Monthly Archives: January 2010

RHP Register to Blue Jays Organization

RHP Steven Register has signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays complete with an invite to spring training.

The former Ironpig won 2 games and lost three in 41.1 innings for Lehigh Valley last season along with 7 saves and a 3.70 ERA.

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Phillies Trades, At What Cost

So as it comes to a point with all the rumors, details, teams and drama involved this offseason for the Phillies… let’s take a look at the broad spectrum end result.

Philadelphia Loses (From start of 2009 season):
Carlos Carrasco
Lou Marson
Jason Donald
Jason Knapp
Kyle Drabek
Michael Taylor
Travis d’Arnaud

Philadelphia Gains:
Roy Halladay
Phillippe Aumont
Tyson Gillies
J.C. Ramirez
Ben Francisco

Philadelphia Flips (I guess the housing market can’t hold the monopoly on this term forever.):
Cliff Lee

When I look at those changes to the Phillies organization, I wonder… should Drabek have gone midseason to aquire Halladay in time to make an impact in 2009? Does trading the prospects of Marson, Carrasco, Donald and Knapp equate to what Lee accomplished for the Phillies and the prospects he, in turn, provided to the team for 2010? It could be as obvious as wanting to keep Happ or hanging onto Taylor yet it seems it became so over-complicated that the average baseball fan has to sit back and just say, “WOW!” in the manner that a NASCAR fan reacts to a pileup on the final lap at Daytona.

What really shocks me is the way Michael Taylor is being bounced by Toronto. Taylor provided the Ironpig fans with the first cycle in Ironpig’s history as well as excelled in many aspects of the game. Speaking to someone this afternoon, who worked closely with Taylor in the past, has given me the impression he understood the importance of the fan and was outgoing in his willingness to assist in charity and media related events.

Good luck and best wishes to you, Michael Taylor. I hope Oakland treats you well.

So to look at the trade now we can say, “FOOLS!” or we can say, “BRILLIANT!” but we all have to wait a few years to see results. Player development cycles, injuries, emotional issues (yes, this is now a valid reason for the Disabled List) and outright performance will, in time, reveal to us how this trade will be viewed by baseball historians.

All time best or All time bust? We’ll see…

On a side note, the Ironpigs have announced that the entire coaching staff will return in 2009. The Noise Nation is glad to see Huppert, Gross and Nichols hanging around a little longer.

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Santa’s Laughing At The Phillies

Santa’s not Ho Ho Ho-ing in Philadelphia today. With the Halladay and Lee deals complete, Santa is just referring to the Phillies new top three starting pitchers.

Ha Ha Ha, Santa Claus?

Happ, Hamels and Halladay will make a serious threat to the National League this season. For various reasons, I will stay away from that “Triple H” phrase that I’ve heard so often and stick to the alternative presented to me by Will the Bartender. (Will is a dedicated Philly sports fan and offers free sports opinions at Outback on Cedar Crest Blvd in Allentown.)

Shameless plugs aside, you may have noticed I added Happ to the top three. For those in the Lehigh Valley this is no surprise but I don’t often see the credit due to Happ in the national sports media outlets. Happ will be solid. You can quote me on it. You can throw a snowball at me if I am proved wrong next season. Happ is #3 and could be #2 if Cole Hamels doesn’t rediscover himself in the spring.

With all this off season excitement it makes me wonder where Jamie Moyer will fit into the system in 2010. Moyer, who has been having health problems of late, can be looking at losing his spot in the rotation. Jenna Stranzl, Registered Dietitian to Professional Athletes, ran into him over the weekend while in Florida and mentioned that he has been working hard at a facility in to rehab his injuries. Age catches up to all of us, but the thrill of watching a masterful artist of a pitcher like Moyer is timeless.

So we have an ending to the Halladay deal, press conference scheduled for 5:00pm Eastern, and will stay tuned for more to come in the new year. One questions looms..

Who will be laughing in November 2010?

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Is This Hog Heaven?.. No, It’s Allentown

Those three words I long to hear, “Pitchers and Catchers.”

This is the time of year most sports fans are grinding their teeth, either sweating out the NFL playoff or completely ignoring them and trying to find ways to weasel out of their New Year’s resolutions.

What do we have to look forward to for January? Sure, if your favorite NFL team is still in the hunt for a championship you are riding high on the football wave but for the many of us whose teams have long been eliminated, we don’t have much going on right now. The most recent list of baseball transactions was minimal (the Phillies having none). The NCAA Basketball tournament is still a month or so away. It will be a few more weeks until we can enjoy Superbowl commercials and later the NFL draft. I suppose I will decide not to watch the NFL probowl this year despite the changes made to it this season.

So that leaves us in February. Every baseball fan knows what that means. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training. It’s not much. Very little media coverage for us to absorb. Not really exciting stuff, but it just puts us that much closer to Opening Day. It’s like hearing, “Gentlemen, Start your engines!” at the Indy 500. The start of the race will soon be upon us!

Thinking back to my days of playing baseball I recall those cold February and March practices in the high school’s gymnasium. Being one of two catchers, we took the brunt of punishment while pitching tryouts commenced. If you take 15 pitchers throwing 100 pitches per workout… well it wasn’t a picnic. Add in the way that a baseball bouncing on a hard floor does not react the way soft infield dirt does. I averaged about 2-3 protective cups per season. The craziest part about it though was that I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Just the smell of a glove, the feel of a baseball in my hand brings back a better time.

A few nights ago I stumbled upon the movie, Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner; One of my favorite baseball movies out there. There is a line where Shoeless Joe Jackson asks Costner’s character, “Is this Heaven?” and Costner replies, “No, It’s Iowa.” This sums up how I feel about baseball.

Each time I step into Coca Cola Park I ask myself, “Is this Heaven?”

Phillies vs. Yankees, March 4th, 2010
Phillies vs. Nationals, April 5th, 2010
Ironpigs vs. Redwings, April 14th, 2010

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Front Row Seats, $14

This may seem like a joke or some type of scheme that takes your money and never sends you the tickets, but this is the true cost of the Front Row Seats at Coca Cola Park. Aside from the Front Row Seats, you can get a Field Level Seat for $9 and General Admission (Standing room and Lawn) tickets for $6.

Now, you ask yourself, “How can they keep tickets prices so low?” Let’s look at some of the operating costs a minor league team has to cover before turning a profit.

Ultimately, the goal of a minor league team is to groom prospects until they are ready to play at the Major League level. When ready, the prospects can be called up to the majors or can be traded to fill a void in the parent club. (For example, the Cliff Lee trade this past summer) So looking at how the parent team controls the player rosters, who plays where and has ultimate control over a players role in the organization, the parent club also assumes the responsibility of paying the players salaries, bonuses, etc.

While this might seem a lucrative deal to the Minor League team, they do get stuck with the bill on other costs in relation to the team.

First and foremost, the team has to pay its staff, to include Front Office employees and all game day personnel.

The team’s league affiliation also collects “dues” from each team and the amount is determined mainly by ticket sales. These dues go towards league operations and paying umpires.
Note: AAA teams have an extra umpire (compared to A and AA teams) resulting in a higher payment made to the league.

On the brighter side, teams do receive royalty payments from licensing money collected for things like official team merchandise and baseball cards. ($150 for an authentic home jersey, $25 for an authentic fitted hat)

More costs, like any other business, involve taxes, utilities and rent to their stadium. This next cost really surprised me. Where MLB receives a premium for televised and radio coverage, most minor league teams will pay for the opportunity to be broadcast. Also billed to the team itself are uniforms, equipment and all travel costs. With 72 road games, including bus/airfare, hotel accommodations and food per diem, this really adds up quick.

So when you wonder where the profit from a $2 hot dog or $5 beer goes, well, now you know.

To order tickets use the below link:
http://www.ironpigsbaseball.com/tickets/seasontickets/

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Reposting Older Posts

In this transition you will notice I am transferring some of my older posts to the new site. Enjoy!

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Another Force Player Signs Elsewhere

Former Philadelphia Force Pitcher Katie Burkhart has signed with the USSSA Florida Pride for the 2010 season, according to the National Pro Fastpitch web site.

So far the Force has not been reinstated in the NPF and has lost 2 starting pitchers (Gibson, Burkhart) and outfielder Lobpries.

Will we get to see softball in 2010 or not?

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