Archive for April, 2007

Eye balls are here

April 30, 2007

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We just received a delivery of “eye balls.”

These softee balls are sponsored by our official team eye doctors at American Eye Care. We’ll be shooting and throwing these into the stands during our home games, starting tonight. And starting in May, we’re going to try shooting hot dogs in the stands, too. So, when you come to Bees games this season, you’ll have the chance to catch more than just t-shirts!

Good bye, Marc Maddox; Hello, Jeff Bianchi

April 30, 2007

Over the weekend, Marc Maddox became the first member of the 2007 Bees to receive a promotion. The Royals sent the third baseman to the High-A Wilmington (Delaware) Blue Rocks in the Carolina League.

Maddox joins a Wilmington team whose entire infield is comprised of former Bees: first basemen Kila Kaaihue and Miguel Vega; second baseman Wilver Perez; shortstops Valentino Arce and Josh Johnson; and third baseman “Super” Mario Lisson. In fact, Maddox is the 18th former Bee to suit up for the Blue Rocks this season.

Maddox’s departure is a hit to the Bees offense, as he was the team’s only .300 hitter. The good news is that the Royals have sent us another hot infield prospect with a potent bat. We welcome to Burlington Jeff Bianchi, who was selected by KC in the second round of the 2005 draft.

A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Bianchi has hit an eye-popping .414 in two seasons of rookie ball. He batted .429 in a 2006 season that was limited to just 12 games due to a shoulder injury.

We’re excited to have Bianchi on board, as the Bees try to snap a three-game losing skid. It started on Fireworks Friday in front of the season’s largest crowd here at The Hive, then continued with two more tough losses in Davenport.

The Bees welcome the Lansing Lugnuts for a four-game series. For the second-straight Dollar Monday, we’ve got sunshine and warm weather. Hopefully, we’ll also have another great crowd and another Bees win.

Speedy Robinson joins Bees

April 27, 2007

We welcome to the team Derrick Robinson, who was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round of last June’s draft. The outfielder will probably make his Burlington debut tonight.

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Robinson passed up a scholarship offer to play cornerback for his hometown Florida Gators (the national champion Florida Gators). Prior to the 2006 draft, Baseball America rated him as the fastest baserunner in the high-school ranks. Following last season, that same publication named Robinson the fastest baserunner and the best athlete in the Royals’ minor league system.

In the last week, the Royals have sent us two of their top picks from the 2006 draft: Robinson and pitcher Jason Godin, a fifh-round selection.

Home winning streak, fireworks, and ribs

April 27, 2007

Your Bees won their fourth-straight home game last night, thanks to steady pitching from Mario Santiago, wild pitching from the Swing of the Quad Cities, and timely hits from Joe Dickerson and Chris McConnell.

Burlington improved to 10-8 by downing the Swing, 7-3. Get the full story here.

It’s a great day for the Bees to keep rolling here at The Hive. It’s Friday, it’s warm and sunny, and we’ve got fireworks and ribs. We hope you can join us for the season’s first Fireworks Friday, sponsored by Budweiser, J&M Displays, Hit Music Channel Hot 97 Dot 3, and Big Country 103.1. During the game, you can chew on some tasty ribs from The Drake Restaurant and Bar. They’re slow-cooking right now, and you can get them right off the grill under the red tent by the Budweiser Party Deck. The plan is for The Drake to cook up ribs for our Friday home games this season.

Speaking of The Drake, the restaurant on the riverfront is sponsoring a “Player of the Month” contest. Fans can vote here in the souvenir store at our home games tonight and Monday (Balloting started last night). By voting, you’re giving yourself a chance to win a free meal at a “Baseball Day at The Drake.” More on that in future posts.

I should probably mention that this is not like voting for the prom king; this is not meant to be a popularity contest. Instead, we’re trying to make this based on performance. With that said, here are your choices for the April “Player of the Month,” with their April stats leading into this homestand:

Pitcher Matt Campbell
1-0, 0.57 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 15.2 innings

Infielder Marc Maddox
.362 average with 21 hits, 2 home runs, and 16 RBI in 17 games

Pitcher Angelo Morales
3-0, 1.23 ERA with 17 Ks in 14.2 frames

Exercise your right to vote and head to the souvenir store tonight and Monday! Sam Jennison, owner of The Drake, will be here on Tuesday night for a pre-game presentation, when we’ll announce the April player of the month and draw the name of the lucky fan who gets a free meal on The Drake.

Tour in the downpour

April 25, 2007

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These students from Corse Elementary’s before- and after-school program joined us for a ballpark tour this afternoon. They’re pictured here in the Aaron’s Sales & Lease Hall of Fame Suite — one of the indoor spots where we took refuge from the pouring rain.

Bees back in town, off today

April 25, 2007

It’s a much-needed off day for the road-weary Bees, who arrived back in Burlington in the wee hours of the morning.

Last night, the team closed its first long roadtrip of the season with a third-straight loss to the league-leading Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Field. The Bees, who went 2-6 in Fort Wayne and Dayton, had their chances once again last night.

The Dragons brought four runs across in the seventh inning, and an insurance run in the eighth, erasing a 2-0 Bees lead.

Your Bees scored two runs on a third-inning single by second baseman Marc Maddox, whose two hits extended his hitting streak to nine games and lifted his team-best average to .362. Starter Jason Godin was strong in his Bees debut, retiring the first 11 batters he faced, fanning four and giving up just one hit in four shutout innings. Everett Teaford took the mound in the fifth inning and retired the first six batters he faced, before the Bees ran into problems in the seventh.

Your Bees (who, by the way, still have a winning record at 9-8) get back in the swing of things tomorrow, when they welcome Quad Cities for a 7 p.m. game on The Sombrero Thirsty Thursday. The Bees and the Swing will follow that up with a 7 p.m. game on the season’s first Fireworks Friday, sponsored by Budweiser and J&M Displays.

Godin makes Bees debut

April 24, 2007

The team’s newest member takes the mound tonight for your Bees.

Right-handed pitcher Jason Godin will make his Burlington debut, as the Bees try to leave Dayton with a split in this four-game series. Godin joined the team on Sunday, arriving in Dayton after being assigned to the Bees by the Kansas City Royals, who transferred righty Yovany Damico to extended spring training in Surprise, Arizona.

The Royals selected Godin in the fifth round of last June’s Major League Draft. Southpaw Matt Campbell (a first-round pick in 2004) and outfielder Joe Dickerson (chosen in the 4th round in 2005) are the only other current Bees who were drafted in the first five rounds.

Godin was born in Alaska but now makes his off-season home in Virginia, where he starred for Old Dominion University (in Norfolk). Last year, in 115 innings, Godin struck out 146 batters. That lofty mark was just five shy of the Colonial Athletic Conference strikeout record set by another former ODU pitcher, Justin Verlander, the reigning American League Rookie of the Year who was part of the Detroit Tigers’ memorable 2006 season.

Another close loss
Despite back-to-back homers by Kurt Mertins and Jase Turner, the Bees fell 3-2 to the red-hot Dragons last night. It’s the team’s third one-run loss in the last week. Hopefully, Godin and the Bees can wrap up this eight-game homestand on a positive note. Tonight’s game starts at 6 p.m. central time.

See anybody you know?

April 23, 2007

This season, perhaps for the first time in our 85-year history, Bees baseball has an “official team photographer.”

Come to just about any Bees game at The Hive this season, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see John Larson clicking away. While most of John’s photos are of the Bees in action on the field, he’s taken a few shots of our fans, as well. Here are a few fan shots from our two most recent home games, thanks to John:

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Saturday slugfest

April 23, 2007

Close games haven’t been kind to the Bees during their current roadtrip.

In the last week, they’ve lost four games — two by one run, and two by two runs — with three losses coming at Fort Wayne and the fourth one coming yesterday in Dayton.

Still, your Bees are 9-6, good for a second-place tie with Peoria, just one game behind 10-5 Clinton in the Midwest League’s Western Division.

So far, the highlight of this 2-4 roadswing has to be Saturday’s 14-7 slaying of the Dragons. Every Bee who came to the plate collected at least one hit in this football-score win, as the team pounded out 16 total. Shortstop Chris McConnell led the Bees with three hits, while outfielders Joe Dickerson and O.D. Gonzalez and catcher Brady Everett each homered for the first time in 2007.

The 14 runs were the most scored by the Bees, whose previous high this season was eight. What made this offensive outpouring all the more significant was that it came against a Dayton team that has been thoroughly dominant. The Dragons won their first nine games of the season and are 11-2 at the moment. They eeked out one-run wins in their first two games, then reeled off seven more consecutive wins by a total win margin of 38 runs. This from a team that from 2003 to 2006 lost 86 more games than it won!

The Bees wrap up this eight-game roadtrip with 6 p.m. (central time) games against the Dragons today and tomorrow. Tune in to Randy on the Bees Radio Network (1490 AM KBUR or 1360 AM KBKB The Ticket) or listen on-line at http://www.gobees.com to see if the Bees can pick up more wins and move into first place in the division.

Former Buehrle-ngton Bee authors no-hitter

April 19, 2007

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Photo credit: http://www.chicagowhitesox.com

Mark Buehrle wrote his name in baseball’s history books last night.

The Chicago White Sox all-star southpaw threw a no-hitter, blanking the Texas Rangers in a 6-0 win. What’s more, it was almost Major League Baseball’s first perfect game in nearly eight years. Buehrle faced the minimum 27 batters, walking just one (Sammy Sosa) and promptly picking him off first base.

Buehrle, who made his professional debut as a member of the 1999 Midwest League champion Burlington Bees, became the first player to toss a no-no at U.S. Cellular Field.

For the complete story, check out this page.

In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not), the only other former Burlington players to throw no-hitters in the big leagues are:
Kenny Rogers: perfect game for Texas in 1994
Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, and Paul Lindblad: threw the first seven innings of a combined no-hitter that Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers completed for Oakland in 1975.
Vida Blue: hurled a no-hitter in 1970, the year before he was the American League’s Cy Young winner and M.V.P.

To our knowledge, Buehrle remains the only former Bee who’s appeared on the coveted Wheaties Box.