A Few Words About Maikel Franco

Franco with an RBI, from the final home stand.  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Franco with an RBI, from the final home stand. Photo: Cheryl Pursell


Word leaked out, as the ‘Pigs close out the 2014 season in Moosic, that Maikel Franco will indeed get the call to the Phillies after the game today.  In fact, rumor has it, he’ll start tomorrow for the Phillies in Atlanta.  It’s been debated for weeks, and I’m happy it’s finally official.

I’ve been a strong supporter of the call:  I think it will get the young man some experience that he can use to challenge for a spot in Spring Training.  It’s not that I think he’s been ready during the season–too much inconsistency and some flaws in his game.  However, the naysayers think I’m wrong.  Let me address the concerns:

  1. He won’t get any playing time.   I don’t care.  He won’t get any in Allentown, either (the season’s over).  He won’t get any at home sitting on his couch.  Winter ball (It’s been reported that he’ll play, although not where) doesn’t start for a while.  He just played an entire season of AAA baseball.  Why not let him get some exposure to the Phillies big team, and let the coaches there see him now that he has a season of AAA under his belt. They haven’t seen him since March in Clearwater.
  2. He’ll develop bad habits.   How can he develop bad habits if he’s not getting regular playing time?  The first two concerns cancel each other out.  It’s September.  The Phillies are out of it.  It should be a nice relaxed atmosphere for him to learn what he needs to do to take the next step.
  3. It will ruin him.  Just like they did to Dom Brown.   Nope.  First, Maikel is a different guy.  I know neither of them well–I’m just saying that the personalities and psyches might be different.  Secondly, Dom was called, demoted, called again, and sat the bench for a team challenging for the pennant.  This is a different team.  With a different manager and a different outlook on the future.  Plus, this is happening AFTER the season.  The routine of AAA is over.  Whatever development and experience Maikel was to receive at AAA has been completed–at least for this year.  It’s not interrupting his season or taking away experience he could receive by playing every day, because that is over.

It’s a bonus and it’s a reward.  I think everyone knows that Maikel is not the savior of the Phillies.  It just makes sense.

Part of making room for the call-ups is making room on the 40-man.  To that end, the Phillies yesterday traded with the Blue Jays:  John Mayberry Jr for an A-AA 3B.  This concludes JMJ’s time in the Phillies organization.  I think he’s spent time with the IronPigs over more different seasons than any other player.  And, as I said yesterday at the RailRiders game:  I’ve seen enough.  I mean no disparagement, but I’ve seen what he can do at AAA and in the Majors, and I’ve had it.  Time for a fresh start elsewhere, Junior.  It’s been real.  It’s been nice.  It hasn’t been real nice.

And as I finished typing, the season has officially ended.  Tyler Henson strikes out with men on first and third and two outs, and the IronPigs lose to the RailRiders 4-1.  They lost the continuation of yesterday’s game in a 2-1 walk-off, as well.  They’ll finish in last place.

More to come on the 2014 IronPigs as we empty out the “drafts” file:

  1. Scranton is a Trip:  A look back at our time in Moosic in 2013-2014.
  2. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 1:  “A Season of Change”
  3. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 2:  “Memories of a Season Gone By, Quickly”
  4. 2014 IronPigs Postmortem vol. 3:  “The Season in Pictures”
  5. 2014 IronPIgs Postmortem vol. 4:  “A Look Ahead:  Players and Rosters for 2015″

See you at the arena, I guess,


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Close This Thing Down: IronRail, Pigs Finale, Tailgate, Trough

The IronPigs 2014 home season comes to a close tonight, following an exciting 6-5 win versus the RailRiders last night.  The win secured the 2014 IronRail Trophy for the IronPigs–our first of many I assume.  Tonight, we put the season to bed the best way we know how:  relax and have fun!

From Right: Kurt: "Here it is! We won!" Brundy: "Cool.  It's kinda heavy." Uncle Ray:  "Groovy" Sal: "Would you guys put that away, there are three more games to play." The Mick: "I can't believe we have to wear black pants."

From Right:
Kurt: “Here it is! We won!”
Brundy: “Cool. It’s kinda heavy.”
Uncle Ray: “Groovy”
Sal: “Would you guys put that away, there are three more games to play.”
The Mick: “I can’t believe we have to wear black pants.”


We’ll be at the LSI spot today 3:30 or so setting up.  Menu: Thai Shrimp, Sausage Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, sodas.  Look for the flag(s).


Assuming there will be an “after party” tonight, we’ll be hanging out in the trough until they make us leave.


A couple of us are making the trip up to Moosic tomorrow.  See you up there, maybe.  Most likely will sit out Monday, though.

Stay Tuned!

I’ve got a couple baseball posts still in the works, and we’ll do some season retrospective.  I’ve got a couple Arena things going, too, as well as some hockey preview.


See you at the park, one more time,


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The entire AHL schedule was released today, and can be found at theAHL.com online.  The Phantoms’ home schedule is below.

There are 37 regular season home dates plus the two previously scheduled preseason games.  All home games are 7:05PM starts, save for the three Sundays late in the season, which are either 3:05PM or 5:05PM.  There are 10 Fridays, 14 Saturdays, 3 Sundays, 9 Wednesdays, and one each Tuesday and Thursday.

The PIFL schedule may be released soon, as well, and we’ll have to look and see if we get any “double-header” days downtown with the SteelHawks.  The Phantoms will play at the same time as the IronPigs on Friday 4/10, Saturday 4/11, and Tuesday 4/14.

2014-2015 Phantoms Home Schedule at the PPL Center, Allentown, PA  7:05PM Puck Drops

Friday 10/17: Adirondack

Friday 10/24: Hershey

Wednesday 10/29: WB/Scranton

Saturday 11/1: Hartford

Saturday 11/15: Toronto

Wednesday 11/19: Hershey

Friday 11/21: Worcester

Saturday 11/22: St. John’s

Wednesday 11/26: Springfield

Saturday 11/29: Norfolk

Saturday 12/6: Bridgeport

Saturday 12/13: WB/Scranton

Wednesday 12/17: Binghamton

Friday 12/19: Hershey

Saturday 12/27: Norfolk

Friday 1/16: Albany

Saturday 1/17: Binghamton

Wednesday 1/21: Hershey

Saturday 1/24: St. John’s

Thursday 1/29: Albany

Friday 1/30: Hershey

Wednesday 2/4: Worcester

Friday 2/13: Binghamton

Wednesday 2/18: Binghampton

Friday 2/20: Providence

Saturday 2/21: Hartford

Saturday 2/28: Binghamton

Friday 3/6: Bridgeport

Saturday 3/7: Portland

Sunday 3/22: WB/Scranton 5:05PM

Wednesday 3/25: Syracuse

Saturday 3/28: WB/Scranton

Sunday 3/29: Manchester 3:05PM

Wednesday 4/8: WB/Scranton

Friday 4/10: Norfolk (IronPigs Conflict)

Saturday 4/11: Norfolk (IronPigs Conflict)

Tuesday 4/14: Hershey (IronPigs Conflict)

Sunday 4/19: WB/Scranton 5:05PM

See you at the arena,


from Phantoms Twitter acct.

from Phantoms Twitter acct.

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Will Now Call PPL Center Home

Allentown, PA: Beginning the 2015 season, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks will have a new nest in the PPL Center! In a press conference today, the team announced that they will be making the move from Stabler Arena in Bethlehem to the brand new PPL Center in downtown Allentown.
“The move to the PPL Center enhances our product in so many ways,” stated Steelhawks General Manager Mike Clark. “From the sightlines for the patrons, to the state-of-the-art jumbotron, to the accessibility for all fans being in a downtown area, the PPL Center is going to bring a whole new level of entertainment to the entire Lehigh Valley. We truly appreciate the last four years inside Stabler Arena but we couldn’t be more thrilled to call this our new home.”

The Steelhawks will play all of their home games inside of the state-of-the-art facility that can hold a crowd of 8,500. The arena features an amazing jumbotron, three restaurants (including the famous Chickie’s and Pete’s, Tim Horton’s, and Crust), and great views of the game from anywhere in the building. The new venue will open many doors to allow the Steelhawks’ to bring more entertainment value to all their fans. As a football field, it will be a full 50 yards longs (plus eight yard endzones), and will feature the rounded off endzones that most of the teams in the league have.

“We’re thrilled that the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks have decided to make PPL Center their new home,” said Global Spectrum’s Gunnar Fox, General Manager of PPL Center. “We truly feel that having the Steelhawks as a tenant team will enhance the diverse line-up of events that PPL Center has to offer which now includes arena football.”

The PPL Center (pplcenter.com) is a Global-Spectrum managed state-of-the-art multipurpose arena opening this September in downtown Allentown, Pa. The arena will seat more than 10,000 for concerts and more than 8,500 for Steelhawks contests, making it the region’s largest events venue. The amenities-packed PPL Center will host more than 140 events each year, offering something for everyone, including the Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, live concerts, family shows, trade shows, figure skating events, youth sports, high school and collegiate events, Disney on Ice, conferences, graduations and many more events. PPL Center will be the heart of the Lehigh Valley and is currently the main catalyst to the revitalization and growth of downtown Allentown.

Rob and Jim Brooks were also on hand for today’s announcements. “We are excited to welcome the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks to the PPL Center,” said Rob Brooks, owner of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League and BDH Development, the master leaseholder of PPL Center. “We look forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnership between PPL Center and the Steelhawks and are excited to have the team join us during our inaugural season.”

In other news today, in the team’s first 2015 player contract was signed by veteran DL Larry Ford (6’4, 265, West Virginia). He was named to the 2013 All-PIFL 2nd team in a season in which he claimed the team’s single sack record (7.5). He recorded eight tackles, one tackle for a loss, and two sacks in the Steelhawks 2014 campaign which saw him jump up and down from the Cleveland Gladiators franchise in the Arena Football League. Ford brings a defensive leadership and experience to the Steelhawks defensive front line.

Steelhawks Head Coach Chris Thompson shared in the days excitement. “This is a great day for the Steelhawks as we get to not only play in a brand new state of the art arena like the PPL Center, but also raise our 2014 National Conference Championship banner in it on opening night. I can’t wait for our awesome 9th man fan base, Steelhawks Junior Football League (SJFL), and Partners to share in this moment and new home for years to come. We have enjoyed so much success these last 3 years and this is another step forward in providing a great night of family entertainment in the Lehigh Valley. I can’t wait to see what the move to the PPL Center and 2015 season bring for the Steelhawks. All I know, is it is going to be rocking.”

Thank you to the entire Steelhawks Nation for supporting us throughout the years! Stay tuned to the Steelhawks facebook and website for more exciting announcements over the off-season! We are already looking forward to next season.

Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks! For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at http://www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news! 2015 Season Ticket packages will be on sale soon! Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100.

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@SteelhawksPIFL to Play @PPLCenter !

Our beloved Lehigh Valley Steelhawks announced this morning that they will be playing their 2015 PIFL Arena Football season in the new Allentown Arena!

More details as they come in…


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2015 IronPigs Schedule Released: Good, Bad and Ugly



  1. Opening Day at Coca Cola Park
  2. Closing Day at Coca Cola Park
  3. Plenty of Weekend games
  4. No home stand longer than 8 games
  5. A nice, busy June
  6. 12 games in 14 days at the end of July/beginning of August
  7. Plenty of April Games
  8. Shorter road trips for the players
  9. Fewer 2-game sets–Mr. Brundage should approve.
  10. A couple good candidates for vacation weeks in August, and one in July–for the fans.
  11. 222 game at Coca Cola Park April 7.
  12. With all 1:35 games on Sundays, plenty of chance to continue the post-game tailgate tradition–and plenty of chance to get over to the SteelHawks games if they’re smart and go for evening kickoff on Sundays when the ‘Pigs are home.
  13. Not listing the playoffs on the schedule is probably a good idea.  We’ll figure that out later….
  14. The late start to the season should ease conflicts with SteelHawks (somewhat) and Phantoms, and the late end to the season should flow into pre-season hockey quite nicely.


  1. Season doesn’t start until April 9!  We’re going to be champing at the bit, I’m telling you.
  2. With the season extending to a late Labor Day, September 7–could be a week without the best players as they could be called up September 1.
  3. New, uneven schedule has 18 games with Scranton–10 in Moosic, 8 in Allentown!
  4. Fewer games with Western and Southern opponents–some only in town for 3 days instead of 4.
  5. The busy April is good for baseball fans like myself, but tough on the attendance race.
  6. No 5:35 games on Sundays in the summer.


  1. Only 8 games in August!  Unbalanced!
  2. The RailRiders get home field advantage in the race for the IronRail!

But, I’ll be there,



Filed under Coca Cola Park, Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Lehigh Valley Roller Derby! – 8/16/2014 – Video!

If you missed this weekend’s bout between the Long Island Roller Rebels Rock-A-Betty Bruisers and our Lehigh Valley RollerGirls Blast Furnace Betties or just want to see it again… here is the Noise Nation’s production of Just Jams!


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