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By sstorm Published: May 28, 2007

A common theme among reader emails recently has been - beleive it or not - about the bright pink backpack the relievers tote out to the bullpen before every game. And yes, it does indeed have wings.

Why do they it? Honestly, because they're boys. Boys, with a lot of time on their hands.

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Too much of a Good Thing?

By sstorm Published: May 24, 2007

Can the Indians be hindering their minor league players instead of helping them by sending so many roving instructors and front office personel to Akron?

Certainly these former players and managers and enlightened specialists are here to help, their knowledge chuck full of experienced wisdom. But six at one time? Isn't that a litle much?

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The Building of a Bullpen

By sstorm Published: May 22, 2007

The revolving door that has become the Aeros bullpen spun some more over the past week as the Aeros added right-hander T.J. Burton to the mix from Class-A Kinston.

Burton joins recent newcomers in left-hander Rich Rundles from Extended Spring Training and right-hander Randy Newsom from Kinston - both, as luck would have it, are sidearmers.

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New Look Aeros Return to Canal Park

By sstorm Published: May 21, 2007

The Aeros returned to Canal Park Monday night and were greeted by a standing-room only crowd that really energized the place.

They also came home with a new look - with struggling outfielder Trevor Crowe batting seventh in the lineup instead of in his usual spot as leadoff. It's a move that had to be made (and probably should have been made two weeks ago).

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Aeros Headed Out of Town For a Quick Weekend Series

By sstorm Published: May 17, 2007

A few thoughts about the Aeros recently-completed home stand:

Akron just wrapped up a seven-game home series with Erie and Bowie, winning a season-high tying four consecutive games before suffering Thursday's 3-2 loss. The Aeros split the series with the SeaWolves and took the first two games from Bowie to win that series.

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Additions to Bullpen Make it Stronger

By sstorm Published: May 16, 2007

I am really starting to like the evolving Aeros bullpen. Instead of being chuck full of starters-turned-relievers, it has taken on a better shape with more defined roles that fit the individual players better.

The addition of side-arming right-hander Randy Newsom from high Class-A Kinston has already shown to be a plus in the few days he's been with the team - as he pitched well again in tonight's 13-6 win over visiting Bowie. In 11 games with the K-Tribe, the Cincinnati native was 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 11 appearances.

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Keep in Mind the Purpose of the Minors

By sstorm Published: May 14, 2007

I wrote a story for Saturday's paper that dealt with reminding Aeros fans the real purpose of minor league games. While everyone loves to win, the Number One priority in the minor leagues is development. Let me say it again: Development of a player will always superceed winning.

As much as fans needed the reminder (Bogar has been hounded by fans for not pulling struggling pitchers quicker), I probably wrote the story a day too early. That's because Sunday's Aeros win over visiting Erie proved yet another lesson in player development when Akron ace Chuck Lofgren was taken out of the game with a no-hitter through seven innings.

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This One's Ugly, Folks

By sstorm Published: May 11, 2007

Friday's night's Aeros game isn't even over yet, and already I'm ready to call it a night.

It's the top of the seventh inning at Canal Park and the host is trailing 9-1. The Aeros lose their share of games, but rarley do they look this bad doing it. Did I mention first place in the Southern DIvision is on the line?

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Santos Gets Closing Job

By sstorm Published: May 10, 2007

Not long after writing my last post about hoping to see Aeros lefty Reid Santos get a shot as the closer for the team, guess what happens?

Of course, it happened by default, as Santos simply slid into the role when veteran right-hander Bubbie Buzachero was promoted to Triple-A.

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Reid - A Closer in the Making?

By sstorm Published: May 8, 2007

There is nothing all that impressive on first glance at Reid Santos. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound pitcher from Wahiana, Hawaii, could easily be lost in a crowd of teenagers at the mall if he wasn't careful.

However, what makes Santos stand out on the baseball field is the fact that the unseemly kid simply gets the job done.

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Chuck Full of Stolen Bases

By sstorm Published: May 5, 2007

The Aeros media guide doesn't keep a record for the most stolen bases the Aeros have ever had collectively in a game, but here's betting the team set a new record with SEVEN stolen bases in a game last week against visiting Harrisburg.

Not pleased with how uninspired and flat his the team played in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Harrisburg the previous day, Bogar kept the Areos players on their toes by insisting they run in several different situations Thursday night.

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Barton Not Going Anywhere

By sstorm Published: May 4, 2007

During the Aeros batting practice Thursday, I saw something really odd that made me do a double take. Instead of standing around in the outfield shagging balls where he usually does, outfielder Brian Barton was lined up with a handful of infielders taking ground balls at short.

What? I stood up and walked a little closer to make sure that what I thought I saw was really happening. Indeed, there was the lanky 6-foot-3 Barton trying his best to blend in with all the quick little infielders.

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Laker Takes on Managment

By sstorm Published: May 3, 2007

After 19 years in baseball as a catcher, Tim Laker has hung up his cleats for a pair of managerial turf shoes. I sat down to talk with the former Tribe backstop Thursday after the Aeros batting practice for a piece that will appear in Sunday's paper.

He was insightful and funny and really looks forward to sharing the good of the game with young guys. And I do mean young, as Laker will make his managerial debut as short-season Mahoning Valley - home of the future Indians 2007 draft picks.

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Herrera a Catch

By sstorm Published: May 2, 2007

No player likes to have to take a step back, even if it's a detour that will help their career in the long run. When you're in the minor leagues, the only way to get to the Show is up, and anything else is often viewed as a failure.

That's why I'm so impressed with Aeros backup catcher Javier Herrera. Herrera is a good defensive catcher. But like most defensive catchers, he struggles on offense. So much so, that after spending all of 2005 and the first half of 2006 in Akron, the Indians sent him back to Class-A Kinston while promoting young catcher Wyatt Toregas. (See my story in the Beacon Thursday for more on the relationship between Herrera and Toregas.)

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