Give Me the Business

President and General Manager Todd Rahr and Team Manager Mark Johnson spoke with a few of our season ticket holders yesterday to discuss the 2012 season so far, the business side of our team along with the possibilities for the future, and the players themselves. A lot of questions were answered and a few rumors cleared up.

On the business side of things, we talked about the status of a new stadium and team affiliate. To clear things up for those who haven’t heard or who have heard the wrong information, YOUR Boise Hawks are not leaving! Whether the Cubs decide to extend their contract or leave, there will still be a team here in Boise. With the talk of a new stadium or an expansion, there have been a lot of words thrown around which may or may not be accurate.

Our overall goal is of course to build a new stadium, a multi-purpose facility that would be used around two hundred days of the year. The idea of a multi-purpose facility includes a field to be used for baseball, soccer, football, and an area for hockey and ice skating, etc. We cannot justify building a new stadium for just thirty-eight games a year and a multi-purpose facility would serve the community both on an entertainment level and an economic level. There have also been discussions around the idea of expanding on the stadium we already have, but I guess we could call that the backup plan, and no guarantees on that either. All there is to guarantee is that there will be a team no matter what decision the Cubs make!

As far as the 2012 season goes Rahr says we have started off like the seasons in the past. “We seem to always start off slow and find ourselves in the race at the end of the season.” As fans, as staff, as a player or coach, we all want to win but it isn’t always in the cards. Like Johnson said, “all you can really hope for at this level is improvement, getting better and becoming a professional.” The umpires are another issue dealt with on a different level. “These guys are puppies.” The umpires at this level are working to get to the same place the players are, the next level. With that said, they are still learning. There will always be bad calls, unfortunately, at this level, it happens a little more often than say in AA or AAA ball. Consistency is what we aim for in the umpires, the players and with winning.

We have a lot of talent on the team this year, young talent. YOUR Boise Hawks are by far the youngest team in the Northwest League. A lot of the other teams in the Northwest League have experienced college kids who have at least played in front of a crowd. Our team consists of a lot of young men, eighteen and nineteen years of age. Coming from another country straight out of high school surfaces a few more challenges than simply transitioning from college to minor league baseball. Even being from America and going straight into minor league ball from high school presents a bit of a challenge. At this level it is a learning experience. From dealing with the media off field to playing in front of a huge crowd, not to mention the travel time between cities.

With the umpires and the players in the learning stages of the professional sport, the game seems to take a little longer. This is something that we all notice. The fact is, like I said before, this is a level for learning. The meetings on the mound are used for instruction and at this level there is a lot more instruction to be given. The umpires allow the time because they are getting used to the process as well. We also have things called walk up songs which the players, at this level, seem to think they have to hear.

The team you see on the field now is most likely who you will see end the season here. They are working and growing together as individuals and as a team. I believe we see it more and more each night. Here’s to the rest of the season and winning the second half!

Picking Up the Pieces


Hayden Simpson is a pitcher for YOUR Boise Hawks who also enjoys hunting, fishing, listening to music 24/7 and always has a Mountain Dew close by. He is from Arkansas where he lives with his mom, Tena, dad, Keith, and his younger brother Landon. Hayden also has a fiancé, Rianne, so ladies, keep your distance!

Hayden’s story is quite interesting. It is not your typical “my dad played ball so I did too” kind of story. Hayden’s story begins with football, the love of his life at one point.

His father bought him a few old films of football games and Hayden would sit and watch for hours, over and over, studying the game. He was an All-State quarterback in high school and always dreamed of playing football in college until he stopped growing. “I always played both, football just kind of ran its course for me, I didn’t see a future in it.”

Throwing football made Hayden’s arm a natural pitching talent. Originally a shortstop, he started to concentrate on pitching in his sophomore year of college. “I worked out a lot, Wes Johnson, who is now at Dallas Baptist, knew which workouts really worked for me.” Hayden never looked back after discovering what his arm could do.

Hayden was signed in the 1st round, 16th overall, of the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs and has been picking up the pieces ever since. “The day after the best day of my life, I woke up with a sore throat.” It turned into mono and he was out for about five months, June 17th – Thanksgiving of 2010. “It got soo bad I would sleep in the bathtub just to control my body temperature.” The worst part for Hayden was going from being the All-State athlete in high school to having a complete loss of confidence and trying to stay motivated at the same time. “How can you take the ONE thing someone knows away from them? Eventually I stopped worrying about it and realized that it was going to be what it was going to be.”

For Hayden, his journey has been about consistency, and confidence. “Trusting what I have and not second guessing myself and what I am doing.” Coach David Rosario has been a big part of this journey this year. It has been just as much emotional as it has been physical for Hayden. “I’m more than confident with where I am now that I will get back to where I was and be better than I was because of what I have been through.”

In school Hayden studied Exercise Science. While he hopes to be in the majors one day, his backup plan is to coach football.  Hayden would of course be a “quarterback coach.”

Good luck Hayden!

Shy Talent


Trey Martin has been with your Boise Hawks for just about three weeks now and has already made a growing impression on the fans here. He was a 13th round draft pick in 2011 and played in Mesa last season and the beginning of this season. Known as a defensive player, Trey has been stepping his batting game up since being in Boise.

In the last ten games Trey has put up an average of .417 with 15 hits on 36 at bats, one triple and 3 homeruns! He was the Player of the Week and said “it felt so good. Especially it coming after a little struggle after getting moved up.” Getting comfortable in front of the Boise fans has made a difference for the better, “it feels good.”

Trey got started in ball because of his cousin, Vincent, and father, Donald, who both played. “I wanted to play what they were playing.” Trey looks up to his parents most in life because they have always been there for him for love and support. “They helped me get where I am today and where I will be in the future. They are great people.”

Off the field Trey is your typical guy. He enjoys playing FIFA on the Xbox 360, playing basketball, and hanging out with his friends. He can come off as a shy guy both on and off of the field, but all it comes down to is comfort. “It depends on how I feel on and off the field whether I will be shy or not. In interviews I am shy.”

Trey misses his family, friends, his house, and Zaxby’s. “Zaxby’s is a fast food place that serves chicken and chicken fingers. I eat there about 2-3 times a week back home.” With the excitement in Trey’s voice I asked if that would be his first meal back home, “ABSOLUTELY, it will be in the car that picks me up from the airport!” So if you see Trey around, point him in the right direction for some good chicken in Boise!

Called Up

We have had a few moves this season, some going up and some heading down, but I wanted to focus on just a couple of the positives tonight. Chadd Krist has made Boise proud with his performance so far for the Peoria Chiefs and Bijan Rademacher was just moved up to Peoria late last night but has already made us proud.

Your former Boise Hawk Chadd Krist has been tearing it up in Peoria since leaving Boise. So far Krist is batting a .500 in four games with eighteen at bats, five runs, nine hits, three doubles, one homerun and five RBI. Krist is from Pataluma, California and went to the University of California, Berkeley where he holds the school’s record for doubles at 65.

Bijan Rademacher was moved up to Peoria after being with your Boise Hawks for just two and a half weeks. “I was excited that I was moving up but I was also sad a little bit because I kind of liked being in Boise with the host family and the atmosphere at the stadium.” Last night Rademacher went 3-4 with three doubles, the first Hawk of the 2012 season to accomplish this record. His last memory at Memorial Stadium will be Jeimer Candelario’s walkoff homerun to win the game. Rademacher immediately came up to me and asked that I grab Candelario for the Player of the Game interview so I did. Rademacher then proceeded to pie Candelario in the face with shaving cream.

Rademacher not only accomplished goals on the field while here in Boise, but also off of the field, or should I say with the community and fans. He volunteered to help out with our Kids Club Camp sponsored by Fred Meyer this past Saturday and also with the 2012 Pacific Source Baseball Camp yesterday. Rademacher was signed up to help with camp today as well but Peoria called!

We also have Izaac Garsez, a Treasure Valley local, who was called up from Mesa and will be your new Boise Hawk as of tonight. Garsez is from Caldwell and attended the College of Idaho. My guess is we will be seeing a lot of Garsez fans out at the Hawks stadium!

“Rock,” the Average Man, Not the Average Name


Roderick “Rock” Shoulders is a first baseman for YOUR Boise Hawks. For those who have been wondering, the name “Rock” came from his friend’s mother at the age of six because she was not able to pronounce Roderick. “Rock” naturally took its place and has stuck with him ever since.

Rock didn’t start in baseball at first, he played soccer at the age of four but he didn’t like it. In his hometown you had to be five before you could play t-ball and that is when it all started. Growing up Rock went through the motions moving from shortstop to third base, then to catcher and finally first base. Rock went to the State College of Florida for one year before being drafted by the Cubs. If he wasn’t playing ball he would be back in school to become a PE teacher so that he could coach.

“The only thing special about me is my name.” Rock sees his life as being average and a good one. He looks up to his father the most because he has taught him everything he knows. However, the most difficult thing for him to go through has been his twenty-five year old sister leaving for the Air Force. “I knew she would be gone for six years and I would probably only see her once a year.” They share the connection of their birthdays being just two days apart (and a few years).

Rock has a few interests outside of baseball including fishing, video games and fashion, anything but sleeping. Rock is a shoe fanatic! I asked what he would get for a senior superlative (for those who don’t know what those are, things such as most likely to succeed, etc.) and he responded with “the best dressed.” Rock’s style consists of Ralph Lauren Polo’s, True Religion or Rock Revival jeans (fitting right), and Nikes or Chuck Taylors.

In Boise Rock loves being at the field, going to the mall and hanging out with his host family. He says that he is part of the family, “I play videogames with the boys all of the time, I fit right in.” Rock lives with Donna Johnson and her two kids Mac and Nate Johnson. He says that the family is the best part and getting to drive a two door Lexus is just a plus.

Fun Fact: Rock has 28 tattoos which all mean something to him. He designed and drew some of them himself. He likes to say that he only has five. “My left arm, right are, hand, shoulders and chest.”

Rock is currently in the run for the 2012 MiLB Moniker Madness, best name in minor league baseball. Go to and vote for him today!

Family First


Photo By Pam Davis

Bijan Rademacher was born into the life of baseball. His father, Kent, played two years for the Milwaukee Braves and he was always around his older brother, Branden, who was always playing ball. He said that while all of the baseball credit goes to his father and brother, his mom, Parvin, was the one who always looked out for him.

Bijan knew right away that he was destined for a life in baseball. “When I was in kindergarten I brought my teacher a dollar and signed it. I then told her to keep it because it would be worth something one day.” It seems he is on the right path.

“Growing up I was playing against someone five years older than I was, it made me more competitive.” One thing that makes him competitive is his natural throwing ability … with either arm. He said he would throw baseball with his left hand, football with his right, and a dodge ball with both. “No one ever corrected it or said hey, throw with this or that arm.” Now it proves to be a positive for Bijan.

In high school he was friends with everyone but was seen as a “jock.” “I went to a big baseball school, so everyone knew who I was, but I didn’t use that power as some might.” Instead, Bijan focused on baseball. He tried basketball and golf at one point but it all came down to the love of this game, baseball.

After high school the decision became Harvard, ASU, or the University of California Fullerton rather than which sport to play. Harvard was out first because he didn’t want to give up baseball. ASU went next when he was told that his high school rival Cory Hahn would be playing centerfield there, so the University of California Fullerton it was! Bijan ended up transferring to Orange Coast College, along with a few other players he knew, where he was until being drafted this year.

Back home Bijan is a very laid back, family oriented guy. His typical day starts at 8:30am-9:00am when he wakes up, he is in the gym by 10:00am, eats lunch around 1:30pm, hits from 2:00pm-4:00pm and finishes his day by having dinner with his family and hanging out with friends watching a movie, and just like all of the others, he misses his mothers cooking the most. “Nothing beats my mom’s cooking!” He talks to his family every day, game or no game, so they know he cares. Family may be the only thing that beats baseball in Bijan’s life!

Fun Fact: The name Bijan comes from his mother. She was born and raised in Iran and moved here during the revolution.

A Family Tradition


Stephen Bruno was just a baby when he got his first look at baseball. His youngest memory is captured in a photo he has of himself hitting a ball off of a tee at the age of one. His father, Steve, played for a men’s league during Stephens’s childhood as well as his Uncle Jim. Stephen could always be found on the field or in the dugout, it was a family tradition.

Growing up he was greatly influenced by his parents and his uncle, he looked up to his dad and uncle on field while his mom, Maureen, was always the one keeping him active. His dad often jokes about how he must have got his athletic ability from his mother because she was always keeping him busy and was a very active athlete growing up.

Stephen knew he wanted to play ball professionally around the age of ten. He said he would watch the College World Series and say “I will be there one day.” When he got moved up to the “big field” where he played with kids older than him, he knew he could make it.

Stephen ended up at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia (which is actually my home town!). When asked “why UVA,” Stephen responded with “it’s a funny story.” He was just sixteen when a summer league coach called and asked where he wanted to go to college. Stephens’s response was “UVA.” Two weeks later he received an email and a questionnaire from the coach. It didn’t take long until UVA was out to see him play in the High School All-Stars Carpenter Cup; Two weeks after they saw him in action Stephen received a scholarship and committed to UVA in January of his junior year in high school.

Stephen said “the Charlottesville community was so nice and welcoming.” The thing he loved most was the culture and feeling like part of a family with his team and coaching staff. The thing he misses most about home is his family, friends and his mothers buffalo chicken cheese steak, “not a steak and cheese.”

Fun Fact: Stephen loves oldies music such as Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Elvis. “I am an old school guy.”

Superstitions, Routines, and the Curse.

Reverse the Curse night, a night held close to the hearts of Cubs fans because the Cubs have not won a world series since 1908. The Curse of the goat was placed on them in 1945 when the owner of Billy Goat Tavern tried to bring a goat into the stadium and was asked to leave. This superstition has turned into a story of a lifetime. It is a serious deal for many such as YOUR Boise Hawk Mike Heesch, a Chicago native. “If Chicago won in 2012, that would be the reason the world would end, Chicago would go crazy!”

So what is it about routines that make them superstitions? The answer: the feeling of discomfort if for some reason the routine is messed up. According to Heesch it will always be “more comfort than superstition.”

I spoke to three of YOUR Boise Hawks and came up with a list of “routines” far to long to mention. However, there were a few that got my attention such as Stephen Bruno who says “literally I have something for every second of the day I just can’t remember.” His list or routines ranged from waking up on the left side of the bed, drinking a 32 oz. light blue Gatorade, carries three notes in his back pocket and sleeping with his bats which have names he won’t mention.

For Mike Heesch it’s more in how things are put on. He must first put on his right shoe then the left, as well as take off his right shoe first. He cleans off only the right side of the rubber before each inning, wears two shirts and 2 pairs of socks, and has to put his hat on in a specific way, front to back. What stood out the most with him was the fact that he carries his glove in his left hand, always walks, never runs out, and when he comes in off the mound he puts his glove in his left hand and once he reaches foul territory he puts his hat in his left hand with his glove (something to watch for).

Eddie Orozco likes to sleep in as late as possible on days that he pitches, showers right before coming to the stadium and right before the game, always wears the same “game-day” compression shorts, drinks a 12 oz. sugar free Red Bull 30 minutes before the game, and must put his left shoe on first.

I also asked the guys what the weirdest superstitions or routines they have ever witnessed were and besides Bruno’s, this is what I got. When someone is on a hitting streak they may not wash certain articles of clothing, a pitcher who ate one Rolo between each inning, bats can’t be crossed and my personal favorite was hearing about a guy who did a back flip in the clubhouse before every game … naked. What is weird to me is a normal routine for him.

Do these superstitions work or not? Is the curse real? I don’t know but it is always in the minds of Cubs fans. With every random act that leads to a loss when it looked like a promising game the curse is brought back to life. Heesch said “there is so much pressure to break the curse, will they ever win in my lifetime? I hope so!”

“Work Smarter, Not Harder”


Eddie Orozco has been playing baseball since he was just five years old due to the encouragement of his older brother Tony. Tony, who is nine years older than Eddie, started influencing him by teaching him to play catch, taking him to the batting cages, and simply teaching him the game. “I fell in love quickly.”

Eddie lost his father eight and a half years ago and has since learned a lot about hard work from his mother. I asked Eddie why he looked up to his mother the most in life and this is the heart touching response I got,

” That’s my lady! My family lost my dad eight and a half years ago to a heart attack and my mom has been the absolute rock of my family. At the time my mom was not a citizen (they were both from Huejucar, Mexico), no driver’s license, knew minimal English, and had just lost her manufacturing job a couple months before. In the past eight and a half years she has become a citizen (which is a tough test), has taken English classes and now knows a lot more English, got her driver’s license and has bought and paid off her own car, and started her own cleaning service that she does on her own. But she always shows us that no matter what happens hard work always pays off. She always puts her family in front of herself and has never complained about the obstacles she has faced in her life but instead appreciated all the positive aspects of her life.”

While he learned a lot about hard work and persistence from his mother, he has since learned that once you work hard, you must work “smarter not harder.” Eddie went to college at the University of California Riverside where he studied Business Administration for his undergrad and got his Masters of Education in Education Administration and Policy. The “smarter not harder” advice was given to him by the had coach at the University of California Riverside, Coach Smith. Eddie said that he was the type of player that would over work in a way that affected his performance in a negative way. “Doing too much can be a bad thing; instead I would work smarter by focusing on fixing or accomplishing one thing at a time.” He realized that it was easier to focus and fix one thing at a time rather than get worked up over everything at once.

I asked if there were any superstitions or routines he lives by and I only came up with two. “I MUST have a Red Bull on days I throw and I have to have my game day sliders on when I have to throw.” If Eddie wasn’t playing baseball he would either be coaching ball or be an athletic director. He enjoys fishing with his boys and misses all of the important people at home that have supported him. Eddie’s advice to everyone, “it’s something I tell myself everyday it is to live life to the fullest on a daily basis because we are never promised tomorrow. I have a post-it above my bed that says wake up hungry, go to sleep satisfied, meaning wake up with a goal (anything) and make are when I rest my head on that pillow at the end of the night I have given it one hundred percent to accomplish that goal or get better in whatever way I had set forth in the morning.”

The Routines of James Pugliese


James Pugliese started his adventure in baseball when he was just six years old. Growing up he was never a starter. In high school he pitched, played first base and hit. “I hit also but I wasn’t that good so I made pitching my main priority, I was always a closer in high school.”

The summer after his senior year of high school James threw a perfect game and two no hitters. This is when he started getting looks, his first and only year of junior college at Mercer County Community College (MCCC). He went from closer to starter just like that, and here he is today with YOUR Boise Hawks.

With Friday the 13th Reverse the Curse night coming up I decided to ask a few fun questions about superstitions. James said that he doesn’t call it superstition, he prefers to call it a routine, “just things I do before a game.”

James has to wear compression sleeves because he likes the way it feels on his elbow, it makes his arm last longer, at one point he went 90 days eating the same meal from Subway for lunch, a “wheat BMT instead of ham and turkey because I don’t like ham, shredded cheese (don’t melt it), lettuce, oil, vinegar, cheddar SunChips and Fuse iced tea, on road trips James throws away his toothbrush at the end of each series, don’t worry he has one that he uses when they are home, he does not drink soda and he licks two of his fingers before he pitches. Routine or superstition, he must think it works.

James lives with his host parents Judy and Leon Pierce and his teammate Pete Levitt. He says he loves his host family’s cooking and being out of the heat in Arizona. “It is better to live with a host family; they help you out with everything, a car, food and your own bed to sleep in.”

What he misses most about home are his friends and his car. James is a fanatic about working on his car. When talking to his teammates his car is the first thing that comes to surface about him. He has a 09 Voltswagon GTI and loves European cars. He also enjoys fishing and hanging out with his friends.

James is “a good friend, hardworking teammate, and the best to hang out with during BP.” – Ian Dickson