Posts Tagged ‘Staten Island Yankees’

Twitter Invades Minor League Baseball

Our pal Jordi Scrubbings is a full-blown, unapologetic devotee of Twitter, so it’s fitting that we learned about minor league baseball’s firm embrace of new media directly from him.

As Jordi noted in his post, Sunday’s game between the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Staten Island Yankees was streamed live on twitcam.com, and it was reasonably popular:

So far they have nearly 70 viewers and have several people discussing the game through twitter with each other and the Hudson Valley Renegades twitter feed (@HVRENEGADES). There are even family members of the Renegades tuning in and contributing to the discussion. No word yet on whether there are any fans on location chiming in.

I’d like to think that this isn’t too far from what I was doing the other night with that series of posts from the ballpark.  It has the potential to be a huge, huge thing for sports organizations in that it allows them to offer fans another way to enjoy the game.

Many teams are already using Twitter (I hope to have the reasonably complete list in a page link up top by the end of the week).  This concept makes that medium much more valuable.

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Threes Are Wild

The Williamsport Crosscutters opened up a can on the Staten Island Yankees last night, building a 20-0 lead after five innings before coasting to the easy 20-4 win.  Seven Williamsport players had two or more hits, with leadoff man Zachary Collier and his four safeties leading the way.

Williamsport also set a team-record with six triples, three of which came off the bat of leftfielder Carl Uhl, a .210 hitter who had three hits (all in the first three innings), three RBI, and three runs scored.

Uhl triple hat trick is special enough, but consider two other extraordinary facts about his performance: two of the three-baggers were hit in one inning (the nine-run third), something only eleven major leaguers have ever done (and only once since 1951); and both of THOSE triples went back-to-back with a teammate (Leandro Castro and Collier).

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.

Photos: Hudson Valley Renegades

Designated Bus Leagues lensman Will is making good on his promise to visit all of the minor league parks in his area this summer, and we are all beneficiaries. I did the same thing last year in my locality of Virginia, so I know how fun this can be.

This past weekend, Will took in a little New York-Penn League action, visiting the Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays). Here, Dutchess Stadium plays host to the Staten Island Yankees. There were lots of scouts there, of two distinctly different varieties.


The place was full of Scouts. 500 of them were going to set up tents after the game and sleep on the field.


Radar guns behind home plate. I count at least six.


With state penitentiary in the background. Does every prison town get a minor-league team as compensation?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. See the rest of this set of photos at Will’s flickr page. I love that Will shares his road trips with us. He photographs a minor-league game the same way I do – some field action, a little mascot, some between-innings promotions, and then a fair dose of food and drink. All the important stuff, in other words.

Two Pitching Arms Are Better Than One

When I was a kid, the Red Sox had a pitcher named Greg Harris. Harris came to Boston in his mid-30s after being claimed off waivers and spent six seasons with the team, pitching mostly out of the bullpen. In 1992-93, he appeared in 150 games (148 in relief) for Sox teams that finished 73-89 and 80-82, respectively.

Harris’ claim to fame, aside from being a decent jack-of-all-trades, was his ability to pitch with both arms, a skill he put to use once at the major league level, in his second-to-last appearance.  From the Baseball-Reference.com Bullpen:

…Harris found himself pitching for the Expos in the last season of his career, and on September 28, 1995, against the Cincinnati Reds, he fullfilled his career-long ambition of pitching ambidexterously, respectively walking and retiring the two batters he faced as a southpaw, in between beginning and ending the inning, and with it the game, as a right-hander. It is conceivable that a progressive manager or organization might someday make use of a pitcher like Harris, as being a switch-pitcher would allow the pitcher to always have the platoon advantage and also render bullpen usage less wasteful.

On Thursday night, Greg Harris V2.0 made an appearance in Brooklyn.

Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher out of Creighton, debuted for the Staten Island Yankees in the ninth inning of a game against the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Charged with protecting a 7-2 lead, Venditte retired the first two batters he faced before allowing the third man to reach.  The seemingly inconsequential safety produced an interesting situation: the fourth batter, Ralph Henriquez, is a switch-hitter:

Henriquez had been swinging left-handed in the on-deck circle, so Venditte switched his glove to his right hand in order to face the 21-year-old backstop. Seeing this, Henriquez instead came to the plate batting from the right side. So, Venditte switched his glove back to his left hand. Henriquez then decided to bat lefty, and Venditte switched his glove yet again.

And on and on it went. This rather absurd (and highly amusing) game of chicken ultimately led to a prolonged conference between the umpires and coaching staffs of both teams. After much debate, Manriquez [sic] was made to bat right-handed against Venditte throwing right-handed. Manriquez [sic] then struck out on three pitches to end the game.

I don’t know what’s better: that neither Venditte nor Henriquez refused to back down or that the umpires clearly had no clue what to do in this situation.  (Also: Manriquez?)  Greg Harris never had to put up with this crap. 

It doesn’t matter how good or bad this kid is: he needs to pitch in the major leagues someday.  Yes, Pat Venditte currently has one professional appearance to his credit, and I am already willing to go on record as saying that I will be extremely disappointed if he does not reach The Show.  Just one game.  Just one inning.  Just one batter (as long as it’s a switch-hitter).  That’s all I’m asking.

(Tip o’ the cap to Ump Bump, the first place I saw the story, and Deadspin, for the video)

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