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Let The Madness Begin

Will Lingo -

The minor league affiliation shuffle gets under way on Saturday, but the stories are already breaking. First, the Blue Jays are getting out of the Appalachian League, and second, local media in Pennsylvania are reporting that the Yankees will move their Triple-A affiliation to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Minors | #2006#Affiliation Shuffle

Baseball Helps New Orleans Bounce Back

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was disastrous. The governmental response was outrageous. But a year after the hurricane, the power of baseball is helping to heal the wounds in Louisiana. The New Orleans Zephyrs (Pacific Coast) just concluded their season and actually showed an increase in attendance over 2005. After serving as a staging area for relief efforts in the days after Katrina, Zephyr Field will come out in better shape than it was in before the storm. And the team not only provided Tulane with a place to play this spring while the Green Wave's stadium was being rebuilt, but it also spearheaded a number of fund-raising efforts to help the recovery.

Minors | #2006#Column

Business Beat: Sept. 15

J.J. Cooper -Premium Content

Don't mistake the quiet to mean that nothing is going on. The end of the minor league season meant that many affiliation agreements between major and minor league teams have officially come to an end. Player-development contracts—the official name of the documents that bind a major league and minor league team together—run in two-year increments, so this is the year when unhappy couples can look for greener pastures.

Minors | #2006#Business Beat

Ask BA

Jim Callis -

Which New York outfield prospect is better, Fernando Martinez or Jose Tabata? Is Joe Koshansky being overlooked the way Ryan Howard was? Who's the best pitcher among the Cubs' rookie starters?

Minors | #2006#Ask BA

Independent Audit: Sept. 7

J.J. Cooper -Premium Content

Independent league managers don't have much of a rooting interest in whether Monterrey or Saltillo wins the crown, but they have an intense interest in finding out which teams have been knocked out. When a Mexican League team's season is over, its players are free to sign with a U.S. club for the rest of the year. And for independent league teams in pennant races, an early August pickup could be the difference between making the playoffs and sitting home.

Minors | #2006#Independent Audit

Prospect Q&A: Carlos Carrasco

Matt Meyers -

After signing for $300,000 in 2003, the Phillies' Carlos Carrasco was a major disappointment during his first two seasons. The nadir was 2005 when he went 1-7, 7.04 after opening the season with low Class A Lakewood and was demoted. Back at Lakewood this year, the 19-year-old Venezuelan has found his stride and has established himself as one of the better pitching prospects in the South Atlantic League.

Minors | #2006#Prospect Q&A