Category Archives: I Saw Them in Fort Wayne

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Jerry Sands

Wow! Can you believe this blockbuster trade that the Boston Red Sox have swung with the LA Dodgers?!?!? Gone from beantown is Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford. Coming back in return is James Loney and a handful of prospects. One such prospect is Jerry Sands (who I actually thought had a higher upside than Mike Trout – shows what I know!). Both Sands and Trout were part of the Home Run Derby during the Midwest League All-Star Game festivities in 2010. Here’s one of the many hacks Sands took…

Jerry Sands at the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010
Jerry Sands at the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Kenly Jansen

If You Ain’t Dutch, You Ain’t Much!

In honor of the biggest upset in the short history of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), I offer unto you a very special edition of “I Saw Them In Fort Wayne”. For your Netherlands curiosity, here are two pictures of the team’s catcher, Kenly Jensen (methinks it is pronounced “Yen-sin”).

I snapped these photos all the way back on May 26th, 2008. Yeah, that’s almost a year ago.

Kenly Jensen with the Loons while visiting Fort Wayne in 2008

Jensen was catching for the Great Lakes Loons, a Midwest League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. On this day, he went 1-3 with a double, a run, a walk and an RBI en route to a 5-3 Loons victory over the Wizards.

Kenly Jensen with the Loons while visiting Fort Wayne in 2008

The 21-year-old catcher from Curacao signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004. He played rookie ball in 2004 through most of 2007, when he played 20 ames in the Midwest League. In 2008 with the Loons, he batted .227 and drove in 27 runs over 247 at-bats in 79 games.

More “I SAW THEM IN FORT WAYNE” posts from BBIFW:

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Felix Pie

When I started taking photos of Midwest League Players back in 2003, one of the first players I sought out was Felix Pie, of the Lansing Lugnuts.

Felix Pie with the visiting Lugnuts in 2004

The Lugnuts have since changed their affiliation from the Chicago Cubs to the Toronto Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Pie had worked his way through the minor league system with the Cubs and had played in several games at the Major League Level.
Felix Pie with the visiting Lugnuts in 2004

However, the once heralded and supposed five-tool prospect that was once “untouchable” has been traded to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a couple middle releivers -hander Garrett Olson and Class-A right-hander Henry Williamson.

That’s quite a fall from grace. Seems to be the exact same path that Corey Patterson took to go from uber-prospect to big league bust.

These photos were taken early on in the game, probably his first at-bat of the game. If I recall correctly, he stole second pretty easily after reaching first base. The Wizards Catcher (above) is Andres Pagan. The Wizards player on first (right) is Paul McAnulty (who recently signed with Boston).

As a Cubs fan, I had looked forward to the day i would get to see Pie roam the outfield at Wrigley and become the next great Cubs player.

But unfortunately, like most other Cubs fans, I’ve come to realize that Pie will never prosper with the Cubs. If he has any chance at a big-league career, it has to be with another organization. It needs to be an organization where there is not so built to win now. Baltimore fits that bill.

Best of luck to you Felix.

Note: Thanks to BK, a reader who noted some innacurracies and provided additional information (see comments).

Jeremy Barfield to Follow Brother’s Footsteps into Midwest League

Josh Barfield’s younger brother, Jeremy, was a eighth round selection of the Oakland’s A’s last season. In all likelihood, he’ll end up playing 2009 in the Midwest League with the Kane County Cougars. OaklandClubhouse.com recently caught up with the younger Barfield and asked him about his thoughts on the League, which is generally not known as a hitter friendly league.

Yeah. My brother [Josh Barfield] actually played for Fort Wayne when he was in the Padres organization. I’ve heard that it is a tough place to hit during the first few months of the season, but anything is better hitting-wise than Vancouver, honestly. It’s just that tough to hit there. But you just have to get used to hitting in cold weather and playing in cold weather in general for the first month or two of the season, which really isn’t all too bad because there is nothing you can do about it. Why fight it? Once again, it will be a lot different experiencing it for myself, but since my brother played a whole season in that league, it helps.

Read the full interview here (subscription required)

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Ambiorix Burgos

Ambriorix Burgos
Ambiorix Burgos

Back in 2004, I snapped this shot of future New York Mets pitcher, Ambiorix Burgos while he was visiting with the Burlington Bees (a Kansas City affiliate).

In 2006, he was traded by Royals to Mets for Brian Bannister and later resigned by the Mets, but spent all of 2008 on the disabled list.

Unfortunately, Burgos has run into mucho trouble as of late.

In September, the reliever was arrested on assault and harassment charges after being accused of throwing his girlfriend to the ground.

Not long after that, the 24-year-old Dominican native was allegedly driving an SUV when it slammed into two women who later died of their injuries. A search for the pitcher began after the hit-and-run incident. A week later, he turned himself in to Dominican authorities. The mother of one of the victims is accusing Burgos of intentionally running her daughter over because she refused to go out with him.

Update (10/09): Looks like Burgos will spend the next three months in jail until his trial for the hit and run “out of concern for his safety.” Although, he seems to think he’ll make his October 23rd hearing in New York for the assault charge. He and his family are claiming his innocence and assert that he is being singled out by his jealous countrymen.

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Mitch Maier

Mitch Maier 2004Here’s a new feature I’m adding to the blog.

It’s called “I Saw Them in Fort Wayne.” I’ve been taking pictures of players in Fort Wayne for a few years now. Some of them have made it to MLB, so I figured this would be a good way to share those photos with you 🙂

First up is Mitch Maier.  I chose him becuase he’d been in the news recenlty for suffering three facial fractures when struck by a pitch during the Royals 8-5 loss to the Indians on Wednesday night (watch it here). It’s too bad too, because the kid was putting together a pretty solid season.

In 19 MLB games, he’s hitting .339 with 19 hits, 4 RBI’s and 5 runs scored. He was placed on the DL shortly after the incident.

This photo was taken in 2004 at Memorial Stadium when Maier came through as a member of the Burlington Bees when they sported one of the worst uniforms in MWL history.