlantic League?
“For some reason, the Atlantic League is letting a lot of other leagues catch up to them. It was, by far, the best league in baseball. The other leagues are starting to treat their guys with a little bit more respect and take care of the guys who get the job done for them and sell tickets for them. This league is getting to the point where they’re nitpicking on guys who’ve helped them in the past, who’ve been around in the league and have done a lot of stuff for this league. It seems like it’s slowly slipping to where other leagues are catching up, and it’s sad. This is a good league, but a lot of changes need to be made in this league for it to continue to be the best independent league.”
OK, so let’s say you were the commissioner of the Atlantic League. What changes do you make?
“Well first of all, you’ve got to set a veteran salary cap. We’ve been here in this league for eight years, and you haven’t had a raise? Guys are making no money and it seems like guys are still getting shortchanged everywhere they go here. Come on man, this is league is not working if they don’t have money. You’ve got to start treating these guys with respect and start paying some of these guys. We’re not talking about a lot of money. Start making teams pay for three or four guys housing or something and give four or five guys the max money, you know. This league is a good league, and it makes money, but you can’t keep letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. If you want competitive baseball, you’ve got to pay for what you want.
“Other than that, take guys and be more interactive in the community. Go out and do more stuff with the team. Go out to the middle schools and high schools and the rural areas and try to get the guys to get people to come out to more games. They say there’s no money in Nashua, there’s money there, but you’ve got to promote, you’ve got to have the right guys to market. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done, but you’ll never get anything done if you don’t sit down and communicate. Sit down and talk to your players, ask them to do things. Treat people the way you want to be treated, I think that’s the first step.
Well, we talked about your situation with the Surf. But after that, you signed with Nashua and that’s where you are now…how did all that come about?
“Well I played with Butch in 2000 and in 2001 I played with Butch. Butch knows what kind of player he’s going to get from Hurst. I assume he had found out what happened. A few teams called me, which I was excited about. Two teams called that I should have probably signed with, but I wanted to go with someone where I knew I wouldn’t have to go through dealing with all the baloney again. Somebody who knew I could come and play and help the team. I’m happy to be here with Butch in Nashua.”
How would you say the level of play here compares to some other places you’ve played?
“I’ll tell you what, the pitching has gotten better here since I left. The pitching is a lot better here. This is still, by far, the best independent league. Well, not by far, I’ll tell you other leagues are catching up. The Northern League and the Northeast League is catching up with these guys. They have some pretty good players in those leagues.”
What are the biggest differences between the Atlantic League and affiliated baseball?
“Affiliated baseball’s not going to worry about every little penny. You want guys to go out and play hard, you treat men like men, and that’s what you get. The Atlantic League is beginning to get a bit too nitpicky. Too many decisions are being made by, I wanna say, one or two people, instead of a collective group. Who knows what’s best for everybody when everybody’s not involved in all the decisions. Everybody wants to talk about this team doesn’t have money, well it’s hard for this team when everybody else is taking what they want and giving this team less money to run off of. It’s getting to a time where they’re going to have to step it up with the decision making in the Atlantic League.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I like to play Playstation. I love to fish when I have a few days off, I like to go fishing a little bit and hang out. I just love the game of baseball. I love to watch the game on television, I’m just a baseball guy who loves the game. I grew up loving the game and I’m going to die loving the game.
“I just want to see things run the way they used to be when I first came into the league. The league needs more guys like Marv Foley. When I played for Marv Foley and Butch Hobson, these managers are straight up with you, these guys don’t play with you. You ask a question, you’re going to get an answer. You’ve got a bunch of grown men, you don’t have kids here man. Don’t lie to a young man. You’re playing with young men’s lives and careers here, if you bring a guy into spring training and you’re not going to have a job for him, let him know before he gets there. If you’re bringing me to camp because you don’t know how many guys you’re going to have, that’s wrong. They pretty much have an idea of who they want and who they’re not going to want, you’ve just got to make the right decisions and stop playing with guys careers here in this league.
“This league, they have too much power over the individual here. It’s sad to say, but at some point, players are going to have to take action at some point if stuff’s going to continue the way it is.”
As far as what…unionizing?
“Not so much unionizing, just coming together and putting their foot down, demanding stuff. Just being a collective group and saying this is what we want. This league’s been going too well for too long for us guys to be treated the way we’re treated. You have seven or eight hour bus rides with me and a guy like D.J. Boston, and we’ve got to share a seat on a bus. Man, come on. That’s not going to work. You can’t do that when guys are traveling from Atlantic City to Nashua, that can’t be done. There’s too much money there, you can at least provide a decent bus for guys to ride so they’re comfortable, if you’re not going to pay them.
“Why should a guy come to a league like this with what I’ve done and not make enough money and have housing paid for me when I come to a league like this? It don’t make sense.”
– Mike Ashmore