Feb 24, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Wade Miley (36) stretches with a piece of gum stuck to his hat during spring training at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Yeah, that is Wade Miley, doing stretches with a piece of bubble gum attached to the top of his cap. No prizes for guessing which pitcher was behind this one: good to see J.J. is getting his pranking muscles stretched out for the regular season too. Speaking of which, let's follow up Saturday's story, in which some of the Arizona rookies under guide Sir Joshua of Collmenter, were sent to the RenFest. Maybe it's just me, but both Steve Gilbert and Nick Piecoro seem to be reporting this story with particular... enthusiasm. Let Sir Joshua describe what happened:
"I turned the whole thing into a quest for them to become a knight. We had contests and games. Whoever won the contest had to wear a little tiara into the next one. Whoever collected the most tiaras ended up winning and ultimately getting knighted by the king at the end of the ceremony. There was some body paint involved, some dart throwing and possibly some pickle eating... [Patrick] Corbin, who we dubbed Longshanks for the day, ended up winning it ultimately, being knighted with a baseball bat that we presented to the king of the realm."
More from medieval times after the jump...
Why Collmenter? Seems there was a similar excursion last year, and his sardonic commentary as he video-taped the event was much enjoyed by the team. Naturally, J.J. Putz was involved, saying the aim was to "Kind of bring them down to earth a little bit and also make them feel welcomed." However, Gibson was careful to say, "That's not hazing. That's a bad word. Since they were young and so talented and have had so many good things [said] about them, we thought we would give them a little gift and let them have a new experience." But let's give the final word to Putz on the choice of leader:
"I feel like Josh might be a vampire that was killed back in the medieval times and just hasn’t aged."He feels very comfortable and at home in medieval times. Especially since he provided all the costumes for everybody from his wardrobe that he had back from the medieval times. I think he’s a natural.":
Hopefully a bootleg copy might make its way into circulation at some point... That out of the way, let's get down to the more serious business, with everyone now fully involved in training camp. Additionally, single-game tickets for the regular season went on sale today as well: Looks like tickets so far are going pretty well, with Derrick Hall reporting about a 90% renewal rate, and 1,300 or so new packages, with six weeks or so stlll until Opening Day. "There's definitely been some momentum," said Hall.
It looks like Justin Upton might be getting a bit more protection from his team-mates this year, after being hit a near league-leading 19 times last season. Daniel Hudson was talking on Burns and Gambo this afternoon, and told the KTAR 620 hosts:
"It really kind of got brought to our attention like halfway through the year. At the same point in time we're trying to get in a playoff push. Yeah, our players need to get protected, but at the same time we need to concentrate on winning the game... If it's a starting pitcher, remember, he's got to hit. They either have to hit their spots, or expect something in return."
Here's the best of the rest of the other news:
- [AZCentral] Gibson won't let Diamondbacks buy into hype - Gibson is "policing their behavior," as he says. "You look at their work ethic. They way they act, the way they talk," he said. "You look at their humbleness. Do they treat people differently or start feeling more important than they really are? I don't see much of that around here at all," he said. No kidding.
- [dbacks.com] Praising D-backs, Kendrick looks ahead -"The theme for me for this year is 'unfinished business. I talked to them about that, because last year was a great year, but you play this to try and go all the way. I think we have the talent in the room that has the potential to do that and the leadership, so let's get it done."
- [Fox Sports Arizona] D-backs following '11 blueprint, aiming higher - "Last year, we were going to prove you guys wrong," said infielder Geoff Blum, criticizing the general world view. "This year, you guys are picking us, and we're going to prove you right. We're always listening."
- [AZ Central] McDonald's defense proves valuable - "I think everyone, including myself, wants Stephen back as fast as he can," McDonald said. "But if he's not ready, a team that has the mind-set that we're going to win a championship, you need depth. Providing that depth is something I enjoy. I enjoy that role."
- [Yahoo!] D-backs coach can relate to Drew's injury - "As Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew recovers from his severe ankle injury suffered last summer, third base coach Matt Williams can empathize. Williams suffered almost the exact same injury—broken fibula, dislocated ankle—in spring training of 2002."
- [AZ Central] Matt Davidson no longer splitting time between 1B/3B - With fellow prospect Bobby Borchering expected to shift to the outfield, Davidson will stick at third base. "That's going to be huge," he said. "I was so excited this off-season, just to be comfortable with the whole thing."
- [dbacks.com] Breslow takes it easy with calf stiffness - Left-hander Craig Breslow, "played catch with strength and conditioning coach Nate Shaw on Sunday rather than throw to hitters. "He had a little stiff calf so we don't want him to get on the mound and favor something and hurt his arm," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said."
- [AZ Central] Non-roster spotlight: Mike DeMark - "DeMark was never drafted. He played at Division III Marietta College in Ohio. He’s had two stints in independent ball. He also had one of the best stat lines from any reliever in the Diamondbacks organization last season."
- Finally, courtesy of Nick Piecoro, here's some video of Trevor Cahill throwing.
Best Tweet of this SnakeBytes goes to this one from our co-favorite facial hair Twitter account (with @blummercoif, naturally).
I'm trying to talk JJ into yelling "think fast!" when he throws his change up. It makes it extra surprising.— JJ Putz Soul Patch (@JJsSoulPatch) February 27, 2012