Archive for May 28th, 2009

Fill Out Your Omaha Brackets – NOW!

BAbracketsI love brackets.

Obviously, the best time for brackets is March, when college basketball puts on its easily-graphed single-elimination tournament. But Baseball America has put together a pretty decent bracket contest for college baseball’s difficult-to-graph, round-robin/best of three/double elimination June contest.

Since the College World Series is starting very, very soon, head on over to BA and join up. Your guess about who wins is as good as mine.

[Baseball America – College Baseball Bracket Challenge]

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$15 May Be A Bit Much For Minor League Baseball

A couple weeks ago, Extra P and I were talking about some ideas for Bus Leagues when he mentioned the Gwinnett Braves, specifically that it would be hilarious if they managed to outdraw their major league counterparts this season.

A quick check of the facts – Gwinnett was averaging about 5,600 per game at the time, compared to nearly 24,000 for Atlanta (although the Big Braves fill the ballpark to less than 50% of capacity on average) – made us realize that this pipe dream was just that, a dream.  (This realization did not stop us from being irrationally excited.  This is what minor league baseball does to us.)

Apparently, though, Gwinnett has it’s own problems – namely, some of the local folk consider the ticket prices to be outrageously high:

Apparently, the Braves organization forgot that this is minor league baseball. The Columbus Clippers are held up as leading the International League in attendance. What the writer fails to mention is that Clippers tickets are more reasonably priced.

And what is the deal with $6 hot dogs? I love baseball, but I wanted minor league because it is more cost-effective. If I want to get gouged, I will brave a trip inside the perimeter. It is painfully obvious that the Braves organization looks on Gwinnett County as a cash cow.

Frank Carter in Buford is mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

I was ready to write this off as the sort of fan we used to see all the time in Nashua, the ones who complain that $8 tickets are WAAAY overpriced.  These are the people who generally want minor league sporting events to be presented totally free of charge.

Before I dissed Frank like that, I ventured over to the Gwinnett Braves web site to look at the prices for myself.  It turns out he’s kind of right – $15 for seats to a minor league game is a bit much.  $12 is probably too much as well.  As a general rule, anything over $10 is probably a little high, unless it’s some sort of special event like an All-Star game.

So, in the end, I don’t think we can pull off our master “hype Gwinnett over Atlanta and see what happens” plan, which is a shame.  Maybe Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh would be better.

That Was Fun While It Lasted

Sunday afternoon, I discovered an interesting fact: Iowa Cubs jack-of-all-trades Jake Fox was tearing up the Pacific Coast League.  Batting average over .400, 17 homeruns, 50 runs batted in – he was easily leading the league in all three categories, making him a prime candidate for one of my favorite feats, the Triple Crown.

As near as I can tell, the last player to win the PCL Triple Crown was Albuquerque’s Mike Marshall in 1981 (.373, 34, 137).  Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1956, when Steve Bilko hit .360 with 55 homeruns and 164 RBI for Los Angeles.  A different era, that was.

The season was about 1/3 gone, which still felt kind of early, so I ultimately set myself a limitation: on June 1, if Fox was still in the lead in all three categories, I would write something about it (yes, I was going to wait a whole week.  This demonstrates considerable restraint on my part).

So what happens?  Fox gets the call to the majors, of course.  You know, sometimes I get the sense that these organizations just don’t care about MY feelings at all.

Fox is no stranger to success.  Last season, he hit 31 homers and drove in 105 runs between AA and AAA, his third straight season with 20+ roundtrippers.  He is also valuable for his defensive flexibility: most of his professional experience is as a catcher and first baseman, but he has also played shortstop, third base, and multiple outfield positions.

One of the players sent down to make room for Fox and two other call-ups was Bobby Scales, the feel-good story who made his major league debut this month after a decade in the minors.  It’s nice that Fox gets another shot at the majors (he appeared in seven games in 2007), but here’s hoping that Scales receives his own second chance before long.