Thursday, March 25, 2010

Durham Bulls Basics — 1 — AAA Baseball

This is the first of a couple of posts intended for fans new to Durham Bulls baseball. The season opens (sort of) a week from Saturday and we’re thinking that some fans will be looking around the web. So here’s our contribution. If it seems a bit basic, that’s because a lot of it was new to me when I first chased it down, and I thought that maybe the information might be new to others.

In the very remote chance that I might be in error, I hope that readers will set me straight. I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

First, the basics of AAA baseball.

Triple-A baseball is one step below major league baseball. How do we know that? Because Major League Baseball says it is.

Furthermore, Major League Baseball tells us that there will be 30 major league baseball teams: 14 in the American League and 16 in the National League. Each of them has a AAA team in their farm system. Thus, there are 30 AAA minor league baseball teams. (Who said I couldn’t do basic arithmetic?)

The 30 Triple-A teams are divided into two leagues: The International League with 14 teams and the Pacific Coast League with 16 teams. So that sort of makes sense, so far.

What also makes sense is that, mostly, the International League is made up of teams who have their major league affiliates in the eastern and midwestern part of the country, while the Pacific Coast League’s parent clubs are, mostly, in the Southwest and West.

But, hey, it’s baseball, so there will inevitably be a few quirks in the system.. The Florida Marlins affiliate is the New Orleans Zephyrs; the Milwaukee Brewers affiliate is the Nashville Sounds; and the Chicago Cubs affiliate is the Iowa Cubs. But they are all in the Pacific Coast League.

The Durham Bulls, a Tampa Bay Rays affiliate, is in the International League. We’ll take a look a that next.

A bit more background here.

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