Tag Archives: franchise

Batting Down the River

Greetings readers,

The summer season is almost upon us. As you might know, that mostly means baseball will be back. The smell of fresh cut grass, beer being served along with a hot dog, and the cracking of the bats: that’s a bit about the environment of baseball.

In the Miami Valley, you have your Cincinnati Reds down south. You have the Cleveland Indians up North by Northeast. You have the Dragons downtown. You could go east to Columbus for Clippers or west to Indianapolis for Indians (not affiliated with Cleveland, but I think they were a long time ago.) You also have some other options.

Folks, in this post I want to take you folks to Richmond, Indiana.

Enter the Richmond RiverRats, a team that plays at Cate Field at McBride Stadium in Eastern Indiana. Since 2009, the RiverRats have been giving young college kids chances to play baseball with wooden bats. Richmond plays in the Eastern Division of the Prospect League, which plays from late May until early August.

Other teams that play in the Prospect League with the ‘Rats include Lorain County (few miles west of Cleveland), Chillicothe, West Virginia, Butler and Slippery Rock (around the Pittsburgh, PA area.) There is also a Western Division that includes another Indiana team, the Terre Haute Rex.

This isn’t Richmond’s first crack with a baseball team, as the city near Ohio has plenty of baseball history to tell many tales. Once the home of Roses, Robins, Roosters, and Tigers, Richmond has seen a lot of baseball. The former Municipal Stadium has seen these teams and still lives to tell another tale of baseball.

If you remember the Chillicothe Paints, that franchise has been apart of the Frontier League, they’ve been apart of the Prospect League for a few seasons now. That actually gives Richmond a nice rival with another team of U.S. 35.

While the Prospect League is fairly new (2009), the original organization has been kicking since 1963 and has sent about 175 folks to the Pros. The Cowboy Brantley is one of them for you Reds fans, Joe Girardi of Yankees manager fame, Adam Rosales, Jon Papelbon, and many others.

Richmond offers a great baseball product for a very affordable price. You get to see kids still in college work on their game in hopes to make it to the professional levels one day. You never know who’s going to be on your favorite team.

Sources of information from the Prospect League, the Richmond RiverRats, and the Chillicothe Paints websites.

Until next time,

-Lee

A City Without a Jacket

Greetings readers,

If you’ve been following the Columbus Blue Jackets this year, you would know that this year is one to forget. Yes, the Jackets did record some solid wins over the Detroit Red Wings (for the first win of the season, after starting 0-7-1) and the Winnipeg Jets, but the rest of the year has been a bummer.

As of January 22nd, the Blue Jackets are last in the National Hockey League with 13 wins and 32 points, six points behind the Edmonton Oilers who have 38 points. Columbus is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss at Detroit, who leads the NHL with 65 points and a 32-15-1 record.

The next home game for Columbus is February 7th against the Minnesota Wild. The game I’m going to next is two days after, when the Dallas Stars come to town (There’s a Career Fair that day, too.)

So you might wonder why this post exists. Is it to bash on the Blue Jackets? No. Is it to hammer in the fact that the Jackets are not doing well this year when expectations were high? No. The point is, we Ohioans are lucky to have the Blue Jackets.

What if we lose them, though?

If you look at comments from other users, say ESPN, on the article about Scott Arniel’s firing, you’ll see some comments saying “Move them to Quebec City or Hamilton (Canada, not Ohio)!!” That could happen, you know.

These rumors have been swirling around the Phoenix Coyotes for the longest time, and could very well happen soon if a buyer decides to fork the cash over. Same thing can happen to the Jackets.

You could argue with anyone saying that Columbus could be a better hockey market than Phoenix, that the Coyotes have had longer time to become successful (1996 compared to 2000, or 1997 if you want to include the year the NHL gave Columbus the team), and every positive point for the Jackets. However, the buyer won’t care about those if there’s an opportunity to purchase, relocate, and profit.

What would the loss of the hockey team do to Columbus? Well, you have loss of jobs for one. People who work in the arena would see hours slashed, jobs cut, and what would be the point of the FSN Ohio Blue Line stores in the arena and Tuttle Crossing Mall when there’s no hockey team? Second, the Arena District would take a hit. Less people buying means less profits.

I know what you’re thinking: “There’s Ohio State!” Okay, but that’s a bit north of Nationwide. Sure, the Buckeyes could play a lot more in Nationwide Arena, but where does that leave The Schott? More importantly, what if someone doesn’t like Ohio State or college sports in general? How do you attract the fan then?

There’s also the Columbus Crew, but that’s also far north from the Arena District and during the months where the Blue Jackets don’t play.

While you could try bringing professional basketball back to Columbus, there’s no guarantees that will plug the loss of the Blue Jackets to the city. Would it be a repeat of the Columbus Horizon? Also, would Nationwide be too big for a new basketball team?

Argue all you want, but losing the Blue Jackets would hurt Columbus. So, embrace that you still have a hockey team, even though it’s been a tough ride for the Jackets.

Stats from ESPN, recorded on January 22nd, 2012.

Until next time,

-Lee

Monster-less Party

Greetings readers,

It wasn’t that long ago where I published an article about the Cincinnati Commandos 2012 season. Well, we’re still a couple of months away and we have some big changes.

First up is the league itself. The United Indoor Football League has bought the assets of the Ultimate Indoor Football League. Second up, there are no Kentucky Monsters or Danville Dragons (on same article.)

As of right now, the websites for those teams still read “Ultimate Indoor Football League” on their banners and have the old schedules up. The Commandos Facebook page says that Kentucky won’t field a team (but either the league or the franchise will explain why, which hasn’t happened yet.)

So scratch that “across-the-river” rivalry, but look forward to the Marion Blue Racers still rivaling Cincinnati, just like their last year in the CIFL.

While I couldn’t find any news of Danville leaving, a telling sign is that there are no news articles on their website. “A Message to Dragons Fans” could be about anything, but it’s gone from the archives.

So not a whole lot of explaining why these teams are no longer with the UIFL, but maybe this will play out in the upcoming weeks or months. The league still plans for a March 2012 kickoff.

Source of information from the UIFL, Kentucky Monsters, and Danville Dragons websites.

Until next time,

-Lee

Proud to be a Daytonian

Greetings readers,

After watching a few basketball games this past weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are lucky as sports fans in the Miami Valley.

We have some great high school teams, a pair of Division I universities, a plentiful amount of Non-Division I colleges, and some great pro teams in the area. We also are close to the Columbus and Cincinnati markets pro teams as well.

We also have the second best high school basketball tournament in the country, with Flyin’ To The Hoop.

The main reason I’m writing this is prove to people that we’re lucky to live in an area with great sports. You might hear people complaining that Dayton sucks, and while we’ve seen better days with jobs, businesses, and what-have-you, but it still could be worse.

The 10th Annual Flyin’ To The Hoop concluded last night, and while Ohio teams didn’t fare so well (out of the 26 teams from the state, only seven recorded victories. Some schools played multiple times.) That was my first time at the tournament, and they do an exceptional job. They took of me and the radio station I was with (WSWO in Huber Heights, great volunteer station.) They make a nice media guide covering every single team, filled with basics like conference, team nickname, colors, and an interesting fact. It was a fantastic time, and I hope I can make it again next year.

Lately I’ve been covering (by covering I mean updating followers on Twitter on scores) local basketball games, and I liked all of the gyms I’ve seen so far in 2011-2012. It’s been a fun time, watching a basketball game and keeping folks updated with scores.

We are lucky as sports fans in the Dayton region. We have professional teams, we have college teams, and we have a bountiful amount of high schools as well.

Until next time,

-Lee

Prep Promise

Greetings readers,

The other night while checking a few scores on ESPN, I came across a story that I thought I would share with you. It’s about a prep program in North Carolina that promises eligibility in a NCAA Division I program. Sounds like a great causes in case someone needs that extra push, right?

From the Outside the Lines article written by Mike Fish, North Carolina Tech Preparatory Christian Academy is drawing looks from the state in terms of complaints. Without going into too much detail (there’s the article for that), the Tigers football team has 119 players, all which pay their own way (tuition is about $8,000 according to the article.) The President Tim Newman also is the Head Coach, the Athletic Director, and the headmaster. His wife is the Principal and Business/Admissions Administrator. Together, the two are the only members of the Appeals Board of NC Tech.

Parents are complaining that they were misled by Newman, saying this and promising that. Some assistant coaches were also claiming that is was always about who could pay and never about the talent level. Another one was hired to start a postgraduate women’s basketball program, but instead recruited for the football team (she never coached basketball at NC Tech, as the Tigers never played a game.)

Newman sold ideas to kids that thought they had a golden shot to jump into college football with the use of having Christian beliefs, and the parents bought it. One kid never played football and ran a 4.34 second for a 40-yd dash. He didn’t see much playing time, even though Newman called him “one of our top recruits.” This goes back to the theory that it was never about the talent, but more about who could cough up the cash.

Something else that may be of interest to anyone in Ohio, namely the Central portion of the state, is that North Carolina Tech had on their schedule to play “Ohio State JV.” However, that turned out to be Ohio State-Newark’s club team instead. Had Ohio State played North Carolina Tech, that would have presented penalties to the school for playing a postgraduate program as a NCAA Division I member. One of the Tech players said that it wasn’t Ohio State, with the red and blue jerseys and the script “Titans” on the jerseys. Also, the game was played in Newark and not in Ohio’s capital. In case you were wondering, the Tigers of NC Tech won 90-18 over Ohio State-Newark.

That also leads to an interesting point also made by the video accompanying the article, is that North Carolina Tech brags about being National Champions, but there is no governing bodies giving them said title. Technically, they can’t be National Champions just because of record or what have you. Also, going around and winning games doesn’t count as being National Champions. Newman even said that he could call them National Champions, since he got the team rings (which apparently still owns a lot of money for.)

I think this is a sad story, because the people that believe this story to be true get swindled out of money. While some do make it to Division I programs, like Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown did, most do not. One thing I also found interesting was the fact that classes are not in a classroom, but online. North Carolina Tech pays a company for every class taken. Most kids don’t even take a class, some just read up on how to improve on the SATs.

I also feel a bit angry that someone would have the guts to actually take money from people that aren’t doing too hot in the tough economy. Some don’t see the field to play, leaving their dreams crushed. I probably should mention the padding of the resume when it comes to NFL experience, the playing for a team in a league that folded before the season began, most hired coaches faced a criminal charge, the abusing of religion to get something they want, and the inability to listen to critics, but I won’t. Mike Fish did an excellent job with this article, and I want you to read it and listen to the clip.

Sports can be a great thing, except when people use it to line their wallets with green. Folks, be careful out there.

Source of information from ESPN (written by Mike Fish) and Ohio State-Newark’s website.

Until next time,

-Lee