Best Minor League Towns of 2019


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Prince George’s Stadium, home of the Bowie Baysox

SmartAsset has released their annual list of the Best Minor League Baseball Towns. This year, my favorite town, Bowie, MD, home of the Bowie Baysox, makes the list at #23!

To develop their rankings, SmartAsset creates two scores: the Game-Day Experience Score and the Quality of Life Score. The Game-Day Experience Score takes into consideration the following: average attendance, average attendance as a percentage of maximum capacity, win percentage, and minor league classification. The Quality of Life Score considers the violent crime rate, property crime rate, income after housing, unemployment rate, and dining and entertainment establishments.

Now, I’m not sure I’d agree with everything that goes into these scores. (For example, the Game Day-Experience Score is skewed toward triple-A teams, as the cities with AAA teams get higher scores and have a larger stadium capacity.) But it is fun to see how the list changes from year to year.

Check out the top 25 in the table below. How many of these Minor League towns have you been to? Do you agree with the list?

 ~ baseballrebecca

2019 Rank Change from 2018 Town
1 +1 Round Rock, TX
2 * San Antonio, TX
3 same Frisco, TX
4 +5 Columbus, OH
5 * Des Moines, IA
6 -2 El Paso, TX
7 * Amarillo, TX
8 +4 Portland, ME
9 -4 Durham, NC
10 +10 Reno, NV
11 * Midland, TX
12 -6 Springdale, AR
13 -2 Appleton, WI
14 * North Augusta, SC
15 -5 New York, NY (Brooklyn)
16 * Geneva, IL
17 * Charleston, SC
18 -5 Hillsboro, OR
19 * Las Vegas, NV
20 -2 Charlotte, NC
21 -4 Scranton, PA
22 * Sacramento, CA
23 * Bowie, MD
24 -16 Manchester, NH
25 * Pulaski, VA

* = not in the top 25 in 2018

 

 

 

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Baysox Win a Golden Bobblehead


DSCN9287Congratulations to the Bowie Baysox, who won a Golden Bobblehead Award for their Moon Landing Specialty Jersey. The Baysox donned these awesome jerseys on July 20, 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

The Golden Bobblehead Awards are given out each year at the Minor League Baseball Innovators Summit. The 2019 Summit was held last week. The award categories are as follows:

  • DSCN9294Best Specialty Jersey
  • Best Theme Night
  • Best In-Game Promotion
  • Best Non-Gameday Event
  • Best Community Promotion or Event
  • Best Digital Campaign or Activation
  • Best Overall Promotion

Congrats again, Baysox!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birdland Loves the Baysox


The Bowie Baysox may not have won the Eastern League pennant, but they won our hearts. All of Birdland supported them in their quest, including the one and only Brooks Robinson:

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Stat-urday, 9/14/2019


Minor League Baseball has released their attendance figures for the 2019 season, which ended September 2. Overall, MiLB experienced a 2.6% increase in attendance compared to 2018, with 41,504,077 fans attending games.

Since the Eastern League Championship series just ended (sadly, my Baysox did not win), below is a look at their numbers. The Richmond Flying Squirrels led the league with an average attendance of 6,255 per game. Both the Trenton Thunder and Reading Fightin Phils experienced a 4% increase in attendance compared to last year, and the Harrisburg Senators, Bowie Baysox, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies all saw declines in attendace. The Rumble Ponies were last in the league in attendance with only 3,000 fans per game, a decline of 16% from 2018.

Team 2019 Attendance 2019 Avg. Attendance 2018 Avg. Attendance Percent Change from 2018
Richmond Flying Squirrels 400,321 6,255 6,198 1%
Hartford Yard Goats 414,946 6,193 6,014 3%
Reading Fightin Phils 398,314 5,945 5,713 4%
Portland Sea Dogs 357,647 5,677 5,676 0%
Trenton Thunder 340,705 5,242 5,019 4%
Akron RubberDucks 340,187 5,077 4,996 2%
NH Fisher Cats 306,511 4,716 5,065 -7%
Altoona Curve 308,464 4,604 4,571 1%
Harrisburg Senators 258,909 3,864 3,988 -3%
Erie SeaWolves 215,444 3,315 3,204 3%
Bowie Baysox 224,686 3,256 3,438 -5%
Binghamton Rumble Ponies 182,990 3,000 3,553 -16%

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Films on Friday: The Minor Leagues


Since we’re in the midst of the Minor League Baseball playoffs, I thought I’d share with you the video MiLB put together at the start of the season for the two Short-Season A leagues: the New York-Penn League and the Northwest League. If you haven’t been to a Minor League game, this will show you what you’re missing:

 

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Baysox Headed to the Playoffs!!


Congrats to my favorite team, the Bowie Baysox!! Yesterday, they won the division title and clinched a playoff spot. They are managed by one of my favorite former Baysox, Buck Britton, who recently was named and Eastern League Manager of the Year!

Can’t wait to for the playoffs! The Baysox play at home Wednesday and Thursday.

Happy Labor Day!

~ 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