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Legends On Deck

Appetite For Exhaustion

Been hidin’ out And layin’ low It’s nothing new ta me. Well you can always find a place to go  – W. Axl Rose/ Izzy Stradlin/ Saul”Slash” Hudson

The 2015 Class A Short Season and Rookie Leagues begin this weekend and early next week. The New York-Penn and Northwest leagues which are considered short season A, and both complex rookie leagues, the Gulf Coast League based in Florida and the Arizona Summer League will all feature players just drafted two weeks ago in the MLB June draft. GCL champ 2 Thus far this year, I have kept score of all or parts of 106 baseball games. I return to Fort Myers on Monday to begin the 2015 Gulf Coast League season. With two GCL teams and a Florida State League club playing at complexes roughly six miles away. During the first week I am there beginning June 22nd, barring rain, I will see and score most or all of 11 games in 7 days featuring teams from 5 different major league organizations. I attend the Class A Fort Myers Miracle (FSL) games as an observer as opposed to working (which I will also be doing at the GCL Twins opener). The first game I work will be the Red Sox home opener on Tuesday against the Rays. Both the Palm Beach Cardinals and Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays) visit the Miracle during my first week back. The Florida State League’s All Star Break comes this weekend, so the FSL has a full second half of games for me to attend as well as the 40 or so GCL games I will be working for the Red Sox and as a fill-in at the Twins complex.

I’m tired already after that last paragraph.

During the first week, teams from the Red Sox, Orioles Twins and Rays will be playing each other, much as they do for the entirety of the GCL season. The first time a team from their division (GCL South) sees a team from one of the other two league divisions is game one of the playoffs, if they make it. Game one also may be “one game” as the winner of that game (division winners with 2nd and 3rd best records) move on to play a best of 3 series against the division winner with the best overall record. (they receive a bye in the first round) . So it could be one and done against a team you haven’t seen all year. Luck of the rookie league draw. The New York Yankees field two teams (Yankees 1 and 2) in the GCL , but play in different divisions despite playing at the same complex in Tampa. That would be an interesting one game playoff if both teams won their respective divisions.

GCL tom kotchman1

Tom Kotchman

The Red Sox GCL squad won the league championship last season, defeating the Cardinals in the one game playoff and beating Yankees 2 in the championship, 2 games to 1. It was the Red Sox second GCL championship, the team having last won in 2006. That year, they defeated a Dodgers squad which was led by current major league star Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw had defeated the Tigers in the one-and-done playoff and was essentially useless for the championship series which the Red Sox won easily. Ah, the perils of using your ace in the “must win” game. Veteran minor league manager Tom Kotchman will be returning to guider the Red Sox club once again. Two other managers also return to the GCL South, Ramon Borrego with the Twins and ex-major league infielder Jim Morrison heads the Rays squad. Former White Sox catcher Matt Merullo will be managing the Orioles club for the first time, replacing Orlando Gomez.

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015