Monday, December 7, 2015
The Goldeyes will have Reggievision in 2016: it was announced today that Reggie Abercrombie has officially re-signed with the club. Known for his big personality and having a bat to back it up, Abercrombie has proven to be a fan favourite over the years. On December 1, the Fish also signed Josh Romanski. Back in 2014, Romanski batted .311 for the Gary-Southshore Railcats; 2015 saw Romanski playing in Japan. He's seen as a versatile outfielder with plate power to boot.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A couple of marquee names have been re-signed for 2016 in the AA: the St. Paul Saints secured the services of All-Star and Player of the Year Vinny DiFazio for another year, while the Kansas City T-Bones have re-signed Nate Tenbrink. Both players put up big numbers for their respective clubs so that's welcome news for fans.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
The Sioux City Explorers made the record books in 2015, with a 74 win season; a crucial element of that success was Patrick Johnson, who logged an impressive 15-1 record with a 2.08 ERA. No surprise that several major league teams gave the RHP a second look. On Friday (Nov. 20), the Pittsburgh Pirates bought Johnson's contract, so it looks like the Xs have a huge hole to fill in their 2016 roster.
When the Can-Am League released their schedule a few weeks ago, there were no inter league games lined up with American Association teams. For those of us who follow indy ball, it immediately created a flurry of speculation regarding the impact on the AA. Thirteen teams simply doesn't work for scheduling purposes--so would we lose a team, or create a road team similar to the Can-Ams now-defunct Garden State Grays? Turns out we were wrong on both counts: the American Association 2016 schedule was released this week, along with the announcement of a 2016 merger between the Amarillo Thunderheads and Grand Prairie AirHogs. The team, known right now simply as Texas (merging the team names to ThunderHogs or AirHeads seems unlikely!) will play 25 home games at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and 25 at Potter County Memorial Stadium in Amarillo. Commish Miles Wolff said: “With 13 clubs and no interleague play, a schedule with an odd number of teams became unbalanced and difficult. We appreciate that Southern Independent Baseball, owner of the Amarillo and Grand Prairie clubs, agreed to the league’s request to operate its two teams as one in 2016. We fully expect that both teams will return in 2017 as individual entities with a full schedule in their respective markets.” Still a lot of questions to be answered, such as the team name, where players will reside, etc. Hats off regardless for a creative solution to a tough scheduling problem.
Big news from the Winnipeg Goldeyes clubhouse this week: 1B Casey Haerther has signed to play for The Fish once again in 2016. Haerther, who was an American Association All-Star for the second time this past season, is a leader on and off the field and signing him was an obvious priority. One of the foundational building blocks the Goldeyes roster starts to take shape.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
With the potential loss of Josh Mazzola, the Fish have bolstered their batting and added a solid outfielder with the acquisition of Logan Vick today. Vick was one of the breakout players on the Thunderheads' roster this season, with all kinds of mojo as an offensive player. The Goldeyes sent RHP Rett Varner to Amarillo. While on the surface it looks like a steal for Winnipeg, Varner was a solid bullpen hurler who will be missed. Interesting to note is that Amarillo had traded Vick to Sioux Falls on Oct. 16 for another RHP, Cameron McVey. Someone didn't want to report and they ended up swapping back players on Oct. 20. Let's hope this trade shall stick! All I can say is: is it spring yet?
Yesterday we finally got word of which players the Goldeyes would be exercising their options on. Of course, each player must be signed to a new contract, but here's what the line-up looks like: OF Reggie Abercrombie; C Luis Alen; LHP Kyle Anderson; C Ryan Babineau; IF James Boddicker; RHP Edwin Carl; SS Casio Grider; 1B Casey Haerther; OF Adam Heisler; LHP Nick Hernandez; RHP Matt Jackson; OF Nic Jackson; LHP Jon Jones; LHP Brendan Lafferty; RHP Brad Mincey; RHP Michael Noteware; RHP Jailen Peguero; RHP Mark Pope; OF Tillman Pugh; and RHP Rett Varner. No complaints here about any names on that list--a good combination of vets and young talent. Nic Jackson had an injury-plagued season so it would be nice to see him get a full season in with The Fish. The big name missing is Josh Mazzola, who chose to play out his option in 2015. The AA's home run king for 2015 will likely get plenty of offers from other teams.
On Oct. 13 -- the same day the Fish announced the reacquisitions of Abercrombie and Carl -- pitcher Anthony Smith was sent to the Schaumburg Boomers to complete a previous trade, while infielder Brad Boyer was put on irrevocable waivers with the purpose of granting his release. Given the up-and-down season the Goldeyes had in 2015, one shouldn't be surprised at any moves. Boyer is a dependable AA vet so I would expect another team in the league to show interest.
The Battery is back after a post-season hiatus, and what better way to get things rolling than with some roster moves in the Goldeyes Clubhouse. With the Goldeyes eliminated from post-season action, Reggie Abercrombie and Edwin Carl were promptly traded in September to the Atlantic League to help out with the late season runs of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Lancaster Barnstormers, respectively. Abercrombie assured fans on social media that he would be back as a Goldeye and true to his word, he was reacquired from Southern Maryland as future considerations for the previous deal. Ditto for Carl...so it was Abercrombie for Abercrombie and Carl for Carl in the type of deal that is typical in indy baseball. But if Carl demonstrates the durability to go along with his obvious pitching ability, he may be one of those AA pitchers that gets another shot at the majors. Time will tell next season. Pictured here: Reggie tries his hand at sports photography (with a camera "borrowed" from either Jeff or Tara Miller...always a clown, that Reggie) and Carl on the mound.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
June 2, 2015. Adam Heisler gets interviewed on Shaw TV after a 5-3 Goldeyes win over Sioux Falls. No idea how this sounded on TV with all of the fireworks in the background, but it looked cool!
Sunday, September 20, 2015
There will be a lot of questions about what went wrong for Sioux City in this year's American Association Championships. After a record-breaking season for wins, they were the heavy favourites matching up with Laredo. But it came down to pitching as it does so often. Should the Explorers have started Johnson one more time instead of Wordekemper for Game 4? One of many nagging questions that will trouble Explorers fans for a while. It will be interesting to see who Sioux City brings back next year after coming so close to nirvana.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Laredo's Ryan Beckman worked 7 innings of relief and retired 15 straight batters to give the Lemurs a surprise 6-4 victory at Lewis and Clark Park tonight. Lemurs lead the series 2-1, something that I don't think many pundits envisioned at the start of these 2015 finals. After winning Game 1 by a huge margin, the Explorers have to be wondering where it's gone wrong so far in this series...and if the Lemurs have any more pitching surprises in store on the mound.
Monday, September 14, 2015
A comeback victory for Laredo as they take down Wichita 8-6 to move on to the American Association Finals. That late-season trade with Gary Southshore seems to have helped the Lemurs down the stretch! Tonight's photo comes courtesy of Fargo-based photographer Jennifer Andreachi, who was kind enough to share some of her Wingnut/Lemur shots from their games with the RedHawks earlier this year. Thanks Jennifer!
Sunday, September 13, 2015
The St. Paul Saints amazing first season at CHS Field has come to an end, as Sioux City pulls out a narrow 2-1 victory. Lared and Wichita are going down to one last dance!
There's no place like home in the American Association, apparently, as the Wichita and St. Paul deliver wins in their own ballparks. By all reports, the crowd in St. Paul was electric (as they have been all season long), so good to see the fans were rewarded with a win.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Laredo and Sioux City jump to 2-0 leads in their respective series before hitting the road. The Explorers looked every bit like the record-setting team they've been all season long, but it was another tough night at the plate for St. Paul. While I've picked the Xs to go all the way this year (not a Nostradamus-level prediction by any means), I'd love to see St. Paul take this series the distance. The fans at CHS Field are going to be incredible, and these two teams deserve to play in front of a sold-out ballpark. Game 3 should be a treat!
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Game 1 is in the books for both of the American Association's playoff series. Laredo ripped up the visiting Nuts, while the Saints struggled at the plate in Sioux City. Game 2 in each respective series goes down tomorrow night. On a side note, tonight is the first appearance of a guest photographer to The Battery. Elizabeth Nelson, who has done an amazing job of capturing the action down in Fargo-Moorhead this season, was kind enough to provide me access to her archives for shots of the three "missing teams" who didn't get to Winnipeg this season (Laredo, Wichita and Grand Prairie). I will credit her shots whenever they appear; big thanks to Beth for allowing me to use her work on The Battery's twitter account and here.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
A special wave of Digital Gum, on the heels of yesterday's 2015 All-Star team announcement. Sadly, this is an incomplete set: Outfielder Denis Phipps and the Laredo Lemurs never came through Winnipeg this year. And I struck out on both pitchers...Sioux City's Patrick Johnson and Joplin's Winston Abreu. Abreu did pitch an inning's worth of relief here, but this was pre-blog and I missed him on the mound. Johnson did not start in Winnipeg, but I borrowed a shot from xsbaseball.com for his card; if I can dig up shots of Abreu and Phipps, I'll include them here later.
Friday, September 4, 2015
With their 5-2 win over Grand Prairie tonight (Sept. 4), the Sioux City Explorers have reached 74 wins, a new American Association record. (**Post-Script: the Xs ended the season with 75 wins altogether). Here's some of the crew that made it happen: