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Bridgewater to Bronx: Meet the Somerset Patriots 

Longtime Atlantic League entity becomes Yanks' Double-A affiliate
@BensBiz
February 25, 2021

In 2021 and beyond, 11 of the 12 teams that previously had been part of the Eastern League will operate in the Double-A Northeast League. The lone newcomers are the Somerset Patriots, set to debut as a New York Yankees affiliate.

The anti-establishment: Meet the St. Paul Saints

Irreverent independent stalwart makes the leap to Triple-A ranks
@BensBiz
February 23, 2021

Entering the 2021 season, the St. Paul Saints find themselves facing a bit of an existential paradox. Have the rebels gone mainstream? After 28 seasons of independent existence, first in the Northern League and then in the American Association, the Saints have signed on to serve as the Triple-A East

Been a while: Oldest Minor League ballparks

Entering the 2021 season, a look at the 11 most venerable facilities
February 18, 2021

Nine new ballparks will make their Minor League Baseball debuts in 2021, perhaps the most ever in a single season. But what about the stadiums on the other side of the spectrum that have been around the longest? This article is dedicated to detailing just that. The Minor League Baseball

The more things change: Enduring affiliations

Amid time of transition, a look at the Minors' longest partnerships
February 16, 2021

This coming season marks the beginning of a radically different era of Minor League Baseball: 120 teams are now part of the landscape, comprised of 11 new leagues competing across four levels of play. Minor League Baseball has always been defined by change, of course, as shifting affiliations, locations and

Batting Around: New ballparks for a new era

Abundance of 2021 openings includes Worcester and Beloit
@BensBiz
February 11, 2021

Welcome to Batting Around, a long-running compendium of Minor League ballpark news. It's been a while. The previous edition of this column, featuring a roundup of ballparks that had been renamed during the 2019-20 offseason, appeared on this site 364 days ago. The facilities featured in that column have yet

Hartford Yard Goats host ballpark vaccinations

Dunkin' Donuts Park pressed into service as COVID prevention site
@BensBiz
February 9, 2021

Throughout this extended offseason of 2020-21, Minor League ballparks continually have been utilized for civic-minded purposes. Representative initiatives thus far have included naturalization ceremonies, early voting and COVID-19 testing. On Saturday, the Hartford Yard Goats achieved a significant Minor League Baseball first in this regard, as their home of Dunkin'

'Uncle Benny': Remembering a Minors legend

Survivor and fighter Geraghty mentored Aaron and many others
@BensBiz
February 4, 2021

The recent passing of Henry Aaron resulted in a wide-scale exploration and celebration of his legendary baseball career. These historical deep dives have led to a greater awareness of and appreciation for those who influenced who him along the way. Ben Geraghty, whom Aaron once said was "the greatest manager

Standing up for the seats in Pensacola 

Empathetic Blue Wahoos staffers assign names to plastic friends
February 2, 2021

America -- the band, not the country -- famously sang about having been through the desert on a horse with no name. Intrepid members of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos front office, having walked through a ballpark where the seats have no name, decided to do something about it. The Blue

Tick tock: Pelicans' accounts more than biding time 

Social media pro Horenstein innovates over the longest offseason
@BensBiz
January 28, 2021

It's been a long offseason, to say the least. As of this writing, the last Minor League Baseball game took place more than 16 months ago. Teams have had to be more creative than usual to stay in the public eye, which has involved finding new ways to maintain relationships

Hammer time: Aaron's Minor League career

Baseball icon honed his skills in Eau Claire and Jacksonville
@BensBiz
January 26, 2021

Henry Aaron, one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of professional sports, passed away Friday at age 86. It is difficult to overestimate how much Aaron meant to the game, and to American society at large. As many have pointed out in the course of eulogizing

MiLB memory box: Mementos from the road

Traveling writer digs deep into the archives in search of souvenirs
@BensBiz
January 21, 2021

"Do you collect anything?" As someone who has visited 177 Minor League Baseball ballparks, many more than once, I get that question a lot. The individuals who pose this query, usually collectors themselves, are curious as to whether I have made it a point to procure the same sort of

No spin zone: Phil Niekro's Minor League career

Knuckleballer's journey began in Wellsville, ended in Cooperstown
@BensBiz
January 19, 2021

Phil Niekro, 300-game winner and Hall of Famer, passed away on Dec. 26 at the age of 81. He was the best knuckleball pitcher in baseball history. Niekro, often referred to by his knuckleball-referencing nickname of Knucksie, spent 24 seasons (1964 through 1987) in the Major Leagues and pitched until

Taking a walk through Lasorda's playing days

Legendary Dodgers skipper spent parts of three decades in Minors
@BensBiz
January 14, 2021

Tommy Lasorda enjoyed one of the longest careers in professional baseball history, one that spanned from 1945 to his death at age 93 on Jan. 7. Of course, he will be best remembered as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a post he held from 1976 through 1996. Lasorda's

RIP: Paying tribute to beloved gameday employees

A remembrance of Minor League Baseball's unsung ballpark heroes
@BensBiz
January 12, 2021

From April until September, Opening Night through the playoffs, first pitch to final out, gameday employees are always there. These largely unsung individuals are part of the fabric of the Minor League Baseball experience, whether they're taking your ticket, guiding you to a seat or catering suites. If you attend

Heads up: A National Bobblehead Day celebration

From singers to swingers to snowmen, these giveaways get the nod
@BensBiz
January 7, 2021

Think the holidays are over? Think again. Today is National Bobblehead Day. National Bobblehead Day, spearheaded by the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, was first observed in 2015. Thursday marks its seventh iteration. Minor League Baseball teams and fans are among National Bobblehead Day's most committed celebrants,

Choosing the decade's best Minor League promos

After much deliberation, veteran scribe unveils his 2010's Top 10
@BensBiz
January 5, 2021

Over the past three months, MiLB.com's Ben Hill provided a year-by-year overview of Minor League Baseball's top promotions of the 2010s. Today, he chooses his 10 favorite promos of the entire decade. This series will conclude Thursday -- National Bobblehead Day -- with a look at the decade's best bobbleheads.

Minor League Promos of the Decade: 2019

The 2010s conclude with poignant theme nights, regional flair
December 24, 2020

The lack of a 2020 Minor League Baseball season meant the lack of gameday promotions. However, there are still plenty of promotions upon which we can reminisce. This marks the 10th and final article in a year-by-year series chronicling the past decade's most notable Minor League Baseball gameday promotions. To

Minor League Promos of the Decade: 2018

Penultimate season of the 2010s filled with cinematic celebration
December 22, 2020

The lack of a 2020 Minor League Baseball season meant the lack of gameday promotions. However, there are still plenty of promotions upon which we can reminisce. This marks the ninth article in a year-by-year series chronicling the past decade's most notable Minor League Baseball gameday promotions. To share your

Drive-thru and Dash: Santa visits Winston-Salem

Claus and crew create socially distanced memories at the ballpark
@BensBiz
December 17, 2020

Across the country and around the world, Santa Claus has been recognized as an essential worker. The Winston-Salem Dash are assisting him with his essential work. On Saturday the Dash will host their final installment of "Drive-Thru Santa," a holiday endeavor devised for these pandemic-affected times. Though the name may

Minor League Promos of the Decade: 2017

There goes the sun: The year in which one promo eclipsed them all
@BensBiz
December 15, 2020

The lack of a 2020 Minor League Baseball season meant the lack of gameday promotions. However, there are still plenty of promotions upon which we can reminisce. This marks the eighth article in a year-by-year series chronicling the past decade's most notable Minor League Baseball gameday promotions. To share your

Until we (Winter) Meet(ings) again, a look back

Massive annual baseball industry confab sorely missed in 2020
December 10, 2020

The 2020 Baseball Winter Meetings were scheduled to have taken place this week in Dallas. Needless to say, the in-person assemblage was canceled. As with so much else in 2020, all we can do is reminisce on what was while looking forward to a stronger, better, healthier future. The Winter

Minor League Promos of the Decade: 2016

Lehigh Valley gets 'wit' cheesesteaks; Hot Rods have barrels of fun
December 8, 2020

The lack of a 2020 Minor League Baseball season meant the lack of gameday promotions. However, there are still plenty of promotions upon which we can reminisce. This marks the seventh article in a year-by-year series chronicling the past decade's most notable Minor League Baseball gameday promotions. To share your

Knights' office space rental a suite deal

'Work from Home (Plate)' initiative provides break from daily grind
@BensBiz
December 3, 2020

In normal times, spending a weekday at the ballpark often meant that one had found a way to escape the office. In these abnormal times, however, the reverse is true: the ballpark itself is the office, providing the opportunity to escape from home. That's the premise behind the Charlotte Knights'

Minor League Promos of the Decade: 2015

Fresno Tacos highlight another season of theme jersey innovation
@BensBiz
December 1, 2020

The lack of a 2020 Minor League Baseball season meant the lack of gameday promotions. While there may not be any to look back on this year, there are still plenty of promotions upon which we can reminisce. This marks the sixth article in a year-by-year series chronicling of the

Home plates: Jumbo Shrimp offer team-logo tags

Jacksonville's charity-driven license initiative travels a long road
@BensBiz
November 24, 2020

Earlier this month, the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp unveiled an initiative that, if successful, would be a first in Florida and a rarity throughout Minor League Baseball. The long-running Sunshine State franchise, in partnership with local environmental non-profit St. Johns Riverkeeper, is offering specialty license plates featuring the Jumbo Shrimp