Trash Panda (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Last week, the 10 finalists were announced in the contest to rename the Mobile BayBears once they move to Madison, Alabama, in 2020. One name is in honor of the nearby U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal which employs more than 40,000 people in the area: Army Ants.
Several names are related to the local space industry and NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center: Comet Jockeys, Lunartics, Space Sloths, Space Chimps (a nod to Miss Baker, “one of the first animals safely launched into space. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center”), and Puffy Head Bird Legs (reportedly astronaut slang for “body fluid moving from feet to head in outer space due to the lack of gravity”).
The remaining options are related to local weather and animals (as well as a couple also being space-related): GloWorms, Moon Possums, ThunderSharks, and Trash Pandas (also known as racoons).
Voting is open now through August 16 at the future team’s website. Choose wisely, baseball fans. Choose wisely.
O’s announcers find a way to entertain themselves during this bleak season:
On Thursday, the Orioles announced that pitcher Chris Tillman had declined their offer to stay with the organization in Norfolk and instead chose free agency. Just for fun, here is a snapshot of his ERA during his 10 years as an Oriole:
Whereas I was sad about Manny’s departure, this one doesn’t hurt at all…
There’s been a lot said about baseball composition and it’s impact on the game lately, but I recently stumbled upon this video on Kent State TV that explains it quite nicely:
If you’re ever in Birmingham, Alabama, you must visit the Negro Southern League Museum. In fact, you should just plan on taking a trip to Birmingham specifically to visit this museum. It is simply one of the best baseball museums in the country.
According to the museum’s website, their mission is “to present the history of African-American baseball in an unsurpassed manner by maintaining a world-class facility that recognizes the League’s impact on Birmingham, Alabama and the world of professional baseball.” The museum also states it has the nation’s largest collection of artifacts from the Negro Leagues. A visit just to the website provides links to suggested readings and other resources, such as the Center for Negro League Baseball Research.
The Negro Southern League was established in 1920 and survived for three decades. The original teams were the Atlanta Black Crackers, Birmingham Black Barons, Jacksonville Stars, Knoxville Giants, Montgomery Grey Sox, Nashville White Sox, New Orleans Caulfield Ads, and Pensacola Giants. Other teams included the Memphis Red Sox and the Indianapolis Cardinals. Players such as Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, and Turkey Stearnes played in the league.
Visitors to the Negro Southern League Museum begin their visit in a replica of a stadium dugout that features a video describing the origins of the museum. Along the walls are more than 1,500 baseballs signed by Negro League players. Other exhibits include a game-used uniform belonging to Satchel Paige, a 1907 player contract for the Cuban League, Bullet Joe Rogan’s jacket, memorabilia from the Huntsville Stars, and exhibits dedicated to Jackie Robinson, Bo Jackson, and other Major Leaguers.
To understand the history of baseball in Alabama and the Negro Leagues, all one needs to do is visit this amazing place. And while you’re in Birmingham, check out Regions Field and the Birmingham Barons.
Since we were traveling to Georgia to attend a family event, we decided we may as well make a few stops in Alabama as well and check out some baseball history. It did not take long as we stumbled upon a cool exhibit almost as soon as we deplaned and walked through the airport. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has a small exhibit and a gift shop at the intersection of concourses B and C in Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The exhibit highlights Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Ozzie Smith, and Bo Jackson, as well as some non-baseball folks. The ASHOF was not on my itinerary this trip, as I had been there several years ago. Nonetheless, its a must-see for any Alabama baseball pilgrimage.
After the unexpected baseball exhibit in the airport, we made our way downtown toward Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons. I’d visited this stadium a few years back as well, and was extremely impressed.
Our primary objective for this trip, however, was the Negro Southern League Museum, which is just down the street from Regions Field. We parked the car near Railroad Park, a recreational area downtown, and made our way toward the museum. On our way, we noted that a portion of 1st street, which borders the park, is dedicated to Willie Mays.
Just down the street from the park is the Negro Southern League Museum, which is is absolutely awesome! Tomorrow’s post is dedicated to my visit to this must-see baseball museum.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this trade, but at least Baseball America has provided links to their stats (see below). Four of these guys have been assigned to the Bowie Baysox, so I’ll check them out this week and let know you how they do with their new team.
Interestingly, I’d recently seen all these guys, with the exception of Valera. I just didn’t know the importance of what I was seeing at the time. Yusniel Diaz hit two home runs in the All-Star Futures game on July 15, only the second player ever to do so. I was impressed, especially since I’ve been sort of keeping an eye on him since his defection from Cuba in 2015. I’d also seen Kremer, Bannon, and Pop back in June when I went to see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Lake Elsinore Storm. Dean Kremer started that game for the Quakes, the Dodgers’ high-A affiliate in the California League, and was the winning pitcher. Zach Pop came in in the ninth inning and got the save. Bannon went 1-for-5.
Little did I know at the time that soon they’d be Baysox…