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Officials Plan To OK Return Of TAWS

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The minors have seen various forms of a Triple-A World Series over the years, the most recent coming from 1998-2000. It was one of the main reasons Triple-A realigned into two leagues—remember the American Association?—and debuted as a best-of-five series in Las Vegas with much fanfare. It didn't work, at least not on the scale organizers hoped for. So after the original three-year deal to hold the event in Las Vegas expired, so did the Triple-A World Series. But the idea got moving again thanks to Ken Schnacke, president of the IL's Columbus Clippers, and Minor League Baseball vice president Pat O'Conner. It was a major topic of discussion in Sacramento this year at the Triple-A all-star game, and there is strong momentum for bringing the series back in 2006.

Minors | #2005#Column

Brett Brings Verve To The Futures Game Manager Job

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The job of Futures Game manager is largely a ceremonial one, an opportunity for Major League Baseball to pay a small tribute to a past hero of the game. The managers often have local ties, as World manager Guillermo Hernandez did this year, returning to the city where he had his greatest success. But United States manager George Brett was too busy to get his pat on the back. Looking to interview George before the game? He's around the batting cage, watching his charges take batting practice and dispensing advice. Hoping for a photo op? Sorry, George is throwing BP to the fourth group. Brett is one of the only Futures Game managers ever to throw BP. That's not to say Brett made like Tony La Russa. He delegated most of the actual work to his coaches, who were minor league managers and much more familiar with the players than he was.

Minors | #2005#Column

Hard Work Helps Futures Game Grow

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Futures Game has become one of the best events in baseball, going through a few growing pains since debuting in 1999 to become a fixture in the mental datebook of the serious fan. Most of you have just noticed the steady parade of prospects who have added their names to the Futures Game alumni roster, usually on their way to the major leagues and greater success. And that's as it should be. The hours of hard work by those of us behind the scenes is supposed to go unnoticed, as long as we provide a few hours of quality baseball entertainment for you.

Minors | #2005#Column

Base Closings Even Affect Minors

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Minor league teams tend to avoid getting involved in politics. But when a political issue lands right in your backyard, it's hard not to jump into the fray. A Pentagon commission has recommended closing the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. On the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut, it is the Navy's first submarine base, receiving its first four submarines in 1915 and now serving as the home of 16 nuclear submarines. Just up the river from the submarine base is Dodd Stadium, home of the Norwich Navigators. General manager Keith Hallal said the team started talking about ideas to rally the community around the base last fall, when rumors first circulated about the base being targeted for closure.

Minors | #2005#Column

West Tenn Faces Uphill Battle For Fans

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx were averaging a little more than 1,500 fans a game this season, almost half of the average of the teams just ahead of them in the league attendance standings and light years away from Jacksonville, which leads the league with about 6,000 fans a game. It's the continuation of a sad decline in Jackson, Tenn., which has lost almost all of the enthusiasm it had when the team debuted in 1998. The franchise has faced a series of setbacks since then, from a contentious relationship between former owner David Hersh and the city to a flirtation with moving last offseason.

Minors | #2005#Column

Tribe Shuts Down Top Prospect

Chris Kline -

Indians righthander Adam Miller will miss at least the first two months of the season after being shut down with a strained elbow. Miller, the Tribe's No. 1 prospect, felt discomfort after throwing a bullpen four days after arriving at the club's spring training complex in Winter Haven, Fla.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

Minor Teams Always Make Do

Will Lingo -Premium Content

When it rains at a minor league ballpark, the entire staff usually gets out on the field to pull the tarp. If there's a bunch of pizza left over at the end of the night, many teams will send employees into the stands to sell it off at a bargain price. When one team is displaced from its park after a catastrophic event like a hurricane, other teams are happy to help out. Minor league adaptability is not a new phenomenon, of course.

Minors | #2005#Column

Second Surgery For L.A.’s Miller

John Manuel -

In 2003, the top lefthanders in the minor leagues were Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir and a late-bloomer in the Dodgers system, 18-year-old Greg Miller. While Hamels and Kazmir had lengthy amateur resumes, Miller was a relative unknown who was throwing in the mid-80s late in his high school career. A tweak here, some better conditioning there, and Miller started pumping mid-90s lightning while throwing three other pitches for strikes.

Minors | #2005#Prospect Bulletin

New Teams Keep Texas League Crowds Rolling In

Will Lingo -Premium Content

After last season, Texas League president Tom Kayser knew his league would have to move forward without its flagship franchise. The Round Rock Express, arguably the best Double-A franchise ever, would move up to the Pacific Coast League in 2005. The league might never find one franchise that's the equal of the Express, but its combination of two new franchises might mean the league is even better. The Corpus Christi Hooks have replaced the Express, and the former El Paso Diablos have moved to Springfield, Mo., and become the Cardinals. And while it's still early, both franchises were averaging better than 7,000 fans a night in April. Round Rock (9,846 a night) and El Paso (3,422) averaged a little over 13,000 fans combined last year.

Minors | #2005#Column