The Capital City Bombers, the Red Sox’s new A-affiliate, is moving to Greenville.
Minor League Baseball has approved the Capital City Bombers’ application to play in the Greenville market, throwing the hotly contested three-way race to bring pro baseball back to town to the City of Greenville’s entry.
Bombers spokesman Pete Ehmke said late Friday the single-A team will play in the existing Municipal Stadium on Mauldin Road during the 2005 season while a new stadium is being built in downtown’s West End for the 2006 season and after.
Also vying to put a baseball team in the market were the City of Mauldin, which wanted to bring the double-A Diamond Jaxx from Jackson, Tenn., and Mandalay Baseball Properties, which proposed moving a single-A team it already owns to Powdersville in Anderson County. (Greenville News)
In one of the more hotly anticipated decisions in minor-league baseball in recent years, MiLB awarded the Greenville (S.C.) territory to the Capital City Bombers (Class A; Sally League) over proposals from the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (Class AA; Southern League) and the Hagerstown Suns (Class A; Sally League), according to Bombers officials. The Bombers will play at Municipal Stadium in 2005 while a new ballpark is constructed in the city’s West End. MiLB officials are not yet talking on the record about the decision (indeed, they have not yet issued any sort of press release), but we hear there were several criteria for the decision: Despite West Tenn having a higher classification (which would give it first crack at the territory), the team’s uncertain ownership status after Jackson (Tn.) officials expressed a desire to buy the team led MiLB officials to lean toward the Cap City plan; also at play was the Sally League’s approval of the Cap City move. (Mandalay’s bid for the territory was not approved by the Sally League, and this carries a lot of weight in the baseball world.) (Post/Baseball Digest)
To recap, Capital City plays in a crappy ballpark. The owners tried to negotiate a deal in which it and University of South Carolina would share a new ballpark, including the costs. SC said no, we’ll build one ourselves and we won’t share it with you.
The owners then negotiate a deal with Greenville, which just lost the Braves AA team to a new $25 million stadium in Pearl, Mississippi. Two neighboring communities negotiate similar deals with the West Tennessee Jaxx (Cubs AA) and the Hagerstown Suns (Mets A). The Capital City deal is the only one of the three to be fully owner financed. All three proposals are submitted to Minor League Baseball in early January.
MiLB initially indicated that it would rule yesterday but has not as of this morning. Normally, the AA team would beat the two A teams based on the higher league priority but this is as complicated a situation as MiLB ever sees.
If MiLB rules in favor of granting the territory to the Bombers, the team will immediately (and I mean immediately) move to Greenville and play in Greenville’s current stadium this year as the Greenville Bombers. A new stadium would be built promptly to be ready for 2006 and the team would be renamed. (Post on SoxProspects)
I inquired as to how the attendance would improve, because last year Greenville “drew 143,443 — 2,206 per game. This was the worst in the league. In Columbia, the Bombers drew 100,798 — 1,550 per game.”
2004 and 2005 Red Sox affiliate attendance numbers:
4. Pawtucket Red Sox (IL) 657,067 (top (of 14) IL team)
27. Portland Sea Dogs (EL) 434,684 (3rd (of 12) EL team)
44. Wilmington Blue Rocks (CL) 320,788 (top CL team)
97. Lowell Spinners (NYPL) 185,000 (3rd (of 14) NYPL team)
111. Augusta GreenJackets (SAL) 160,378 (9th (of 16) SAL team)
124. Greenville Braves (SL) 143,443 (last (of 10) SL team)
207. Sarasota Red Sox (FSL) 40,715 (10th (of 12) FSL team) (Post on SoxProspects)
Here we can see why we went after Wilmington, who drew the best out of the CL leagues, while Augusta and Sarasota were very low. The Bombers drew only 1,550 per game, so the move to Greenville jumps them up very high. Plus, the fact that there is a new stadium will rise attendance even more. Bottom line is the Red Sox now have one of the top minor league affiliates in the MLB, with regards to location, attendance, stadiums, and other factors. There is an interview with Rich Mozingo, the Bombers’ GM, in which he dedicates time to talk about moving to Greenville.
I stumbled across some Korean cartoons dealing with the Red Sox. I have no idea what they’re saying, but they’re pretty funny. I’ll make some guesses as to what they say.
First, the regular season:
Manny Ramirez: Making fun of how Manny points to everyone.
Curt Schilling: His dreams of a Cy Young, leaving Johan Santana in the dust.
David Ortiz: The lovable Shrek, and Millar, the donkey.
Pedro Martinez: The Men in Black are investigating him. He’s so good, he has to be from another planet.
Keith Foulke: This one doesn’t make sense. Why would Tim Wakefield have his mouth taped and look like some sort of psychotic dude? I’m guessing because Foulke is so good.
Johnny Damon: Kind of obvious, and hilarious.
Derek Lowe: Lets runners score a lot.
David Ortiz is real good.
He’s also fat, so he bunt singles?
Anaheim fields the ball, but
David Ortiz is safe at first.
Angels guy isn’t happy.
Now the Angels guy looks to be melting.
Ortiz is tired after running, while the Angels guy obsesses over not getting Ortiz out.
The Rally Monkey and Angel guy exchange obscenities.
Schilling’s foot is hurting. But he knows he will win.
Close-up of the foot.
Not sure what Schilling is doing here. Seems to be cutting himself?
Random guy smoking.
Umpire calls A-Rod safe.
Arroyo ponders why the glove is off his hand.
A-Rod demonstrates how to slap things.
People are tired. Been a long postseason.
The Red Sox and Cardinals are all beat up.
Pedro is dreaming of someone.
The next three depict Manny’s fielding gaffe.
An announcer lets forth a blizzard of Korean.
Millar and Damon are using the woman’s bathroom … ?
Fans mock Pedro. “Who’s Your Barber?”
Suppan’s little baserunning blunder.
Derek Lowe holds down a cardinal on a tree stump and is about to kill it with a baseball. This one is hilarious.
And that’s all there is.
Forgot to mention, I learned the other day that Johnny Damon will not be cutting his hair. He has a book coming out in April, and in his contract with the publisher, it stipulates Damon cannot cut his hair and beard until the book tour is over. Considering the book comes out in April, we’ll most likely have another year of the Caveman.