(Blogathon ’16) Rochester Red Wings Programs of the Past: 1990

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

The 1990 Rochester Red Wings program was, in a word, a bit boring, at least relative to the previous two I’ve looked at. It is not a giant leap like going from 1981 to 1989, and it doesn’t have anything too weird or amazing either. As a result (and also of my blogathon process with these later posts), this one is a bit shorter than the previous installments.

Still, it definitely has some neat things.

Good Stuff

First off, the cover is fantastic:

90wingscoverThat is a cool looking cover. The Red Wings should bring back artsy covers like this. Nowadays it’s usually a picture. Last year had Miguel Sano on it prominently… and then he skipped Rochester entirely. Whoops.

With the new decade, the Rochester Red Wings decided to take a look back at the 80s with an article by Josh Lewin (now the radio announcer for the Mets and Chargers, who I covered a bit on in the 1989 program lookback) that included this snippet:

90wingspieceoflewin80slookbackIt’s sort of odd that three of the five most memorable games of the 1980s were losses.

Also nice is that they finally gave the mascot his time of day, even if it was Homer, the worst mascot in Red Wings history (not counting the times when they had people dressed up as Indians):

90wingshomerFred Costello’s lists:

R90fredlist

Interesting Stuff:

Brady Anderson:

90wingsbradyJose Mesa:

R90mesaThe Columbus Clippers featuring Kevin Maas, Bernie Williams and Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens:

R90columbus

Russ Brandon, now the President of the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans, and thus one of the most powerful people in Western NY sports:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.43.55 PM

Weird Stuff:

Okay, this Big Bird advertisement is vaguely unsettling: 90wingsbigbirdMaybe it’s the black-and-white printing mixed with Big Bird’s eyes. It’s like he’s looking deep into your soul as he asks if your child has visited his best friend today. Also, why “his”, why not “their”? Jeez, Big Bird, don’t be sexist.

For some reason, some players literally had Hagerstown baseball cards as their profiles, like Leo Gomez here:

R90LeoGomezThe many looks of Josh Lewin:

R90lewinWait… Cheers was a chain?

R90cheersFuture Red Wings GM Dan Mason with a mullet:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.43.42 PMAnd, finally, the horribly racist logo of the Indianapolis Indians (although the rest is pretty cool):

R90indianapolisSo how did the season go? The 1990 Rochester Red Wings, led by Leo Gomez, Chris Hoiles, David Segui and 36-year-old Danny Boone, would go on to win the Governor’s Cup after a 89-56 record. It would be the final Governor’s Cup title in Silver Stadium history.

Next time: 1991

At 11 PM: The worst post ever.

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

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(Blogathon ’16) Musings on AAA Baseball

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

And now, random musings about AAA Baseball:

AAA baseball is the best baseball in North America outside of the Major Leagues and perhaps certain fall/winter leagues (it varies). This is not in doubt. The athletes who play in cities like Sacramento, Buffalo, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Rochester are some of the best ballplayers on the planet.

However, they are not necessarily the best prospects. This is something often forgotten. Oh, to be sure, many of the best players in the majors have stopped in AAA for at least some time, but the idea that the minors is a ladder where players go up rung by rung is for the most part out of date. The truth is that, with certain exceptions, the vast majority of players in AAA are not prospects anymore, but rather players who have reached or are close to reaching their ceiling, but aren’t good enough to play for their MLB club. AAA has the most accumulated talent outside of MLB, but it doesn’t have the players with potential talent. No, it’s increasingly common that those players with the potential talent skip over AAA, only going back if they get injured or are clearly out of their league in the Majors.

Most people, however, don’t realize that. They still expect that every major prospect will come through, regardless. When Miguel Sano and (for a time) Byron Buxton skipped over Rochester last season, some fans took it as a betrayal. Never mind that, at the time, the Red Wings were pretty set in outfield and third base, or that the two of them were so clearly better than AA that only a fool wouldn’t call them up to the big leagues to help in an unexpected playoff hunt, as the Twins were in.

The solution to this, if there even needs to be a solution (aside from the fact that it might be in baseball’s best interest to have the more-populated cities of AAA see more future stars than the less-populated AA cities, there really isn’t a true problem to be solved), is unknown. Perhaps eliminating the very lowest of the minor leagues- the Arizona and Gulf Coast Leagues, could recombobulate the systems a bit and lead to it becoming more of a rung-by-rung set-up again. Who knows?

Perhaps because of the fact that you are watching the-best-who-aren’t-the-best in front of crowds filled with people just there for beer and/or fireworks, AAA can be a surreal place, especially if you sit behind the visitor’s dugout.

I have heard the late Jose Lima tell a group of half-drunken bros to be polite to the ladies and to remember that kids are around. I have seen Dmitri Young talk down a heckler and then proceed to hit for the cycle on a rehab assignment. I once spent something like 18 innings watching a game with the immortal Corky Miller standing in front of me, his mullet protecting him from a chilly Rochester night.

All of this for the price of a ticket that probably wouldn’t even get you in the door at many MLB stadiums, much less close enough to hear a reliever swear and throw his glove after a bad performance, inevitably leading to Mary, the first lady of the third-base side, telling him that it wasn’t the glove’s fault.

That there is not a Mike Trout Zooperstar is obscene. I mean, c’mon, it’s so obvious.

At one point, Jenny Finch’s husband, Casey Daigle, was a member of the Red Wings. Hopefully their kids get their mother’s arm, because it felt like every time he came on the mound, something bad happened. I don’t know if this is statistically true, but it sure felt like it.

Finally, a story. The Rochester Red Wings are owned by shareholders in the community, the result of lawyer Morrie Silver’s stock drive to buy the team from the Cardinals, who wanted to move the team.

However, I never had been able to get stock. While in practice the shares have no true value, in reality they can be really expensive and it’s really hard to get active shares. This is mainly because many of them have lapsed in the half-century-plus since the stock drive and many that do go up are reportedly bought by the Silver family. In addition, there is the fact that, unlike other community-owned teams like the Packers, there have never been additional sales of stock, which is kind of ridiculous from both a PR standpoint as well as the fact you’d have to imagine that the sales of shares could help fund stadium improvements (this, by the way, is why the Packers did their most recent shares-drive).

At one point, I thought I’d gotten one, but it turned out that it had expired and been given to the state (in theory I could have gone through New York State to get it back, but that would have required me finding the heir of the guy who had bought it originally and a bunch of other complicated things). But, this past year, I finally got one. I became a owner of Rochester Community Baseball:

RCBstockWhat does it mean? Officially, nothing. One share isn’t enough to get me a personal luxury box, or give me the power to demand that they bring back those Abbott’s Milk Shakes, or even get me a ring if they were to win a Governor’s Cup next season. But it does provide something that is unique about small-city baseball in America: a sense of ownership.

You see, when I go to the ballpark this summer, I’ll be going knowing that, in a very small way, this is my team, my field, and my souvenir cup with Kyle Gibson and Logan Darnell on it (well, that’s what it was last year, probably will be different this year). Fans in St. Louis or Boston can claim they own their favorite team, but they are only speaking in metaphor. For me, it’ll be reality, no matter how small or insignificant that reality is.

And that’s something that AAA will hopefully always have over the majors, no matter how many uber-Prospects jump directly from AA.

(Seriously though, if any Twins front office members are reading this, can we at least have Max Kepler for a month before he gets called up? Please?)

At 5 PM: The Sliding Scale of Fictional Baseball Realism

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

Rochester Red Wings Programs of the Past: 1989

In 1988, the Rochester Red Wings won the Governor’s Cup championship under the helm of Johnny Oates and a team that included young guns like Steve Finley (would lead the league in batting, Pete Harnisch and Craig Worthington (who would be that year’s IL MVP) as well as veterans like Dale Berra and Jerry Narron, all while dealing with plenty of movement between AAA and the Orioles, who were infamously in the middle of their worst season ever. And while they lost a AAA championship with the American Association champion Indianapolis Indians, it remained the Red Wings’ first IL title since 1974.

So, it makes sense that that would be on the front of the following year’s program. Oh, it’s sort of bland, but it gets the message across: The Red Wings were defending champions!

WingsCover89

Now, this program I have is a bit beaten up, and is missing a few pages, but most of it is intact, so go below the jump to read about what was in the 1989 Red Wings program, and click on any picture to make it bigger:

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Rochester Red Wings Programs of the Past: “Summer Fun in ’81” (and misspelling Cal Ripken’s name)

In this recurring piece, I look at the programs and yearbooks of my hometown Rochester Red Wings. This is the first part of the series.

In 1981, the Rochester Red Wings were, if nothing else, notable. They played in the longest game in baseball history- a 33-inning loss against Pawtucket that was begun in April and finished in June. Cal Ripken played his last full season in the minor leagues for Rochester. Future All-Star and Gold-Glover Mike Boddicker also played for Rochester that season.

So it’s as good a place as any to begin our look back at Rochester Red Wings programs/yearbooks.

(GO BELOW THE JUMP TO SEE)

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Coming Soon: A Retrospective on Rochester Red Wings Yearbooks/Programs

Coming soon will be a new feature on this blog, in which I look back at the programs and yearbooks of the Rochester Red Wings, collected over the years by myself, my father, and in some cases myself through other means (like eBay or Red Wings yard sales).

Among the fun things that we shall see:

  • Famous ballplayers when they were younger!
  • Unintentionally comedic advertisements, prospect previews, and hairstyles! Hey, hindsight is always 20/20.
  • The fall of the Orioles-Red Wings marriage!
  • The rise of the Twins-Red Wings marriage!
  • Special appearances by two current MLB announcers and one of the most powerful people in Buffalo sports, amongst others!
  • And also a look at the 2000 AAA All-Star Game program!

So look out in the coming days as we begin back in a mysterious time known as…. THE EIGHTIES!

 

 

 

2014 Rochester Red Wings in Review, Part 1, AKA “The IL North is Tough”

If there is one lesson to be learned from the 2014 Rochester Red Wings, it is that minor league baseball is perhaps even more cruel than Major League Baseball, and perhaps even more unforgiving, at least to teams.

If you want to know what I mean, take a look at the standings of the International League this year. You’ll see on them a horrible unbalanced league, where one division clearly was better than the other two. That division was the IL North. Take a look at the near-final (there were one or two games still going on when I posted this) standings here:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 4.04.16 PMNow, as you can see, the North simply owned the other divisions. The four teams with the best records in the league were in it (meaning the playoffs will consist of the first, second, fifth, and sixth best teams), and it’s two worst teams (Scranton and Lehigh Valley) would have been in a three-way fight with Gwinnett for second in another division (the South).

Sadly for the Red Wings, they were in the North. And, sadly, they were unable to win the Wild Card. To be sure, there were times this season where it could be said they blew their chance at the postseason: a horrible 0-for-Ohio road trip, a few blown games by the bullpen here and there, and some games where they got plenty of men on base but never got enough of them home. But, ultimately, the Red Wings were just unlucky victims of geography, stuck in what may have been the best division in all of baseball (relative to the rest of it’s league).

That said, despite the disappointing ending, it was a ton of fun, so on Wednesday, I’ll have a second part, a retrospective on the 2014 Red Wings season, complete with photos!