Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Taking a Look at the Durham Bulls' 2021 Schedule


The schedule just published by the Durham Bulls is going to be very different. It shows a lot of changes, driven by a combination of deep-sixing the International League, Covid, and economics. 

The Bulls are in the new Triple-A East, Southeast Division, which has seven teams. Some are long-time opponents — we've been watching the Gwinnett Stripers (née Braves), Norfolk Tides, and Charlotte Knights for as long as the Bulls have been in AAA. And they are the teams who the Bulls will play (along with Jacksonville) most of their games this season. They will play Charlotte 36 times, Norfolk 36 times, and Gwinnett 18 times. But one of the new teams, Miami franchise the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (give me a break — Jumbo Shrimp??!!) will play the Bulls 34 times. The other two teams in the division account for 18 more games, Nashville just 6 games, and Memphis 12.

Another big change is that we will see 6-game (Tuesday-Sunday) home stands instead of the previous years' 4-game norms. 

The break out is this:

Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) — 36 games, 18 home, 18 away

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) — 36 games, 18 home, 18 away

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami) — 34 games, 16 home, 18 away

Gwinnett Stripers (Atlanta) — 18 games, 12 home, 6 away

Memphis Redbirds (St Louis) — 12 games, 6 home, 6 away

Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee) — 6 games, away

Looks like there will also be changes in how we go about getting tickets, but more on that later.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

International League, RIP

A flurry of info is being dumped on minor league baseball fans, or maybe I just wasn't paying attention. 

For Durham Bulls fans, what jumps out is that the only "league" the Bulls have ever known has been pushed off the ledge.

The clue was right there on the Wikipedia page (thanks to whomever is keeping that up): "The International League (IL) WAS a Minor League Baseball League ..."

The Durham Bulls joined the International League their very first season, 1998, and went on to win the championship, the Governors' Cup, six times, most recently in 2018. 

Along with a couple of other teams, the League is now entirely gobbled up by Major League Baseball's new Triple-A East organization.

For an organization whose history reaches back into the 1800s, kinda sad to see it go.

Requiescat in Pacem International League. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


 Can't find out anything about the minor leagues, but here's part of what's going on.

A five-day quarantine before reporting to spring training. Shorter spring training games. No indoor dining. 

And then there's this piece which sounds very confusing to me, something about mixing up "Alternative Training Sites" and Triple-A"

Not sure what's going on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Beautiful Run Ends


The Tampa Bay Rays did not make it through game 6, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 1 to 3. But it was one heck of a run. They won 11 out of 20 games on their way to the World Series and showed us all how a small-market team can make its way through the wild card, the division championship, the league championship, and into the World Series. 

Box Score

Of course, I could quibble with tactics (I am far from alone), but they were tactics that have worked well in the past. Other interesting stories here and here

Overall, the geeks were on track.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Here We Go — Rays vs Dodgers


click for a larger image

The Tampa Bay Rays against the Los Angeles Dodgers is, to many, an unequal match. The Rays had the best record in the American League, but the Dodgers had a better record in the National League. The Dodgers payroll has got individual players with larger salaries than the entire Rays roster. 

The Rays have played 14 games over the last couple of weeks, winning 9. The Dodgers have played just 12, also winning 9. I don't know if that's an advantage or disadvantage. However, I would guess that the Rays are happy to get out of San Diego. They've been in that "bubble" for a long time.

The folks over at FiveThirtyEight have numbers that show the Dodgers as heavy favorites:

They might even go so far as to pick the Dodgers in four — but they would have done the same in the NLCS, which went seven.

We are left with hope, youth, and managerial skills.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Rays Are In


Click for a larger image

Forgive me for thinking that I might never see so many ex-Durham Bulls in the World Series as we will see on Tuesday, but I was worried. 

I am really tired of looking at the shadows in San Diego. I know that television rules the playoffs (just behind covid), but everything on the west coast and middle of the country? But the move to Texas is OK. East coast would be better.

I'm not rooting for either the Braves or the Dodgers tonight, but I guess it would be fun to see a southeastern world series. Plus, the Bulls used to be a Braves franchise back before the Rays, née Devil Rays, and the AAA Durham Bulls (and the DBAP) came into existence.

Congrats to all. Well-deserved. They worked for it.