The NY-Penn League has announced that they will be placing a team in Morgantown, WV in 2015. I would expect that this team will become a Pirates affiliate (their current PDC expires after the 2014 season). Also expect that the team that moves will be either Batavia or Jamestown, which have been the subject of rumors for years. There aren’t many new stadiums being built, so it will be nice to have a new one. The main part of the plan is that it will be shared with West Virginia University.
The Vancouver Canadians have extended their player development contract with the Blue Jays to 2016. Currently, Vancouver is the only minor league team in Canada, so the Blue Jays affiliate is a good fit, even if they are a few time zones away.
The Louisville Bats have extended their player development contract with the Reds to 2016. Given the geographic proximity, I expect the Bats to remain with the Reds for a while. The Reds have been with Louisville since 2000.
The Portland Sea Dogs have extended their player development contract with the Red Sox to 2018. While some in New Hampshire might like the Fisher Cats to become a Red Sox affiliate, that won’t be happening anytime soon. I’ll need to try to get a Sea Dogs game sometime in the near future since they are the only Eastern League team that I have yet to visit.
The Reading Phillies have changed their name to the Reading Fightin Phils. Personally, I’m pretty disappointed that after being a Phillies affiliate called the Phillies for 45 years that they would decide to change their name. I know that they think that they can sell more merchandise with a different name and look, and they didn’t stray all that far from the Phillies brand they had previously, but I don’t like when significant traditions are thrown away like that. But these are the kinds of things that teams need to do in order to keep the revenue stream high.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees have changed their name to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The name change is being done at the same time as their newly renovated stadium. I know that the Yankees name has a decent amount of appeal, but I’m glad that they decided to have a team with their own identity. I’d prefer if they decided to bring back a name like the Barons, but those in Scranton wouldn’t be happy if the former name of the Wilkes-Barre team was used. That’s also the explanation as to why the team was formerly known as the Red Barons since it gave homage to the Scranton Red Sox and Wilkes-Barre Barons.
I’m well behind on posting this, but I figured that I’d get around to it eventually. Since the Wilmington Blue Rocks are the closest team to me, and I see a few of their games each season, I decided that I would get cards from the Blue Rocks coaches with the goal of getting them signed. I have a huge baseball card collection, and I usually rely on that for cards to get signed, but since I haven’t been keeping it up to date, I didn’t have cards of Vance Wilson or Steve Luebber. Luebber has been the pitching coach for many years, but I never realized that he played in the majors. I typically relied on knowing who had baseball cards printed to recall if there was a card of a player, but I know that I shouldn’t rely on memory anymore.
I was only able to see one Blue Rocks game this season since I was busy working overtime at my day job, so I was lucky to have it work out. I was able to get autographs from both Manager Vance Wilson and Pitching Coach Steve Luebber. It looks like the risk was worth it, so I’ll probably end up doing that next year, if needed.