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!

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Picking Up the Pieces

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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

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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

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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 Milb.com and vote for him today!

Family First

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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

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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.”