Tag: Damon Hollins

Ramirez returns to Idaho Falls for second stint

Chukars’ Manager Omar Ramirez talks to players during the first practice together of the year at Melaleuca Field on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. This is Ramirez’s second stint with the Royals. He was manager in 2013 when the Chukars won the Pioneer League Championship going 41-35. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

By LUKE O’ROARK | @LukeORoark
Loroark@postregister.com

Idaho Falls Chukars’ field manager Omar Ramirez is back in the 208.

But now in his second stint with the burgundy and silver, the 47-year-old has evolved. Grown and matured — as a manager.

“More experienced. More experience as a manager,” Ramirez said of his transition back to Idaho Falls during the Wednesday’s media day at Melaleuca Field. “In 2012, it was my first time being a manager … Just knowing the game more. About movement and pitching change and all that. Players teach you so much, about everything.”

Ramirez returns to the Chukars after spending time with the Royals’ other rookie and low-A affiliates during the previous three summers. After a quick hiatus to manage in Burlington and Lexington, respectively, Ramirez returns with not only more knowledge, but an outgoing personality that fits with Chukars baseball.

“One of the great attributes of a guy like Omar, especially at the lower levels in the minor leagues where the Latin players haven’t acclimated, or haven’t learned English yet, perhaps, Omar has the ability to speak and communicate equally well with the American and English and Spanish speaking players,” Chukars general manager Kevin Greene said. “And I think that’s a great attribute for anyone to ever have, especially to be successful at this level.”

Being a player, or manager, in the ever-so-fluid minor league system can be difficult. It’s no secret.

There can be some long hours, pitching coach Jeff Suppan and hitting coach Damon Hollins said. You spend time away from family, friends. You’re in Idaho one week and then next thing you know: poof, you’re in Kentucky.

By late August, the two-month grind of the minor leagues can grind even the most hardened.

Chukars’ Manager Omar Ramirez talks to players about fielding during the first practice together of the year at Melaleuca Field on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. This is Ramirez’s second stint with the Royals. He was manager in 2013 when the Chukars won the Pioneer League Championship going 41-35. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

“You’re always coaching, and it’s like as a player, once the games over, you shower and then you go home. a coach has more work to do,” Suppan said. “As a player, you come to the ball park and your work starts, but as a coach, you’re doing work well before the players are there. So, the best job in baseball is player, you know. Coaching has a lot of enjoyable things, but it’s a lot of work.”

And if someone knows this, it’s Ramirez — who got to the AAA level and played in the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros farming system at one point in his career. He’s no stranger to not settling in one place for too long: he’s bounced around from Cleveland to Mexico to independent leagues, he said.

But within that minor league grind, there’s a chance to make an impact on a pro-baller’s career. That’s what drew Ramirez back to Idaho Falls, and coaching, after retiring due to lingering injuries, spending time in Mexico and building a family.

He said he loves teaching.

“It’s my life. It’s what I enjoy doing,” Ramirez said. “I love it. They always ask me, ‘Do you want to become a big league manager?’ And if the opportunity is there, that’s fine, but I like the minor leagues. The players listen to you. In the big leagues, they don’t listen to you. I like this. I can tell, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong, you’re doing this wrong.’ In the big leagues, it’s different.

“I enjoy my job,” Ramirez added.

The Chukars play the Idaho Falls Bandits, an American Legion double-A team today at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. Idaho Falls official season begins Friday at Melaleuca Field against Ogden.

Same time as always: 7:15 p.m.

Chukars’ Manager Omar Ramirez works with players during the first practice together of the year at Melaleuca Field on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. This is Ramirez’s second stint with the Royals. He was manager in 2013 when the Chukars won the Pioneer League Championship going 41-35. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

Chukars announce 2018 coaching staff

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @LukeORoark
A familiar face will be back with the Idaho Falls Chukars this summer.

The Chukars, an advanced rookie-level affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, announced Omar Ramirez will manage the team in 2018, returning to Idaho Falls after spending three season with Burlington and Lexington.

Idaho Falls Chukars pitching coach Jeff Suppan, right, watches right-hander Reid Redman on June 14 at the team’s first workout at Melaleuca Field.(Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)

Ramirez takes over for now former Chukars manager Justin Gemoll, who will join Grand Canyon Baseball as a volunteer assistant coach for the Lopes’ 2018 season.

Ramirez previously managed the Chukars from 2012 to 2014 and was a part of the Chukars’ 2013 Pioneer League championship team.

“We welcome back Omar Ramirez, the manager who brought us our last championship in 2013,” Chukars’ President and general manager Kevin Greene said in a press release. “He along with a great supporting coaching staff of Jeff and Damon should make for a fun season of baseball in Idaho Falls.”

Joining Ramirez in 2018 will be pitching coach Jeff Suppan and hitting coach Damon Hollins, both who were a part of the Cuhkars’ 2017 staff. Suppan returns for his fourth year in Idaho Falls and brings 17 years of Major league experience.

For Hollins, he returns for his eighth season within the Kansas City Royals organization, the press release states. Hollins will also serve as an assistant outfield, base running and bunting coordinator.

Justin Kemp will also return to the Chukars as the team’s head athletic trainer in 2018. It will be his third season with the Chukars.

Idaho Falls’ opening day is set for June 15. The Chukars will host the Ogden Raptors at Melaleuca Field, as first pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m.

Brewers down Chukars, 7-4, with extra base hits

By Luke O’Roark | Loroark@postregister.com | @Lukeoroark
The scoring came in spurts Wednesday, but when it did, it came in bunches.
The Brewers batters were controlled at the plate, but it was extra base hits that downed Idaho Falls at home in a 7-4 loss at Melaleuca Field. The Chukars fall to 9-14 and have lost eight of the previous 10 games. They are now 4-7 at home.
Chukars’ pitcher Robert Garcia (0-1) showed decent control on the mound: five hits allowed, four earned runs and eight strikeouts. He did allow one home run in the first inning. The Chukars are 5-9 when they allow a home run this season.

Chukars infielder Tyler Straub (18) gets ready to catch the ball while Brewers infielder Dallas Carroll (29) goes to slide to the base during a regular season game at Melaluca on Wednesday night.

But when the Brewers did make contact with Garcia’s pitches, they did damage. Six hits went for extra bases — four doubles and two triples.
“Those guys jumped on us early,” Chukars’ hitting coach Damon Hollins said. “Big three-run home run at the plate, and obviously we have to do more at the plate. We got to bear down a little bit.”
The Brewers took an early 3-0 lead after Payton Henry hit a home run off Garcia in the first inning. Dallas Carroll and KJ Harrison crossed home plate, too.
Vance Vizcaino, one of the Chukars most consistent batters, responded to the early 3-0 deficit with a two-run home run of his own. The home run was his second this season.
“Well, he’s a very smart baseball player,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said of Vizcaino. “He’s athletic. He can play multiple outfield positions. He can run. He can bunt. As you saw tonight, he can hit with some power.”
Up 3-2, the Brewers (12-11) then answered Vizcaino’s home run with four runs though five frames and held their lead in the bottom of the ninth in controversial fashion.


Jake Wakamatsu hit a double in the bottom of the ninth, but, per umpires Rob Headley and Tyler Johnson, forgot to tag first. He was then called out when Brewers Parker Bean lobbed the ball to first base — sending Wakamatsu to the dugout and dampening the Chukars’ attempt at a comeback.
“He said he hit the edge of the corner, but if the umpires say he missed it, there’s no replay at this level, we have to go with what they say,” Hollins said. “Obviously it sucks for us. To have him on second base with no outs in a three-run game right there, figured to have something going and to have him go back, it sucks but at the same time, you gotta make sure you’re clear on what you’re doing and (umpires), they’re human, too.”

“From my vantage point, he hit first and got to second for a double, but then their dugout starts yelling,” Gemoll said. “So it was one of the things, where, unfortunately, the umpire said he did miss the base and they called him out.”

What’s important:

Despite a stronger showing than its three-game sweep on the road to Orem, Idaho Falls’s offense couldn’t keep up with Helena’s extra-base hits.

Player (s) of the game:

Vance Vizcaino. Went 2 for 4 Wednesday including a two-run home run.

Quotable:

“These type of games at this level, it’s going to be like that. You know, you gotta find a way to bear down, pitchers got to find a way to make adjustments, and as the offense, you gotta fight. You gotta come out and compete every single pitch.” – Chukars hitting coach Damon Hollins

Notables:

– Wednesday’s attendance was announced at 3,183.

– Manager Justin Gemoll was tossed out of Wednesday’s game after arguing with umpire Tyler Johnson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jake Wakamatsu hit a double, attempting to rally the Chukars, but was called out at first after he failed to tag first tag.

– A fire alarm went off during Wednesday’s game, causing minor turmoil. It was called a false alarm by PA announcer Javier Hernandez. The alarm then went off again.

– Infielder Dalton Griffin is listed as “suspended” according to MiLB.com. The website does not state how long he will be suspended for. Gemoll did not clarify Griffin’s suspension after Wednesday’s game.

– Amalani Fukofuka (batting a .338 on 80 at-bats) changed his walk-up song for the fourth time Wednesday. He’s played 19 games.

– The Chukars received four pitchers from the Arizona League: Holden Capps, Andrew Beckwith, Josh Mitchell and Daniel Hrbek. In exchange three were sent to AZL: Randy Acevedo, Jose De Leon and Andres Sotillet. Acevedo pitched 19 innings and had a 6.63 ERA. De Leon (1-0) had a 9.35 ERA in 8 and 2/3 innings pitched. Sotillet (0-2) had a 10.57 ERA in 15 and 1/3 innings pitched. He started four games.

Chukars infielder Offerman Collado (1) runs to second base during a regular season game against the Brewers on Wednesday night at Melaluca Field.

– Delta Dental of Idaho is partnering with the Chukars to collect canned food for the Community Food Basket of Idaho, per a press release sent to the Post Register. Fans, and those who want to partake in the food drive, can bring canned food to Melaleuca Field Thursday evening (July 13) at 6 p.m.

Upnext:

Idaho Falls will return to Melaleuca Field to play Helena to continue a seven-game homestand. First pitch Thursday is 7:15 p.m.