New Signings from Fat Cats, Coverage of IBL on Sportsnet?

Well folks, it’s that time of the year again

This evening, the MLB and it’s affiliated leagues start their season.  The AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs – formerly the Ottawa Lynx – host the Scranton WB Yankees. In AA, the Binghamton Mets – who will most likely be moving to Ottawa Stadium for 2013 – will square off versus the Akron Aeros.

The Ottawa Fat Cats and we the fans will have to wait another 43 days for their IBL campaign to start up, but when you think about it, 43 days is only a month and a half. We are definitely coming down the home stretch of the off-season.

An indication of that is that the Fat Cats have begun to announce player signings and re-signings. The FCs front office has already inked the 4 imports they are allowed to have on their roster for 2012. Kevin Dietrich and LaDale Hayes will return to the team this year, along with newcomer imports Jason Coker and Brandon Huffman.

Coker is a utility player whom the Fat Cats currently have down as an Infielder on their website. He boasted 31 HRs and 165 runs scored in 206 career games with UNC Pembroke of the NCAA. His on-base percentage of .391 is very good, and it appears that he fits in well with the Fat Cats. Of course, we’ll have to wait until the season starts to see that.

Huffman is down on the website as a Pitcher, but is also somewhat of a utility player, playing Infield as well (think McGovern).  His ERA while pitching in High School was just over 1 and he also had a batting average of .457 which would have led the league had Huffman played in the IBL in 2011. Of course, that was in High School baseball. I don’t know much about American HS Ball, but I’m assuming that the caliber is substantially lower than the IBL.

Nevertheless, it would be outstanding if Huffman could come in to Ottawa and be another McGov for the Cats. A promising stat package suggests that he may be just that.

Some re-signings for the Fat Cats include Josh Soffer, Matt McGovern and just announced today were Kyle Barclay and William Sebastian. The FCs current roster also features others, who I assume will be back as well.

Unfortunately, there are also some others leaving the team, including Rick Howroyd. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll definitely be missing him this year. He was arguably the most clutch player on the roster, always coming up with a timely hit or pick off from behind the plate. It makes me wonder who will replace him back there. Currently, the only Catcher on the FCs roster is Eitan Maoz. I wonder if Coker will make some appearances back there.

Some thoughts on league media coverage

Watching this Jays-Indians season opener on Sportsnet right now has got me thinking. Sportsnet broadcasts CHL and NHL games on a regular basis and they’re also the sole broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays in the summer, with all 162 regular season games, plus playoffs (who am I kidding, the Jays won’t make it).

Surely, since they already broadcast baseball, they could commit to 15-20 IBL games, at least on the Ontario channel.

Adopt a “game of the week” format, like they do with the CHL and go from there. They could hire a broadcast team from a current IBL club to do the PBP and colour commentary – a pair who knows the league well. It would also be awesome to see the championship series to be broadcasted in it’s entirety on the channel.

Food for thought.

    • Pierre
    • April 6th, 2012

    Plenty of guys in HS hit .400 and even .457 so I wouldn’t get overly excited about that. I was thinking McGovern too when I saw he was a pitcher too, which he probably will be most of the time, unless he can play any infield position and we need someone there.

    The Coker signing is more interesting. We’ve needed more power in the lineup the last two years. He seems to fit that need but so did Mathis last year. The stadium has a tendency to bring guys down a notch in the power department.

    Soffer, Hayes, McGovern, Barclay, Sebastian (one to watch). That looks on paper the makings of a good team. Brett Sabourin should be back, probably Danny Desclouds too and most of the rest from last year.

    There’s no such thing as clutch. Howroyd was productive however and the rest need to take up the slack he leaves behind. If Coker is as good as he looks, he will take up most of it.

    IBL games on a cable sports channel won’t happen. See my comments on FB.

    • I doubt Huffman will hit in the .400s in the IBL, but it’s not true that plenty of guys in in the .400s. Allan Cattrysse had the best average in the league with .419 and the 2 closest guys to that were Jordan Castaldo (.412) and Sean Reilly (.405). No one else batted in the .400s.

      As for the IBL with games on SNET, I wish it could happen but I kind of realize that it’s just a dream. HOWEVER, the IBL could be doing a MUCH better job with broadcasting their games to all IBL fans. For example, for last year’s final you couldn’t watch the series if you didn’t live in Brantford or Ottawa and something is wrong with that. They should at least stream their games online.

    • Pierre
    • April 7th, 2012

    I think you read wrong. I said plenty of guys hit .400 in High School. Probably all high school leagues have a guy hitting that much or close to it. It definitely doesn’t mean he’ll hit .400 in the IBL but let’s see what the guy can do. He probably will do more pitching anyway. By the way, I did more checking and he’s listed in other places as a pitcher/1B so he has a lot in common with Matt.

    Someone else we may see pitch more this year is LaDale. He got signed as a pitcher and supposedly has a fastball in the 90s, something his stats the few times he pitched would suggest.

    As for TV, except for a few real IBL fans in other cities, no real reason Rogers would want to broadcast those games. It’s not local for one thing, except the teams of towns involved. The other problem is that, unless you have Rogers cable, like me, you couldn’t see those games either. Streaming is next best option, if the league had the resources to do so, which they don’t. This is not a pro league with huge revenues.

    • Whoops, sorry about that. I’ll read closer next time!

      Yeah, I also noticed that Huffman is a 1st baseman as well as a pitcher. Like I said in the post, I hope he can turn into another McGov for us, which would be great, but either way he’ll be a great addition and add some depth to the lineup.

      About LaDale, here’s a video of him pitching a fastball around 93 mph on Youtube, but his control seems off.

      Actually, I remember seeing his come up on Pointstreak as a reliever for the Fat Cats during one of the away games last year (for some reason I’m thinking that it was reg season vs Brantford), but he lasted about half an inning before getting yanked.

      You have a point with the non-local games on Rogers and those channels don’t have a reason to broadcast the final, but there is still fans in those other IBL cities that would watch those games. A stream or an online radio broadcast would be good for that.

      I know that you’re being a realist, but you don’t need huge revenues for a stream. I’m not looking for a TV quality broadcast here. All you need is one or two cameras – and they don’t have to be hi def TV cameras – plus a broadcaster, who they already hire for those internet audio streams.

    • Pierre
    • April 7th, 2012

    And who’s going to pay for the cameras, the operators, the play-by-play guy, the cost of streaming? The Fat Cats had internet radio last year, as simple as it gets. But the broadcasters did not get paid, it was volunteer. They also had to have their own equipment as the team did not supply that and I assume they paid for the streaming, although that might have been some sort of free service. And how many people “tuned” in? They told me they got maybe 40 or so for most games. I don’t see someone doing the same on their nickel to do video.

    The Fat Cats by the way are asking for an internet broadcaster on their site.

    • A refurbished Camcorder can cost as low as $100. Cost of streaming on certain websites (Ustream, which some pro and junior hockey teams use like the Kingston Voyageurs and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees) is free.

      Yeah, I saw that they’re asking for an internet broadcaster. When they say that, do they mean someone to do play-by-play, someone to broadcast the game online, or both? I was a little confused by that.

    • Pierre
    • April 8th, 2012

    I see you’re volunteering then Michael along with a few of your buddies and stream video.

    The internet broadcast would be one or two play-by-play guys but there was often only one of them, or three when I did it. They take care of everything. As said before, you’d have to furnish your own equipment. The equipment the guys had last year looked like good stuff. Top-notch professional microphones (not computer ones) and a nice control box to set levels and other things, a laptop connected to it to play music between innings.

    • @ndrew
    • April 25th, 2012

    Team seems to be much like last season, 2 names missing are GM Duncan MacDonald and catcher/1st base Rick Howroyd

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