Archive for the ‘Pioneer League’ Category

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 6

What a week this has been!  Alex Rodriguez has a dramatic return from his injury with a first pitch homer on 5/8/09 and Manny Ramirez shows his feminine side by being the latest superstar to test positive for PEDs.  Still though, bobblehead promos are front and center on my end of this blog.  Here’s the lineup this week:

San Francisco Giants 5/12/09 Lou Seal (Chinese) (Mascot) – Part of a Chinese Heritage Night Promotion.  Although a Seal as a Lion Dancer is quite intriguing.

Chicago Cubs 5/12/09 Ernie Banks – First 10,000 – Cubbies go retro with his second giveaway.

Memphis Redbirds 5/12/09 Keith McDonald – First 1,000 – Another in the Redbirds alumni series.

Trenton Thunder 5/13/09 Joba Chamberlain First 2,000 6 and over – Last year they gave out a Joba for plan holders only. This time a straight giveaway.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5/15/09 Chris “Butter” Ball – First 1,000 – It’s time for the Pelicans to honor their groundskeeper following in the footstep of Trenton and Clearwater. He also boasts the title of 3-time consecutive winner of the Carolina League field of the Year!

Lansing Lugnuts 5/16/09 Carlos Zambrano – Lansing chooses to honor a no-hitter by a Cubs alumnus even though they are a Jays farm team.

Pittsburgh Pirates 5/16/09 Nate McLouth – Pirates annual All-Star bobblehead.

Tampa Bay Rays 5/16/09 Evan Longoria Figurine – This is probably the only way you can get this hot hitter to stand still, other than an upcoming bobblehead of course!!!

Texas Rangers 5/16/09 Josh Hamilton – The Rangers honor the defending HR derby champion.

San Francisco Giants 5/17/09 Tim Lincecum – First 20,000 – The Giants give the reigning NL Cy Young champ his due.

St. Louis Cardinals 5/17/09 Lou Brock Statue – First 25,000 16 and older – Continue your collection in the Cardinals bronze statue series with this one-of-a-kind replica of the Hall of Famer, just like the one that stands on the corner of 8th and Clark.

Toronto Blue Jays 5/17/09 Alex Rios – First 10,000 – This bobblehead is one of the first I’ve ever seen with a weight around the bat.

This week’s bobblehead travels take me to Trenton for the Joba bobblehead night on Wednesday. Don’t be chicken, Don’t be shy, come around and just say hi.

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You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

I’ve learned a lot about minor league baseball this season, but the most interesting might be something I just discovered about ten minutes ago: major league teams and their minor league affiliates are like the characters on Friends* – sooner or later, they all end up dating one another.

*Yeah, Friends.  My pop culture references are so timely.  The backup example was Beverly Hills 90210.

Almost immediately after the season ended, what I’m assuming is a yearly affiliate shift began to occur.  And the more I read, the more I began to understand the tectonic nature of these relationships.  For example…

  • Last Thursday, the Cleveland Indians announced that they had signed a four-year player development agreement with the International League’s Columbus Clippers .  The Clippers were Washington’s AAA affiliate for the past two seasons.
  • Two days later, the Nationals signed a two-year deal the Syracuse Chiefs, also of the International League.  (Washington also extended existing deals with Class A Hagerstown and Class A Short-Season Vermont; both extensions are for two years.)
  • Two days after THAT, the New York Mets signed on with Buffalo, the International League team that had been cut loose as Cleveland’s affiliate.
  • In order to make the move to Buffalo, the Mets pulled out of New Orleans, clearing the way for division rival Florida to slide in for a two-year deal with the Zephyrs.
  • Florida’s shift to New Orleans meant that the organization pulled out of Albuquerque, where nearly 600,000 fans passed through the gates last season.  Taking their place?  The Los Angeles Dodgers organization, which returns its AAA affiliate to the place it called home for nearly three decades.
  • At the AA level, Los Angeles is returning the favor, moving from Jacksonville to Chattanooga, which allows Florida to take over the Suns franchise.  The Dodgers’ shift displaces the Reds, who were the previous tenants in Chattanooga.

Those are the major crazy, circular moves that have been announced over the past week or so.  MiLB.com has also reported on a number of other affiliate changes:

This is making my head hurt, and these aren’t even all the changes that were made.  I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but I just sort of stopped caring about decent sentence structure there after awhile; there are only so many ways you can say “shift” or “move”.  One thing is clear to me, however: we gots some work to do on our “MiLB Teams” page.

Spotlight on A Ball – 3/31/2008

aquasox_logo.gifWith 300+ minor league teams in these United States, OMDQ and I will need some way to focus our energies, and this is one way we figured to do it. Monday is “A” ball day. That will include Rookie League and every form of A ball. Wednesday we’ll check out the AA clubs, and then on Friday on up to AAA. We’ll also develop a few weekly features to slot in on the other two days in the rotation.

So, for today, here’s the A News:

The Danville Braves of the Appalachian League are preparing to enter 2008 with a new manager. Former coach Mel Roberts passed away on September 1, 2007, just one day after his club finished their season. Roberts was 64 years old, and had coached at every level in the Braves’ minor league organization. The Braves have turned to a familiar face – new coach Paul Runge led the Atlanta affiliate to an Appy League championship in 2006.

In happier news for the Appy League, the Mariners have brought baseball back to Pulaski, VA. The Blue Jays pulled out of Pulaski before the 2007 season, leaving the league with an unbalanced schedule for one year, but the Mariners have filled that void.

The Casper Ghosts (Rockies) of the Pioneer League are offering Glow-in-the-dark caps this season.

The Midwestern League’s Beloit Snappers (Twins) will welcome 7’1″ Dutch prospect Loek Van Mil to their roster this season. The righty moved up from the Rookie League this season to become the tallest player on a pitching staff that boasts exclusively six-footers and above.

The Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins) of the South Atlantic League have an impressive new presence on the web. Sports writer and season-ticket holder Will Brinson will be covering his hometown team at the new site GrassBloggers.

The Lancaster JetHawks are ready to fly in 2008. The Red Sox A-Advanced affiliate has a full-size FA-18 outside their stadium, and it’s pointed at the sky.

You have to love a Fan Festival hosted by Warthogs. This will be the Winston-Salem (White Sox) club’s last opening day at Ernie Shore Field, as they look forward to a gleaming new downtown stadium in 2009.

In listing their Ten Names to Know, the A-Advanced Florida State League included the awesomely-named Razor Shines, manager of the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies). Aside from his name, the guy can obviously coach, and we might see him in the bigs someday soon.

The State College Spikes are the Short-Season A affiliate for Pittsburgh. Which explains the excellent motto “The Bucs Start Here”.

And just allow me to close by saying I love the Everett Aquasox (Mariners) frog-based logo. If I had to pick one item to buy via internet, I think it would be, well, the socks.

That’s the news I was able to cull by randomly dropping by the league sites. If you are a fan of a team, and would like to let me know about something great going on in your town, drop me a line or a link at busleagues (at) gmail (dot) com.

Casper Gets All Ghosty

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Apparently the Casper (WY) Rockies are so embarrassed by the parent club’s failure to win a World Series game that they are changing their name – from Rockies to Ghosts.

Kidding! The Rookie League affiliate of the Rocks is simply trying to generate more merchandise sales by adopting the familiar cartoon spectre as their new logo.

The Ghosts remain an affiliate of the big-league Rockies, but the team wanted the name change to create a unique identity for the team. Haughian said economics also played a role in the change.

“The Casper Rockies brand never really took off, unfortunately. If folks wanted to buy merchandise they were going to buy Colorado merchandise, not Casper,” Haughian said. “The appeal was limited to our die-hard fans in town. We think with the new name, the new look, the new logo, that it’s not only going to be popular here in Casper, but nationally and internationally.”

The Ghosts’ hats will be glow in the dark and are the first of their kind, according to the team.

[Jackson Hole Star Tribune]

The Casper ownership group wanted to call the team the Ghosts when it first moved to Wyoming in 2000, but the Rockies mandated that all affiliates use the Rockies name. Their previous home was Butte, Montana. I’m not going to check in to this, because I cherish my illusions, but I really, really hope they were called the Butte Holes.