02/19/08 5:35 PM EST
Notes: No Frick Award for Van Horne
Organization feels veteran broadcaster will make it one day
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
One of 10 Ford C. Frick Award finalists, Van Horne is embarking on his 40th season broadcasting Major League Baseball.
On Tuesday, the award went to Dave Niehaus, the longtime Mariners announcer, who now is headed to the broadcasting wing of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
As Niehaus celebrated on his 73rd birthday, Van Horne increased his chances of someday achieving his professions' most prestigious honor.
"He's a true pro in the booth," said P.J. Loyello, the Marlins' senior vice president of communications and broadcasting. "Dave's always represented his teams well. He has a respect and a passion for the game that you like to see. His time will definitely come. He will be in the Hall of Fame."
The Frick award is presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." The award, named after the late broadcaster, National League president, Commissioner and Hall of Famer, has been presented annually since 1978. Frick was a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball.
Van Horne was with the Montreal Expos when they joined the league in 1969, and he remained the voice of the Expos until 2000. He switched to the Marlins the following season.
Van Horne is known for being one of the most prepared broadcasters around.
"He does his homework for every single broadcast, and you can see it in his broadcasting," Loyello said. "He has longevity. He's been around. This is his 40th season in Major League Baseball. He's a guy who was with the Montreal Expos from Day 1 of the franchise.
"Some guys have been around so long that they just follow a routine. With Dave, listening to him every day, he has a different anecdote. He's seen so much. In his broadcasting, he brings his experience with him."
Picking up the pace: Cutting down on errors is a high priority in Spring Training. A year ago, the Marlins paced the Major Leagues with 137 total errors, including 20 from the pitchers, which also was a most for that position.
In one of the early meetings, manager Fredi Gonzalez spoke with the pitchers about doing their part to improve defensively.
A suggestion was for the pitchers to pick up the pace when they are on the mound.
"If you are constantly getting the ball back, and walking around, kicking the dirt and grabbing the resin bag and all that, you aren't having a very good pace to yourself," left-hander Scott Olsen said. "The defense kind of has tendency to lose focus, and they don't make as many plays."
Fielders generally are more involved when the game is moving more rapidly, as they anticipate the ball being put into play.
"As a pitcher, if you get into a good rhythm, and get into a good flow, and keeping the defense on their toes, hopefully it works out," Olsen said. "Maybe you can cut down on a few errors here and there. Obviously, it's not going to cut down on all of them, but maybe some."
Gonzalez on Castro: News that Cuban President Fidel Castro is resigning hits close to home for Gonzalez.
Born in Cuba, Gonzalez moved with his family to Miami when he was 2 years old in 1966.
Gonzalez's father still has a mother and brother who live in communist Cuba.
"Hopefully it is the right direction to democracy, but we'll see," Gonzalez said of the resignation.
Back-to-back bullpens: Just about all the pitchers who threw bullpen sessions on Monday were once again back on the mound on Tuesday.
In pitching coach Mark Wiley's program, he has slotted a number of the pitchers to throw 'pens on successive days.
The schedule will shift slightly on Wednesday, as some will be held out while others keep throwing.
"It's Mark's program," Gonzalez said. "It depends upon the individual. But most of these guys have been throwing for a while. It's really only eight minutes, so it's not that much throwing. Some of the guys will take a day off, and they will throw live BP on Thursday."
Thursday is the first day of full-squad workouts, and position players will face pitchers for the first time.
Checking in: The lone pitcher expected to be in camp, but who has yet to arrive, is reliever Carlos Martinez. He is dealing with visa issues.
Up next: At about 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, pitcher and catcher workouts continue on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium. Position players take their physicals on Wednesday, and the first full-squad workouts will be about 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.