February 2012

Breaking Down the Wacky 2012 Schedule

Each year around this time I break out the Generals schedule and a few highlighters and see what we have this year.

How many get-away day games, how many long road trips, who do we play the most. etc. The Southern League schedule is always crazy. That’s not any fault of the league office, they do a great job of putting together a fair schedule for everybody.

You have to factor things such as Jackson hosting the OVC Championships, Birmingham hosting the SEC Tournament, Mississippi hosting the C-USA Tournament, making sure each team has a home game on either July 3rd or 4th. It is not easy. Plus you have to keep travel manageable for teams. With Carolina out of the league, it makes it a little bit easier, but not much.

For the Generals in 2012, here is a look at how the schedule breaks down:

  • vs. North Division – 73 games
  • vs. South Division – 67 games
  • vs. Tennessee Smokies (Cubs) – 10 Home, 14 Road – 24 Total
  • vs. Montgomery Biscuits (Rays) – 8 Home, 13 Road – 21 Total
  • vs. Huntsville Stars (Brewers) – 14 Home, 5 Road – 19 Total
  • vs. Mississippi Braves (Braves) – 13 Home, 3 Road – 16 Total
  • vs. Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers) – 5 Home, 10 Road – 15 Total
  • vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds) – 5 Home, 10 Road – 15 Total
  • vs. Birmingham Barons (White Sox) – 5 Home, 5 Road – 10 Total
  • vs. Jacksonville Suns (Marlins) – 5 Home, 5 Road – 10 Total
  • vs. Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks) 5 Home, 5 Road – 10 Total

25 of the first 40 games are against either Tennessee (Cubs) or Huntsville (Brewers).

25 straight games to start the season before the first day off on April 29th.

24 5-game series, two 4-game series and four 3-game series.

116 night games and 24 day games, including seven starts before noon.

Off days by month:

  • April – 1
  • May – 2
  • June – 4
  • July – 4
  • August – 2
  • September – 0

Total of 140 games in 153 days.

Three two-city road trips, June 2-June 11 to Chattanooga and Jacksonville, July 4-July 9 to Mississippi and Montgomery and August 19-August 28 to Mobile and Chattanooga.

37 days until opening day.


Recap of 2/24 Edition of “Chris and The Coach”

Here are archived interviews from Friday’s “Chris and The Coach” (presented by Farmers Insurance) on 96.5 ESPN Radio.

Archived Interview with Bob Carpenter – TV Voice of the Washington Nationals

Carpenter is in his fifth year in the Nationals’ broadcast booth. He joined MASN as the play-by-play announcer after 10 years in the TV booth of the St. Louis Cardinals and more than 20 in the major leagues. The St. Louis native debuted in 1984 with Cardinals baseball on the Sportstime Cable Network, then returned in ’95 on KPLR-TV and KMOX Radio. He has been nominated for 4 St. Louis/Mid-America Emmys, winning twice in ’96 and ’97. His signature home run call, “See … you … later!” got local and national recognition during Mark McGwire’s record-setting home run chase in ’98. Carpenter also appeared on TV in the ’80s and ’90s with the Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Minnesota Twins.

Bob was one of ESPN’s busiest announcers over a 20-year career as play-by-play announcer for MLB, college basketball and college football. He has broadcast baseball playoffs, AAA All-Star games, NCAA and NIT basketball tournaments, and college football bowl games. Studio work included College Gameday and College Football Scoreboard shows. His baseball work with ESPN paired him with former major leaguers Buck Martinez, Joe Morgan, Jim Palmer, Ray Knight, Jerry Reuss, Frank Viola and many others. On the basketball side, he worked with Dick Vitale, Bill Raftery, Larry Conley, Jim Valvano and many others.

Archived Interview with Matt Gillespie – Assistant Executive Director, TSSAA

Gillespie, an Assistant Executive Director with the TSSAA was named to the post in January of 2009. Matthew has been on staff at the TSSAA since 1999. He is a native of Murfreesboro and received his bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University
in 1998.

Matthew first started work with the state office as an intern from May through December of 1998. Since joining the staff full-time, Matthew has been responsible for media relations, state records, the TSSAA News, administration of TSSAA rules and regulations, and the administration of the sport of bowling.

He assists with the football playoffs, and represents the TSSAA with the Tennessee State Legislature, Tennessee State Board of Education, State Department of Education, and other organizations.

Archived Interview with Lance Painter – Pitching Coach, Jackson Generals

Painter pitched professionally from 1990-2003, spending time in the San Diego, Colorado, St. Louis, Toronto and Milwaukee organizations, including 10 years in the Major Leagues.

While playing with the Rockies in the 1995 NLDS he pinch hit in the ninth inning of game one (striking out), then started the next day in a losing effort against the Atlanta Braves. During the 1998 season with the Cardinals, Painter appeared in 65 games, went 4-0, and posted a 3.99 ERA. Painter appeared in 314 major league games and posted a career ERA of 5.24. He retired after the 2003 season.

Painter returns to Jackson for a third season as pitching coach. This is his seventh season in the Mariners organization. Lance spent the 2009 season a pitching coach with Low-A Clinton and 2008 with High-A High Desert. He spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a pitching coach in Low-A Wisconsin.

Archived Interview with David Brandt – AP Mississippi and Top 25 Voter

David Brandt has worked at The Associated Press since August 2010 and covers a beat that’s heavy on college athletics  including Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi.

Brandt has covered the Southeastern Conference for five years, working at The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger before joining The AP.

Brandt is a voter in the weekly AP Top 25 Men’s Division 1 College Basketball Poll. Prior to his time in Mississippi he was a sports writer for the Jackson Sun in Jackson, TN covering local high school and colleges as well as the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

He most recently covered the Mississippi St. vs. Kentucky match-up this week and is one of the top writers in the country.

R.C. Johnson’s interview was pushed back to next week.


Construction Photos and Spring Training Links

Today I thought I would post some updated photos from the construction project going on behind the outfield wall near Interstate 40. It is great seeing progress to this project. Not a day seemingly goes by that someone will not ask me “Hey, what is going on behind the ballpark,”which is good that people are at least thinking about the team. Gives us something to sell and talk about.

Countless amounts of trees have been cut down making the park much more visible for approaching cars on I-40.

The large hole in the ground will be a pond with a large fountain. Here is hoping they put some large mouth bass in it!


We all want the latest information regarding happenings at Mariners spring training. If you are like me, you frequent a few sites every day. Here is a list of the links that I visit most often. Maybe you can recommend a few to me. We are all fans right?

In no particular order…

Geoff Baker’s Seattle Times Mariners Blog

Larry Stone’s Seattle Times Hot Stone League

Greg Johns’ Mariners Musings Blog

Rick Randall’s Seattle Clubhouse Scout.com

The News Tribune Mariners Insider

NorthWest Sports Beat Mariners

SoDo Mojo Fan Site

Shannon Drayer’s Mariners Blog

Tacoma Broadcaster Mike Curto’s Blog

And of course the Mariners and Jackson Generals websites.

Finally, the Generals are having the first ever job fair this Saturday from 10am till noon. Here is my column this past Sunday in the Jackson Sun about the job fair.

43 days away from the home opener against the Barons on April 5th. Man, time is flying by…


Visiting with Kyle Seager, James Franklin and Matt Park

On the February 10th edition of Chris and the Coach on 96.5 ESPN radio in West Tennessee, we visited with Mariners infielder and former General Kyle Seager, Vandy football coach James Franklin and former Diamond Jaxx broadcaster and current Voice of the Syracuse Orange Matt Park.





54 days until opening day…


A Conversation with ESPN’s Buster Olney and Stadium Renovation Photos

Friday I had a chance to pick the brain of ESPN’s Buster Olney on some of the hot topics leading into the 2012 baseball season. The interview aired on the show I host each week on 96.5 ESPN Radio each Friday afternoon from 3-6pm with Coach Joe Holloway. We talk about everything from the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade to the short term and long term outlook of the Seattle Mariners in the AL West. We get into different topics like the Cardinals strange offseason and his history and time spent on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.


The project to clean up and renovate the area behind Pringles Park and viewing from Interstate 40. Here are a few pictures of the work being done and I will try to post new pictures each week on how the progress is going.

The project is underway to enhance the appearance of the park for the 40,000 cars that TDOT says pass each day. Included in the project is the clearing of trees and kudzu, plus the addition of a pond with fountain and marquee sign that will feature an electronic message board promoting upcoming games and promotions.