By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Rick White, commissioner of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), continues to work on expanding the number of teams in Texas.
“We are working with three communities in Texas who want to join the ALPB. It is still too early to name names but we are very optimistic,” White said. “It takes time because our league has specific requirements for ball parks. For example, they must have a capacity of 4,200 to 5,500 seats, and have a current design. We use Constellation Field as our standard. Constellation Field is probably the best park in the league right now. But even when you are the best, you have to continually upgrade it, in order to stay at the state-of-the-art level.”
Adding three teams in Texas would greatly diminish the travel costs for the Skeeters.
“We did change the schedule this year, so that each team only makes two trips to Sugar Land, instead of three,” White said. “Hotel nights stay the same, but airline expense decreases.”
The ALPB and the Major Leagues agreed on a contract transfer policy two years ago that allows ALPB players to get a chance to sign with a major league with a minimum of red tape.
“We want our players to get another shot with a major league team, so we created a policy that is transparent and has price certainty to the major league team,” White said. “If a team is interested in a player, they contact our team and, if the player agrees on a contract with the major league team, the transfer can take place in minutes. The ALPB team is paid a fixed fee for the contract transfer. The fee depends on the organizational level the player is going to play. There is a specific fee for a AA contract, and a higher fee for a AAA contract, and a larger fee for a Major League contract. If the player moves up a level within the initial 30 days, the higher fee is paid.”
The Boston Red Sox used this procedure to acquire Jeremy Barfield last month.
“I believe the Barfield transaction was done in about one hour,” White said.
White is a big fan of the Skeeters and President Jay Miller.
“Jay took a good front office and made it a great front office,” White said. “The league is very impressed with how the Skeeters operate.”
The Skeeters went 2-4 last week. As of Sunday, the Skeeters are in third place in the Freedom Division, four games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Last Tuesday (June 6), the Skeeters beat Lancaster 6-4 as Michael Nix gave up only 2 earned runs in 5 innings. The Barnstormers came back to take the series by winning 7-1 on Wednesday and 9-6 on Thursday. The Skeeters began their homestand Friday with a 7-4 win over Southern Maryland. Wilfredo Rodriguez was 3-4 with 2 RBIs. Saturday, the Blue Crabs came back to win 4-0, and on Sunday, the Blue Crabs won 2-1 after Julio DePaula walked in the winning run with bases loaded and two outs in the ninth.
- Lancaster Barnstormers 28-22
- Southern Maryland 26-23
- Skeeters 24-26
- York Revolution 20-29
- Somerset Patriots 30-20
- Bridgeport Bluefish 28-23
- Long Island Ducks 26-24
- New Britain Bees 17-32
Anthony Giansanti is hitting .338 and has a 26-game hitting streak. Andy Wilkins is .318, leading the team with 13 home runs and 34 runs-batted-in. Josh Prince has 21 RBIs and Travis Scott 20.
Brett Marshall leads the Skeeters’ starting pitchers with a 5-2 record and 5.19 earned run average. Jake Hale is 4-1 with a 2.65 earned run average.
The Skeeters end a six-game homestand with the Blue Crabs on Wednesday and leave for a seven-game road trip, beginning Friday at Bridgeport. They will play Bridgeport on Saturday and Sunday before moving on to New Britain for four games. The Skeeters return home Friday, June 23, for a seven-game series with Long Island.
Skeeter of the Week
Catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez is the Skeeter of the week. During the last week, Rodriguez’s batting average was .429 with 3 RBIs.