Stat-urday, 8/31/2019

Marlins Park, June 2012

When I was there a few years ago, the Marlins’ had a few more fans.

Last Monday, the Marlins recorded the lowest attendance at an MLB game this season, with just 5,2917 fans in attendance at Marlins Park. They’d set the previous low on April 2 with 5,934. In contrast, their double-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, saw their highest attendance yet of their three-year existence, with 327,388 fans attending games there this season.

So how do these two teams compare with others? With the minor league season almost over, the Jumbo Shrimp rank second in the Southern League with average attendance of 4,960. The Marlins rank last in the National League (as well as last for all of MLB):

Southern League Team Average Attendance
Birmingham Barons 5,450
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 4,960
Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4,354
Tennessee Smokies 4,313
Chattanooga Lookouts 3,518
Montgomery Biscuits 3,212
Mississippi Braves 2,471
Biloxi Shuckers 2,331
Jackson Generals 1,736
Mobile BayBears 1,587
National League Team Average Attendance
Dodgers 48,881
Cardinals 42,934
Cubs 38,188
Rockies 37,495
Brewers 35,735
Phillies 34,237
Giants 33,415
Braves 32,471
Mets 31,038
Padres 30,060
Nationals 27,956
Diamondbacks 25,625
Reds 22,733
Pirates 19,310
Marlins 9,841

Just yesterday, Minor League Baseball tweeted that for the 15th consecutive year, they’ve had attendance of 40 million or more. You can find more Minor Leagues attendance stats at and Major League stats at Baseball Reference.

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca




Farewell, P-Nats

Pfitzner Stadium in 2016 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

I noted yesterday, that the Potomac Nationals are playing their last home game of the season tonight; it’s their last game as the P-Nats and their last game at Pfitzner Stadium (lovingly referred to as “the Pfitz”). The team is moving to Fredericksburg, VA, and changing their name for the 2020 season. So it is truly the end of an era.

The Prince William Pirates, as they were called at the time, moved to what was then known as Davis Ford Park when it first opened in 1984. The stadium, which is located in Woodbridge, VA (in Prince William County), was renamed in 1986 to Prince William County Stadium and again in 1995, when it was became G. Richard Pfizner Stadium. (Pfitzner was a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and had been instrumental in getting the team to move to the county.) The stadium was never fancy, not even for 1984 standards. The bleachers and grandstand have the type of metal seats you see at a high school field – even in the reserved sections. There are a few box seats that are a little more upgraded – to the plastic type you see at most ballparks. Fans enter the seating area be ascending metal stairs to a sort of raised metal platform/concourse. When the crowd cheers – or someone just walks by a bit too fast – it seems like the whole thing is shaking.

During the 2011 season, the P-Nats had to postpone some games and moved some “home” games to nearby Frederick, Maryland, when the field was deemed “unplayable” by Minor League Baseball officials. This really wasn’t the stadium’s fault – a new drainage system had been installed, and the grass hadn’t finished growing back in time for the beginning of the season. The following year, the entire field was replaced (and a full-time groundskeeper hired) and improvements were made to P-Nats clubhouse (but not the visitors’ clubhouse?).

Keys at P-Nats, championship series, 9/2011

Visitors’ dugout at Pfitzner Stadium in 2011 (that’s Manny Machado batting for the Frederick Keys, by the way)

Unfortunately, in June 2012, a fire at the stadium destroyed the team’s business office. The rest of the stadium was undamaged and there were no injuries, except to the mascot’s costume. (Don’t worry, though, Uncle Slam was fine for the next season.) However, by then, the team was ramping up their efforts to seek  a new ballpark, which they had been wanting for years.  As negotiations with Prince William County continued to drag out over the next several years, the team argued that the stadium failed to meet Minor League Baseball standards. By 2017, when the team extended its lease through 2020, a new stadium deal still had not been worked out.

In June 2018, the P-Nats owner, Art Silber, announced that he had signed a letter of intent to move his team to a new stadium in Fredericksburg, VA. Later that year, the Fredericksburg city council approved the deal. Potomac Baseball, LLC, was given the green light to build a stadium in the city. While the team will finance and build the stadium, the city will be an “anchor tenant” – meaning they will pay the club $1.05 million every year for 30 years, which will be paid for through proceeds made from stadium operations. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the stadium site in Fredericksburg on February 24, 2019, although work on the stadium was not scheduled to begin until July. Although the team plans to move in to the stadium, according to reports, the deal between the city and the team does not require the stadium to be ready until April 2021. (So maybe there’s a chance they will still be in Woodbridge next year?)

But this post is not about Fredericksburg. It’s about Woodbridge and the P-Nats, and the Pfitz. As the community says goodbye to their team this evening, they’ll forget about the uncomfortable seats and revel in the memories of having had a minor league baseball team to call their own.

~ baseballrebecca






The End is Near


Pfitzner Stadium, August 24, 2019

Thursday night will mark the end of an era: the Potomac Nationals (lovingly referred to as the P-Nats) will play their last game in Pfitzner Stadium. After 25 years, the team is moving from Woodbridge, VA, to a stadium far, far away (at least for me) in Fredericksburg, VA. Last Saturday, I saw what just might have been my last P-Nats game. It was an emotional night.

The Potomac Nationals entered this world as the Alexandria Dukes in 1978, an expansion team in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. That first season, they were a co-op team, meaning they weren’t affiliated with any one MLB team, but had players from more than one team. They were affiliated with the Seattle Mariners in 1979 (and known as the Alexandria Mariners), but were a co-op team again in 1980. From 1981 to 1983, they were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I didn’t know the team then, but I wish I did. Alexandria Dukes players included Mickey Mantle, Jr.; Rick Renteria; Bobby Bonilla; Rafael Belliard; and Joe Orsulak (a future Oriole). They even won the Carolina League Championship in 1982.

The Dukes played in Municipal Stadium at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria. According to Baseball Reference, “The ballpark was of high school caliber, with Image result for Alexandria Dukes logometal stands seating around 1,500 with a few metal folding chairs standing in for box seats, and almost no facilities or concessions (the team was prohibited from selling alcohol because the park was on land belonging to an elementary school).” Not surprisingly, then, the team announced it would be moving after the 1983 season.

The stadium formerly known as Davis Ford Park (named after the main road to the stadium) was built in 1984. It is located in Woodbridge, VA, adjacent to the McCoart Government Center. It was to this 6,000 seat stadium that the newly re-named Prince William Pirates made their home after moving from Alexandria for the 1984 season.

In 1987, the team changed Major League affiliations and became known as the Prince William Yankees. Prospects like Hensley Meulens, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Brad Ausmus, and Bernie Williams, played on the team. In 1989, the team changed its name to the Prince William Cannons, but maintained its affiliation with the Yankees until 1994 when it became the class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The team changed affiliations again 1997 (St. Louis Cardinals) and 2003 (Cincinnati Reds). Thus, more future stars played for Prince William, including: Magglio Ordonez, Albert Puljos, Coco Crisp, and Joey Votto.

According toPotomac cannons screenshot the team’s website, the team rebranded in 1999 as the Potomac Cannons, “to better represent their fan base, which covers much of the Northern Virginia region.” They became the Potomac Nationals in 2005, when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, DC, becoming the Washington Nationals and the Major League affiliate of the P-Nats.

Tomorrow, as the team celebrates its last night at the Pfitz, I’ll post a little more about the old stadium, the new stadium, and the end of an era.

~ baseballrebecca





Baseball Sky

IMG_3654Baseball teams, fans, and just about everyone else involved in baseball, love to see pictures of “baseball skies” on social media. The best place I’ve captured baseball sky pictures is at Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals (at least for a few more days –  more on that tomorrow).

Check out the views I captured this past weekend:


Happy Tuesday!

~ baseballrebecca





Women’s Equality Day


Women’s baseball team from Palisade, Colorado, ca. 1910

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day was first celebrated in 1973, and has been noted with a presidential proclamation each year since them.

So, how are women faring in other social realms… including baseball?

Most of us are familiar with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was established in 1943 and ended in 1954. Many of us might remember the Colorado Silver Bullets, a women’s professional baseball team that played from 1994 to 1997.  Fewer of us might remember that time (1984) Bob Hope founded an all-women’s minor league team (that was not allowed to enter the Florida State League). Other attempts have been made to create women’s baseball leagues and some women have even made progress in the independent leagues or as umpires or broadcasters, but these women have been the exception rather than the rule.

What about elsewhere in baseball? In 2018, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports noted that women occupied nearly 32% of MLB front office jobs, which was a increase from 29% in 2016. Women accounted for 24% of senior executive level positions, up from 21% in 2016.

Women in MLB include the following:

  • Melanie LeGrande, Vice President, Social Responsibility, Office of the Commissioner
  • Alicia Mullin, Vice President, Social Media, Office of the Commissioner
  • Renée Tirado, Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Office of the Commissioner
  • Rachel Balkovec, Latin American Strength and Conditional Coordinator, Houston Astros
  • Cecilia Clark, Performance Coach, Cleveland Indians
  • Sabrina Gomez, Mental Skills Coach, New York Mets
  • Jacqueline Coleman, Vice President, Broadcasting and Game Presentation, Washington Nationals
  • Elaine Hendrix, Vice President Community and Public Affairs, Detroit Tigers
  • Sabrina Jenkins, Vice President, Special Events, Atlanta Braves
  • Naomi Rodriguez, Vice President, External Affairs, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Susan Jaison, Senior Vice President, Finance, Miami Marlins
  • Jean Afterman, Senior Vice President, Assistant General Manager, New York Yankees
  • Raquel Ferreira, Vice President, Baseball Administration, Boston Red Sox
  • Mary Giesler, Vice President, General Counsel, Minnesota Twins
  • Amanda Hopkins, Area Scouting Supervisor, Seattle Mariners
  • Nikki Huffman, Head Physical Therapist, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Nicole Sherry, Head Groundskeeper, Baltimore Orioles

Women are making progress in baseball and opening doors for others. Hopefully, their success will continue.

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

~ baseballrebecca






Best of the Week: 8/18/2019 – 8/24/2019

A lot of great stuff happened this week from Little League to Minor League to MLB. This is just one of my favorites:

It was kind of inspirational! Even bunts can become home runs if we put our minds to it!

~ baseballrebecca