Writing to players on the Disabled List rehabbing in the minor leaguers?

Posted April 30th, 2015 by Tom Owens and filed in Iowa Cubs, Randy Wehofer
Mascot, not to be confused with Randy Wehofer. The latter calls one fine game. By Scott McLeod (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mascot, not to be confused with Randy Wehofer. The latter calls one fine game. By Scott McLeod (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Beat the crowd?

Joe Superstar needs to test his pitching arm. Is he ready to come off the DL? It’s time for a short tune-up and test in AAA first.

Why not write the in-demand signer when he’s back in the minors? Surely, the fan mail crush can’t be the same as the bigs, right?

I posed that question to Randy Wehofer, talented broadcaster and director of media relations, for the Iowa Cubs.  I’m grateful for his response:

“As a front office staff, we deliver all mail addressed to players to our clubhouse when it is received.  In the specific case of rehabbing players, I wouldn’t suggest sending things in the mail.  Typically their stay with us is very short.  By the time we announce that a player is going to join us, and someone puts a letter in the mail to Principal Park, there is a good chance that the player will be gone by the time we receive it.  We do forward mail on during the season, but that is done as time allows for our staff, so it would be impossible to predict when the player may receive it.  Any mail that we get for players after the season ends is typically marked “Return to Sender” since we have no idea what players may return the following year or access to their personal addresses.  
 
In my dealings with players, I know that a self-addressed stamped envelope significantly increases – but doesn’t guarantee – your chances of getting a response.  I would also never put any item in the mail to be autographed that I wasn’t willing to never see again since there are a lot of variables and steps for that item to reach the desired player and ultimately find its way back to you.  It’s also hard to guarantee the condition of that item with all the hands and machines it will pass through in the process as well.”
 
The “rehabbing star, c/o minor league team” is not the secret it once was. And, will teams be able to handle the mail glut? As Randy hints, gamble wisely.

Former umpire Bill Valentine gone at age 82

Posted April 28th, 2015 by Tom Owens and filed in Bill Valentine, Uncategorized
Here's the former A.L. ump in 2007, as a VP of the Arkansas Travelers minor league team. By michael cossey from North Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America (The Man Himself) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the former A.L. ump in 2007, as a VP of the Arkansas Travelers minor league team. By michael cossey from North Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America (The Man Himself) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Umpires are great storytellers.

Bill Valentine proved that with an awesome response in 2010.

Players offer just one side of the story from baseball’s past.

Get the umps while you can.

Signatures for Soldiers: Autographs for a cause

Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!

Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!

Me. Me. Me.

No matter how well you do in making your case to a current or former player, chances are your request might seem like just another demand to an autograph signer.

What if someone convinced a potential signer that the request was for them, them, them?

Tim Virgilio has done that with his “Signatures for Soldiers” charity, raising more than $3,000 to benefit Military Missions in Action.

Nick Diunte and his Baseball Happenings site shined (as usual) getting Tim to share his vision of what autographs can do for the greater good. Nick’s feature pointed out that Woody Williams and Jim Leyritz were the first two notables to aid the Signatures for Soldiers team.

Tim is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with former combat veterans for the last nine years. He chose carefully in finding an organization that’s adept at serving disabled vets.

To find out how you can purchase autographs for a great cause or help Tim’s efforts, write to him at signaturesforsoliders@yahoo.com or find the Facebook page by the same name.