Posts Tagged ‘Albuquerque Isotopes’

It’s A Beautiful Day, Isotopes Fans – Let’s Turn Three

The front page of MiLB.com has a note that Albuquerque turned a triple play in Game One of its playoff series yesterday against Memphis.  I wanted to see how it happened, so I went to the game recap and found this description:

  • Brian Barden walks.
  • Mark Shorey singles on a line drive to third baseman Blake DeWitt. Brian Barden to 2nd.
  • Matt Pagnozzi grounds into a triple play, shortstop Chin-lung Hu to first baseman Hector Luna to shortstop Chin-lung Hu. Brian Barden out at 3rd. Mark Shorey out at 2nd.

Call me crazy, but I found it impossible to make any sense out of that.  Good thing there was link to a game story:

Memphis added another run in the fifth and looked poised for more in the sixth until some defensive wizardry by Chin-Lung Hu got the ‘Topes out of a jam. With Brian Barden on second and Mark Shorey on first, Pagnozzi sent a grounder to short, allowing Hu to tag Barden, who was moving on contact off second, for the first out before stepping on the bag to force out Shorey and completing the third triple play in Isotopes history with the turn to Hector Luna at first.

Okay, that makes more sense.  The recap didn’t make it clear that Hu handled the first two outs on his own before throwing to first for the rare (I imagine) 6-3 triple play.  Too bad second baseman Tony Abreu wasn’t involved – Hu-to-Abreu-to-Luna has a nice ring to it.

Advertisements

Manny is Radioactive!!!

24manny_600

Remember those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, where Bugs would get lost, and then scratch his head and say “I must have made a wrong turn at Albequerque”?

Imagine how Manny Ramirez feels right now.

Man Ram began his comeback from suspension last night by joining the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes in a home game against the Nashville Sounds. Manny, like any recovering drug abuser, is taking life one day at a time:

Ramirez said his goals for his time in the Minor Leagues were pretty basic: “Get a feel for my legs, how my legs are going to respond.”

[mlb.com]

Manny being Minor League meant going 0-2 in limited action, so we won’t be seeing him on the Z-Meter any time soon.

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.

Minor League Merchandise at ESPN: the Magazine

As you may know, one of your intrepid Bus Leaguers has the good fortune to write a little for the ESPN: the Magazine website. This week, minor league merchandise managed to sneak onto the pages for the mouthpiece of the Worldwide Leader, and we wanted to share it with you:

Tina Gust is the Director of Licensing for Minor League Baseball. She has seen merchandise sales grow along with record-setting ballpark attendance over the past four years, as teams and retailers have paid close attention to what customers want. “Baseball fans and card collectors enjoy following young stars, hoping to catch a game or pick up the card of the next all-star shortstop or Cy Young award-winner.” she says

“Team operators are becoming more attuned to their fans’ merchandise needs—expanding the product selection to satisfy both casual and die-hard fans.” Minor league gear has shown up in on film, in music videos, and even on high-end retail shelves at Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.

[ESPN: the Magazine]

Also quoted in the article is Bus Leagues contributor Will, who waxes nostalgic about the Brooklyn baseball scene.

Hope you enjoy!

In addition, Rick Reilly wrote a piece about minor leaguers who missed their shot because they refused to take steroids. Read it here.

Dallas McPherson Has A Chance To Do Something Specialish

A few weeks ago, one of the big stories in minor league baseball was Dallas McPherson and his phenomenal streak of seven consecutive games with a homerun. The former Angel has continued to tear up AAA pitching ever since, ending play on Thursday with 35 homeruns so far on the season.

Were this Francisco “Don’t Call Me Nelson” Liriano we were talking about, there might be some sort of formal inquiry as to why McPherson is still languishing in Albuquerque, crushing homeruns at a rate of one every 9.37 at-bats. Like Liriano, however, the question is best answered by looking at the major league team: the Marlins infield is one of the most well-versed in baseball’s primary language – Homerun. Mike Jacobs (20), Dan Uggla (24), and Hanley Ramirez (24) all have more than twenty roundtrippers on the season, with the resurgent Jorge Cantu (18 ) trailing just behind the pack. If this were the American League and McPherson could DH, things would be different. As it is, he’s blocked by Cantu and Jacobs for the time being. Ah well, there’s always September.

So I’m going to assume that McPherson will be cashing his checks in New Mexico banks for at least a few more weeks, which raises an interesting question: how many players in recent minor league history have gone deep more than forty times in a single season?

As it turns out, not very many. Nine players have hit forty homeruns in a season ten times since 1992, including McPherson, who finished second to Ryan Howard among all minor leaguers in 2004. If he adds five more to his total this season, he will join Phil Hiatt as the only players in the past seventeen years with more than one minor league forty homer season. The list is below.

Brandon Wood (43), 2005
Ryan Howard (46), 2004
Dallas McPherson (40), 2004
Phil Hiatt (44), 2001
Brandon Berger (40), 2001
J.R. Phillips (41), 1999
Chris Hatcher (46), 1998
Phil Hiatt (42), 1996
Russell Branyan (40), 1996
Todd Greene (40), 1995

Look at those names. Not a lot of renowned major league homerun hitters in that group, are there? Howard is one of the premier sluggers in the game today, and Branyan just recently reached 350 combined for his major and minor league careers, but who else? Greene? Hiatt? Hatcher? Light on the name recognition.

You always hope that a player like McPherson, who is performing so well after missing all of last season following back surgery, gets another chance to make a first impression at the major league level. But at the same time, it would be pretty cool to see if he could reach forty again, or, if he gets hot, challenge Howard and Hatcher’s Steroid Era record of 46.

Photo: Albuquerque Isotopes Mascot Orbit

I’m no stick-in-the-mud. I got a good laugh out of the guys at The Meaningful Collateral trying to gin up a sexual harassment controversy from this photo of the AAA Isotopes (Marlins) mascot Orbit.

I have it on good authority that it’s hard to see out of those mascot heads. I’m pretty sure poor, innocent Orbit was trying to entertain the child, not get a free shot of mother’s milk for his espresso.

Hat Tip to TMC for a great photo of a previously unseen-by-Bus-Leagues mascot!