IronPigs Mailbag

Longtime readers know that I find the report card trope to be worthless and tiresome. But, a mailbag gimmick? Count me in. You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. (Disclaimer: Not all answers are guaranteed to be correct.)

NoiseNation File Photo circa 2010

Question: Is there even gonna be IronPigs this year? I heard the players were on strike or something.

First, there’s no strike. The Major League Baseball owners have locked out the players. They could have negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement while continuing business as usual under some kind of continuation of the previous CBA, but no, they chose to lock the players out.

Secondly, YES there will be IronPigs as scheduled and I expect them to start on time and feel a little more like normal this season.

Question: So what are the issues facing owners and the players?

Sorry, this is an IronPigs column. I’m sure you can find some other pages to read on that subject.  Do know, however, that this coming week is the self-imposed deadline for getting an agreement and starting the MLB season on time.  

Question: OK, but where will the players come from to make up the 2022 IronPigs then?

Assuming they don’t get this thing fixed this week, remember that Minor League players are not covered under the Major League CBA. Or any CBA for that matter, which is probably part of why they get paid so poorly. Anyway, all the minor league contract players and prospects will be in minor league camp and then fill out the minor league rosters from Single-A Clearwater all the way up to the Triple-A IronPigs. You won’t, however, get to see any of the 40-man roster guys who would normally get optioned to Triple-A. We’ll talk about that more in a roster post, soon–unless they sign the CBA this week.  Also, we’ll see what happens to the free agent guys who sign initially a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Will they report to minor league camp? Will they accept a Triple-A assignment? Will they get pulled from Triple-A to attend Major League camp, whenever that is? What about the ubiquitous opt-outs they all seem to have? All TBD, and some may depend on the individual player as well as the timing of when this eventually gets settled.

Question: So you said it’s “back to normal” over at Coca Cola Park now?

Well, this is where we have to use that phrase, “The New Normal.” Let’s start with this: The cashless environment stays. I wrote about the reasons why, recently. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I do understand it and I’m learning to get by. Next, the weird schedule mostly remains from last season. Once MLB took over the minors for 2021, they put this in to make the travel more efficient. Whatever. The six game series Tuesday through Sunday afternoon is tiresome for the everyday fan–as well as the team staff, I would think. But it remains. There won’ t be any limits on attendance or anything, as far as I can tell, and no mandates on masks or vaccines as of this writing. Tickets will remain mostly digital. Again, a learning curve but once I got the hang of it I really prefer it to any of the old ticket traditions.

Question: It sounds like there’s more different than “normal.” What else have you noticed?

OK, they did tweak out a couple Mondays where they could put the game on a holiday and take the next day off. In August, 5:35PM Sunday games return for a couple weeks. There’s a “Camp Day” but I don’t think “Education Days” are back yet.

Question:  But at least we get to see more teams this season, huh?

Yeah.  A couple.  Columbus, Norfolk, Charlotte and Gwinnett, in addition to the teams from the “North.”  We travel to a couple, too, the most interesting being Omaha.  Still, look at the schedule and where the travel has to happen and there could be ways to make it way more efficient–and even visit more teams.  I’m hopeful they’ll take advantage of that in the future, perhaps when the COVID concern fades a bit more.   

Question: What about promotions and giveaways and what about National Pig Day?

Yeah, the IronPigs staff is hard at work on that stuff right now. Single-game tickets as well as some different multi-game packages are on sale already. Tuesdays will continue to be “Dog Day” and we get to keep the Thursday Happy Hour, which I really enjoy. Fireworks on many Fridays and special occasions as well. A couple of giveaway dates have been released, but a full promo schedule should be forthcoming. There will be a “Pig Day” celebration, too, but it hasn’t been officially announced yet.

Question: Did you see the article on Daniel Brito?

I did.  I think about that kid every day.  Matt Gelb of The Athletic wrote the article and it pretty much covers everything that happened to Danny and what he’s been through.  It’s incredible that he might be able to play ball again.  Go read it when you have a chance–if there’s a paywall it’s worth signing up for a free trial or one month subscription just to read it.  My final takeaway:  The Phillies took care of everything.  I was kind of upset last season that they didn’t have a jersey auction or sell the “Brito Strong” T-Shirts to fans so that the proceeds could go to help his girlfriend and Mom with expenses while he was in the hospital in Rochester.  But it turns out that it wasn’t necessary because the Phillies simply covered it.  They even signed him to another baseball contract so that he could maintain his health insurance.  Good on the Phillies there.  

Question:  What will NoiseNation coverage look like this season?

To be determined.  It’s really not “Noise” or “Nation” any more, right?  I’ve got a re-brand in the works, but there never seems to be enough time to undertake the infrastructure of such.  Also, I lost my IronPigs media credential last season following a post I did in 2020 about the “alternate site.”  Some people got upset, even though I didn’t write anything bad.   Anyway, some of those people are no longer with us.  So we’ll see.  Supposedly, on the MLB level reporters will have access to the clubhouse, but who knows how that goes in the minors.  Also, nuggets and observations from batting practice are more valuable to me than anything else.  

See you a the park,


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

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