National Bobblehead Day


img_4022National Bobblehead Day was observed earlier this week, on January 7. Many teams and individuals posted pictures of their collections, upcoming giveaways, and other really cool bobbles. There are some pretty impressive bobbles out ther!

Over the holidays I took off a few much-needed days and one of my projects for my time off was to organize my bobblehead shelves to make room for the bobbles I recently acquired. My bobblehead “display case” consists of two Ikea shelving-things that essentially are the size of about eight large crates – four levels of shelves with side-by-side cubicles. So,  in honor of National Bobblehead Day, below is a rundown of my small collection.

Super Heroes – which includes Negro Leaguers, Cal Ripken, and Manny Machado, plus a few others – are on the top of the display shelves:

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The next three levels – six cubes in total – are split between the Nationals and the Orioles. Most of these bobbles have come from the Potomac Nationals and Washington Nationals – and the majority of those on superhero level are Orioles, so that bottom Oriole shelf also includes my collection of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing bobbleheads, joining my beloved Trey “Moon” Mancini bobble:

The bottom row includes bobbles from other teams – generally the Yankees – but also including Yasiel Puig, Barry Bonds, Luis Gonzalez, and Hilary Clinton:

There’s definitely still room to grow on the bottom shelves – and I’m looking forward to seeing who I can collect this season!

Who’s in your bobblehead collections?

~ 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

 

 

 

 

 

The End is Near


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Pfitzner Stadium, August 24, 2019

Thursday night will mark the end of an era: the Potomac Nationals (lovingly referred to as the P-Nats) will play their last game in Pfitzner Stadium. After 25 years, the team is moving from Woodbridge, VA, to a stadium far, far away (at least for me) in Fredericksburg, VA. Last Saturday, I saw what just might have been my last P-Nats game. It was an emotional night.

The Potomac Nationals entered this world as the Alexandria Dukes in 1978, an expansion team in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. That first season, they were a co-op team, meaning they weren’t affiliated with any one MLB team, but had players from more than one team. They were affiliated with the Seattle Mariners in 1979 (and known as the Alexandria Mariners), but were a co-op team again in 1980. From 1981 to 1983, they were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I didn’t know the team then, but I wish I did. Alexandria Dukes players included Mickey Mantle, Jr.; Rick Renteria; Bobby Bonilla; Rafael Belliard; and Joe Orsulak (a future Oriole). They even won the Carolina League Championship in 1982.

The Dukes played in Municipal Stadium at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria. According to Baseball Reference, “The ballpark was of high school caliber, with Image result for Alexandria Dukes logometal stands seating around 1,500 with a few metal folding chairs standing in for box seats, and almost no facilities or concessions (the team was prohibited from selling alcohol because the park was on land belonging to an elementary school).” Not surprisingly, then, the team announced it would be moving after the 1983 season.

The stadium formerly known as Davis Ford Park (named after the main road to the stadium) was built in 1984. It is located in Woodbridge, VA, adjacent to the McCoart Government Center. It was to this 6,000 seat stadium that the newly re-named Prince William Pirates made their home after moving from Alexandria for the 1984 season.

In 1987, the team changed Major League affiliations and became known as the Prince William Yankees. Prospects like Hensley Meulens, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Brad Ausmus, and Bernie Williams, played on the team. In 1989, the team changed its name to the Prince William Cannons, but maintained its affiliation with the Yankees until 1994 when it became the class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The team changed affiliations again 1997 (St. Louis Cardinals) and 2003 (Cincinnati Reds). Thus, more future stars played for Prince William, including: Magglio Ordonez, Albert Puljos, Coco Crisp, and Joey Votto.

According toPotomac cannons screenshot the team’s website, the team rebranded in 1999 as the Potomac Cannons, “to better represent their fan base, which covers much of the Northern Virginia region.” They became the Potomac Nationals in 2005, when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, DC, becoming the Washington Nationals and the Major League affiliate of the P-Nats.

Tomorrow, as the team celebrates its last night at the Pfitz, I’ll post a little more about the old stadium, the new stadium, and the end of an era.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Baseball Sky


IMG_3654Baseball teams, fans, and just about everyone else involved in baseball, love to see pictures of “baseball skies” on social media. The best place I’ve captured baseball sky pictures is at Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals (at least for a few more days –  more on that tomorrow).

Check out the views I captured this past weekend:

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Happy Tuesday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Best of the Week: 8/19/18-8/25/18


Matthew Crownover of the Potomac Nationals threw the first no-hitter in P-Nats history last night! The P-Nats won the game 7-0. Check out the video below.

Congrats, P-Nats, congrats, Matthew!

Stat-urday, 6/16/2018


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Five County Stadium in 2014 (photo by James Willamor, via Wikipedia)

The first half of the Carolina League season isn’t over until Sunday, but the first-half winners have already been determined. On Thursday, both the Potomac Nationals and the Winston-Salem Dash won their respective games, making them the Carolina League’s North Division and South Division first-half champions. The division winners of each half of the season qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season.

Six P-Nats players have been named to the All-Star roster: Tyler Mapes (P), Sterling Sharp (P), Wil Crowe (P), Tres Barrera (C), Carter Kieboom (SS), and Jake Noll (3B).  Kieboom, who is the brother of Spencer Kieboom (who was recently promoted to the Washington Nationals), ranks ninth in the Carolina League in batting average, hitting .296. He also ranks third in home runs (10), second in RBIs (43), third in hits (67), second in runs scored (46), and third in walks (34).

The 2018 Carolina All-Star Game will be played on June 19 at Five County Stadium (in Zebulon, NC), home of the Carolina Mudcats. You can find more Carolina League stats on the MiLB website.

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

MiLB Opening Day 2017


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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