As you probably know by now the Philadelphia Phillies have (re)signed a Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for 4 more years. But the announcement was not made in typical fashion.
Most teams would have quietly issued a Press Release stating they are happy to be affiliated with… blah blah blah… and that would have been that.
Not our IronPigs however!
In the usual “Pig and Circumstance” the stage was set and many different P symbols were present with former IronPigs names written on them. During this time as the projector was being setup I saw “Pigs to the Bigs Awards” across the installed movie screen.
There have been in fact 50 ‘Pigs that have gone to the Bigs including 1 coach (Greg Gross) since 2008. Click here for the Official Release PDF.
Suddenly we were at the Best Affiliate Award Show Gala. Erin Holt began the festivities with a video of some former IronPigs now in the Bigs, including a
faux Chooch who in his best accent said: “Baseball be berry berry good to me” – quite a comical moment. The Vanimal even made an appearance in the “Red Carpet” video. Erin who usually brings you many of those great pix around CCP did a great job in front of the camera as did all of the other IronPigs employees who participated. I would pay money for the outtakes – it looked like a blast!! Perhaps in the director’s cut??
With Jon Schaeffer M’Cing the show the winner’s envelope was handed to Diggity who nervously opened the package to reveal that the IronPigs and the Phillies were the “winners”. This prompted GM Kurt Landes to bolt from his chair raising his fists in the air whooping it up – another funny moment for sure.
Kurt thanked his wife, the media, his kids, the employees and his kids again during his raucous “acceptance speech”. The whole production was well thought out and if there is ever a category for best fake acceptance speech at a fake awards show – well then Kurt Landes would surely win the “Fakey” with his touching and humorous performance. It was all a Laugh Out Loud moment!
It was then time for Phillies Assistant Director of Player Development Steve Nowryarta to take the mic and express his gratitude for LHV and the pleasure it was to (re) sign the PDC. Despite the fact that it was printed on the press release I asked Jon Schaeffer why 4 years? The answer was because that is the maximum amount of time allowed by MLB and neither of us could imagine the IronPigs affiliated with anyone but the Phillies – ever.
Steve later commented on proximity of CBP to Lakewood, Reading and of course the Lehigh Valley. While the Phillies as a team are “slumping”, it’s difficult to argue that any other team has a better Minor League System in place and clearly today proved that very fact.
So while not particular exciting news it’s still good to know that we won’t be watching the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays anytime soon!
While I didn’t ask about all 14 of my guesses from the previous post, the 2013 Championship Game at CCP was mentioned. Kurt Landes said LHV would be happy to host despite the fact that the organization must cover all expenses including player’s salaries. He thought MilB would take a wait and see approach on how moving it from stadium to stadium was working out and decide from there. I think we’ll see it in the next few years at least.
During conversation with Kurt Landes, as we were enjoying a make your own Cheesteak bar, I inquired about the rumor of Director of Field Operations, Bill Butler’s departure and promotion to the Kansas City Royals. With a smile, Kurt mentioned it was funny I had asked that question as he had heard that rumor but wasn’t sure where it came from (I didn’t tell him). He and Bill even spoke about it and Kurt assured me that at this time Bill Butler isn’t going anywhere. Anything is possible but it seems that we will continue to have one of the best maintained fields in the game for the time being.
I noticed some work going on out in “The Trough” and asked Kurt about that as well. He said basically just a freshen up of the “It’s outta here” signage area so if anyone
has a piece of the old sign, perhaps broken by the bat of Richie T it should do well on eBay!
As always a nice production by the IronPigs and we can never take for granted what we have here in the LHV and we are lucky to be a part of it.
Dishing for 4 more years