Small Bites Before Thanksgiving

Hello, everyone. I hope this will serve as your baseball-related appetizer before Thanksgiving.

Here’s a few bits of Astros/RedHawks news in case you hadn’t heard:

  • Brandon Laird signed a minor league deal with Kansas City.
  • Jose Martinez signed a minor league deal with Oakland. (This gives me another chance to link to one of the greatest GIFs of all time.)
  • The Astros claimed Ryan Jackson off waivers from St. Louis. He still has options left, and I think there’s a decent chance he’ll be in Oklahoma City in some point in 2014.
  • Jake Elmore was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.
  • J.D. Martinez was outrighted off the Astros’ 40-man roster. If he doesn’t get plucked by someone in the Rule 5 Draft, the odds are good he’ll start the year in OKC. Of course, he could always get re-added before the season begins.
  • Speaking of the 40-man roster and the Rule 5 Draft, the Astros added Asher Wojciechowski, Domingo Santana, and Luis Cruz to the 40-man, thus protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft. (For a simple explanation of the Rule 5 draft and  list of Rule 5 eligible players from the Astros, check out this piece by Brian McTaggart. Note that George Springer is not yet eligible, thus why he has not been added to the 40-man.) Wojo will be battling for an Opening Day rotation spot, but he could be back in OKC. Santana is definitely slated to start the year in Triple-A, and Cruz could reach the RedHawks during the latter stages of the season.
  • I have seen a reputable sports news outlet list a couple of different minor league free agent signings by the Astros, but I haven’t seen anything official from the Astros or MLB. I tend to stay silent until that happens.
  • Still no word on the RedHawks coaching staff, but elsewhere in the PCL, Nashville has an opening again after recently-named skipper Darnell Coles took a job with the Detroit Tigers. I imagine he’ll go down as the only undefeated manager in Sounds history.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

For some, Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. For others, it’s a chance to eat as much turkey, stuffing, and pie as your body will physically allow. For most of us, I would say it’s a little bit of both.

The on-field success of the 2013 RedHawks has been well documented. However, the organization as a whole experienced a bounty of success as well, and I would like to take this time to recognize that:

  • For the first time since 2008, attendance surpassed 400,000 fans at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
  • The RedHawks are only one of three teams in the 16-team Pacific Coast League that has seen an increase in attendance in each of the past two seasons. It’s worth pointing out the RedHawks have achieved this despite having a declining number of home openings each of the past two seasons due to inclement weather. (72 in 2011, 71 in 2012, and 69 in 2013.)
  • 15 games were sold out. It would’ve been 16 had the game on May 31 not been postponed. (There were 8 sellouts in 2011 and 11 in 2012.)
  • In large part to those feats listed above, RedHawks VP of Ticketing Jenna Byrnes was the PCL’s nominee for Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year.  (Although Jenna unfortunately did not win the national award, we would argue otherwise.)
  • Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark was recognized as one of the Top 10 Minor League Ballparks in the country by USA Today. When you consider there’s about 180 or so minor league parks in affiliated ball alone, it’s quite the honor. Nobody ever complains about The Brick, and there’s good reason for that. I can personally attest there’s nowhere else I’ve ever seen I’d rather call my home park.

Although the team’s dedicated staff continues to set the bar high for itself, I have no reservations things will further grow and improve in 2014.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.

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