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Spinners Feed Off Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry continues to burn in the Northeast, and two teams in the New York-Penn League have been unlikely beneficiaries. It all started when the Lowell Spinners, a Red Sox affiliate in Massachusetts, offered to replace the uniforms of any youth team in the state named Yankees if the team would take the Spinners name.

Minors | #2006#Column

Crystal Ball Shows All-L.A. Series In 2009

Jim Callis -Premium Content

We always like to look ahead at Baseball America. Our Major League Preview doesn't just focus on 2006, but also gazes three years into the future. In this space in 2002, I correctly predicted that the Astros would reach the 2005 World Series. Alas, I had them defeating the Mariners, who wound up winning just 63 games. I did forecast that the Braves, Padres and Yankees would capture division titles, though I also projected that the Athletics, Cubs and Twins would join them in the playoffs.

Minors | #2006#Column

Stellar Farm Systems Usually Pay Off

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Diamondbacks fans finally are getting a taste of what most expansion teams endure. Arizona went 65-97 in its inaugural 1998 season before launching a four-year run that included 375 wins, three National League West titles and a dramatic World Series championship in 2001. But the Diamondbacks subsequently have felt the Devil Rays' pain, totaling just 212 victories the last three years.

Minors | #2006#Column

Get Charged Up For Another Year

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Well, we've made it through another long, cold, lonely winter, and it's time to get out to the ballpark again. Though football has tried to co-opt the special preseason feeling of baseball in recent years, seeing a bunch of fat guys flop-sweating their way through August is not nearly the same thing as spring training.

Minors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Cast Of Benchwarmers

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Baseball America is all about prospects, but that doesn't mean we don't have a soft spot for the scrubs. And now we have a movie for the guys at the end of a roster: "The Benchwarmers," in theaters April 7, features an eccentric billionaire (Jon Lovitz) who backs a three-man team of adult misfits (Rob Schneider, Jon Heder and David Spade) to take on young bullies in a Little League tournament. It's typical Adam Sandler slapstick—"If you build it, nerds will come," Lovitz's character declares—about the 99 percent of us who sit and watch as the stars get to play. I sat down with Schneider and Lovitz to talk about the movie, their own Little League days, and Reggie Jackson destroying federal property.

Majors | #2006#Column

Top 10 Lists Can’t Include Everyone

Jim Callis -Premium Content

One of fans' great misconceptions (and there are a few) with our organization Top 10 Prospects lists is that we are disparaging anyone who doesn't make the cut. You wouldn't believe some of the e-mails we get or some of the blog posts that our decisions inspire.

Minors | #2006#Column

Top 100 Lists Feature Studs, Spectacular Duds

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Amazing as it might seem, Baseball America didn't start rating the best prospects in baseball until its 10th year of existence. We had been ranking prospects by their minor league and their organization for years, and we broke them down by position during spring training.

Minors | #2006#Column

Phillies Move Could Start Scramble

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The instability surrounding the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, which we've written about several times in the past couple of years, looks like it will finally cost the club its most valuable asset after the 2006 season: the affiliation with the Phillies.

Minors | #2006#Column

Fisher Cats Finally Feel At Home

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Shawn Smith wasn't able to chat. He was heading into a luncheon sponsored by a local civic organization and had to get through security. Every minor league general manager in America spends a good number of his afternoons at similar luncheons. Not many have to go through security first, but then again, not many get to see the President as their featured speaker.

Minors | #2006#Column

Online Studies Give Players More Options

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The story of Roland Hemond's career is one that would make even Horatio Alger blush. Hemond's path to becoming one of baseball's most respected executives involves a stint in the Coast Guard, a chance spring training meeting with a man who was blinded by mustard gas in World War I, and a foot in the door with a minor league club in Hartford, Conn., in 1951.

Minors | #2006#Column

Going Deep: Buck Martinez

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

As the pieces of the upcoming World Baseball Classic gradually fall into place, one of the biggest appeared at the Winter Meetings: the Team USA manager will be Buck Martinez, the current ESPN analyst and former manager of the Blue Jays. The prospect of managing the greatest collection of talent in the history of baseball, with names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter and more, has left the garrulous Martinez anything but speechless. I sat down with Martinez to discuss his evolving juggernaut and any plans to bribe the Rocket out of retirement.

Majors | #2006#Column