Nominally, it has been two months since the last OMNI, but the reality is that I wrote that update at the end of June and am writing this one at the beginning of August. But there are some juicy news bits to bubble up in the last few weeks, and since I’ll probably do another one mid-September for PDC season, let’s go for it.
In June, I was lamenting how my life had gotten too busy to keep adding to the DIA at a rapid pace. Well, lately, I’ve been cruising full steam ahead. I’ve done roughly 85 total entries now, and as of this writing, I’m about to get started on the 2001 group in the Browse by Year of Demise category. I think I’ve got a decent chance of getting through the year 2000 (about 100 entries) in August. That’s been my goal for a while, so that makes me feel happy.
Beyond that, I’ve added a couple of “live pages” to my team notes, and both of them were spurred on by adding the delightfully odd Orlando Rays to the DIA. First off is the Weird Teams list, which I had been planning for a while. The second is a little more granular–Pre-Emptive COTOBs and DimDers. There are very few of these throughout the annals of the minors, but Orlando is one.
While the last OMNI had the fresh news of the Orem Owlz planning to relocate to Pueblo, Colorado. For this OMNI, the big news is that the city of Pueblo nixed the plan, and the whole stadium deal has been called off. That’s probably a smart move for a small city like Pueblo, so I’m fine with it. Of course, now that the owner has revealed his hand, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him find another willing city in Colorado or anywhere else in the Pioneer League’s geographic footprint. As such, I haven’t moved them from their “Endangered” designation.
In San Antonio, there’s a mildly interesting debate about whether the Missions should build a new stadium or simply expand existing Wolff Stadium as they make their move to Triple-A. I thought the new stadium was a done deal, but it goes to show that even the Minor League Geek misses a nuance or two. Either way, they will be in Triple-A next year. Of course, whether or not they have a new stadium will impact their desirability in the upcoming PDC bonanza. On that note…
PDC Preview News
Only one more month till that most exciting part of the sports calendar! No, I’m not talking the kickoff of the No Fun League…I’m talking the open PDC signing period! WooHoo!!! There are a few minor notes since the last OMNI, including the aforementioned San Antonio situation. At least three more Triple-A affiliates have renewed with their longstanding parent clubs: Omaha with Kansas City, Norfolk with Baltimore, and Rochester with Minnesota. The latter is the only of those three that I thought had an outside chance of changing, but no dice. Instead, we can continue to enjoy the crazy coincidence that Minnesota is with the Rochester Red Wings, and the state of Minnesota has cities called Rochester and Red Wing. That’s good stuff.
So, at Triple-A, we’re essentially looking at five Pacific Coast League free agents (San Antonio, Round Rock, Fresno, Las Vegas, and Nashville) playing some sort of musical chairs with the Astros, Brewers, Rangers, A’s, and Nationals. At this point, I predict Round Rock/Houston, Fresno/Milwaukee, San Antonio/Texas, Las Vegas/Oakland, and Washington/Nashville. Still some moving parts here, so we’ll see.
Nothing of note is new at the lower levels since the last OMNI, but I do think there will be some relatively meaningless switcheroos, especially in the Texas and Southern Leagues. Probably the most interesting will be to see who will end up with the new Amarillo team. Perhaps the Missions franchise will continue with the Padres; a natural fit, as San Diego and the Gold Sox were an item for last five seasons (’76-’82) of the defunct Amarillo franchise. The Padres would surely like to continue the West Texas satellite community they’re building in El Paso. We’ll see.
The list of potential names for the to-be-moved Mobile BayBears franchise has been announced. The team will be based in the Huntsville suburb of Madison, Alabama, and the list of names heavily reflects Huntsville’s ties to NASA–a tradition that hearkens back to the days of the Stars. The names are typically wacky for a new team in the Brandiose era, and of the ten, the three that I enjoy the most/find the most tolerable are Army Ants, GloWorms, and Space Chimps. The most interesting part of this process is that the team is apparently undecided on their place name, with the possible options of Madison, Rocket City, and North Alabama. I could only see Madison if the nickname is alliterative Moon Possums. Rocket City would be odd, as that is specifically Huntsville’s nickname. That would be a shocking choice. North Alabama seems most likely, especially since that was used in the graphic that came along with the press release. North Alabama Space Chimps? Now that I could appreciate. Too bad it’s not North Alabama Space Ants, or NASA for short.
The Pioneer League’s new Colorado Springs franchise announced their list as well. Despite my best efforts, my own submission (Violet Pilots) was not among the options. (wipes tear) It’s another list of wacky names, most of which I will not dignify by publishing here on my sacred website. Happy Campers would be awesome, but I can’t see that being chosen. Among the options, I’m hoping for Punchy Pikas. Of course, it would be better if it were just Pikas. Or what about the Pikes Peak Pikas? Boy, I should work for Brandiose.
That’s about all I have for today. I’ll be back in September for PDC news and maybe some naming news too. And whatever else happens as the minor league world turns.
Thanks for reading!