My goal is to add perspective to subjects other than the regular headlines.
Contact Stephanie at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com



Friday, September 30, 2011

Today's Baseball News

Linking to a few of my favorite sites/writers. Although I may not write about the big headlines, these guys do a great job with the best insight.... check them out!

Francona expected to leave Red Sox
by Ken Rosenthal/ FOX Sports, CLICK HERE.


Rangers appear to have edge, but Tampa Bay has resilience
by Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com, CLICK HERE.

First Division Finish
by Ted Leavengood/ Seamheads.com
No, the Nationals are not headed for the playoffs, and yes, the smug fans up the coast will shake their heads in bemusement at the joy we share at finishing in the top half of the 30 Major League baseball teams. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE...


GM: Don't expect quick Jose Reyes deal
by Adam Rubin/ESPN.com, CLICK HERE.


10 Numbers for the ALDS: Tigers vs. Yankees
by Alex Remington/ BigLeagueStew.com
As the start of the postseason approaches, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series. Up next are the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, who will kick off their series tonight in the Bronx. CLICK HERE TO READ.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MLB 2011 Postseason Schedule - 1st Round


                 AL Division Series (TBS) 
Game 1:    DET @ NYY (Friday, 9/30)
                 TB @ TEX (Friday, 9/30)
Game 2:    DET @ NYY (Saturday, 10/1)
                 TB @ TEX (Saturday, 10/1)
Game 3:    NYY @ DET (Monday, 10/3)
                TEX @ TB (Monday, 10/3)
Game 4*   NYY @ DET (Tuesday, 10/4)
                TEX @ TB (Tuesday, 10/4)
Game 5*   DET @ NYY (Thursday, 10/6)
                 TB @ TEX (Thursday, 10/6)

                NL Division Series (TBS)
Game 1:  STL @ PHI (Saturday, 10/1)
              ARI @ MIL (Saturday, 10/1)
Game 2:  STL @ PHI (Sunday, 10/2)
              ARI @ MIL (Sunday, 10/2)
Game 3:  PHI @ STL (Tuesday, 10/4)
              MIL @ ARI (Tuesday, 10/4)
Game 4* PHI @ STL (Wednesday, 10/5)
              MIL @ ARI (Wednesday, 10/5)
Game 5* STL @ PHI (Friday, 10/7)
               ARI @ MIL (Friday, 10/7)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Midwest League Playoffs/ Attendance

I spent this past weekend in Davenport, Iowa to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits (Cardinals, single A) play in the second round the the Midwest League Playoffs against the Kane County Cougars (Royals, single A). This past Saturday, September 10th was the first of the three game series for the second round of playoffs. The Bandits had home field advantage after clinching a playoff spot in the frist half of the season, so they started the series in Geneva, Illinois at Elfstrom Stadium where the Cougars call home. It was a beautiful day with a late afternoon start of 4:00pm CST. And an entire 785 tickets were sold.


The Cougars draw particularily well of the Midwest League teams, sometimes selling out with over 7,500 fans in attendance. For the past 8 years they have been affiliated with the Oakland Athletics, but prior to this season they swapped farm teams with the Royals sending the A's out to Burlington, Iowa. The loyalty of fans did not drastically change throughout the regular season, still with big enthusiastic crowds but now sporting more blue than dark green. This past Saturday in Geneva was 74 degrees and partly cloudy. The starting pitcher, Trevor Rosenthal threw a 4 hit complete game shut out to put the bandits up 1-0 in the 3 game series. Of the 785 tickets old, 500 people may have stuck around to see the 7-0 victory for the Bandits.

On Sunday, the Bandits resumed play at their home field, Modern Woodman Park where they typically draw 4,000 -5,000 for a weekend game. Intensified by the current playoff race and going for their second sweep in the postseason this year, you'd figure again to see a decent crowd. Wrong again. 582 tickets were sold and from the looks of it maybe 200 actually showed up. Both were perfect days weather wise.

Sunday in Davenport, Iowa was 78 degrees and sunny with a few overcast clouds. Sitting in the stands on Sunday I kept thinking, "what perfect baseball weather." It was the enough-to-get-a-light-tan-without-sweating-perfusely kind of weather. To top all of this off, the bandits came back from a 5-0 deficit to win in walk off fashion in the bottom of the 9th on a 3 run homer by Nick Longmire to sweep the Cougars and advance to the Midwest League Championship series.



The team celebrating their walkoff in the bottom of the 9th (notice the mostly empty stands)


For a majority of the current River Bandits, this could be their second Championship ring in as many seasons. Last season in Johnson City, the low A affiliate of the Cardinals, they took home the Championship and many of those same players advanced to full A this season and are on the same track. That being said, I think Cardinal fans should be especially proud of the crop of talent they have in their minor leagues.

This leaves us with the question, Why are these games not high in attendance? They are on weekends with great weather at their respected home fields. Two weeks ago in the regular season they were sellouts. After asking around at the stadiums to various employees, the overall concensus was that the playoffs never sell out, nor do they ever come close. Why is there not more advertising? Is there a lack of care or could it be that the NFL week 1 was in progress? I am not quite sure, but one thing I know is that all these fans that came out for the season needs to get to their ballparks! This is the most exciting time for the players and fans. Just because the give aways are not bobbleheads does not warrant an empty stadium. This does bring me back to a reoccuring theme on my blog that baseball is advertising to the mass audiences when they should be focusing on the fanatics. Rightly so, it is short notice that the public recieves on when the games will be played but I would like to see other suggestions on how to expand the exposure of the Minor League playoffs. I feel as if this is a goldmine for fans just being completely over looked. We have high round talents playing for Championships for crying out loud! Please email me at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com with any additional info or suggestions.

If you are interested, the Quad Cities River Bandits will be playing the Championship series starting Wednesday at the Lansing Lugnuts. They will play games 1 and 2 of the 5 game series at Lansing, and will then come home to Davenport for games 3, 4 (if necessary) and 5 (if necessary) on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday respectibly. I will be there for all three games in the Quad Cities, as well. This is for the Midwest League Championship so come out and support your baby birds! If you have to drive super far, I may just buy your ticket for you... email me!
The Baseball Life,
-S

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Call Ups

Today marks the first day Major League rosters convert their 25 man rosters to 40 for the duration of the regular season. For many of these call ups, its their first taste at the Major League level - friends, family, and fans can revel in the enjoyment in seeing the beginning of the future for these hard working rookies.

The expanded rosters can provide to be a valuable tool for teams vying for post season play, but unless the player was on the 25 man active roster before midnight on August 31st, he is not eligible for the post season roster.

The September expansions are as equally important to non-condending teams as they are for the playoff hopeful. Bringing up young talent now, is a great way to alleviate some pressure in the transfer from minors to majors as it give them an early audition for the following season. It can also give front office personal a chance to assess the talent they have in the minors and see how they perform in the role of a Major Leaguer.

On the other hand, many players being called up will be expected to help their teams decrease that *magic number* and push them into the playoffs. For example, with the Yankees currently trailing the Red Sox 1.5 games in the standing, they will look to their prized catching prospect, Jesus Montero, to make his debut (today) and serve as an extra bat on the bench. He would be given a start and mostly some spot AB's and if he's hot, he could take over the role Eric Chavez has held as DH or even lock down a starting postition to carry into the following year.

That being said, the month of September is arguably the most crucial for our teams' farm systems. Friends and family will be filling the ballparks to cheer on the debuts of players everywhere and fans will be anxious to see the talent of their teams come alive in front of their own eyes! To all the fans who's teams are in contention (not mine) congrats and enjoy this last month before the playoffs!

Congrats to all the September call ups!
The Baseball Life,
-S