I would hate to get this guy at a real bar.—
“A record commonly thought to be held by Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan is really held by Mark Koenig, 2nd baseman for the New York Yankees. In establishing the record for the fastest pitch, both Feller and Koenig were measured by the same U.S. Army machine. Feller’s fastest pitch was measured at 98.6 mph; Koenig was measured 16 years earlier at 127 mph. (Koenig’s record is rarely recognized.)”
From the vault: This is a story I wrote two years ago for the Courier-Journal, when I was a part-time reporter on the Louisville Bats. The subjects were Aroldis Chapman (now the Cincinnati Reds’ closer), Jon Adkins and Todd Frazier (Reds’ starting third baseman) and Devin Mesoraco (Reds’ starting catcher).
Of interest to me now is the Twitter item about Adkins. At the time Twitter was still sort of a fringe tool, used more by journalists than the general populace. I remember the skepticism from most of Adkins’ teammates (including Sam LeCure, Corky Miller and Frazier, who said the social media device “sounds like trouble.”) I knew that one would have a dated quality one day, and that day is now. Several Reds players have their own Twitter accounts, including LeCure and Frazier, and some use them effectively to reach out to fans.
Chapman has more than a mere translator in Vera
By Rick Newkirk
When the Cincinnati Reds signed Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman to a $30.25 million contract in the offseason, Tomas Vera’s job got a little more complicated.
Officially Vera is the head athletic trainer for the Louisville Bats. Unofficially he also handles the team’s travel arrangements, works up papers for players moving throughout the system and does other odd jobs, including translating for Spanish-speaking players.
Now he’s Chapman’s liaison to America.
“It’s being not just a translator,” said Vera, originally from Venezuela. “I’m beginning to be more of a friend and a mentor, where I have to guide him through living in the United States.”
When Chapman got his driver’s license test, Vera said, the trainer was there to walk him through it. Vera gets phone calls from Chapman urging him to translate to strangers.
He even helps the left-hander work through directions on his car’s GPS mapping device.
“If he doesn’t have a GPS, he’s nobody,” Vera said. “He doesn’t go anywhere.”
Chapman, 22, is beginning to pick up English — “He’s learning a lot about asking for phone numbers from females,” Vera said — and for now he can get by with a text-message translation app on his iPhone.
And when that fails, of course, there’s his trainer.
“I’ve built a friendship with a lot of players,” Vera said. “I’m really happy to do it.”
Adkins a tweeter of one
Meet the one and only Jon Adkins.
That is, the one and only Bats player active on Twitter.
Adkins, who is tied for second on the Bats’ all-time save list, joined the social networking website last season when he was playing for the Lotte Giants in the Korean Baseball Organization.
“They have a heavy following,” said Adkins, also known as @jonadkinsWV. “There’s more English-speaking people than you think in Korea. (With Twitter) you have a chance to kind of bond with them.”
Adkins also uses the site for updates on the Carolina Panthers and country music and to follow beat writers for an “extra edge” in his fantasy football team.
“For me, it’s more of a morning ritual, a habit,” he said. “I can see where it could be bad as well. You have a bad game, someone could write on there, ‘You stink.’”
As for the other Bats?
“I heard about Twitter,” teammate Todd Frazier said. “It sounds boring to me, to be honest. Just write what you’re doing or whatever? … It sounds like trouble.”
Devin Mesoraco, a 21-year-old catcher, was leading the Class A Lynchburg Hillcats in home runs (10), RBIs (31) and slugging percentage (.620) and was second in hitting (.335) before being promoted Saturday to Double-A Carolina. Mesoraco was the Reds’ first-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Punxsutawney (Pa.) High School.
Some current Reds Twitter accounts:
LeCure — @mrLeCure
Jay Bruce — @jayabruce
Johnny Cueto — @JohnnyCueto
Brandon Phillips — @DatDudeBP
Dallas Latos — @DallasLatos
Todd Frazier — According to @johnfayman, he uses his girlfriend’s account.
He didn’t say which one. @jfraz14
What are your cross streets?
I don't know. I only have the address.
Is it 27th Street?
I don't know. I only have the address.
Are you sending it to somebody?
No. I'm sending it to me. I'm here.
How did you get there?
What street did you turn off of to get to 30th St.?
I don't know.
Were you blindfolded?