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Feeling Lucky?


Hidden-Twitter

For those who have not been on Twitter lately, you have really missed out. A new Twitter account, @HiddenRedbirds, has been giving away free prizes and giveaways around Memphis. The account has been tweeting daily locations and clues to what prize is on the other end of the giveaway. The climax of the account takes place on Friday, June 13 when the Redbirds play host to the Tacoma Rainiers at AutoZone Park. Several tweets will be sent out during the game that give fans the opportunity to claim cool stuff around the park. If you have not gotten tickets, there is still time left to be apart of our social experiment! How lucky are you feeling this Friday the 13th?

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Piscotty-social-media

 

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. In addition, every fan who buys the ticket package will be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals game and the chance to meet Jason Motte before the game. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Easley-social-media

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer!

Guest Post #2: Xavier Scruggs


Xavier Scruggs (@Xavier_Scruggs) was drafted by St. Louis in 2008 out of UNLV and is in the midst of his seventh professional season. He grew up in California and attended Poway High School in San Diego. The infielder spent the past two seasons with the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals, where he is the all-time career home runs leader with 59.

“A few years ago I was blogging for Scout.com and had a great time doing it,” Scruggs said. “I wrote about winter ball and my season in Springfield. When the Redbirds Media team ap
proached me about blogging, I immediately thought about how awesome it would be to give fans an inside look on a player’s thoughts and everyday experiences.”

From May 23, 2014



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I’m starting to believe that the Pacific Coast League should be called the NSL, the “No Sleep League.” I’ve been trying to get adjusted to getting up around 4 a.m. to catch early morning flights to our away games. These flights are never straight; there is always a layover. It has been weird getting used to playing the same day as the flight. And I won’t lie, I hate flying! It really takes a lot out of me each time, mostly because I can’t sleep on planes.

Curtis

Scruggs tweeted on May 23: My boy @JermaineCurtis grindin for sleep in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport..#milbproblems #thestruggle

We seem to have had our fair share of early games this year as well. I know the 11 a.m. games are for the kids but man those games hurt. I’m starting to get adjusted . I can’t complain though because the opportunity to be here is amazing. I can’t emphasize how awesome it is being able to travel to all of these different cities and play baseball. Sometimes I just can’t believe this is my job. It’s been awesome visiting Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Round Rock to name a few.

Last week some of my teammates and I got the opportunity to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We had an amazing tour and afterwards we signed autographs for the kids. I was absolutely blown away to hear about so many amazing things that make that hospital run, from fundraising, to the housing provided for patients, to the top-of-the-line doctors and scientist, and the people that donate and charities. I can honestly say that was such an awesome experience and I can’t wait to go back.

Scruggs and teammates Greg Garcia (far left), Boone Whiting (right middle) and Dante Rosenberg (far right) during the visit to St. Jude.

One of the best parts of the trip was just seeing the children’s faces light up when we said hello to them or gave them a high five. It’s almost surreal to think that I can have such an impact on someone’s day, especially someone that is struggling and fighting a serious battle. In the end, they are the ones bringing joy to my teammates and I. I feel like they encouraged me to live my life to the fullest and not take anything for granted. We are not promised tomorrow and the little battles I fight in this game of baseball are nothing compared to what they go through each and every day. Sometimes it just takes something like that to put other things into perspective.

Photo Credit: St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

 

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Wyatt-Motte-Koz-social-media

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer!

Happy Birthday Luis Mateo


Mateo HBD

In the midst of his seventh professional season, Luis Mateo turns 24 today. The Redbirds’ infielder started celebrating early last night in Colorado Springs when he collected three hits and scored two runs. Happy birthday Luis!

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Grichuk-social-media

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer!

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Greenwood-social-media

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer!

Bird Feeder Feature Story: Taking it Easley


By Grant Braden

For most minor league players in professional baseball, receiving a placement in Memphis, Tennessee is a welcomed feeling. Owned by the St. Louis Cardinals, Triple-A Memphis is just a drive away from the big league club, allowing fans an easy time of keeping tabs on their favorite players. The Redbirds play in the competitive Pacific Coast League, facing off against some of the top minor league systems in baseball. The team plays at AutoZone Park, acclaimed as one of the best ballparks by several top publications. The list could continue on.

Most players would list those things among the frontrunners of why they love playing in Memphis. But for Memphis-native and Redbirds’ Opening Day catcher Ed Easley, another motive holds true.

“It feels really good to just be able to play professional baseball and live in my own house,” Easley said.

Born in Memphis and having grown up in nearby Olive Branch, Mississippi, the former 2007 supplemental 1st round draft pick was signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in the offseason. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization. Signing with St. Louis brought about excitement concerning a fresh start with a new organization.

“I couldn’t ask to be in a better spot,” Easley explained, “not only because I’m getting to play in my hometown, but because of the St. Louis Cardinals’ reputation and how successful they have been.”

A 2004 graduate of Olive Branch High School, Easley was one of the top catchers in Mississippi, earning All-State honors twice. In addition, he was named a Louisville Slugger All-American, Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and Olive Branch’s MVP, among other top accolades, following his memorable senior campaign. The four-year starter hit nearly .460 for the Conquistadors in his career, driving home 158 runs, while recording 61 doubles and 28 home runs.

His offensive output for a catcher made him a highly recruited backstop out of high school. With options to attend schools like Georgia Tech, Clemson, and several Southeastern Conference universities, Easley decided to stay close to home and committed to Mississippi State University.

“The opportunity to play early in my career was probably the biggest decision factor, along with being closest to my home, so I chose Mississippi State,” Easley clarified. “(It helped) going to school where I knew who my teammates were going to be since I knew a few other guys from this area that had signed with them.”

Easley looks back now as having no regrets during his time as a Bulldog. In his three years at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs won an SEC Tournament Championship, were ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation at one point and advanced to the College World Series. For Easley, getting to be a part of college baseball’s pinnacle event in 2007 was “everything you dreamed it would be.”

Used primarily as a catcher throughout his career, the 28-year old has made appearances at first and third base tracing back to his time at State. Utilized at the hot corner in his first two years, Easley then caught every game in his junior campaign. He acknowledges being drafted as a catcher, but remains open-minded about other positions.

“I’ve slowly kind of taken catching as my primary position and that’s what I want to do,” Easley explained. “But also I want the coaching staff and front office to know that if there’s a need at the corner, that I am familiar with that position.”

Similar to his last year in high school, Easley’s final season with Mississippi State gave him recognition for a superb job both behind the plate and at the dish. He was the recipient of the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher. The backstop was selected as a Rawlings and Louisville Slugger All-American, in addition to being the Mississippi Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. No mistake though, the Johnny Bench Award was his most-notable honor.

“Once they called my name, I didn’t have a speech prepared so I just kind of let it flow from the top of my head,” Easley said. “I was very proud to be able to stand up there and win the award, but also having my parents with me at that time to thank them and let them be recognized.”

Easley jumped right into professional baseball following the draft in June of 2007. He moved through Arizona’s minor league affiliates in the years to come, but uncharacteristically hit below a .275 average every season through 2012. He admittingly “didn’t have too many great years early.” With only 17 games of prior experience above the Double-A level, Easley was assigned to Triple-A Reno in the Pacific Coast League to begin 2013. In his best campaign statistically at any minor league level, the catcher hit .334 with 49 runs batted in and 29 extra-base hits, to go along with throwing out a league-best 35.7% of attempted base stealers. Easley attributed last year’s success to a budding amount of confidence following a strong Spring Training.

Fast forward to now, hopes are high for that same confidence to guide him during his time with Memphis. The right-hander’s aspirations for the season are different than any before though.

“This year it’s going to be being a leader defensively,” Easley proclaimed. “There are a lot of guys I haven’t caught before and played with, so just looking to slowly get used to the guys and being confident, knowing that I have done this all before.”

It can be safe to say that he can count on support from many different people this season too. Hailing from the area, Easley has already seen a strong number of those he grew up with come out to see him play. The chance to play in front of family and friends on a consistent basis is something few baseball players are given and Easley knows it. “The door opened for me and they told me that this was the opportunity I had,” Easley said. “Being at home with friends and family had a little to do with my decision.”

Ed Easley (bottom left) and Charlie Lea (upper right) in Collierville Little League.

In the midst of his eighth professional season, Easley has experienced the ups and downs of professional baseball. He has had many coaches, parents, friends, and teammates make a lasting impression on the way he plays baseball, and many of them will be able to see him play at AutoZone Park this year. But if there was one person Easley wishes could be in the stands, it would be Charlie Lea, the man who made the most lasting impression on Easley’s baseball career.

Lea, a former Memphis Chicks pitcher and Redbirds’ broadcaster, had sons that were similar in age to Easley. The boys all grew up together and played competitive baseball with one another. The former Montreal Expo helped Easley by teaching the catching side of things, instead of what Lea was famous for, pitching. The experiences and time spent around Lea will always be something Easley cherishes.

“Charlie Lea taught me more about this game than anyone else,” Easley emphasized. “When it came to baseball skills and how to live my life on and off the field, I learned a lot from Charlie in those ways.

“He was a great man. Unfortunately he is not here to experience all this with me. He’s always in the back of my head and I look forward to playing this season for him.”

As Easley looks to repeat last year’s strong performance, his chance to play in AutoZone Park during its 15th season is something he will cherish. In the end, Easley’s passion is playing baseball and he hopes fans can see it by the way he plays.

“Playing pro ball in my hometown, there’s not much more I can ask for honestly,” Easley concluded.

Easley before the St. Louis Cardinals Exhibition Game at AutoZone Park in 2014.

Help K Cancer on May 30


KCancer-Curtis-Easley-social-media

 

The Jason Motte Foundation is teaming up with the Memphis Redbirds for a special night at AutoZone Park. On Friday, May 30, fans can purchase ticket packages that will include admission into the ballpark and a K Cancer shirt like the one above. Find more information about the event by clicking on the photo above or here. We hope you join us in the fight to K Cancer!

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