Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Niki Paton / Baseball Notions
'Colorado's Rocky Mountains'
Photograph taken from a Boeing 757 on June 28, 2005.
On this journey to California, unlike my last trip 3 years ago via 3 days on an Amtrak train enjoying the ride through North Dakota, Montana, Washington, Oregon and most of Northern California my head was really in the clouds. It's the only possible way I could take this photograph!
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Niki Paton / Baseball Notions
Download my latest Northern League 2005 wallpaper
creation via the link to: Life is a ball game!
The players and mascots featured in this wallpaper are: Mudonna, Rusty the RailCat, Bearon, a bubbly umpire, RailCat RHP Travis Kerber, T-Bone SS Chad Hill, RailCat RHP Quinton Oldenburg, JackHammer RHP Jason Shelley and Saints RHP Chris Andel.
Monday, June 20, 2005
"I believe in your ability to hit the ball."
RailCats RHP Dominic Woody retired from baseball this week after an incredible career which included catching for the Florida Marlins organization. After signing with the Gary South Shore RailCats as a catcher at the beginning of the 2004 Northern League season he developed into an unbelievable asset as a starting pitcher.
In August of 2004 the Anaheim Angels organization recognized his incredible potential and purchased his contract from the RailCats sending him straight to the California League to play the rest of the 2004 season with the Rancho-Cucamonga Quakes. After his release from spring training with the Anaheim Angels organization at the beginning of 2005, Dominic Woody re-signed with the RailCats for the 2005 season functioning as a relief pitcher.
During Dominic's time with the RailCats in 2004 and 2005 he contributed his versatile abilities, magnetic personality and incredible confidence which added life to the dynamics of the RailCats organization. Dominic kept the RailCats believing in the game even during the darkest moments of the RailCats record loosing streak in 2004. During one game of many in the 2004 season, Dominic Woody could be found walking in front of the Gary dugout and his team mates cheering them on to do their best telling them, "I believe in your ability to hit the ball."
Thank you Dominic for your friendship and all of your incredible performances with the RailCats during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Your talents will be greatly missed in baseball, the Northern League and your extraordinary personality will never be forgotten.
May the future bring you nothing but success!
Friday, June 17, 2005
SAINT PAUL, Minn.- As we embark upon this Father's Day weekend I am reminded greatly of the support I have been blessed to have from my family. In life, we will always have obstacles to overcome. Some obstacles seem worse than others do and the choices we make to deal with them are challenging. We cannot change what happens in our lives, but we can change our reaction to it. The wind will always blow in a direction we might have no choice to fight against however; if we adjust, we will prevail.
You only need to keep your dreams within sight to reach your goals. Now of course like all of us, I have days where my sight is fuzzy, sometimes to the point of blindness however; through baseball, my family and friends I have found the clarity I need to continue pursuing my dreams. Baseball has the ability to take me back, as I'm sure it does many of you, to a time when no dream was impossible to reach and some evenings you felt as if you could reach up and touch the stars.
I remember the summer I turned nine years old living in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. My mother enrolled my brother and I in the summer baseball program and sadly about went nuts most evenings before game days because I would wear my clothes instead of pajamas to sleep in. My rational nine-year-old mind thought it was best to be ready for the next day because I did not want to be late to baseball practice picking out or putting on clothes. (I also tried to sleep with my glove and bat.) Where baseball and climbing trees were involved, I was not your usual little girl.
On game days, I remember being dropped off in front of the fields by my mom and running full board down the path to the diamond eager to start hitting and throwing. I always made sure to have my equipment, which included every baseball-obsessed child’s favorite, Big League Chew. It is a wonder I never had more than two cavities with the amount I would chaw on regularly.
Most every summer morning, that wasn't a game day, I would bounce out of my bed praying for sunshine and blue sky. If the weather was clear, I could grab up my glove, my bat and attempt to drag my little brother outside with me to chase balls. If however; my brother could not be convinced or was less than enthusiastic about the idea I would spend time climbing my favorite tree, skinning up my knees and elbows. As the afternoon wore on, I would make my way to the front of the garage to shoot baskets and hit tennis balls against the door until my dad came home from work. My poor father about wore out his arm. I would beg him to pitch to me until he had enough just so I could become a better hitter. I had dreams to play in the big leagues for the Brewers at that time.
That summer I learned if you keep site of your dreams you can achieve the unimaginable. That summer for a nine year old, the unimaginable was winning the championship trophy with a group of girls who all had the same passion. I think, as our lives hustle and bustle on day in and day out we need to be reminded about the moments that make life special and the people we had in our lives to share those moments with.
Thanks to my family and my father I was part of something great for a moment in my life. The experiences I had playing baseball that summer I will carry in my heart always. Thanks Dad for wearing out your arm so I could follow a dream!
SAINT PAUL, Minn.- The past few weeks have been incredible in the Northern League. As with all baseball leagues, transactions and releases continue however; unexpected suspensions for poor on field behavior between Winnipeg and Edmonton added a bit of flair to an already action packed season.
This year not unlike the previous, the Northern League continues a standing tradition of signing and producing incredibly talented ball players. The pitching staff in the Northern League has great strength with incredible starters like Johnathan Krysa, Greg Bruso, Jamie Bennett, Quinton Oldenburg, Bryan Gaal, Darren Truty, and Jason Shelley. The Northern League bull pens are filled with incredible arms from pitchers Travis Kerber, Chris Andel, John Gonzalez, Randy Vanderplow, Cody Fisher and Dominic Woody just to name a few.
This season a team to pay close attention to under the tutelage of new Manager Greg Tagert are the Gary South Shore RailCats. In their past three seasons they have struggled a bit with getting the team dynamics to click but this year the RailCats have been proven fierce competitor's for last seasons Northern League leaders. They have been using a 4 man pitching rotation and focusing on their defensive strategy to bring them an incredible season. They have incredible strength in their starting pitchers and bullpen. The hitting is coming together and team veterans like Anthony Iapoce and Scott Samuels continue to prove they have more than what it takes to surprise and delight us with their hitting abilities as seen on June 13th against Sioux Falls with each of them hitting home runs.
As we get closer to the All-Star Game and Division First half it will be incredible to see who prevails and if that trend can continue during the second half to the Northern League 2005 Championship. Good luck everyone!
Tonight's Northern League match ups are:
Kansas City at Winnipeg
Schaumburg at Gary
Fargo-Moorhead at Sioux City
Sioux Falls at Joliet
St. Paul at Lincoln
Calgary at Edmonton
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Niki Paton / Baseball Notions
SAINT PAUL, Minn.- Saint Paul Saints RHP Mike Meyer throws a few warm up pitches before going against the Gary SouthShore RailCats at Midway Stadium on June 12, 2005. (What's odd in this picture and do you know why it's happening?)