Best of the Week: 9/15/2019 – 9/21/2019


Mike Yastrzemski’s visit to Fenway (the O’s should have kept him):

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Little Leaguers’ Parade


The Little League World Series continues this week, with the final games on Sunday. Which reminds me, I never posted my pictures of Little League Day at the Phillies, which happened on June 23.

The Little Leaguers needed to be at the stadium about 3 hours before the game even started. It was a hot, sunny day, though it wasn’t too bad in the sun. But by the time they reached the doors to the field, those Little Leaguers were ready to go, and they kept inching forward until they finally got the green light to head out:

They poured out of that outfield door and kept on coming as many, many Little Leaguers circled the field:

Their trip around the field was over all too soon, and they had to leave the field:

DSCN9078DSCN9061

But I’m guessing it was a moment they aren’t likely to forget soon!

~ baseballrebecca

Films on Friday: Cal and Bill Ripken


I noted the other day that Cal and Bill Ripken made an appearance at last Saturday’s Aberdeen IronBirds game. Before the game started, and before they each threw out a ceremonial first pitch, they spoke about their dad’s impact on the game of baseball and why the continue to support youth baseball and their team the Aberdeen IronBirds:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

Stat-urday, 7/27/2019


Baseball at the Pan Am Games begins on Monday, so here are a few stats about this year’s games to get us ready:

  • Total budget: $1.2 million (in U.S. dollars)
  • Athletes: 9,500
  • Nations: 41
  • Events: 419
  • Sports: 39
  • Events for qualifying for the 2020 Olympics: 22
  • Baseball teams: 8
  • Baseball players: 192 (24 per team)
  • Baseball games: 18

And how have teams fared during the baseball tournament at the Pan Am games? Cuba holds the record for the longest winning streak, having won 10 straight gold medals in baseball: from 1971 to 2007. The medal winners from each year are listed below:

Year Host Country Gold Silver Bronze
1951 Argentina Cuba U.S. Mexico
1955 Mexico DR U.S. Venezuela
1959 United States Venezuela Puerto Rico U.S.
1963 Brazil Cuba U.S. Mexico
1967 Canada U.S. Cuba Puerto Rico
1971 Colombia Cuba U.S. Colombia
1975 Mexico Cuba U.S. Venezuela
1979 Puerto Rico Cuba DR Puerto Rico
1983 Venezuela Cuba Nicaragua U.S.
1987 United States Cuba U.S. Puerto Rico
1991 Cuba Cuba Puerto Rico U.S.
1995 Argentina Cuba Nicaragua Puerto Rico
1999 Canada Cuba U.S. Canada
2003 Dominican Rep. Cuba U.S. Mexico
2007 Brazil Cuba U.S. Tie: Mexico and Nicaragua
2011 Mexico Canada U.S. Cuba
2015 Canada Canada U.S. Cuba

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Films on Friday: You Can Play


Kudos to the Lakewood BlueClaws for participating in the You Can Play Project supporting LGBTQ athletes:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Vote Early, Vote Often, Then Vote Again (If You Have That Kind of Energy)


All-StarAm I the only one, or did voting for the All-Star game get even harder? I mean, there’s even a voting guide on MLB.com to explain all the changes. We now have a Primary, then there’s “The Starters Election.” You mean I have to do this voting thing again?

Raise your hand (or post a comment) if you miss the old way of voting – going to a ballgame, getting your ballot from the usher, and pushing out all those little circles of paper next to your favorite players’ names. Sure, it was probably bad for the environment or dangerous for  animals around the ballpark, but the new way gives me a headache.

All I want to do is check off the names of players, but, no, I have to click a million times and then fork over all my information – including my birth date – to submit my ballot. If I want to stuff the ballot box, I probably have to type in some code to prove I’m not a robot. (I don’t know, I didn’t want to have to go through that this year, so I voted once and that was it.) Last year, I could barely read those codes on my tiny phone screen. It’s voter suppression, I tell you!

Ok, yeah, I hear it now – I’ve become a grumpy Gen-X’er. (But still.)

Well, MLB keeps saying they need younger fans. Maybe this is a way to do it. Let the Millennials and Gen Z pick the All-Star teams – maybe that will motivate them to watch the game (instead of simply going to the ballpark to socialize). That’s ok with me.

As long as they vote for Trey Mancini.

Happy Voting!

~ baseballrebecca