Archive | N. America

MLB: New Commissioner Manfred Open to Eliminating Defensive Shifts

Okay commissioner Manfred, let’s slow down and take a deep breath. I like the idea of speeding up the game. No it will never be basketball or hockey. Baseball is a talking sport. That is one of the beauties of it. To be able to reflect and talk with people around you during a game. It adds to the drama. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sped up some. When I lived in Korea I saw games with time limits between innings and I really liked it. There was a clock on the scoreboard and you had two minutes. Things like this can be used to speed up games.

But, let’s not go talking about eliminating defensive shifts. If you want to add more offense to the game, that is not the way to go about it in my opinion. Apparently the people who are playing the game feel there is enough offense or they would do something else. There is a simple way to go about changing it, if the teams want to, bunt. A few hits the other way or bunts laid down will stop the shifts. The players are up there trying to hit home runs because that is what they are paid to do. This is why they continue to hit into the shift.

If you want to change it, start emphasizing something other than just a home run. When people realize that a few hits the other way, or bunts that way, will stop those shifts. I don’t feel that the game should be regulated like this. I think it is a terrible step in the wrong direction. I know it is only talk for now and only a thought, but it is a bad one.

Continue working on speeding up the game, but don’t force teams into things like this. I’m actually looking forward to what the new commish can accomplish.

Here is the interview on ESPN where Manfred talked about eliminating the shifts.

Posted in MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

Where Are They Now? Our 2012 Top 10 Independent Baseball League Managers

In 2012 we named what we thought was the Top 10 Independent Baseball Managers. We thought this year we would take a look at where they are now. Who moved up? Who moved down? And who retired?

#10 Steve Brook

Starting with our #10 we take a look at Steve Brook of the River City Rascals. Brook took over in River City in 2010 and immediately led the Rascals to its first Frontier League title. In 2011 he led the Rascals to the most wins in franchise history (68) and a return to the championship where they would fall. Since we profiled Brook before the 2012 season the Rascals fell to 4th place in the division. A third place finish in 2013 was followed by a division title in 2014. Brook led the team back to the championship series after winning 61 games. Brook returns in 2015 for his sixth season.

#9 Chris Paterson

Paterson was named the #9 manager in independent baseball in 2012, but he might be rising even higher. He was just named the manager of the American Association Sioux Falls Canaries. Since 2012 Paterson has added a new league and title to his resume. After managing the White Sands Pupfish in 2012, Paterson moved up to the United League Baseball managing the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings where he won the league title in 2014. Paterson faces a huge task of rebuilding the Canaries after their worst season in franchise history, but he has shown he is capable of doing just that.

#8 Phil Warren

Warren has been at the helm of the Gateway Grizzlies for the past eight seasons. Immediately after we ranked Warren #8 he led the Grizzlies to a Frontier League West Division crown. They would lose in the first round of the playoffs, but the 57 wins were the second best in franchise history. The winning has continued in 2013 and 2014 with a second and third place finish in the West Division. Both seasons the team won 50 or more games.

#7 Eddie Dennis

Dennis was the manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in 2012, his last season as a manager. He led the WhiteWings to a 51-44 record and a third place finish in the North American League. After being out of baseball in 2013, Dennis became the hitting coach for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York Penn League. The Crosscutters are the Class A short season team of the Philadelphia Phillies.

#6 Andy Etchebarren

Echebarren retired after the 2012 season after leading the York Revolution to the playoffs for the third straight season. The former MLB’er changed the culture to a winning one in York taking a last place team to two straight titles in 2010 and 2011.

#5 Doug Simunic

Simunic has won over 1,000 games in independent baseball, mostly with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. In 21 years at the helm, he has had only two losing seasons but both have come in the past four seasons including 2014. Last summer the two-year extension on his contract was exercised keeping him in Fargo through 2017. Simunic has been the only manager that the Redhawks have known winning thirteen division and five league titles over that time.

#4 Patrick Scalabrini

Scalabrini entered the 2012 season after winning titles in his first two seasons in Quebec. He has since guided the Capitales to two more titles winning four in a row (in his first four seasons) in the Can-Am League. The team fell off a bit in 2014 finishing with its first losing season under Scalabrini and failing to make the playoffs. He will look to right the ship and return the Capiales to their winning tradition.

#3 Sparky Lyle

Entering the 2012 season Lyle led the Somerset Patriots to a winning record in 12 of his 14 years. Unfortunately year number fifteen, which would be his last, finished with a losing record as well. Overall Lyle finished his managing career (all with Somerset) with a record of 1024-913 for a .529 winning percentage. Lyle led the franchise to eight division and five league titles.

#2 Doc Edwards

Edwards has been in professional baseball nearly 60 years. He has managed at the Major League level, in the affiliated minor leagues, and for the past nine years with the San Angelo Colts. The Colts have suffered in recent years finishing under .500 the past two seasons. It remains to be seen if Edwards will manage in 2015. Not because he isn’t wanting to, but the entire San Angelo Colts and ULB are in jeopardy of being extinct next season. The Colts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last season in hopes of saving the stadium.

#1 Ricky VanAsselberg

Vanasselberg has been winning wherever he has wound up. Prior to 2012 he won the American Association championship with Grand Prairie in 2011 and another AA championship in 2010 with the Shreveport-Bossier Captains. These weren’t his only wins though. In 2006 and 2007 he won back-to-back United League championships with the Alexandria Aces.

Since 2011 Vanasselberg has qualified for the playoffs only once with the Air Hogs losing in the first round in 2013. However, in December he was named as the new manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. Definitely a jump up in competition but it will put Vanasselberg in his most challenging position, rebuilding. The Bluefish have finished with three straight losing seasons including a 47-93 season a year ago.

So in review, two managers have retired, one might be on his way out if his team folds, two moved up in the ranks of independent baseball, one moved to an affiliated team as a hitting coach, and four are still at it with the same teams.

You can go back and view our Top 10 from 2012 here:

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 1-5

Independent Baseball League Managers Top 10 – 6-10

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

USA Baseball: 18U National Team Staff Named

Press Release USA Baseball

David Eckstein joins Greg Moore and Eric Kibler in assisting manager, Glenn Cecchini

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball named its 2015 18U National Team coaching staff Thursday, led by Barbe (La.) High School head coach, Glenn Cecchini. Cecchini, a veteran of Team USA identification events, has worked the 18U National Team Trials each of the past two seasons.

“The 2015 18U National Team is in great hands heading into the World Cup,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “Our 18U director, Shaun Cole, has assembled an impressive staff of coaches with experience with our organization and a pedigree of success with a World Series MVP, a successful division I head coach and two nationally recognized high school coaches.”

Cecchini led Lake Charles, La.’s Barbe High School to the 2014 Baseball America national championship after posting a 39-2 record and winning the Louisiana 5A state championship for the seventh time. Both of Cecchini’s sons, Garin and Gavin, won gold medals as players with the 18U National Team in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Cecchini will be joined in the dugout by assistant coaches, David Eckstein and Eric Kibler, as well as pitching coach, Greg Moore, and certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen.

David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, joins the 18U National Team staff after serving in various roles with USA Baseball over the last few years. A 10-year veteran and two-time MLB All-Star, Eckstein has worked with the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials since 2012.

As a player, Eckstein won two World Series rings while posting a career batting average of .280 in 5,705 big league plate appearances. Playing most of his career at shortstop, Eckstein had a career .982 fielding percentage in more than 10,600 MLB innings.

Eric Kibler has the most USA Baseball experience of the group having been the manager of the 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team that posted a perfect 9-0 record en route to winning the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American 16U Youth Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Kibler also served as an assistant coach on the 2009 16U National Team and worked as the lead field coordinator for the USA Baseball National Team Development Program from 2012 to 2014 – winning the USA Baseball Coach of the Year Award in 2010 and the USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year in 2012.

Kibler is the head coach at national power, Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he has led the Huskies to six state championships and 18 regional titles. Under Kibler’s tutelage, Horizon has 28 players drafted by Major League clubs, including three first round selections.

Greg Moore, the head coach at Cal State Northridge, coaches on his first national team staff after assisting with the 2014 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 2014 USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials in Houston.

Moore took the head coaching job at Cal State Northridge following three successful seasons as associate head coach at the University of San Francisco where he was named by Baseball America as one of the Top 10 Assistant Coaches in College Baseball. During his tenure with the Dons, Moore coached three first-round draft picks and eight top-10 round selections.

Moore played collegiately at the University of San Francisco and was named the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team in 2001. As a player, he won the team’s “Most Inspirational” award in back-to-back season and the award now bears his name.

Certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen, rounds out the on-field staff. In his 10th season as athletic trainer for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball program, Cohen is known for his wealth of baseball-specific and sports medicine knowledge and experience.

The staff will look to defend the 18U National Team’s gold medal from the 2013 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup, when it competes in the 2015 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan. The 18U National Team has won gold medals in each of the last four years, including back-to-back World Cups in 2012 and 2013.

For more information on the 18U National Team program, please visit USABaseball.com and follow@USABaseball18U on Twitter.

Posted in N. America, News0 Comments

Independent: Sioux Falls Canaries Name Chris Paterson Manager for 2015

The Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association have made Chris Paterson their new manager for the 2015 season. Paterson is coming off a championship with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings from the United League Baseball in 2014. This was not his first championship. He also won the inaugural Pecos League championship with the Roswell Invaders in 2011.

Paterson began his coaching career in 2010 with the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the defunct Continental Baseball League where he was named manager of the year. He has also managed in the California Winter League, Arizona Winter League, Pecos Spring League, and the Texas Winter League. He also serves as a scout for the Miami Marlins. In 2012, we named Paterson the #9 manager on our top 10 list of independent managers.

The Canaries are coming off a rough season in which they finished the year with a 33-67 record. The Canaries had the worst record in the league finishing 30 games behind first place Winnipeg in the North Division.

Paterson was nice enough to stop and take a moment to let us know how he feels about the new challenge of the step up in competition and the rebuilding effort he faces in Sioux Falls:

I am very excited to get this opportunity to manage in the American Association with Sioux falls. I’ve always regarded the AA as the top Indy league and best run one. I look forward to the challenges that it comes with and hope some of my prior successes in baseball can translate in the association. I’m very grateful to the general manager and assistant general managers in Sioux Falls as well as the ownership for putting their faith in me to lead this rebuilding process for the Canaries. We are in probably what is the toughest division in all of Indy ball with three well respected clubs and very successful managers. I look forward to working hard and making this transition

The three teams Paterson mentioned are the Winnipeg Goldeyes (nine division and two league championships), the St. Paul Saints (four division and league championships), and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (thirteen division and five league championships). These three teams are also three of the top four teams in attendance in 2014 in the American Association while Sioux Falls ranked eighth.

The Canaries decided not to renew former manager Steve Shirley shortly after the end of the 2014 season. Shirley was the longest tenured manager in team history, but the team has failed to reach the playoffs since 2010. Paterson will look to bring the Canaries back to their former days. The franchise has one AA title in 2008.

Paterson with the WhiteWings

Paterson with the WhiteWings

Posted in Minors, N. America, News0 Comments

USA: Blankmeyer to Manage Collegiate National Team

Press Release USA Baseball

Five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year will guide team in international play this summer

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DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball officially named St. John’s University head coach, Ed Blankmeyer, as the manager for the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team on Tuesday. Blankmeyer previously served as an assistant coach on the 2010 Collegiate National Team that posted a 16-3 record and captured the silver medal at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are thrilled to have Ed lead the Collegiate National Team program in 2015,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “He has Team USA experience in 2010, as well as an impressive resume in two decades at St. John’s, and, most importantly, a passion for coaching student-athletes to succeed.”

The winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, Blankmeyer is in his 20th season at the helm of the Red Storm baseball program and has posted a 647-405-3 (.615) record. Blankmeyer has guided the Red Storm to three BIG EAST Tournament crowns as well as four BIG EAST regular season titles, and has led the squad to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including one NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to manage the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team,” said Blankmeyer. “We have an outstanding schedule lined up and I am looking forward to both working with and learning from the amazing coaching staff that we have assembled. Above all else, I feel privileged to represent the United States of America.”

Also the winningest coach in the history of BIG EAST play with 287 conference victories, Blankmeyer has earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors a conference-record five times and has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times. Blankmeyer, who has guided St. John’s to six 40-win seasons, has had 88 All-BIG EAST selections and has seen 65 of his players drafted and/or signed to professional contracts, including 2014 World Series champion Joe Panik.

In 2010, Blankmeyer assisted University of Utah coach, Bill Kinneberg, with a Collegiate National Team roster that included future Major League players Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Brad Miller and George Springer. The club posted a 16-3 record for the summer, including a five-game sweep of the Korean National Team in a series hosted in the U.S., before falling in a heart-breaking 4-3 extra-inning affair to Cuba in the championship game 2010 FISU World University Baseball Championships.

The complete 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team coaching staff and schedule will be released in announcements later this spring on USABaseball.com.

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Baseball Bloggers Alliance Recommends Seven for the Hall of Fame

Press Release by Baseball Bloggers Alliance

BBA Binary Ballot Recommends Seven For Cooperstown

Seven players from the 2014 Baseball Writers of America ballot were recommended for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on Friday.

Given the backlog of quality players on the ballot, this year the BBA adopted the plan suggested by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Goold of a binary ballot.  Each player on the ballot was given a yes or no vote by the BBA voters and those receiving over 75% were then recommended.

With this format, pitcher Randy Johnson received 100% of the vote while pitcher Pedro Martinez was close behind at 95%.  Others that topped the 75% mark were catcher/second baseman/outfielder Craig Biggio (90%), pitcher John Smoltz (89%), catcher Mike Piazza (85%), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (77%) and outfielder Tim Raines (77%).

Those that just fell short of the mark were designated hitter Edgar Martinez (71%) and pitcher Curt Schilling (68%).

The rest of the voting was as follows:

Mike Mussina 67%
Barry Bonds 65%
Roger Clemens 63%
Alan Trammell 53%
Jeff Kent 44%
Gary Sheffield 38%
Larry Walker 37%
Fred McGriff 33%
Mark McGwire 33%
Don Mattingly 31%
Lee Smith 31%
Sammy Sosa 23%
Carlos Delgado 19%
Nomar Garciaparra 13%
Cliff Floyd 4%
Brian Giles 4%
Rich Aurilia 3%
Darin Erstad 3%
Troy Percival 3%
Aaron Boone 1%
Jason Schmidt 1%
Jermaine Dye 0%
Tom Gordon 0%
Eddie Guardado 0%

Using this binary method, only 13% turned in a ballot with less than 10 names selected.  40% turned in a ballot with 15 or more names selected, with a high of 20.

The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Niko Goutakolis at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.

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USA Baseball Reveals Field for 2015 National High School Invitational

Press Release USA Baseball

The field for the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational announced

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced the 16 teams that will compete in the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, held March 25 to 28, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The premier event on the high school baseball calendar again features some of the top teams and individual talents from across the nation. Baseball America, the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary are partnering with USA Baseball in hosting and presenting the event.

“The National High School Invitation continues to bring together some of the top programs and talents from around the U.S. for a one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “In just three years, the NHSI has quickly become the premier event on the high school baseball calendar and we are thrilled to partner with the Town of Cary, the Greater Raleigh Sports and our media partner, Baseball America, on the 2015 edition.”

Local powerhouse, Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C., will serve as the host of the tournament for the first time. The Pride finished 2014 with a 17-6 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.

De Soto Central High School (Southaven, Miss.), Loyalsock Township High School (Williamsport, Pa.) and Puyallup High School (Puyallup, Wash.) represent, for the first time ever, the states of Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington at the National High School Invitational.

A. Crawford Mosley High School (Lynn Haven, Fla.), St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Fla.) will look to bring the trophy back to the Sunshine State after The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) claimed the NHSI title in 2014.

The state of California will be well-represented again with four schools traveling to Cary: College Park High School (Pleasant Hill, Calif.), Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.), JSerra Catholic School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and San Clemente High School (San Clemente, Calif.).

Rounding out the field are a pair of schools from Georgia in Lambert High School (Suwanee, Ga.) and Whitewater High School (Fayetteville, Ga.), as well as representatives from Arizona: Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Tennessee: Farragut High School (Knoxville, Tenn.); and Texas: College Station High School (College Station, Texas).

The NHSI will be a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. An event schedule will be announced as part of an eight-week video series, beginning on January 8, detailing the first round matchups with analysis from USA Baseball’s panel of baseball experts.

For more information on the 2015 National High School Invitational, coaches education and general USA Baseball information, please visit USABaseball.com.

Posted in N. America, News, Tournaments0 Comments

College: Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Top 40

With the college baseball season just a short six weeks away we are starting to see some preseason polls come out. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper released their preseason Top 40 with defending champion Vanderbilt holding down the top spot.

In 2014 CBN had Vanderbilt at #9 before they won their first ever College World Series. The Commodores opponent in the championship, Virginia, started off ranked #12. While the preseason #1 Cal-State Fullerton wound up finishing the season ranked #29 after finishing the season with a 34-24 record.

The state of Texas is highly thought of early on with four teams in the top 10 of the preseason poll. No other state has more than one. Of course, some teams will surprise and some will disappoint.

Rank Team (2014 Record) Points
  1. Vanderbilt (51-21) 494
  2. Texas Christian (48-18) 492
  3. Virginia (53-16) 489
  4. Louisiana St. (46-16-1) 487
  5. Oklahoma St. (48-18) 485
  6. Florida (40-23) 483
  7. Texas (46-21) 480
  8. Houston (48-18) 479
  9. Texas Tech. (45-21) 477
10. UCLA (25-30-1) 473
11. Florida St. (43-17) 469
12. Louisville (50-17) 468
13. Cal. Poly (47-12) 467
14. Miami, Fla. (44-19) 465
15. Oregon (44-20) 462
16. U.C. Santa Barbara (34-17-1) 460
17. Cal. St. Fullerton (34-24) 458
18. Stanford (35-26) 457
19. Arizona St. (33-24) 454
20. Mississippi St. (39-24) 452
21. South Carolina (44-18) 449
22. Rice (42-20) 446
23. Liberty (41-18) 445
24. North Carolina (35-27) 443
25. College of Charleston (44-19) 440
26. Georgia Tech. (37-27) 438
27. Kennesaw St. (40-24) 436
28. Clemson (36-25) 432
29. St. John’s (35-20) 430
30. Kent St. (36-23) 427
31. Ball St. (39-18) 425
32. Wichita St. (31-28) 424
33. Tennessee (31-23) 421
34. San Diego (34-20) 419
35. Loyola Marymount (32-24) 417
36. Arkansas (40-25) 414
37. Maryland (40-23) 412
38. Nebraska (41-21) 411
39. U.C. Irvine (41-25) 409
40. Illinois (32-21) 405
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Oregon St. (49-15), San Diego St. (42-21), Louisiana-Lafayette (58-10), Kentucky (37-25), Washington (41-17-1), Mississippi (48-21), Southern California (29-24), Alabama (37-24), Texas A&M (36-26), Arizona (22-33), New Mexico (37-20), Nevada-Las Vegas (36-25), Dallas Baptist (40-21), Indiana St. (35-18), Sacramento St. (40-24), Troy (25-32), Texas St. (30-28), Pepperdine (43-18), Grand Canyon (30-23), Miami, Ohio (30-27), Southern Mississippi (35-25), Florida International (36-20), Indiana (44-15), Sam Houston St. (43-19), Michigan (30-29-1), Central Florida (36-23), Florida Gulf Coast (39-22), Stony Brook (35-18), St. Louis (34-21-1), Seton Hall (39-15), Creighton (32-17-1), Campbell (41-21), South Alabama (22-33), Winthrop (27-30), Coastal Carolina (24-33), William & Mary (34-22), Wright St. (35-22), Central Michigan (35-23), Bryant (42-16), S.E. Missouri St. (37-20), Tennessee Tech. (40-19), Mercer (38-17), Samford (35-25), Western Carolina (37-18), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (31-27), Southeastern Louisiana (38-25).

Source: Collegiate Baseball

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Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings: Japan Takes No. 1 Spot

With the conclusion of the 21U Baseball World Cup and the Central American and Caribbean Games, the final world standings have been released. There were only a few movers in the top 10 including Japan taking the No. 1 spot from the USA after making it to the finals of the 21 U BWC. The Netherlands also over took the Dominican Republic for No. 5 on the list.

The biggest mover in the top 30 was the Czech Republic moving up seven spots to No. 20. Argentina fell the furthest falling six spots to No. 28. The top 12 teams will be allowed to compete in the inaugural Premier 12 tournament to be held in Chinese Taipei in November 2015.

Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings:

Rank Nation  Points
2013 Trending
1  Japan 785.18 2 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
2  USA 766.02 1 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
3  Cuba 662.98 3
4  Chinese Taipei 605.48 4
5  Netherlands 433.50 6 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
6  Dominican Republic 379.18 5 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
7  Canada 353.52 7  –
8  South Korea 340.90 8
9  Puerto Rico 291.50 9
10  Venezuela 269.00 10
11  Italy 196.18 11
12  Mexico 136.78 12
13  Panama 132.92 13  –
14  Australia 127.82 14
15  Brazil 116.61 15
16  Nicaragua 110.77 18 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
17  Spain 105.52 17
18  Germany 78.90 19 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
19  Colombia 69.00 16 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
20  Czech Republic 68.93 27 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized7
21  China 68.25 20 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
22  Israel 55.47 26 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized4
23  Philippines 52.40 23
24  Pakistan 51.00 21 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
25  Great Britain 50.56 24 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
26  New Zealand 50.00 28 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
27  France 46.75 32 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5
28  Argentina 42.91 22 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized6
29  South Africa 33.00 31 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
30  Thailand 30.50 25 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5

Complete Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania0 Comments

Minors: Will the Osos be back in Raton in 2015

The Pecos League has been in existence since 2011 and some teams have bounced around from city to city. The Raton Osos started out as the Ruidoso Osos in the league’s inaugural season of 2011.  A year later the Ruidoso team was gone. The Osos were reborn in 2013 in Raton. Over the next two seasons they went a combined  36-92. Earlier this year an interesting article was posted to the website of KRTN Radio out of Raton and included parts from the city’s parks and recreation director.

This article gives a little insight into how some independent league teams are run and the hardships that they can come across. It does not appear, and it is still up in the air, that the Osos will return to Raton. It will be interesting to see where the team moves next or if some sort of agreement can be made to keep the team in Raton.

You can read the article by clicking the link below.

Osos Saga Continues

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MLB: A Look Back at 2014 Predictions

With the playoffs kicking off I thought it would be a fun project to take a look back at who I predicted would win. Here is my post from March.

I picked the Dodgers to win it all, which is still a decent pick. I actually picked four of the five National League teams, although I didn’t necessarily get them right in who wins and who makes it in via the Wild Card. In the American League, I only got two of the five.

Here were my picks in March:

AL East
1. Tampa Bay Rays (I still want to write Devil Rays)
2. *Boston Red Sox

AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers

AL West
1. Texas Rangers
2. *Oakland A’s

I couldn’t have been more off on the Rangers, but you can never predict injuries. The AL East I was totally wrong as well only getting Detroit and the A’s as a Wild Card. I predicted Tampa Bay over Detroit in the ALCS. One of those teams might make it there, but if I had to pick right now Detroit wouldn’t make it that far.

NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. *Washington Nationals

NL Central
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. *St. Louis Cardinals

NL West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers

My Atlanta Braves let me down this year. I think this was more of a homer pick than any other. I actually have LA defeating Pitt in the NLCS with LA winning it all in six games. I’m still confident that LA might make the World Series but time will tell. My picks this  year were much better than in the past. It will be interesting to see just how good they turn out in the end.

If you had to pick today, who do you think would win?

Posted in MLB, N. America0 Comments

Minors: United League Announces Awards for 2014

The regular season awards for the United League were recently announced.

The 2014 Silver Slugger Awards went to the Fort Worth Cats Ryan Lashey and the San Angelo Colts Chris Grossman. Lashey started the season with the Normal Cornbelters of the Frontier League. He played with Normal for 49 games before coming to Fort Worth where his season really took off. After hitting just .241 with Normal, Lashey hit .369 for Fort Worth in 53 games. With 79 hits over the last half of the season Lashey was a force in the Cats lineup. He finished the year with Fort Worth with six home runs and 45 RBI while posting a .369/.404/.556 line.

Joining Lashey with a Silver Slugger was the Colts Chris Grossman. The Colts’ Grossman led the league with 95 hits and 48 RBI. He posted an impressive .339/.403/.471 line over 70 games with San Angelo. The veteran also blasted five home runs and 20 doubles.

This years Fireman Award went to the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings Byron Minnich. Minnich was dominate for the 2014 champion WhiteWings saving 23 games, a new league record. After starting the year with Laredo in the American Association and saving one game, Minnich came over to Rio Grande Valley and posted a 1.21 ERA striking out 44 in 37.0 innings.

On the defensive side of the ball, Gold Glove Awards were given out to Justin Reed of the Colts, Oscar Garcia of the Cats, and Roger Bernal of the WhiteWings. Reed finished the year with a .987 fielding percentage.

The 2014 Cy Young Award went to the WhiteWings Celson Polanco. The veteran from the Dominican Republic went 6-2 for the WhiteWings posting an ERA of 2.11. He struck out 81 batters in 85.0 innings allowing only 74 hits.

The Manager of the Year Award went to the WhiteWings Chris Paterson. Leading the WhiteWings to the 2014 title and a 51-27 record. This was Paterson’s third championship as a manager and third manager of the year award.

The 2014 MVP went to the WhiteWings shortstop Roger Bernal. Bernal did it all with Rio Grande Valley. He anchored the defense and offense. Hitting .301, Bernal was second in the league with 94 hits including 11 doubles and 4 triples. He also stole 26 bases for the champion WhiteWings.

Silver Slugger: Chris Grossman, Ryan Lashley

Fireman Award: Byron Minnich

Cy Young: Celson Polanco

Gold Glove: Oscar Garcia, Justin Reed, Roger Bernal

M.V.P: Roger Bernal

Manager of the Year: Chris Paterson

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Minors: United League Announces All ULB Team for 2014

The United League Baseball recently announced the All ULB Team for the 2014 season. The 2014 ULB Champion Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings led the team with 10 selections.

 

 

 

 

Position Players

Position          Player                     Team                                BA     HR      RBI

Catcher           Mario Mercedes     Brownsville Charros       .315      4         26

1st Base           Matt Chavez           San Angelo Colts            .369      5         30

2nd Base          Jason Merjano        RGV Whitewings            .283      0         19

Short Stop       Roger Bernal          Rio Grande Valley          .301      1         35

3rd Base           Ryan Lashley         Ft. Worth Cats                 .369      6         45

Designated      Chris Grossman     San Angelo Colts            .339       5         48

Outfielder        Jacob Fabry           Rio Grande Valley          .322       0         28

Outfielder        Oscar Garcia          Ft. Worth Cats               .290        2         41

Outfielder        Justin Reed             San Angelo Colts          .292        2         37

UTILITY:

Outfield           JJ Muse                   San Angelo Colts         .305         3         36

Catcher           Dan Coury               Brownsville Charros    .268         11       38

Infield             Chad Kruse              Ft. Worth Cats             .333         0         28

Starting Rotation:

Player                      Team                      Win  Loss  ERA

Ryan Bonnot           RGV Whitewings    5       3        4.48

Celson Polanco       RGV Whitewings    6       2        2.12

Brad Orosey            Rio Grande Valley  6       4        2.05

Trent Montgomery  Ft. Worth Cats        6       5        4.81

Jeremy Gooding      Ft. Worth Cats        2       2        1.64

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College: Tim Tadlock Wins Skip Bertman Award

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

Texas Tech skipper named National Coach of the Year

LUBBOCK, Texas — The National College Baseball Hall of Fame is proud to announce Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock as the 2014 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year.

Tadlock will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s annual Night of Champions celebration on June 28 in Lubbock, Texas.

Picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll, Tadlock has the Red Raiders in Omaha with a 45-19 record. In only his second year as head coach, he has led Texas Tech to wins at the Coral Gables NCAA regional and back-to-back 1-0 victories over College of Charleston in the Super Regional.

The 2014 Red Raiders finished the regular season with a record of 40-16, 14 wins better than their 2013 regular-season record of 26-30.

The award, sponsored by Easton-Bell Sports, is named for Bertman, who coached at LSU from 1984 to 2001. During his tenure, he won five national championships and was named National Coach of the Year six times. He coached 31 players who went on to play Major League Baseball and was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 2006. Since that time, three of his players have joined him in the Hall of Fame.

For more information on the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, contact the Hall of Fame at (806) 749-CBF3 or visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.

Coach of the Year Award

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Independent Baseball: Niagara New Team for Can-Am League in 2015

The Niagara Professional Baseball Group has been given provisional approval to field a team in the Can-Am League for the 2015 season. They will join the current four team league giving them another Canadian team to go with Quebec and Trois-Rivieres. The league will be six teams as Niagara and Ottawa will both be joining the league next season. Niagara has announced they are also looking for a team name and are looking for help from the public. A name the team contest has been announced via the club’s website. If you have an idea on what the team could be called for its inaugural season you can email or tweet your ideas to the team. The winner will receive some great prizes including a pair of season tickets. Contest ends August 1st. The club has also announced tryouts for September 20th. The tryout is open to anyone interested. It will take place from 2-6pm with pitchers and catchers reporting from 2-4pm and positional players from 4-6pm. Cost of the tryout is $60 per player. You can find the player tryout form and a link for payment here on their website. The club will play its home games at Welland Sports Complex which was built in 1989. The Welland Pirates played there from 1989 to 1994 as apart of the New York-Penn League. For more information on the tryout you can contact Colin at 647-608-8163 or via email at ccumminsATniagaraprobaseball.com

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A Few Thoughts on the Great Tony Gwynn

For the past few days we have all seen some great tributes to the great Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. He will definitely be missed but I feel a lot of the tributes are overlooking one thing. His impact at the amateur level.

As we all know now, and many may not have known before, Gwynn was the head coach of the San Diego State University Aztecs. It was here that he made a profound impact on, not only the game, but on the lives of young men. SDSU may not have reached the powerhouse status of some other California schools, but it made great strides while he was at the helm. He led them to the NCAA tournament three times (2009, 2013, 2014). It was the first time they reached the postseason since 1991.

Gwynn’s love of baseball was something that was simply fun to watch. As a guy who grew up not watching much Padre baseball, he was always one I loved, but disliked seeing because he was so good, watching play my favorite team the Atlanta Braves.

When I picture Gwynn I see two things. First of all, I see him lining a baseball into the left-centerfield gap for a stand up double. He was such a great hitter and used all the field so well. I always wondered how many home runs he would have hit if he just decided to load up and pull the ball more. But that wasn’t him. Secondly, I remember well him with Ted Williams at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. That was one of the great moments in baseball history during my lifetime and probably will never be matched.

I do not want to get into an argument about how great a hitter Tony Gwynn was. He was great. Or if he was better than this player or that player. Gwynn had one of the best swings I’ve ever seen and was simply an amazing hitter for anyone’s generation. His numbers speak for themselves. That is where I will leave that.

If you have a few minutes I highly recommend you checking out the MLB video of the Padres tribute. It was a touching moment and I loved that they included the Aztecs in the tribute, even his Aztec jersey in the dugout. You can watch it here.

Over at Friarhood.com you can purchase a t-shirt in honor of Tony Gwynn. They have two very cool shirts with proceeds going to a charity. They do great work over there covering the Padres. Below is the graphic on one of the shirts.

BqXu7TyCMAAmVd8

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Is the IBL Shutting Down the Season Already?

It is not an easy task to run a start up business. We see it everyday when different businesses in every town in America go under. It’s even harder to start a professional baseball league. Without the backing of Major League Baseball teams fight for fans on budgets that are razor thin. There have been more unsuccessful leagues over the years than successful ones. However, that doesn’t mean it is not possible to build a product that the fans will enjoy and keep coming back to. There are a few leagues that do just that and this year there was one more taking the plunge to try and add their name to that list, the Independent Baseball League. The IBL is a bit different in many regards. First of all, they play in small towns in Ohio and Michigan. We wrote about it kicking off its inaugural season just two months ago with this post. Secondly, the league does not play every day like many others. Instead the league, of only four teams, plays weekend games similar to how the leagues are set up in many places in Europe. The teams typically play single games Friday, a double header on Saturday, and a single game Sunday. That is all. However, today there was some news that the IBL would be closing up shop after just 12 games for each team. Then the post was removed from the league’s Facebook feed shortly after. You can see a screenshot below. IBL Post

I contacted someone within the IBL but was given no indication of the league shutting its doors or continuing to play. So this may be something that they are teetering on the edge with and have not fully decided. Most of the team websites are fairly up to date. However, the league website itself is not and appears to have some sort of error on it, although that has been there for as long as I can remember.

(H/T to Dan Malley for the screenshot)

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MLB Draft: Should the Astros Draft Rendon or Aiken #1 Overall?

The Houston Astros aren’t the doormat of the American League anymore. Okay let’s not get carried away, because they still aren’t very good. They still might be one of the worst teams in baseball, but don’t count them out forever. They are putting together a lot of good young talent which comes when you have the first pick in the draft year after year.

The past two years the Astros have had the first pick in the draft. In 2012 they drafted Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa who is currently tearing it up at the high Single-A level for the Lancaster Jethawks. In 2013, the Astros drafted highly regarded Stanford pitcher Mark Appel. Appel struggled to start the 2014 season but pitched well after being drafted last summer. He has a lot of upside and might be in the big leagues before too long.

Three years ago the Astros only had the #11 pick, but they made the most of it drafting George Springer. Springer would be the Astros #1 prospect had he not been called up to the big leagues earlier this year. So far in 2014 he is tearing it up for a rookie already with 10 home runs in just under 200 at bats.

This year I think tells a lot with where the Astros feel they are at at the big league level. The top two picks in most mock drafts are both left handed starting pitchers. One is a high school phenom in Brady Aiken, and the other is college standout Carlon Rondon from North Carolina State University.

Aiken is highly thought of and has a huge upside. However, Rondon may be closer to the big leagues. This is where I feel the Astros have to make a big decision. Do they choose Rondon in hopes that he could join Appel and the other rising stars in the Astros farm system in just a few years in Houston? Or do they choose Aiken and let him get some seasoning in the minors.

Aiken may take longer to get to the big leagues, but he might have a higher ceiling. Whereas Rondon might still become a quality front of the rotation starter and might do it a bit quicker than the high school pitcher.

The history of high school left handed pitchers going #1 overall has seen some bumps in the road. See David Clyde and Brien Taylor. However, this shouldn’t be taken into much consideration for Houston.

I think the Astros should take Rondon simply because he is further along in his development. Then again I am more of a proponent of taking college pitchers over high schoolers in the first few rounds, especially if you have the first pick. I think the pick will give a slight insight into where the Astros see themselves. Are they still 5+ years away from contending? Then perhaps they should stick with Aiken and go with the younger pitcher. If they feel they are five or less years away from contending, then I would go with Rondon. He gives you the better option to help out a team at the big league level in under five years. That doesn’t mean he will be the ace of the staff in three years. He still needs some polishing, but he is closer than Aiken even if Aiken has a higher upside as many people feel.

No matter who they take, it should be an interesting draft. There are some others I am anxious to see where they wind up like the hard throwing high schooler out of Texas Tyler Kolek. Or who ever drafts Alex Jackson, do they see him as a catcher or an outfielder? There is a lot of talent in the draft this year.

Who do you think the Astros should draft #1 overall?

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Independent Baseball League Teams with the Most Titles

In my continuing infatuation with independent baseball, I decided to take a look at the most successful teams in independent baseball. There are many ways in which you can determine success, but here I am looking at success in terms of championships.

Now you can argue that some championships are bigger than others, but a championship is a championship. All of these teams won their league title and a few even won in several different leagues over the years. There have been so many different leagues over the years and teams come and go. With that in mind I am only looking at teams that won more than two titles. There are quite a few with a single title, including many teams that no longer exist. There are even many teams with two titles, but over two really seems to limit the teams almost to a top 10.

So let’s take a look at the teams with three titles.

Teams with Three Titles

Fort Worth Cats – The Cats have a long history of baseball in Fort Worth dating back to the first half of the 20th century. The team was revived in 2001 in the independent All-American Association. The league folded after a year and the Cat joined the Central Baseball League winning their first championship in 2005. A year later the team joined the American Association where it would continue its dominance winning the title in its first two years in the league, 2006 and 2007. The Cats have not won a title since, but did reach the championship series of the United League Baseball, their current league, in 2013.

Gary SouthShore RailCats – The RailCats started play in the Northern League in 2002. The RailCats quickly built themselves into a powerhouse reaching the Northern League championship five straight seasons (2005-2009). They would win only two of those five (2005, 2007). After the Northern League folded after the 2010 season, the RailCats joined the American Association where they continue to play today. The RailCats are the current defending American Association champions after having defeated the Wichita Wingnuts in four games in 2013.

Long Island Ducks – The Ducks are one of independent baseball’s most famous teams and with it they have three titles. They are the two-time defending champions of the Atlantic League after defeating the Somerset Patriots in five games in 2013. Added to their titles in 2012 and 2013, the Ducks won their first title in 2004.

Windy City Thunderbolts – The Thunderbolts have played in the Frontier League since 1999. The team won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 in the Frontier League. The first title in franchise history came under another name, the Cook County Cheetahs. The Cheetahs played in the Heartland League where they defeated the Tennessee Tomahawks in the championship.

Teams with Four Titles

St. Paul Saints – Arguably the most popular independent baseball team of all-time, the Saints helped build the Northern League. The Saints won the first Northern League title in 1993 and then came back in 1995 and 1996 to claim two more titles. The team didn’t win another one until 2004 just a couple of years before they would jump ship to the American Association where they continue playing today.

New Jersey Jackals – The Jackals began play in 1998 and quickly won the Northeast League title. The following season the Northeast League and the Northern League combined. The Jackals claimed their second title in 2001 defeating the Winnipeg Goldeyes to win their first Northern League title. They would repeat again defeating Winnipeg in 2002. The Northeast League decided to split from the Northern League in 2003. The following year the Jackals would win their fourth and final title claiming the 2004 Northeast League title. Today the Jackals play in the Can-Am League.

Amarillo Dillas – The Dillas existed as a team from 1994 to 2010 playing in different leagues. In 1999 as a part of the defunct Texas-Louisiana League, the Dillas win their first title. After a few league changes the Dillas would put together a powerhouse in the United League Baseball winning three titles in a row from 2008-2010. The team, due to financial difficulties, would disband after the 2010 season.

Teams with Five Titles

Somerset Patriots – Arguably the most successful team due to the league they play in, the Patriots are the five-time champions of the Atlantic League. The Patriots started play in 1998 winning their first title in the leagues fourth years of existence in 2001. This was after losing in the championship the previous two seasons. The Patriots would win again in 2003, 2005, and back-to-back titles in 2008-2009. The team has made the championship nine times, including 2013.

Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks – The Redhawks could also be argued as the most successful team having won five Northern League titles. Their first title came in 1998 just a few years after the Northern League began. A few years later they would pick up their second title in 2003, then again in 2006. The Redhawks would finish out the Northern League (folded after 2010) strong winning the last two titles in 2009 and 2010. They have won 13 division titles including the last two in the American Association where they play today. In their 18 years of existence, the Redhawks have failed to make the playoffs only two times.

Alexandria Aces – The Aces are the franchise with the most titles that no longer exists. The Aces played from 1994-2013. In that span they played in five different leagues including a few seasons in a collegiate league. Their first title came in 1997 in the Texas-Louisiana League. They would win again in 1998 and then turned their sites to the United League Baseball. They would win two straight ULB titles in 2006 and 2007. The final franchise title came in 2009 as a member of the Continental Baseball League.

Teams with Six Titles

Quebec Capitales – The Capitales play in the Canadian-American League where they have dominated. The Northeast League was renamed in 2004 creating the Can-Am League where the Capitales have won six titles since. The team began play in 1999 as a part of the Northern League. Since 2000 the Capitales have made the playoffs 12 times winning 6 titles. They are the five-time defending Can-Am League champions having defeated the New Jersey Jackals in the last three Can-Am League championships.

Perhaps these numbers will change after the 2014 season with nine of the eleven teams still playing.

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Independent Baseball League Stadium Ratings Part 2

We are back with Part 2 of our ratings. This time we take a look at the American Association, United League Baseball, and Pecos League. Not all of the stadiums for these leagues are available via StadiumJourney.com, so we are basing it on what we do have.

There are a few other leagues we did not factor into our ratings. First of all, the Freedom Pro League plays at some of the Arizona Spring Training fields so we did not rank them. The newly formed Independent Baseball League had no stadiums rated via Stadium Journey. It looks as thought they are playing at municipal and local high school fields and if they were in the rankings, they would probably be last based on some of the photos I have seen.

All of the ratings come from StadiumJourney.com. The ratings take into account different aspects including atmosphere, food, and even bang for your buck. Click on any team name to view the Stadium Journey rating for each one, see some stadium photos, and see why each has the rating it does.

American Association – The AA is located throughout the US from Texas to Minnesota. It is one of the more established leauges, but there are rumors a few teams may bolt next year due to travel costs.

Amarillo Sox (3.6) – The Sox play at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. The stadium is old (opened in 1949) and has featured teams in many different leagues over the years. It seems the stadium gets a higher score due to some great fans and good value.

Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (3.3) – The Redhawks play at Newman Outdoor Field which is also home to the North Dakota State Bison. The stadium opened in 1996 and is better known as “The Nest”.

Gary SouthShore RailCats (3.1) – The RailCats play at U.S. Steel Yard. It holds 6,000 people and opened in 2002.

Grand Prairie AirHogs (3.0) – The AirHogs play at Quick Trip Park which opened in 2008. With a capacity of just over 5,400, this is a nice place to catch a game. Afterwards you can walk on over to Lone Star Park and bet on the horses if you wish.

Kansas City T-Bones (3.7) – The T-Bones play at Community America Park which opened in 2003. With a capacity of over 6,500 it is one of the bigger stadiums in the league but not the biggest.

Lincoln Saltdogs (4.0) – The Saltdogs play at Haymarket Park which is also home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The park was built in 2001 and holds 8,500 fans which is the biggest stadium in the AA.

Sioux City Explorers (3.3) – The Explorers play at Lewis & Clark Park which opened in 1993. The Explorers were one of the Northern League teams when the league was reborn in 1993. The stadium has a capacity of over 3,600.

Sioux Falls Canaries (2.9) – The Canaries, formerly known as the Pheasants, play at Sioux Falls Stadium. The stadium was built in 1941 but was renovated as recently as 2000. It holds 4,500 people and is known as the “Birdcage”.

St. Paul Saints (4.0) – The Saints play at Midway Stadium which was built in 1982. It holds a little over 6,300 and is known more for what goes on on the field than the actual stadium.

Winnipeg Goldeyes (4.0) – The Goldeyes play at Shaw Park and is the only team in the AA from Canada. The team has played in Winnipeg since 1994 but only at Shaw Park since 1999. The stadium holds almost 7,500

Average score (two stadiums have not been reviewed) 3.49

Can-Am League – The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball sits now as just a four team league. The league has two teams in each the US and Canada.

New Jersey Jackals (3.1) – The Jackals play at Yogi Berra Stadium which was built in 1998. With a capacity of just over 3,700, the stadium has seen the Jackals compete in three different leagues.

Rockland Boulders (3.3) – The Boulders play at Provident Bank Park which was built in 2011. The new stadium holds 4,500 people.

Average score (two stadiums have not been reviewed) 3.2

United League Baseball – The ULB is located in Texas with four teams and three stadiums (one travel team). A few of the teams are well established including one that plays on historic grounds.

Ft. Worth Cats (3.0) – The Cats play at historic La Grave Field. It has been rebuilt but on the same spot where many historic figures have played in the past. The stadium is nice, but nothing spectacular, sitting just outside of downtown Ft. Worth.

San Angelo Colts (3.0) - The Colts play at Foster Field which is also home to the Angelo State Rams. Built in 2000 it seats 4,200 and features Triple-A lighting. It is a bit more state of the art than some of the other ULB stadiums.

Rio Grande Valley White Wings (2.3) - The White Wings play at Harlingen Field. It is an older park that has undergone numerous renovations but doesn’t really add anything extra to the equation.

Edinburg Roadrunners (2.4) – This stadium is no longer used in the ULB but was in the past when the Roadrunners played at Edinburg Stadium.

Average score (without defunct stadium/team) 2.76

Pecos League – The Pecos League started in 2010 and features teams in the Southwest of the US in parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Most of the parks are city fields and not built specifically for professional baseball.

Trinidad Triggers (2.6) - The Triggers might be most famous for their show on Fox Sports 1 that shows the team in the low minors. They play at Central Park that was built in 1960 and holds 887.

Las Cruces Vaqueros (2.3) – The team and field are no longer used by the Pecos League.

Average score (without defunct stadium/team) 2.6

Final Rankings:

1. Atlantic League 3.65
2. Frontier League 3.53
3. American Association 3.49
4. Can-Am League 3.2
5. United League Baseball 2.76
6. Pecos League 2.6
*Independent Baseball League and Freedom Pro League not rated

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the ratings?

Posted in Minors, N. America2 Comments

Independent Baseball League Stadium Ratings Part 1

Independent baseball leagues often get overlooked when fans are looking to spend their  money. However, sometimes they are a great deal and ,depending on the league, there are some really nice stadiums that fans can see. I have been fascinated with indy leagues since reading a few books on them. So I thought we could look at some of the indy league stadiums and see which league has the best ones to visit.

All of the ratings come from StadiumJourney.com. The ratings take into account different aspects including atmosphere, food, and even bang for your buck. Click on any team name to view the Stadium Journey rating for each one, see some stadium photos, and see why each has the rating it does.

Atlantic League – The Atlantic League is generally regarded as the best indy league based on the former MLB talent that the leagues higher salaries tends to bring in. They also have some of the finest stadiums in independent baseball.

Lancaster Barnstormers (3.4) – The Barnstormers play at Clipper Magazine Stadium which was built in 2005. The capacity is 6,000

Bridgeport Bluefish (2.9) – The Bluefish play at The Ballpark at Harbor Park which opened in 1998. It is one of the older stadiums and has the lowest rating among the Atlantic League teams. It has a capacity of 5,300.

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (3.9) - The Blue Crabs play at Regency Furniture Stadium built in 2008. The stadium holds 4,200 sitting not too far outside of Washington D.C.

Camden Riversharks (4.0) – The Riversharks play at Campbell’s Field. The stadium opened in 2001 since the team’s inception.  It holds just over 6,400.

Long Island Ducks (4.0) – The Ducks, one of the more famous indy teams coming off back-to-back championships, play at Bethpage Ballpark. The park opened in 2000 and holds just over 6,000 people.

Sugar Land Skeeters (4.1) - The Skeeters, one of the newest indy teams, play at Constellation Field. The stadium opened in 2012 and holds 7.500 fans. It also stands as the league’s best ballpark.

York Revolution (3.3) – The Revolution play at Santander Stadium which was built in 2007. The stadium features a retro manual scoreboard and seats 5,200.

Average score (no score for the Somerset Patriots) 3.65

Frontier League – Based out of the Midwest, the Frontier League features fourteen teams and thirteen stadiums (one travel team). The league formed in 1993.

Evansville Otters (4.1) – The Otters play at Bosse Field that opened in 1915. It is the third oldest stadium still in regular use behind Fenway and Wrigley. It was also home to the 1991 movie A League of Their Own.

Florence Freedom (3.9) – The Freedom play at UCMC Stadium. It opened in 2004 and holds 4,500 people.

Lake Erie Crushers (3.1) – The Crushers play at All Pro Freight Stadium which opened in 2009. A newer stadium it holds 5,000.

Southern Illinois Miners (3.6) – The Miners play at Rent One Park. Located in tiny Marion, population 17,000, the stadium was built in 2007 and can hold nearly half of the city with a capacity of 7,000.

Traverse City Beach Bums (3.7) - The Beach Bums play at Wuerful Park which opened in 2006. With one of the best looking entrances, it looks like a beach house, the stadium holds just over 4,600.

Washington Wild Things (3.4) - The Wild Things play at CONSOL Energy Park built in 2002. The stadium hold 5,000.

Gateway Grizzlies (4.0) – The Grizzlies play at GCS Ballpark just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The park holds 6,000 fans and routinely they place high in the attendance standings.

Joliet Slammers (3.3) – The Slammers play at Silver Cross Field. The stadium opened in 2002 and holds around 6,000 people.

Normal CornBelters (3.3) – The CornBelters play at The Corn Crib. The stadium opened in 2010 and its seems everything there is corn themed. It holds 7,000 fans.

River City Rascals (3.9) – The Rascals play at T.R. Hughes Ballpark which opened in 1999. With a capacity at just over 3,600, the stadium has seen some interesting events including a home run derby between Albert Pujols and Shaquille O’Neal.

Rockford Aviators (3.1) – The Aviators play at Aviators Stadium which opened in 2006. It holds just over 4,200 fans.

Schaumburg Boomers (3.3) – The Boomers play at Boomers Stadium that was built in 1999. The stadium holds a little over 7,300.

Windy City Thunderbolts (3.3) – The Thunderbolts play at Standard Bank Stadium. Built in 1999, it holds a little more than 3,100.

Average score 3.53

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will include a few more leagues including the American Association, United League Baseball, and the Pecos League.

What do you think? Do you agree with these ratings? What is your favorite independent league stadium?

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College: Top 8 Seeds Fight for Spot in Omaha

The Road to Omaha kicks off today as the regional round starts today at sixteen different spots around the country.  As the rounds progress you can follow the bracket here.

The top eight seeds were announced earlier this week with the Oregon State Beavers (42-12) picking up the top seed. In the top eight there were a few teams nobody expected when the season began. Following up Oregon State is SEC power Florida (40-21). The SEC only placed two teams this  year in the top 8 seeds. Next up at #3 is Virginia (44-13), followed by #4 Indiana (42-13), #5 Florida State (44-15), #6 UL-Lafayette (53-7), #7 TCU (42-15), and #8 LSU (44-14-1).

The top eight seeds don’t really match up with the final rankings as all of the major polls had UL-Lafayette ranked first. In fact many of the polls had a few teams outside of the top 10 including TCU and Indiana.

LSU (SEC), TCU (Big 12), Indiana (Big 10), and UL-Lafayette (Sun Belt) all won their conference tournaments. Oregon State won the Pac-12 but there is no conference tournament.

National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association Poll

 

Rank School Record Previous
1 Louisiana-Lafayette 53-7 2
2 Oregon State 42-12 1
3 Virginia 44-13 3
4 LSU 44-14-1 8
5 Florida State 43-15 6
6 Cal Poly 45-10 4
7 Oklahoma State 45-16 7
8 Louisville 45-15 5
9 Houston 44-15 12
10 Florida 40-21 14
11 Indiana 42-16 18
12 South Carolina 41-18 9
13 Vanderbilt 41-18 10
14 Miami (Fla.) 41-17 11
15 Rice 41-18 17
16 TCU 42-15 20
17 Mississippi 41-18 16
18 Washington 39-15-1 13
19 Oregon 42-18 15
20 Texas 38-18 19
21 Nebraska 40-19 24
22 Mississippi State 37-22 21
23 Texas Tech 40-18 22
24 Pepperdine 39-16 29
25 Sam Houston State 41-17 23
26 Clemson 36-23 26
27 Arkansas 38-23 27
28 Dallas Baptist 40-19 30
29 Alabama 34-22 25
30 San Diego State 42-19 NR

Dropped Out: No. 28 Liberty.

Others Receiving Votes (Listed Alphabetically): Arizona State (33-22), Bryant (42-14), Cal State Fullerton (32-22), Campbell (40-19), College of Charleston (41-17), Columbia (29-18), Creighton (32-17-1), Georgia Tech (36-25), Indiana State (35-16), Kentucky (35-23), Liberty (41-16), Long Beach State (32-24), Maryland (36-21), Old Dominion (36-24), Sacramento State (39-22), UNLV (35-23).

Posted in College, N. America0 Comments

College: 2014 Olerud Award Watch List Released

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

Small schools well-represented among 10 honorees

LUBBOCK, Texas — As postseason play begins for many teams across the country, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame has released the initial watch list for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

The award, named for the Washington State star who achieved success as both a first baseman and a left-handed pitcher, will be presented as part of the annual College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 28 in Lubbock, Texas.

Players from across the country and representing schools both large and small highlight the list. Among the smaller schools on the list are Central Connecticut State and South Carolina Upstate.

“These may be smaller schools, but the young men from these schools have statistics that stack up against any other school in the country,” said Chris Curbo, Olerud Award co-chair. “They have impressive numbers both on the mound and at the plate, and that makes them very valuable to their teams, regardless of the size of their school or the conference they play in.”

Kentucky standout A.J. Reed has the highest batting average among the watch-list honorees at .359, and he has 22 home runs. He also has a 2.11 earned-run average in 98 innings pitched and has played in 54 games.

Louisiana-Lafayette senior left-hander and outfielder Ryan Wilson has the lowest ERA on the watch list at 1.55 in 52 1/3 innings pitched. He also has a .250 batting average.

“This list represents players from across the country,” Curbo said. “It’s a small number of players who are called two-way players, and we’re proud to honor their contributions.”

For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visitwww.collegebaseballhall.org.

JOHN OLERUD TWO-WAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Nick Howard

Virginia

ACC

Erik Samples

South Carolina Upstate

Atlantic Sun

Jacob Cronenworth

Michigan

Big Ten

J.D. Davis

Cal State Fullerton

Big West

Michael Foster

Northeastern

Colonial

Drew Reynolds

East Carolina

Conference USA

Josh Ingham

Central Connecticut State

Northeast

A.J. Reed

Kentucky

SEC

Ryan Wilson

Louisiana – Lafayette

Sun Belt

Aaron Brown

Pepperdine

West Coast

Posted in College, N. America0 Comments

College: Semifinalists Announced for Brooks Wallace Award

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

ACC, SEC continue to dominate watch list for nation’s top shortstop

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Southeastern Conference dominated the bids for NCAA regional play with 10 teams, and it also, along with the Atlantic Coast Conference, dominates the semifinalist list for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award.

The Brooks Wallace Award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented during the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 28 in Lubbock, Texas.

“The players from these two conferences have stood out throughout the season,” said Tyler Young, Wallace Award co-chair. “To have six players from these two conferences consistently make it through the selection process is quite remarkable.”

Vanderbilt’s Vince Conde and Mercer’s Michael Massi both have the best fielding percentage among the semifinalists at .982. Conde also has a .306 batting average with nine doubles, one triple, four home runs and 43 RBIs. Massi has a .346 average with 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs.

Tennessee Tech’s Dylan Bosheers leads in several offensive categories, including batting average (.368), home runs (11) and RBIs (56).

North Carolina’s Michael Russell leads the semifinalists in doubles with 19.

“Each of these players has recorded great statistics all season,” said Larry Wallace, award co-chair. “They each bring something to the table and will make the selection of the three finalists difficult.”

For more information on the Brooks Wallace Award or the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.

BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Blake Schmit

Maryland

ACC

Michael Russell

North Carolina

ACC

Trea Turner

North Carolina State

ACC

Michael Massi

Mercer

Atlantic Sun

Sam Haggerty

New Mexico

Mountain West

Dylan Bosheers

Tennessee Tech

Ohio Valley

Mikey White

Alabama

SEC

Alex Bregman

LSU

SEC

Vince Conde

Vanderbilt

SEC

Blake Trahan

Louisiana – Lafayette

Sun Belt

Posted in College, N. America0 Comments

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