Need some recipe ideas for the holidays? Check out, “Cooking with the Emeralds:”
Need some recipe ideas for the holidays? Check out, “Cooking with the Emeralds:”
On November 19, the Rochester Red Wings announced that they are the new triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. This makes sense, since it was highly unlikely – even before COVID – that some of us Nats fans would ever get to California to see the AAA-affiliate in Fresno. So, now that they’re part of the family, I started following the Red Wings on Twitter – and have not been disappointed.
Going back to November 10, when the Red Wings found out they’d no longer be affiliated with the Minnesota Twins, they’d been sharing their angst on Twitter:
After some local attention, the Red Wings became proactive in the search for a new parent team:
Finally, it was announced on November 19, the Red Wings’ new MLB team would be the Washington Nationals:
Their bat dog also introduced himself to the new parent team:
To which the Nats replied:
Welcome to the family, Rochester Red Wings! Hopefully soon we’ll find out who your younger siblings will be!
Earlier this year, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos put their stadium on Airbnb for folks to rent out. A few weeks ago, TODAY, gave us a glimpse inside. I SO want to do this some day!
While Major League Baseball was busy tweeting about the 2020 playoffs on Tuesday, they also held a press conference to announce the end of minor league baseball as we know it. Not that we didn’t know this was coming, but if I hadn’t been following the team formerly known as the Pulaski Yankees on Twitter, I might not have noticed.
As I noted yesterday, MLB and USA Baseball announced that the Appalachian League will become a summer collegiate league starting next summer. Since it saves the teams, makes them an official part of MLB, and could provide a little bit of a boost to their economies, the Appy League teams were supportive of the announcement – at least outwardly. Several even fell into line and changed their Twitter handles to reflect their new status as 2021 Appy League teams who are no longer affiliated with specific MLB teams. The Appalachian League website was transferred to the MLB website, and any trace of the Appy League on the Minor League Baseball website, also has been erased or refers to the new site on MLB.com.
I’ve captured a few Twitter reactions below:
Yesterday, MLB and USA Baseball officially announced a new partnership, transforming the Appalachian League into a summer collegiate league. Beginning in the summer of 2021, the league will feature freshmen and sophomore college baseball players. While MLB assures as that the league will still host future Major Leaguers, it is still a change from how the league was operated in the past.
The Appy League has been around since 1911. The original teams in the league were: the Asheville Moonshiners, Bristol Boosters, Cleveland Counts, Johnson City Soldiers, Knoxville Appalachians, and Morristown Jobbers. In fact, there have been numerous teams throughout the league’s more than 100-year history, many with great names like the Greenville Burley Cubs, Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox, and Morristown Jobbers. The league operated as a Class D League from 1911-14, 1921-25, 1937-55, and 1957-62, and as a Rookie League from 1963 to 2020 (although, obviously, no games were played in 2020). (Class D leagues were reclassified as Rookie Leagues in 1963.)
The stadiums of the league are historic as well. Two were built during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration (Bowen Field and Calfee Park). In the 1990s, Bowen Field received seats that were removed from Anaheim Stadium when it was renovated. Burlington Athletic Stadium was originally built in Danville, VA, but was purchased in 1959 for $5,000 and relocated to Burlington, North Carolina. Several of the stadiums do double duty as ballparks for local high school and college teams.
The league was organized as follows in 2020:
|Team||City||Stadium||Year Built/ Renovated||Capacity|
|Bluefield||Bluefield, WV & Bluefield, VA||Bowen Field at Peters Park||1939/1975||3,000|
|Burlington||Burlington, NC||Burlington Athletic Stadium||??||3,500|
|Danville||Danville, VA||American Legion Field||1993||2,588|
|Princeton||Princeton, WV||H. P. Hunnicutt Field||1988/1999||3,000|
|Pulaski||Pulaski, VA||Calfee Park||1935/2015||2,500|
|Bristol||Bristol, VA & Bristol, TN||Boyce Cox Field at DeVault Memorial Stadium||??||2,000|
|Elizabethton||Elizabethton, TN||Joe O’Brien Field||1974||2,000|
|Greeneville||Tusculum, Tennessee||Pioneer Park||2004||4,000|
|Johnson||Johnson City, TN||TVA Credit Union Ballpark||1956||3,800|
|Kingsport||Kingsport, TN||Hunter Wright Stadium||1995||2,000|
Naturally, the former Appalachian League teams publicly stated how exciting this is and what a wonderful opportunity this is for their communities. According to Baseball America: “This agreement should ensure that baseball is played in Appy League cities for years to come. The majority of Appy League teams do not produce enough revenue to sustain professional baseball of any sort in a system where the teams would be responsible for paying players’ salaries or, nearly as importantly, the workers’ compensation payments that come with those salaries. Because college players do not receive a salary, a summer wood-bat league is more viable.”
Baseball America also noted that “The timing of the announcement is also notable. The press conference will come one day before the current Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between Minor League Baseball and MLB expires. It also comes just after MLB announced partnerships with the previously independent Atlantic, American Association and Frontier leagues. If the agreements with the indy leagues can be interpreted both as standard business deals but also a message that MLB has options other than affiliated ball (as it has been perceived by some in the minor leagues), then the Appy League deal gives MLB an illustration that it is ensuring baseball remains in some of the cities left out of its plans for the affiliated minors.
There are a several sociological implications of this move as well as MLB’s plan to contract the Minor Leagues. I’ll explore this further in future posts.
PS Check out the video in my Tweet below – it explains this transformation of the Appy League:
As the Eugene Emeralds said, “2020 sucks.” It sucks for Minor League Baseball and its fans. Nonetheless, teams are finding ways to entertain us. Initiatives like the ones below might not keep them afloat, but hopefully we can help them while they help us:
And if you hurry, you can still order your Baysox 2020 Undefeated shirt – but they’re only accepting orders through tomorrow (July 9):
Meanwhile, the Pulaski Yankees are selling the jerseys originally intended for their 2020 Agriculture Night:
Several teams are also selling face masks on the MILB Store website.
Perhaps you’re more in to experiences over stuff. Then – if you’re in the El Paso area – you just might want to have Chico the Chihuahua join-in on a birthday/graduation/whatever parade:
If you run across any other cool shutdown-related (or otherwise) MiLB merch, let me know!
It’s been a terrible week. I contemplated posting nothing this week – how could there be a “best” anything with COVID deaths reaching 100,000 in the U.S., MLB firing scores of minor leaguers, and the death of George Floyd? And while 2020 likely had its worst week yet, there was one tiny bit of news that kind of, sort of, wasn’t awful: although minor leaguers are being released and others may or may not get their measly pay from their parent clubs, Dodgers’ pitcher David Price will be giving $1,000 to each of the Dodgers minor leaguers.
I mean, it won’t pay the rent, but at least he’s paying them more than MLB is.
Since we’re nearing the end of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, let’s recall that time when my favorite Korean baseball player did a rehab stint with my favorite baseball team, the Bowie Baysox. In July 2016, he appeared in two games for the Baysox, going 2-for-7 with one home run (check out the abbreviated box scores below):
|Hyun Soo Kim||DH||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|a- Austin Wynns||PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.25|
a-Flied out for Kim in the 7th.
|Hyun Soo Kim||LF||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||0||0||0.286|
Yesterday was Memorial Day, meaning summer is unofficially here! For many of us, summer means an afternoon or evening at the ballpark with a hot dog and cold beverage. Will we have to do without that this year? Well, maybe not – at least, sort of. Given the current restrictions due to coronavirus as well as concerns about whether or not Minor League Baseball will be played this year, many MiLB teams are coming up with unique solutions to stay in business right now – or at least entertain us. The Pawtucket Red Sox, for example, have found a way to allow fans to experience their 78-year old ballpark, which was to be their home for just one more season this year. With Rhode Island now allowing restaurants to serve customers outdoors, the PawSox are offering on-field dining. Capacity is limited to 20 tables of no more than 5 people. There is at least 8 feet between tables.
According to MiLB.com’s Ben Hill, several teams have offered curbside pickup of ballpark foods, at least on a limited basis. In fact, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, are not only offering curbside pick-up, but are providing “safe outdoor dining for lunch, dinner and brunch with eating spaced throughout the ballpark, giving fans access to Blue Wahoos Stadium’s award-winning views of Pensacola Bay and exclusive areas of the ballpark.” The team also explained their safety precautions:
“The safety of customers and Blue Wahoos staff is the team’s number one priority. All Blue Wahoos staff will have their temperature taken when they arrive at the ballpark each day and all staff will wear a protective mask when inside the ballpark. All in-stadium seating will spaced a minimum of six feet apart. Fans in line to order will be required to maintain six feet distance between themselves and other customers. During all in-stadium dining availability, a Blue Wahoos Compliance Manager will oversee the ballpark to ensure physical distancing and safety guidelines are strictly followed by all. In accordance with CDC COVID-19 safe dining guidelines, no refills will be offered on any product and all condiments will be delivered in single-serve packets.”
The Blue Wahoos have also put their stadium on AirBnB. For $1,500 a night, you can stay at the ballpark. You get access to the clubhouse, batting cages, and field. A bedroom connected to the clubhouse sleeps 10 and includes a kitchenette. Sign me up!
Here are some other examples of teams offering curbside pickup of ballpark food:
Minor league teams are offering other forms of entertainment as well. The Daytona Tortugas have started a Summer Movie Series at their stadium, Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Naturally, the first movie shown was “42.” On-field seating areas are at least 10’ by 10’ (for a family of four) with 10’ walkways in between. Several different packages are available to be reserved on their website and concessions will be available for purchase.
Yesterday, the Charleston RiverDogs, single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced a new partnership with the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The team noted: “This mutually beneficial relationship between the two organizations is set to begin immediately with the main objective of encouraging fans to ‘adopt’ the Samsung Lions as the Charleston RiverDogs’ partner team. The two teams will work together to cultivate a fanbase of Lions fans in the Charleston-area, as Lowcountry baseball fans anticipate the return of baseball at Joseph P. Riley Jr., Park.” The partnership is a result of a 2018 visit of the Samsung Lions front-office staff to the RiverDogs and Charleston, South Carolina.
The press release further noted the highlights of the partnership:
Below are Tweets from the two teams regarding their partnership (note that the RiverDogs now spell out their Twitter handle in Korean):
Hopefully this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!