Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

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’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 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.

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:


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.

Recapping Thursday , Position Battles and A Look At Former RailRiders

It’s hard to believe Opening Day is less than 30 days away, but with the excitement of spring and Grapefruit League action now in full swing, the general perception is that the season isn’t too far down the road.  With nearly four weeks until the season opener against Syracuse (Washington), it’s still hard to predict exactly what the RailRiders’ 25-man roster will look like for the club’s first road trip. So, with that said, let’s get you caught up on some of the latest news and notes from around the Yankees’ camp.

Thursday in the bay area proved troublesome as teams attempted to fight through the dreary and showery conditions that paved their way through the Gulf Coast. Five teams eventually cancelled play, while a handful of others waited for the Florida rain to pass.  In big league camp, the Yankees traveled to Bright House Networks Field for a date with the Philadelphia Phillies. For a complete wrap-up and box score of yesterday’s action, click HERE. If you want a more in-depth look at guys that are projected to start the season in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Donnie Collins always does a fantastic job churning out information. You can find that info HERE.

One of the marquee position battles in camp is who will eventually serve as the back-up to the Yankees’ primary backstop, Brian McCann. Three principal names battling for the final catcher’s spot are Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy. As Rant Sports kindly points out, Cervelli, as it stands today, is more inclined to claim a roster spot on the big league club based on his production this spring (HERE). With the continued development of high-level prospect, Gary Sanchez, the Yankees may look to deal from their plethora of talent behind the dish to provide assistance elsewhere as the New York Post points out HERE.

Another interesting battle taking place is what the Yanks outfield situation will look like when the club breaks camp for Opening Day. New York spent big this season  acquiring marquee names in Jacoby Ellsbury in a free-agent signing from the Boston Red Sox, Carlos Beltran from the Cardinals and extending Brett Gardner. How does that affect guys within the organization? Zoilo Almonte, after spending eight seasons in the minor leagues, finally got his chance to contribute with the parent club last year. Almonte appeared in 34 games for New York and hit to slash line of .300/.364/.400.  Doug Williams of YES put together a nice piece on Almonte analyzing his strengths and weakness. You can access that information HERE.

It’s always fun to take a glance at the guys in camp, but sometimes it’s more enjoyable to see where guys who have worn the SWB pinstripes in the past ended up in the baseball agate, commonly referred to as the transactions report. Today we take a glimpse at Brett Marshall who started 25 games in 2013 for the RailRiders while pitching to the tune of a 7-10 record and 5.13 ERA. Marshall, a 2008 sixth-round selection by the Yankees, entered 2013 ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect in the Yankees organization by some very smart individuals over at  For a complete look at his minor league history within the Yankees’ organization, jet on over to, you can click HERE for you convenience.

Marshall was designated for assignment by the big league club on Dec. 19, 2013 in order to make room for the recently signed slugger,  Beltran.  The following week, the Cubs claimed Marshall on Dec. 23 before eventually releasing the righty 51 days later to open up roster space for Cubs’ pitcher, Jason Hammel, before being acquired by the Cincinnati Reds on Feb. 12. George Nunnelly of Lousiville has a nice recap of the chaotic time frame HERE.

The agate can be a scary thing for many players, but it looks like Marshall is getting a legitimate shot in Arizona to make an impression on the Reds’ front office. To check out the former Yankees’ farmhand production thus far this spring click HERE.

That does it for today; make sure to check out what’s on deck this weekend by taking a look Grapefruit League schedule  HERE. Minor league games don’t open up until March 14, but here’s a quick glace at the schedule courtesy of Mr. Collins HEREOpening Day is just around the corner at PNC Field and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Make sure to get your ticket packages today by visiting our website All Aboard!

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