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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

National Champions!!!! (AAA)

The Durham Bulls are your national champion for AAA ball. The Memphis Red Birds played them tough and it was a good game, but the grand slam by Kean Wong (2d baseman) put it out of reach.

It was a well played game rewarding two teams for slogging through entire seasons in the Pacific Coast and International Leagues, played in Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Wait, you ask, why was a game featuring teams that are affiliated with Tampa Bay (the Bulls) and St. Louis (the Red Birds - duh) played on a field that is the home field for the Scranton Wiles-Barre RailRiders (a Yankees affiliate)? And you'd be right to ask. The crowd was light and it wasn't exactly into the game.

The AAA leagues are the only ones outside the MLB that play an interleague championship.. They only play one game and I think it is played at the park of the team which won the year before (but I wouldn't bet money on it). Anyway, unless the same team plays for the championship again - an unlikely event in the ever changing rosters of the minor leagues - the crowd that shows for the game is probably going to be there because they enjoy baseball generally (me), not people rooting for the teams playing.

It's actually kind of sad and anti-climactic for the two teams. It could also be solved fairly easily with some sort of alternating three game playoff with one game at each team's stadium and the third alternating between the International and Pacific Coast League stadium each year. The only reason that I suspect they don't do this is the expense. If the Pacific Coast team is in Sacramento and the International League is in Pawtucket that could be pretty darn expensive for the owner of each team as they fly across the country and have to live in hotels for at least a couple days. On the other hand, it also has the potential to draw more crowds and make more money for the owners at their own stadium. Of course, the owners and the management of the leagues know the numbers better than me. I'd just like to see a real playoff that rewarded local fans.

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