Aw, shucks. The Lakewood BlueClaws just extended their Player Development Contract with the Phillies. I knew this was going to happen, but it put a wet blanket on one of my realignment fantasies just days before I was going to post it.
In all honesty, there was no way this was going to happen. There are plenty of reasons why this scenario would not pan out, so why get discouraged by one event blocking this from reality. It’s fantasy anyway, so let’s go for it!
Speaking of fantasy, I’m writing this while my fantasy football league is drafting. Everyone in America is chomping at the bit for football season, but I’m still giving baseball it’s summer due. On Thursday or so, I’ll hang up the glove and pick up the shoulder pads.
Anyway, here’s the scenario:
1. The Lakewood Blueclaws claw out of the low-A Sally league and find a deserving spot in the AA Eastern League
2. The Akron Aeros are grounded and whisked from the AA Eastern league to the low-A Midwest League
3. The Bowling Green Hot Rods put pedal to the metal and cruise from the Midwest League to the Sally League
Here’s why it’s awesome:
1. Not only do the Jersey-based BlueClaws stick out like a sore thumb in the South Atlantic League, they deserve higher than Low-A. Attendance north of 6,000 fans per game average towers over every other Sally team. Only the Greensboro Grasshoppers come close. That average would be among the leaders in Eastern League, and travelling to face Trenton would make more sense than trudging south to Augusta, Georgia. Time to redraw the Mason-Dixon Line.
2. The Aeros are underperforming in AA. Even with the parent-club Indians somewhat competitive, Akron (just like Cleveland) struggles to get folks to the ballpark. Even LeBron James at a recent game still only drew 3,843 some odd fans to Canal Park, which can sit 9,000+. The Aeros are a better fit in the Midwest League, where they can attempt to slay the Dayton Dragons or throw the Lake County Captains overboard. When compared with other Eastern League cities, Akron is marooned out in the west and geographically out of place. The Midwest League would be a great fit.
3. What makes more sense? Having Bowling Green be the the furthest south and least Midwestern team in the Midwest League or having the Hot Rods in the same league as in-state rivals: the Lexington Legends. Ship ’em to the Sally!
Why it isn’t awesome:
1. The Phillies have the Claws locked up. The Phillies own the successful Reading Phillies of the Eastern League. Can’t have your crab and eat it too.
2. The Cleveland Indians would be upset. With Dayton and the Reds a match made in Heaven, Cleveland would have to choose between Lake County and Akron. Akron’s PDC is still open, but Lake County’s is tied up with the Indians through 2014.
3. Actually, there is really no argument here. The Rods need to go.
This scenario was more tantalizing while all three teams had uncertain PDCs. That doesn’t mean that this kind of realignment actually happens out of the blue, but the chances were higher. Perhaps in 2014, the PDCs will be open again, and Sport Change can give it another go.
Oh, and my fantasy football team is decent. A bizarre coincidence on my team has four of my running backs with a common thread. I have Issac Redman, and also three other backs who are men wearing red: Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, and Beanie Wells. I should change my team name to the Red Scare. Or the Red Menace. I think people used to call China by that nickname.
Anyway, if you like the Minors, here’s a link to the Sport Change MiLB posts.
To keep abreast of PDC signings, check the Minor League Source blog.