Fredericksburg Nationals vs Delmarva Shorebirds – July 3, 2022

I made it to stadium #126 yesterday seeing the new Fredericksburg Nationals stadium.  The game was similar to the last where it was a pitching duel at the beginning, but then the runs started towards the end.  The Shorebirds scored 2 in the top of the first, but that was all they were able to muster against Nationals 2019 1st round pick Jackson Rutledge.  Shorebirds SP Juan De Los Santos shut the Nationals down while he was in there with 5 strikeouts, but was removed after going through the lineup once.  The Nationals scored one in the 4th and took the lead in the 7th on a two-run home run by RF Andry Arias.  In the 8th, the Nats put up 6 more featuring the second home run by 2B Viandel Pena, for a 10-2 final score and sweep of the 6 game series.  The Shorebirds stole 5 bases in the game, but weren’t able to turn any of those into runs.

The game featured the following prospects:
DH Anthony Servideo (Orioles #30) – 0-4
SP Jackson Rutledge (Nationals #4) – 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7 K
CF Jeremy De La Rosa (Nationals #13) – 0-5
LF T.J. White (Nationals #26) – 1-4
SS Yoander Rivero (Nationals #28) – 1-4, 3B, run, walk

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Somerset Patriots vs Hartford Yard Goats – June 26, 2022

As far as minor league games go, this was one of the most critical and exciting games that I’m sure I’ll ever attend.  Somerset and Hartford were tied for first-place in the Eastern League Northeast Division and the winner of this game would be the first-half champion, as this was the last game of the half.  It was a hot day in the stadium, as the temperature was in the 90’s for most of the game, and an exciting pitching matchup as two top 30 prospects faced each other (Hartford’s Noah Davis and Somerset’s Luis Medina).

The game was a pitching duel through 6 1/2 innings.  Davis gave up 3 singles and no runs for the Yard Goats and Medina gave up a single and no runs through 6 innings for the Patriots, with Aroldis Chapman making a rehab appearance pitching a perfect 7th.  After that, the Patriots broke through with a 4 run inning capped off by a bases loaded double by LF Elijah Dunham.  However, the Yard Goats answered with 4 in the top of the 8th which started with an error and ended with a two-run double by LF Jimmy Herron.

And then as most games seem to go when there is uncomfortable weather, the game was tied after 9 and the fans were treated to bonus baseball.  In the top of the 10th, the Yard Goats plated a run on a fielder’s choice to take the one-run lead.  But in the bottom of the 10th, Yankees top prospect, SS Anthony Volpe hit a two-run homer to win the game for the Patriots.  Definitely a fitting end to a penultimate game.

This was also a Copa de la Diversion game where the Patriots played as Zorros de Somerset with special orange jerseys.  This was also my first visit to see the Somerset Patriots and marks stadium #125 for me.

The game featured the following prospects:
SS Ezequiel Tovar (Rockies #3) – 0-5, RBI fielder’s choice
CF Brenton Doyle (Rockies #7) – 0-4, run, reached on error
1B Michael Toglia (Rockies #8) – 0-3, walk
3B Aaron Schunk (Rockies #19) – 0-4
SP Noah Davis (Rockies #25) – 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 7 K
RP Gavin Hollowell (Rockies #26) – L, 0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR
SS Anthony Volpe (Yankees #1) – 1-4, 2R, 3 RBI, walk-off 2-run HR
SP Luis Medina (Yankees #11) – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 K
CF Brandon Lockridge (Yankees #17) – 0-4
DH Josh Breaux (Yankees #25) – 0-4
LF Elijah Dunham (Yankees #26) – 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI

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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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