Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Have a happy and safe Halloween from LI Ducks Blog!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Evolution of the Atlantic League 1998/2012

I made these maps to show where Atlantic Leagues teams were located in 1998, and now in 2012. Pretty interesting to see how geographically the league has changed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mike Loree named to Baseball America 2011 Independent League All-Star Team

Mike Loree was named to the Baseball America 2011 Independent Leagues All-Star Team.

Loree posted a 14-5 record and 1.98 ERA in 24 games for the Ducks this past season.


Chris Nowak, and Ramon Caston with the only other AL players to make the team.

Would Wichita Falls be a good fit in the Atlantic League?

Prior to the game two of the Atlantic League Championship, League CEO Frank Boulton said that the league is looking to put a full four team division in Texas, with the first team being the Sugar Land Skeeters who start play next season. It has been speculated that Wichita Falls has another possible site for a team, so I caught up with Drew Pelto who is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Wichita Wildcats a Junior Hockey(NAHL) team in Wichita Falls. Drew gave me his thoughts on the possibility of an Atlantic League team going there.

CM: How are the sports fans in Wichita Falls as opposed to Mass, and Ohio where you've lived previously?

DP: They're a different breed for sure. In Cleveland, where I'm from, support is pretty even between baseball and football, specifically the Indians and Browns. When I was in Boston, it was pretty well divided between the four major sports teams, especially the Pats and Red Sox as I was living there in the middle of their dominance. In Wichita Falls, it seems "local" is the key word. High school football is sport #1, followed by high school football and high school football. Support for the Wildcats hockey team where I work wavers a bit. I know there used to be some criticism from a guy in the area writing in to the "Sound Off" section of the paper, a place where fans could write in and rant and rave about anything sports related, and his major complaint was that nothing about the Wildcats was local. Interesting fact, he didn't have that complaint about Midwestern State football or his beloved Dallas Cowboys. Hockey isn't a native sport to North Texas, there were no local kids playing for the team, and somehow in his mind, it meant we were less deserving of support from the community. At times, I feel Wichita Falls is a city of 100,000 that thinks it's a town of 1,000.

CM: Is baseball big enough in Texas, specifically in around Wichita Falls to support a team, and also a full 4 team division?

DP: It's certainly big enough statewide. The existence of the AA Texas League shows that the state does like baseball. Even in Wichita Falls, history has had the Wichita Falls Spudders in the minor leagues in various incarnations between 1920 and 1957. More recently, the Wichita Falls Roughnecks played a year in the Texas Collegiate League. A few players have come from the Wichita Falls area like former Yankee and current Milwaukee farmhand Chase Wright, and White Sox pitcher Zach Stewart. No sport will ever be as big as football around here, but I think baseball is big enough that this city could support a team.

CM: Texas has some grueling summers, and bust travel can tough. Do you think players would want to play there?

DP: It would be tough, but I think if minor league baseball can succeed statewide, no player should have much of a problem playing here. If the games are kept mostly to nights in the summer like the Rangers do down in Arlington, I think they'd be alright.

CM: Every team in the Atlantic League has a figure head to their organization (i.e. Ducks have Bud Harrelson). If Wichita Falls were to get a team, who would you want to be a manager or figure head of the organization?

DP: Kelly Stinnett. He's from Lawton, Oklahoma, which is just an hour from Wichita Falls. He was a longtime backup catcher for eight teams and catchers seem to make good managers, so he seems like a perfect fit.

CM: What would be a good name for the team in Wichita Falls?

DP: Anything related to the oil or cattle industry. Roughnecks, Drillers, Oilers, Wildcatters, Rustlers, Longhorns... Of course, with the past minor league Spudders, that's always an option too.

CM: The following areas are speculated as possible candidates for an Atlantic league team. Choose 2 other cities where you think the league would succeed and why?

  • one of the areas east of Dallas (Rockwall County, Garland/Mesquite, etc.)
  • the southern area of Austin
  • Abilene, TX (population 117,000)
  • Denton, TX
  • Waco, TX
  • Kileen, TX
DP: I'm surprised Waco doesn't have a team already somewhere, so that's the one that stands out most to me first and foremost. Denton would be great for providing a nearby rival for a potential Wichita Falls team, plus it's a college town so they're always looking for cheap entertainment. Of course, seeing as baseball is a summer sport, that can be a problem as the students are out during the season. Of the places you listed, I think Abilene would be another excellent choice as it's the right size for a team in the AL and really lacks any major sports-- the only ones I hear about are Abilene Wylie High School, Abilene Christian University, and the defunct Abilene Aviators hockey team. The Austin area has too much to compete with, as does the Dallas area. I'll admit I don't know much about Killeen.

CM: What do you think bringing an AL team to Wichita Falls would do for the sports, economy, and tourism?

DP: I think it would be an excellent addition. It would provide jobs, low-cost entertainment when football and hockey are out of season, and bring in fans from other Atlantic League cities and really all over Texoma. With the Wildcats, we have a dedicated fan base who support the team even on the road. I know fans who constantly make trips to our road games, whether it's the two-hour drive to Frisco, or the 15 hours to Minnesota. I think the support would be great for it, and that the city would be a major asset to the Atlantic League.

We look forward to the future develops of the division in Texas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long Island to Sugar Land map

Here's a map from Bethpage Ballpark to the Sugar Land Skeeters team offices (Obviously the players would have to fly, but it's a hike for fans).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autograph Guide to Ducks added

Added a new page to the blog for autograph collectors. This page use to be on my other blog but I've moved it over here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Atlantic League team in Vermont? Good idea?

I've always thought that an Atlantic League team would do extremely well in Vermont and in August I did a blog posting on my other blog about why I think an AL team would work in Vermont.

I've emailed the Atlantic League numerous times about looking into it. So far emails have fell on deaf ears and no interest has been taken. Some of that may be do to the fact the last New England based franchise in Atlantic League, the Nashua Pride left the league in 2006 (for the CAN-AM League) and ultimately folded. Also, the New England area is saturated with minor league teams.

The Atlantic League also likes to have geographic rivalries like Long Island and Bridgeport and Lancaster and York, and so Vermont would need a geographic rival.

Right now the Atlantic League seems to have no interest in expanding north, instead they are expanding into southern Virginia and will put a full four team division in Texas starting with the Sugarland Skeeters.

Still the idea of Vermont getting an AL team intrigues me, so I decided to catch up with Baseball historian/blogger and Vermonter Andrew Martin about his thoughts on this hypothetical idea.

CM: In your opinion is Vermont in jeopardy of losing the Lake Monsters?

AM: I think things look a lot better now than they did a year or two ago. The current owner Ray Pecor seems pretty committed to keeping baseball in Vermont, and the Oakland A's franchise seems like a good fit for the team. A lot of money is getting poured into bringing the current playing field up to par, but a new stadium would be the best way to ensure baseball sticking around.

CM: If the Lake Monsters, were to relocate do you think fans would embrace the idea of bring in an Atlantic League team?

AM: I think that there are more than enough baseball fans in Vermont and Canada to justify having a team of some sort in this area. It would be tough to lose a team like the Lake Monsters, which has existed in some form here for decades, but having some team would be better than none. An Atlantic League team would also represent an upgrade in the quality of baseball, plus more games, so I am sure those are all things that people would enjoy.

CM: Centennial Field is falling apart, and even with recent renovations the field isn't state of the art. The Atlantic League would help build a stadium there which would help the sports atmosphere. Do you think a new stadium is needed? Where would you like to see it located?

AM: A new stadium is absolutely necessary. Centennial Field has a lot of history and is beautiful in its own way, but with professional baseball being so competitive in terms of a city maintaining a team, a newer facility would be a must. The pipe dream for a location would be on the waterfront of Lake Champlain. It would be an amazing setting that could be a smaller version of San Francisco's park. It would also play well off all the hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in that area of the city. I am not sure if there would be available land however, and the parking, which is already sparse, could prove to be tricky. (picture from http://www.thirtythree.org/wallpapers/)
CM: If Vermont did get an AL team, what name would you choose?

AM: Hmm... Good question. This might be kind of lengthy, but I think the Green Mountain Boys would be pretty cool. I wish more teams would think outside the box and not just name their teams after an animal or some aspect of their uniform.

CM: Many Atlantic League teams have figure heads and managers who have recognizable names that help promote the league, who would you choose as the manger/figurehead for the Vermont team?

AM: I think there is only one man who would be the perfect fit for this role, and he is a Vermont resident. Bill "Spaceman" Lee would be a great choice to manage an Atlantic League team in Vermont. Not only does he know and love baseball, but he has the name recognition and entertainment value to draw in fans. I know he has been somewhat of a baseball nomad over the past couple of decades. It would be nice to see him and his wife Diana be able to be here full time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Loudoun Hounds set for 2013

Today the Loudoun Hounds announced on their Facebook page that they will begin play in 2013.
A season later than expected, but still great news!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ducks @ STB Sports

If you're looking for older Long Island Ducks card sets then check out STB Sports. They have a huge selection of minor league card sets.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ducks cards on sportlots.com

Many people don't realize this but many Long Island Ducks and Atlantic League players have major issued baseball cards produced by Topps, Upper Deck, and other brands when they were apart of Major League organizations.

Many of these cards can be found on sportlots.com! Check it out!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

J.R. House's TD Record broken?

I've become accustomed to finding out interesting facts about current/former Ducks. One of the most interesting things was that last season's All-State Catcher J.R. House was tied for the all-time high school record for passing touchdowns in a game. J.R. had a stellar career at Nitro High School in West Virginia where he won a State Championship in 1998. In that game J.R. threw 10 TD's!

I asked J.R. about it at a pre-game autograph signing this past season and he said "it was cool because it was a state championship game."

Now his record in jeopardy. Last week A high school player in Oregon has thrown 11 TD's in a game breaking the record. However, the game was played in an 8 man division, so we'll have to wait until the new National High School Record Book comes out to see if they will recognize it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New header

New header! A special thanks goes out to Drew Pelto for his design of this awesome header!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seven Ducks receive Post-Season honors

The Atlantic League annouced that five Ducks ware named as 2011 Post Season All-Stars

"The Liberty Division Champion Ducks placed five players on the first team with veteran catcher
J R House, Shortstop Javier Colina, as well as outfielders Matt Esquivel and Kraig Binick, the league’s batting champion along with Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year Mike Loree all enjoying all star seasons."

John Rodriguez, and Lew Ford were also named the second team.

Great news! Hopefully all those guys come back next year!

Also, Bathpage Ballpark was named Atlantic League Park of the year.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Atlantic ready for 2012

Baseball history Blogger, Andrew Martin sent me this link today.

With the release of the Atlantic League schedule earlier this week, and after communicating with a GM in the Atlantic League it's apparent that the Loudoun Hounds will not be playing next season in the Atlantic League because their stadium will not be complete. Obviously, we'd like to see the Hounds next season, and I'm not sure how close the stadium would be to being finished by seasons start. I emailed the Hounds a few weeks ago and got no response.

Also, as I've noted before the Sugar Land Skeeters will be entering the Atlantic League next season, which will make for some interesting travel. At first I thought it was a waste to put one team in Texas but Ducks Owner/League CEO Frank Boulton confirmed before the second game of the championship series that the Atlantic League is looking to put a four team division in Texas.
This would be a huge step in expanding the Atlantic League, and giving fans and collectors more teams to choose from (also more Road Warriors).

IndependentBaseball.net reports that Atlantic League is looking for ownership groups in the following areas. (Also, see).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ducks announce 2012 schedule

The Ducks have announced their 2012 schedule! A few things to note about the schedule.

First, the Ducks will be making trips to Texas this season to play the expansion Sugar Land Skeeters.

The Loudoun Hounds had hoped to be on their schedule but they are behind the building of their ballpark and will not be on the 2012 schedule.

Also, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs are now being referred to as the "Maryland" Blue Crabs.

...2 wins short

The Long Island Ducks fell 2 wins short of winning their first Atlantic League Championship since 2004.

Welcome to LI Duck's Blog

Welcome to LI Ducks's Blog!

This is an independent blog devoted to the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. We are in no way affiliated with the Long Island Ducks, minor league baseball, Atlantic League, Major League Baseball or any other professional baseball leagues. Opinions and views on the site are that of the blogger(s).