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Thursday
Apr162009

Interesting Facts from a Scout's Point of View

Spring Training is over and we are getting into another exciting season of wine and baseball! Here are some interesting facts for the fans from a scout's point of view....
Sometimes better teams have slow starts - Reasons include players are not always in shape, clubs are dealing with injuries and they face the challenges of trying to integrate a number of new personnel on the team such as rookies and 6-year free agents that were signed in the off season. Most clubs think of a regular season in THIRDS - the first part of the season is getting the rookies acclimated to the big leagues along with any new members and or position changes...the second part of the season the club starts playing together as a team, making adjustments and working toward any Major League trades by July 31st. The last third of the season the teams are playing up to 100%. By this time in the season the fans always seem to be interested and ask about winning streaks. Winning streaks are determined by how the team is playing and the quality of the opponents they play - In reverse, a losing streak is caused by a team playing poorly and the opponents happen to be the top teams. How do you determine if a team is playing well?...Pitchers performances and team hitting are the key. Losing streaks are not caused by defensive play but by poor pitching or hitting. Players play best in the last 60 games of the season. In the playoffs teams rise to the occasion and play well down the stretch. Many division titles are lost, however, in the first 1/3 of the season - so, it all remains to be seen how the '09 season will fare - we'll keep good thoughts that your favorite teams will make it to the playoffs!
Speaking of winning streaks, the RIO SECO wines have been quietly making a solid impression on our fans and the public in general. All estate grown, we nurture the grapes in the field the same way as a top minor league farm system nurtures their players before getting them to the Big Leagues - good wines are made in the field - we go through the vineyard five different times before picking at optimum sugars and pHs at harvest - first with pruning, 2nd suckering, 3rd shoot thinning, 4th shoot thinning again, and 5th dropping fruit. At RIO SECO we grow 8 different varietals each with distinct characteristics and demands, much like different position players on a team. Each one with their own needs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah, and white wines, Viognier and Roussanne keep us aiming for an All-Star line up of wines! Look for our new releases this season, '05"Clubhouse Red" - a "minor league" blend that is easy to like; "Grand Slam" - a AAA blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah - great with BBQ's and our trophy wine, the '04 MVP - a major league blend for sure, Cab, Cab Franc and Merlot!
Hope your season is off to a great start!
From the Clubhouse to the Barrel Room, TOM

Thursday
Mar122009

Time to step up to the plate!

It's time to step up to the plate!...Hello Baseball and Wine Superfans! Welcome to my blog! This is dedicated to talking about two things that I know and love best in life, baseball and wine! Hoping to give you the inside scoop as the season progresses ON the field and IN the vineyard.

My life-long association with baseball started in 1954 when my Little League team from Colton, CA. played before 10,000 fans as they made it to the finals of the Little Leage World Series in Williamsport, PA. Came in 2nd but it will always be a highlight growing up of what goals and teamwork can accomplish. I went on to be a 2nd team All-American catcher playing for Hall of Fame college coach, John Scolinos at Cal Poly, Pomona. In 1963 I signed to play minor league baseball with the Detroit Tiger organization, playing in all its glory in '63,'64, and '65 with such great names as Andy Kosko, Mickey Stanley, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, and now RIO SECO wine club member, pitcher Darryl Patterson. As my playing days were coming to a close, I took the next step and in 1966 went into Junior College coaching at Mount San Antonio College in Pomona, CA. and started part-time scouting with the Cincinnati Reds and the old Washington Senators. I went on from there to coach at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as the pitching coach and the assistant in charge of recruiting. Found a scrappy young player with incredible talent named Ozzie Smith, recruited him to come play at Cal Poly, and the rest as they say is history! All in all we had 41 drafted players and 4 ML players in eight years - quite a decent record. 1981 was the start of my full time scouting adventure, 28 years total on the road in search of baseball talent - area scout, regional cross checker, and major league scout were some of my title with six different clubs: Padres, Cubs, Expos, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and the 1992 and 1993 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays...What a great road trip with many good times all those years! Along the way I did find a love of farming...has something to do with being in the dirt, I guess. Now, along this next season of life, I am finding many similarities from baseball to winemaking - as any championship team knows, it starts with the talent...like wise, in winemaking, it starts with excellent farming and exceptional grapes.

In 1996, my wife, Carol, and I bought a 64 acre, old ranch in Paso Robles, CA. which happened to be the fastest growing wine region in the good old USA. We planted 30 acres of grapes including Zinfandel, Cab, Cab Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Viognier...taking the next step we moved forward to establish a family winery, working with consulting winemaker, the notorious John Munch (LeCuvier, Paso Robles, CA.) As I was a coachable student, I learned a lot from the Munch man! We took it then a step further and opened our tasting room here at RIO SECO on Superbowl Sunday Y2K...This is now the "family business" - we include our kids, nephews & nieces, sisters and brothers-in-law and friends, along with any and all who will get their hands a little dirty and share the passion with us!

Hope you will stop by sometime - we are here 7 days a week living the life of "fine wines, friendly people" - we can go over the hitters and have a glass of RIO SECO wine! More to come....

From the Clubhouse to the Barrel Room,
Tom

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