Results tagged ‘ Major League ’

Texas League teams and their respective farm systems

Every week on the Riders Insider Blog, we look at the Rangers farm system and provide updates on the other full-season affiliates in the organization. In today’s post, let’s widen our scope a little bit more as we are nearing the halfway point of the season.

Texas Rangers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Texas Rangers (45-25, 1st place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Round Rock Express (38-21, 2nd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Frisco RoughRiders (37-31, 2nd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks (43-27, 1st place California League South)
  • Class-A: Hickory Crawdads (38-32, T-3rd place South Atlantic League Northern)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Houston Astros Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Houston Astros (34-36, 3rd place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies (31-37, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern)
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks (46-23, 1st place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks (34-35, 3rd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Quad Cities River Bandits (31-38, 8th place Midwest League Western)

Oakland Athletics Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Oakland Athletics (28-41, 5th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds (42-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Midland RockHounds (33-36, 3rd place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Stockton Ports (27-43, 4th place California League North)
  • Class-A: Beloit Snappers (32-37, 6th place Midwest League Western)

San Diego Padres Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: San Diego Padres (29-42, 5th place National League West)
  • Triple-A: El Paso Chihuahuas (40-29, 1st place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: San Antonio Missions (22-47, 4th place Texas League South)
  • Class A-Advanced: Lake Elsinore Storm (32-38, 4th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Fort Wayne TinCaps (36-34, T-5th place Midwest League Eastern)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (31-38, 4th place American League West)
  • Triple-A: Salt Lake Bees (33-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern)
  • Double-A: Arkansas Travelers (31-38, 3rd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Inland Empire 66ers (23-47, 5th place California League South)
  • Class-A: Burlington Bees (32-38, 7th place Midwest League Western)

Kansas City Royals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Kansas City Royals (38-31, 2nd place American League Central)
  • Triple-A: Omaha Storm Chasers (30-38, 4th place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (29-40, 4th place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-42, 4th place California League Northern)
  • Class-A: Lexington Legends (25-44, 7th place South Atlantic League Southern)

St. Louis Cardinals Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: St. Louis Cardinals (35-33, 2nd place National League Central)
  • Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (32-35, 3rd place Pacific Coast League American Southern)
  • Double-A: Springfield Cardinals (40-29, 1st place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Palm Beach Cardinals (31-34, 4th place Florida State League South)
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs (40-30, 1st place Midwest League Western)

Los Angeles Dodgers Full-Season Affiliates

  • MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers (38-33, 2nd place National League West)
  • Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers (37-31, 1st place Pacific Coast League American Northern)
  • Double-A: Tulsa Drillers (37-31, 2nd place Texas League North)
  • Class A-Advanced: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (42-28, 2nd place California League South)
  • Class-A: Great Lakes Loons (29-41, 7th place Midwest League Eastern)

Best of the best:

  • MLB: Texas Rangers
  • Triple-A: Nashville Sounds
  • Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks
  • Class A-Advanced: High Desert Mavericks
  • Class-A: Peoria Chiefs

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: hustle bump – One of the marks and bruises on a player’s body.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm: June 17

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (42-25, 1st place, AL West)

The Rangers continue to increase their lead over the Seattle Mariners, as they are now 6 1/2 games ahead of the M’s in the American League West. The club has won eight straight series and has not lost a series since being swept by Oakland from May 16-18.

Colby Lewis took a perfect game into the eighth inning in Thursday’s series finale against the Athletics. Lewis lost the perfect game with a walk in the eighth and the no-hit bid was ended with a leadoff double in the ninth. However, he still held Oakland to one run on two hits in the Rangers’ 5-1 win.

The Rangers wrap up their road-trip this weekend with a three-game interleague series at the St. Louis Cardinals. Although the Rangers don’t have good memories of Busch Stadium from 2011, they did sweep a road series against the Cards in 2013.

Tonight: at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Cole Hamels)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (36-29, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express trail Nashville by three games in the PCL American Southern Division. However, the Pacific Coast League does not split their season into two halves, so there is no first-half division champion.

Round Rock has a chance to make up some ground against the first place with the first-place team, with a five-game road series in Nashville beginning tonight. The series includes a Sunday doubleheader.

Tonight: at Nashville, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Richelson Pena)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (42-25, 1st, California League South Division)

The Mavericks continue to hold off Rancho Cucamonga, sitting in first place in the California League South Division. However, the Quakes are just one game behind with three games remaining before the All-Star break. The magic number is three for High Desert to clinch the first-half division title.

Travis Demeritte and Jose Trevino were both named California League mid-season All-Stars. They will both be in the starting lineup for the California League squad against the team from the Carolina League. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore.

Tonight: vs. Stockton, 9:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Ariel Jurado)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (37-29, 3rd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Despite having the fourth-best record in the 14-team circuit, the Crawdads are in third place in the North Division, four games behind the first-place Hagerstown Suns. Hickory faces elimination from first-half division title contention tonight.

Five Crawdads were named to the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-Star team. Pitchers Pedro PayanoJeffrey Springs, and Erik Swanson, shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri, and catcher Tyler Sanchez will all represent Hickory in the game, which will be held Tuesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky.

Tonight: vs. Delmarva, 6:00 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS

Spokane open the 2016 season tonight at home against Vancouver. The Indians will send Michael Matuella to the mound for his first professional start. The righty underwent Tommy John surgery on a torn UCL in his right elbow two months before last year’s MLB Draft.

Despite having yet to play in a professional game, Matuella is ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com. He was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the 2015 draft with the 78th overall pick.

Tonight: vs. Vancouver, 8:30 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Michael Matuella)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: hen-house hoist – A foul ball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: June 10

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (37-23, 1st place, AL West)

The Rangers entered the week tied with the Seattle Mariners for first place in the American League West. They have emerged in sole possession of the top spot, four games ahead of the Mariners, and now have the best record in the entire American League.

Texas swept Seattle in a three-game series at home last weekend. They followed by taking three of four from the Houston Astros this week. The Rangers lead the 2016 Lone Star Series 9-1, just one win away from clinching the season series, with the next meeting coming in August in Houston.

Beginning this weekend, the Rangers hit the road for 10 games in Seattle, Oakland, and St. Louis.

Tonight: at Seattle, 9:10 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (31-27, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express trail Nashville by five games in the PCL American Southern Division. However, the Pacific Coast League does not split their season into two halves, so there is no first-half division champion.

Round Rock is currently in the middle of a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs. The Express won the series opener 8-5 last night, highlighted by former Rider Hanser Alberto‘s three-run double in the ninth inning.

Tonight: at Iowa, 7:08 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (37-23, 1st, California League South Division)

The Mavericks continue to hold off Rancho Cucamonga, sitting in first place in the California League South Division. However, the Quakes are just one game behind with 10 games remaining before the All-Star break. High Desert do not play the Quakes again in the first half.

Travis Demeritte still leads the circuit with 15 home runs and 48 runs scored. Luke Tendler leads the club with a .296 batting average.

Tonight: at Inland Empire, 9:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (34-25, 2nd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Despite having the third-best record in the 14-team circuit, the Crawdads are in second place in the North Division, four games behind the first-place Hagerstown Suns.

After Andy Ibanez and Chris Garia were promoted to Frisco, the Crawdads lost two of three games against Greensboro. However, the club bounced back with a 1-0 win over Kannapolis yesterday. Dillon TateOmarlin Lopez, and John Werner combined to shut out the Intimidators. Tate pitched the first six innings and allowed just three hits to earn his second professional win.

Tonight: at Kannapolis, 6:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Peter Fairbanks)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: one-cushion shot – A line drive that caroms off the wall, like a billiard or pool ball, usually for extra bases, and that is often difficult for an outfielder to field.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

May by the numbers

1 – Player promoted directly from Frisco to the Major Leagues (Matt Bush)

2 – Series sweeps (at San Antonio and Midland)

3Yu Darvish rehabilitation starts with the Riders

4 – Luis Ortiz‘s MLBPipeline.com ranking (added to the Riders roster on May 20)

5 – Home runs for Cordell (team-high)

6 – Comeback wins

– Wins over San Antonio

8 – RBI against Midland’s Trey Cochran-Gill (he is 0-3 in three relief appearances vs. Frisco)

– One-run games

10 – Margin of victory in an 11-1 win over San Antonio on May 23 (team-high)

13 – Strikeouts for Victor Payano on May 3 at San Antonio

14 – Extra-base hits for Ronald Guzman (team-high)

15 – Longest game (innings), Riders beat Midland 11-8 on May 17

17 – Ryan Cordell‘s Texas League-best hit streak (ended May 2)

18 – RBI for Cordell (team-high)

19 – Runs scored by Cordell (team-high)

37 – Cordell’s MiLB-best on-base streak (ended May 19)

42,767 – Largest crowd over a four-day period in team history (May 20-23)

11,842 – Largest crowd at Dr Pepper Ballpark (May 1), also the fourth-largest crowd in team history

050116 Darvish, Yu (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: second guesser – One who habitually criticizes the players and their manager for specific actions. “The second guessers can always make the best guess” (Ty CobbBusting ‘Em and Other Big League Stories, 1914; Peter Morris)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Riding Through the Farm: June 3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (31-22, T-1st place, AL West)

The Rangers have won four consecutive series and seven of their last eight. The team returns home tonight after taking two of three from the Indians in Cleveland this week.

Yu Darvish is slated to make his second MLB start of the season against the Seattle Mariners. This is the beginning of a seven-game homestand for the Rangers, who host four contests against the Houston Astros next week after three against Seattle this weekend. The Rangers are currently tied with the Mariners for first place in the American League West.

Tonight: vs. Seattle, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Yu Darvish)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (29-24, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express trail Nashville by 3 1/2 games in the PCL American Southern Division but have a chance to make up some ground when they close out a four-game series tonight. Round Rock leads the series 2-1 heading into the series finale.

After tonight’s game, Round Rock returns home for a four-game set against Oklahoma City in the first of 14 home games this month.

Tonight: at Nashville, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (33-21, 1st, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have taken sole possession of first place from Rancho Cucamonga in the California League South Division. High Desert do not play the Quakes again in the first half. The Mavericks have one game against Modesto, four against Inland Empire and Stockton, and seven against Lake Elsinore remaining on the schedule.

Travis Demeritte still leads the circuit with 13 home runs and 43 runs scored. Outfielder Scott Heineman is the only player hitting above the .300 mark, with a .312 average in 52 games played.

Tonight: vs. Modesto, 9:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Adam Quintana)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (30-23, 3rd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Despite having the fourth-best record in the 14-team circuit, the Crawdads are in third place in the North Division, four games behind the first-place Hagerstown Suns.

After getting rained out two days in a row and then dropping both games in a June 1 doubleheader, Hickory bounced back with a road victory over Lakewood last night, thanks to Andy Ibanez‘s two-run homer in the fourth inning. The Crawdads trio of Erik Swanson, Wes Benjamin, and John Werner held the BlueClaws scoreless.

Tonight: at Lakewood, 6:05 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: choke sign – Grabbing or clutching the neck, or wrapping a towel around the throat, indicating that an umpire or player has lost his nerve or failed in a crucial situation.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: May 27

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (27-20, 2nd place, AL West)

The Rangers tallied two consecutive wins to take a three-game home series from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Tuesday night, former Rider Nomar Mazara blasted a monstrous home run to right field that traveled a projected 491 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the longest home run of the 2016 season so far, traveling 16 feet farther than Giancarlo Stanton‘s 475-foot home run on May 6.

Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers offense totaled new season-highs in runs (15) and hits (18) to defeat the Angels 15-9 in the series finale. The team begins another three-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Yu Darvish expected to make his first MLB start of the 2016 season Saturday. Darvish made five Minor League rehab starts, including three with the RoughRiders.

Tonight: vs. Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Cole Hamels)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (25-21, 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

While Frisco took 3-of-4 from the San Antonio Missions in the last home series at Dr Pepper Ballpark, the Express won three games against the Padres affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. Round Rock scored 46 runs on 66 hits in the four-game series against El Paso.

After Monday’s win against Tacoma, the Express were shut out by the Rainiers in back-to-back games. The team finally snapped its 27-inning scoreless streak Thursday when former Rider Brett Nicholas came through with a two-run single in the sixth inning. Round Rock defeated Tacoma 4-1 to split the series.

Tonight: vs. Reno, 7:05 p.m. CT (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (30-18, T-1st, California League South Division)

High Desert finishes out the month of May with a four-game road series against Lancaster. Despite losing two starting pitchers, Luis Ortiz and Yohander Mendez, and two relievers, John Fasola and Joe Filomeno, to Frisco, the Mavericks still lead the California League with 17 saves and are second with 421 strikeouts (8.8 Ks per game).

Travis Demeritte still leads the circuit with 13 home runs, 42 runs scored, and a .601 slugging percentage. Outfielder Scott Heineman is the only player hitting above the .300 mark, with a .307 average in 46 games played.

Tonight: at Lancaster, 8:35 p.m. CT (SP: TBD)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (28-19, 2nd, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are in a bit of a slump, losing seven of their last 10 games. Hickory opened a four game series Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Greensboro. The ‘Dads play three more against the Grasshoppers before heading on the road to face the Delmarva Shorebirds, wrapping up the May slate.

Eric Jenkins leads the league with 24 stolen bases, and Dylan Moore is right behind him with 21. As a team, the Crawdads are first in the SAL with 103 stolen bases, 41 more than the second-place team Lexington. Hickory ranks second in the category in all of Minor League Baseball, trailing Salem by eight.

Tonight: vs. Greensboro, 6:00 p.m. CT (SP: RHP Dillon Tate)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: punch drunk – Said of a player who has become overconfident or arrogant as the result of a string of hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Riding Through the Farm: Rangers Organization Leading Respective Divisions

The RoughRiders have won six of their first seven games and lead the Texas League South division, but they are not the only team in the farm system playing great baseball right now. Every team affiliated with the Rangers, including the big league club, has a winning record and are in first place in their respective divisions.

Texas Rangers (MLB):

Two former Riders, Nomar Mazara and Brett Nicholas, have already made their Major League debuts with the Rangers in the first two weeks of the season. In Mazara’s first five games, he is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with one home run in his first game on April 10. Nicholas has only played in two games, but he is 2-for-8 with a double and two runs scored. The Rangers are tied with the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim for first place in the American League West.

Former Rider Jared Hoying leads the PCL in RBI (12)

Former Rider Jared Hoying leads the PCL in RBI (12)

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Round Rock is currently in first place in the Pacific Coast League American Southern division. The Express have a 5-3 record, including a four-game sweep of the Iowa Cubs in the first series of the season. Joey Gallo (Riders ’14-15 – Rangers No. 1 prospect, MLB Pipeline) is leading the PCL with four home runs, and Jared Hoying (Riders ’12-13) paces the league with 12 RBI.

High Desert Mavericks (High-A):

Travis Demeritte (Rangers No. 19 prospect) is leading the Mavericks’ explosive offense. Demeritte is third in the circuit with a .435 batting average, while posting league-high totals in home runs (5) and runs batted in (9). High Desert is in first place in the California League South division, leading Lake Elsinore and Rancho Cucamonga by one game.

Dillon Tate signs autographs for fans at Spring Training

Dillon Tate signs autographs for fans at Spring Training

Hickory Crawdads (Single-A):

Dillon Tate (No. 4 prospect), the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, picked up his first professional win Thursday. Tate struck out a career-high 10 batters over six shutout innings in Hickory’s 6-1 win over Kannapolis. He held the Intimidators to just four hits, did not walk a batter, and threw 53 of his 65 pitches for strikes. The Crawdads are in first place in the South Atlantic League Northern division with wins in seven of their first eight games.

Stay tuned for more updates from the farm system over the course of the season.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: gopher hunter – A sharply batted ground ball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

The Frisco RoughRiders make the next great baseball film

Tomorrow is the one-month anniversary of the movie 42, the story of Jackie Robinson. The most recent Hollywood cash-in on America’s pastime has done well in the box office, but not because Alex or Ryan have piled into the local Cinemark (OK, I admit, I just saw it, so I didn’t really affect those numbers either).  Baseball season can get in the way of trips to the silver screen, but with the team’s off day on Wednesday, I made the journey to big screen. It’s hard to be a fan and student of the game and not spend a couple hours, at some point, invested in a well-made interpretation of arguably the most significant story in the history of the game, so I know Alex and Ryan will make their way soon enough.

Jackie Robinson is an American icon but moreover a symbol. And like most symbols, stands for something much more than the man himself. He makes for the perfect film, yet the movie industry, for the longest time, was scared to tackle the topic. The last Robinson movie came in 1950 and was mediocre at best.

Rob Neyer over at Baseball Nation put together a great piece with some of nation’s best baseball writers, asking them to pitch the next great American baseball movie never made. I asked our crack staff of baseball afficiandos to do the same:

Alex Vispoli:

Though it may end up being simply a darker version of “Major League,” I think the 1986 New York Mets would make for a ridiculously entertaining film.  There’s already a well-known book by former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman (The Bad Guys Won!) written to adapt to a screenplay, so there’s an actual chance that we see this on the silver screen sometime in the future.

When you think about it, there are very few individual teams that have made such an indelible mark on the game.  The ’86 Mets were a team that had it all: success, stars, notorious characters and lascivious behind-the-scenes stories that could only come out decades after the other baseball team in New York won its second and most-recent championship.

tumblr_lj3zvaPLK11qgbyz8o1_400

Taking place in the heart of the hard-partying ’80s, Doc Gooden, Lenny Dykstra, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson eclectically mixed with each other and their teammates to finish with 108 wins and appear to fall just short in the World Series, only to have you know what happen to you know who and the Boston Red Sox.  All along the way, there were hotel rooms destroyed, copious amounts of drugs taken and anecdotes that probably shouldn’t be shared with children.  It’s a story and a cast of characters that makes the “Idiots” of the 2004-champion Red Sox look like choirboys.

There’s no way this would be a PG-13 movie, but that shouldn’t scare off someone from trying to capture the once-in-a-lifetime nature of the ’86 Metropolitans.

***

Ryan Garrett: 

A moment in baseball history I would like to see made into a movie is the rise of baseball in Japan, and the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

japan_baseball_stadiumOn March 11, 2011, the fourth largest earthquake recorded on earth hit the coast of northeastern Japan, triggering a large tsunami with waves as high as a three-story building.  Tens of thousands of lives were lost, and the destruction was tremendous for the country.   The country was left in devastation and under careful watch of a radiation plant hit hard by the storm.

With the relief and recovery from the destruction, baseball in Japan was an afterthought, causing many to think that the league’s demise was imminent. In fact, the opposite occurred.  Baseball was a means for the people of Japan to have their spirits lifted, with attendance for the 2011 season rising about 1,000 more than in 2010.  Baseball was a source for healing.

The resolve of the human spirit is the very reason this movie should be made.  It is a story of recovery and rebuilding in the toughest of times and how a common interest in baseball helped the people of Japan ease their suffering if only for a little while.  Baseball was a sign of hope that the country can pick up the pieces and carry on.

***

As for me,

Nathan Barnett: 

Let me start by saying that I really love America–5% ironically but mostly genuinely. I really can’t envision ever living outside this country for a very extended period of time–mostly because of baseball. This great baseball fan might be able to leave in the UK and still follow baseball season, but not me. Give me July 4th post-game fireworks, Opening Day as a near national holiday, and crisp autumn air signalling, not the coming of winter, but the arrival of the Postseason.

I bring that up because most of the great baseball stories I think need to be told are international ones. Although MLB spends plenty of time and effort trying to stimulate the American baseball labor force with programs like RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), a major pool of organized baseball labor comes from the international sphere, and more specifically, it comes from Latin America. Over 50% of minor league baseball players come from Latin America. These players are often the product of a system of “baseball academies,” facilities run by major league teams to house, feed, and teach the game to children before they “come of age,” 16 or 17-years-old when they are eligible to be signed by major league teams. The living conditions of these academies has, over the years, ranged from luxurious to borderline human-rights violating, and nowhere are they more prevalent than in the Dominican Republic: thus, I bring you…Sammy.

polls_sammy_sosa_kiss_5032_436240_answer_1_xlarge

One of the most beloved yet controversial figures of my baseball lifetime, Sammy Sosa not only has the personality of a great film character, but also he could provide a lens into the steroid era AND the latin labor market / academies. Sosa is native of San Pedro de Macoris, a town that according to New York Times bestseller Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris (Mark Kurlansky), has produced more major leaguer per capita than any other town in the world. Yes, the world. 76 to date, according to the wikipedia page in a town of less than 200,000 people.

Anyway, it could begin on the streets of the Dominican Republic, maybe with Sosa playing ball in the streets as a kid. With Vladimir Guerrero even(!)–that would make for a great shot (nevermind that Vlad is from Nizao, about a two-hour drive from San Pedro de Macoris…and that the two are six years in age apart, it’s Hollywood).

The corked bat, the steriod allegations, the congressional hearings, the depressing Cubs, the home run chase with McGwire in summer of ’98, the skin-lightening incident–the source material is there. Like 42, the trouble will not be telling a great story, it will be condensing it.

***

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: raketo hit the ball very well

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