What To Watch At The Park
California League All-Stars at Carolina League All-Stars, Tues., 7 p.m. ET: This week is one of the most sparse schedules you’ll see around the minors as many leagues take days off because of all-star breaks. The South Atlantic, Midwest, Carolina, California and Southern Leagues all play their all-star games on Tuesday which means all four leagues are idle on Monday and Wednesday. It means a lot of parks will be empty early this week, but it's also a great opportunity for prospect watchers.
If you're near Chattanooga, you can watch Kris Bryant in the Southern League all-star game. The Sally League game will be played in Hickory, N.C.. The Midwest League game will be played at the West Michigan Whitecaps home in Grand Rapids, Mich.
But because it involves the all-stars from two leagues rather than two divisions, once again the Carolina-California League all-star game will be one of the best stops for fans of prospects. This year the game will be played in Wilmington, Del. The Carolina League's all-star roster has been a little depleted by promotions that have taken away third baseman Joey Gallo (Rangers) and pitcher Alex Gonzalez (Rangers). But the California League's roster makes up for it with shortstops Carlos Correa (Astros) and Corey Seager (Dodgers), outfielder Gabriel Guerrero (Mariners), Jesse Winker (Reds) and Hunter Renfroe (Padres) as well as pitchers Ben Lively (Reds), Joe Ross (Padres) and Josh Hader (Astros).
MILB.tv Series Of The Week
Nashville Sounds At Las Vegas 51s (Tue.-Fri.): This week, we'll get to see if Nashville's PCL-best pitching staff can handle the challenge that is Las Vegas. Nashville leads the PCL in ERA by .33 runs, but they don't have to make many trips to parks like Las Vegas, where an ERA can go from 1.50 to 2.50 or 3.00 to 4.00 in the midst of a bad couple of innings. The 51s, who lead their division with a 40-30 record, have gotten a boost from the demotion of catcher Travis d'Arnaud. d'Arnaud has hit five home runs in seven games since the demotion and is currently working on a three-game home run streak.
Holy Promotions Batman!
If you happen to be in Northeast Pennsylvania, this would be a fine time to check out a Lehigh Valley IronPigs game. The weather has finally warmed up, the pork-centric team sells bacon at their concession stands, and (as always) they've got a few creative promotions and giveaways on tap this week.
On Tuesday night, the IronPigs are handing out commemorative "Pigs Fly" hats to adult fans. On Thursday, the team is paying homage to a fan-favorite with a Darin Ruf Garden Gnome giveaway. And then on Friday, the year of alternate jerseys will keep getting better when the team dons these Batman-themed uniforms as part of their Superhero Night promotion. (Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the jerseys to benefit the local Special Olympics charity).
EXCLUSIVE: We have images of the new Batman costume! See it on-field Friday, June 20th for Superhero Night. pic.twitter.com/4lJKRfr69Q
— IronPigs (@IronPigs) June 10, 2014
“This is a winning combination that our fans are going to go ‘Hog Wild’ for while also raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics of Lehigh County,” IronPigs president and general manager Kurt Landes said in a team release.
May The Fourth may be the unofficial day to celebrate Star Wars (and several teams did just that) but it doesn’t mean other dates on the calendar can’t get it on the Jedi fun. The New Orleans Zephyrs will take their turn to welcome Wookies and Clones on to the field this Friday and will also pass out light sabres at the gates to the first 1,000 fans in attendance and will reward fans who wear Star Wars gear with a $5 ticket. That is only the precursor to the big day on Saturday when the Zephyrs host Marriage on the Mound. The team picked one lucky couple—Andrea and Germain who had their first date at Zephyr Field in 2005—to tie the knot on the pitcher’s mound after the game.
Now, if only the Zephyrs could somehow combine these two promotions . . .
The Erie SeaWolves kicked off their 20th anniversary celebration at the start of the season with a commemorative logo, have revisited various key dates in team history, and have offered various “20 Seasons” giveaways at the ballpark. The festivities continue on Friday with the SeaWolves’ 20 Seasons Celebration Game, which will include a poster giveaway and appearances by famous alumni like Mike Rivera and Shawn Roof.
Bobblehead highlights of the week include an Anchorman Bobblehead being passed out by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (the Southern League team already hosted an Anchorman Night in honor of the hit movie earlier this month), a Bobble Truck by the Quad Cities River Bandits on Saturday (in honor of the 50th anniversary of the self-proclaimed world’s largest truckstop just outside Davenport, Iowa) and the West Michigan Whitecaps “Free Beer and Hot Wings” night on Thursday will make a local radio show producer’s dream come true.
— Josh Leventhal