Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update on Loudon County Ballpark, Redux

I have to say I was more than a little shocked when I read the news that Loudoun County had approved the zoning changes for a new stadium development complex. Reading through the comments, a little less than shocked at the ignorance of folks on the quality of play of the Atlantic League.

I've been following this story with a very simple interest of having a choice of pro baseball teams to attend. Not that I'm displeased with the PNats. Far from it. But when they're out of town, it's a choice of four hour-plus drives into Maryland. It's also nice to think of having a fallback if the Potomac goes away. It's nicer to think that this just might force Prince William County to do something about preventing that from happening.

I'm not holding my breath, but it's sure nice to think about getting back to following two teams in two different leagues again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Road Warriors / The All Star Game

One of the oddities about the long Carolina League season is that it's very easy to ignore the team when they're on the road. It's not like my previous "love," where you stay laser-focused because the halves of 46 games are so short; two bad weeks is all it takes to lose a half - that's it.

So it is with the Potomac Nationals who continue to play uninspired at home – 17-19, and that's including a 3-1 homestand last week – and world-beaters on the road: 30-17. That's the best in "A" ball (low or high) and third-best in the minors, behind Connecticut (33-13, and also sub-.500 at home at 19-23) and Birmingham (30-15).

Unfortunately, I can't find a site that does splits by team but a look at the team's top hitters and virtually everyone has better numbers on the road. But a look at the most recent breakdown of park effects shows the shitz...er, Pfitzner Stadium as being fairly neutral — 1.02 for both runs and hits in '08, 0.99 and 1.01 from '06 to '08.

Obviously, what makes this so frustrating is that I do see most of their games at home and knowing that they're capable of much better than I've seen. Not to mention, my previous team was so good at home (well, at least until the playoffs - but that's a horse that's already been beaten).

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It's funny as we approach The All-Star Break how little I've come to care for this game. Or perhaps more accurately, how little I care compared to how much I used to. I think the last one I saw end-to-end was in 2001, and that's primarily because I had had back surgey the week before. Before that, it was probably the '99 contest where Pedro Martinez struck out five of six batters in the midst of one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time.

About the only thing I'm really hoping to see is Tim Wakefield pitch, especially if he were to follow Roy Halladay. It would be fun to watch the NL all-stars deal with the flutterball, many of whom have never seen it. Imagine Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols, guys who can launch any fastball into the Missouri, being made to look like Little Leaguers for the first time in their adult lives. That alone would be worth watching.