Friday, October 22, 2010

SOMERSET OWNER STEVE KALAFER WEARS A THIRD HAT PLUS A LOOK AT ATLANTIC LEAGUERS IN WINTER BASEBALL

The diversification in Steve Kalafer's life just keeps expanding.

While Atlantic League fans recognize him as the owner of the Somerset Patriots, he originally became known because of his string of automobile dealerships in New Jersey. More recently, Kalafer has added a series of movies and documentaries, usually with the title of Producer. The films often stray far away from baseball although he does have "Bottom of the Ninth", which featured the Patriots, among his credits.

The newest production, with Kalafer as co-producer, was to debut in select theatres Friday (October 22). This one is called "The Soprano State", telling the story of questionable political power and corruption in New Jersey. The 90-minute movie is based on a New York Times bestseller.

Interestingly, Gov. Chris Christie and other politicos attended the premier Monday.

OSBORN JOINS FORMER BOSS HOBSON IN MANAGERIAL CHAIR

Pat Osborn, considered one of the Atlantic League's most professional players, has a big pair of shoes to fill in replacing Butch Hobson as manager at Southern Maryland since Hobson had the Blue Crabs in the playoffs the last two seasons. At 29 and with a career that topped out at Double-A, Osborn also will be dealing with a number of players with more successful careers and more years on this earth.

But it surely shows the regard Osborn has from Opening Day Partners bosses Peter Kirk and Jon Danos or they would have taken some time to look outside the organization.

Meanwhile, Hobson takes his lengthy resume to another ODP team in Lancaster, where he replaces local product Tom Herr.

CATCHING UP ON PLAYERS IN WINTER LEAGUES

I could not get nearly all of the Atlantic League players now in winter baseball into yesterday's Independent Baseball Insider column so several more nuggets are presented here.

IN VENEZUELA

--Scott Patterson, who was closing for Lancaster as recently as the early weeks of this season before signing with Seattle, has a loss to go with a 2.67 ERA for his first six innings.
--Another 2010 Atlantic Leaguer (Southern Maryland), Jarrett Grube is 1-1, 1.64 and has not walked anyone in 11 innings covering two starts. He also played in the Seattle organization this season.
--Jon Huber (Lancaster) is off to a rocky start with a loss and a 7.71 ERA for 4.2 innings. He is in the Los Angeles Dodgers system.
--Sam Narron, at Camden early in '10, is 0-1, 6.75, but this only represents 2.2 innings (two earned runs). Narron pitched in the Milwaukee system.

IN MEXICO

--Right-hander Jon Hunton (Oakland farm system) is 1-0, 2.25 for four outings. He has been with Somerset and Lancaster.
--Speedy outfielder Justin Christian, a New York Yankees farmhand, is flying out of the gate with a .344 average (11-for-32) with two home runs. Christian played briefly at Southern Maryland this spring.
--Southpaw Nick Bierbrodt has been near perfect in four appearances (0.00 ERA), giving up just two hits and two walks in four innings. He has worked at Bridgeport, and Somerset.
--Outfielder Cory Aldridge (Newark), who got some time with the parent Angels this summer and remains on their 40-man roster, is off to a slow start (5-for-29, .172) although he has driven in five runs in his first seven games.

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