Tag Archives: Bobby Scales

TinCaps’ News Release on Reaching 80 MLB Debuts

From the Fort Wayne TinCaps:

Former Fort Wayne RHP Dale Thayer made his major-league debut Friday night with the Tampa Bay Rays, delivering three innings to pick up a save. He became the fourth Fort Wayne alum to make his MLB debut this season, joining INFs Bobby Scales and David Freese along with RHP Greg Burke. Since professional baseball returned to the Summit City in 1993, 80 Fort Wayne players have gone on to play in the major leagues. 

“Dale was a class act while he was with us in Fort Wayne and I wish him continued success in the major leagues,” TinCaps president Mike Nutter said. “He’s just another example of the top-quality players we’ve been able to showcase for our fans right here in Fort Wayne.”

Thayer played the first professional game of his career for Fort Wayne in 2003. He went 1-3 with 25 saves and a 2.06 ERA that year, finishing third in the Midwest League in saves. He also received the team’s Community Player of the Year Award for his involvement in the Fort Wayne community. Thayer, 28, was sent from the Padres to the Rays in 2006 as the player to be named later in exchange for INF Russell Branyan.

Scales, 31, finally made his major-league debut this season after a decade in the minor leagues. He was called up by the Cubs on May 5th when Carlos Zambrano went on the Disabled List. Scales played for Fort Wayne in 2000, hitting .283 in 81 games. This year with the Cubs, he is batting .286 with a home run and 5 RBIs in 11 games.

During Friday’s Padres-Cubs game, Scales mixed it up with a former teammate from the Summit City, Padres RHP Jake Peavy. After Padres INF David Eckstein was hit by a Zambrano pitch in the 1st inning, Peavy plunked Scales in the top of the 2nd, prompting a warning to both benches. Later in the game, Peavy came to the plate and hit a smash to third, where Scales made a diving stop and threw Peavy out at first base. Peavy, the subject of trade talks earlier this week, struck out 10 Cubs on the way to a 4-0 victory, San Diego’s seventh in a row.

Freese, 26, played for Fort Wayne in 2006, hitting .299 with eight home runs in 53 games. He made the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day roster this year with Troy Glaus on the Disabled List. Freese went 3-for-19 with a pair of doubles before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis on April 22nd. He went to the Cardinals in 2007 in the trade that brought Jim Edmonds to the Padres.

Burke, 26, has fired three scoreless innings for the Padres since being called up from Triple-A Portland on May 15th. He went 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA for Fort Wayne in 2006, his first professional season.

Eight members of the 2006 Fort Wayne roster have made it to the major leagues: Freese, Burke, INF Matt Antonelli, RHP Josh Geer, C Nick Hundley, OF Wade LeBlanc, RHP Joakim Soria and OF Will Venable.

Nine players from the 2000 roster have also made it to “The Show”: Peavy, Scales, LHP Cliff Bartosh, RHP Jack Cassel, LHP Eric Cyr, OF Ben Johnson, RHP Dennis Tankersley, RHP Michael Thompson and RHP J.J. Trujillo.

Fans can get a glimpse of the next generation of major leaguers when the TinCaps return to Parkview Field on Tuesday to open a 12-game homestand. It all starts with a 7:05pm first pitch Tuesday against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Class-A Los Angeles Angels). To order tickets, call (260) 482-6400, go online to TinCaps.com, or visit the Parkview Field box office at the corner of Ewing and Brackenridge Streets in downtown Fort Wayne.

Random Observation – Is there a Peavy-Scales Beef?

Peavy hit Bobby Scales on the right thigh with his first pitch of the second inning, drawing a warning from plate umpire Dana DeMuth, who also warned both dugouts. [ContraCoastTimes]

This caught my eye because Peavy has been in the big leagues several years, while Scales is getting his first taste at age 31 and more than a decade in the minor leagues. Both were on the 2000 Wizards squad. Seems odd that Peavy would welcome his former teammate to the big leagues by plunking him with the very first pitch he threw to Scales.

Anywho, probably a whole lot of nothin’ goin’ on there, but it’s an interesting quandary.

And Why Did it Take Ten Years for Bobby Scales?

Earlier this month, former Fort Wayne Wizard, Bobby Scales made his Major League Debut after more than a decade in the minor leagues without as much as one at-bat in the MLB level. At the time, the call-up was expected to last mere days as he filled in as a utility infielder during some injuries. When Aramis Ramirez dislocated his shoulder, Scales got the assurance of a longer look.

And apparently, the stars remain in alignment. He got called up when staff ace, Carlos Zambrano went down to injury. Then he got an extended stay when Ramirez got hurt. That same day, Cubs GM Jim Hendry traded Joey Gathright to the Orioles in return for Ryan Freel – which could have meant Scales was on his way back to Triple-A Iowa. However, Freel was damaged goods, bowing out to a hamstring injury the night he was to make his Cubs debut.

Scales first career hit came off of reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum. Since then, he’s proven he belongs in the Majors. And others are starting to take notice.

Coming into today’s game, Scales led National League rookies in batting average and on base percentage with a .429 mark in both categories. After today’s game in which he went 2-4 with a walk and two runs scored, he’s hitting .444 with a .474 OBP . He’s also slugging .833.

Oh, and by the way, he now has a six-game hitting streak; just one short the longest for a Cubs player to start a career since Jerome Walton did it back in 1989. As you might remember, Walton was named the National League Rookie of the Year that year.

On May 12th, Scales hit his first Major League home run against the visiting San Diego Padres, the team who drafted him in the 14th round back in 1999. Scales was as surprised as anyone, and appeared humbled while keeping things in perspective as he was interviewed following the game:

That home run was a pinch hit. His first career pinch hit was a triple.

Scales persistence has almost become this season’s equivelant of last season’s Josh Hamilton Story. Bloggers who don’t even typically blog about baseball are lauding Scale’s character. It’s become an inspiring story of hope and redemption. And through it all, Scales remains grounded yet confident in his abilities:

“I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, so go ahead and get one mark on the board,” said Scales . . . I knew for a fact that I could play here. That never wavered. Whether you get opportunities or not, that’s not up to me. There are guys I know — good players that had better numbers than me — who never got a chance for whatever reason.”

I am glad that Bobby Scales stuck it out. From people I have spoken with and even some of the commenters of this blog have told me that he is genuinely one of the nicest guys anyone will ever meet and is certainly deserving of what he is achieving right now.

But I remain fixated on that statement, “who never got a chance for whatever reason.” Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but when I hear this story, tremendous as it is, I wonder if Scales (and those others of whom he speaks) would have been up four or five years earlier had baseball not been in the midst of the now infamous “steroid era”.

Scales probably was not inferring the injustice of that era, and I am not trying to put words into his motuh, but I think specifically to another former Fort Wayne Wizard, Dan Naulty, who was man enough to come clean about his experiences with HGH and the like:

I had cheated my way right onto the team that year by using steroids, human growth hormone and amphetamines. I was watching my so-called friends leave big-league camp, beginning another grueling year in the minors, while I kept sticking needles in my butt and patting them on the back as they were dismissed. . . I took a roster spot of another athlete who was competing naturally. This causes a domino effect on all the levels below – someone loses their job and the financial security of that job. Then they’re on to another small minor-league town where their children have to move schools again. Their wives are being put through another disappointing year of loneliness while their husband keeps trying to make it to the major leagues.

Naulty was a member of the 1999 New York Yankees World Series team. As fate would have it, that was pretty much the end of his big league career. If you want to read more about Nautly’s experiences, click here. It’s a fascinating story that is simply overlooked or swept under the rug by pretty much all the sports talking heads in mainstream media.

So forgive if I think of all the “Bobby Scales” of the baseball world when I read about all the “Dan Naulty” like players that also inhabited it. I think about how many had given up their dreams of hitting the Major Leagues because they weren’t quite good enough to crack the roster of a team that probably had players who took shortcuts. Not to mention the veterans who got pushed out the door in favor of up and coming sluggers with less experience but much inflated exuberance.

We’ll never know how many players were juicing and we’ll never know how many other players missed out becuase of the shortcuts those other players too, but watching Bobby Scales makes me smile. I suspect we’ll see more like him in the coming years. Last year saw the White Sox bring up 30-year-old DeWayne Wise and there may be others of which I have no knowledge. Could it be that the youth movements might now require a little more seasoning?

Maybe – as far as baseball and the new “steroid free” era are concerned – 30 is the new 27!

More Bobby Scales:

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Bobby Scales Called Up

Former Fort Wayne Wizard, Bobby Scales is about to finally break through. After a decade in the minors (the last five at Triple-A) and having been employed by four different parent clubs, Scales has been called up.

The Chicago Cubs placed pitcher Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list Monday, making the call up of the infielder possible. Bobby Scales played the full 2008 season within the Cubs organization at Triple-A Iowa where he set career highs in batting average at .320 and had 94 runs, 59 walks to go along with a .415 on-base percentage over 121 games.

Related BBIFW Posts on Bobby Scales

Bobby Scales Debut May be Coming

Bobby Scales has been on the verge of making “the show” for years. He’s been a minor league player for a decade and has spent the last five years at Triple-A with no call-up. During the offseason, he chose to resign with the Cubs rather than take his chances with yet another organzation.

This spring, he battled along with two other former Wizards for a backup infielder role, presumably third base. None of the three got the job (Luis Rivas was released and Corey Koskie officially retired). He was among the late spring cuts and actually went with the Cubs to New York for the exhibition games in New Yankee Stadium.

This spring, I predicted Scales as one fo the “sure thing” former Wizards to make their MLB debuts this season. He’s started the 2009 campaign, his second as an Iowa Cub, pretty well. In 20 games, he’s seen 72 at-bats and compiled a .306 average with 22 hits, a triple, two home runs and nine runs batted in. He’s also drawn nine walks and has a .378 OBP.

You have to figure that being a third baseman at Iowa, you stand a good probability of getting a cup of coffee with the Chicago Cubs before the season is out. Given that Aramis Ramirez is oft-injured, Scales may be called upon to see some action. In fact, the injury bug is buzzing around Aramis currently as he deals with inflamation in his left calf. Entering the day, there was speculation that Ramirez might have to take a brief DL stint, so the Cubs had Scales at the park just in case.

The Cubs are also currently carrying an extra outfielder, which leaves them a player short for the infield. Today, the Cubs used Mike Fontenot and backup catcher, Koyie Hill at third in an 8-2 loss to Florida. Said Cubs’ manager Lou Pinella of the situation:

“We’ve gone as far as we can without an extra infielder,” said manager Lou Piniella. “It’s decision time. If we have to do something, we’ll bring up Scales. He’s been in the Minor Leagues a long time, and it’ll be a wonderful opportunity for him.”

It doesn’t get much closer than that! Scales’ time is coming. I’m rooting for you Bobby.

Bobby Scales Going to New York…as a Cub

Bobby Scales should be on the Cubs’ roster. He should have already gotten his chance on the major League Level. But alas, he’s being place at Triple-A Iowa and told he might get to go to the show this season if cicumstances allow it.

But at least the Cubs realize and are rewarding his decision to return to the Cubs rather than try his luck at yet another organization.

A number of them, including Bobby Scales, will be on the charter to New York. That gives the Cubs some extra bodies for the two exhibition games at new Yankee Stadium. It also rewards the guys who were with the team most of the spring with a big-league trip, and to Yankee Stadium, no less.

And Then There Were None; Rivas and Scales Sent Packing

If you follow this blog, you know that I’ve been following the backup 3B spot with the Chicago Cubs this spring. At one point, we had three former Wizards vying for the spot.

Corey Koskie retired, leaving Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales. I had been pulling for Scales, so I was bummed when I read they had demoted him today. Also today, I was looking over the Cubs’ recent transactions, and saw that Rivas was sent down on March 17th.

I guess the’ll put Aaron Miles in the spot. But they did free up room on the 40-man roster, so one has to speculate a trade is in the works.

And Then There Were Two; Koskie Set to Retire

When Corey Koskie singed with the Cubs not long ago, he became the third former Wizard trying to win the backup thrid base job. His resume might have even given him a slight edge in the competition. However, yesterday, he left Thursday’s game with was was said to be an illness.

That “illness” turned out to be light-headedness and “could be related to the post-concussion symptoms he has battled most of the last two years.”  Reports are now surfacing that Koskie is set to formally retire.

Paul Sullivan, in commenting on the Cubs’ current plans, does not mention either of the other two former wizards, Bobby Scales or Luis Rivas as possible contenters for the role:

At this point, Aaron Miles will assume the role when Mike Fontenot is playing second, and vice versa. Neither has much of a history at third base. Recent pickup Esteban German has played third but is not expected to make the final cut.

Update (3:46PM EST): Koskie Makes it Official

“This is what I love to do — I love being out there, being with the guys, the whole competition,” he said. “There’s no way you can replace it. But at some point you have to look at it realistically and say, ‘Is it really worth sacrificing the rest of your life for a game?'”

Update (9:23PM EST): Koskie’s retirement not a shock

“He’s been through a lot,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Koskie, who played third base for the Twins from 1998-2004. “He took a shot at it. He tried to come back and it just doesn’t feel right. I think it all gets down to quality of life after you finish playing the game, which he realized.”

Related BBIFW Posts:

Who’s On Third? Koskie is Third Former Wizard Seeking Cubs Gig

Corey Koskie with the Wizards in 1995The Cubs have insisted that they are still looking for another utility infielder – even after inviting former Wizards Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales to spring training. Now you can add Corey Koskie to the former Wizards mix.

The Chicago Cubs Koskie agreed to terms on a 2009 minor league deal that includes and invitation to their Spring Training camp. Obviously, the deal is pending a physical.

Koskie will report to Cubs’ camp following his participation with team Canada in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

He has not played since July 5, 2006 following a concussion that was suffered while with the Brewers. He had been working out with the Minnesota Twins in preparation. Koskie joined the Fort Wayne Wizards in 1995 as a 26th round draft selection of the Minnesota Twins. While in Fort Wayne, he appeared in 123 games; posting a .310 batting average, 143 hits, 78 runs batted in and 16 home runs.

The 35-year-old Koskie is a career .275 hitter (936-for-3399) with 223 doubles, 124 home runs and 506 RBI in all or part of nine major league seasons with Minnesota (1998-2004), Toronto (2005) and Milwaukee (2006), covering 989 games. The left-handed hitter recorded 20 or more doubles in each of his last eight big league campaigns, including a career-high 37 doubles in 2001 and 2002. Koskie owns a career .367 on-base percentage and .458 slugging percentage, good for a .825 OPS (on-base plus slugging).

Luis Rivas played with the Wizards in 1997, appearing in 121 games while hitting .239 with 100 hits and 30 runs batted in over 419 at-bats. He played last season wiht the Pirates. More about Rivas can be found on page 58 of Baseball in Fort Wayne (Koskie is featured on page 108).

Bobby Scales played the full 2008 season within the Cubs organization at Triple-A Iowa. The 31-year-old infielder set career highs in batting average at .320 and had 94 runs, 59 walks to go along with a .415 on-base percentage over 121 games. Why he has not already made it to the Majors is a big question mark in my mind.

Photo is couresy of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

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Former Wizards Likely to Debut in 2009 – Part I

2009 looks to be a year in which many former Fort Wayne Wizards will be making their Major League Debuts. This is the first part of a three part series in which I make my predictions. These are just guesses based upon my own observations, so who knows how it will go.

First up are the ones I call “the sure things” – meaning they will probably break Spring Training with the big league club or be called up very quickly.

David Freese (Cardinals)

After the surprising 2008 season that David Freese put together at Triple-A, many thought he would be a September call-up. The fact that he wasn’t on the 40-man roster probably had more to him not being called up than anything else. And, even though he wasn’t, Freese has been one of the most talked about Cardinal’s prospects during the offseason. He had a good shot of making the MLB club at some point, but once it was announced that incumbent third baseman would not be available until several weeks into the season, it’s almost a sure thing that Freese will break Spring camp with the parent club.

“[Freese] made kind of a remarkable jump from Class A to Triple-A,” manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s a big jump. I talked to [Memphis manager] Chris Maloney a lot about him, and defensively he really played well. He ended up hitting .300 with some power numbers. That’s very impressive. So I’m anxious to see him” (MLB.com).

For more on Freese, see also:

Bobby Scales (Cubs)

Bobby Scales is awesome. Why he has played in the minors for so long and with multiple teams and not gotten a shot at the big leagues is beyond me. He’s been a minor league player for a decade and has spent the last five years at Triple-A with no call-up. Last year at Triple-A with the Peoria Cubs, the speedy utility infielder and outfielder hit .320 with a .415 OBP, 94 runs, 15 home runs and 59 RBIs. He’s good defensively (even though one spring training observer saw him drop a couple balls already). He’s also a quality guy who has taken his team’s community leadership awards on multiple occasions. The Cubs have been said to be seeking another infielder, especially to back up Aramis at Third. I think Scales fits that bill. That said; I would not be surprised if he doesn’t break camp, but the Cubs will be wise to keep him for their Triple-A squad and have him ready for the point in the season when Ramirez goes down with hamstring injuries.

For more on Scales, see also:

Dale Thayer (Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays have a bullpen that is the talk of Major League Baseball. Percival, Wheeler, Balfour, Howell, Bradford and now Isringhausen; not to mention Shouse and and Nelson make up a formidable crew that should be tough to unseat for up and coming minor leaguers. It’s almost a shame that the Rays have a guy like Dale Thayer sitting in their Minro League system. Still, given the injuries and age of Percival and Izzy, I gotta think Thayer will get the call sometime during the season. In six MiLB seasons, he’s racked up 132 saves to go with a 2.31 ERA and 385 strikeouts. He’s been mostly used in relief, but also has 25 wins. Since he has options left, he’ll start the year in Charlotte, but maybe Bradford’s injury will open a door for the former Wizard. Either way, we’ll see him with the Rays before the season’s end.

For more on Thayer, see also:

Rule 5 Picks: Javis Diaz and John Madden

The Padres had two players selected in the Rule 5 Draft during the off-season. As such, they must remain on their new team’s active roster or be returned to their former organizations. They are not sure things, but if they make it through Spring Training, there’s a chance they’ll at least make their debuts.

  • Javis Diaz (Phillies): Last season, Javis Diaz combined to hit .253 (95-376) with four home runs, 37 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 107 games while with Lake Elsinore and triple-A Portland. His career numbers are .277 with 16 home runs, 155 RBI and 151 stolen bases in 479 career games.
  • John Madden (Mets): In four Minor League season, pitcher John Madden has a 7-15 record with a 3.74 ERA and 193 strikeouts. He got a shot at the closer role in 2006 with the Wizards, where he collected 20 saves.

Next up, the “Warning Track” prospects.