PoppyThere are plenty of horrible ballparks out there to choose from — Shea Stadium, Tropicana Field and the Metrodome, among others. But the worst of them all is the Ball Park itself. The Ball Park brand hot dog, that is.First off, it is a cheap hot dog. Anybody who buys into the “Plump when you cook ’em!” slogan doesn’t know his doggies. They explode when you cook ’em!The now-famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest doesn’t offer its contestants Ball Park hot dogs for a reason. I’m not sure Kobayashi would still be standing if he were to down 53 3/4 Ball Park hot dogs instead of Nathan’s.However, the Ball Park is distasteful for several other reasons.For starters, the Ball Park first became popular in the city of Detroit. The Motor City isn’t exactly the ideal place for any culinary product to come from. Detroiters make cars, not food.Furthermore, its most recent spokesperson was Michael Jordan. Now, no disrespect to His Airness, but a hot dog product could find a much better spokesdog. A hot dog represents the game of baseball, and Jordan certainly didn’t represent baseball very well in his short-lived basketball vacation with the Barons. A .202 average and 11 errors would make Chuck Knoblauch proud, but not much anybody else. Plus, Jordan should know better. He played his basketball career in Chicago — he should know what a real hot dog tastes like. Ball Park must’ve paid Jordan a bunch of dough to shush about its sub-par pork product. His face should be slapped all over the Portillo’s Hot Dogs Restaurant in the Windy City, not a cheap product you could pick up at Aldi’s.While I wouldn’t be thrilled to be stuck in Dolphins Stadium for a Marlins’ game, I’d much rather do that than indulge in a Ball Park hot dog.McGrathShea Stadium has long been considered the Richard Simmons of Major League Baseball stadiums, looking not just ugly, but goofy and old. However, this past week has made it very clear that the worst ballpark in the majors lies not off the Atlantic, but off another major, much more radioactive body of water: Lake Erie. Of course, I am referring to the new mistake by the lake: Jacobs Field in Cleveland. The biggest problem with Jacobs Field is that it is right now more of a ski resort than a ballpark, with two feet of standing snow currently residing in the stadium.Snowmen currently constitute the bulk of the facility’s tenants, closely followed by snow angels. As polite and evenly constituted as snow statues and cherubs are, they are poor fans for baseball, mainly because the sport does not respond well to the conditions necessary to keep the tenants from becoming puddles. Also, while snowball fights can be very amusing and are often entertaining to watch, it’s unlikely that the good people of Cleveland will fill Jacobs Field to witness a contest of the 1st Avenue boys taking on the kids on 10th Street. However, while Jacobs Field is not always under 24 inches of snow, it still is an easy choice as worst venue in baseball, since the team itself does not even like playing there. When it came time to film Major League, the Indians chose to go to Milwaukee and be filmed at County Stadium — no beauty pageant winner itself — and borrow the Brewers’ announcer Bob Uecker for their own. Although Jacobs Field was not around at the time, you are borrowing from the Brewers for success… It’s bad news.Point: Jacobs Field.
Daniel Wasinger (Southeastern Louisiana) – Kane County CougarsA 2018 31st-round pick, Wasinger was assigned to the Diamondbacks’ Single-A team on May 31. In his third appearance for the Cougars, he delivered a go-ahead RBI single to put them on top 4-3 before Wisconsin tied it in the ninth and won it in the 12th. Class A Short SeasonTanner Driskill (Lamar) – Auburn DoubledaysThe 2018 ninth-round pick will start his second season with the Auburn Doubledays, the Nationals’ Short-A squad. Driskill struck out 21 batters in 24 innings in his rookie season in 2018. Andrew Fregia (Sam Houston State) – Aberdeen IronbirdsThe two-time All-Southland Conference selection was assigned to the Orioles’ Short-A affiliate on May 21 after hitting .169 over 19 games with Baltimore’s Single-A squad. Andro Cutura (Southeastern Louisiana) – Pensacola Blue WahoosThe 2014 Southland Conference wins and strikeouts leader is 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA and 20 strikeouts through 28.1 innings for the Twins’ Double-A affiliate to start the season. In his last two starts, he has a 0.50 WHIP and no earned runs through 10 innings. Ryan Tepera (Sam Houston State) – Toronto Blue JaysAfter missing the first three weeks of the season with right elbow inflammation, Tepera was activated from the 10-day injured list on April 18 and pitched 11 innings out of the bullpen and picked up two holds before returning to the IL on May 21 with elbow impingement. Over his five-year big-league tenure with the Blue Jays, he is 12-11 with a 3.65 ERA, 38 holds and 10 saves. Tepera has punched out 198 batters over 204.2 innings and boasts a .220 opponent batting average. Austin Briggs (McNeese) – AZL Athletics GreenA 2018 29th-round pick by the A’s, Briggs prepares to start his second season with the Rookie League team after striking out 28 batters in 26 innings across 16 appearances in 2018. Grant Borne (Nicholls) – Potomac NationalsIn his second season with the Nationals’ Advanced-A affiliate, the two-time All-Southland Conference selection is 1-3 with 32 strikeouts in 10 appearances. Borne struck out a career-high eight batters across six innings against Wilmington on May 11. Adam Moore (UT Arlington) – Nashville SoundsIn his seventh-straight season at the Triple-A level, now with the Rangers’ affiliate, the 2006 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year went 5-for-9 with five RBI, a home run and a double in a two-game series against Reno June 4 & 6. Ryan O’Hearn (Sam Houston State) – Kansas City RoyalsWhile O’Hearn’s numbers have dipped at the plate this season, the former Bearkat is second on the team to teammate Dozier in walks with 24 and recorded nine multi-hit games this season. He blasted an opposite-field home run, his fifth of the season, in an 8-7 win over the Yankees on May 26. O’Hearn has shone defensively in 45 starts at first base with a near perfect fielding percentage (.997), 45 double plays and 12 assists in 371 total chances. Nick Heath (Northwestern State) – Northwest Arkansas NaturalsThe two-time Southland Conference stolen bases leader has already racked up a Double-A best 33 stolen bases. Heath swiped a career-high four bags against Arkansas on May 20, surpassing the 125 career steals mark in just his fourth year of pro baseball. Wade Miley (Southeastern Louisiana) – Houston AstrosThe 2008 Southland Conference strikeouts leader has found a second wind in his career as a member of the Astros rotation with the second most wins on the team at 5-2. Miley ranks third on the squad in innings pitched with 74.1 frames pitched over 13 starts. The Hammond, La., native went 4-1 in the month of May with four quality starts. In his sole defeat, he posted season-highs in innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (9) against the Cubs. Chi Chi Gonzalez (Oral Roberts) – Albuquerque IsotopesIn his first season with the Rockies’ Triple-A squad, the 2013 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year is 4-4 with 53 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched over 11 starts. He tied a season high with seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss to Las Vegas on May 23.Louis Head (Texas State) – Oklahoma City DodgersHead was promoted to the Dodgers’ Triple-A squad and has punched out 14 batters in 11.2 innings over eight relief appearances in Oklahoma City. He picked up his first AAA victory with a perfect inning of relief in a 15-6 win over Round Rock on May 14. Cole Stapler (Nicholls) – Visalia RawhideStapler is 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 10 starts for the Diamondbacks’ Advanced-A team. His 1.13 WHIP is third-best in the California League. Stapler picked up his fourth quality start with one run on five hits over six innings against Modesto on May 31.Bryan Warzek (New Orleans) – Rancho Cucamonga QuakesDespite sitting down 32 batters on strikes through 26.2 innings, the two-time All-Southland Conference pick is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in seven starts with the Dodgers’ Advanced-A affiliate. Warzek struck out a season-high eight batters in five no-hit innings on April 16. Tyler Depreta-Johnson (Houston Baptist) – Down East Wood DucksThe Third-Team All-Southland selection from last year received a call-up to the Rangers’ Triple-A squad after reaching base at a .348 clip in Single-A. After three games with the Sounds, he was assigned to the club’s Advanced-A affiliate. Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) – Winston-Salem DashIn his second stint with the White Sox’ Advanced-A team, the 2016 Southland Conference Player of the Year is reaching base at a .389 clip and ranks second in the Carolina league in doubles (17) and third in walks (37). Fisher also paces the team in total bases (86). Hunter Pence (UT Arlington) – Texas RangersThe longest-tenured active major leaguer out of the Southland Conference, the league’s 2004 Player and Hitter of the Year is tied for sixth among active hitters with 54 career triples. He ranks among the top-three on the Rangers in runs (35), home runs (12) and RBI (40). In the month of May, he hit .299 with a 1.025 OPS, eight home runs, seven doubles, 17 runs and 26 RBI. Pence carried that momentum into early June with a solo shot to put the Rangers on the board in a 4-3 win over the Orioles. Double-APreston Beck (UT Arlington) – Frisco RoughridersIn his second season with the Rangers’ Double-A team, the 2012 Southland Conference home runs leader is tied for the team lead with seven dingers in 2019. Beck is currently riding a five-game hit streak, batting .450 with four doubles and four runs. Class AGrant Anderson (McNeese) – Hickory CrawdadsSince being traded to the Rangers and subsequently assigned to Texas’ Single-A affiliate, Anderson has enjoyed the change of scenery with a 5-4 record, five saves and 2.64 ERA in 19 games. He has a 2.08 ERA and seven strikeouts over his last 8.2 innings Ty Tice (Central Arkansas) – New Hampshire Fisher CatsIn his first year with the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate, Tice is 1-3 with a 1.21 ERA in 19 appearances. He has struck out 22 batters through 22.1 innings. Tice hasn’t allowed an earned run in 14.1 innings over his last 13 times out.Will Vest (Stephen F. Austin) – Erie SeawolvesAfter a brief promotion to the Tigers’ Triple-A squad in Toledo, Vest is 1-3 with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings over nine appearances since returning to Detroit’s Double-A affiliate. Class A AdvancedKyle Arjona (New Orleans) – Clearwater ThreshersA member of last year’s Southland Conference All-Tournament Team, Arjona was assigned to the Phillies’ Advanced-A affiliate on May 17 and has punched out 10 batters in seven frames, including a career-high five strikeouts in three innings against Jupiter on May 24.Drew Avans (Southeastern Louisiana) – Rancho Cucamonga QuakesThe two-time All-Southland Conference selection was promoted from Single-A on April 19 and has driven in 12 runs with the Dodgers’ Advanced-A team. Avans went 3-for-4 with his third triple of the year and a career-high five runs in a win over Lancaster on May 15. Colton Turner (Texas State) – Charlotte KnightsIn his third stint with the White Sox’ Triple-A squad, Turner is 3-3 with 44 strikeouts in 42 innings in 15 appearances. He punched out a career-high eight batters across five innings against Rochester on May 16, allowing just one earned run on four hits. Addison Russ (Houston Baptist) – Reading Fightin PhilsRuss has appeared in 23 games out of the bullpen in his first year with the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate, striking out 34 batters in 23.2 innings and recording seven saves. He has pitched 13.1-straight innings without an earned run over his last 12 appearances. Josh Green (Southeastern Louisiana) – Visalia RawhideTied for the California League lead in wins, Green is 5-1 for the Diamondbacks’ Advanced-A affiliate. He had tossed six-straight quality starts with a 5-0 record and 1.75 ERA before hitting the 7-day injured list on May 17. He is the No. 26 prospect in Arizona farm system. Shawn Semple (New Orleans) – Tampa TarponsOn May 25, Semple was briefly promoted to the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate before returning to New York’s Advanced-A squad. He has struck out 23 batters in 31.2 innings across six starts for Tampa and picked up his first quality start on May 19 against Dayton. RookieKwan Adkins (Northwestern State) – AZL Giants BlackA Third-Team All-Southland pick in 2018, Adkins will start year two with the Giants’ Rookie League team after reaching base at a .364 clip with 21 walks, 21 runs and five extra-base hits in 2018. Paul Goldschmidt (Texas State) – St. Louis CardinalsThe two-time Southland Conference Hitter of the Year paces the Redbirds with 62 hits and is among the top-three on the team in runs (37), home runs (12), walks (30), batting average (.271), on-base percentage (.358), slugging percentage (.445) and OPS (.803). Over the last 13 games, Goldschmidt has a slash line of .333/.373/.458 with two home runs and five runs. Among active MLB players, he is third in career on-base percentage (.396) and fifth in career OPS (.923). FRISCO, Texas – A total of 53 Southland Conference baseball alumni are currently playing professional baseball in 2019. Below is an update on all active players. Statistics are through June 6, 2019. Cayden Hatcher (Nicholls) – Grand Junction RockiesA member of last year’s Southland Conference All-Tournament Team, Hatcher will start year two with the Rockies’ Rookie League team after going 2-0 with 23 strikeouts in 26 innings over 11 games in 2018. William Hancock (Central Arkansas) – Idaho Falls ChukarsA member of last year’s All-Southland Conference First Team, Hancock will start the year with the Royals’ Rookie League team after hitting .219 with eight RBI, six doubles and seven runs in his rookie season. MLB Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) – Kansas City RoyalsThe 2013 Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year has been one of the top sluggers in the American League through the opening months, ranking fifth in slugging (.589) and OPS (.987) and seventh in on-base percentage (.398) and batting average (.314). Dozier also leads the team with 26 walks. He was placed on the 10-day injured list with thorax tightness on June 3. Over the final six games of May, Dozier had a slash line of .455/.478/.727 with four RBI and three doubles. Collin Kober (McNeese) – Modesto NutsKober is 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 22 appearances for the Mariners’ Advanced-A team in 2019. He struck out a career-high four batters in two scoreless innings against Stockton on May 4. Nolan Riggs (Sam Houston State) – Richmond Flying SquirrelsPrior to being placed on the 7-day injured list on April 17, Riggs had struck out six batters and allowed just three hits through 5.1 innings of scoreless relief.Robie Rojas (Sam Houston State) – Biloxi ShuckersRojas was assigned to the Brewers’ Double-A team after previously being slated to open the year in the Rookie League. He is batting .308 in four games with the Shuckers with a pair of doubles, three runs, and a .780 OPS. Jordan Romano (Oral Roberts) – Buffalo BisonsIn his second stint with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate, the 2014 Southland Conference Relief Pitcher of the Year has struck out 41 batters in 29 innings, including 16 punchouts and one run on four hits over 10.1 innings in his last seven appearances. Jake Norton (Stephen F. Austin) – GCL MarlinsThe Third-Team All-Southland pick from last year will start year two with the Marlins’ Rookie League team after tossing 3.1 innings of relief without allowing an earned run in 2018. Caleb Smith (Sam Houston State) – Miami MarlinsSmith has impressed as the anchor of the Marlins rotation with a 3-4 record and a 3.41 ERA through 12 starts in 2019. The team leader in strikeouts (82) and two-time All-Southland Conference hurler had tossed six-straight quality starts until suffering his first loss on May 14 to the AL East-leading Rays. Smith struck out a career-high 11 batters across 6.2 innings against the Cubs on May 7. Among NL Pitchers, he has the second-best opponent batting average (.198) and ranks third in K/9 (11.18). Kyle Keller (Southeastern Louisiana) – New Orleans Baby CakesKeller is in his second stint with the Marlins’ Triple-A team after receiving a call up on April 9. He has 33 strikeouts and a .188 opponent batting average in 28.2 innings across 18 appearances. He has a 0.50 WHIP and 12 strikeouts over his last eight innings. Bryce Johnson (Sam Houston State) – San Jose GiantsIn his second season with the Giants’ Advanced-A squad, the two-time Southland hits leader leads the team in runs (26), hits (50), RBI (20), total bases (70), walks (30) and stolen bases (12). Johnson tied a career high with four hits against Modesto on May 23. Aaron Hernandez (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) – Inland Empire 66ersA 2018 third-round selection by the Angels, Hernandez has struck out 29 batters in 27.1 innings across eight outings for Anaheim’s Advanced-A team. He struck out a season-high seven batters across four innings in a start against San Jose on April 29. Robbie Podorsky (McNeese) – Lake Elsinore StormPodorsky’s second stint with the Padres’ Advanced-A squad has started much better than his first as he ranks second on the team in stolen bases (12) and third in batting average (.289). He was placed on the 7-day injured list on June 4. David Fry (Northwestern State) – Wisconsin Timber RattlersIn his first year of Class A ball with the Brewers, last year’s Southland Player of the Year leads the Midwest League with 23 doubles and ranks second in total bases (107). He will start for the Western Division team in the 2019 Midwest League All-Star Game. Tyler Gray (Central Arkansas) – Lexington LegendsThe 2018 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, Gray started the year with the Royals’ Single-A affiliate. He is 2-3 with a save and a 4.63 ERA in 13 games, including three starts. Adam Oller (Northwestern State) – Augusta Green JacketsThe 2016 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year had his contract purchased by the San Francisco Giants and was assigned to the Giants’ Single-A affiliate in Augusta on May 30. He has six strikeouts in as many innings through two starts for the GreenJackets. Mac Sceroler (Southeastern Louisiana) – Daytona TortugasThe two-time First-Team All-Southland pick was promoted to the Reds’ Advanced-A team to start the year and has a 3-0 record and 38 strikeouts in 33.2 innings. Since moving to the starting rotation, he has a 2.91 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 21.2 innings. Tate Scioneaux (Southeastern Louisiana) – Altoona CurveIn his third season with the Pirates’ Double-A squad, the 2014 Southland Conference Tournament MVP is 1-1 with 16 strikeouts over 12 innings out of the bullpen. He hit the 7-day injured list on May 16. Triple-AJonathan Davis (Central Arkansas) – Buffalo BisonsThe three-time All-Southland Conference was optioned to the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate on June 5 after hitting just .143 in 17 games with Toronto. Davis hit his first career MLB home run against the Rays on May 27 – a two-run shot to put the Blue Jays on the board.Jonathan Dziedzic (Lamar) – Omaha StormchasersIn his fifth season with the Royals’ Triple-A team, Dziedzic is 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA in eight appearances, including four starts. He picked up his first win of the year after tossing 5.1 innings in a May 27 start against Oklahoma City, striking out five and allowing two runs. Jace Peterson (McNeese) – Norfolk TidesAfter spending most of 2018 with the Orioles, Peterson started 2019 with Baltimore’s Triple-A squad. The two-time First Team All-Southland pick leads the team with 39 runs and ranks second with 54 hits. Jose Trevino (Oral Roberts) – Nashville SoundsIn his first season with the Rangers’ Triple-A team, the two-time All-Southland pick is hitting .240 with 13 RBI, seven doubles and 14 runs scored. The No. 25 prospect in the Rangers organization hit the 7-day injured list on May 19. Carson Smith (Texas State) – Pawtucket Red SoxAfter spending all of 2018 at the major league level, the two-time Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year was assigned to Boston’s Triple-A squad and placed on the seven-day injured list on April 4.
As the Guyana Police Force continue to probe the shooting of School of the Nations’ Director, Dr Brian O’Toole, they are yet to make any headway into finding the shooter as well as the person behind the social media posts who goes by the alias “Kira”.Crime Chief, Lyndon Alves told Guyana Times that the probe is still ongoing.Initially, the police had questioned four persons – both current and former students – in relation to the January 27 shooting of the school’s principal at his Bel Air Promenade, Greater Georgetown, home and according to Alves, no other person of interest has since been questioned.However, he noted that they are awaiting the return of Dr O’Toole to further interview him about the incident which followed several threats against the school on Facebook made by “Kira” (meaning killer), which is the alias of the main character in “Death Note” – a Japanese manga series that was later adapted into films.Last week, there were reports circulating on social media which suggest that the person behind the alias “Kira” was identified as the son of a prominent lawyer while alleging too that he was part of an eight-member gang which include two sons of Government Ministers.The post further claimed that the suspect was arrested in the US.However, the GPF Crime Chief told this newspaper that he is unaware of such developments.“The police are not investigating anything on social media so we are not aware of those claims,” Alves said. In fact, when asked, he noted that they are still trying to ascertain the identity of the person behind “Kira”.As Police try to trace “Kira”, Dr O’Toole, who is currently in the US receiving treatment after he was shot two times, once in each arm, has recalled something “bizarre” from the night of the shooting.In a statement recently posted on the private institution’s Facebook page, the injured principal recounted that when he was shot, the perpetrator “did a bizarre dance” and when he related this to others, Dr O’Toole said he was referred to the dark video game, Fortnite.“The dance on that evening looked as if it had been rehearsed from the very same video,” the principal stated.Fortnite is a ‘battle royale’ style game in which up to 100 people compete at a single time in online matches to the death.The Director posited that the key issue surely is that in such games, children and youth lose track of reality. As such, he noted parents should check to see if children are part of this dangerous cyber-world.“At school, we can do our best to educate children about the terrible power of this nether-world but only parents can police their children’s phones, computers and other devices. The challenge is for us all but the urgency is very, very clear. We are creating a cyber-world that youth have never had to face in the past. If we learn no other lesson we, at least, need to consider the dangerous world that our children are entering in the name of entertainment,” Dr O’Toole asserted.Bringing the issue closer to home, the injured principal noted that it is sad that one youth or a small group can hold a sizeable percentage of the country at ransom, in fear and apprehension.Since Nations’ incident, there have been threats made to other institutions and as such, the Education Ministry along with the Police Force have beefed up security around the city.Despite this, however, there was a bomb scare at the University of Guyana’s (UG) Turkeyen campus, Greater Georgetown. But a 25-year-old student, Sheneza Jafarally, has since been charged for the bomb threat that forced a shut down at the institution. She was remanded to prison.