Around the MWL

Alright, the blog is back in action. We had Internet problems for much of the day Thursday, or as they say at amusement parks, we were experiencing “technical difficulties.”

Coveleski Stadium might as well be an amusement park this summer, because there is going to be a ton to do, in addition to watching baseball. I cannot wait to see the atmosphere.

One of the driving forces behind the new-look, new-feel Silver Hawks is owner Andrew T. Berlin, whom I had the pleasure of meeting Thursday. He has a ton of energy and enthusiasm — not a bad thing to have in the entertainment business.

The news broke a short time ago that Ron Villone will be the new pitching coach of the Peoria Chiefs as Tom Pratt battles cancer. Here is that story. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers.

You may recognize the name Ron Villone … he played 15 seasons at the big league level with 12 different teams. He practically ran the gamut in the National League Central, playing for every team except the organization he now works for, the Cubs.

The Midwest League is filled with former players turned coaches, as is that case all throughout affiliated and big league ball. Let’s take a glance at Eastern Division Field Managers for 2012, in no particular order…

MARK HALEY / SOUTH BEND SILVER HAWKS

Ok, so I guess there is kind of an order. Hales is back for his eighth season with the Silver Hawks, and his 21st in minor league ball. He won a MWL Championship in 2005 and MWL Manager of the Year honors in 2003 and 2005. Barring a catastrophic 2012 season, Hales will surpass the 600-win mark.

DELINO DeSHIELDS / DAYTON DRAGONS

Delino is back for his second season in Dayton after leading the Dragons to a league-high 83 wins in 2011. For those on the younger end, you’ll remember Delino from Triple Play ’97 on Playstation. He had his two of his better years with the Cardinals in 1997 and 1998. He played his final two seasons with the Cubs in 2002 and 2003, retiring at age 33. He finished with a modest career batting average of .268. He was a speed demon as well, swiping 463 bases in 13 seasons.

JOSE VALENTIN / FORT WAYNE TINCAPS

From one big league infielder to the next, Jose Valentine will lead Fort Wayne in 2012. Spent the middle portion of his 16-year playing career with the White Sox. He never made a stop in South Bend, but played briefly for Beloit in 1997. He is joined on his staff by former big leaguers Jacque Jones and Willie Blaire.

ERNIE YOUNG / WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS

Ernie played parts of eight big league seasons with Oakland, Kansas City, Arizona, Detroit and Cleveland. He hit 19 home runs in 1996 and drove in 64 runs. He last played in 2004. Young is in his second season with West Michigan. He played with Madison of the MWL in 1991.

JOHN TAMARGO JR / LANSING LUGNUTS

Tamargo replaces former big league catcher Mike Redmond, who led the Lugnuts to the postseason in 2011. Redmond was promoted to the Florida State League. Tamargo spend the last two seasons as the Lugnuts hitting coach. His father, John Sr., was a major league catcher and a later a minor league coach. He skippered Clinton in 2010… baseball is in the blood, as they say.

DAVID WALLACE / LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS

Wallace replaces Ted Kubiak as the Captains captain (I will never do that again. I promise). Wallace was a catcher for the Captains in 2003 when they were still in the South Atlantic League. He played football and baseball at Vanderbilt, graduating in 2001. He played seven minor league seasons, the majority of which in the Indians organization.

JOHN SHOEMAKER / GREAT LAKES LOONS

Entering his second season at the helm. Shoemaker has worked in the Dodgers organization in a variety of capacities since 1977. He led the Jacksonville Suns to a Southern League Title in 2005. He brings a lengthy resume with him to Midland. Here is more on John.

BRADY WILLIAMS / BOWLING GREEN HOT RODS

Brady is back for a third season and has been with the team for the duration of their brief stay in the MWL. Williams was drafted in the 45th round of the 1999 draft by the Red Sox and spent five years in the minor leagues. He guided the Hot Rods the playoffs in 2011.

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