February 23, 2021

After Eliminating 43 Minor League Clubs, MLB Announces Teams Comprising 11 Leagues

Before the coronavirus wiped out the 2020 minor league season, the manfredvirus had destroyed 43 minor league teams. (One of the eliminated teams was the Vermont Lake Monsters, a Short-Season A club in Burlington, a few miles from where I grew up.)

MLB recently announced the new league structures for the remaining 120 teams, complete with generic soulless names (Triple-A East, Double-A Central, Low-A West, etc.) which offer sad evidence of the contempt in which Commissioner Rob Manfred holds both the sport and its rich history. If the league names are changed, who would bet against corporate sponsorship? (Scientists fear the manfredvirus could be fatal to baseball.)

C. Trent Rosecrans and Melissa Lockard (The Athletic) offer an informative overview, noting that travel during the pandemic will be limited: "all teams will play six-game series with one day off per week". (You ever notice how teams don't sweep a series as much as they used to? Sigh. Players today lack the gut instinct to win every goddamn day!)

Tentative starting dates for the various seasons are April 6 (Triple-A East), April 8 (Triple-A West), and May 4 (all other leagues). Triple A teams are scheduled to play 142 games, with Double-A and High-A and Low-A teams scheduled for 120 games. All seasons will end September 19.

Triple-A East
20 teams; 3 divisions

Midwest: Columbus Clippers (CLE), Indianapolis Indians (PIT), Iowa Cubs (CHC), Louisville Bats (CIN), Omaha Storm Chasers (KC), St. Paul Saints (MIN), Toledo Mud Hens (DET)

Northeast: Buffalo Bisons (TOR), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), Rochester Red Wings (WSH), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), Syracuse Mets (NYM), Worcester Red Sox (BOS)

Southeast: Charlotte Knights (CHW), Durham Bulls (TB), Gwinnett Stripers (ATL), Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (MIA), Memphis Redbirds (STL), Nashville Sounds (MIL), Norfolk Tides (BAL)

Triple-A West
10 teams; two divisions

Eastern: Albuquerque Isotopes (COL), El Paso Chihuahuas (SD), Oklahoma City Dodgers (LAD), Round Rock Express (TEX), Sugar Land Skeeters (HOU)

Western: Las Vegas Aviators (OAK), Reno Aces (ARI), Sacramento River Cats (SF), Salt Lake Bees (LAA), Tacoma Rainiers (SEA)

Double-A Central
10 teams, two divisions

Northern: Arkansas Travelers (SEA), Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC), Springfield Cardinals (STL), Tulsa Drillers (LAD), Wichita Wind Surge (MIN)

Southern: Amarillo Sod Poodles (ARI), Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU), Frisco RoughRiders (TEX), Midland RockHounds (OAK), San Antonio Missions (SD)

Double-A Northeast
12 teams; two divisions

Northeast: Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NYM), Hartford Yard Goats (COL), New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), Portland Sea Dogs (BOS), Reading Fightin Phils (PHI), Somerset Patriots (NYY)

Southwest: Akron RubberDucks (CLE), Altoona Curve (PIT), Bowie Baysox (BAL), Erie SeaWolves (DET), Harrisburg Senators (WSH), Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF)

Double-A South
Eight teams; two divisions

Northern: Birmingham Barons (CHW), Chattanooga Lookouts (CIN), Rocket City Trash Pandas (LAA), Tennessee Smokies (CHC)

Southern: Biloxi Shuckers (MIL), Mississippi Braves (ATL), Montgomery Biscuits (TB), Pensacola Blue Wahoos (MIA)

High-A Central
12 teams; two divisions

Eastern: Dayton Dragons (CIN), Fort Wayne TinCaps (SD), Great Lakes Loons (LAD), Lake County Captains (CLE), Lansing Lugnuts (OAK), West Michigan Whitecaps (DET)

Western: Beloit Snappers (MIA), Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN), Peoria Chiefs (STL), Quad Cities River Bandits (KC), South Bend Cubs (CHC), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL)

High-A East
12 teams; two divisions

Northern: Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL), Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM), Hudson Valley Renegades (NYY), Jersey Shore BlueClaws (PHI), Wilmington Blue Rocks (WSH)

Southern: Asheville Tourists (HOU), Bowling Green Hot Rods (TB), Greensboro Grasshoppers (PIT), Greenville Drive (BOS), Hickory Crawdads (TEX), Rome Braves (ATL), Winston-Salem Dash (CHW)

High-A West
Six teams; one division

Eugene Emeralds (SF), Everett AquaSox (SEA), Hillsboro Hops (ARI), Spokane Indians (COL), Tri-City Dust Devils (LAA), Vancouver Canadians (TOR)

Low-A East
12 teams; three divisions

Central: Carolina Mudcats (MIL), Down East Wood Ducks (TEX), Fayetteville Woodpeckers (HOU), Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (CWS)

South: Augusta GreenJackets (ATL), Charleston RiverDogs (TB), Columbia Fireflies (KC), Myrtle Beach Pelicans (CHC)

North: Delmarva Shorebirds (BAL), Salem Red Sox (BOS), Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE), Fredericksburg Nationals (WSH)

Low-A Southeast
10 teams; two divisions

East: Daytona Tortugas (CIN), Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA), Palm Beach Cardinals (STL), St. Lucie Mets (NYM)

West: Bradenton Marauders (PIT), Clearwater Threshers (PHI), Dunedin Blue Jays (TOR), Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (MIN), Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET), Tampa Tarpons (NYY)

Low-A West
Eight teams; two divisions

North: Fresno Grizzlies (COL), Modesto Nuts (SEA), San Jose Giants (SF), Stockton Ports (OAK)

South: Inland Empire 66ers (LAA), Lake Elsinore Storm (SD), Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAD), Visalia Rawhide (ARI)


betterthanthealternative said...

We need another post about these names. If nothing but to lighten the mood a bit.
Isotopes? Giant Shrimp? I could go on..

wallythe24 said...

There is some great names there.
There are obviously many things wrong with the world and what's being done to the minor leagues is one of them. A sad state of affairs.

GK said...

I think the mascot names are as delightful as some of the team names. Hartford Yard Goats' mascot is a pair of (actual) goats, named Choo-choo and Chompers.

allan said...

Amarillo Sod Poodles (ARI)
Rocket City Trash Pandas (LAA)
Montgomery Biscuits (TB)

Wichita Wind Surge (MIN)
Akron RubberDucks (CLE)

Fun For Headline Writers:
Modesto Nuts (SEA)

"Pirates Kick Modesto's Nuts"
"Nuts Have Issue With League's Balls"

And so on.

wallythe24 said...

I'll agree with you there Allan.
When I saw Montgomery Biscuits , I thought of Malted Milk or Fruit Shortcake.

That book cover is funny.