White Sox Senior VP/GM Joins Knights Pregame Show With Mike Pacheco

Knights second baseman Yoan Moncada. Photo: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

(Charlotte, NC) — Before the final game of the three game series with Norfolk, White Sox Senior Vice President and General Manager Rick Hahn stopped by to visit with Mike on the Charlotte Knights Pregame Show.

Rick and Mike discussed the offseason moves that the White Sox made that created a lot of excitement both in Chicago and in Charlotte. The White Sox GM was asked about the progress of several top prospects including Yoan Moncada and the strong start for the young White Sox squad.

Listen to the interview:

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePacheco81. You can comment or reach out to Mike here.

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Panthers Take Stanford Running Back Christian McCaffrey With Eighth Pick In 2017 Draft

(Charlotte, NC) — Opinions these days have become like hot sauces, the hotter the better.

The NFL Draft is no stranger to hot takes. You see them en masse this time of year. Fans, analysts, show hosts, your neighbor, your local barista or bartender. In my case, add my mother-in-law too. You get the drift.

Before you celebrate or castigate your team’s pick, keep in mind, draft picks are more like fine wines or scotches. You don’t judge them as soon as they enter the casks.  You take time.

That brings me to the Panthers pick at number eight in this year’s draft. Carolina selected Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

Although, he might not need a lot of time to ferment.

The all-purpose back can run the ball. He catch it out of the backfield or split wide. He can also return punts. According to Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, McCaffrey also has a great set of hands as well. “He’s got suction cups at the end of those wrists” opined the GM.

He is the son of former Giants, 49ers and Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, also a Stanford man. The elder McCaffrey was with the Broncos in 1997 while Gettleman was a scout.

The younger McCaffrey grew up in NFL locker rooms and Gettleman believes that experience helped shape the player Christian has become. “His Dad was a pro and the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree.”

McCaffrey put up prolific numbers in college. At Stanford, racked up 6,987 career all-purpose yards equating to 183.8 all purpose yards per game, most of any active player.

The question Panthers fans will be asking is how will he be used. When Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was asked that very question.  His response? “It’s going to be about position flexibility more than anything else.”

Rivera sees McCaffrey doing a lot of the things he did in Palo Alto. All you have to do is watch some Cardinal game tape. “You see him line up. Sometimes, he’s in the backfield as a running back. Sometimes, he’s the quarterback in their wildcat offense. Sometimes, they motion him out, put him out in the slot. Sometimes, they motion him out and put him wide.”

In a word, he offers flexibility. Add a second word and it’s options. One such option is to be used as a punt returner. A fact that excites the head coach. “He’s very dynamic. If you can pick up 10, 12-yards on a punt return obviously that’s one less first down you’ve got to worry about as an offense. So, I think his ability to return is going to be big for us”.

Perhaps the best selling point for Rivera came from Lance Taylor. The Panthers wide receivers coach was the running backs coach at Stanford while McCaffrey was there and was assistant wide receivers coach at Carolina in 2013.

According to Rivera, Taylor could not have given a better endorsement of McCaffrey, “He’s got Luke’s (Kuechly) kind of DNA”.

That’s not a hot take, but it is a ringing endorsement.

Follow Mike on twitter: @MikePacheco81 or email: Mike@MikePacheco.com.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast, Season I, Episode IX NFL Draft & More with Darin Gantt

FullSizeRender-3(Charlotte, NC) — The 2016 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror.

Darin Gantt from ProFootballTalk.com drops by for Episode IX of the Pacheco Papers Podcast.

Mike and Darin recap the Panthers Draft, draft grades, Noah’s Ark in Charlotte, the Hornets run this season and more.

https://soundcloud.com/pacheco-papers/episode-ix-ppp-with-darin-gantt

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePacheco81. For a comment or question, e-mail: ThePapers@MikePacheco.com.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast, Season I, Episode VIII Joe Person Joins Talking Panthers

(Charlotte, NC) — Episode VIII of the Pacheco Papers Podcast features Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. This week, the Panthers rescinded the Franchise Tag on Cornerback Josh Norman. Joe offers his thoughts.

Mike and Joe talk about that, the upcoming draft and more. Plus, the two products of the 80’s offer their thoughts on the passing of Prince.

https://soundcloud.com/pacheco-papers/4-22-16-ppp-joe-person

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81

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Pacheco Papers Podcast, Season I, Episode VII Knights Season Preview

2016 Knights media day(Charlotte, NC) — In this week’s episode of the Papers Podcast, Mike previews the upcoming Charlotte Knights season with audio clips from Manager Julio Vinas, 3B Matt Davidson, SS Tim Anderson and 1B Travis Ishikawa. Plus, bonus audio of Julio Vinas’ session with the media.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81

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The Boys of Summer, Charlotte Knights Baseball 2016

(Charlotte, NC) — I’ll refrain from the almost cliche Forrest Gump quote “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what your gonna get” but that does apply somewhat to every minor league baseball team breaking camp.

Teams never now who is on their roster until they get off the plane, Charlotte Knights included. Sure, if you pay attention to the White Sox roster moves in March, you can pies the clues together like a good mystery novel. Click here for this year’s opening day roster: Knights Roster 4-7-16.

The team’s make-up is finally revealed with the opening day roster. In this case, today, Thursday April 7th.  The Knights begin on the road in Durham Thursday night. The home opener at BB&T BallPark is the following Thursday, April 14th hosting the saw Durham Bulls.

As is the case most years, this year’s roster is a mix of veteran players, returning Knights, first-time Knights, prospects and journeymen players.

Here’s what you need to know.  The Knights will start with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Of the 25 players, 12 have been with the Knights in the past including 11 from last year’s club. First baseman Travis Ishikawa was with the 2013 Charlotte Knights in the final season at Knights Stadium. He is a two-time World Series Champion with San Francisco.

Scott Carroll is the Knights opening day starter in a starting rotation that includes 2015 International League Pitcher of the Year, Erik Johnson, Chris Beck and former Tigers 1st round pick and a former Cub, Jacob Turner.

Carroll, Beck and Johnson all spent time with the White Sox last season. Turner missed almost all of last season with a shoulder inflammation and pitched for the Cubs and Marlins in 2014.

The bullpen is a blend of familiar names and some new ones. Terrance Marin split time last year starting and relieving for the Knights. Blake Smith and Daniel Webb also saw time in Charlotte last season. Among the newcomers in the Knights bullpen are Phillipe Aumont, a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Tommy Kahnle, Will Lamb, Matt Purke and Chris Volstad.

The Knights pitching staff could be one of the better basketball line-ups. Every pitcher is 6-foot-1 or taller with four pitchers 6-foot-5 or taller.

Hector Sanchez and Kevan Smith are the catchers. Smith played in 97 games last season with the Knights. Hector Sanchez enters his first season with the White Sox organization after 9 seasons with the San Francisco Giants.

The infield has potential to be one of the best in the International League. Matt Davidson returns for his 3rd season at third base. A Top 30-prospect rated by Baseball America, Davidson has hit 43 home runs in his first two seasons with the Knights. White Sox 1st round pick (17th overall) in 2013, Tim Anderson, makes his Charlotte debut.  Baseball America rates him as the number 1 prospect in the White Sox organization. Carlos Sanchez split time between Charlotte and Chicago last season and can play both shortstop and second base. The versatile Andy Parrino can play shortstop, second base and third. Danny Hayes and Ishikawa will see time at first base.

Jason Coats and Leury Garcia will be joined in the outfield by White Sox Top-30 prospect Jacob May and Daniel Fields. May played collegiately at Coastal Carolina.

One tip for those new to Triple-A baseball or minor league baseball for that matter. I’ve been told by several managers, coaches, players and scouts that at this level, you don’t know what kind of team you have for at least 25-30 games.

With the mix of players the Knights have from former MLB players to top prospects, this team looks pretty solid from the get go. Our first clue to what this season will look like comes tonight (Thursday Night) in Durham.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81

 

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Final Four on Fox 46 Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC) — This year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament featured a lot of exciting games and intriguing upsets early on in the first and second rounds.

The last two weekends, the games have pretty much been chalk with the favorites winning.

4-3-16 Fox 46 GDC

After last night’s (Saturday night’s) action, Mike was a guest on Fox 46’s Good Day Charlotte with Logan Sherrill talking about Villanova’s lopsided victory over Buddy Hield and Oklahoma, and  North Carolina’s impressive victory over Syracuse.

Watch the conversation here: http://www.fox46charlotte.com/good-day/115906379-video

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81.

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The Whirlwind Week Continues

(Charlotte, NC) — It’s hard to replicate the week I have had but it would sure be fun to try.

It started with a trip to Walt Disney World with my wife, son and another family we are very close with.

2016 Dis

We went three years ago and had a really good time. Perhaps because the kids are three years older but this trip was really fun.

I even got to squeeze in some golf which was challenging but a ton of fun… except for the wild turkey we ran into on the 4th hole at Magnolia. E-mail me (mike@mikepacheco.com) and I’ll tell you that story.

If you have not been in some time, the changes and upgrades they have made to all of the parks have been phenomenal. We liked Hollywood Studios especially. The boys got a chance to do Jedi training and that was a blast.

2016 TPG ST III came back Thursday for the TPG Sports Group mixer ahead of Friday’s Sports Tank event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Eleven innovative companies pitched their products to an elite group of investors with the help of an unbelievably talented sports advisory panel. I was fortunate to emcee the event for the second consecutive year.

Several of the companies worked out funding deals during the event and several more made relationships with investors that could lead to either funding or advisory relationships in the future.

Friday morning, I was a guest on Fox 46’s Good Day Charlotte with Brien Blakely, Page Crawford and Chuck Roads talking about the upcoming Final Four match-ups in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

4-1-16 fox 46 BB PC MP

To see who I picked advancing to the finals, click here: http://www.fox46charlotte.com/good-day/seen-on-tv/115001770-video.

For those in Charlotte, I’ll back on tomorrow in the 7am hour and Monday in the 8am hour .

Today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday), I’ll be calling Winthrop University Baseball on the Big South Network.

On Tuesday, the Eagles will host the Charlotte 49ers at BB&T BallPark in Charlotte.

Charlotte Knights media day is also this week and opening day is just around the corner.  The Knights open up on the road at Durham on April 7th with the home opener on Thursday, April 14th.

 

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Revised Final Four Predictions

(Charlotte, NC) — I had a college basketball coach once lament to me once the problem with the AAU culture as it regards competitiveness in his sport. His theory was that with so many games during the AAU season that players lost the sense of urgency when they came to college and had to learn that.

It seems that sense of urgency is lost when it comes to picking NCAA Tournament games. All through the tournament, I’ve seen ads on various websites state you can re-do your picks after your bracket has been busted.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’ll keep the picks I still have alive. That means Kansas, Duke and UNC remain my picks.

I’ll add Virginia. I was skeptical about the Cavaliers getting out of the opening weekend. That’s not a knock on this team with solid players in Malcolm Brogden and Anthony Gil. They also have a fine coach in Tony Bennett. I needed them to so me they could play like favorites and get out of the opening weekend. Check that off their list.

Stay tuned for “Random Thoughts and Other Stuff ” coming soon.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81

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Fox 46 Good Day Charlotte – Saturday March 19th with Logan Sherrill

(Charlotte, NC) — Fox 46 Good Day Charlotte had Mike on Saturday following a crazy Friday in first round action of the NCAA Tournament. Host Logan Sherrill and Mike recap the madness of Friday and look ahead to Saturday’s full day of basketball.

Click on the link to see the segment:

Your March Madness Bracket with Mike Pacheco play-by-play announcer for Winthrop University

http://www.fox46charlotte.com/good-day/seen-on-tv/109959545-video

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