IronPigs Coda: Final Stretch or Final Countdown?

We’re leavin’ together
But still it’s farewell

And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?

-Joey Tempest/Europe

Photo: Jack Mitroka

As the IronPigs return to Coca Cola Park for a final, five-game series, let’s take a moment to remember how this season went along.

  • Schedules! We’re gonna have baseball again!
  • Wait, what do you mean it might not happen?
  • April cancelled for Triple-A, but we have “Alt Site” games, so we’ll make do.
  • Oh, looks like I lost my media credential. How could that be? OK, the events of August 23, 2020. Got it.
  • Some zip-tied seats just need to be liberated. Free my seat!
  • If there are mask rules, why not enforce them? They do in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
  • OK, who are these players? We have AAA guys who’ve never played above short-season or low-A before? Doesn’t make sense from a competitive standpoint. MLB flexing their power.
  • Good thing I don’t need to handle cash. That would be a big risk to my safety. {sarcasm}
  • Back to full capacity! Back to regular seats! But will people come out?
  • You know, ordering food on the app and having it delivered does have it’s advantages. I wonder if I can order from the Pig Pen menu and have it delivered upstairs?
  • Nope
  • Worchester? Again? Didn’t we just see them for like 12 games?
  • Brito. Man. Still hoping he’ll be OK–and not just from a baseball perspective.
  • There’s a promotion? How come they’re not promoting the promotions?
  • I guess nobody wants to fix those broken taps. Or restock the bar.
  • Oh, now no more food on the app. I have to get up and get it myself?
  • Credit cards are broken. Now you can use cash. Never mind about “safety.”
  • I never had to choose between baseball and football before. Odd. Also, we never really had a big tailgate, did we? Probably for the best. We’ll get it next year.
  • Five bonus games. In lieu of playoffs. Good thing, because we were never making it. Oh, and it’s Worchester.
Photo: Jack Mitroka

Regular season:

The IronPigs finished their regularly scheduled 120 games 52-66 playing 118 of the possible games. At home, their record was a more-respectable 29-31, playing all 60 possible games. They had a (- 81) run differential, which is not compatible with winning baseball. There are 30 teams in the newly-formed “AAA-East.” The IronPigs finished in 21st place, playing only teams in the Northeast division (Hard: Buffalo #3, Scranton #6; Easy: Rochester #26, Syracuse #27)

The Final Stretch:

The ‘Pigs are 1-4 returning from five games in Buffalo, tied for 24th in the league for special post-season rewards. Note: I’m not counting on any special post-season awards.

Photo: Jack Mitroka

Final Five!

Wednesday: “Waggin’ Wednesday” for “bark in the park.”

Thursday: Oktoberfest Happy Hour. 5PM Main Gates, Beer and Hot Dog specials ($1.06 with tax you know) as per usual.

Friday: Fireworks

Saturday: “Fall Fest,” Fireworks

Sunday: Hispanic Heritage, Coquis, post-game kids run bases

Photo: Jack Mitroka

Roster

Before we get into the potential probable pitchers, let’s look at some of the roster movement, with prospects joining from Double-A to get more work in, but others headed to Philadelphia to help with their playoff push:

09/26/2021Philadelphia Phillies sent RHP Connor Brogdon on a rehab assignment to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

09/22/2021 LHP Kyle Dohy assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021SS Bryson Stott assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils

09/22/2021 RHP Francisco Morales assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 RHP David Paulino assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils

09/22/2021 LHP Brian Marconi assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 OF Simon Muzziotti assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 C Logan O’Hoppe assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 3B Dalton Guthrie assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 RHP Hans Crouse assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Reading Fightin Phils.

09/22/2021 Philadelphia Phillies optioned LHP Damon Jones to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

09/22/2021 Lehigh Valley IronPigs released RHP Zach McAllister.

09/20/2021 OF Charlie Tilson assigned to Development List by Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

09/20/2021 3B T.J. Rivera added to Development List by Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

09/20/2021 Philadelphia Phillies optioned CF Mickey Moniak to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

09/20/2021 Lehigh Valley IronPigs released LHP Tyler Alexander.

09/20/2021 Lehigh Valley IronPigs released C Logan Moore

Update: At press time, Hans Crouse had been promoted to the Phillies to start the bullpen game on Sunday. Connor Brogdon is expected to be activated by the Phillies on Tuesday. Other moves could be forthcoming.

UPDATE 2: Bohm called up to Philadelphia prior to Tuesday night’s game in Atlanta. Connor Brogdon activated as expected. RHP Ramon Rosso and INF Luke Williams optioned to Lehigh Valley.

Photo: Jack Mitroka

Projecting Probables

No probables have been listed in public-facing promotions for this sereies, as of now. I’m working under the scenario that it will follow the last series. However, the return of RHP prospect Hans Crouse could add an interesting twist near the end of this series.

Wednesday: RHP Colton Eastman

Thursday: RHP Jack Perkins

Friday: RHP Francisco Morales

Saturday: RHP Mauricio Llovera

Sunday: Bullpen Game / RHP Mark Appel / Crouse ?

Photo: Jack Mitroka

What To Watch During the Final Five

  • Watch the lineup. It’s really an interesting group and I’m somewhat surprised and disappointed that they didn’t do better in Buffalo. I know that’s a good team up there, and the late-inning pitching let them down a few times, but still. Phillies first rounders expected to be in the lineup: OF Cornelius Randolph, OF Mickey Moniak, OF Adam Haseley, 3B/1B Alec Bohm, and SS Bryson Stott. Plus RHP Mark Appel is a former first round pick of the Astros. (Note: Bohm called up)
  • Watch when Francisco Morales pitches. He had a really nice outing last Friday in Buffalo. I’ve been watching him all summer down in Reading, and he’ll look brilliant for an inning or two and then it all falls apart. He’s one of a few top pitching prospects in the Phillies system and might help on the big league level in 2022 either as a starter or reliever. Take a look and see what you think.
  • Watch to see if there’s any food or drink left in the stadium. They usually let things run a bit dry at the end, and it could be worse this season.
  • Watch to see if they have enough help. They probably don’t, so be patient with those who are there working the concessions and the ticket lines etc.
  • Watch to see what kind of attendance they can pull. It might be kind of barren, given the time of year and little chance to pre-sell. Next season it looks like we’ll be done on Wednesday, September 22, 2022–barring playoffs!
  • Watch for a surprise jersey auction. I’m still calling for them to auction those Sunday jerseys which have all been altered with the Brito nameplate, to benefit Daniel and his family. I have no idea if they’ll do it. But it is the right thing to do. Also, giving us an accurate medical update, as long as it’s OK with Daniel, would also be appreciated (it might have to come from the Phillies). I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s still thinking about him.
Photo: Jack Mitroka

Looking Ahead

Hey, hockey starts with an away-preseason game three days after the IronPigs finish! Just like I planned it!

For baseball in 2022 we’ve already seen the schedule. It bears a strong resemblance to this year, with some minor tweaks. We get four more visiting teams, Columbus, Norfolk, Charlotte and Gwinnett. The holidays are better accounted for, and hopefully there will be some “education day” games added when game times are updated. There’s heavy overlap with Reading, but I think I’m planning to do both again–if only for one more year.

The extent of my coverage will largely depend on the COVID landscape with respect to players, as well as my current rocky relationship with the media department. Reading has been supportive, and we’ll try to continue to provide top-notch photography from both parks. But regardless, I’ll continue to comment on the baseball and the players who play it, the game-day experience, as well as season-ticket issues as they present.

And we’ll see if some of the things around the stadium get cleaned up for 2022. There was no way to know if 2021 would fully happen, get cut short, remain limited, or return to an “Alt-Site” model. Planning for an organization as large as the IronPigs, was difficult. I get that, and while there’s been a lack of attention to detail and poor communication overall, many over there are working like crazy to make sure these game presentations happen for us. For that I’m thankful. But when you’re going to go and declare a “Gold Standard,” well, that bar is pretty, pretty high.

Thank you to Cheryl, Jack and Stephen for the images all season long. Thanks to folks who’ve supported the blog through difficult times. Thank you to friends around the ballpark who always make the experience worthwhile.

See you in 2022 (or, over on the hockey side, momentarily)

@Kram207



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

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