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    April 2009: Wingate Gladiators - May 1, 2010


    Posts : 94
    Join date : 2009-10-13
    Age : 51
    Location : Valparaiso, IN

    April 2009: Wingate Gladiators - May 1, 2010

    Post by Bumstead on Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:13 pm

    By Billy Hillfinder; Journal Review

    One month into the regular season finds the Wingate Gladiators holding a 12-10 record and in the mix for a division title. I was able to sit down with Jeff Palin, General Manager of the Wingate Gladiators, and ask him a few questions:

    JR: So, I think in the past you have mostly talked with Mary Jane Pleasant. She's one of my favorite sportswriters at the paper.
    JP: She seems very like-able and one of the most laid back people I have met in years.
    JR: How do you feel the season is going so far?
    JP: Well, of course we would have liked to have been 22-0 at this point, but 12-10 is a decent start to the season. The team is starting to gel a bit and if not for a bit of poor roster management by me, we probably would have another win or two.
    JR: Spike Horn: Pitcher of the Month! How about that?
    JP: He deserves it. He is 5-0 and he goes again tonight and I believe that he will be 6-0 after tonight! He is the leader of this team and if he has to, he puts the team on his back and carries us. When I told him we were going to a 4-man rotation, he smiled and said, "thank goodness, I was getting bored sitting around all the time."
    JR: How about the rest of the team?
    JP: How much room do you have in that paper? Well, Dave Bruce is tearing it up and I thought he might pull out the Hitter of the Month award, but Mugsy Gonzalez from the Alameda Seals took the award. Tim Christensen is starting to hit and is doing a fine job adjusting to playing some LF. Murray Clay is struggling a bit but if we can get him throwing a few more strikes I think he will be fine. How about Himmi? He is pitching very well! We have a few guys struggling but I think as a whole this team is very strong.
    JR: Alright, you didn't mention Ronald Berry. So, I gotta ask; how do you feel about that trade now? I see Hicken won Hitter of the Month in the other league and it appears that y'all have struggled in LF a bit so far.
    JP: Well, first, Noah Hicken is going to be a very good baseball player; we knew that when we traded him. Ronnie is coming around. We are working on his defense a bit, but man, I don't think anyone on our team is as strong as Ronnie is. When he comes to the plate, I'm telling you the pitcher cringes; when he squares the ball up, it flies really far! I think down the road you will see that average up and the power still there. I think Ronnie will be a special player! I think we will be fine in LF.
    JR: Fair enough. How about the minor leagues? I notice that the records are pretty poor, maybe the worst system in the AHIBA league?
    JP: Well, you can't determine system strength on won-loss records alone; I'll tell you that right now. We came in knowing the system was a bit thin and then made a couple of trades that sent out a few pretty decent prospects. We could probably move some guys up and improve our records but as an organization we plan to put players at the levels they belong and move them up as they are ready.
    JR: How about giving us an update on the top 5 prospects in the system?
    JP: I would love to. Our best prospect at this point is Yataro Kouki: we challenged him a bit and started him in A-ball; he has struggled a little with his control but his last couple of outings have been very good; we are very pleased with his progress, he has a chance to be an ace down the road. #2 on the list is Donald Black: he's struggling a bit but I'm not worried, he has an eagle eye and rarely swings at a bad pitch; hopefully in another couple of weeks we can push him up with Kouki. #3 on the list is Antonio Gonzalez: he is a first baseman with a lot of potential; right now he is very raw, but he currently has 10 BB and only 15 K's in 72AB's, so I think he will be fine. #4 on our list is another really young guy in Kyle Nelms: he is a carryover from the Provo organization and we think he has a chance to be a pretty decent player with both power and speed. #5, I think is a tie between Gohar Koramijian and Scott Mabbett: both players project as fringe starters to utility players but just between you and me: they are both better than that; I went and watched them both play last week and left very impressed. I believe the system is in decent shape and a couple of years from now, it should be a very healthy system indeed.
    JR: Sounds like we got some nice players to look forward to. Anything you would like to add before I get out of here and let you get back to work?
    JP: Heck yeah! You forgot to ask about the fans!
    JR: Well, what can you tell me about the fans and this town?
    JP: I will tell you that the fans in this town and the surrounding area have been great! Attendance is way up from last season and I hope it stays that way. Heck, we got about 5,000 more seats available each game, so get on out here and watch this team play its heart out for y'all! I swear every game it's a sea of orange out there! It has really been nice to see this town rally around this team and make them feel at home.
    JR: Mr. Palin, thank you for your time and good luck as the season progresses.
    JP: Thank you Mr. Hillfinder; come back anytime.

    Well, my impressions after the interview are that Jeff Palin feels this team can compete now and that is great news for Wingate. I think he is overly optimistic about the minor league system, but we will have to wait and see on that. He seems to be a very convincing fellow to me.

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