The Omaha Storm Chasers have extended their player development contract with the Royals to 2020. Omaha has been the Royals AAA affiliate since 1969, which was the Royals inaugural season. This is the third longest affiliation between a major and minor league team behind Reading and Lakeland, which began in 1967.
On June 25, I was able to attend the Bull Session Radio Show at Chickie and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The show is hosted by Dan Baker and former Phillies player Greg Luzinski and they typically have a current or former player as a guest on the show. They advertise that the guest will sign autographs and this show’s guest was Yankees manager Aaron Boone. I was very surprised that they had the manager of the team they were playing that day on the show, but Aaron Boone practically grew up in the Phillies clubhouse, as his father, Bob Boone, was a Phillies player during the 70’s and 80’s. The Boone and Luzinski families are close and that is how they were able to have Aaron on the show. It was interesting to hear the debates about how the game is played now compared to the 70’s and 80’s. The show is broadcast live on Mondays and is a great opportunity to meet Greg Luzinski and another player.
The Baltimore Orioles have extended their player development contract with all of their affiliates to 2020. This includes the Norfolk Tides (AAA), Bowie Baysox (AA), Frederick Keys (High A), Delmarva Shorebirds (Low A) and Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A). This is not unexpected because all of the affiliates are so close to Baltimore and this also prevents the Nationals from making a push to have Norfolk as their AAA affiliate. Syracuse will become a Mets affiliate next year and the Nationals only options to remain in the International League now are Rochester and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Billings Mustangs have extended their player development contract with the Reds to 2020. The Mustangs have been a Reds affiliate since 1974, which ties them with the Elizabethton Twins for the 5th longest affiliation with the same team behind Reading (1967), Lakeland (1967), Omaha (1969) and Pawtucket (1973). While I don’t see any of those affiliations breaking, there is a possibility that the Pawtucket franchise relocates to Worcester as they are discussing new stadium plans.
Note: Originally I didn’t include Omaha because I overlooked them as they moved from the American Association to the Pacific Coast league, but they have been the continuous Royals AAA affiliate.
I was able to see my first Phillies game of the year recently. I wanted to keep my streak going of seeing at least one Phillies game each season since they started playing in Citizens Bank Park and this was a good opportunity. I was excited to see the pitching matchup of Jake Arrieta vs Michael Wacha as well, as I had never seen either them pitch in person.
The Phillies had been playing better than anticipated this season, so I was expecting a good game as the Cardinals always seem to have a good team. Despite two home runs by Yadier Molina, the Phillies won 4-3 as Odubel Herrera continued his home run streak breaking the tie with a 7th inning home run. Wacha left in the 4th inning with an injury, and for some reason seeing starting pitchers leave with injuries isn’t that uncommon for me at Phillies games. Arrieta went six innings but didn’t have a dominant performance and since the Phillies took the lead in the bottom of the 7th, he didn’t pick up the win. I also saw Mitch Walding continue his unfortunate streak as he picked his 7th strikeout in his 7th career at bat.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps have extended their player development contract with the Padres to 2020. The TinCaps have been a Padres affiliate since 1999. There are still a number of teams at the Low A level that have expiring contracts at the end of this season, but there weren’t any changes after the 2016 season, so we’ll see if there is any movement for this cycle.
The Orem Owlz are moving to Pueblo, CO with the plan of relocating for the 2020 season. The intention to move was announced, but the official approvals are still required along with a plan to build a new stadium. The Orem ballpark, now known as UCCU Ballpark, opened in 2005, but the Owlz have been third from the bottom in attendance for the last few years. And the Helena Brewers, who were last, are moving to Colorado Springs next year. I was also disappointed to hear that they intend to maintain the Owlz name because I was hoping they would eliminate the misspelled name with no reason for a ‘z’ at the end.
I was able to get some Yard Goats autographs at the game I attended two weeks ago. I decided that since I had more cards of the Hartford players that I would hang out on that side of the field. They were staging the pregame on-field groups in that same area right next to the Yard Goats dugout and I was starting to get concerned that I was going to get shut out at the game. As the players came out on to the field, Nelson Molina signed some autographs, but none of the other players came by, not that it was all that easy because of all of the other people on the field in that area. But as the players came off of the field, Brian Mundell and Brendan Rodgers also signed autographs. Many people started swarming Brendan Rodgers when he came over, since he is the Rockies top prospect, but it’s great to see his willingness to engage with the fans and sign some autographs.
The Auburn Doubledays have extended their player development contract with the Nationals to 2020. This surprised me a little bit just because the Nationals will no longer have their AAA affiliate in Syracuse. So I would think that they may explore another option like State College, which is a little closer for their fans, since their personnel wouldn’t have the two affiliates so close together any longer. But if they are happy with the current arrangement, they should continue it.