This ‘N That

It’s been a while since I posted, but I’m not one to post just to post.

This time of year, not much is going on in the world of the minor leagues. Spring training is nigh, pitchers and catchers report as we speak, remaining free agents scramble for remaining jobs.

Many of you know I run another web site, SpaceCoastBaseball.com, that covers professional and amateur baseball here in Brevard County, Florida AKA the Space Coast. That’s occupied much of my free time lately. I’ve been working with the two local college teams, Florida Tech and Brevard Community College, doing video and photos of their games.

Both have Angels ties.

2009 Orem Owlz reliever Mike Piazza graduated last year from Florida Tech. Many of his teammates returned to the 2010 squad. Coach Greg Berkemeier was MIke’s coach.

BCC head coach Ernie Rosseau has been around for 25 years. He’s as big a legend in local baseball as Tom Kotchman is in Angels baseball, and it turns out they know each other. Many of you have heard the tale of how Tom Kotchman found Howie Kendrick. He was tipped by a college coach about a young hitter in a small local community college. It turns out that tipster was Ernie Rosseau.

It’s hard not to think about Kotch as I watch the college kids play. I know he’s out there somewhere in this Sunshine State scouting these amateurs. I try to watch them through Kotch’s eyes, knowing he’s looking not just for the top prospects — everyone knows who they are — but also for guys like Scot Shields or Darren O’Day or Howie Kendrick, unknowns who might blossom given the opportunity. Kotch also tends to look for players who may not be legit prospects, but can help Orem by being an effective setup reliever, infield defensive whiz or backup catcher.

I still can’t quite wrap my head around the notion of a bat making a metallic “clank” sound instead of the wooden “crack” but that’s amateur ball for ya. Cheap hits abound.

At the other end of the baseball spectrum, former Angels minor leaguers are signing contracts for an opportunity with other organizations.

The latest Baseball America Minor League Transactions report has four former Angels properties signing minor league contracts with the Dodgers — Seth Etherton, Ramon Oritz, Corey Smith and Alfredo Amezaga. Corey played with Arkansas and Salt Lake in 2008. The other three played for the Angels in the majors.

And now comes word that Dustin Moseley has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. The Angels acquired Moseley in a December 14, 2004 trade with the Reds for Ortiz.

Some people ask why they sign minor league contracts when they’ve been major leaguers. The answer is that to be in major league spring training camp, they have to be under contract for legal reasons. If it were a major league contract, they’d have to go on the 40-man roster, which means someone else would have to be moved off through waivers to a minor league roster. So they’re signed to a minor league contract, auditioned in spring training, and if they make the parent club they get a major league contract.

As many of you know, I’ve been unemployed since October 2008, so it’s unlikely I can afford a trip to Tempe in March. I will have the Nationals’ spring training here in nearby Viera, where I hope to cross paths with Joel Peralta, a former Angels minor league pitcher in camp under the aforementioned minor league contract.

Someone has figured out how to make a buck while blogging. Mark Zuckerman, a former Washington Times sportswriter, now runs a blog called Nats Insider. The Times eliminated its entire Sports department a couple months ago. Mark solicited his readers to donate enough money for him to cover spring training. He asked for $5,000. He raised over $10,000.

Mark’s due in town today. We’re going to meet soon and discuss crossover possibilities. I may do videos for him which will promote both our sites.

My hope is to save my pennies for an early May trip to Cedar Rapids. The Kernels have three day games May 1-3. Daylight is golden for photographers.

I won’t rule out a trip to Tempe for extended spring training, when lodging is cheaper, but right now it’s not financially viable. I may change my mind, based on who’s held back at extended and who reports to Cedar Rapids.

I’m not as brazen about soliciting funds as Mark is, but you can support FutureAngels.com through a $5/month voluntary subscription or a one-time donation. It costs me about $1,000 to do a road trip to an Angels minor league affiliate. I doubt there are enough interested people to raise $1,000 for a trip to Cedar Rapids, but every penny helps.

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