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September 26, 2005

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Bluefish Articles: With the Bridgeport Bluefish season now over, both Rich Elliott and Chris Elsberry of The Connecticut Post have written some interesting articles about the team.

Elliott: http://www.connpost.com/sports/ci_3061014
Elsberry: http://www.connpost.com/chriselsberry/ci_3061002

Elliott’s piece focuses more on the uncertainty of the Bluefish franchise. But there are certainly some interesting nuggets that came out of it as well. Elliott writes that the team was close to failing to make payroll in two out of its last three pay periods and that GM Charlie Dowd ordered the team’s box office manager to stop talking to the media.

Elliott goes on to tell the various horror stories of how the clubhouses, press box and umpire’s rooms are all water damaged, how the team couldn’t take BP for a while due to a lack of baseballs and of a 5AM departure for a day game to Lancaster.

Whoever takes over the Bluefish franchise in 2006, and that’s assuming that there is a Bluefish franchise to take over by the way, will certainly have quite a task on their hands. The ballpark is in need of major repair, and marketing dollars desperately need to be spent. Harbor Yard won’t just magically fill up like it did in 1998 or 1999, people need to be remidned about this team again.

Chris Elsberry, who seems to be a frequent Bluefish basher more than anything else (although I do recall him writing an article in favor of the Bluefish regarding their lease agreement a while back – so I will give him that), questions whether manager Jose Lind will return next season. He also writes the following, “I don’t care how many players were picked up by organizations or left to play in Mexico or got injured, you can tell how good a manager is by the way he’s able to take what players he has and make them work, no matter what the circumstances. In that area, Lind did not do a good job.”

And there’s where I have an issue. I think to say that shows somewhat of a lack of understanding of the league. There are players who belong in the Atlantic League and there are players who don’t. I think you can look up and down the Bluefish roster and pick them out yourself, but their team got to the point where it sucked with a capital S for quite a while. No other way to say it, no need to sugarcoat it.

Players leaving, getting hurt or being picked up by organizations isn’t the manager’s fault. If anything, it’s the front office’s job to make sure those players are replaced by players of equal or better talent and that it’s done quickly, and those were certainly some complaints that Bluefish fans had this year…that the team “wasn’t signing anybody” or that it was “taking forever” to get things done.

I’ve said before that I think the talent pool in the Atlantic League might have dwindled a bit from previous seasons, so to place all the blame entirely on the shoulders of the front office might be a bit misguided. But I think it’s just as misguided to place it all on Lind. I think he did an admirable job considering the players he had and the circumstances under which the team was forced to play.

And, after everything Rich Elliott detailed in his article, who the hell would want to play for the Bluefish anyway? That’s exceptionally harsh, but it’s true. This is an organization that has fallen on just as exceptional hard times, and unless drastic changes are made I think you’ll see that they might have a difficult time getting players to come back or come in at all.

Another “problem” they might have is bringing back the same players year after year. I like a lot of the guys that fall into this category, so this is kind of difficult to write, but having all the guys in the league who’ve been in it all eight years might not be the way to go. Granted, a lot of those guys deserved a much better fate then the ones they ended up with, but still…

If you’re going to rebuild and essentially start over again, that includes the players too. If the Bluefish don’t rebuild and really evaluate where they’re at, then things could actually manage to get worse next season.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Bluefish. Mickey Herbert and I frequently exchange e-mails, and I consider their players to be among the friendliest in the league. But drastic measures need to be taken here, or else there won’t be a team to ignore up in Bridgeport anymore.

The views and opinions of Mike Ashmore do not necessarily represent those of other AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com employees. Ashmore alone is responsible for his comments and can be contacted regarding them at mashmore@patriotsbaseball.com

Similar In Nashuaville: According to a source, Pride ownership would not pay for lodging for the club on Monday night in Long Island before their first-round playoff game. They wanted the team to leave Tuesday, play the game and leave after and head back to New Hampshire. Chris English, former Pride majority owner, picked up the tab at the Long Island hotel for his former team. Also, Joe Kilburg will be battling strep throat. – Scott Stanchak.

End of year transactions: Teams made a few moves at the end of the year that I’d might as well tell you about.

Newark signed C Jonathan Thomas. Here’s hoping his middle name isn’t Taylor. He got into two games, going 4-for-7 with 3 RBI. I think back to when Patriots P Greg Modica made two good starts with Somerset at the end of last year and it got him a job for this year…I wonder if that happens here.

Nashua placed P Mike Cosgrove on the DL and activated P Matt Hammons.

Camden placed Lipso Nava on the DL and activated Derek Smith.

Atlantic City, in somewhat of a surprising move, deactivated Ozzie Timmons and activated Adam Capodieci. Thinking back to when Jimmy Hurst was released to essentially make room for Timmons, I wonder if team officials are kicking themselves for that one now.

Timmons, by the way, is of no relation to former 98 Degrees singer Jeff Timmons. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Playoffs start tomorrow: Game 1 of the North Division and South Division Finals will take place on Tuesday. Nashua will head to Long Island for Game 1, while Somerset will make the trip down to Atlantic City for their game.

On the 28th, Long Island will head up to Nashua and Atlantic City will come up to Somerset. If necessary, this is where the teams will play the third game in the best-of-three series on the 29th.

Ashmore’s Playoff Picks: The Ducks offense will be too powerful for the Pride pitching to overcome. While the Pride pitching staff has come a long way from the shambles that it was in just a month or two ago, I think the Ducks big bats will put them over the top.

Bill Pulsipher takes on Denny Harriger in Game 1…wow, what a pitching matchup that is.

Ducks 2, Pride 0

The Surf are probably the most well-rounded team in the playoffs. The Patriots have a bunch of nice bats in their lineup, but I think that their pitching staff is a bit of a question mark at this point. With that said, I think this series goes the full three games and that the bats of Nettles, Owens and Radmanovich are too much to handle for Atlantic City in Game 3.

Patriots 2, Surf 1

– Mike Ashmore

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