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Freitas Awards Try To Spotlight Minors Top Operators

Will Lingo -Premium Content

On the Website, you'll notice some awards that you're used to seeing a little bit later in the year, or perhaps that you've never noticed before at all. What they represent is, quite simply, the best of the minor leagues. And we're hoping that by giving our minor league awards a bigger stage, we can shine a brighter light on the people who are responsible for making the minors as successful as they have become.

Minors | #2006#Column

Draft Changes, But Slotting Could Fall Apart

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Which was more surprising? That baseball got a new Collective Bargaining Agreement ahead of schedule and without rancor, or that it included actual changes to the draft rules? Since an arbitrator ruled in 1992 that the draft can't be altered without the union's approval, modifications have been as rare as the Pirates having a winning season.

Minors | #2006#Column

Dowd’s Move Shows Line Between Affiliated And Indy Ball Is Blurring

Will Lingo -Premium Content

With as much rhetoric as has been tossed around between the affiliated and independent minor leagues over the past decade, it has been a pleasant change to see the two parties settle into a quiet detente. It seems baseball executives have figured out there are enough baseball fans for everyone, and the groups might actually be able to learn from each other. Why, you might even see people from independent teams at the Winter Meetings in December. Just don't tell anyone.

Minors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Billy Beane

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

With all the hoopla surrounding Billy Beane and his management of the Athletics several years ago, I tended to be more reserved, saying, "The scouts gave him cheap stars like Hudson, Mulder and Tejada. Re-tooling the club will be the real trick." Now he's turned it. The A's just won 93 games and went deeper into the postseason than any Oakland club since the team went to the World Series in 1990, fueled mostly by the Danny Harens, FrankThomases and Mark Kotsays he acquired without the draft. I sat down with Beane a few days after the Tigers swept Oakland from the playoffs to talk about his evolving shopping lists, what he wants from his next manager and how—gasp!—his A's might one day lead the league in steals.

Majors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Joe Buck

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

In the 10 years since Joe Buck called his first World Series at age 27, he has become the nation's primary network voice for both baseball and football, called about 9,642 hours of Yankees postseason games and, now that he works the Fox football pregame bacchanalia as well, learned to decode not just Tim McCarver but Terry Bradshaw, too. I caught up with Buck just before his first postseason broadcast this October to talk about Yankee overkill, the difference between football and baseball culture and just what bass fishing can do for a guy.

Majors | #2006#Column

Triple-A Changes Start Off Shuffle

Will Lingo -Premium Content

It's official: Three of the longest-standing affiliations in the minor leagues are coming to an end in the International League, with the announcements of new player-development agreements in Columbus and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Minors | #2006#Column

More Teams Hooking Up

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Padres win the battle for San Antonio, while the shuffle in the New York-Penn League ends, and the Dodgers will be the major league affiliate for the new Great Lakes franchise in the Midwest League.

Minors | #2006#Column

Mets, Orioles Complete Triple-A Movement

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Completing the affiliation movement in Triple-A, the Mets announced a two-year player-development contract with New Orleans, while the Orioles will take over in Norfolk. Also, the Pirates completed an expected move when they announced their short-season affiliation will switch to State College next season.

Minors | #2006#Column

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

Calm Before The Storm

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Every two years, major and minor league teams can seek new affiliation agreements, and that process is getting under way now. Baseball America tells you how things are lining up in advance of the market opening up on Sept. 16.

Minors | #2006#Column