July 2009

The thrilla in Memphilla?


Listen, I’ll be the first to tell you this year’s communications interns for the Memphis Redbirds are not fighters. From our affinity for top-notch folk albums to our mutual appreciation of a good cardigan, Alex and I reek of unadulterated pacifism.

If there is a way to sidestep a squabble, believe me, most of the time we are going to do our best to find it.

Most of the time.

When you work in an environment as time intensive as this Redbirds internship is turning out to be, you better enjoy who you are working with because you are going to see a lot of them. We both thought we found each other tolerable at the very least, but the fact of the matter is there has been some bad blood boiling between us for some time now.

As some of you might know, Alex showed his true colors when he chose a failed shot at victory over friendship in the epic Hot Dog race of ’09 and from there it has been a typhoon of animosity.

I’m just going to say it: The man needs to get popped in the mouth.

In following with the long-brewing beef between Alex and me, I have decided that the only sensible method of solving things is through the implementation of a physical altercation.

Sure, the act of fighting someone else sounds relatively easy, but the fact is Alex and I know very little in regard to throwing down fisticuffs, which might serve as the least shocking thing you will read today considering we are in our mid-20s and weigh a combined 200 pounds.\

Our shortcomings as fighters make the Redbirds game on Saturday, August 1, all the more important. At the conclusion of their 6:05 p.m. outing against the Omaha Royals, the ‘Birds welcome Jerry “The King” Lawler and the rest of the gang from Memphis Wrestling as they bring their Redbirds Grand Slam to AutoZonePark.

Alex and I will be taking an educational approach to the talents of “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, Buff Bagwell and the legendary Hacksaw Jim Duggan when they appear at AZP, and will take what we have learned and use it to refine our own fighting skills, ultimately using them against each other.

I can’t decide whether or not to tell Alex about the upcoming bout. The sneak-attack is one of my bullet points.

Stay tuned to Chirp Chatter to see exactly when and where the tentative battle between Ben “The Texas Serpent” Spradling and Alex “The Blob” Wassel will take place. Don’t let that stop you from placing your preliminary bets. The odds out of Vegas favor neither of us.

Until then, make your way out to AZP for some Saturday night baseball and Memphis Wrestling.


What To Know About Bobblehead #7

7aw.jpgBats: Right    Throws:Right
Born: August 30, 1981 at Brunswick, Georgia
Became a Cardinal in December of 2003 as part of a
five-man trade from Atlanta that included J.D. Drew.

Adam Wainwright has quickly become one of St. Louis’ most reliable starting pitchers. The 10-year pro is currently tied for second in the majors with 11 wins and has a team-leading 130 strikeouts. To think just four years ago Wainwright was twirling strikeouts for the Redbirds at AutoZone Park.After being traded from the Braves into the Cardinals system in late ’03, Wainwright began his 2004 campaign by making his Triple-A debut with the Redbirds. Elbow discomfort ended his summer in Memphis early and the right-hander didn’t pitch again until the Arizona Fall League.

AdamWainwright38.jpgWainwright returned healthy to post big numbers in 2005, setting a Redbirds individual season record of 29 starts, which also led the PCL. He made his major league debut later that year on September 11 against the Yankees. In 43 starts, Wainwright is 14-15 as a Redbird with a 4.76 ERA (132ERx249.1IP) and 214 strikeouts.

wainwright37.jpgWainwright started 2006 with the Cardinals and has been a regular ever since, dropping down to the minors only once in 2008 for injury rehabilitation. Though he is currently in the five-man rotation, Wainwright was used as a reliever in his unforgettable rookie season.  In the St. Louis Cardinals run through the postseason, Wainwright delivered the final out for all three series wins, including the final pitch in the World Series: fanning Detroit’s Brandon Inge in Game 5 to clinch St. Louis’ 10th World Championship.

DSC_1595.JPGWainwright’s shining career in St. Louis gives us more than enough reasons to include the former ‘Bird in 2009’s All AutoZone Park bobblehead series. The Adam Wainwright bobblehead will be given away to the first 1,500 fans to arrive at Tuesday night’s home game against the Round Rock Express. Gates for the game open at 6:00 P.M.

Russwood Park Lore

Thursday night, July 23 is AutoZone Park’s final Nostalgia Night of the season, honoring Russwood Park. The first 1,500 fans will receive a Russwood Park miniature replica. Gates will open at 6:00 P.M. for Nostalgia Night #3, sponsored by Campbell Clinic.

NosNight3mediawall.jpgLocated at 914 Madison Avenue, Russwood Park was a famous landmark to Memphis natives from 1901-1960. The park was built from 1898-99 and had an original capacity of about 2,800. After several additions the park eventually saw 10,000+ crowds. The park changed its name from Red Elm Park to Russwood in 1915 to honor new owner Russell E. Gardner.

Russwood_overview.jpgIn 1901, Memphis became a charter member in the Southern Association, bringing professional baseball back to Memphis after a brief five year hiatus. Russwood Park hosted its first game on May 5, 1901, where the Memphis Leaguers lost to the Little Rock Travelers.

Russwoodraisingbanner.jpgA new and modern Russwood Park brought a league record 254,725 fans through the gates in 1921 to watch their Chicks go on to win the city’s first title since 1904. The Chicks brought five more titles to Memphis and Russwood Park in 1924, 1930, 1952 (above), 1953 and 1955 before the Southern Association disbanded in 1961.

MBEEasterSunday1960Russwood.jpgOn Easter Sunday, Russwood Park hosted its final game, a major league exhibition between between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland won the game before a crowd of 7,269 (above).

russwoodfire.jpgLater that night, the park was destroyed by fire believed to have started under the left field grandstand. In 2005, the Memphis Flyer’s Tom Walsh wrote a memorial piece on Russwood, where he recalled the wild events from the fire and the aftermath, saying the night became ‘the stuff of legend’. The Chicks practiced on the field the following day, but the park was never rebuilt.

Nostalgia Night #3 will also honor Memphis’ Southern Association team, the Memphis Turtles, by wearing retro ball caps. The Turtles were Memphis’ team from 1903-1914 and won back-to-back league championships in 1903-4. Hall of Fame first baseman Max Carey was a Turtle from 1907-09. The Turtles team named was dropped prior to the 1915 season, when Memphis adopted the Memphis Chickasaws moniker.

Related links: Elvis Performs at Russwood.

What To Know About Bobblehead #6

6dm.jpgBats: Right    Throws: Right
Born: May 29, 1946 at Batesville, Indiana
Began coaching in the St. Louis farm system in 1985 (Arkansas), but left in 1987. He later rejoined the organization in 1995.

Dyar Miller served as Memphis’ pitching coach from 2001-2007 and was responsible for the development of big leaguers Dan Haren, Anthony Reyes and Adam Wainwright, among others. Miller spent eleven seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization before becoming one of the club’s roving pitching coordinators in 2008.

dyar.jpgBack in his playing days, Miller was first signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies, but didn’t see any major league time until he joined with the Baltimore Orioles. He made his major league debut on June 9, 1975 against the Oakland Athletics, entering the game in the 14th inning. Miller was a career reliever, only starting one major league game.

Miller’s last big league appearance was on September 2, 1981. He finished with a career 23-17 major league record, 22 saves and a 3.23 ERA over 11 combined seasons with the Orioles, Angels, Blue Jays and Mets.

DSC_1552.JPGThe Dyar Miller bobblehead (above), the sixth of the 2009 collection, will be given away to the first 1,500 fans to arrive at Tuesday’s home game against the division-leading Nashville Sounds. Gates for the game open at 6:00 P.M.

Redbirds Secrets: Brett Wallace


According to the Media Guide

August 26,1986 at Sonoma, California

Resides: Sonoma, California

According to Brett

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Ballplayer Growing Up:
Ken Griffey Jr.

Clubhouse Nicknames: ‘Wally’ or ‘B-dub’

Favorite Famous Wallace: Sir William Wallace

Band or Artist You’re Listening to Currently: “I’m a big T.I. guy right now.”

Newest Hobby: “Play on my new iPhone.”

Best Thing to do in Sonoma: Spend time with family, brothers and niece

Recent Broken Bone Story:  “I’ve only broken one bone in my entire life and I was six…playing baseball in the backyard, I jumped up and broke my foot trying to rob a home run.”

Lightning Round Responses

  • Dogs over Cats
  • Summer over Winter
  • Fruits over Vegetables
  • Movies over Books
  • Offense over Defense
  • Country Music over Water Sports

Memphis’ Best Kept Secret: “That’s tough because I haven’t been here long…I’d say the Redbirds, because we’re losing right now, but we’ll turn it around. We’re going to do better the second half.”

Brett Wallace’s Best Kept Secret: “I’d say that I’m shy, because people think I’m not. People think I’m really outgoing, but I’m really shy.”

Shane Robinson’s Best Kept Secret: “Shane wears Affliction every day. If you see someone wearing Affliction in Memphis, it’s probably Shane.”


stache1.jpgThe English. The Natural. The Professional. The Chevy. The Dali. The Handlebar. The Fu Manchu. The Horseshoe. The Imperial. The Lampshade. The Walrus. The Finger. The Tapered. The Painter’s Brush. The Pencil. The Zappa. The Selleck. The Chaplin. The Brimley. The Gelatin. The Caterpillar. The Rib-eye. Whatever your style, it makes no difference, we’re all one in the same.

Earlier this week, the communications department professed we were growing mustaches, that same day the Redbirds started winning. Now five days of growth in (yes that’s right, the pictures are actually rather thinning), the Redbirds have four wins and are going for five. Last night the ‘Birds got their first sweep of 2009 behind the arm of major leaguer and fellow facial hair experimentalist, Kyle Lohse. For anyone to say that the sweep wasn’t the direct result of our lip-friends is clearly not for us, but against us.

The Redbirds are on the brink of their longest win streak of the season at five, thus we are still rockin’ the muzzies! Though the team just dropped three straight to the Isotopes one week ago, the ‘Birds now have the power of the ‘staches…the tashes…the dots and dashes…the soup strainers…the cookie dusters…the flavor savor…the lip spinach…the mousers…the face caterpillars…the northern plumage…the brillo pads…the bum-fluffs…the misplaced eyebrows…the shadow puppets… … …

We encourage others fans and departments to join in on the support of the Memphis Redbirds by growing your own mustache. Who knows, maybe in a few weeks we can start to incorporate the twist or the braid, but until then…Happy Winning and Happy Growing!


What To Know About Bobblehead #5

5jg.jpgBats: Right    Throws: Right
Born: April 2, 1978 in Stanford, California
Drafted by St. Louis in the 11th round of the 2000 draft

It probably doesn’t happen very often that a player from the visiting team gets honored on a bobblehead…but it will Tuesday July 7 when John Gall of the Round Rock Express takes on his former team to face the Memphis Redbirds.

Thumbnail image for gally2.jpgJohnGall played in the Cardinals organization for seven years and with the Redbirds from 2003-2006. He played an even amount as an outfielder and a third baseman for the ‘Birds, but has played the majority of his ’09 games at first base for the Express.

The California-native played 454 games in Memphis and hit .292 (476×1630) with 57 homers, 231 runs and 255 RBI. He made his major league debut on July 26, 2005 and went 2×4 with one double against the Padres. Gall only played 30 games for the Cardinals before being released from the club in the summer of 2006. Since then, Gall has played for the Marlins and is now in the Astros organization.

Thumbnail image for John Gall video still.jpgGall has always had good numbers against the ‘Birds and entered 2009 hitting .326 (28×86) against his former team. His AutoZone Park numbers are even better, where he has a .365 (19×52) as a visitor. Six of his seven home runs and 14 of his 20 RBI against the Redbirds have been at AutoZone Park. July 7 being his bobblehead night, who knows what kind of numbers Gall will display. So far in the series, Gall is 3-for-7.

Arrive early, because the John Gall bobblehead (above), the fifth of the 2009 collection, will only be given away to the first 1500 fans to arrive at Tuesday’s home game on July 7, when the Redbirds host John Gall and the Round Rock Express. Gates open at 6:00 P.M.Hear Gall’s thoughts about having his own bobblehead at AutoZone Park. Here.

Saturday Notables

Saturday, July 4, 6:35 PM – Memphis
Redbirds (37-43) vs. Round Rock Express (37-44)

  • Tonight’s line-up is as follows:

    1. Jon Jay – LF
    2. Daniel Descalso – 2B
    3. Nick Stavinoha – 1B
    4. Brett Wallace – 3B
    5. Brian Barden – RF
    6. Donovan Solano – SS
    7. Matt Pagnozzi – C
    8. Shane Robinson – CF
    9. Adam Ottavino – P


  • With Jarrett Hoffpauir in St. Louis (see below), 2B Daniel Descalso was moved up from Springfield today and will make his Triple-A debut tonight. Descalso was hitting .323 (93×288) for the S-Cards.
  • Fireworks will foloow tonight’s game, which bodes well for the Redbirds, who are 4-0 before fireworks.
  • Brett Wallace starts anew after posting an impressive 15-game hit streak from June 15 to July 1. Wallace had a hit Friday and looks to for it to be the start of a new string of hits.
  • Jarrett Hoffpauir made his major league debut Friday night a memorable one, coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth to hit a two-run single that gave the Cards the lead over Cincinnati.
  • Adam Ottavino looks for the first Triple-A win of his career tonight. Ottavino is 0-9 with a 5.30 ERA in 2009.
  • Among other new additions to the Redbirds squad is infielder Mark Hamilton, who joined the club on June 27 from Springfield. In his three games as a starter for Memphis, Hamilton is hitting .455 (5×11).
  • St. Louis Cardinals right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse will make a rehab start in Memphis on Tuesday, July 7th’s Round Rock series finale. Lohse made a start in Springfield on Thursday, allowing two runs on three hits over 4.2 innings.