What’s A Fisher Cat?


Fisher_(animal)The other day there was an article in Baseball America about crazy/silly baseball team names. Such names, the article argues, are tradition in the minor leagues. Names like the Flying Squirrels, the Baby Cakes, and the Fisher Cats get us wondering what it’s all about. I’ve noticed that several folks have read my post on the Hartford Yard Goats, so I thought maybe it’s time to start looking up some other teams and reporting on the origin of their names – starting with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

So, what’s a Fisher Cat, anyway?

Last year, during my first visit to see the Fisher Cats, I asked the guy in the gift shop if a fisher cat was a real thing. He assured me it was – but he had a little trouble explaining it. So I did what I always do: I Googled it. Fishers – as they are properly called – are North American mammals that are part of the weasel family. And they are really cute – which is probably why they are sometimes referred to as Fisher Cats. (It also has a nice ring to it and makes a great baseball team name.)

Nature PhotographyWhen the New Haven Ravens moved from Connecticut to Manchester, New Hampshire, after the 2003 season, ownership decided to get fan input into the new team’s name. A contest was held and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats were born.

Fishers have been long-time residents of New Hampshire and neighboring states, though they haven’t always been understood. According to New Hampshire Public Radio, “Fishers are secretive, solitary and keep to the forest—silently. Silence helps them maintain stealth. Their only known vocalizations are low chuckling and an occasional hiss or growl.” It must be that stealth that helps them win ballgames!

I’ll be attending a Fisher Cats game this week at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, NH. Go ‘Cats!

~ baseballrebecca

8F8eSOKK

 

 

 

Love for Minor League Baseball


KLEeYesterday, Kathie Lee Gifford expressed her love for the Bowie Baysox on national TV! Gifford grew up in Bowie, MD, and highlighted our local minor league team on the Today show’s “Favorite Things” feature.

On Opening Day, Today also did a nice piece on baseball for Opening Day. It, too, mentioned the minor leagues.  And for MiLB Opening Day, a few MiLB mascots made sure they got themselves on TV:

It’s nice to see minor league baseball getting national coverage. I’m still not sure how much casual fans know about the minor leagues, or if they follow them like The Baseball Sociologist does, but at least someone at the Today show loves MiLB!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Was Henry?


The longer I study the Orioles’ minor league teams, the more I wonder about all the roster moves and how it affects the players and fans. On Saturday, I was surprised to see that Henry Urrutia was not on the roster when I went to see the Norfolk Tides at the Charlotte Knights. Then I found this tweet:

You see, I didn’t see that part about the IronBirds, at first. So, immediately I searched the roster of the Bowie Baysox on the MiLB First Pitch app. The Orioles had outrighted Urrutia to Bowie last year, so I thought maybe he’d just ended up back there. But he wasn’t on the Bowie roster. So I checked the Frederick Keys, the Delmarva Shorebirds, and then the Aberdeen Ironbirds’ rosters. No Henry.

Where was Henry? What happened to Henry? What did they do to Henry?

I was beginning to think it was some sort of a conspiracy. After all, the O’s had recently released fellow Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez. After he got hurt. After the O’s tried to convert him to a pitcher. After it was announced he needed Tommy John surgery. Poor guy gets sidelined and the O’s cut him. (But more on him later.)

It was eventually brought to my attention that – despite my inability to find him on the IronBirds’ roster – the original tweet that had started my feverish search for Henry Urrutia had indeed stated he was on the IronBirds’ roster. I checked First Pitch again and realized they only had two outfielders listed, and since they don’t start play until mid-June, maybe updating the app was not a priority.

I was happy to see this tweet on Sunday:

The Tides’ box score did confirm that Henry played in yesterday’s game. He was a pinch hitter. He didn’t get a hit, and the Tides lost, but at least he got in the game.

I’m a little sensitive about my players, you see. The Orioles like to manipulate the rosters of their various minor league teams. A lot. And I’m still a little annoyed that Pedro Alvarez was sent to Norfolk this year to learn the outfield. He was a major leaguer for the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than five years. Last year, playing part-time with the O’s he still managed to hit 22 home runs. Pedro does not belong in AAA.

Which brings me back to Dariel Alvarez. Two days after his release, the Baltimore Sun attempted to humanize the Orioles by saying that Alvarez could come back. The Orioles are interested in signing him to a minor league contract if he clears waivers. It’s the least they could do. I hope they at least pay for his Tommy John surgery. That minor league contract better not be a huge pay cut, though.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that with everything going on in baseball, it’s hard to get the whole story. Baseball sociology requires more than just rosters, box scores, and stats. To know how society impacts the sport, and how baseball impacts society, we need to dig deeper. We need to know more of the story.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

MiLB Opening Day 2017


Corban
Prince George’s Stadium, Home of the Bowie Baysox

Happy Minor League Baseball Opening Day! I don’t know which I love better: MLB Opening Day or MiLB Opening Day. Maybe it’s possible to love them both the same.

A full schedule of all teams playing today can be found at MiLB.com. Unfortunately, my beloved Baysox will be in Akron today – and the weather reports have not been terribly positive. Nonetheless, I’ll be watching the game on MiLB.TV. (How nice of the O’s to take the day off in honor of MiLB Opening Day so I don’t have to have two TVs going at once!)

This season, there will be many baseball-sociological adventures, including the annual Bobble Quest, as well as sociological analyses of both MiLB and MLB. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is a list of this season’s key dates from MiLB.com:

April 6: Minor League Baseball Opening Day for full-season leagues

 May 31: 22nd Annual Rickwood Classic, Birmingham, Alabama

 June 12-14: First-Year Player Draft

 June 15: Pioneer League season begins

 June 17: Florida State League All-Star Game, Lakeland, Florida

 June 19: New York-Penn League and Northwest League seasons begin

 June 20:
California League All-Star Game, Visalia, California
Carolina League All-Star Game, Salem, Virginia
Midwest League All-Star Game, Midland, Michigan
South Atlantic League All-Star Game, Columbia, South Carolina
Southern League All-Star Game, Pensacola, Florida

 June 22: Appalachian League season begins

 June 26: Gulf Coast League season begins

 June 27: Texas League All-Star Game, Frisco, Texas

 July 2: International free agent signing period begins

 July 9: Futures Game, Miami

 July 12:
Eastern League All-Star Game, Manchester, New Hampshire
Triple-A All-Star Game, Tacoma, Washington

 July 15: Deadline for signing 2017 draftees

 Aug. 1: Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game, Hillsboro, Oregon

Aug. 15: New York-Penn League All-Star Game, Troy, New York

Sept. 19: Triple-A National Championship Game, Moosic, Pennsylvania

Happy 2017 Baseball Season!

~ baseballrebecca

Day 2


Game 2 today for the O’s v. Blue Jays and Nats v. Marlins! And Minor League Baseball Opening Day is tomorrow! This is like the best week ever!

Minor. League. Camp.


IMG_0135Psssst. Wanna hear a secret? This is probably the greatest Major League secret of all time: during Spring Training you can go watch Baltimore Orioles minor league spring training games at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, FL. You can get as close as a Little League game and watch the up-and-coming Orioles perfect their skills. And you don’t even need a ticket. It’s the coolest thing EVER!

I was a little nervous at first. There wasn’t anything on the Orioles’ website or other Spring Training websites about the details of  minor league camp. After all, for at least the IMG_0161last couple years, there has been information on spring training for the O’s minor league players on various websites. So I wondered why nothing was published this year. Nonetheless, we approached tentatively, just as players began leaving the facility’s building. Not wishing to disturb them, we slowed our pace. After the first group of players passed us, we walked up to the stands, not much larger than your typical local baseball field’s seating area, and took our places. Soon we began seeing familiar names and faces: Henry Urrutia, Adrian Marin, Drew Dosch, and Glynn Davis – all Bowie Baysox players.

IMG_0192
Zach and Caleb after Zach’s 1-inning outing.

But then I noticed two more familiar players: Caleb Joseph and Zach Britton. Britton was scheduled to get some work in at minor league camp the day we went. We got to see Zach Britton in action, close-up, at minor league camp! This was one of the best spring training experiences I’ve ever had! (Oh, by the way, Zach threw 12 pitches and struck out the side.)

We got to see our favorite minor leaguers at a game that felt like it was just for us. There were only a few other fans, a bunch of minor leaguers, and us. Of course, there were also no announcements, no scoreboard, and no other distractions. Just simply baseball – and totally awesome!

~ baseballrebecca

IMG_0178