Swing of the Quad Cities Report – Week Eleven

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Single-A Midwest League focuses on closer Kenny Maiques.

It is with great sadness today that I (belatedly) report the departure of Brandon Buckman and P.J. Walters. Both were promoted to Palm Beach during the All-Star break. P.J.'s arm and Brandon's bat will be greatly missed here in the Quad Cities. As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear who will replace these two.


With that out of the way, let's move on to lighter news. I recently spent a very enjoyable evening at dinner with a couple of very talented young men. This week's report will concentrate on Midwest League All-Star Kenny Maiques. A perfectionist at heart, it is hard to get a read on how well he's doing if you just listen to Kenny. He understands that he is doing well, but he is always looking for ways to do better. That's one of the differences between a good pitcher and a great pitcher. Kenny is one of the great ones.


When the season started, one of the questions that I was asking each player was, "Who is the nicest guy on the team when you aren't playing ball?"  I quit asking because, to a man, everyone on the team gave me the same two answers. One of those two was Kenny Maiques; the other was Tyler Herron. Here is my interview with Kenny. Tyler will be featured next week.



Jon: Kenny, tell me about your daily routine. What's an average day for you?


Kenny: Well, I don't really have a set routine. I just try to stay in game shape; try to stay lean. I stretch every day, lift every day, run every day, throw every day, and work out every day.


Jon: I've learned over the years that baseball is fun for me, and work for you guys who are playing every day. How do you keep the fun in your job?


Kenny: Man, this job IS fun! Competition is fun! I just go out every night and do my best to keep it fun for the fans.


Jon: What aspect of your game are you concentrating on the most this year? On what are you working to improve?


Kenny: This year I'm just working on staying healthy in my first year of full-season ball. I want to get my velocity up. In Junior College, I was hitting 92-95 miles an hour. I want to do that again. This is the year to make baseball my career.


Jon: If you had to change careers, what would you do instead of baseball?


Kenny: First, I'd finish my degree. I have two years done. Then I'd use the business and economics that I'm studying and open my own business.


Jon: Who on the team do you play most similar to in terms of style and results?


Kenny: I'd have to say Tyler Herron. We both have a good fastball that kind of looks like it accelerates as it gets closer to the plate.

Jon:  What is your favorite Major League team?


Kenny: I don't watch sports! I'd rather be playing. I don't have a favorite. When they said that Ryne Sandberg was managing Peoria this year, I didn't know who that was!


Jon: What's the worst thing about pitching at this level?


Kenny: It's all based on performance, which is good, but sometimes you get overlooked on the team as a whole, and that can be bad. I keep reminding myself not to take it too personally.


Jon: When you aren't playing baseball, what do you like to do for hobbies? How do you stay busy?


Kenny: I love to surf! I also snowboard in the winter; spend time with my family. I have a 1972 Ford truck that I'm working on. And I love to spend time with my dogs.


Jon:  Do you have a nickname?


Kenny: Oh, man! Did you have to ask?! Some of the guys call me Schmeigel, from Lord of the Rings. Hollywood… I hear that a lot. And some of the guys call me "Fan Favorite."


Jon:  What is your best memory as a pitcher, at any level of baseball?


Kenny: When I was in Junior College, I threw a perfect game. Then 14 days later, I threw another one. That has to be the highlight.


On a personal note, I'd like to wish Kenny a happy 22nd birthday on June 25. He and Jim Rapoport were born on exactly the same day.


The team starts the second half on the road in Wisconsin and Clinton before returning to John O'Donnell Stadium next week. With the All Star break just ending, there's not much to report in the "swinging and missing" section of this report. I have to say that Daryl Jones seems to be turning the corner and is looking better in the last few outings.

Watch for more roster changes as the short-season teams are playing and this year's draft members continue to sign and report. I'd like to see a few of them show up here.


If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please email me at jon_p_qc@hotmail.com.



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