Saturday, October 29, 2005

Baseball Landing in Plymouth ?

According to recent articles including this one from today, it appears that baseball may be coming to Plymouth, MA in time for the 2007 season. A new 5,500 seat ballpark is proposed as part of a complex that would include a sports dome and banquet facility. No word yet on what league they would play in, but speculation is that it would be the Can-Am League. With teams in nearby Brockton and Lynn, Plymouth would be a natural fit. Further details will be available on November 7th as a press conference is scheduled for that day. The proposed team even has a website up and running already.

Speaking of the Can-Am League, the alignment for next year is up in the air right now, but should be settled soon. Nashua apparently is trying to gain entrance, in which case they would drop out of the Atlantic League. With a full season team in nearby Manchester, Nashua would probably be better off playing in league with a shorter season. The CAL is also looking at Augusta, NJ as a possible location after the Cardinals flew off to State College. I'd like to see the league expand to 10 teams next year, but it's looking like that won't happen until '07 unless a road team is utilized again.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A New Landscape ?

What is Mike Veeck up to now ? With the recent announcement of three teams leaving the Northern League (and now four with the Sioux City announcement yesterday), many are wondering what Veeck's plan are for this new league of his. This article reveals a few details which seem to indicate where Veeck (and Miles Wolff) believe that independent baseball should be headed. It seems to be a rather radical new vision, and frankly I'm not sure it's one that makes a whole lot of sense. The fundamental idea that Veeck is pushing towards is making indy baseball more national. There is talk of having interleague play among the several independent leagues as well as having a combined all-star game and "world series". But my question is, for what purpose ? Do casual fans (which make up the majority at minor league games) really care about who the opposing team is or where they're from ? Are more fans going to come out in Elmira if Sioux Falls is coming in for a series ? I would really doubt it. To make this "interleague" play possible, other leagues would have to cooperate by reworking their schedules. With no obvious benefit, why would leagues disrupt their schedules to play what would in essence be exhibition games ? Maybe I'm missing something or perhaps Veeck's plan hasn't been properly described yet, but to me this just seems like a publicity stunt by Veeck to get himself and the St. Paul Saints some attention, which they haven't gotten in several years. Perhaps Veeck is once again ahead of his time. Or perhaps his vision will never get off the drawing board. Whichever, it should be interesting to watch over the next few months and years.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cathedrals of the Game

For those who have HD television and get the INHD channel, there is a series on baseball parks that is currently airing called Cathedrals of the Game. Each half hour episode features a detailed tour of a current MLB park as well as a look back at the history of baseball in the respective city. A look at their website indicates that episodes have been made for 14 different parks as well as one about the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

The shows are produced in conjunction with MLB which allows for an "all-access" pass to the ballpark including a look inside the clubhouses and other areas that the average fan would never see. Unfortunately the host, Michelle Beadle, is basically just a pretty face and has a limited knowledge of baseball so can't get much out of the interviews she conducts with team personnel and players. Despite this, the shows are definitely worth watching, if for nothing else the stunning photography that comes across with high definition. And though the content is geared towards the casual fan, even the hardcore ballpark fans might learn a thing or two that they didn't already know. Catch the episodes while you can as it's doubtful they will be airing after October.