All Quiet On The Minor-League Front

As Spike used to say... mehPerhaps the most depressing thing is that this is the third time I’ve had to write this kind of post, thanks to the news slowdown. Today’s spring-like weather certainly won’t help because, like the first full week after a long weekend (or, say, a winter break), when it gets cold again (it is January, after all,) it’ll seem just a little worse.

Just like last January, there’s blather chatter from the “A” ball affiliates regarding new facilities. In Hagerstown, a grandstanding city councilman suggests putting out a bid for ballpark proposals, which sounds reasonable to folks unfamiliar with how minor-league baseball operates. Ballpark Digest explains why that’s a chimera.

Meanwhile, in Potomac, the filet mignon that’s going to be tomorrow night’s special at the diner is scheduled to be one of the highlights of the P-Nats’ Hot Stove Banquet next week. If that sounds familiar, well, perhaps that’s because you’ve seen it before. (For those wondering, the Senators’ event is on the 26th, the Chiefs hold theirs on February 1st, while Doubledays are on the 2nd.)

Not much else to report, unfortunately. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

19 thoughts on “All Quiet On The Minor-League Front”

  1. There’s such an inevitable sense of failure with the Hagerstown facilities.
    I hope I’m wrong; we have some loyal posters from there.

    1. From my perspective as a season ticket holder and a city of Hagerstown resident; can walk there in 10 minutes, we’re pretty much resigned to the team being gone after this year. This city has just screwed around long enough and the new council seemingly has NO idea how the world of MILB works and the true value to this community. I envision the team moving to the Carolinas….and then us moving from Hagerstown. 🙁 Hagerstown needs the Suns MORE than the Suns need Hagerstown.

  2. Hey Luke,

    Heck with the ball news slowdown–I liked the picture of the dogs!

    They look like real buddies. One looks like a boxer mix??

    1. Louisville (a.k.a. LuLu) — named after the city I was in when Spike passed — is actually a mix of four different breeds (according to the DNA test we bought): Bull Mastiff, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and French Bulldog. Riley is a purebred German Shepherd Dog (yes, Dog is part of the breed name, even if it’s like ATM Machine). They’re both fixed females.

      We got Riley on July 4th, but as you’ve probably already guessed, LuLu was adopted a month later and became the alpha dog, going so far as to take all of Riley’s toys out of her cage and put them into hers on the first evening (LuLu is roughly a year older).

  3. I was remiss in not mentioning the new photo.
    Your story of Riley being afraid of her image in the mirror reminds me of the youtube video where the dog is afriad of the new Fathead image of Andrew McCutchen on the wall. 🙂

  4. Luke,

    Thanks for the up-date on LuLu and Riley. I did DNA on my Shepard/Golden Retriever mix and found out that she also had a wiener dog background–she was not pleased with that latter bit of science.

    Interesting how dogs establish alpha-dogism. Our older one, Sammy, would take the other’s toys, food, and bed when the urge to tease and dominate became a priority.

  5. Any thoughts re Syracuse (and Auburn for short season) being the Nats AAA affilitate beyond 2014 or 2016? Seems that the remote location (vs., say Richmond) and the cold spring weather (Harper said he froze last spring) and the very modest (and snarky) fan support in Syracuse would argue for a move.

  6. Let me put this to rest first: The Diamond in Richmond is the Pfitzner of the Eastern League (but with worse parking and located in an unsavory neighborhood), and is awful to get to for DC-area fans. Had the Giants been not so eager to get out of Dodd Stadium, which is actually nicer than the Diamond, it might have gone empty when the Braves left for Gwinnett County.

    I like both Syracuse and Auburn. The facilities are middle-of-the-pack or better for their league, but the locations are good — Syracuse is right where I-90 (a.k.a. the NY Thruway) and I-81 meet, Auburn is off U.S. 20, about 10 miles south of I-90, 25 miles west of I-81 — the same I-81 that’s near both Harrisburg and Hagerstown.

    As for moving, a lot depends on what’s available… every 2-4 years teams can renegotiate their PDCs and the vast majority renew, especially at the upper levels. Lately, the trend has been who can get out of Las Vegas in the PCL and back into the IL, which began in 2008 with a major shuffle that left Toronto the odd man out. Since then, there have been just two switches — Houston and Texas swapping Round Rock and Oklahoma City after the 2010 season, and New York and Toronto swapping Rochester and Las Vegas after the 2012 season.

    My fear would be the Mets convincing Syracuse to switch without a fallback option (i.e. what happened to Toronto in ’08). The Blue Jays were very unhappy in Las Vegas, so the assumption is that they’re going to work hard to keep Buffalo and unless the Mets take a liking to Vegas, they’ll be candidates to gun after Syracuse or Rochester.

    1. I totally concur on Richmond; what a dump.
      The AAA swap involved Buffalo, not Rochester. Rochester is the Minnesota affiliate.
      The people in Buffalo never took to the Mets at all, the feeling was they wanted an AL team.
      Of course, the fact that the Mets ownership is totally repellant might have had something to do with it.
      Luke, how does the fact that Syracuse consistently is a the bottom, attendance wise, factor in to anything. Just wondering.

      1. I think you can see that my copyeditor missed the rewrite since I got Buffalo right later on 😉

        The attendance is bad compared to the other IL markets, but compared to itself… the 349K they drew last season is still above pre-Alliance Bank Park figures (low-300s) while the first four years of the Nats affiliation (2009-2012) totals up slightly higher than the last four years (2005-2008) of the Toronto affiliation (which falls in line with the multiple studies that have shown that affiliation has very little effect on attendance. Before anyone says “winning,” consider that the top season in attendance, 1999, Syracuse was 73-71).

        Truth be told, I think the only people that truly care about this are the local fans and the local ownership. OK, maybe the guys at BallparkDigest and BallparkBiz, but you get my point…

        1. I think that the Nats’ long term DC interests are best served by investing heavily in Virginia. Although I hear great things about Harrisburg’s stadium (when its not under water), between the O’s, Phillies and Pirates the competition for fans there is more local. My dream lineup has the Nats affiliates thusly:

          AAA: Norfolk
          AA: Richmond (with the team investing in a new state-of-the-art stadium)
          A+: Potomac
          A: Loudon County
          A-: Alexandria (bring back the Dukes!)

          Admittedly this dream plan thuds into reality on a couple of major points: the O’s will never leave Norfolk, just to spite the Nationals. My plan B would be to have the Nationals invest in a AAA quality ballpark for Richmond and take over the town (I’ve read rumblings that the Giants wouldn’t mind getting out). But after the nickle-and-diming on Nats Park once they took over the team, I can’t imagine that the Lerners are going to invest in a real Richmond ballpark, whether AA or AAA.

          Sad, because I think that the long term interest in building a strong VA fan base would be immensely beneficial both in terms of game tickets sold and in terms of generating additional radio/cable TV revenue (the latter again wishfully thinking they get out of the MASN deal).

          1. Much as I would hate it for our friends in Hagerstown, back when it looked like Lynchburg was going to open up by virtue of moving to Wilmington, NC, a move down there to become the Low-A affiliate would kill two stones with one bird by upgrading to a renovated facility and improving the Nats’ presence in Virginia. But that all became moot once voters killed the referendum.

  7. BTW, since there is little for you to do? Any chance of moving Erik Komatsu out of the bullpen and into the outfield where he belongs? ~smiles~ And I’m pretty certain Nate Karns is still a starter and continues to thrive in that role in spite of online attempts to put him in the bullpen in Potomac.

    1. I thought I might have been too subtle with the reference to Karns being talked about for nearly two years before his first full season, i.e. in 2010 when he could only be found in the comments by one particular contributor (ahem). Can’t help you with Komatsu, though. He’s still coming back from surgery and as the sole position player, he’s the reason I named that group M*A*S*H and not some pun on “disarmed.”

      1. I think Peric was talking about fixing them in the “Big Board”, but since there will be so much re-work there over the next month or so, it seems hardly worthwile to pay attention to it right now.

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