Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14- Fort Wayne TinCaps

In honor of today being Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d get a little creative with my post. Needless to day, I failed. I looked through all 247 hats I had, hoping to find some kind of a heart on any of them. Instead, I found a little red apple doing a Johnny Appleseed impersonation. Close enough I suppose.

In November of 2011 I went on a Minor League hat binge. At the time I didn’t think too much of it as I was just buying up hats with really cool and interesting logos. When I bought this hat, I also bought it with a Eugene Emeralds, a San Antonio Missions and a random San Diego Padres hat. Little did I know at the time, but essentially I had bought four Padres hats as the three Minor League hats are all affiliates on various levels. Crazy! The first time I wore this was at the bar I work at, Max’s Tavern. The first dude who spotted it asked me if I was a big Padres fan. I’ll be honest, at the time I didn’t have the foggiest of knowing who the Fort Wayne TinCaps belonged to, so I of course played it off like I knew what he was talking about. Definitely a first in my life. The logo itself is a tribute to John Chapman (Appleseed) who lived in Fort Wayne at the end of his life, and is in fact buried there as well. While most people associate the cooking pot cap with Chapman, at no time in his life was he known to wear one. The 1948 Disney film we all watched in our youth created the the lore of the TinCap, which the team adopted as their logo. Clever.

This cap in particular is one of a fours caps the TinCaps use, and have been using since they were released in 2008. The green in the home cap while the variety of grey styles are the road, alternate and batting practice caps, but I’ll bring those up in the future. The TinCaps are a single-A affiliate of the Padres and have been so since 1999; however, prior to that they were the high-A club of the Minnesota Twins. For those of you who didn’t know, Fort Wayne is in Indiana, which is not exactly close to San Diego, unlike the Padres’ other Minor League affiliates. Also, I’ve certainly written a lot about the Padres over the last few weeks. They need to stop having so many cool hats.

The numbers I marked were a relatively easy choice. Both players were on the team in 2008 as well as the start of the 2009 season, but they moved upward and onward through the system as the TinCaps won their first Midwest League Championship that season.

#13- Believe it or not, this guy is now a member of the Oakland Athletics. Andy Parrino was drafted by the Padres in the 26th round of the 2007 Amateur Draft. Parrino and my paths have crossed a few times oddly enough, the first time being when he made his professional debut in Eugene, Oregon with the Emeralds. The second time, well, kind of an interesting story, but here’s a photo to help illustrate…

We had a brief run-in during warm-up of a Padres/Arizona Diamondbacks game in Phoenix during my summer tour, but it was literally a three second glance and wave. And now he’s on the A’s. Anyway, Parrino spent all of 2008 in Fort Wayne going .252/4/43, and started the first five games of the 2009 season there as well before moving southward to Lake Elsinore to play for the Storm. Parrino made hi Major League debut on August 26, 2011 and is likely to be a decent utility infielder for the A’s, but may have to fight for a spot amongst all the other acquired talent.

#32- As I mentioned earlier, this cat and Parrino were both members of the 2008 and 2009 TinCaps and both made their professional debut with the Emeralds. Weird. Mat Latos was drafted in the 11th round of the 2006 Amateur Draft, but made his MLB debut three years later. Latos never played AAA ball, he simply made the jump from Eugene to Rookie ball back to Eugene to Fort Wayne to San Antonio to San Diego relatively fast. 2008 proved to be a very interesting year for Latos. He started the season in the Rookie League in Arizona where he pitched five games before moving on to Eugene for three games, and finally ended up in Fort Wayne for seven games. During his time in Fort Wayne Latos pitched 24.2 innings, struck out 23 (Latos struck out exactly 23 batters at every stop he made in 2008) and maintained an ERA of 3.28 while going 0-3. Despite the rough finish, Latos persevered and went 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA in the four games he made an appearance in at the start of the 2009 season. And now, he’s with the Reds… with a smokin’ hot wife. Well played Latos. Well played indeed.

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