Wednesday, October 21, 2020

BlueClaws re-brand as Jersey Shore

The BlueClaws has long claimed to be the Jersey Shore's baseball team and on Wednesday they made it official, as the Phillies' Class A affiliate re-branded itself.  Changing their name from the Lakewood BlueClaws to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the team made the announcement at Asbury Park's Convention Hall.

Per a release from the team:

"This is truly a banner day for the BlueClaws and the Jersey Shore,” said Art Matin, managing partner of Shore Town Baseball, the partnership that operates the BlueClaws. “Shore Town Baseball has added a mini golf course, boardwalk game area, and Biergarten to FirstEnergy Park over the last several seasons to help bring the ‘Shore feeling’ to the ballpark. The Jersey Shore BlueClaws is the natural next step. We couldn’t be more excited.”

While the club keeps its nickname of the BlueClaws, they unveiled new logos, updated caps and a fresh home uniform.

Image via BlueClaws

Ironically, I have talked to many players over the years that have come to New Jersey for the first time in their lives, upon being assigned to play with the 'Claws, with their only knowledge of the state being from the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore".

Also announced on Wednesday, the team has exercised a 10-year team option on the FirstEnergy Park lease with the Township of Lakewood.  

The BlueClaws were set to celebrate their 20th season in Lakewood this year, before the entire minor league schedule was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

In their 19 seasons, the team has won the South Atlantic League championship three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010.  

I invite you to check out my Patreon page, where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Connor Hinchliffe, image- GoExplorers.com
I invite you to check out my Patreon page, where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels.

Promising pitcher Connor Hinchliffe took time to answer questions for me recently, providing insight on how he has dealt with missing the full 2020 season due to the global coronavirus pandemic.  While I was interacting with the Pottsville, PA native, he also responded to some non-baseball related inquiries, answering Nine Silly-ass Questions for me.

Signed as an undrafted free agent last year out of LaSalle, Hinchliffe was assigned to the Rookie level Gulf Coast League where, in 16 outings, the right-hander posted a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against along with a 1.26 WHIP.

Read ahead for my latest interview with Connor as we talk hard-hitting topics such as Star Wars, Halloween costumes and music!

-Who is your favorite non-baseball athlete?

Bryson DeChambeau. I have been following him recently and how he is changing the game of golf. Golf is a sport that has rich traditions, much like baseball and going against them usually has some backlash. He is starting to train and play golf using analytics and non-traditional training (like baseball) which is fun to observe.

-Who is the best character from Star Wars?

Darth Vader. I think the movies wouldn’t be what they are without a legendary villain. Darth Vader is a very cool and interesting character throughout all of the movies. 

-Do you have a favorite Halloween costume from your youth?
 
My favorite Halloween costume has to be White Goodman. Dodgeball came out when I was maybe 7 or 8 and my whole friend group went as the Purple Cobras. 

-Seeds or gum?  And what flavor?
 
Seeds. If I had to pick one flavor I’d pick cracked pepper. We haven’t had baseball in a while, but since my senior year I actually started to eat pistachios during the games rather than seeds. Big fan. 

-Who is the coolest teammate you have with the Phillies?
 
The coolest teammate I have has to be Andrick Nava, AKA “The Poison”. I walked by his locker one day and he actually had seven boxes of custom Nike’s with his nickname on them. Very Show.

-What track you bumpin'?
 
I’m always bumpin’ a variety of music. My playlists range from the '70's to now. Lots of rock, alternative rock, pop, rap, and even some country. I am not a country fan but some songs are starting to grow on me. 

-What is a food that you hear people like, but deep down you know they are wrong and it truly sucks?
 
Hands down sauerkraut. I mean read that word.  How could any one actually like it? The name of it doesn’t even sound good. I can’t imagine someone eating that without a gun to their head. It smells awful. 

-Tell me a word that rhymes with your favorite curse word?
 
Hit!

-Have you watched The Boys on Amazon Prime yet?  If so, talk about how great it is.  If not, how soon can I provide you with a bootlegged log-in, so you can watch it?
 
I have watched The Boys. I’ve been on it since it released last year and now watching season two every Friday. The show it’s very unique and I appreciate that. I’m a huge fan of super hero movies in general, so I like how they have super heroes, but it’s not actually about their powers. It’s about satirizing their personalities and, a lot of the time, how they are corrupt.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Notes from Phils fall instructs

Subscribers of my Patreon site have gotten some details from the Phillies' Fall Instructs in recent days.  

The Florida Instructional League is an annual month-long off-season combine that will feature workouts as well as practices and regularly pits players from different organizations against one another in exhibition games.  This year's version in a pandemic impacted world won't see different teams facing one another, but the Phillies' players will see exhibition competition, as the organization is slated to have some intrasquad games in the coming weeks.

Players that are currently in Clearwater, FL seeing some long overdue time on the field include this year's first round draft selection Mick Abel.  The high school hurler inked a deal for over $4 million dollars after  being taken with the 15th overall pick in June.

Francisco Morales, image- Jay Floyd
Highly touted Venezuelan pitcher Francisco Morales is also in attendance.  The 20-year-old right-hander entered the 2020 season as the organization's 3rd ranked prospect.  He competed at Class A Lakewood last season and would have been part of the Class A Advanced Clearwater staff to open the season this year, if the season would have happened.  

Righty Joel Cesar is also in Clearwater.  He's the player-to-be-named-later that the Phils acquired from the Pirates in the deal for Austin Davis.  The 24-year-old has pitched as high as the Double-A Eastern League, with Altoona, in 2019.

Other well known pitchers participating in Phils fall instructs include Bailey Falter, Nick Fanti, Erik Miller, Dom Pipkin, Ben Brown and Jack Perkins.  

Outfielder Matt Vierling, who saw some action with the big league club in spring training this year, is in attendance.  Vierling, a Notre Dame product, was the Phillies' 5th round draft pick in 2018.  The righty batting 24-year-old would have been part of the Double-A Reading Fightins this year.  

Simon Muzziotti, Jhailyn Ortiz, Johan Rojas and Baron Radcliffe are also among the outfielders taking part in instructs.  

Promising infielders Kendall Simmons, Luis Garcia, Jamari Baylor and Jonathan Guzman are all in attendance as well.

Edgar Cabral, Herbert Iser and Andrick Nava are among the catchers present.

For the complete roster of players, have a look at my instructs post over on Patreon.  Subscribers get access to exclusive interviews and early access to other news and notes from the Phillies developmental ranks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe talks cancelled 2020 season

LaSalle University product Connor Hinchliffe was a noteworthy acquisition in the Phillies' developmental ranks last year when he posted standout numbers after signing as an undrafted free agent.  

In 16 appearances in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League last year, the right-hander notched a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against as well as a 1.26 WHIP.

Last week I talked with Connor, who is not in attendance for the Phils' Fall Instructional League in Florida, about missing an entire year of competing, how he's staying in shape and more.  Read ahead for that interview.  

-How has the year been for you?  Staying healthy?  

My year has been great despite everything going on.  Feeling great.  

-Have you been able to find any silver lining in this missed 2020 season?

COVID has impacted the lives of many since its arrival. For myself, it meant a lost year of playing time with the Phillies. While it is true I won’t get this year back, that does not mean it was lost. This time off has given me so much insight in how I approach training and getting better as an athlete, on and off the field. It has given me time to develop my abilities and further my knowledge of the game.

The complete version of this interview can be viewed over on my Patreon page.  Supporters of my work on Patreon get access to exclusive interviews plus early access to features and news.