Logo Mania 2017

By Steve Samek

The chase for supremacy once again hits minor league baseball. This time in the form of Logomania 2017. A contest of 36 teams and four rounds naming one champ the best logo in minor league baseball. Here is how I voted in the first round of the contest and my thoughts on the included teams.
Pool A
Biloxi
Montgomery
Carolina
Beloit
Buffalo
Charleston
This pool features three good logos fighting for two spots in the next round. The Carolina Mudcats is a classic goofy logo that is much loved. The Biloxi Shuckers have made some waves sense rebranding from the Huntsville Stars. Either of these fine aquatic themes offering should end up advancing to the second round as pool A’s runner up. Beloit has a slightly better than average logo, but it’s in a strong pool and should not advance. So many negative points to whoever though to include the likes of the Charleston River dogs and Buffalo Bison in this tournament. They are so boring and uncreative that they don’t deserve a shot at the best logo title. The easy winner here is Montgomery. The Biscuits are the original food themed logo. Take that Lehigh Valley and Fresno. http://bit.ly/2njLZ0M. They will make you laugh and take the title belt with it. Vote Montgomery.

Pool B
Clearwater
Corpus Christi
El Paso
Eugene
Hillsboro
Las Vegas
This is the strong, but not strong enough bracket. With the likes of Threshers, Hooks, Chihuahua’s, Hops, Emeralds and 51’s in the house. Each with great local flare, but not really well known nationally. Except maybe the infamous little doggies. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/el-paso-embraces-the-chihuahuas/ I vote for the aliens to back up the pups in this one. Vote El Paso
Pool C
Ashville
Binghamton
Chattanooga
Durham
Frisco
Jacksonville
Quirky meets classic in this bracket. Mr. Moon of Ashville graces a glow in the dark cap that does look really cool. A horse meets Rocky in another option. Famous Bulls put the classic in this grouping. Combined with a new rebrand effort, a weird look and a United States President and you have a pool C where anything can happen. Two of these names I talked about here and I agree with my thoughts today as I did before. http://bit.ly/2mBxu8e. Frisco owns the president on the cap and Teddy Roosevelt does hit hard in this competition. My vote goes to the RoughRiders over the most likely picked Jumbo Shrimp. Vote Frisco
Pool D
Stockton
Tennessee
Albuquerque
Salt Lake
Tacoma
Akron
A very underwhelming selection of teams. A standard script R logo yawn. A bee, a bear, an anchor, try no. An Isotope and the RubberDucks should be the picks to move on. I vote for the one mentioned on a long running cartoon. Vote Albuquerque.
Pool E
Rochester
Syracuse
Vermont
Modesto
Ogden
Richmond
A bracket that looks underwhelming at first. The Red Wings and Chiefs are a weak start to this bracket. The next four redeem this bracket. Nuts, Raptors, Lake Monsters and Flying Squirrels make this a tough pick. Lake Monsters advance as does Richmond. My vote goes to the super hero Squirrel. Vote Richmond
Pool F
Harford
Norfolk
Reno
Lansing
New Orleans
Portland.
Save the best for last as the saying goes. This bracket will see two strong players come out of it. Lansing, Portland and Reno could be sleeper picks to advance and surprise people. Hartford and Norfolk also look impressive, yet retain a certain comedy to them. As for New Orleans please do yourself a favor and not rebrand to something stupid. http://bit.ly/2mBxu8e. Read more there. Voting here for a tasteful rebrand. Vote Norfolk.
You can vote in the contest to crown a champion here. http://www.baseballamerica.com/2017-logomania/

 

Steel City Football

By Steve Samek

Texas is a football state. Even at the youngest levels the sport is dominant. Pennsylvania is another upper tier football state. Western Pennsylvania and the WPIAL highlights this list.

Texas young football player got national exposure on Esquire Networks Friday Night Tykes show. It has lasted four seasons, and can be further reviewed here. http://bit.ly/2mZ3Hq2

Pennsylvania son followed with a season one based in Beaver County and the Beaver County Youth Football League, or BCYFL. Season one thoughts can be chronicled here. https://sameksportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/steel-country.

The main difference between the first and second season of Steel Country was the move to USA from Esquire and the elimination of Monica and Ambridge being covered and replaced with Sto-Rox and more emphasis on Beaver Falls. Central Valley, Aliquippa, and Blackhawk return to the field as well. The age bracket went up to the highest age too.

Blackhawk was a decent team this season after playing in last season’s finals. The Cougars created a team in the highest division to end with a championship and play with each other one more time. Best of intentions, not the best season.

Sto-Rox was the worst team on the show. The newcomers were more into fighting and goofing off than playing football. It showed on the field as the season ended short of the title. Though it was pretty cool to see the players get to do a bit of firefighter training as a team bonding activity.

Beaver Falls impressed me a lot. They clearly knew what they were doing this season. Though a host of star power still couldn’t get them the prize. Also, a plus for their big rivalry with Aliquippa.

Central Valley was the champs from last season. They looked to keep winning this season. A surprise entrant in the finals after playing one of the best games of the season, can CV win it all?

Aliquippa is the defending champ, but in this seasons age bracket. They are going for the undefeated title win this year. Off the field issues in the community threaten the season. Can this team keep it together and rally the community with another championship?

The main action of the show was on the field. Games were close and rivalries are highlighted. Teams play for community pride. It gives it a dimension that the Texas edition doesn’t. In Texas, it’s the organization more than the town that matters. In Pennsylvania, it’s often times the best thing to happen to a town is to play football with all the violence and negativity.  Granted it doesn’t make for a lot of creativity in storyline, but it is real and true. I would say the second season improved a lot on the first season of Steel Country. I recommend checking it out if you’re a local football fan, or fan of the original show.

QB1:Beyond the Lights

By Steve Samek

Ran across a new show on a website called go90.com. The show goes by the title QB1: Beyond the Light. The show highlights three quarterbacks during their senior year of high school on their way to major universities. My review of the show is as follows.

The first is Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman High School. Martell is on his way to Ohio State. Martell is a good quarterback and led his team to many wins over nationally ranked teams during the show. However, he bugged me. He’s the standard rich entitled QB that gives more time to his appreances than his football it seems. Several instances in the show demonstrate this. Interesting to see if he does live up the hype at Ohio State next year.

The second QB is Tayvon Bowers of Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt. Bowers is a Wake Forrest commit. Bowers showed a lot of promise, but didn’t quite have the weapons needed to excel this season. An injury also limited his time in the playoffs. Bower’s isn’t stuck up like Martell is and it was refreshing to see. Though Bowers may not quite have the skill set of Martell.

The third and final QB is Jake Fromm from Georgia. Fromm is going to the University of Georgia in the fall. Fromm is a tough quarterback that dealt with some tough losses this season, while chasing individual records and glory. Though the neat thing was he had his brother as his backup QB. Fromm does have swagger, but is also humble and is a mix of the two other QBs in the series.

Three unique story lines was a strength of the show. However, I don’t feel like the stories went more than surface deep. I don’t feel like I really knew the QBs and what was going on in their lives as much as I could have.

The on the field action was good. The matchups seem to be high level ones with frequent rival battles and ranking teams going head to head.

Though the action wasn’t enough to save the show. It just seems forgettable at times and not a must watch every week. It’s a good series if you’re interested in up and coming backs or football. Though I would say skip if you’re looking for a deeper story line. I would probably give it barley a three out of five-star review. I just wish it had the deeper connection sense it was only covering three QBs.

Check out the show here. https://www.go90.com/videos/6ojP02SeKJK

 

Top 30 part 1 MILB Systems by Nicknames.

By Steve Samek

No doubting the some of the best team names come from Minor League baseball. Team names reflect everything from the ridiculous to the historical to the affiliation agreement. The results can be mixed and not all minor-league systems rank the same. This post shows one such ranking https://bensbiz.mlblogs.com/guest-post-2017-farm-system-logo-rankings-b317503c0697.

I love the idea of ranking the whole systems and not just the names individually, though that may come later.  Sit back relax and enjoy the rankings for major league team with the best affiliate names. Note part one is 30-15 and 14-1 will come in part two.

30. Atlanta Braves. While the newest team in the organization has a sick name in the Florida Fire Frogs, the rest just aren’t creative. Try the tune of Braves times six. It’s just too boring and needs to change Obvious pick for the worst system for creative names.

29. Boston Redsox. While a bit better than Atlanta not by much. The triple a and high-a team sport Redsox monikers as to three lower level teams. Despite the triple-a team going by the other nickname Paw socks it’s just too close to the original. Two clubs in the Lowell Spinners and Greenville Drive add some spice, but aren’t great.

28. St. Louis Cardinals.  St. Louis is very similar to Boston. Five teams rock Cardinals names while a sixth rocks a Redbirds name. Spikes and Chiefs prevent a total bird theme, but it’s still a boring system of names.

27. Baltimore Orioles. Birds galore make up the system for Baltimore. Throw in a sox name and the combo of the unoriginal is complete. The Norfolk Tides and their unique sea horse is the best of the bunch, but it’s still lackluster.

26. Anaheim Angels.

Multiple Angels and Bees team say boring. Though the unique 66ers name helps out just a boring set of logos.

25. Chicago Cubs. Bears are a theme there. Pelicans and Emeralds complement them, but the defending series winners didn’t win here.

24. New York Yankees

Two team twin with the big club here. Then next come the Thunder, River dogs and Railriders Not too good, but not too bad a bit underwhelming is why they rank so low.

23. Chicago White Socks. While only two lower level teams rock the same name as their parent, this is a list loaded with ho-hum names. Knights, Barons and Dash are nothing special. Voyagers and Intimidators are the best of the bunch, but may rank near the middle as far as unique individual names.

22. Cleveland Indians

The highlight of this group is the Akron rubber ducks. The Scrappers and Captains are better than an Indians name, but the Clippers and Hillcats leave much to be desired.

21. Washington Nationals.

This name set is filled with patriotic luster with another Nationals, Senators and Chiefs. The Suns is a ho-hum name and seems odd for Hagerstown. The Auburn Doubleday’s gives a tip of the cap to the invention of the game of baseball and the myth behind it. Making it the best in a middle of the road set.

20. Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arizona is a solid, but unspectacular set of names. Aces is classic, but boring, as is Generals and Cougars. Hops and Rawhide are in a league of their own, but again nothing so funny, or memorable.

19. Houston Astros.

It didn’t help the Astros ranking to add a new team called the Astros. This gives them five squads with that name. Grizzles is another ho-hum name not helping much. Hooks and River Bandits try and redeem the organization it’s not a super strong try.

18. Detroit Tigers

Flying Tigers and four more Tiger cub teams make up the organization. Though positive points for the Western Michigan Whitecaps and Toledo Mud Hens.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Altoona Curve are the stand out name in a series with Indians, Blackbears, Power and Marauders. Though the organization is a bit lower than average on exciting names.

16. Toronto Blue Jays.

Fisher Cats are funny and the Vancouver Canadians is a local flare team name. Though A Jays clone and Bison add an underwhelming element to the puzzle.

15. Minnesota Twins

The Twins are another middle of the pack set of names. The Fort Myers Miracle and Chattanooga Lookouts are the standouts here. Red Wings and Kernels are a bit of a step down, but not enough to move the Twins too far up, or down on the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing for Peanuts

Got to love YouTube. Through this wonderful social media channel I was introduced to the topic of Todays Post.

Introducing the show Playing for Peanuts. The show was a 10-episode mini documentary about the South Coast League of independent baseball. It mostly focused on the entry known as the South Georgia Peanuts. This motley crew was led by former big league player Wally Backman.

The shows 10 episodes focused on the trials of independent league ball. Problems ranging from bad umpires to lack of clubhouses and mediocre pay.  Though a lot of good things happen to the Peanuts. They play exceptional baseball and sit atop of the league standings for all 10 episodes. The roster featured a couple former big league players in Curtis Goodwin, Desi Wilson and Mike Caruso. Sad to say now of the former players made it to the majors, but a few did get picked up by professional teams.

I must admit this show is filled with drama. The league is criticized for poor facilities awful umpiring and poor handling of drug testing. Fans fail to show up for games as the league tries to make its mark on independent baseball.

Backman takes a lot of heat for standing up for his players against the leagues short comings. It gives the show a bit of the scripted feel, but Backman does care for his players. Not to mention he gives a rousing pregame speech in an extra episode. Pg13 on it though lots of cussing. Not to mention it does show just how hard it is to start up a league. Though it was just so comically bad how much this league failed.

Though the Peanuts were good sports the entire time. They had a lot of fun on the field and played pranks and tried to stay out of trouble off the field. It made the show very lite in tone despite some serious issues going on.

I highly recommend checking out this show. It’s fun, but serious at the same time. It really appeals to casual and serious fans.  You can enjoy the good on field play and the silly off the field antics. It also serves as a historical marker as the league only lasted 1 season. Read more about it here. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a-look-back-on-the-south-coast-league-where-baseball-went-to-die.

Watch the first episode here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaAtGTJ4Vgk

By Steve Samek