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March 10, 2008 – David Housel Talks March 10, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Today’s Headlines: David Housel Interview…Patriots Unveil Mystery Teammate…Blue Crabs Add Nine…Ashmore: SoMD going to struggle…Camden Brings Back Three, Brings In One…Nathans suing Offerman…Radman playing for Canada…Piedra sent swimming by the Marlins…Mejia to Calgary…Thomas a coach…Wilson joins Cubs organization…Garcia signs with AA team…Fesh to coach college team…Leek likes Long Island

Interview Update: We’ve got Atlantic League All-Star Travis Anderson lined up for you tomorrow, and I’m hoping to have a Duck, a Rivershark and a Blue Crab as well this week.

David Keller, Camden’s Director of Baseball Operations, weighs in with his thoughts on the newest Rivershark tomorrow as well.

Site Updates: Somerset unveils Bret Prinz’s mystery teammate, while the Ducks add an arm. Camden’s added four new players, and be sure to check out the Blue Crabs post, as I’ve added an additional player the team has acquired.

David Housel, 2007 (Photo: Ashmore)

A Fresh Start For Housel: Without the benefit of being an everyday player in the Atlantic League, David Housel’s numbers speak for themselves: .215, .226, .205.

Those would be his batting averages from his 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons as a member of the Surf and Road Warriors.

But when the recently married 26-year-old finally a got a chance to be in the lineup every day with the Road Warriors last season, a funny thing happened: .250, 9 HR, 42 RBI.

Those, of course, are the numbers he put up last season…numbers more impressive when you consider he didn’t play a single game at home.

And yet, the guy who was always too “something” — too small to make it in pro ball at 6′ 1″, 160 or too inexperienced having been drafted in the 47th round by the Mets out of tiny Morristown (NJ) Community College — brings his versatile game back to the Atlantic League for a fifth season, this time with the Somerset Patriots.

“This is one of the teams I really wanted to play for,” said Housel, who will be entering his eighth season of professional baseball.

Housel was born in Morristown, and grew up in Mendham, not too far from where Commerce Bank Ballpark currently sits in Bridgewater. After a year and a half on the road, Housel’s looking forward to getting to play in front of friends, family, and the Patriots faithful.

“I’m excited for the crowd and the atmosphere,” he said.

“Playing for the Road Warriors and Atlantic City, this is probably the first time since Brooklyn where I’ll get to experience that.”

Housel said he expects to take on a utility role at the start of the season, with the possibility of a starting job down the road. And that utility role suits him well, considering he played every position except for center field, pitcher and catcher last season — and he did play one game in center for the Road Warriors in 2006.

Did I mention he can switch hit, too?

As for those Road Warriors, one of the more indentifiable players on the team for the past two seasons had mixed emotions about the team finally going away for good.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Housel said.

“Everywhere we went, everyone respected what we did. But it’s definitely good to have eight teams with home stadiums, and fan bases. I’m really looking forward to playing in the league this year, it should be fun.”

Housel’s .241 average in 16 games last season against the Patriots was good for fourth best on the Road Warriors. He also drove in eight runs, hit doubles and one triple and stole three bases.

Patriots Unveil Mystery Teammate: Remember a few days ago, when I wrote about Bret Prinz signing with the Patriots, and how he’d be joined by a mystery teammate? Well, it’s former Minnesota Twins OF Michael Ryan.

Ryan, who played with Prinz in the Pirates organization last year, spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues with Minnesota, and hit .265 with seven home runs and 33 RBI over the span of 127 Major League contests.

This is a nice signing for the Patriots, and hopefully I’ll be able to get Ryan for the paper and for the site. Make sure you check out Thursday’s Democrat for the Bobby Hill feature, as well as quotes from Prinz, Housel and Casey Cahill.

Blue Crabs Ink Nine: According to The Washington Post, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have signed eight new players. Some of them we’ve already told you about: George Sandel, Chad Ehrnsberger and Rich Giannotti. However, there are five new names in the bunch: Jason Pearson, Travis Wade, Kyle Nichols, Terrence McClain and Brandon Ketron.

Additionally, the team has traded with the Kansas City T-Bones for P Matt Schweitzer.

Pearson and Wade are both pitchers with previous Atlantic League experience — Pearson with the Nashua Pride, and Wade with the Bears and Ducks.

Here’s a brief excerpt from my 2005 interview with Pearson…

The Padres called you up in June of 2002. How did you find out you were going up?

“I was on my way home in my roommate’s car. The coach called me and asked where I was at, and I said that I was on my way home. He said that I needed to come back to the clubhouse, and I was like oh no. So I came back to the clubhouse and came back to his office and he said you’re going to the big leagues. And I said you better be messing with me. (Laughs) And he said he wasn’t messing with me, so that’s how I got called up.”

You made your Major League debut on June 4, 2002. What do you remember most about that experience?

“I got called up, and the first day I was there was against the Giants. I was down in the pen and they played their rookie jokes on me a little bit, which was awesome. I knew a couple of guys who had been called up earlier, so that was kind of good. Coming in and facing those two hitters in the 9th inning was the best experience of my life. I gripped the ball hard and all that good stuff.”

Kyle Nichols is someone manager Butch Hobson had his eye on for a while, but he wasn’t sure if he could get him out of the Northern League. Nichols is a big (6′ 2″, 225) right-handed hitting first baseman/designated hitter. Fans will immediately look to his 2003 season in Lancaster, California where he hit 31 home runs, but anyone expecting that this year should know that place is very widely regarded as a launching pad. He seems to average 15 home runs or so everywhere else.

Terrence McClain is an indy ball guy, with no affiliated experience. A 28-year-old outfielder, he’s hit well in the Frontier, Golden and Northern Leagues. Last year with Edmonton, he hit .304 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI. Anyone else noticing the Northern League trend with this team?

Want to know more about McClain? Sure. His favorite food is chicken and his favorite movie is Life. He likes to play video games and hang out with friends, lists his parents as his role models, and his nickname is “T.” Didn’t make any of that up, either. We do our research here at ALB.

Brandon Ketron started his pro career with the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League before getting picked up by the Yankees. However, the 24-year-old Alabama native only saw 11 at-bats with three different New York affiliates over the course of two seasons.

Schweitzer has eight years of indy ball experience, and has a 39-28 career record with a 3.31 ERA in 292 appearances in the Frontier and Northern Leagues. He’s one of those guys where you look at the numbers and wonder why he hasn’t gotten a look.

My Take On The Blue Crabs: It’s still relatively early, but I’ve already got my doubts about how successful this team is going to be. Of the 14 players the Blue Crabs have right now, only Bradley Beck has no prior independent ball experience.

Having covered this league for six years now, I know more than most that there are some tremendous players scattered throughout independent baseball and specifically, the Atlantic League. I have all the respect in the world for Hobson, but I don’t think you can just stock up on “indy ball guys” and expect to win in this league. Some guys will be good enough for the Atlantic League, some guys might struggle because of how big of a jump it is from where they’ve been in the past.

Hobson told me not to expect that many ex-big league guys on this year’s team, and that’s fine…because you don’t necessarily need a ton of them to win (every year, everyone talks about the guys the Ducks sign, but the fact is they “only” have one championship) but you’re going to need some of the guys that are in camp with teams right now, or guys who were in affiliated ball last year.

Again, it’s early, but people want my honest opinion on stuff, so there it is.

Camden Brings Back Three, Brings In One: Haven’t seen the release just yet, but a source reports that Camden is bringing back P Aric Leclair, C Randy McGarvey and OF L.J. Biernbaum.

Updated: The players appear on Camden’s team roster page on their site.

The Leclair moves comes as a mild surprise, considering his inconsistent play at times last year, but he was actually much better with the Riversharks than he was the Road Warriors.

Hopefully he’s moved on from his playoff appearance last year.

McGarvey was one of the best players in the Atlantic League last season, rebounding after one foolish writer said he was best suited as a backup. He finished second to Victor Rodriguez in the Atlantic League batting title race with a .355 average, and emerged as one of the best catchers in the league, with some arguing he was the best.

Biernbaum had what many considered his best season to date last year, hitting .292 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI, setting career highs in the latter two categories.

The same, always reliable source also reports that the team has signed C Erick San Pedro.

San Pedro, drafted 54th overall by the Expos (remember them?) in 2004, is a career .181 hitter with two home runs and 32 RBI in 121 career games. He reached Triple-A last year.

I’ll have some reaction to the San Pedro signing tomorrow.

Nathans To Sue Offerman: The Times Herald-Record reports that former Bridgeport C John Nathans will be suing former Long Island Ducks INF Jose Offerman. The suit stems from the ugly incident that occured last August in Bridgeport in which Offerman allegedly struck Nathans in the head with his bat while allegedly attempting to attack Matt Beech.

The article doesn’t paint a pretty picture. According to the piece, Nathans suffers from dizziness, nausea, vision problems, headaches, lack of energy, “vertigo-like symptoms” and memory loss.

Additionally, the piece states that Nathans can’t drive in a car without becoming physically sick, and that he has yet to see any money from Offerman, who was ordered by a Bridgeport court to pay for Nathans’ medical bills.

A team in this league, and this means you Long Island, would be foolish to sign Offerman. While I do believe that he’s a good guy who snapped — and he still seemed like a solid baseball player — you simply can’t take on the PR disaster that comes with this guy.

Radmanovich Playing For Team Canada: Ryan Radmanovich, perhaps the most prolific Somerset Patriot in team history, is playing in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Taiwan for Team Canada.

Through three games, Rad is 3-for-11 with four runs scored and two RBI.

Piedra Axed By Marlins: Former Long Island Ducks OF Jorge Piedra has been released by the Florida Marlins. If the former big leaguer wants to head back to the Atlantic League, it seems like a return to the Ducks would be very likely.

Former Road Warrior Signs With GBL: Jorge Mejia, who played in the middle of the infield for the Road Warriors last season, has agreed to terms with the Golden Baseball League’s Calgary Vipers.

Ex-Bear Thomas Becomes Coach: Jonathan Thomas, the likeable backup backstop formerly of the Bears, has been named as an assistant/hitting coach for the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights.

Ex-Patriot Does Too: Desi Wilson, one of the first big leaguers to come to Somerset, is the new hitting coach for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League. The Chiefs are the affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

Former Duck to American Association: P James Garcia, who went 4-2 for Long Island last season, has signed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association.

Fesh Coaches College Team: Long-time Bridgeport Bluefish P Sean Fesh has been named the pitching coach of the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Danbury Westerners. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Leek Likes Long Island: Left-handed starting pitcher Randy Leek is returning to the Long Island Ducks. Last season, Leek went 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA before being picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent the rest of the year in Triple-A, Syracuse. – Scott Stanchak



1. BoosterBabe - March 10, 2008

Thank you for being a voice of reason in regards to whether Offerman should play in this league again. If what happened to John Nathans had happened as a result of an accident, it would be a different story.

I’ve been saying he should never play in the Atlantic league again, but I’m led by my heart in this one.
I swore to the owner and the GM of the Bluefish, if Offerman is signed by any team in this league in 2008, I will NOT be in attendance at any game that team plays in Bridgeport (or any other place for that matter). Not that losing my $25 is gonna bother anyone (ticket plus food/drink)–but I am nothing if not a person who stands up for my principals. If there are a lot of empty seats when the Ducks play, someone might notice that.

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

Several points to make…

Not to be too skeptical, but as there is a lawsuit involved, you don’t know what’s to be believed in Nathans’ lawyer’s statements.

Is he trying to make his case in the media?

If all or even part of what was said is true, that’s simply horrible.

People believe that I hate the Ducks. Not so, not at all. I only said what I said because Long Island seems to be the most logical destination if he were to return to the league.

Not that any front office folks are shaking in their boots by any means, but I will STRONGLY question the decision of any team, Long Island or otherwise, that would bring him in.


3. www.BrickCityBruins.com - March 10, 2008

Changing the subject … just a general statement … Awesome blog today, chock full of interesting information. Mike, good job on keeping track of the Atlantic League players, past and present. I don’t even bother searching the web for news anymore. You’ve done it all and then some. Awesome effort(s).

4. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

Given the subject, I certainly don’t mind you changing it.

And of course, your comment doesn’t hurt things either.

Thanks for the kind words, as always. Looking forward to seeing you in Newark this year…also looking forward to covering the ring ceremony and banner raising as well.

5. BoosterBabe - March 10, 2008

I don’t think you hate the Ducks. You cover the league, you have to be somewhat neutral (“objectivity of the media”). I mean, you can have a favorite team but you have to cover all equally and you’d be a fool to disparage any of the teams.

Look, as far as the story about Nathans is concerned…..everyone knows that part of being a good attorney is to gain sympathy for your client. Is the lawyer using the media for that purpose? Probably. Let’s be honest here.
Judges know this happens, too, by the way. I’m sure it’s all true… to some degree. Their words are very carefully chosen to be vague while sounding specific. I have no doubt there’s truth in the statements the lawyer made. I also have no doubt that the choice of words was deliberate as to conjure up maximum sympathy with minimum of specifics.

The bottom line is, John will never play baseball again. While it’s true that Jose Offerman did not deprive the baseball world of the next Carlton Fisk, Jorge Posada, Johnny Bench, or Jason Varitek (trying to think of HOF catchers current and future) he did cause an injury to a relatively young man that will likely alter the rest of his life.

And it would be foolish of the league to condone that behavior by hiring him back. That’s all I’m saying. And I’m glad you, as an objective observer, mentioned it.
When I say it, it’s easily dismissed as “she’s emotional”.

6. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

It may seem as though I/we favor certain teams, but certain teams are easier to work with than others.

As someone who came into the league absolutely hating it, I have no favorite team…whereas covering a Yankees affiliate can be a little difficult because they aren’t my favorite team. Regardless, even if I did have a favorite team, that isn’t something I could/ever would let affect my coverage.

I honestly haven’t decided whether Offerman should get a second chance yet, but it’s not really up to me to decide.

But if he does get that chance, I just don’t think it should be in the Atlantic League. Teams are more image conscious than some of you may realize, and I’d have to think that would play a huge role in whether they’d bring him in.

Look at Barry Bonds…Bonds can help a big league team right now, no doubt about it. So why do you think he’s sitting at home?

Swme kind of deal…

7. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

For those of you who can only read English and not Idiot, that was “same kind of deal”

8. Anonymous - March 10, 2008

Good luck with getting the money from Offerman. While I was watching the Caribbean World Series, in which Offerman was playing, the announcers mentioned that Offerman was playing and trying to make a comeback because he needed the money. They said that he did not make wise investments with his MLB money and insinuated he was broke.

9. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

According to Baseballreference.com, Offerman made $32,665,000 during his MLB career.

If he can blow that kind of money, then he clearly makes financial decisions that are nearly as poor as the one he made with his bat.

10. Kevin - March 10, 2008

If Offerman would come out and make a public apology and take care of the Nathan lawsuit I think he’d deserve a second chance. But I guess if he is broke, Jose’s going to stay under the radar as much as possible. Probably makes it tough to make a comeback…

Anyway, Butch has got some affinity for southpaws. By my count that’s the fourth lefty reliever the Blue Crabs have acquired.

And finally, after reading your take on the Blue Crabs’ chances this season, I think I tend to agree with you. There’s bound to be some guy left off a Major League roster that could be useful. I guess there’s still time though.

11. Jeff - March 10, 2008

Ducks re-signed Randy Leek

12. Anonymous - March 10, 2008

Hey Mike

Can you tell us if Dwight Maness is coming back. He is usually an early signing for Camden and I see he didnt sign yet

13. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 10, 2008

Next time I speak with David Keller, I’ll try to remember to mention it…

14. LIpaperlantern - March 11, 2008

I’m gonna be the voice of controversy and say that SOMD will be alright. I think the Atlantic League is going to be surpised and what some of these players from “lesser competitive” Indy leagues can do!

15. Anonymous - March 11, 2008

just wondering where you got the indo on the Blue crabs trading with Kansas?

16. Anonymous - March 11, 2008

Hey Mike

Can you tell if Denny Abreu is commin back to play with Camden? And if you can maybe you can check if Ramon Linares,Mark Ion,and Craig Paquette is coming back? Thanks alot and this website is the best website and it keep me on track with baseball and the Atlantic League.

17. Mike - March 11, 2008

Was talking to someone in the league about some signings, and this person mentioned the Schweitzer move. I then did a quick search to double check it.

Abreu’s a possibility. Not sure on the other three…would doubt Paquette returns if Keller’s trying to build around youth.

18. Anonymous - March 11, 2008

Anyone think maybe Bubba Crosby, Tom Martin,chad moeller, scott williamson,matt mantei, scott spiezio, craig wilson, mike gonzalez, lance cormier,willie harris

19. Anonymous - March 11, 2008

Just curious who SOMD are trading for Schweitzer…any thoughts

20. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 12, 2008


21. Ian Housel - May 25, 2008

David Housel is my second cousin! I hope he makes it in the big leagues…maybe someday I’ll pitch against him in a major league game! Or better yet Ill be on his team.

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