Tag Archives: Ronaldo Hernandez

The Field of Dreams and other scenes at Hadlock Field

Ryan Fitzgerald and Devlin Granberg emerge from the corn
Grant Williams

(Portland ME) Plenty to see at Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Field of Dreams Show.

Jay Groome.

The last game (most likely) at Hadlock this season.

Triston Casas.

And Slugger doing a flip?

Sunny skies with an accompanying breeze made being at the park pleasurable for all of us.

The Field of Dreams Show is special.  It’s the Sea Dogs’ biggest event.  Why?  Folks know the movie and the players are dressed in older uniforms.  Also, the crowd gets shown some love.

The walk in from the cornfield

Pre-Covid the players would go up into the stands after they had wandered in from the cornfield in center.  Today, they lined up along the foul lines and applauded the crowd.

Plenty of photo-ops for everyone.

The opponent today was the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.  They’re in the New York Mets system.

There was a total of sixteen top-thirty prospects on the rosters of the two teams.  Only FOUR of them (Hayden Senger & Carlos Rincon for Binghamton and Jay Groome and Ronaldo Hernandez for Portland) actually were in the game.  A bit disappointing.

Jay Groome was the winning pitcher

But Boston’s prospect #8, Jay Groome, was pitching for Portland.  I hadn’t seen him in action before. Today he looked very good.

The 23-year-old was drafted in 2016 by the Red Sox in the first round (#12).  It has taken Jay a while to get to AA with Tommy John surgery a key part in the delay.  Jay pitched his first AA game last week in New Hampshire and had ten strikeouts.  Today it was nine K’s. 

In Portland’s (10-3) win this afternoon, Jay pitched the first six innings and allowed just two hits. The 6’6” lefty had batters struggling to make contact for most of the time.

It may be rushing things, but I wonder how far away the next levels are for a lefty who strikes people out.  Might Jay start at Portland next April before quickly moving on to Worcester?

The players applaud the fans

The Sea Dogs are on the road in Hartford (CT) next week to finish the regular season.  There is still a chance they could make the two-team, Northeast League playoffs.  They’ll need “help” from teams ahead of them to get it done.  I’m not counting on it happening, but you never know.

It has been nice to have games to attend.  Being back, but being kept off the field, has been a struggle for picture taking but I do have a 600mm lens!  I have also learned that I could get some pretty good shots through the backstop mesh.

One of the league changes that was implemented this year has teams playing in one place Tuesday-Sunday and then traveling (if needed) on Monday.  It must save money for the teams.  The league will use the same format next season.

Triston Casas and Tyreque Reed

Assuming there are no Hadlock playoff games, Triston Casas won’t be seen in AA again, in my opinion. Boston’s #2 prospect should start in AAA Worcester next year if not at Fenway. He’s that good with stats to confirm it!

Triston is a powerful, dedicated athlete.  In every game I’ve been at I’ve seen Triston as the most driven player when it comes to pregame activities.  He’s all business.

The 2018 first-rounder did not play today but I found him in the Field of Dreams Show.  He was the one carrying a cellphone and taking pictures.

Hayden Senger of Binghamton

Triston didn’t stay in the dugout during the game.  I did get a (final) picture of him leaving the park for maybe the last time?

I have always been Slugger’s top fan.  (I may have been the only one giving him a chance in his each-game race against young fans.)  I’ve missed that racing activity this season.  However, the big guy has been in the crowd regularly glad-handing and posing for pictures in 2021.

I have worried that Slugger might be getting out of shape minus his every-game racing.  It’s easy to slough off when the season is over.

I’m pleased to report that Slugger has kept in shape.  He came out between two of the innings this afternoon and did a very active dance routine.  The highlight, however, was the big guy doing a backflip.  It looked dangerous and I was worried for him as he attempted it.  But, not to worry, over he flipped with a great landing!  I’m proud of him.

Slugger does a dangerous backflip

I was hoping to get a look at the Mets #2 prospect (Brett Baty) but couldn’t find him.  He was listed as wearing #22 but I discovered, unfortunately, that another player (Manny Rodriguez) was also listed as wearing #22.  And I thought that high school rosters were confusing!

I did see Mets’ prospect #24, Carlos Rincon.  Carlos was picked up in a trade with the Dodgers this year. Today, Binghamton’s DH had a three-run homer.

I also saw Mets’ prospect #21, catcher Hayden Senger.  Hayden was selected by the Mets in the 24th round in 2018. He has been a big surprise so far with his quick progress in the Mets farm system.

Ronaldo Hernandez (Boston’s 22nd prospect) was in action today as a DH.  He had a part in Portland’s five-run second inning today.

Continued thanks, from me, to my friend Chris Cameron for his part in arranging my visits to Hadlock.  Things always seem to work without a hitch with him in charge.

I have finally figured out where to park to avoid the $10 close-to-the-stadium parking. I also need the exercise!

Looking forward to more time at Hadlock in 2022.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jay Groome had nine strikeouts in six innings
Portland catcher Roldani Baldwin
Jay Groome ready to pitch
Grant Williams leads off second base
Jeisson Rosario scores a run in the second inning
Hudson Potts takes up from third base
Hayden Senger in the Binghamton dugout
Jeisson Rosario makes a running catch
Devlin Granberg ready to bat
Jay Groome checked by the umpires
Triston Casas
Triston Casas leaves Hadlock Field for the last time?
Antoine Duplantis and Josh Hejka
Wagner Lagrange
Yoel Romero and Raul Beracierta
Field of Dreams narrator and Sea Dogs radio announcer Emma Tiedemann

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Filed under Field of Dreams, Hadlock Field, Portland Sea Dogs

Chris Sale continues to rehab nicely

Chris Sale did a rehab start in Portland today
Chris Sale struck out nine Senators

(Portland ME) It’s been nearly two years since Chris Sale last pitched at the major league level.

He needed surgery (Tommy John) and he had it. Then the lengthy process to get back with the Red Sox and contribute began.

In the early weeks and months, it was easy to wonder if he would ever pitch again. Many of us lost track of him.

Lose track of him no more.  He is back and his chances of helping the first-place Red Sox are beginning to seem like a real possibility.

This afternoon Chris pitched for the first-place Portland Sea Dogs.  It was his third rehab effort in game conditions.

“Today was good,” said Chris afterwards.  “I don’t think that I was quite as consistent, however, with all my pitches.  All of my mistakes and misfires today caught too much zone.”

Osvaldo Duarte had a double and a homer against Chris Sale

Today’s opponent was the Harrisburg Senators.  Chris faced the same team on Tuesday.

“On Tuesday, when I would make a bad pitch, they were more on the outside of the plate,” he said. “If I made a bad pitch today it was in the middle of the plate, and they obviously capitalized on it.  They came out swinging.”

In 3 2/3 innings Chris gave up six hits to go with nine strikeouts.

The Sea Dogs ended up winning, 6-5, on a walk-off hit by Devlin Granberg.

Portland was ahead when Chris finished.  He noted that in the during-the-game press conference: “We’re still ahead.  The point of this is winning the game.  We’re on track.”

Chris Sale strikes out Jackson Cluff to end the third inning

Chris downplayed pitch velocity as too important so far.  “I threw a couple of 4’s and 5’s which is good for me.  Velocity is not the Number One thing on my list when I’m going out there to pitch.  That’ll take care of itself.”

Credit Harrisburg.  This is a 25-46 team, in last place, that Chris held hitless on Tuesday.  Today they came out hacking and making some contact. 

Osvaldo Duarte (ninth in the Harrisburg batting order) had a career day with three hits.  Two of them were off Chris who praised Osvaldo for his at-bats against him.

“He put a really good swing on that changeup (442-foot homer).  In his last at bat (double), I threw him a 1-1 fastball right off the plate.  He did exactly what he’s supposed to do: He took it the other way and didn’t try to do too much.”

The best part of Chris’s afternoon, in my opinion, was the third inning.  After Osvaldo’s homer tied the score, the Senators quickly had runners on first and third with no outs.  Big inning?  Chris would have none of it.  It was almost as if he was on as the closer in the World Series.  (Who can forget that performance!)  He mixed pitches and pounded the zone and Harrisburg couldn’t score.

KJ Harrison swings and misses

“I had to pitch out of some stuff,” said Chris.  “It was actually a good situation for me to be in.  It’s the time when your back is up against the wall.  Between the catcher (Ronaldo Hernandez) and I, we worked through that pretty well.”

Chris said that he threw more changeups today than he did on Tuesday.  “One of those changeups got hit pretty far,” he laughed.  “That pitch is one that I’ve got to get back on top of.  It was a good pitch for me a while ago and I need to refine it a little bit more and have some confidence in throwing it.”

Reading about Chris and listening to him this afternoon, I think that the part of the rehab that pleases him the most is the time between starts.  “My in-between days have been locked in for a while,” he said.  “It’s been a bright spot.  I’ve gotten into a better routine to know what my arm, body, and mind need in the days between starts.  Even the first couple of days after a start I’m bouncing back pretty good.  Just got to keep it rolling.”

Conference at the mound as Chris finishes pitching

“Rolling” is certainly what the Sea Dogs are doing.  They have now won eighteen of their last nineteen games.  They own the best record (45-24) in Double A.  Players get called up to Worcester.  Players are missing because they’re in the Olympics.  Nothing changes.  The team keeps winning. 

Chris loved being with the Sea Dogs

This is what Chris Sale had to say about being with the Sea Dogs this week: “I love this team.  They asked me if I wanted to go back to Boston in between starts and I said, ‘Absolutely, not!’  I wanted to stay here.  This is fun for me.  I appreciate these guys letting me be part of the team.  They’ve had something going for a few months now.  They made me feel welcome.  This is a gritty team.  They’re very talented.  These guys swing the bat about as well as anybody I’ve ever seen.  I’ve been talking a lot with the pitching staff bouncing ideas off; arm angles, pitch sequences etc..  Just pitching stuff.  I’ve appreciated how they’ve let me walk into their house and hang out for a week.”

The soggy weather delayed the start of the game for fifty minutes.  That sure helped me because I hesitated to even come because of the rainy forecast.  I arrived at 1:15 thinking I was late but soon happily realized that I was early.

Very attentive crowd.  The need for entertainment, other than baseball, was minimal.  Not too many kids in the crowd.  Most attending were adults who saw a chance to watch one of baseball’s best pitchers closeup and took it.  I was one of them!

Chris gets checked after an inning

Thanks, as always, to Chris Cameron for the arrangements he made on my behalf.

The Sea Dogs are home for six games with New Hampshire starting Tuesday.  They are well worth a look.

Chris Sale will probably get a start in Worcester (AAA) this week.  I wish him the best.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyreque Reed
Drinking Poland Springs in front of Wymans
Chris in his windup
2B Nick Sogard
Jake Alu had a double off Chris Sale
Chris leaves the mound after the first inning
Harrisburg starter Jackson Tetreault
Pedro Castellanos at bat
Ryan Fitzgerald homered
Tyreque Reed homered
Chris looks in to pitch

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Filed under Chris Sale, Harrisburg Senators, Portland Sea Dogs

Prospect picturing in Manchester NH

Triston Casas is Boston’s top prospect
Austin Martin was chosen 5th in last year’s draft

(Manchester NH) Minor league baseball is back!

And I’m glad.

I enjoy going.

What do I like about minor league ball? 

Maybe it’s the nonstop whiffs of food that I shouldn’t be eating but crave.

More likely, it’s how hard the stadium staff and the players work to make it enjoyable. 

I’m walking along at today’s Fisher Cats’ game and a staff member cautions me about an untied shoelace. 

Players were warming up near the stands in rightfield.  A throw went into the stands. It didn’t come close to anyone, but it startled several of them.  The players involved rushed over to apologize and gave a baseball to one of the spectators.

Gabriel Moreno is Toronto’s 7th prospect

These are little things, but they make you glad you’re there and you want to come back.

I go to minor league games as a photographer.  I never plan to cover the games the way I do with high school sports.  There won’t be interviews with anyone post-game.

I did interview Tyler Murray pre-game today.  He’s the radio voice of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

I have only interviewed one minor league player.  I wanted to try it.  I got Mike Antonellis (then radio voice of the Portland Sea Dogs) to set me up to interview Bobby Dalbec.

Ronoldo Hernandez is Boston’s 11th prospect

I admit I was a bit nervous going into it because I hardly knew Bobby.  I don’t recall what I asked him but I do know that I got him to pose for a picture when the interview was over.  The picture IMO was a good one.

The only problem with the Bobby Dalbec interview was that I had forgotten to turn my digital recorder on!  Embarrassing, to say the least.  Maybe that’s why I stick to pictures when I go to minor league games.

When I saw that the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox farm team) were the opponent for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this afternoon, I made the arrangements to attend.

I NEVER go to a minor league game without knowing the names (numbers) of the top prospects on both teams.  I certainly want Red Sox prospects but often the other team has future stars as well.

My prospect chasing actually started in Portland when 19-year-old Bryce Harper was a late-in-the-season addition to the Harrisburg Senators.  When the Senators came to Portland I was able to find, and picture Bryce, even though he wasn’t playing. 

Triston Casas had a 3-run homer

I was after Triston Casas today.  The 20-year-old is Boston’s top prospect.  The first baseman is tall and powerful.  He had a three-run homer this afternoon. 

The Fisher Cats had numerous prospects on their roster.

“According to MLB.com, the Fisher Cats have the third-most, loaded roster in minor league baseball,” Tyler Murray told me.

Simon Woods Richardson is the second-best pitcher in the Toronto minor league system.  He pitched last night.

Triston Casas heads for the dugout after signing a lot of autographs
Ball loose on a play at second base

Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans are former first-round picks.  Austin was chosen 5th last year while Jordan was chosen 12th in 2018.

Jordan was injured but I did get to see Austin.  He was in center this afternoon.  He is listed as the 22nd best prospect in the minors.  Jordan is a shortstop and he’s the 46th best prospect. 

Austin didn’t get any hits today, but he did have two outfield assists.

Gabriel Moreno is a catcher (He was the DH today) and is #7 on the Blue Jays prospect list.  He had a hit and an RBI today.

I saw two other Top Thirty prospects for Boston; Ronaldo Hernandez (11th) and Jeisson Rosario (21st).

The Sea Dogs won today’s game, 7-2, getting six runs off two relievers in the 8th and 9th innings.  Triston and Joey Menesses homered during the six-run rally.

Triston Casas takes a practice swing

Josh Winckowski started for the Sea Dogs.  He came from the New York Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City last year.

The Fisher Cats starter (Elvis Luciano) went out with an injury unable to finish the first inning.

Minor League Baseball has been keeping the media away from the teams.  “It’s been difficult to get to know the players personally because we’ve been separated from them,” said Tyler.

Those restrictions impact how close photographers can get too.  I now own a 600m lens and it came in handy today.

Tyler on how things are going: “Last night we had an awesome crowd.  We’ll be near to 100% capacity on June 1st.  Vaccinated fans don’t need to wear masks anymore.”

Jeisson Rosario in the Portland dugout

Tyler on how the stadium was used with no baseball last season: “We didn’t have baseball so we ended up hosting twenty special events, mostly high school and college graduations.  We have the room.  People had such a good time that we now have more graduations booked than last year.”

The scheduling is different.  The teams now play Tuesday-Sunday in the same city.  Monday is a travel day.

“I love the scheduling,” said Tyler.  “It saves travel.  We’d have a game end in New Jersey at 11PM and then have to drive to Maine.  We’d get in about 5AM.  It was tough with no days off. One city with consistent days off has been great so far.”

Austin Martin stretches pre-game

Tyler was excited about the future.  “It’s good to have the whole staff back.  Many staff members were furloughed during last season.”

More than 134 former Fisher Cats have appeared in the big leagues.  There are plenty of good players going through here.

Two years ago, I trekked to Manchester (NH) numerous times to see Vladi Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and Caven Biggio.

I would encourage folks to check out the Fisher Cats.  The stadium is a 42-minute ride from Amesbury via 495, 93, and 293. 

Being close to the action is guaranteed. Book a date, do your homework, and bring a camera.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Pitcher Willy Gaston
Vinny Capra (3 hits) leads off first base
Triston Casas returns to Portland dugout
Triston Casas at first base
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
Roldani Baldwin being checked out after being hit by a pitch
1B Nick Podkul
LJ Talley 3B
SS Kevin Vicuna
Portland starter Josh Winckowski
Players interact
Jeisson Rosario batting
2B Grant Williams
Gabriel Moreno batting
Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano
Catcher Chris Bec
Austin Martin
Pitcher Andrew McInvale

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs