The 2019 Minor League Baseball season is finally here! In addition to all the hometown fun, here are some things to look for this year:
- Stars on the Rise: Bo Bichette, Carter Kieboom, and other MiLB stars are debuting in triple-A ball this year, after spending some time at MLB spring training this year. And let’s not forget about Victor Victor Mesa, who will debut in High-A this season. (And if anyone knows where little brother Victor Mesa, Jr., will be starting, let me know!)
- Teams Saying Goodbye: the Potomac Nationals, Mobile BayBears, and New Orleans BabyCakes are spending their last year in their current cities and will relocate in 2020 to Fredericksburg, VA; Madison, AL; and Wichita, KS; respectively.
- Minors and Milestones: A number of teams are celebrating anniversaries this year, including: the Louisville Bats and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
- MiLB is Fun: The Copa de la Diversion returns this year with even more teams.
- All Stars: The Carolina League All-Star game will be held at one of my favorite minor league ballparks this year – Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, Maryland.
- Buck Returns: Buck Britton returns to Bowie as the team’s new manager (at least the Orioles still have one Britton.)
Check out some of the changes for MiLB this year that I noted yesterday.
It’s gonna be a great season! Happy MiLB Opening Day!
Opening Day 2019 is finally here! It was a rough off-season, but we survived! But my Machado-Padres shirt arrived the other night, so I am ready to go!
Who are you rooting for this season, and what is your Opening Day schedule? In honor of this important and revered holiday, I’m taking the day off and watching the following games:
Happy Baseball Season!
Michael Taylor with the Harrisburg Senators.
ONE. MORE. DAY.
One more day to prepare for the annual festivities surrounding Opening Day.
One more day to dust off our jerseys, shirseys, and t-shirts and get ready to rep our favorite players.
One more day to review the schedules and make our game-watching plans.
One more day to save money for all the baseball expenditures we will undoubtedly incur over the next few months.
One more day to dwell on the miserable outcome of last season (unless you’re a fan of that team that won the World Series) and remember how to hope once again.
One more day to forgive our (former) favorite team(s) for trading or failing to sign our favorite players.
One more day to study-up on our (new) favorite team(s) and get ready for the season.
One more day to shake off the off-season blues.
Happy One Day Until Opening Day!
Only two more days! So, who remembers J.J. Hardy, no. 2 for the Baltimore Orioles? Another player abandoned by the Orioles and never picked up by anyone else. Ok, so maybe he was already 35 when they declined his option year, but still. After playing for the O’s for seven years, he was an integral part of the team. According to one article, in 2017, “Manager Buck Showalter warned anyone within earshot that Hardy wouldn’t truly be appreciated until he was gone, but the club didn’t make any attempts to negotiate a second extension.”
So, where is Hardy now? As of last August, he was living on a ranch in Montana with his family. Not a bad retirement.
Just three more days until Opening Day! One bright spot of this season should be Cedric Mullins, one of my favorite Bowie Baysox who was promoted last year and now wears no. 3 for the Baltimore Orioles. Although I’ve vowed to be a San Diego Padres fan this year, since that’s where Manny Machado ended up, I’ll still be a Baysox fan and will occasionally pay attention to the Orioles so I can keep up with what Cedric is doing.
Gio Gonzalez with the Washington Nationals in 2012 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Four days until Opening Day! And the best of this week? Gio Gonzalez, another of my favorite players, signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. If Gonzalez makes it up to the Yankees, the contract will be worth $3 million, and the Yankees would become the fourth major league team Gonzalez has played for in addition to Oakland (2008-11), Washington (2012-18), and Milwaukee (2018).
Gonzalez, however, also has been with the Chicago White Sox and Philadephia Phillies organizations. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2004 and played in their minor league system in 2004 and 2005 (for the Bristol White Sox, Kannapolis Intimidators, and Winston-Salem Warthogs). In December 2005, he was the “player to be named later” in a deal that sent him and two other players to the Phillies for Jim Thome and cash. Gonzalez subsequently spent 2006 with the Class AA Reading Phillies. In December 2006, the Phillies traded him back to the White Sox along with another player in exchange for Freddy Garcia.
Gonzalez then spent another year in double-A, this time with the Birmingham Barons. Prior to the 2008 season, Gonzalez was traded again when the White Sox sent him and two other players to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Nick Swisher. Gonzalez spent most of the year with the triple-A Sacramento River Cats, though he pitched in 10 games for Oakland. He split 2009 between Sacramento and Oakland before reaching Oakland for good in 2010.
In December 2011, Gonzalez was traded to the Washington Nationals, where he played for almost seven seasons before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on August 31, 2018. He was granted free agency in October.
Hopefully, the Yankees will keep him around awhile.
Brooks Robinson with the Baltimore Orioles in 1963 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
This Opening Day countdown edition of Stat-urday is dedicated to Brooks Robinson, no. 5 for the Baltimore Orioles. in his 23 years in Major League Baseball – all with the Baltimore Orioles – Brooks Robinson hit 268 home runs and batted-in 1,357 runs. His lifetime batting average was .267.
Since Robinson retired in 1977, no one had come near his prowess at third base – until Manny Machado came along. Unfortunately, the O’s traded Machado last year, rather than building the team around him. How many more years will it take for the O’s to find another third baseman like Brooks and Manny?