July 2012

G-Braves Begin Final Series of First Half Tonight

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

7.6.12 GBraves Game Notes

The G-Braves have won four of their last five games following their franchise record 15-straight losses. However, in the month of July Gwinnett possesses a sterling record of 4-1 heading toward the break. Tonight the G-Braves begin a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliate and reigning International League South Division Champions. Currently, the Bulls are just one game ahead of Gwinnett in the standings, as the G-Braves trail first-place Charlotte by eight games after taking four of six from them in the previous six days.

The G-Braves and Knights split a Thursday night doubleheader at Knights’ Stadium. In game one, the G-Braves ran their winning streak to four with a come-from-behind 4-3 win as part of the July 3 postponed game from Coolray Field. However, the Knights ended the four-game streak in game two with an 8-0 shutout of Gwinnett.

Jose Constanza currently owns a 12-game hit streak, which is good enough to be the third longest streak of the season for a Gwinnett hitter. However, his teammate Felix Pie tied for the longest hit-streak in Gwinnett franchise history at 14 games, tying former G-Brave Barbaro Canizares, but Pie had it snapped the other night against Charlotte when he went 0-for-5. Ernesto Mejia registered the second longest hit-streak of the season with a 12-game tally. The All-Star also had a streak to start the season, as he reached base safely in his first 17 games of the 2012 campaign, which has been seconded by none of his teammates thus far.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Tuesday, July 3rd G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (41-48) return to Coolray Field Friday night for game one of a three-game series against the Durham Bulls (42-47) to conclude the first half of the season prior to the 2012 All-Star break. Right-hander Todd Redmond (6-5, 3.23) is scheduled for the G-Braves against the Bulls right-hander Matt Torra (7-6, 4.43) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Durham Bulls (3rd IL South) vs Gwinnett (4th IL South) 

Stick around after the game for our Independence Day Show following the Bulls and G-Braves contest. It will be the biggest and longest Fox 5 Friday Fireworks spectacular of the year! Celebrate Fourth of July with the G-Braves, as every fan in the stands will receive Free Thundersticks presented by 12 Stone.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Durham Bulls Batting Order:

1) Rich Thompson, CF

2) Jesus Feliciano, RF

3) Henry Wrigley, 1B

4) Brandon Allen, LF

5) Leslie Anderson, DH

6) Chris Gimenez, C

7) Reid Brignac, SS

8) Matt Mangini, 3B

9) Cole Figueroa, 2B

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Luis Durango, CF

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, DH

5) Christian Marrero, 1B

6) Ruben Gotay, 3B

7) Josh Wilson, SS

8) J.C. Boscan, C

9) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

By: Tony Piraro

Ben Sheets off and running for the M-Braves

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The four-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2004 Cy Young runner-up Ben Sheets is on his way to making a comeback to the big leagues. How long will it take is anyone’s guess, but the promising sign is that the right-hander is out there on the mound, competing against hitters. Atlanta signed him for a reason, but it may take some patience as Sheets shakes off the rust.

Coming off two years of rehab following Tommy John surgery, Sheets took the long route back to baseball. The last time he appeared in a game was in 2010 for the Oakland Athletics. That season he went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 119.1 innings of work, where he struck out 84 and walked 43 batters.

The 33-year-old made his first professional baseball start in two years on Wednesday, the Fourth of July, for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. Sheets completed 5.0 innings and surrendered four earned runs on five hits and struck out six, while walking just one en route to the loss against the Jacksonville Suns. The right-hander’s ERA currently rests at 7.20 for the year.

Sheets has been around baseball, seemingly for ages. However, at 33 years old, he is still relatively young and well within in his limits to make a positive return. We saw Pedro Martinez dominate for the Phillies a couple years ago in the second half of the season, after people clamored that Martinez was done. If Jaime Moyer can still find a job at 49 years old, I don’t see why Sheets can’t make a difference in someone’s rotation.

The great thing for us and the Braves is that we’ll have the opportunity to witness the difference he can make in the Atlanta rotation eventually. However, for the time being, he’ll need some practice and repetition to help his confidence. After that, if he’s healthy, the man could be scary good. I’m willing to bet that Sheets is ready to prove that to a lot of people in the coming weeks.

By: Tony Piraro

Biggest Fireworks Show of Year Tonight at Coolray Field

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Gwinnett Braves open up their final homestand of the first half of the 2012 regular season with three games against the Durham Bulls. The series will begin Friday night for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch alongside a spectacular fireworks show following the conclusion of the game, if you didn’t get your fill on the Fourth of July. Saturday the G-Braves will host the Bulls for another 7:05 p.m. first pitch, then the two teams will go their separate ways for a much needed all-star break following the 2:05 p.m. first pitch on Sunday afternoon. It will be the final 2:05 p.m. Sunday start of the season. Every G-Braves’ home game after Sunday will begin at approximately 5:05 p.m.

Make sure you stick around after the game for our Independence Day Show following the Bulls and G-Braves contest. It will be the biggest and longest Fox 5 Friday Fireworks spectacular of the year! It will be the best fireworks extravaganza of the year, so come and enjoy the wonderful festivities from Coolray Field. Celebrate Fourth of July with the G-Braves, as every fan in the stands will receive free thundersticks presented by 12 Stone. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

The Gwinnett Braves (41-48) return to Coolray Field Friday night for game one of a three-game series against the Durham Bulls (42-47) to conclude the first half of the season prior to the 2012 All-Star break. Right-hander Todd Redmond (6-5, 3.23) is scheduled for the G-Braves against the Bulls right-hander Matt Torra (7-6, 4.43) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

By: Tony Piraro

“The elephant pooped up there” and Wabash Cannonball

By Tony Schiavone

I’m not sure where I heard this before, but I was once told never to work with kids or animals when on the air.  Neither will accommodate.

Such was the case on June 17, 2012—Father’s Day—when my grandson, Jackson joined me on the air for the finale of the Columbus series at Coolray Field.

But first, a little background information.

We are a baseball family.  It has been my passion all my life; a passion that has been handed down to two of my four sons, Matt and Chris.  I’m proud to say Matt is an associate producer with the MLB Network.  Chris is an aspiring baseball announcer and is one of the most rabid students of the game.

Jackson is Chris’ youngest and has been handed down the baseball bug.  Not, yet three years old, he loves the game.  He loves to chop, throw, hit, run the bases and slide into home.  His favorite player is Tyler Pastornicky.  Every time we play ball at the house, he pretends he’s Tyler.  “Passer-Mickey” is what he calls him.  This is homage to his two favorites in the entertainment world, Tyler and Mickey Mouse.

And that takes us back to Fathers’ Day.

Chris brought Jackson into the broadcast booth and I thought it would be a lark to put the youngest Schiavone on the air.  He sat to my left with a big Braves batting helmet covering his head and much of his face.  At first, Jackson, as is the case with most kids, would not talk.  But then I noticed his mouth moving during my play by play; he wanted to tell me something.

So, during the broadcast, seizing the moment, I grabbed a spare mic.  Here’s how it went:

He’s not Brandon Beachy…yet.

   

   Papa Tony:  “What?  What did you say?”

   Jackson (pointing to the scoreboard):  “Did, the elephant pooped up there?”

   Papa Tony:  “Yeah, I see it up there.”

   Jackson:  “The elephant pooped up there!”

   Papa Tony: “Yes, it sure did.”

LISTEN TO: Jackson’s On Air debut; 06-17-12

What else could I do?  I had to agree with my  grandson.  So as far as we are concerned, the elephant did poop up there. Needless to say, that line has become a catch phrase within the Schiavone family.

Now, any time I have no comeback to my wife, or kids, I say—you guessed it–the elephant pooped up there.

The G-Braves went on to lose that day, and lost 13 more in a row after that game for a grand total of 15 straight.  Jackson may have been on to something with his line.

From now on, instead of singing on the air, I’ll just insert a baseball. (Karl Moore)

When you are in the midst of a 15 game losing streak, you will try anything.  So during the recent eight game death march, err, road trip to upstate New York, I had the brilliant idea to sing during a game.

The idea was hatched on my memories of Dizzy Dean.  During his years as a baseball broadcaster he used to sing “The Wabash Cannonball” during games.  I guess he did this when the game got boring or out of hand.

From the great Atlantic ocean to the wide Pacific shore
To the green old flowing mountains by the south belt by the shore

Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear that lonesome hobo’s call
We’re riding though to Dixie on the Wabash Cannonball
 

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland by the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear the lonesome hobo’s call
We’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball

LISTEN TO: Schiavone sings Wabash Cannonball on air: 6-30-12

Our manager Dave Brundage was in favor of me singing.  His agreement was based on two reasons.  First, he wanted to try anything to break what had now become a monumental losing streak; and secondly, he was in for anything to make me sound silly (even more than usual).

So on Saturday, June 30th, during the second inning.  I cranked out the tune.  It was during Ernesto Mejia’s at bat.  He didn’t get a hit.  We didn’t win.  So much for the song.

So now we look a miserable month in the “rear view mirror.”  The G-Braves were 5-and-25 in June.  Not sure if there has ever been a worse record in a single month in the long run of Minor League Baseball, but it’s got to be close.

But like they always say in Triple-A…if you don’t like your team, wait a month, you’ll get another one.

G-Braves, Knights Suspended by Rain Tuesday

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Rain has forced the suspension of Tuesday night’s series finale between the Gwinnett Braves and Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. The game was scoreless when a storm stopped the action heading into the bottom of the second inning. The game will be resumed at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC on Thursday, July 5 at 5:15 p.m. A seven-inning contest will follow the continued game.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game can be exchanged for tickets to any remaining 2012 regular-season game by visiting the Coolray Field Box Office.

Julio Teheran made the start for Gwinnett on Tuesday prior to the rain. The right-hander worked a scoreless first inning before the weather cut short play in the second inning. Unfortunately for the G-Braves ace, his next start is now TBA.

The G-Braves (39-47) and Knights (48-38) will play a regularly-scheduled nine-inning game at Knights Stadium on Wednesday night, first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM. Left-hander Jose Lugo (1-4, 5.77) is expected to start for Gwinnett against right-hander Deunte Heath (4-2, 1.70) of Charlotte. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

The Gwinnett Braves return to Coolray Field on Friday, July 6 as they open a three-game series against the Durham Bulls. Tickets for all remaining home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

G-Braves Look to Continue Their Roll Tuesday

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

7.3.12 G-Braves Game Notes

The Gwinnett Braves won their second thriller in as many nights with a 3-2 victory over the Charlotte Knights in 12 innings on Monday night at Coolray Field. Tyler Pastornicky’s fielder’s choice to short scored Luis Durango from third base for the game-winning run. Before Monday, the G-Braves had not won back-to-back games on separate days since May 28 and 29.

Durango led off the 12th inning with a single up the middle off Charlotte reliever Gregory Infante (L, 4-1). Jose Constanza sacrificed Durango to second, putting the winning run in scoring position. Following a wild pitch from Infante that advanced Durango to third base, Pastornicky smacked a high chopper that drawn-in shortstop Ozzie Martinez couldn’t get out of his glove in time for a play at the plate. Durango scored easily, giving the G-Braves the win and sending the rest of the team in a chase around the diamond to greet Pastornicky.

Pastornicky’s game-winning RBI capped a 3-for-6 game that included his 14th double of the year and one RBI. He’s the ninth-different Gwinnett hitter to drive in the game-winning run in the club’s 10th last at-bat win of the season.

Yohan Flande was masterful over a season-high 8.0 innings in the start.The southpaw left the game with the no decision, but pitched well enough to win as he surrendered just two runs, one earned on four hits. His lone mistake of the evening came in the fourth inning when he allowed Dan Johnson to smash his 21st home run of the season. Flande walked none and struck out three, throwing 108 pitches, 69 for strikes.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Tuesday, July 3rd G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (39-47) play the final game of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (49-37) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Right-hander Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.50) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against Charlotte left-hander Charlie Leesman (7-6, 2.45). The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Charlotte Knights (1st IL South) vs Gwinnett (4th IL South) 

Tuesday night is another “2 for 1 Tuesday” at Coolray Field. Visit www.gwinnettbraves.com/Tuesday to print your coupon. Some seating level restrictions apply (limit 6 tickets per group). Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Tyler Kuhn, LF

2) Drew Garcia, 2B

3) Dan Johnson, 1B

4) Hector Gimenez, DH

5) Josh Phegley, C

6) Jim Gallagher, RF

7) Ray Olmedo, 3B

8) Ozzie Martinez, SS

9) Justin Greene, CF

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Luis Durango, CF

2) Jose Constanza, LF

3) Tyler Pastornicky, 2B

4) Felix Pie, RF

5) Ernesto Mejia, 1B

6) Stefan Gartrell, LF

7) Josh Wilson, SS

8) Ruben Gotay, 3B

9) J.C. Boscan, C

By: Tony Piraro

Jordan Parraz Begins Rehab for Gwinnett Braves

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Gwinnett Braves have activated their outfielder Jordan Parraz after months of missing from action for the G-Braves. The Gwinnett outfielder was well on his way to having an all-star season before he fractured his right wrist, forcing him from play.

At the time of the injury, Parraz was batting .305 with 13 runs scored, 29 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, 37 total bases, nine walks, four stolen bases, alongside a .377 on-base percentage, .389 slugging percentage and a .767 OPS.

Not only was Parraz on fire at the plate, but he was showcasing his outstanding defensive prowess with just one error on the season in right field. Now, Parraz has the duty of rehabilitating to make it back in time for the remainder of the season.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

He has already begun his rehab with the Gulf Coast League Braves in Florida, but there is no timetable for his return. However, the G-Braves offense will be waiting with open arms for their right fielder to return to the starting line-up.

Parraz officially went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his first game against the GCL Phillies. Parraz was trying to turn his single into a double after his RBI but was thrown out at second base on the attempt. The 4-7 GCL Braves will host the GCL Phillies once again on July 3 for a 12:00 p.m. ET first pitch.

For the next three days, Jordan Parraz and his GCL Braves will visit the GCL Pirates for the Fourth of July with a 10:00 a.m. special first pitch, followed by July 5’s noon game against the GCL Pirates.

By: Tony Piraro

Video: Felix Pie’s Walk-off Hit Against Charlotte

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Felix Pie delivered the sixth walk-off, game-winning hit of the season for the Gwinnett Braves on Sunday against the Charlotte Knights. The G-Braves entered the ninth inning trailing the Knights by a run, when Pie stepped to the plate in a tie game, 5-5, following the Tyler Pastornicky game-tying double off the wall the at-bat prior. Pie crushed an 0-1 pitch into right field for the 6-5 Gwinnett win which snapped their 15-game hit streak.

To watch the Pie game-winning hit, click the link below: 

http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=22773681

The Gwinnett Braves (38-47) play game three of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (47-37) on Monday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Left-hander Yohan Flande (3-6, 3.84) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against right-hander Matt Zaleski (3-2, 4.48) of the Knights. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Monday is “Kids Eat Free” night at Coolray Field, where all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips and a small soda. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Looking to Start Win-Streak Monday

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

The Gwinnett Braves snapped their franchise-record 15-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the first place Charlotte Knights on Sunday at Coolray Field. Felix Pie was the hero in a two-run ninth, delivering a walk-off single to right scoring Tyler Pastornicky to give the G-Braves their first win since June 15.

The G-Braves were heading toward their 16th straight loss before fortunes turned in the ninth against Charlotte left-hander Donnie Veal. Facing a 5-4 deficit, Luis Durango led off with a bunt single and then advanced to second on Jose Constanza’s sacrifice bunt. Pastornicky followed with a clutch double off a sliding Justin Greene in left-center, scoring Durango from second to tie the score at 4-4. The next batter, Pie, laced a 1-1 pitch from Veal (L, 3-2) to right field to score Pastornicky and send the home dugout racing on to the field in celebration.

Gwinnett had lost 27 of their previous 32 games dating back to May 30, including 25 of 30 contests in June before recording their sixth walk-off win of the year on Sunday. The G-Braves are now 1-1 on the four-game series, bringing them to within 10.0 games of Charlotte for first place in the International League South Division.

Some bright-spots for the G-Braves this season was Ernesto Mejia and Cory Gearrin both being named to the Triple-A All-Star team for the game on July 11, in Buffalo, New York at 7:05 p.m. ET. Luis Durango currently leads the IL in stolen bases (28) and is one shy of leading all of Triple-A baseball in swipes with 29. Felix Pie is currently tied for the franchise record with Barbaro Canizares his 14-game hit streak. Also, Jose Constanza currently possesses an eight-game hit streak for Gwinnett, alongside a team-high five-game multiple hit streak.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Monday, July 2nd G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (38-47) play game three of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (47-37) on Monday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Left-hander Yohan Flande (3-6, 3.84) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against right-hander Matt Zaleski (3-2, 4.48) of the Knights. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Charlotte Knights (1st IL South) vs Gwinnett (4th IL South) 

Monday is “Kids Eat Free” night at Coolray Field, where all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips and a small soda. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Ray Olmedo, 3B

2) Drew Garcia, 2B

3) Dan Johnson, 1B

4) Conor Jackson, LF

5) Hector Gimenez, DH

6) Josh Phegley, C

7) Jim Gallagher, RF

8) Ozzie Martinez, SS

9) Justin Greene, CF

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Tyler Pastornicky, 2B

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B

5) Christian Marrero, DH

6) Ruben Gotay, 3B

7) Jose Yepez, C

8) Josh Wilson, SS

9) Luis Durango, CF

By: Tony Piraro

Felix Pie, G-Braves Snap 15-Game Skid

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. – The Gwinnett Braves snapped their franchise-record 15-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the first place Charlotte Knights on Sunday at Coolray Field. Felix Pie was the hero in a two-run ninth, delivering a walk-off single to right scoring Tyler Pastornicky to give the G-Braves their first win since June 15. For the month of July, the Gwinnett Braves are unbeaten (1-0).

The G-Braves were in first place on June 5, when they hosted the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies Triple-A) for a 10-1 loss at Coolray Field. At the time, the Knights were 0.5 games behind Gwinnett for first. 25 days later on June 30, the G-Braves found themselves in last place of the International League South standings, starring up at first-place Charlotte (White Sox Triple-A), as they trailed them by a season-high 11.0 games. The losing skid saw Gwinnett invent new ways to lose, but for the time being they have found the light at the end of the tunnel with a much-needed win. Their next objective is to draw within striking distance of Norfolk and Durham who lead the G-Braves in the standings by 2.0 and 4.0 games respectively.

The G-Braves were heading toward their 16th straight loss before fortunes turned in the ninth against Charlotte left-hander Donnie Veal. Facing a 5-4 deficit, Luis Durango led off with a bunt single and then advanced to second on Jose Constanza’s sacrifice bunt. Pastornicky followed with a clutch double off a sliding Justin Greene in left-center, scoring Durango from second to tie the score at 4-4. The next batter, Pie, laced a 1-1 pitch from Veal (L, 3-2) to right field to score Pastornicky and send the home dugout racing on to the field in celebration.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Gwinnett had lost 27 of their previous 32 games dating back to May 30, including 25 of 30 contests in June before recording their sixth walk-off win of the year on Sunday. The G-Braves are now 1-1 on the four-game series, bringing them to within 10.0 games of Charlotte for first place in the International League South Division.

It was a back-and-forth game for most of the day as Charlotte took leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4 on the strength of three home runs. G-Braves starter Todd Redmond served up a two-run blast to Dan Johnson in the first inning, another two-run shot to Kyle Shelton in the fourth and a solo homer to Dallas McPherson that snapped a 4-4 tie in the sixth. Redmond did not factor in the decision despite allowing five runs, three earned on seven hits, including a season high-tying three home runs over 5.2 innings.

The G-Braves offense proved resilient, however, as they tied the score at 2-2 in the third inning and 4-4 in the fifth. Pie’s first hit of the day, an RBI double in the first inning, scored Constanza to cut the deficit to 2-1. Pie’s 10th double of the year extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching the Gwinnett franchise record set by Barbaro Canizares in late 2010….

For the rest of the G-Braves recap from Sunday’s walk-off win, go to gwinnettbraves.com or click this link:

http://gwinnett.braves.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120701&content_id=34304062&vkey=news_t431&fext=.jsp&sid=t431

By: Tony Piraro

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