Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

tennessee smokies logoMinor League Baseball is very good at running various fan interactive promotions and team-based contests during the season, and the first big one of 2015 is now underway. is looking for the best seat in minor league baseball, and once again you can vote in as many head to head matchups as you like.

Here’s the problem: the Cubs aren’t doing so hot. As I write this, Iowa is sitting at No. 8 and not a single other Cubs’ affiliate is in the top thirty.

This is a contest where the head to head nature of voting comes in handy.  Personally, I would have a hard time voting against the wooden rocking chairs in Round Rock, or the very nice right field seats in Fort Wayne, or the view of the harbor from the home ballpark of the Staten Island Yankees that is just impressive. But unless one of those is matched up against a Cubs’ affiliate, I can vote for them without feeling guilty. Everyone wins!

The most unique seats, I think, might be the Fan Dugout in the home park of the Visalia Rawhide. It is literally a dugout, right beside the home dugout, and protected by a net. I don’t think baseball seating gets much better than that.

To check out some nice views of some great ballparks and cast a few dozen votes of your own, click here.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs surrendered a huge eighth inning, and it resulted in this 13-7 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies’ pitchers delivered a shutout and Tennessee won 4-0.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans scored five times in the last three innings for an 8-5 win.
South Bend – An early lead turned into a 7-4 win for the Cubs.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Blake Cooper was on the mound when the eighth inning melt down began, but none of the 4 runs he allowed in that frame were earned. He finished with 1.2 IP, 1 BB, and 2 H. He also struck out 2.

  • [Iowa] John Andreoli tripled, walked, and stole 3 more bases. The left fielder is up to 12 steals this season.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez finished 1 for 3, walked twice, and stole his 3rd base of the season.
  • [Iowa] Rafael Lopez tripled, his first, and finished 2 for 4.
  • [Tennessee] Jeffry Antigua opened the shutout with 5 IP of 2 hit ball, walking 3 and striking out 3. Michael Jensen then dropped his ERA to 0.61 with a pair of shutout innings (2 H, 3 K), and P.J. Francescon finished the game with another 2 inning, 2 hit, 3 strikeout performance.
  • [Tennessee] Dan Vogelbach walked twice and launched his 4th homer of the season. Willson Contreras hit his second bomb.
  • [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno had the only multi-hit game as he finished 2 for 3.
  • [Tennessee] Elliot Soto reached 4 times on 3 walks and a single.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Billy McKinney finished 2 for 3. He now has 7 multi-hit games this month.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Mark Zagunis doubled and also finished with 2 hits.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Rounding out the extra base hits were a Jeimer Candelario double, a Trey Martin triple, and a Daniel Lockhart home run.
  • [South Bend] Jake Stinnett allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks in this game while striking out 3. On the good side, Tommy Thorpe and James Farris each pitched 2 scoreless innings. Farris struck out 4 in the process.
  • [South Bend] Yasiel Balaguert and Jesse Hodges both homered in this game. Balaguert’s was his first of the year; for Hodges it was his second.

  • [South Bend] Chesny Young, Jason Vosler, and Gioskar Amaya all finished with 2 hits. For Amaya, one of those was a double.

Other News

  • Last summer the Cubs drafted a slugging infielder who also happened to be a Boise State football player. Then, over the winter, after we did not hear much from Joey Martarano and after the Cubs pulled out of Boise, several people asked me if he was still with the Cubs organization (for the record – affiliation changes have absolutely nothing to do with the players in the farm system). Well, if you were asking, ask no more. According to the man himself, he heads to Arizona soon.
  • Ballparks and summer concerts are inexorably linked, and that includes minor league ballparks. A tour that includes such bands from decades past as Eve 6 and Better Than Ezra arrives in South Bend on July 31.
  • If you missed it yesterday, Billy McKinney did pick up an unsurprising and well deserved Player of the Week award for the Carolina League.
  • My personal favorite minor league stadium seat? I’ve been in a few minor league stadiums now, but my favorite seat is still Smokies Stadium, Section 104, Row 2, Seat 20. It puts  me right behind first base so I have a great view of the pitcher’s mechanics and of any action in the middle infield.  It also puts me where I can see a fair bit of the interaction between players in the dugout, and sometimes even hear it.  Plus, it is a Double A stadium, and I strongly suspect that Double A provides the best balance of quality baseball and cheap tickets of any level in the minors.

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