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Minor League Baseball
Topic Started: Apr 8 2011, 03:51 PM (2,186 Views)
Scrooge McSuck
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I figured, why the hell not, if just for the sake of my making comments for whatever games I watch and want to make note of.


Last night was opening night for a lot of minor league clubs, and the local sports network broadcasted the Gwinnett Braves and Durham Bulls game. Much like any minor league season, a lot of roster turnover from the previous season, and both teams were pretty light on "washed up major leaguers clinging to a career", other than Brian Jordan doing color commentary.

Not much of a game in terms of offense. The Bulls had 11 hits for the entire night, but a few boneheaded plays cost them chances and they only managed to score one run in the 5th inning. The Braves retaliated with 2 in the bottom of the inning, and that was all the scoring done.

Most notable Bulls.... Desmond Jennings (expect him to be called up by mid-season), Casey Kotchman (picked up today after Manny's shit retirement), Justin Ruggiano (Quad-A talent), and Robinson Chirinos (picked up in the Garza trade).

The only Braves player I really made note of was their closer, Jairo Asencio, who missed the 2010 season because of visa issues over using a false name the previous few seasons under Luis Valdez. Has some good heat, might make it to th majors.
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Erick Von Erich
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I'm Big E and I tell it like it is
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I'm planning on visiting the Toledo Mudhens in late May. Of course, every game I'm looking at attending has a PROMO.
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Erick Von Erich
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Went to that Mud Hens game... and it was great. Had a two-hour rain delay to begin as it became a double-header to make up for yesterday's rained-out game. Here's something I never knew: in the International League (or maybe the Minors, overall), double-header games only last 7 innings.

We stuck around until the fifth of a Mud Hens (Tigers) vs. Durham Bulls (Rays) game.

The Mud Hens feature Timo Perez... probably most famous for being the Mets' leadoff man circa 2000-2001. He was listed as a "coach" on the roster, but was in the lineup and has apparently played all season.

The promotions from both games were in effect. So we had "Meet Stewie from Family Guy", along with the "the All-American Flying Dogs" and "post game fireworks". Stewie was some guy in a big plastic costume (didn't "meet" him), but the Flying Dogs were kinda' fun-- some guy would toss frisbees and have his dog flip over him at home plate during inning breaks. Other upoming promos they were pimping: "Meet Charlie Brown", "Meet Yogi Bear", "Meet Wubby Nub Nub" (who?!)...I think you see the pattern.

The Bulls had top Rays prospect Desmond Jennings leading off; who didn't do much (1 for 4). Non-prospect catcher/DH Jose Lobaton crushed a first inning pitch for a 3 run homer. Good thing traffic wasn't passing by, because Lobaton's shot cleared the left field wall and forcibly bounced onto the road. Would've cracked some random motorist's windshield. A minute later, the stoplight turned and cars went zipping by.

The Mud Hens also have a special "random" promotion for each game. If a "randomly drawn" player on the opposing team strikes out, a randomly chosen row gets FREE ICE CREAM. For this game, it was Dan Johnson, so you can imagine fans were going ape-shit whenever he came to bat. That's a hilarious promo idea, to me. FREE STUFF when an opposing player strikes out. If only Rob Deer were still playing.

The Mud Hens' field, Fifth Third Bank Field, is awesome. It has a great view of the Toledo "skyline", lots of different sections/sight lines, easy access and parking, location in the middle of the city and it's even built on "Moses Fleetwood Walker Square". Nice distinctive signs, scoreboards and other elements. It's close to Tony Packo's resturant/bar, made famous by Klingler from MASH. It's about two blocks from the Toledo Farmer's Market, river front and downtown.

Without really trying, I got autographs from 5 Mud Hens players, along with Tigers prospect Ryan Perry. If you ever go to Comerica Park in Detroit, spend the 30-45 minutes to drive down to Toledo and see a game here as well.

Going to Chicago in late August and I think I might have to visit the Gary, IN minor league field.
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Erick Von Erich
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Sure, I'd put this in our MLB thread...but we're cool and have a MINOR League thread!

Bryce Harper homers, blows a kiss to pitcher

This has been making the rounds-- he blows a kiss to the pitcher while rounding third. I think it's more interesting that it appears the umpire is trotting to first with him, then down the third base line (although it may just be the camera angle as the ump goes to, then returns, from the pitching mound).

I can see how this points to him being an immature douche, etc. But on the other hand, this is the frickin' MINOR LEAGUES. Hard not to act weird when you've got Free Inner Tube Night and Snoopy just threw out the first pitch.
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Erick Von Erich
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Went to Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies Triple A) game, yesterday against the Sacramento River Cats (A's Triple A).

It went 13 innings and they combined for 35 hits. But 33 of those were frickin' SINGLES. It was like a Japanese Central League game. The Sky Sox field is around 6,300 feet of elevation, so I don't want to hear about how the "thin air" inflates statistics and gives easy home runs. 33 singles! 32 year-old career minor leaguer Wes Timmons got the final two RBIs to win it for Sacramento...with a single of course.

Promos in effect were: Military Appreciation Day (Colorado Springs has three military establishments), Kids Run the Bases and 50 cent Hot Dogs. Plus the usual between-innings minor league random fan participation antics, like "Catch a Ball with a Helmet with a Cup on it" or "build a giant hamburger".
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Scrooge McSuck
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Giant hamburger, eh? Sounds like more fun than the traditional "let two kids dance on top of the dugouts and see who get's boo'ed less" routine I saw at Stone Crab games.

I'm sorry for your night of singles. If only Mike Jacobs wasn't busted for HGH, he would've been sockin' em out left and right for you. :P
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Mad Dog
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ho ho who the hell are you?
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I didn't make it to any games because the wife was ill all summer. We usually take in between 2-8 games with the Columbus Clippers a year.
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Erick Von Erich
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Went to the independent Atlantic League Long Island Ducks on Friday night. Skill-wise, it was about on par with any minor league game I've seen. Except for the fact that (fat) Sean Burroughs was the Ducks' 3B and missed an easy routine grounder. Ducks lost to the Sugar Land Skeeters, 1-3.

The Skeeters all wore warm-up pants for their uniform. I thought the warm-ups were just for actually warming-up...so it was weird that they wore them all game long. You could tell it wasn't MLB, because one player on the Ducks entered the field with a gigantic rip on the front of his pants. Probably takes awhile to get a new pair of pants and I wouldn't be surprised if the players have to pay for it.

The Atlantic League features a few former MLB guys, plus former prospects whose team had given up on them. The Ducks had former MLBers Todd Coffey, Ruben Gotay, Sean Burroughs, Eury De la Rose, Tyler Colvin and Blake Tekotte. Lew Ford is also a "player-coach". But the roster's mostly guys who never made it above AAA.

They have Fehlandt Lentini-- a 38 year old who never advanced above AAA. Still batting lead-off and playing OF. I think this MLB dreams are over, so he's probably out there looking for a coaching gig. Comparison to Crash Davis aside, you have to have a certain appreciation for guys like this. I wouldn't be surprised if Lentini is also on some local softball teams. Which makes me wonder...I played in a local Long Island softball game, last year...and some guy went 6-for-6 with 6 home runs.

One of the Ducks' owners is Mets icon Bud Harrelson. He's also a bench coach and all-around ambassador for the team. As soon as I walked in, he was at the end of the dugout signing autographs for anybody. The Skeeters were managed by Gary Gaetti; who was also very accessible for autographs. Gaetti still has this early-90's mullet.

For random promos, it was "Free Water Bottle Night". They also had a bounce castle at the left field pavilion. "$2 for a half hour, or pay $5 and bounce all night"! I didn't see an age limit. Crappy inflatable kids "rides" seem to have become the norm for lower-level pro baseball. The Ducks market themselves as a family-friendly outing. So kids sang the national anthem, Cub Scouts were the color guard and cotton candy and ice cream sales rule. Nobody complains about the kids playing tag in the aisles, either. No unusual between innings shenangians-- just stuff we've all seen before, like sumo suits.

"K victim of the night" was Skeeters OF Kent Matthes. He struck out and everybody "won" a coupon for FREE breadsticks at Pizza Hut. If he had hit a home run, we would've had two coupons. Hey-oh.
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Erick Von Erich
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Went to another Sky Sox game, yesterday. Nothing really worth mentioning, aside from the fact I got autographs from Orlando Arcia (Brewers' top prospect) and former Pirate Travis Snider. Took me all of maybe 3 minutes to get Arcia before the game, and about 30 seconds to get Snider afterwards. I've had times where I've waited around for almost an hour and come up empty-handed.
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