Chris Hayes — Guest Blogger

Hello from the Arizona Fall League.  My name is
Chris Hayes and I’m a relief pitcher with the Kansas City Royals. 
I’m a fan favorite. I know you all have been waiting weeks on end
for mlb.com to ask me to be a guest blogger on this site, so on their
behalf, I would like to apologize for the delay.  My blog will
be the best baseball blog ever…

…Because I will be interviewing Matt Wieters. 
He is my teammate on the Surprise Rafters and is excessively good at
baseball.  And let’s be honest, who’s heard of Chris Hayes? I
would ask for a show of hands but I don’t have a cricket sound maker
or any tumbleweed, so we’ll assume you are all looking up the
Surprise Rafters blogs to hear about Wieters anyways. If you haven’t
heard of Matt and you are reading this, you must be a relative of
mine, because anyone who invests the time to scour the depths of the
Internet to find this blog is obviously one of my relatives or a
baseball super-fan and any super-fan knows Matt Wieters.  For my
relatives’ sake, I’ll introduce Matt before we get going with
this interview.

Rafters Mound Visit.jpg

Matt Wieters (left) walking back to home plate after a mound visit with Chris Hayes.  Matt stands 6’5″ and scouts say has a big league body.  Chris is a pitcher.

Chris Hayes: “Matt sorry for the delay here, thanks
for being with us, I’ll begin the questions shortly.  Feel
free in the meantime to sign some autographs.”

Matt was the Orioles 1st
pick in the 2007 First Year Player Draft.  He struggled horribly
this year only hitting .345 in Hi-A Frederick with 15 HRs and 40 RBI
in just under 9 games.  Due to his struggles at the plate and
lack of speed output (only 1 for 2 in Stolen Bases at Frederick), the
Orioles sent him to AA Bowie to try to keep him out of the eyes of
scouts.  Again, he struggled.  In 61 games in Bowie, Matt
only had 1 stolen base, but did limit his caught stealing totals to
0.  He did not reach base safely almost 50% of the time while in
Bowie and in his first season as a professional, we can all assume
the Orioles were looking for more out of him.  They sent him
here to the Arizona Fall League to try to jump-start his confidence
by surrounding him with talented players like myself whose upsides
cannot be described without using the phrases “sky high”,
“unlimited”, and “existent”.  The Orioles have made an
effort to boost his self esteem by having hundreds of autograph
seekers come to Arizona and treat Matt like the Beatles and swat guys
like me away like a fly. Without further ado, please give your
attention and your support to our catcher, Matt Wieters, as outlined
above, he could really use both.

CH: “Matt, thanks for being with us today, thanks for
taking time away from excelling at everything you do to be with me
today.”

Matt Wieters: “No problem, Chris.  I think I’m
even contractually obligated to be here.”

CH: “Well it means a lot.  The Fall League
suggested I finally do something to ‘make myself useful’ and ‘add
value to the league’ so I’m hoping this blog goes over really
well.  Getting this interview is a big step for me in that
direction.”

MW: “Glad to help.”

CH: “Alright, phew, deep breath. It’s going awesome
so far.  Let’s get started… Can you sign this ball for me?”

MW: “Seriously?”

CH: “Maybe later, then.  Did you know that you
are, like, my favorite player?  What’s that like?”

MW: “Well, I’m flattered, Chris, but maybe we could
stick to the questions you want to ask for the interview.”

CH: “I’ll be honest, I really didn’t have a whole
lot planned, I’m kinda new to this and just wanted an excuse to get
to chat with you.  I figure that way I can tell my grandkids
someday I interviewed Matt Wieters.”

MW: “”

CH: “Also, during some games when you are catching
and I am pitching and there’s a base runner on second base and we
need to agree on which finger signs you are going to give, I get to
chat with you, but otherwise I haven’t gotten to hang out that
much.”

MW: “That’s true is that why you’ve let so many guys
get to second base?”

CH: “I think that was a run-on sentence, Matt. 
Just a tip.  Speaking of grammar, did you know that you are
famous enough that ‘Wieters’ does not get underlined in red as a
misspelling on most word processors.  Hayes doesn’t either,
but I think that has less to do with my fame than yours.  Your
thoughts?”

MW: “There was that one president Hayes, right?”

CH: “Great point.  Let’s go with it. In 1931,
Babe Ruth was asked why he wanted a higher salary than president
Herbert Hoover and his response was, ‘I had a better year than he
did.’  Would you say you had a better year this year than Babe
Ruth?”

MW: “The Babe is such an icon.  He really
revolutionized the game and made baseball what it is today.”

CH: “Yeah, and unfortunately today he is dead. 
Despite your struggles, I think your 2008 campaign might have the
slight edge over the Sultan of Swat’s 2008.”

MW: “This year I did attend big league spring
training for my first spring as a professional, was named the top
prospect in the Carolina league and made the All star team, made it
all the way to Double-A in my first full professional season, got
named to Baseball America’s Minor League Baseball All Star team,
and capped it off by winning Baseball America’s Minor League player
of the year award.  I think that’s a pretty decent year.”

CH: “Gulp.”

MW: “I’m sure you had a great year, though, too,
right? I mean we’re both here in the AFL.”

CH: “I did
stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

MW: “And…”

CH: “And… And….
I have a blog! Well, a guest blog, I’m not even a regular.
But
still, literally 7 to 6 people are waiting to read it because I am so
famous.”

MW: “”

CH: “I’m hoping Google Searches for your name direct
people here. You know, get some more hits that way. I really need
this thing to be a hit. I promised the AFL the best blog ever. How
do you think it’s gonna be?”

MW: “Pretty decent. May be the best of the year.”

CH: “Really?! That’s awesome! So glad you think
that.”

MW: “Well yeah, everything else I’ve been involved in
this year has ranked me #1.”

Note: This blog
does not reflect the views, beliefs, or thoughts of Matt Wieters, the
Orioles, the Royals, or really even Chris Hayes for that matter.
Matt is not only the best baseball player ever, he’s a pretty darn
humble guy. Hope you all enjoyed the blog, I know I did. I figure
it’s more entertaining than hearing some guy you’ve never heard of
ramble about how gorgeous Phoenix is in the fall and how the AIG
retreats are really a blast this time of year. Hope wherever you
are, you are having as much fun as we are playing ball.

“Guest Blogger: Chris McConnell”

        HI everyone, this is Chris McConnell of the Kansas City Royals and the Surprise Raftersmcconnell-chris_Joy-R-Absalon.jpg of the Arizona Fall League. Let me get started by introducing myself. I am from Franklinville, NJ and I was drafted out of Delsea Regional High School in 2004. This past season i was playing for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Which is a short drive over the bridge to my house in NJ. Where i actually lived there for the entire season. I had my parents and my wife at every game.
         I am now here in the AFL and we been playing now for about 2 weeks. There is alot of good players here and the speed of the game is a little bit quicker. My goals here are just to hit the ball well, play good defense, and just try to do the little things to win. I try not to pay too much attention to stats. We have a a little less then a month of the season left so i hope to do well and i am sure time will fly by ( it already has). Wish me luck.
                   
                                                         Chris McConnell

Guest Blogger: Chris McConnell

        HI everyone, this is Chris McConnell of the Kansas City Royals and the Surprise Raftersmcconnell-chris_Joy-R-Absalon.jpg of the Arizona Fall League. Let me get started by introducing myself. I am from Franklinville, NJ and I was drafted out of Delsea Regional High School in 2004. This past season i was playing for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Which is a short drive over the bridge to my house in NJ. Where i actually lived there for the entire season. I had my parents and my wife at every game.
         I am now here in the AFL and we been playing now for about 2 weeks. There is alot of good players here and the speed of the game is a little bit quicker. My goals here are just to hit the ball well, play good defense, and just try to do the little things to win. I try not to pay too much attention to stats. We have a a little less then a month of the season left so i hope to do well and i am sure time will fly by ( it already has). Wish me luck.
                   
                                                         Chris McConnell

Week 2 in the Fall League

Hey everyone this is Joe Dickerson blogging again about the second week of the Fall League.  So far the Rafters have had a pretty wild start to the season.  We currently have 3-5 record but we have competed very well in each game.  I personally am quickly learning how many good players there really are participating in this league.  What I have enjoyed the most so far about this league is that every time I step on the field I know I will get stretched to play to my best potential.

Well I guess that is pretty much all that has gone on this week, hopefully I’ll have much more to talk about in this upcoming blog.  Thanks for reading the blogs I write and I hope to hear more from everyone. 

Talk to you later,

Joe Dickerson

Brian McFall-Guest Blogger

    Hey everyone, this is Brian McFall, a teammate of Joe Dickerson with the Kansas City

NWA at bat, helmet off.JPG

Royals and the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.  Since this is my first blog, I figured I would try to let everyone out there know a little bit more about myself as well, so lets get into it. 

    I was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona.  I had one older sibling, my sister Heather who is 26 and one of the most prestigious 1st grade teachers in Flagstaff.  Fortunately, I was blessed with two very loving and supportive parents.  Bob, my dad is also from Flagstaff, he was my coach, mentor and role model growing up.  Not only did I look up to my dad but he was the one who taught me about the game of baseball.  If there was something wrong with my swing, my arm action, my fielding, or even my fiery attitude, it was my dad that caught it and fixed it.  My mom, Karen, grew up in Michigan and moved to Flagstaff in her teenage years, I am proud to boast that she is probably my number one fan.  My parents were always there for me and influenced my life greatly, which is why my mom is also the reason why I grew up probably one of the craziest Michigan Wolverine fans anybody could meet(Sorry to the Buckeye Nation out there…but c’mon…GO BLUE!!).  Anyway though, family and friends do happen to be a huge part of my life.  If I am not out on the baseball field you can be sure to find me at some kind of get together, I feel like making connections with all types of people is one of the greatest gifts of life.

     Getting back to the sports aspect however, I played baseball at Sinagua High School in Flagstaff and then moved on to college ball at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.  Out of high school and into my freshman year of college I was actually more of a pitcher than a position player.  Luckily, I had a good year at CGCC and made more of a name for myself as a 1st/3rd baseman and was drafted in 2003 as a 1st basemen.  I was assigned to play in the Arizona League and by 2004 Spring Training I had been moved to right field.  No matter where I play however, baseball has been and always will be my greatest passion.  I consider it an honor to be able to do what I love as an occupation and I count my blessings everyday I wake up. 

       I now live in Surprise, AZ with two of my Royals teammates, Ed Lucas and Rowdy Hardy, of which the latter is also my AFL teammate.  My house is located closely to Kansas City’s spring training complex which provides me and my teammates with a plethora of advantages during the off-season.  It really comes in handy during the winter, being able to work out at the complex with all of its ammenities and the bearable Arizona temperatures.  Arizona itself boasts an unbelievable year round climate and I would recommend to anybody making a trip out here, whether it be for the Fall League, the Cactus league or just the winter weather(don’t forget to take a quick trip up to the fabulous city of Flagstaff though).  Being from Arizona though makes the Fall League that much more special for me, as I get to leave the ball park and come to my own house and be around my awesome friends and wonderful girlfriend who I am around very little during the six month season.  As for my AFL goals, I am definitely here to improve many facets of my game.  Most of all I would really like to work on my pitch recognition and strike zone discipline as I feel that if I can do that, I could be of help to our Major League club(believe me when some of you Royals fans out there are grimacing over a 2 strikeout performance from Brian McFall, I am right there with you, and I plan on doing all I can to limit those and become the player the Royals need me to be).  The AFL is just the platform for players like myself to improve in their own areas, in my limited AFL experience I have seen loads of talented players and I consider it an honor just to be a part of the league.  Using these 6 weeks is of the utmost importance to me, especially with the expanded rosters which means playing time and at-bats can not be taken for granted.  Hopefully, what I can learn and take from the AFL I will be able to bring with me into the upcoming seasons and have those skills transfer into that of a Major League contributor.

      Well, I guess that is probably enough from me.  Hopefully I came off as a nice guy, who is a kid a heart and psyched to be playing the greatest game in the world.  Thank you all for listening to me blabber, I would love to hear from anyone and everyone, and maybe I will see you out in Surprise cheering on the Rafters!!!

 

God Bless, Brian McFall 

    

First Week of Fall League

Hey, everybody. This is Joe Dickerson here in Arizona representing the Kansas City Royals in the Arizona Fall League. The team I am playing for is the Surprise Rafters. Since this is my first blog I have done, I am going to let everyone know a little bit about myself. I have grown up all my life in Orange County, Calif. I attended high school at Esperanza, where I played football and baseball my freshman year, and then narrowed it down to just baseball after my freshman year. My baseball team never did make it to the CIF championship but we always made it to the playoffs. During the beginning of my senior year I signed a scholarship to go to the University of Texas. As thrilled as I was about going to play baseball at Texa,  I always had my eyes set on playing professional baseball and I got that chance when the Royals drafted me.  It was a tough decision for me but I am very happy with the one that I have made.

Well, we started the fall league up about a week and half ago.  he practices were pretty low key but we definitely got our work in. We started games this week, so far we are 0-2 but we have competed well in both games. The goals that I have for myself in this league are to compete and play as well as I can at both the plate and in the field.  The competition has definitely been very good, and I have not played in a couple of months because of a broken finger which means I have to get back into the swing of things quick. It should be a good time out here in Arizona competing against all these great players.

Take care,

Joe

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