Saturday, July 04, 2009

Future Rivals?

On Wednesday night, I made my first trip to the outer suburbs of Boston to visit LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners, the New York-Penn League Class A affiliate of the Red Sox. Despite the consistent rain that this area has been getting of late, and a torrential downpour just before game time, they managed to play a full nine innings.

The weather did seem to keep a lot of fans away though, as the stadium was only about half full, and I had actually purchased online the last remaining ticket two days before the game. How do I know it was the last seat in the house? Because their web site allows you to view available seats by section, and since there are only 20 sections in the entire place, it isn't too difficult to go through the entire stadium to find the best spot. In this case, the best spot was the only one.

As is the case with most relatively new minor league parks, LeLacheur is a cozy place to watch a game up close and personal. Nothing made this park stand out as any better or worse than Dutchess Stadium, the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, the New York-Penn League team for which my dad is a season ticket holder. Both stadiums are simply well designed.

LeLacheur Park The Spinners' opponent was the Staten Island Yankees, which got me to thinking about what the chances are that, in the future, any of these players will be facing each other in the major leagues, as Yankees and Red Sox. Keep in mind, of course, that this is short-season A ball, four steps away from the big show. I went to the Renegades game with my dad last night, and he told me they estimate that one out of 13 of the players on the current squad will make it to the majors.

Based on my knowledge of the players who have passed through the Hudson Valley in the team's 15-year history, I think this is a conservative estimate. Even if I'm right, this most likely means that no more than three guys from each of the current rosters of Lowell and Staten Island will get to the majors. The fact that some of them may have changed organizations in the process decreases the chances even further that they'll play against each other as Yankees and Red Sox. So, I would say that maybe one day the big clubs will square off, and there will be one member of each of the current editions of these minor league teams involved.

I've written a couple of posts about the perceived bad luck that I've brought the Yankees in their recent matchups with the Red Sox. It hadn't even occurred to me that it might actually carry over to minor league games as well, but the Spinners defeated the Yankees 11-0. In fact, I left in the bottom of the 6th, with the score already 11-0, so once I was gone, the Yankees performed much better, relatively speaking.

Particularly woeful was the performance of Staten Island pitcher Sam Elam, and his manager's handling of the situation. Five walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter resulted in four runs allowed on no hits in one inning of work. Making matters even worse, in my opinion, was the fact that Yankees' manager Josh Paul—most famous as the catcher involved in the botched third strike on A.J. Pierzynski in the 2005 ALCS—didn’t even have a pitcher start warming up in the bullpen until after the fourth walk.

The most impressive performance was turned in by Spinners starting pitcher Jose Alvarez, who gave up hits to the first two Yankees he faced, then proceeded to throw six scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and a walk thereafter. Listed at 5'11" and 150 lbs., the Venezuelan hurler is probably not one of the Red Sox hottest pitching prospects due to his size, but he's now allowed only one run on 9 hits and a walk, while striking out 15, in 18 innings for Lowell.

1 comment:

  1. My college roommate was from Lowell but they didn't have a team back then. Thanks for the report. And go, Spinners!