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January 4, 2008 January 4, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Updated late on 1/4 with a player signing in affiliated ball, see bottom of page…

Schurman Denies Steroid Claim: I spoke with the agent of former Atlantic City Surf pitcher Ryan Schuman today, who denied that his client ever used any banned substances. Schurman’s name turned up in the affadavidt of former New York Mets clubhouse attendent Kirk Radomsky, but did not appear in last month’s Mitchell Report. I’m expecting to directly speak with Schurman to get his direct reaction.

Team Officials React: Team officials from two teams told me today that the reason the divisions were split up the way they were was because several of the owners didn’t want Keystone Partners all in one division. They also said they don’t know where the two division names came from, but teams weren’t consulted. It was simply a board of directors decision. – Scott Stanchak

More Reaction From Division Realignment: Ryan Dunleavy, the Somerset Patriots beat writer for The Courier News, has posted his thoughts about the new divisions for the 2008 Atlantic League season on his Holding Court blog.

Dunleavy disagrees with my point about divisions being rendered useless and writes, in part…

“I like divisions because I think they promote rivalries and I also think that, for example, being six games out of first place in a four-team division is an easier deficit to overcome than being six games out of first place in an eight-team league-wide field. A balanced schedule is one thing, but at the end of each half, you are still chasing only the teams in your division and that makes those games matter more than intra-divisional games.”

Be sure to check out the blog for a detailed breakdown…

I agree with Ryan in that divisions can create more meaningful regular season games, specifically late in a half. If you look at the Atlantic League schedule, the last week of the season features potentially key intra-division matchups.

On 9/15 through 9/17, Somerset hosts Lancaster and Newark hosts York in Freedom Division action, while Long Island plays in Camden and Bridgeport heads to Southern Maryland in the Liberty Division.

Then, in the final four days of the regular season, the Patriots travel to Newark and Lancaster plays the Revolution in York, while the Ducks go to Bridgeport and the Blue Crabs go to Camden.

I’m actually not sure what to make of the end of the first half, as the current Atlantic League schedule page lists the first half ending, six games being played, and then the All-Star break taking place. But while I’m sure the league will probably not agree with too much of what I’ve written over the past few days, I do give them credit for the schedule at the end of the year…it creates some interesting possibilities.

Anyway, my only qualm with divisional play, specifically with an even schedule, is that a team with a better record can miss the postseason.

We both agree on the division names, however. Freedom and Liberty sound more like names of new varieties of Axe Body Spray than sports division names. Has Lee Greenwood bought stock in the league without my knowledge?

Like Lee, I’m proud to be an American, but I would have actually been OK with “Boulton” and “Klein” divisions, or something that had some relevance to the league. I’d actually encourage the league to perhaps create trophies for winning the division and perhaps honor people from Atlantic League past or present, similar to what has been done with late Riversharks owner Steve Shilling and the All-Star Game MVP trophy.

The NHL has the Maurice Richard Trophy for who scores the most goals, why not hand out an award in Glenn Murray’s name for the longball leader at the end of the year? An Emiliano Escandon leadership award? My point is, is that I’d rather see the history of the league embraced rather than — yes, patriotic, which is good — using well-intended, but ultimately trivial names.

Keep leaving your thoughts in the comments, I’ve enjoyed reading them so far.

Kane Davis To Toronto: P Kane Davis, who has experience with Camden and Somerset in the Atlantic League, has signed a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s likely ticketed for Triple-A. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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Comments»

1. southernalfan - January 4, 2008

Has the League adjusted the salary scale for the upcoming season? With attendance up, new stadiums, higher ticket prices and concession prices up, it would seem to me that the players are due a little more.

2. Sumosid - January 4, 2008

FYI:

Sioux City Explorers Manager Les Lancaster knows all about Dusty Bergman.

Bergman, who pitched for Lancaster’s Reno team in 2007, signed a 2008 American Association contract with the Explorers Thursday. With the signing of Bergman, a lefthander, the Explorers now have three veterans under contract and two are starting pitchers.

The 29-year old Bergman, who has a 44-57 career record, will enter his 10th season in professional baseball. Eight of the nine previous seasons have been in organized baseball.

A sixth-round draft choice in 1999 from the Anaheim Angels, Bergman quickly rose through their minor league system, reaching the AAA level in 2002 and made one appearance with the Angels in 2004.

Bergman later pitched for the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees AAA teams in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007, Bergman signed with Lancaster’s Reno club of the Golden Baseball League. Bergman had a 6-4 record with 15 starts and posted a 3.40 earned run average. He was near the top of many statistical categories in the GBL, finishing third in ERA (3.40), innings pitched (100.2) and games started (15).

At the conclusion of the GBL season, Bergman was traded to Newark of the Atlantic League, where he appeared in three regular-season games and started one playoff game. He had a 1-0 record with a 1.00 ERA, struck out 13 batters in 18 innings and limited opponents to a .239 batting average.

“Being able to bring Bergman over with me gives us two quality veteran lefties in our starting rotation,” said Lancaster. “The experience he brings to the field is what a pitching staff needs. The younger pitchers will learn a lot from him.

“I know he can help out any AAA team right now and that is where he belongs. We are definitely glad he will be with us.”

The Explorers will start the 2008 season May 7 in Wichita, Kan., against the Wichita Wingnuts

3. BoosterBabe - January 5, 2008

While I agree that North and South made no sense with the new alignment of the teams (and that in itself is a good thing) and they needed new names, I happen to think Liberty and Freedom are stupid names for the divisions. First of all, they are synonyms. They mean exactly the same thing, therefore, in my brain, they are equivalent. Which means in my head, there is nothing to differentiate the names of the two divisions. The names become meaningless labels, I’ll never remember which is which. I will have no problem remembering which 4 teams are in the two divisions, because that’s meaningful information to me. I will always know, without too much thought, that a game between Camden and Bridgeport has more bearing on the standings than a game with York. But the division names will never, ever stick in my head because there is no real meaning to them. Why not something more creative?
I understand the marketing brains in the league were trying to keep the names positive and neutral, but in choosing Liberty and Freedom–they’ve stripped the divisions of any character. These names come out of nowhere. Surf and Turf would have been better (Bluefish, Riversharks, Ducks and Blue Crabs are all creatures that spend at least part of their life in water). Patriots, Barnstormers are people, Bears live (and do other things!!!) in the woods, and Revolution…well, it’s more of a concept than a creature, but it’s certainly more human than not.–They could be your Turf. Ok, what happens if two new teams come into the league and they both have water sounding names? I see the flaw to Surf and Turf. But at least it’s got something to do with the structure of the league. I dunno….

I think maybe we should all just let the Division names go, let the league call it whatever they want, they really are meaningless labels, right? For all intents and purposes, the names of the Divisions may as well be “Us” and “Them”. That’s what it all boils down to anyway. “How many games do we need to win in OUR division to play the best in the other division?”

Liberty? Freedom? Who cares. It’s Still Us vs. Them.

4. BoosterBabe - January 5, 2008

End of the first half…that is VERY strange!

I counted the games…I only saw 70 games from Opening Day until July 6th, but I might have missed on, so that’s not that critical. But…..why on earth would you end the first half a week before the All Star break?
Why not just have the All Star Break at the Half way point, as in the past?

Of course, the MLB All Star Break is July 14-16, with the game on the 7/15. Is it that critical that our all star break aligns with the MLB (they could just not schedule a game for that Tuesday night if they were that concerned with competition)? And if it is critical…why not start planning the schedule at that point and work your way back to Opening Day? Then just end the season 71 games after it resumes.

Talk about confusing! The first 6 games of the 2nd half occur BEFORE the All Star Break.
Seems to me the halves are pretty meaningless the way it’s set up this year. Why bother?

Hmm….I’ve been using the word “meaningless” a lot this morning in regards to the Atlantic League. Perhaps I’m answering my own question as to what happened to all of the fans from previous years…maybe it is all meaningless…maybe it all only exists to make money for the owners, and to heck with the players, the fans, the baseball, etc.

Maybe it all really is “only” about Crazy George and Jake the Diamond Dog and dancing mascots and shooting frisbies and t shirts into the stands. Maybe none of the baseball means anything.

It apparently doesn’t mean anything to the people who made up this ridiculous schedule, the new division names, etc.

Why should it mean anything to those of us actually paying to go inside and watch? And maybe we’re the fools for doing that year after year. When all is said and done, if we keep buying the same crappy product they give us, they will keep giving us the same crappy product.

5. KenD - January 7, 2008

Boosterbabe,

Have you though about switching to decaf?

🙂


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