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June 21, 2008 June 21, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Best Pitching Matchup In The League?: After the longest hiatus from covering the Atlantic League I’ve had in my six years of doing this (16 days), I’ll be back in an AL stadium tonight.

And it looks like I couldn’t have picked a better game to go to…

Newark’s Pat Stanley (6-0) faces off against Camden’s Ryan Drese (5-1) in what may be the best possible pitching matchup available in the Atlantic League today.

Certainly, people expected the former big leaguer to put up the numbers he has, but Drese has really gotten into a groove lately. In his last two starts, he’s gone 15 innings and allowed just three runs.

At least one team will be taking a look at him tonight, and it’s likely that he’ll join now Riversharks teammate Brian Lawrence back in affiliated ball sooner rather than later.

Stanley’s ascension to Atlantic League stardom — an oxymoron if there ever was one, but still — was considerably more unexpected.

The gigantor-sized (6′ 7″) righty spent the past two seasons with the Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things, and only appeared in four games last year before missing the rest of the season following the removal of a rib to improve circulation.

His best stretch of games came several weeks ago, when he posted back-to-back complete games against Lancaster and Long Island; setting a team record with 15 strikeouts against the Barnstormers and shutting out the Ducks.

Daneker Interview Coming Soon: I was recently able to catch up with former Atlantic League P Pat Daneker, who appeared in games for Camden, Newark, the Road Warriors and Somerset.

I spoke to Daneker in Brooklyn, where the pitching coach’s Staten Island Yankees were visiting for a three-game series to kick off the New York-Penn League season.

Stay tuned for that interview…and yes, I was at the game you saw highlights from on Sportscenter, where the switch-pitching Yankees prospect and switch-hitting Mets prospect couldn’t figure things out.

Replying To Your Comments: Noticed quite a lively discussion in the comments the other day, and I never got around to responding to some of what you guys have said. I’ll bring up the point made, and then add my response…

* Bridgeport’s media relations sucks. This is not true. Maybe the fans might not think they do a good job, but I think they’re actually incredibly helpful. There might be a team or two in this league that goes out of their way to not help you, so when I see press releases from Nick Razzette alerting me to something that’s ultimately pretty trivial, but also something that the media should know about, like guys going on and off the DL, that’s impressive.

They went out of their way to help me this off-season to get us players for off-season interviews, also getting some of those quotes in the paper. Will someone reading my paper go to a Bluefish game because they see Mike Church quoted in there? No. But they’re still getting mentioned in a market that they wouldn’t otherwise be in at that given time.

* Southern Maryland has attendance issues. This is true. I’m of the opinion that an expansion team in a professional baseball league should be the hottest ticket in town.

It worked in Lancaster. Ultimately, it didn’t work initially in York. Perhaps it was fans not buying the idea of seeing players play on a construction site with stands and grass that doubled as a baseball field for the first few months. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, said the writer who dabbles in cliches, and the Revs may have hurt their long-term future with their construction delays.

Not including last night, as I haven’t seen the attendance figure, the club has drawn less than 2,500 fans in their last four games. A whopping 1,221 fans marked the low point on Monday…and keep in mind, that’s paid attendance.

The cynical person will say that the Atlantic League flopped colossally in their first attempt in Maryland a few years back. The optimist will tell you that the ballpark they played in was a joke, and that eventually things will get better with a better league and a new ballpark.

Is the league disappointed? I’m sure they are. But do they still talk about expansion? Sure they do.

No joke, I honestly do not know if the Blue Crabs send out press releases. I don’t even recall seeing them on OurSportsCentral, which is where I tend to go to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I don’t buy the explanation that they’re in a rough spot with media coverage. They were getting written up in the Washington Post semi-frequently this off-season, which was actually a pretty impressive accomplishment.

* We should talk to Walter Young. More or less, not true. I think this is something that Scott was tossing around the idea of doing. It works under the “Hey, this guy would be a good candidate to play in the Atlantic League” premise, but few things are worth the trip to Sussex. I’ve covered a little under 450 professional games in my career, and the one game I did there was without question the worst experience I’ve ever had.

That aside, I did interview Young when he was in the big leagues with Baltimore. I don’t know if there’s that sort of Calvin Pickering novelty factor going for him, or what the deal is with the level of interest in him, but I admit it would be interesting to see what he could do in this league, at least for a little while.

“You can use (your size) in a lot of ways,” Young told an inexplicably deeper-voiced me back in 2005.

“I can mis-hit balls and still get them out of the park. That’s a good thing.” – Mike Ashmore


1. Anonymous - June 21, 2008

Mike- I kinda thing the Aberdeen Arsenal didn’t even had a stadium…didn’t they play at a college or high school field??? But with a new stadium the team you have in Maryland should be drawing since it is a new thing…Your point about York was right on the money since the stadium was way behind in being ready for baseball..Even though York attendance may be down they are still in the top 4 I think…It seems in the AL that the suburban teams outdraw the urban teams(ie. Camden, Newark, and Bridgeport)..And you could add Atlantic City since they had attendance problems as an urban team..It just seems that a new suburban team like Southern Maryland would be drawing a bit better.Maybe the community has got to get to know the team as it’s a new thing..

2. John - June 21, 2008

Just another comment on the attendance thing. In Camden’s case, I don’t think it’s an urban vs. suburban thing, there’s plenty suburbanites to draw from in the immediate vacinity. In Camden, at least I think, it’s the fact that management caters to the family entertainment aspect as opposed to the baseball fan. And as someone mentioned early in the comments the family entertainment people only come to a few games a season. I ‘ve been a season ticket holder for five years now and yes the Sharks are winning, but it just doesn’t seem to be as much fun this year. It seems there are only a few fan friendly players, two holders – L. J. Biernbaum and Randy McGarvey and Jason Phillips ( who many people probably wouldn’t expect because of his major league experience. I’m not criticizing the other guys, maybe that’s just not their style, but management does need to get some fan friendly players. Remember it is minor league ball. Winning is nice but you can win and have fun. and I think the fun factor is a big reason attendance is down in Camden.

3. Everett W. - June 21, 2008

One problem with Southern Maryland is that it really isn’t one community as such at work, it’s a spread out three county region with no natural population center.

On the media watch, a local Fox D.C. TV report about Curtis Pride last weekend referred to the name of his team as the Maryland Blue Crabs (not Southern Maryland) and his team’s league name as literally the Independent League.

Not to excuse the team’s responsibility in this but I’m not all that impressed with the media coverage to date.

4. Jeff - June 21, 2008

I agree John, about your post with Camden. The players could and should go out of their way a little me for the fans. There is a core group of guys who go out of their way. You mention LJ, and he certainly does go the extra mile. But most of the team (20 guys)don’t do anything before the game. Even after the game, it’s LJ and maybe one other player talking and signing for the fans. I think those 20 guys could care less about talking or meeting with the fans. I go to alot of Camden games like John, and we see what goes on. Management (Adam) ought to remind them that having fans enjoy themselves makes for a positive experience, which usually means people WANT to come back.

5. Anonymous - June 21, 2008

do the Blue Crabs have a blog?

6. Robert - June 21, 2008

No the blue crabs don’t have any blog. But, I understand they have recently hired more media relations people to help get the word out. I have a blog, and try to cover the team as best I can… http://www.crustheads.com

I have found their media relations to be … lacking. But, it feels as if this is all “new”… like, they are just learning. Perhaps they should know a thing or two about running a club, but it doesn’t feel that way. There have been times when games have been rained out, but the fans didn’t know until they got to the park.

7. Robert - June 21, 2008

Regarding SOMD, and attendance… The issue of the population center is fair, since “Southern Maryland” is comprised of 3 very spread out counties.

I really think that there are a lot of options for baseball in the region. You’ve got the Nats and the Orioles. You’ve got the Basox about 45 mins up the road from Waldorf. But the Blue Crabs are the closest family venue of it’s kind for St. Mary’s County and Charles Count (most of Charles anyways).

It’s my personal opinion that if they are competitive, and the umping isn’t a joke, that in the long run this team will be very successful here in Waldorf, Md.

8. Anonymous - June 22, 2008

John, there are plenty of suburbanites to draw from in Newark as well as Bridgeport..I just don’t think they want to venture into urban areas to see a game…I think the attendance figures bear this out….I wish it would change…..but it seems the fact is that teams located in suburbia draw more than teams located in the urban areas..I think it’s a worthy debate as those urban teams are after the suburban fans…

9. Anonymous - June 22, 2008

The Ducks have brought in Nook Logan. He was released from the Dodgers earlier this year.

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