Wilmington Blue Rocks vs Aberdeen IronBirds – May 29, 2022

For my first minor league game of the year, I saw my closest team, the Blue Rocks.  I actually hadn’t been since 2018, but not much has changed at Frawley Stadium.  The game featured 13 walks, including 9 issued by the Blue Rocks pitchers, but the game still only took 2:39.  And that also includes 13 strikeouts.  For the IronBirds, Connor Norby and Darell Hernaiz, each had two hits.  Blue Rocks LF Gage Canning went 2-4 with an RBI single and two-run home run.  Blue Rocks RP Jose Ferrar also made his High A debut in this game.  Final score was IronBirds 6, Blue Rocks 4.

The game featured the following prospects:
LF Colton Cowser (Orioles #4) – 0-2, 3 walks
DH Connor Norby (Orioles #11) – 2-4, 2 runs, walk, SB
3B Darell Hernaiz (Orioles #30) – 2-4, RBI, run, walk, 6th game at High A
C Israel Pineda (Nationals #24) – 1-4, RBI double, reached on error
CF Ricardo Mendez (Nationals #25) – 0-5, reached on error
SS Jordy Barley (Nationals #27) – 0-4

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Philadelphia Phillies vs Colorado Rockies – April 27, 2022

Usually I don’t go to games when gametime temperature is below 50 degrees, but I was offered a ticket to this April Phillies game.  While I had to be bundled up, it was still a fun game to watch.  The Phillies jumped out to an early lead and while they let the Rockies come back to tie in the third inning, they were able to hold on for a 7-3 win.  Odubel Herrera provided a leadoff home run to start the Phillies scoring.

I don’t know if others noticed what a great guy Jose Iglesias is, and not just because he went 4 for 4 in this game.  You may have noticed that when Miguel Cabrera got his 3000th hit, Iglesias ran over to him to congratulate him.  But in this game, it was announced that it was Didi Gregorius’ 1000th game at SS, and during a pitching change, Iglesias also made sure to give Didi a hug also.  Things like that aren’t attention grabbers, but it’s nice to see the respect that they players have for each other.

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Previous League Names Have Returned

MiLB announced that they are returning to the league names that were used prior to the 2021 season.  While some of us were speculating that MiLB was using the generic league names as a placeholder until they were able to obtain corporate sponsored league names, they said that it’s because MLB didn’t have the rights to the historical names.  I’m glad that they are back to the names that were used in 2019 and prior, but it’s disappointing that they have the gap in the records where the names weren’t officially used.

One other item of note is that they are considering the South Atlantic League as the High A league and Carolina League as the Low A league.  I was tracking the team shifts and didn’t realize that moving those two leagues between levels was also part of the plan.  And they are officially changing the term Low A to Single A, although having High A and Single A as terms for the two different levels doesn’t really make as much sense.

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Sugar Land Changes Name to Sugar Land Space Cowboys

The Sugar Land Skeeters have changed their name to the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.  After one season as an affiliated minor league team, the Astros decided to change their name to something that better aligned with the space theme they have.

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Smokies To Change Name to Knoxville Smokies in 2024

The Tennessee Smokies have announced that they will change their name to the Knoxville Smokies in 2024 when they open their new ballpark.  This means they will be going back to the name that they used from 1993-1999, which they changed in 2000 when they opened the ballpark in Sevierville, TN.  I’ve never liked the names that use state names, so I’m glad that they are going back to using Knoxville.

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Endeavour Group Holdings Buys 9 Minor League Teams

It was announced today that Endeavour Group Holdings is buying 9 minor league teams: Gwinnett Stripers (Braves AAA), Iowa Cubs (Cubs AAA), Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals AAA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees AAA), Mississippi Braves (Braves AA), Hudson Valley Renegades (Yankees High-A), Rome Braves (Braves High-A), Augusta GreenJackets (Braves Low-A), and San Jose Giants (Giants High-A).

With the new Player Development License structure where each team is locked into a major league affiliate for ten years, there is less of a desire for major league teams to own the minor league teams.  There were definitely instances where some major league teams wanted to have a closer affiliate and purchased a team to guarantee that they wouldn’t be stuck in a location that they didn’t want.  Most of these teams were previously owned by major league teams.  Another result that I anticipate is that I would expect these teams to get new nicknames that no longer reflect the major league affiliate.  That’s been a trend over time, but I would expect to see rebranding with the new ownership.

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Beloit Changes Name to Beloit Sky Carp

The Beloit Snappers have changed their name to the Beloit Sky Carp.  The Snappers were the nickname since 1995 when they moved on from the name Beloit Brewers.  It’s disappointing to see a name that lasted that long go away, but Sky Carp better aligns with the Marlins affiliation, even if it’s referring to a goose.

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Philadelphia Phillies vs Miami Marlins – July 17, 2021

I made it to my first Phillies game of the year yesterday seeing them host the Marlins on a stormy night.  The game started out well for the Phillies as they scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the first on an Andrew McCutchen sacrifice fly and Rhys Hoskins double.  The pitchers were in control after that as no runs were scored again until the 9th inning when Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run home run for the Marlins.  While there was an earlier rain delay in the 5th inning that last just long enough to get the tarp on the field and then almost immediately remove it, the really bad storms came through two pitches into the 10th inning.  As a result, the game was suspended and scheduled to be picked up the following afternoon.

The game featured the following prospects:
RF Monte Harrison (Marlins #13) – entered as pinch runner and made great sliding catch
PH Luke Williams (Phillies #29) – flied out in only at bat

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Aberdeen IronBirds vs Rome Braves – June 26, 2021

I was finally able to get to my first game of 2021 to see what the post-pandemic minor league baseball experience felt like.  I looked at the IronBirds website ahead of the game and it’s still a little out of date, unless they just aren’t enforcing their guidelines since it still indicates that people should wear masks unless they are in their seats.  They also said that there were no autographs permitted, but I did see a number of players signing autographs ahead of the game (note to self for next game).  They also mentioned that there could be nobody on the field except for the teams and umpires, which was the case.  So this meant no national anthem singer, no on-field contests between innings, and no batboys.  Not having batboys took a little getting used to since you are seeing players pick up their own bats and each team had a dedicated player in that role who would pick up the foul balls on their side and the IronBirds had someone bringing out fresh baseballs to the umpire.  They did still have a handful of promotions and tried to do something for the fans between the half-innings, but it was definitely a watered down version of what they had previously.

The pitching matchup was Darius Vines for Rome, who was making his High A debut, and Connor Gillispie, who had a 5.91 ERA coming into the game.  Both pitchers looked good for most of the game, with the main struggle being the third inning for Vines.  After getting two outs, the first runner of the game reached on an error.  Then following a single and walk, he gave up a grand slam to 3B Jordan Westburg.  Gillispie scattered three hits and a walk pitching five shutout innings for the win and Ryan Conroy pitched the final four scoreless innings for the save, giving the IronBirds a 5-0 win.

The game featured the following prospects:
CF Michael Harris (Braves #9) – 0-4, reached on error, SB, CS
DH Bryce Ball (Braves #12) – 0-4
RF Jesse Franklin (Braves #15) – 0-3, BB
C Logan Brown (Braves #24) – 1-4, single, ended game with GIDP
SS Gunnar Henderson (Orioles #5) – 0-3, hitless in 10 AB since promotion to High A
3B Jordan Westburg (Orioles #6) – 1-3, grand slam
CF Adam Hall (Orioles #11) – 1-4, RBI single

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2021 Minor League Baseball – Invitations Accepted and Leagues Defined

Today it was announced that all 120 minor league teams that received invitations have accepted, which isn’t really a surprise.  What was more surprising is that the league structure contained generic league names and not the previously used names.  The speculation is that they haven’t decided on the league names yet and may go to sponsored league names.  It is disappointing if this restructuring appears to be leading to the loss of these historic league names, yet not that shocking.

Note that the leagues are the same as what I listed previously, but they have different names based on level and geographic location.

Here are the leagues that were announced by MLB:

Triple-A East
Buffalo Bisons – Blue Jays
Charlotte Knights – White Sox
Columbus Clippers – Indians
Durham Bulls – Rays
Gwinnett Stripers – Braves
Indianapolis Indians – Pirates
Iowa Cubs – Cubs
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Marlins
Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Phillies
Louisville Bats – Reds
Memphis Redbirds – Cardinals
Nashville Sounds – Brewers
Norfolk Tides – Orioles
Omaha Storm Chasers – Royals
Rochester Red Wings – Nationals
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – Yankees
St. Paul Saints – Twins
Syracuse Mets – Mets
Toledo Mud Hens – Tigers
Worcester Red Sox – Red Sox

Triple-A West
Albuquerque Isotopes – Rockies
El Paso Chihuahuas – Padres
Las Vegas Aviators – A’s
Oklahoma City Dodgers – Dodgers
Reno Aces – Diamondbacks
Round Rock Express – Rangers
Sacramento River Cats – Giants
Salt Lake Bees – Angels
Sugar Land Skeeters – Astros
Tacoma Rainiers – Mariners

Double-A Central
Amarillo Sod Poodles – Diamondbacks
Arkansas Travelers – Mariners
Corpus Christi Hooks – Astros
Frisco RoughRiders – Rangers
Midland RockHounds – A’s
Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Royals
San Antonio Missions – Padres
Springfield Cardinals – Cardinals
Tulsa Drillers – Dodgers
Wichita Wind Surge – Twins

Double-A Northeast
Akron RubberDucks – Indians
Altoona Curve – Pirates
Binghamton Rumble Ponies – Mets
Bowie Baysox – Orioles
Erie SeaWolves – Tigers
Harrisburg Senators – Nationals
Hartford Yard Goats – Rockies
New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Blue Jays
Portland Sea Dogs – Red Sox
Reading Fightin Phils – Phillies
Richmond Flying Squirrels – Giants
Somerset Patriots – Yankees

Double-A South
Biloxi Shuckers – Brewers
Birmingham Barons – White Sox
Chattanooga Lookouts – Reds
Mississippi Braves – Braves
Montgomery Biscuits – Rays
Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Marlins
Rocket City Trash Pandas – Angels
Tennessee Smokies – Cubs

High-A Central
Beloit Snappers – Marlins
Cedar Rapids Kernels – Twins
Dayton Dragons – Reds
Fort Wayne TinCaps – Padres
Great Lakes Loons – Dodgers
Lake County Captains – Indians
Lansing Lugnuts – A’s
Peoria Chiefs – Cardinals
Quad Cities River Bandits – Royals
South Bend Cubs – Cubs
West Michigan Whitecaps – Tigers
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Brewers

High-A East
Aberdeen IronBirds – Orioles
Asheville Tourists – Astros
Bowling Green Hot Rods – Rays
Brooklyn Cyclones – Mets
Greensboro Grasshoppers – Pirates
Greenville Drive – Red Sox
Hickory Crawdads – Rangers
Hudson Valley Renegades – Yankees
Jersey Shore BlueClaws – Phillies
Rome Braves – Braves
Wilmington Blue Rocks – Nationals
Winston-Salem Dash – White Sox

High-A West
Eugene Emeralds – Giants
Everett AquaSox – Mariners
Hillsboro Hops – Diamondbacks
Spokane Indians – Rockies
Tri-City Dust Devils – Angels
Vancouver Canadians – Blue Jays

Low-A East
Augusta GreenJackets – Braves
Carolina Mudcats – Brewers
Charleston Riverdogs – Rays
Columbia Fireflies – Royals
Delmarva Shorebirds – Orioles
Down East Wood Ducks – Rangers
Fayetteville Woodpeckers – Astros
Fredericksburg Nationals – Nationals
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – White Sox
Lynchburg Hillcats – Indians
Myrtle Beach Pelicans – Cubs
Salem Red Sox – Red Sox

Low-A Southeast
Bradenton Marauders – Pirates
Clearwater Threshers – Phillies
Daytona Tortugas- Reds
Dunedin Blue Jays – Blue Jays
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels – Twins
Jupiter Hammerheads – Marlins
Lakeland Flying Tigers – Tigers
Palm Beach Cardinals – Cardinals
St. Lucie Mets – Mets
Tampa Tarpons – Yankees

Low-A West
Fresno Grizzlies – Rockies
Lake Elsinore Storm – Padres
Modesto Nuts – Mariners
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Dodgers
San Bernardino Inland Empire 66ers – Angels
San Jose Giants – Giants
Stockton Ports – A’s
Visalia Rawhide – Diamondbacks


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