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.

Why Won’t Teams Call Up Announcers In September?

Posted September 23rd, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in Jason Benetti, Randy Wehofer

Randy Wehofer,
underrated voice
of the AAA Iowa Cubs.
Pat and Keith,
share the mike!

There’s nothing worse than a good team announcer gone bad.

I’m not advocating for firing/replacing noted baseball voices.

I’m just saying that it gets difficult watching smart men delude themselves (and us) that also-ran teams are interesting in the final weeks of the season.

Watching Friday’s televised game of the Tigers mauling the White Sox got painful. Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone tried to remain disappointed parents. They had nothing new to say about a lackluster roster. Hopeful but honest? These guys needed some mikeside inspiration.

Here’s the simple fix, one we could help with.

Redirect your letter-writing talents for a moment. Switch from autograph-seeking mode to advocacy. Broadcasters ask for e-mail comments during the game. Here’s one to share…

I’ve written about AAA broadcasters Jason Benetti and Randy Wehofer before. The last week of the season, get them in a major league booth. Instead of tired voices rehashing the could-have-been nature of the season, talk about the hopes awaiting the Nationals or Cubs in the minors for 2014.

Give them an inning!

Of course, a team battling for a pennant the last week of the season is going to have lots to discuss. Viewers and listeners will be content with the still-enthused broadcasters telling the still-suspenseful tale of a contending club.

That’s not the majority of MLB teams, however. Get these deserving minor league announcers a “cup of coffee” now. The exposure could be career-changing.

Iowa Cubs Giving Away 2,000 Autographed Baseballs At Aug. 22 Game: Signers Include…

Posted August 20th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Darwin Barney, Iowa Cubs, Jeff Baker, Marlon Byrd, Randy Wehofer, Reed Johnson

My autographed Bob Feller ball was a gift. A gift from the Iowa Cubs. I attended their 2006 promotion, thinking it was too good to be true.

It’s true. In fact, it’s an Iowa tradition. Monday, Aug. 22, is the next autograph extravaganza. Free signed baseballs to the first 2,000 fans. This is worth a trip!

Here’s the inside story from Iowa Cubs broadcaster Randy Wehofer:

“We finally have everything prepared for the giveaway on Monday.  We’ll have 2,000 baseballs that we are giving away and it took quite a long time to put each in a bag, with a corresponding COA to identify the autograph, and seal each with a Subway sticker for our sponsor.  Below is the complete list of autographs featured in the giveaway.  Most are from players that were with us during the season.  Some have signed more than others depending on how long they were here.  Also included are some from most of the guys that did ML rehab with us including Darwin Barney, Jeff Baker, Marlon Byrd, and Reed Johnson.

I looked into when the giveaway started and was told it was 2006, so this is the sixth year.  We’ve probably given away at least 10,000 baseballs over the course of the promotion.”

The following players autographed baseballs:

Jim Adduci
Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney

Justin Berg

Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Marlon Byrd
Dave Bush
Alberto Cabrera
Matt Camp
Chris Carpenter
Esmailin Caridad
Marco Carillo
Welington Castillo
Steve Clevenger
Robert Coello
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Bill Dancy
Thomas Diamond
Ryan Flaherty
John Gaub
Marwin Gonzalez
Brett Jackson
Jay Jackson
Reed Johnson
Von Joshua
Bryan LaHair
DJ LeMahieu
Scott Maine
Mike Mason
Marcos Mateo
J.R. Mathes
Lou Montanez
Scott Moore
Jonathan Mota
Augie Ojeda
Ramon Ortiz
Blake Parker
Fernando Perez
Marty Pevey
Chris Robinson
Chris Rusin
Bobby Scales
Carlton Smith
Marquez Smith
Brad Snyder
Matt Spencer
Jeff Stevens
Nick Struck
Nate Teut
Ty Wright
Robin Roberts
Pete Rose
Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Bruce Sutter
Sparky Anderson
Derek Lee
Tony Perez
Orlando Cepeda
Fergie Jenkins
Luis Aparicio 

Two to-be-named Iowa Cubs will be signing free autographs near the Gate A concourse that night from 6-6:30 p.m.