The Hickory Crawdads have been purchase by the Texas Rangers. The Rangers now own both of their North Carolina minor league affiliates, with the other being the Down East Wood Ducks of the Carolina League. I’m sure this decision was helped by the fact that these two affiliates are fairly close to each other. The Rangers are showing that they want stability in their minor league affiliates which is a going trend in baseball today.
The Mets have purchased the Syracuse Chiefs and will become a Mets affiliate in 2019. This cannot happen sooner as the Nationals have a player development contract signed through 2018 and when that ends the Mets can affiliate with Syracuse. The Mets current AAA contract with the Las Vegas 51s also expires after the 2018 season. The Mets have been trying to move their AAA affiliate out of Las Vegas and back to the International League for years and purchasing a team is one way to guarantee it. Las Vegas is known for having subpar facilities, so it will be interesting to see which team is the odd man out and ends up there next year. I would expect the Nationals to push to stay in the International League and will a number of contracts that haven’t yet been renewed, it will be interesting to see how things play out.
The Carolina Mudcats are now owned by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mudcats became a Brewers affiliate in 2017 and appear to remain one for a long time. This continues the trend of major league teams purchasing High A franchises as half of the teams at that level are owned by their major league affiliate. I don’t know if it because teams want to ensure that they keep a spot in that league, although many of the Florida State League teams serve as spring training homes as well, which is an additional factor.
On September 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 Phillies infielder J. P. Crawford. I arrived a little early with the hope that I could get an autograph before the show started since I skipped out of work to stop by. Unlike my previous adventure, I was able to get an autograph before the show started. The show is broadcast live on Mondays and is a great opportunity to meet Greg Luzinski and another player.
Prince Frederick Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Prince Frederick, MD held their 1st annual Fall Festival on Saturday, September 23 and they had a number of former players signing free autographs. They had former Orioles Rick Dempsey and Joe Orsulak, former Washington Redskins Wide Receiver Gary Clark and former Washington Capitals Craig Laughlin and Olie Kolzig. This was a great event as they had free food and prizes, in addition to the autograph signings throughout the afternoon. The players were able to sign for everyone there who wanted an autograph. I highly recommend this event and hope to attend next year.
I finally made it to a Phillies game this season. I had seen at least one game in Citizens Bank Park each season since it opened, and since I wanted to keep the streak going, I chose to go to a game yesterday. I was looking for a game where Aaron Nola was pitching since I hadn’t seen him pitch previously and wanted to see the Phillies ace. He pitched well going 6 innings, allowing 2 runs and striking out 9. But the Phillies didn’t give him much run support, as they fell to the Nationals 3-1.
I also happened to pick a game where the Nationals chose to rest a few of their starters, as Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon didn’t play, and Bryce Harper will be back in the lineup for the next game. I did get to see Victor Robles play once again as I saw him in three games at three different levels this season and he got a hit in each of the three games. This really was coincidence as I made no effort to see him play and he was on the away team in each of the games.
I’m hoping that I can get to more new stadiums next season. My goal (besides at least one Phillies game) is to see the Hartford Yard Goats and West Virginia Power in 2018. Hartford would likely be a weekend afternoon game and I would hope to combine some other games around a trip to Charleston.
On September 18, 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 Phillies player Nick Williams. I arrived a little early with the hope that I could get an autograph before the show started since I skipped out of work to stop by. Unfortunately, he arrived a little late, likely because he was stuck in traffic, so I wasn’t able to get back to work as quickly as I wanted, but I was able to get an autograph during the second commercial break. The show is broadcast live on Mondays and is a great opportunity to meet Greg Luzinski and another player.
The Boise Hawks have extended their player development contract with the Rockies to 2020. The Hawks have been a Rockies affiliate since 2015. Most Short Season A affiliates have expiring contracts at the end of 2018, but it’s too early to get a feel on what may happen since most (if not all) will be renewed.
The Williamsport Crosscutters have extended their player development contract with the Philadelphia Phillies to 2020. The Crosscutters have been a Phillies affiliate since 2007. I haven’t heard much recently about the Phillies trying to move their NY-Penn League affiliate to the Philadelphia suburbs.