Road Trip to Cooperstown: Oklahoma City to Knoxville

Two guys have been adrift at sea in a small boat for several days. One looks concerned.

“What’s wrong,” asks the other, “did we spring a leak?”

“No, it’s just that…”

“What? What is it?”

“Well, I thought the ocean would be larger.”

* * *

I couldn’t get to Knoxville in time for the Smokies game. I have only myself to blame, and I’m okay with that.

When it’s Trevor Hoffman‘s turn to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I’ll spread the trip over more days. Either that, or I’ll pop open a cold beverage, plant my lily white ass on the couch, and watch on television like sane people do.

I’m well beyond exhausted, and food has lost its appeal, but one moment on Wednesday brought a huge smile to my face. I had completely forgotten about a pilgrimage I once vowed to make. Ladies and gentlemen, Bucksnort, Tennessee:

Bucksnort, Tenn.

* * *

Next up, Durham. In 1902, the Durham Bulls finished their inaugural campaign in the Class C North Carolina League with a 23-39 record, good for fifth place in a six-team league. Otis Stockdale managed the club, and Charlotte’s Buck Weaver (you may remember him) hit .325 to lead the league before it folded on July 15, 1902. Durham would have to wait 11 more years to field another minor-league baseball team.

[Source: Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: The Official Record of Minor League Baseball (aff link)].

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49 Responses »

  1. Wow Hoffy and Peavy slamming the Padres over the Linebrink trade.

  2. Geoff, good thing I didn’t go to Knoxville to try to meet up with you. I would have been disappointed. :)

    Bucksnort is a pretty hilarious little town. I always laugh every time I drive through there on the way to Memphis.

    By the way, I think you’ll love Durham — I just reviewed that ballpark here.

    I’m really envious of your trip, and I’m glad you’re having fun!

  3. 1: I’d be more curious to hear Maddux’s reaction. Peavy is a hothead and Trevor is of course going to be upset to lose his fellow leader of the bullpen. Maddux is the one that’s been screwed the most by Liney of late, yet the one most likely to look at things objectively.

  4. OUCH … forecast for Sunday @ Cooperstown is …

    Showers, maybe a rumble of thunder. Highs in the upper 70s.


    This is where I’m really counting on the weather forecasters being WRONG!!! :-(

    (ps. anyone else experience a “database burp” here a few mins ago?)

  5. Those guys are going to have to defend their teammate. I do think that the Padres have another trade coming, one that will probably make the guys in the clubhouse a little more happy.

    Also, according to the UT, the Padres spent more than a million on the two Dominican kids that we signed (both 16).

  6. I would Imagine that all of the Padre players are upset that they got rid of a major leauge player for 3 prospects at the deadline, out of context it looks like the Padres are sellers (we all know that they are not).

    Im sure Maddux is not thrilled with the move because they traded a vetrain player for 2 prospects who probably wont wear a Padre uniform in the same year that he does and an unproven pitcher to take linebrinks place.

    Dont get me wrong I really like this move, but this is more of a move for 09 not 07.

  7. Don’t mind moving Liny, (btw way, thanks Linbrick for some great years!), but for pitching prospects!? We need offensive help, we are completely unbalanced as a team. I’d take a avg guy over a big bopper, but, as Pink Flyod would saw, is there anybody out there?

  8. I like the trade a lot! I know we need offense right now but to me it would appear the KT probably took the best prospect (Inman) he was offered and then squeezed 2 more arms out of it. I think there might be a deal or two out there to strengthen the bench but I don’t see anything ground breaking happening.

  9. Re: 7 I dont think Rowand or Dye were on the table for Linebrink anymore so I think it was a good move, the Padres are going to have some great young pitching for the next decade.


    I know not all of them will work out but at least its better than where the Padres were last year.

  10. 7: Our BP has been struggling of late, CY is hurt, we have three league-average pitchers in the starting rotation. We needed pitching help.

    Offensively we need more 3b and 2b. Sure, it’d be nice to get an 850 OPS from RF, but that seems harder to find. Dye may be that bat or may not, and if OG was the same size as Dave Roberts nobody would be complaining about his 386 OBP. That money is sunk, at least he’s getting on base.

    Kouz is probably average for a 3b now; I don’t want to hear the post-April stats, because they’re based almost entirely on his ridiculous May. Since June 1 he’s about a 750 OPS with another sterling Padre OBP of 300. That still leaves NOG far behind.

  11. 10.

    That’s a decent list of pitching prospects. The only problem with them is that outside of Latos most of them have very similar skill sets. Don’t get me wrong it’s a much better list than I can probably ever remember us having in terms of prospects but a lot of those guys look VERY similar.

  12. 11: You must not remember 2000, 2001, or 2002, when we had Peavy, Baxter (RIP), Tankersley, Perez, Howard, Cyr, and others.

  13. Law rips Brewers for trade but also finds a way to take shots at the Padres as well.

  14. 12.

    Yeah you remember better than I do I really only remeber Peavy, Tank, and Perez being highly thought of but I was like 18 and did a lot more than sit on the computer all day and nerd out on baseball like I do now.

  15. Padres Prospect Report

    You will not see Scott Linebrink in a Padres uni. I do not know why opposing general managers listen to Kevin Towers on pitching trades.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007


    Jack Cassel: 8.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 2 HR


    G1 – postponed…
    G2 – postponed…


    Shawn Estes: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR


    No games scheduled…

    Short Season-A

    Eric Sogard: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 3 RBI; HR, BB
    Yefri Carvajal: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI
    John Hussey: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR – weird line


    Edison Rincon: 3 AB, 1 R, 0 H, 0 RBI; BB, SO – U.S. debut
    Edgar Garzon: 4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 0 RBI; SO


    Will Inman probably won’t be the #1 rated Padre prospect this off-season (he was #3 for the Brewers this past off-season), but he probably will be in the discussion for the top 5. Baseball America ranked him the 91st best prospect in baseball. At the mid-season point, BA said, “Brewers righty Will Inman has done what scouts feared he might do—run into a wall in Double-A, giving up five homers in his first 22 innings. He’ll have to adjust to avoid just being a Class A phenom.”

    I think he’s doing fine. Even in AA, where in Inman has supposedly “run into a wall,” he has given up only 38 hits in 39+ innings with 42 strikeouts and 16 walks… Additionally, Inman has only given 2 more HR since the first 5 he gave up in his first 22 IP.

    Will Inman’s accumulative stats (High-A & AA) for 2007:

    5-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 118.1 IP, 94 H, 11 HR, 39 BB, 140 SO

    The other two minor league pitchers, Joe Thatcher and Steve Garrison, ranked 23 and 27 in the Milwaukee organization in Baseball America’s 2007 Prospect Handbook.

    Edison Rincon will turn 17 in August. He’s 16 and playing professional baseball in the States. 16! Before being promoted from the Dominican League, Rincon hit .288/.379/.392 in 125 AB (7 doubles, 2 home runs).

  16. Someone on reported that those 5 HR in 22 IP happened while he pitching w/ Mono… (I have no way to validate that but it’s pretty amazing that someone would even try to pitch through mono…

  17. Re 13: I really think Law doesn’t like the Padres… That said, I agree, I was talking to Paul R (poster above) yesterday and he joked that opposing GMs should do the following:

    KT: We’re interested in that AAA bullpen guy you have, Joe Thatcher…

    Melvin: Really….

    (covering the phone and talking to his assistant) Let’s call up Joe Thatcher.

  18. 12; tom, don’t forget Wascar Serrano. I remember when he was the next big thing as well.

    Also, I’d disagree the assertion that those pitchers are that similar. Carrillo and Latos are power pitchers, Inman is a strikeout pitcher despite stuff that doesn’t look that great on paper, Ramos is a finesse lefty and LeBlanc and Schmidt seem to be an upgraded versions of Ramos-more velocity and hopefully better results. It will be exciting to see what the rotation surrounding Peavy and Young will look like in 2009.

  19. Im a little suprised that the padres are bringing Thatcher up to the big club, with Hensley up the Pads have 13 Pitchers and only 4 bench players. With the offensive woes can they really afford to have the lack of bench depth?

  20. In other new, Kevin Goldstein from BP ranked Matt Antonelli as the best 2B prospect in the minor leagues.

  21. I just get all tingly now when KT trades for pitchers.

  22. 19: I was a bit surprised as well. I thought that we’d move Thatcher to the Padres, but I thought that we’d move another reliever down (Do we need Brocail, Hampson, and Cameron on this team? It seems like that’s 3 guys who essentially only get mop-up work.) I wouldn’t mind DFAing Brocail…

  23. Of the 3 highly regarded domincan players the Padres signed these past couple of months, who is considered the gem of the 3 (Rincon, Spraut, or Liriano)?

  24. 19, 22: That suggests to me they might be going with a reliever to get CY’s start(s). Nobody in the pen is stretched out enough to give you more than 5 IP tops, and if he has to make two starts, that’s a lot of BP innings.

    But 13 pitchers in general is atrocious. If we had a AAA starter worth calling up we could put CY on the DL.

    Brocail was a bad sign last year, a bad re-sign this year. A few lucky outings at the beginning of the season, but he’s been way too hittable for most of his career.

  25. 24: Justin Germano really was that AAA guy, he just ended up pitching so well that he stayed up and has apparently gotten over exposed (although 3 of yesterdays runs could be attributed more to Russell Branyan than to Germano). Also, we expected to have Mike Thompson down in AAA, but he’s pitched terribly. I agree with you Tom, I’d bet that the start goes to Hampson or Hensley and the other relieves in the 4th or 5th.

    I hope that Brocail is the odd man out after CY’s turn in the rotation passes.

  26. 23: I believe that Spraut is the most highly regarded (mostly because we had to pay the most (about 700,000 to get him)

  27. Re: 25 Young wont miss a start untill sunday why not wait untill then to bring someone up to make the start, why kill the bench for the next 3 games?

  28. Cruz, Blum, Branyan, Bard/Barrett = not good

  29. i hate brocail.

    forget DFAing him just release him

    and as for having that many picthers on the roster im almost positive they are showcasing hensley for a trade, or someone at least…..

    theyre prolly seeing if hensleys injuries are past him, and if he can bring his stuff back at the Major League Level, if he can he can go right back in the rotation or straight out the door for a bat.

    im just speculating, but theres really no other reason for them to carry that many

  30. 29: I agree, Brocail just needs to be released. he is doing a job our young pitchers can do to get ML experience. It would probably be yet another emotional hit to the clubhouse, but this is thier job and that kind of thing shouldnt play a role in thier performance.

  31. well. i mean yeah it definitely shouldnt matter how swell of a guy he is or whatever else it is….

    hes simply not getting the job done. and you sure dont win that way

  32. 29: Tom is right. Pitching Hensley at the major league level is likely not showcasing him. I think that he’s been brought up to see if he can be a useful part of our pen and if being back on the big league roster can get him out of his funk.

  33. 32: I guess that is something we will find out for sure real soon.

  34. 32: Just to be clear, they may still trade Hensley, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. But his value isn’t going to change from what it is now unless his next appearance is really good or really bad. A 5IP, 3R, 4K, 2BB performance doesn’t move the needle.

  35. A buddy of mine sent me the following email in which he sums up the trade :

    The Padres ripped off the Brewers. Linebrink has not been a “lights out” set up guy since 2005, and he wasn’t even the Padres best setup guy anymore, and he is going to be a free agent at the end of the year.

    Here are some numbers to show where Linebrink is now compared to what he was:

    ERA 2.82, WHIP 1.27, OSLG% .347, K/9 7.57, H/9 8.16
    ERA 2.14, WHIP 1.04, OSLG% .342, K/9 8.89, H/9 6.54
    ERA 1.83, WHIP 1.06, OSLG% .312, K/9 8.55, H/9 6.72
    ERA 3.57, WHIP 1.22, OSLG% .382, K/9 8.09, H/9 8.33
    ERA 3.80, WHIP 1.22, OSLG% .427, K/9 5.00, H/9 8.20

    Obviously, 2004 and 2005 Linebrink was awesome. His 2006 year was almost identical, for reference purposes, to Hector Carrasco’s 2006 year.
    Linebrink last year: ERA 3.57, WHIP 1.22, OSLG% .382, K/9 8.09, H/9 8.33
    Carrasco last year: ERA3.41, WHIP 1.20, OSLG% .381, K/9 6.46, H/9 8.34

    And Linebrink got worse this year. A 3.80 ERA in that ballpark down there is absolutely nothing to be excited about. That equates to about a 4.50 ERA in plenty of other places. When he gets to pitch at Petco and opponents can slug .427 against him, that tells you something.

    Just for some perspective on hitters slugging .427 against him this year, here are a couple of pitchers who had similar OSLG% last year: Jose Mesa, Elmer Dessens, Latroy Hawkins, and Dustin McGowan.

    Right around 2005 and 2005, Linebrink was probably the most underrated relief pitcher in baseball. But from 2006 to present, he is been absolutely nothing special at all, and he has actually become one of the more overrated pitchers out there. And there are no statistical indicators that he will return to his old form. Just the opposite. Look at those trends from the above stats.

    The Padres ripped off the Brewers big time. If even one of these three end up being a good bullpen guy for the Padres, then they won the deal. But Will Inman, even though he doesn’t throw hard, is a pretty good bet to be a decent starter for the Padres for years to come.

  36. Well, we won’t have Linebrink to “kick around anymore.”
    Great person, having a bad year. Sorry to see him go.

  37. 36: It’s more likely that he’s entered the decline phase of his career than that it’s just a bad year. His peripherals are lousy.

  38. 37: I agree, you could see it coming last year. He is getting older, his stuff isnt going to get any better.

  39. DePodesta was just on the radio, he said Inman is now our #1 pitching prospect

  40. 39.

    Really? Did he say anything else?

  41. 40: Not much else. He profiled each of the guys that we received and said that the Padres don’t view Thatcher as just a lefty specialist, they think that his cut fastball will get righties out as well. He also said that this is the best offer that they’ve had for Linebrink over the last two years. I have a hard time believing that, but I guess it depends on how much that they value Inman

  42. 40: Just that he likes the guys, that it was a deal they couldnt pass up. A lot of scripted stuff. But he had good things to say about all 3 pitchers. He said Inman hasnt hit a wall like people said, he just had a few starts to transistion to AA and has a 2.50 ERA over his last 5 starts. He said Thatcher can get both LH anr RH out and has a nasty cutter and movement on all his pitches. He said all 3 guys have great command, which is what you expect from pitchers we pick up.

    OT: I am liking more and more the idea of Mark Loretta coming here and hitting 2nd. He seems like the perfect guy to hit after B Giles. And his numbers w/RISP are 3rd in the NL and his numbers with men on in general are great. I think if we can get him, he helps this team. He isnt a great defender, but he doesnt make stupid mistakes on defense and can play anywhere.

  43. I think that we’ll probably have to overpay for Loretta a little. The Mets are looking for a 2B and the Yankees are supposedly in on him as well.

  44. Well he may be worth it because we arent hitting at all, it will be interesting to see what happens. We definitely need to make a move to help this offense. Giles walking and Bradley brining him in once or twice a game isnt going to get it done.

  45. Hey Peter aka Less,

    I noticed Shawn Estes’s line in your report. Do you know much else about his rehab?

  46. 44: Getting the hitters to stop swinging at first pitch every AB is a start.

  47. 46, yeah sure they swing at the first damn pitch and take the next 2 down the middle w/o swingin for strikes 2 and 3. i cringe watching that time after time after time…….

  48. The thing is if every batter would take the first two pitches for strikes and then swing and miss on the third one, that would be 81 pitches for a perfect game.

    It’s nuts to swing at the first pitch up and down the lineup. The first guy failed and then the next guy tried the same approach too. Maybe, it is a contagious approach to hitting. OG seems to be the only one immune to this disease.

  49. 42: Loretta’s 42nd in the NL in NETDP (The number of additional double plays generated versus an average player with the same number of opportunities.). Grounding into more double plays than the average player doesn’t strike me as a desirable quality in the #2 hole.