Posts Tagged ‘Aberdeen IronBirds’

How Many, “Hey, Somebody Pitched A No-Hitter” Titles Can I Possibly Come Up With?

As many as I have to, apparently.

Brooklyn Cyclones pitcher Brandon Moore became the latest to join the No-Hit Club on Sunday against the Aberdeen Ironbirds, striking out six and walking three in seven innings of work to improve his record to 6-2 on the season.  His teammates backed him up with single runs in the first and fourth innings before putting it away with a three-run seventh.

It was the first no-hitter in team history.

Advertisements

Bus Leagues in Baltimore

I went to a major-league game in Baltimore this Sunday. Rangers at Orioles, with a few of our old Z-meter regulars playing, like Felix Pie and Elvis Andrus. But my real Bus Leagues surprise came when I took the advice of an usher and visited the Sports Museum that was recently built next to Camden Yards. I was wandering around in the rather gloomy basement display area and found this:

img_0552

This bus was actually a display showing the travel conditions of Maryland’s Negro Leagues players. I liked it – I thought it was an innovative use of the space they had, even though it was a sort of creepy cellar. The upstairs was given over to the old Baltimore Colts and the Orioles. Everything else was downstairs.

img_0556

I was amused by the caption on this poster. “Why the Minor Leagues?” A question OMDQ and I ask ourselves every day. Kidding! We love the Bus Leagues. Pictured here are uniforms from Maryland’s entries into the minor league system: the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season NY-Penn League), Bowie Baysox (AA Eastern League), Frederick Keys (A+ Carolina League), Delmarva Shorebirds (A South Atlantic League), and Hagerstown Suns (A South Atlantic League). The Suns belong to the Nats organization. The rest are all variations on the Orioles.

img_0562

Just kind of a cool map. It shows all of the minor-league teams to call Maryland home, even ones that are now defunct. That hole where they listed the teams is actually where Delaware belongs!

img_0561img_0560

Another perspective on starting out small and making it to the bigs.

At first, I thought it kind of sucked that all of these great items were stuck in the basement. Then I saw this:

img_0569

Dude wins a kajillion Olympic gold medals and all he gets is a crummy alcove and a bare lightbulb.

So, it was kind of cool to see this stuff when I only thought I’d be seeing a MLB game. Still, not sure it was worth ten bucks. But how would I know unless I tried?

Cal Ripken: Patron Saint of the Bus Leagues?

SP.GALLERY28P6

On Friday, my six-year-old son and I attended our first minor-league game of the season in Lynchburg, VA. During the game, Jack said something to me that made me laugh.

“Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a minor-league baseball player!”

I laughed, because I know that the goal of every minor-league player is to stop being a minor-league player, and advance to the majors. But then, one day later, I read the same sentiment from one of my baseball idols – Cal Ripken, Jr.

In an article in the Port Charlotte Sun, Cal recounted his youth in the dugouts of the Bus Leagues, where his father managed.

  “I couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. At one point, I wanted to be a minor-league ball player. Not a big-league player. I thought they had a job and they got paid to play a game every night.”

If you don’t think too much about the money thats out there in the bigs, it’s a pretty good deal, right?

Ripken is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his own debut in the Florida State League. While his major league career was legendary in every way, after it was over, Ripken and his brother Billy returned to their roots in the minors. Their first team was the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles A), followed by the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants A), and most recently the Stone Crabs (Rays  A), who drew 7,116 fans to their first game on Friday.

Cal’s retirement is every bit as classy and intelligent as his playing career was. He’s found a way to stay involved with baseball, and contribute to the development of the game and its players. And, on top of that, he’s keeping Billy off the streets.

Staten Island Yankees vs. Aberdeen IronBirds, 9/4/08

The Bus Leagues clock is running out. This past Thursday, I decided to catch the second-to-last regular-season Staten Island Yankees game: If they win this one, they clinch the McNamara Division of the Single-A New York-Penn League. Richmond County Bank Ballpark, where the Baby Bombers play, is right on New York Harbor, just steps away from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Boarding the Staten Island Ferry, official cruise line of the Boat Leagues, in downtown Manhattan.

On the Staten Island side: the view from the promenade that leads to the ballpark. All game long, enormous freighters like this one pass through the waters just beyond the right-field fence.

Like so.

Richmond County Bank Ballpark holds more than 7,000 fans, but I guess people were having a hard time getting off work for this lazy early-September afternoon game. Attendance was officially tallied at 1,568, but that sounded like a stretch to me. Apparently the next night, the final regular-season game (in which the Yanks pounded Hudson Valley 17-5) was a 7,171-strong sell-out. (Pictured here: Yankee RHP Daniel Kapela, who would—SPOILER ALERT—earn the win today.)

But it was a good game, with the usual merriments to keep fans entertained between innings. Here, Scooter the Holy Cow is defeated by a little kid in the tug of war.

And here, better still, a man battled his son (not pictured) head-to-head to determine who could pull off a better dance to “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.” This guy won. Click on the image. It’s worth it, I promise you.

But for me, the best part of this game was sitting with these guys behind home plate. Diehard SI fans, they were heckling for nine straight innings—loudly talking junk to each other, the players, and the umpires, whom they knew by name. (Apparently the home-plate ump is an NBA ref in the off-season.) To me, their closeness and love of the game was not only what Bus Leagues fandom is all about: It was what New York City baseball fandom should be, and once was, about. With the new $1.3 gazillion Yankee Stadium and its hundred-dollar tickets, there just aren’t as many real fans on the major-league level anymore. They’re here, in Staten Island.

And, perhaps tellingly, their team is doing better than the major-league Bombers. With this afternoon’s 4-2 victory, the Staten Island Yankees clinched a playoff berth. Switch-throwing bullpen phenom Pat Venditte pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save of the year, quite a feat in a two-month-long season.

My scorebook.

Thanks, Scooter. See you next year.