Results tagged ‘ RailRiders ’

Clash of Clans: World Series Edition

How did the Royals make the World Series? Part of it involved putting down the phone and avoiding a wildly popular game.

Normally on PIP, we lead with all things RailRiders. And we will get to SWB in just a bit. But with the Fall Classic underway, we found an article of particular interest. Who wouldn’t want to play Major League Baseball? Who didn’t spend hours upon hours playing in the backyard or in the street imagining a World Series pitch or at-bat? For this year’s Kansas City Royals (who saw their eight-game post-season winning streak shattered in a 7-1 thumping last night), the playoffs nearly never were thanks to…Clash of Clans?

For those unaware, Clash of Clans (per the 100% accurate Wikipedia) is “an online multiplayer game in which players build a community, train troops, and attack other players to earn gold and elixir, which can then be used to build defenses so as to protect the player against other players attacking them.” For the Kansas City Royals, Clash of Clans became mind control. As this IGN piece details, first-base coach Rusty Kuntz “remembered coming into the locker room after a tough loss against Boston — their third in a row in the middle of the season, putting the team below .500 — and seeing a handful of players fixated on Clash of Clans”. Getting the Royals to tone it down turned their season around. (Clash of Clans is a lot of fun though).

The Royals made one change to their roster for the World Series. They dropped 2010 first-round pick Christian Colon, and added an SWB alumnus in Jayson Nix. The Dallas, Tex. native played eight games for the then-SWB Yankees early in the 2012 season. He spent a good deal of the 2014 campaign in the IL with Durham. He played in 55 games for the Bulls and started at six different positions. The Giants, however, made no changes to their roster for the World Series which means former SWB hurler George Kontos remains off the active roster.

In 2011 the tradition of rookies dressing up for the season’s last road trip included George Kontos and many other former SWB players with an 80’s pop stars theme. From L-R: Andrew Brackman/Dellin Betances (Milli Vanilli), Kontos (George Michael), Hector Noesi (Prince), Joe Girardi (himself), Austin Romine (Madonna), Jesus Montero (MC Hammer), Brandon Laird (Slash).

Do you like watching San Francisco second baseman Joe Panik? According to this piece by former SWB/current New York Yankees beat man Chad Jennings, some scouts believe Panik is very similar to the RailRiders’ best position player prospect in 2014 – Rob Refsnyder.

Jennings also took a look at a number of former SWB players who are among the Yankees that could be looking at arbitration or being non-tendered and the money they’re likely to make in 2015 with help from MLB Trade Rumors.

Tonight, it’s Game 2 of the World Series as the hard-throwing young gun Yordano Ventura faces longtime veteran Jake Peavy. Click away for MLB.com’s preview of the game. It will be a special night at PNC Field as well. Season ticket holders and sponsors will gather in the Mohegan Sun Club for what’s become an annual tradition – watching the World Series in Moosic. It’s one of the many benefits afforded to STH and sponsors of NEPA’s favorite team.

The Mohegan Sun Club will become NEPA’s World Series HQ for season-ticket holders and sponsors.

The Arizona Fall League has served as a launching pad for many of baseball’s biggest stars. What’s the latest when it comes to the Yankees and some former/likely future RailRiders? Check out Jim Callis’ overview of the Yankees in the circuit, read up on how Tyler Austin sparked a huge late rally, and check up on Greg Bird who claimed Player of the Week honors.

Yes, the chill has arrived and winter will soon follow. But warm up with the release of the Yankees spring training schedule. Pitchers and catchers report to Tampa Feb. 20 and work out starting Feb. 21. The other position players arrive Feb. 25 with a first full-squad the next day. The 33-game Grapefruit League slate starts March 3 in Clearwater against the Phillies.

Per Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, it appears that Gary Denbo will take over as the top man running the Yankees’ minor league system. He has had a long-running relationship with Derek Jeter and has been known as a brilliant hitting coach. He served as the Yankees’ hitting coach in 2001. Some thought Trey Hillman was in line for the position previously held by Mark Newman, but the Astros hired Hillman to be their bench coach.

As for the Yankees’ current hitting coach, CBS’ Jon Heyman reports that former Yankee Chili Davis turned down the Bombers in favor of the Red Sox. Dave Magadan reportedly interviewed for the gig in the Bronx, but was told he is no longer a candidate. Magadan is still in the running for the hitting coach role with the Mets, however, along with the man recently axed by the Yankees, Kevin Long, who is set to meet with the team today according to the NY Post.

Over at MinorLeagueBall.com John Sickels took a look at the breakout effort by one of the nicest guys in SWB baseball history, Chase Whitley.

How the heck is CC Sabathia doing? Apparently, he’s “pretty much back to 100%” according to Bryan Hoch.

Do you want baseball to pick up its pace? The Arizona Fall League is conducting experiments in an attempt to accomplish that with mixed results per Mike Axisa.

Are you awake all night wondering what could have been with the SWB Black Diamond Bears? Lose the diamond, but another team is going to help you out.

Love AMC’s The Walking Dead? So do minor league baseball players.

“It’s A Major Award!”

While it may be the off-season for the RailRiders and Yankees alike, there’s still quite a bit going on these days.  Let’s take a trip around the latest news and notes:

The RailRiders laid claim to a “major award” (granted, not quite the Christmas Story leg lamp) for the second time in as many years by grabbing a Golden Bobblehead. The team’s website took a look at the accolade while the Times Leader gave it some praise as well.

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Community relations manager Rachel Mark (fourth from left) assembled a prize-winning effort with the team’s HOPE Week in 2014.

Antoan Richardson has received his share of pub in recent days. There’s this piece on his positive approach to the game and his “Jeter moment” and a multi-part look at his efforts of late from Tribune 242, the paper of his native Bahamas. Part 1 looks at how he never gave up on his big league dreams while part 2 examines the mark he’s made at the highest level. Another chapter with a more personal twist is due out later today.

Former RailRiders beat man Chad Jennings does an excellent job covering the big club these days. Among PIP’s favorites from his recent work are this look at the Rule 5 possibilities for the organization, this take on possible minor league impact for next season including Hal Steinbrenner referencing a 2014 RailRider, and Jennings’ own personal examination of minor leaguers that could help the 2015 Yankees.

How could Rob Refsnyder be a Yankee in 2015? NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty offers his thoughts.

Bad news? Rising prospect Eric Jagielo was forced out of the prestigious AFL due to injury when he took a fastball to the face. Good news? His surgery went well including photo proof per his personal social media. Read more from MiLB.com.

Jagielo’s tweet/instagram were among those that made Danny Wild’s latest post in the “wildly” fun “Minoring in Twitter” blog. The list includes another Yankees farmhand in Cito Culver.

Eric Jagielo gave the “thumbs up” after a successful surgery.

The Yankees have a number of names in the AFL this year including former RailRider Caleb Cotham. Jennings looks at each pinstriped entrant while Greg Bird got things started with a bang yesterday. The second piece also mentions the exploits of a former power bat on the Yankees’ farm and how his new life with the Diamondbacks halted after his in-season trade.

Former SWB Yankees pitching coach Rafael Chaves has been named minor league pitching coordinator for the Phillies.

Speaking of SWB’s former parent club, the baseball world lost a legend when the great Bill Campbell passed away Monday at the age of 91. The dean of Philadelphia sportscasters saw many of the greatest moments in the history of Philadelphia sports during his days calling games for the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, Warriors, Big 5 and more.

What did the baseball world expect from a young Derek Jeter? Baseball America was kind enough to post its look at the then-young gun from 1994.

Transactions time – the Yankees have re-signed a member of the RailRiders’ 2014 rotation and bullpen, Joel de la Cruz. Reliever Diego Moreno and catcher Francisco Arcia have also been re-signed by the organization.

One of the newest New York Rangers, goalie Cédrick Desjardins, has woven Jeter and Frank Sinatra into the artwork on his mask.

Everyone is giving Jeter love these days. Even the “People’s Champion”, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

In case you missed it, Abington Heights took the inaugural RailRiders Bowl over Valley View, 26-15. Below are some pics of the celebration and of a Yankees flavor to the event’s sidelines:

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The Comets raise the trophy on PNC Field.

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Sideline protectors used during football games at Yankee Stadium were brought in from the Bronx.

There’s a Buzz Around Camp and Spring is Finally Here

If you didn’t know, Thursday was the official start of spring. Now, what does that mean to the average baseball fan? Well, if you are a frequent visitor on twitter and other social media outlets, it means you’ve probably been seeing a lot of these:

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Here at PNC Field, we’d like to think the season started today, but since we are still a little less than two weeks away it means our pals up north have a little more time to fix their snowy situation as the Chiefs are trying everything thing possible to get NBT Bank Stadium ready for our Opening Day tilt on April 3.  We hope by then all the snow is gone, but it wouldn’t be  April baseball without having to worry about the elements.

It’s worth noting that come Saturday, March 22, the RailRiders’ front office will be hosting their first Family Fest, presented by WVIA, in the Mohegan Club level at PNC Field from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Curious George will be on hand for a 30-minute meet-and-greets at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.

Family Fest

The fun goes beyond monkey business too. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour of PNC Field, which claimed national Ballpark of the Year honors this off-season from Ballpark Digest. Festivities include the opportunity to tour the home and visiting clubhouses as well as the dugouts and the pristine field, weather permitting. The team store, SWB Station, will be open and concessions will be available. Memberships for the Quills Kids Club presented by Hildebrandt Learning Centers will be available for purchase and available seats will be marked for the multiple ticket packages the RailRiders offer. This offers fans the chance to pick their seats for multiple games at great rates – the packages start at only $35.

 

With that said, let’s move on to some more baseball-specific content. It seems the competition for the Yankees’ fifth starter position could be coming to a close as multiple journalist covering the team seem to believe that prospect, Michael Pineda, should be in line for the honor, and the spot could be his to lose.

Originally thought to be beginning the season in Triple-A, as noted by Donnie Collins. Pineda pitched his previous spring outing against a pseudo Red Sox lineup and was impressive in his 60-pitch limit. Pineda’s appearance wasn’t the only buzz of the day as a swarm of bees took over left field. It you haven’t seen the footage of the incident quite yet, it’s worth taking  a look at.

Pineda winning the fifth starting spot could have a drastic impact on how the RailRiders’ rotation and bullpen iron out. Originally thought to at least be starting the year with both Pineda and Dellin Betances, it appears both of them have worked their way on to the Yankees’ 25-man roster, as per @MLBDepthCharts.

It appears the Yankees are ready to trim the competition for the fifth starters spot down as Daniel Barbarisi of the New York Times notes, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren have both been told they will no longer start games and instead are being regulated to bullpen duty the rest of spring. Barbarisi notes that Warren could potentially end up in the big league bullpen, while Nuno could be ticketed to make starts for the RailRiders.

Speaking of Mr. Collins, if you don’t frequent his blog daily, you really should. With the season just two weeks away, Collins began his countdown of the top 15 Yankees prospects. It’s a great read and Donnie includes a lot of valuable information about Nik Turley who was optioned to RailRiders camp earlier this spring and today takes a look at third base prospect, Robin Segedin.

On Tuesday, we provided a quick snippet on whether Scott Sizemore could potentially begin the year in Triple-A instead of breaking camp with the big league club. It turns out, Chad Jennings, provided a little more fuel to fire Thursday when he included his opinion on Sizemore during his Thursday notes:

Joe Girardi has been hesitant on whether Sizemore has enough time to play in games and actually break camp with the team. At this point, it seems — just my opinion — that it might make more sense to send him to Triple-A to get back in a game routine for a month or so before deciding whether he’s ready to play a big league role.”

That does it for today’s blog and, just as a general reminder: Think Spring.

Spring Fling

The greatest time of the year is upon us. A time of promise and hope.  A time of sentimentality and tranquility. A time, to play ball.

With spring training kicking into high gear, let’s get you caught up with some of the latest and greatest. Do you want to know how the former/possibly future RailRiders have fared in Grapefruit League play? Just click HERE to check up on Russ Canzler, Gary Sanchez and the gang. HERE is the team’s spring training schedule which continues tonight at 7:05 p.m. with a home clash against the Orioles – the first night game of the spring on YES, something the talented Ken Singleton is very excited about.

Who will actually play for the RailRiders? Nobody covers it the the Times-Tribune‘s Donnie Collins (@RailRidersTT). HERE is his blog which has fantastic breakdowns of each position. PIP is in agreement – there are a number of battles that have far more combatants than slots available.

Donnie’s predecessor covers the big club these days, and does a darn good job of it. He still sprinkles in a number of notes that affect us right here in NEPA as well. Who does Chad Jennings (@LoHudYankees) think might be this year’s Ronnier Mustelier? HERE is that breakdown, some encouraging news about the highly-touted Mason Williams and more in his dynamite LoHud blog.

Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect list only included a pair of Yanks, one of which carries a significant asterisk as a “prospect” in Masahiro Tanaka. But the publication’s superb minor league guru, J.J. Cooper, compiled a follow-up “Top 100 Also-Rans” list of those that made the top 150 lists of BA editors, but did not crack the composite top 100. HERE is the list that features a number of potential Pinstripers in outfielders Aaron Judge, Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams; third baseman Eric Jagielo; second bagger Gosuke Katoh; first baseman Greg Bird; southpaw Ian Clarkin; backstop John Ryan Murphy; and right-hander Luis Severino.

Remember, 2014 will be guaranteed to be significant in the game’s history for one big reason – expanded replay. HERE is a video of the legendary former Yankees skipper, now MLB executive VP of baseball operations Joe Torre on the implementation of the elevated replay system. And ICYMI, HERE is the breakdown of the first challenge from yesterday’s Blue Jays/Twins game.

How is Michael Pineda looking? Read the latest from MLB.com‘s Bryan Hoch HERE and HERE from the New York Times‘ David Waldstein.

Also on the pitching front, some very encouraging news on both Jose Campos and Manny Banuelos from Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com HERE.

The RailRiders have a fantastic series of promotions lined up for the 2014 season. The full list is available HERE. But we must give a tip of the cap to our friends in Toledo. The Mud Hens have made national news with their special jersey night scheduled for May 30. HERE is the link to some Sports Illustrated love, and before you click, a hint – “I ain’t afraid of no…”.

Just 30 days until the RailRiders begin the 2014 season at Syracuse. And a week after that, the April 10 home opener against those same Chiefs (Washington Nationals) at PNC Field. Be on the lookout in the coming days for a substantial guarantee about that very ballgame from your friendly neighborhood RailRiders’ president/GM.

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