Results tagged ‘ BB&T Ballpark ’

A look around the White Sox system

Each team in the system is at least 10 games into the season, so let’s spin around the organization and see how each team is doing thus far this season.

MLB: Chicago White Sox (7-6)

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Chris Sale improved to 3-0 this season after Friday’s outing against the Indians, but the White Sox bats played a big role in the outcome. Sale grinded through five innings, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out five. The ace spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times following his start.

Infielder Marcus Semien has played well of late, recording hits in nine of his last ten games. Among those was this solo homer on Sunday against Cleveland:

In this whitesox.com article, learn more about Erik Johnson’s standing in the Chicago pitching rotation. Plus, Semien takes part in Jackie Robinson Day festivities on Tuesday and who Sale credits for the development of his changeup:

Thanks to the season-ending shoulder injury to Avisail Garcia, outfielder Jordan Danks was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to help fill the void. The Dash alumnus spoke with CSN Chicago about the opportunity:

Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (6-6)

Catcher Josh Phegley is off to a solid start in 2014. His .286 batting average currently ranks second on the team among qualifying players, and he has scored four runs in eight games.

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The Knights opened their sparkling new Uptown Charlotte facility, the second BB&T Ballpark, on Friday night against the Norfolk Tides. For a recap of their historic evening, click here.

Double-A: Birmingham Barons (5-5)

The defending Southern League champions won three of five games against the Jacksonville Suns to reach the .500 mark. The Barons were washed out at Mobile on Monday night, so a doubleheader is on tap this evening.

Former Dash outfielder Trayce Thompson was recently profiled on MiLB.com talking about some of the valuable lessons he learned during Spring Training with the White Sox.

Low-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (4-7)

The Intimidators were swept in a four-game series at Greenville this weekend, the last contest a heartbreaking 5-4 setback to the Drive in 14 innings. Kannapolis looks to regain its footing this week in Hickory. That series opener was also postponed, so the Intimidators and Crawdads will play two this evening.

Infielder Cleuluis Rondon continues his development at the Low-A level. The Venezuelan native, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday, is batting .298 with six RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases in 11 games.

Stay tuned for a preview of tonight’s homestand opener against Frederick.

- Dave

SNEAK PEEK: Dash introduction videos

Each year, our graphics team does a tremendous job with the original “Dash Board,” our large scoreboard in right-center field. Once again this year, the player introduction videos are awesome.

Check out a sample of what you can expect when your favorite Dash hitter comes to the plate at BB&T Ballpark.

06-Heisler-3 versions from Garrick Lane on Vimeo.

Great work from Garrick Lane, who is on Twitter (@garricklane). His website also has some great content, including some old Dash productions.

We can’t wait to see these intros on the big screen when the Dash return home!

- Brian

Fans Welcome Baseball Back to Winston-Salem

After a long winter, Dash fans were excited to have baseball back in the Triad! Despite the 3-1 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Opening Night, many in the big crowd of 5,297 at BB&T Ballpark — as well as those who couldn’t be at the game — showed their love for the Dash on Twitter and Instagram.

A special thanks to everyone who showed their support through social media. We look forward to interacting with you all season! Baseball returns to BB&T Ballpark tonight at 7 p.m. for game two of the four-game series against Wilmington.

- Dave

Carolina Countdown – Potomac Nationals

Opening Day is just 10 days away! The wait for baseball is almost over, as is our Carolina Countdown feature. Up next, the best team in the Carolina League during the 2013 regular season.

INTRODUCTION: The Potomac Nationals joined the Carolina League in 1978 as the Alexandria Dukes, playing in Alexandria, Va., until 1984, when they moved to nearby Woodbridge. The P-Nats have been affiliated with the Washington Nationals since 2005. The franchise has won four league titles, most recently in 2010.

Potomac advanced to the Mills Cup Finals in 2013 (Gary Dize/Potomac Nationals).

Potomac advanced to the Mills Cup Finals in 2013 (Gary Dize/Potomac Nationals).

LAST SEASON: The Nationals posted the Carolina League’s best overall record in 2013, going 84-55 and finishing in first place in the Northern Division. After sweeping Lynchburg in the best-of-three Mills Cup Semifinals, the P-Nats were upended by Salem in the Mills Cup Finals, three games to none.

Outfielder Billy Burns led the league in stolen bases (54) and finished second in batting average (.312) despite playing in only 90 games before being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg. Outfielder Michael Taylor ranked third in the league in RBI (87) and second to Burns in stolen bases (51) in his second go-around in the CL. On the mound, Blake Schwartz sported an 11-4 record and 2.65 ERA in 23 starts, while closer Robert Benincasa paced the Carolina League with 17 saves.

MANAGER: Tripp Keister will lead the way for the P-Nats this season after guiding Low-A Hagerstown to an 80-57 regular season record and a trip to the South Atlantic League Championship Series in 2013. He replaces Brian Daubach, who moves up to Double-A Harrisburg this season. During his playing career, the 43-year-old Keister spent four minor league seasons in the Mets organization. Joining Keister in the dugout will be hitting coach Brian Rupp, who served as the P-Nats’ manager in 2012, and pitching coach Franklin Bravo. Both served under Keister in Hagerstown last season.

SYSTEM: The Washington Nationals’ recent rise to National League prominence has coincided with a core of young players reaching the big leagues. As a result of having youthful talent in the Majors, however, experts and publications say the farm system has been somewhat depleted.

One prospect pitcher who could eventually see time with the P-Nats is 19-year-old Lucas Giolito, who went 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 3 starts with short-season Auburn during his professional rookie season. He is currently ranked as the top prospect in the Nationals organization per multiple outlets.

Another hurler on the radar is Jake Johansen, the Nationals’ second-round draft pick in 2013 out of Dallas Baptist University. The 23-year-old compiled a 1.92 ERA in 12 starts with Auburn and Low-A Hagerstown last season, averaging roughly a strikeout per-inning.

Yep, this is a real thing (photo courtesy of the Potomac Nationals).

Yep, this is a real thing (photo courtesy of the Potomac Nationals).

BEST PROMOTION: On Saturday, August 16, the P-Nats will give away Jayson Werth “Wolf-A-Rine” figurines to fans in attendance for their game against Carolina, featuring an especially hairy depiction of the Nationals outfielder. Werth has been especially recognizable for his long hair and beard during the last several years with Philadelphia and Washington.

FUN FACT: While the P-Nats were at the top of the Carolina League standings in 2013, they encountered some trouble against the Dash. Winston-Salem was the only team to post a winning record against Potomac last year (12-8).

NATIONALS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The P-Nats make their first trek to BB&T Ballpark on May 1-4 for a four-game series. They will also visit on May 27-29 and from July 22-24.

- Dave

Carolina Countdown – Carolina Mudcats

The Dash’s season begins in 16 days, so it’s time for our annual preview of the Carolina League. Over the next week, we will break down the Dash’s CL competition, both on and off the field.

Without further ado, here is the Countdown for the Mudcats.

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

INTRODUCTION: The Carolina Mudcats will be playing their third season in the Carolina League in 2014. Based in Zebulon, N.C., the Muddies are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians after now-defunct Kinston was the Tribe’s High-A club. The previous incarnation of the Mudcats played in the Double-A Southern League from 1991 until 2011.

LAST SEASON: The Mudcats finished in last place in the Southern Division in 2013, going 57-83 overall. They stumbled out of the gate, compiling a 22-48 record during the season’s first half. The Mudcats improved during the second half of the year, going 35-35 after the All-Star Break.

Second baseman Joey Wendle emerged as the team’s most productive position player, batting .295 with 16 home runs, 64 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 107 games. The Muddies’ offense also featured highly-regarded prospects Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin. Cody Anderson led the Mudcats on the mound for most of the year, posting a 9-4 record and 2.94 ERA in 23 starts en route to the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year honor.

MANAGER: Eddie “Scooter” Tucker will run the ship for the Mudcats in 2014 after guiding the Low-A Lake County Captains to a 51-84 record last season. During his playing career, Tucker was a catcher for three Major League seasons with the Astros and Indians, appearing in 51 games. He replaces 2013 skipper David Wallace, who moves on to manage Double-A Akron in the upcoming season. Tucker was previously the Mudcats’ hitting coach in 2012 under manager Edwin Rodriguez. Joining Tucker will be pitching coach Steve Karsay and hitting coach Tony Mansolino.

SYSTEM: At the big league level, the Indians enjoyed a return to the postseason in 2013 under American League Manager of the Year Terry Francona. However, baseball experts attributed much of the Tribe’s first playoff surge since 2007 to an influx of newcomers from outside the organization.

In recent years, the Indians have done much better via trades to stock up their minor league ranks than via the draft. However, there are a few notable homegrown prospects, led by Lindor. The 20-year-old shortstop hit .306 in 83 games with the Mudcats in 2013, and he is regarded by many as one of the top 10 prospects in the minors. Another highly-touted prospect is 19-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier, who was drafted 5th overall by the Indians last summer and clubbed five home runs in the rookie Arizona League. He should see some time in Zebulon in the not-too-distant future.

blog2BEST PROMOTION: Carolina is the only club in the CL that has yet to release its promotional schedule. However, they did decide to move their standard first pitch time up to 7 p.m. instead of 7:15 p.m. They also have the best Carolina League mascot outside of Winston-Salem in Muddy the Mudcat (see right). He has a face only a mother would love.

FUN FACT: During a game at Five County Stadium last season, Dash broadcaster Brian Boesch’s computer monitor was destroyed by an Adam Heisler foul ball that went directly into the booth. Later in the at bat, Heisler launched a 3-run homer that proved to be a key play in the 8-7 Dash victory over the Mudcats on July 21st. The photos and the audio are pretty hilarious, so check it all out here.

MUDCATS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Mudcats pay their first visit to BB&T Ballpark June 6-8, and will return on June 28-30. The Dash will also host the Mudcats from August 22-25, which is the final home series of the 2014 season.

The Carolina Countdown will continue tomorrow with the Frederick Keys. Stay tuned!

- Dave

PHOTOS: After the winter storm

Check out some of the sights after Winter Storm Pax rolled through Winston-Salem. We hope all of our fans are safe and warm after this inclement weather.

First and foremost, I arrived at the ballpark this morning to see this view after my baseball equipment experiment

EquipmentCovered

After some digging, I learned that the base and the bat fell down due to the wind associated with the storm. I cleared off some of the snow and lined them up again.

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The bat (laying in the background) was obviously taller than the snow, and the base barely emerged. However, the helmet was completely submerged, as you can see by this photo after I dug it out of the snow.

Helmet

So, in other words, it snowed more than a helmet and almost as much as a base. Here are a few other shots from BB&T Ballpark.

FieldAtop

No green showing at this point.

Dugout

The dugout isn’t quite baseball ready.

Steps

You can’t even see the steps!

Because of the snowy conditions, Bolt tried his luck at some sledding…

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Bolt even made some new friends while out on the hill…

BoltWatching

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BoltNewFriend

Check out some of the local coverage of Bolt’s olympic-like efforts from Fox 8 and the Winston-Salem Journal.

- Brian

Snow measured in baseball units

By this time tomorrow, Winston-Salem will be covered in snow and ice. We thought it would be fun to figure out, in baseball terms, how much snow we will receive.

As you can see in the picture below, we have lined up four baseball objects at BB&T Ballpark in advance of the storm. They will remain like that until the snow ends. The question is–how many of these items will be covered in snow by the end of the storm?

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What are your predictions? How far will the snow cover the bat? Can the helmet and the base stand tall over the snow? We will post the results once the storm blows through.

On a serious note, please stay safe during this dangerous storm. Drive slowly and alertly, because roads will be in bad shape.

- Brian

SNOW-pening Day?

For the first time this winter, Winston-Salem received a significant amount of snow. We captured some of the sights from before, during and after the storm.

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The snow began during the early afternoon hours yesterday, and it came down for a few hours.

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It was relieving to know we were only 65 days away from Opening Day during yesterday’s storm.

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Even though it creates some tough driving conditions, snow always creates awesome images. Check out the sun-drenched entrance to BB&T Ballpark this afternoon.

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These walkways will be buzzing in about two months.

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Snow even covered the seats closest to the field.

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A batter’s eye view of a snowy view.

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BB&T Ballpark looks good in any weather.

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And here is the “before” look…well before the storm. These stands will be packed in 64 days for the Dash’s Opening Day!

- Brian

Top 10 posts of 2013

The top blog post from 2013 stemmed from one of my worst moments.

The top blog post from 2013 stemmed from one of my worst moments.

It has been another successful year here with the Dash Board Blog. Thanks to all of you, our readers, the Dash Board Blog has been one of the most popular blogs in Minor League Baseball.

After compiling a “Dash Top 10” based on the team’s 2013 accomplishments back in September, why not share our list of the Top 10 blog posts of the 2013 season.

This list is based on hits, and I omitted the posts solely dedicated to transactions or game previews. Without further ado, here are the blog’s best posts from 2013.

1. “When a foul ball meets a computer screen” – July 22

The picture of the monitor is crazy, but the conversation in the broadcast booth before the damage was even crazier. I’m happy that my computer’s demise did have one positive impact.

2. “Breaking down the Dash…on Twitter” – May 20

Baseball players can send some unique tweets. A few Dash players discuss their different tweets.

3. “One millionth fan tribute” – May 10

BB&T Ballpark reached one million total fans quicker than any other facility in High-A history, so we put together a video tribute to our loyal fans.

4. “All-You-Can-Eat Night by the numbers” – April 19

The Dash hosted their first All-You-Can-Eat Night in April, and our fans left the game quite stuffed. The final numbers were very impressive.

Seeing snow at a baseball field is always strange.

Seeing snow at a baseball field is always strange.

5. “Snow at BB&T Ballpark” – January 18

Snow covered the stadium early this year, and the photos are great.

6. “The shoes of MiLB’s stolen base leader” – August 2

Micah Johnson has style and speed. Both of those traits came together in his shoes.

7. “Smith’s unique journey to Pittsburgh” – June 9

Kevan Smith was a college football quarterback before he joined the White Sox system. How he arrived at the University of Pittsburgh is a fascinating story.

8. “Shagging baseballs at the Home Run Derby” – August 7

Josh Richmond played on a big league field at a young age. He was in uniform at the 1998 Home Run Derby.

9. “Dash to a million: BB&T Ballpark in pictures” – May 15

Before the millionth fan celebration, we took a look back at some of BB&T Ballpark’s best moments.

10. “Catching up with Tommy Thompson” – April 29

The Dash’s 2012 manager, who has a fascinating personality, reflected on his time in Winston-Salem and looked ahead.

Thanks again for following along with the Dash Board Blog throughout the 2013 season. Happy Holidays!

- Brian

Update on the new BB&T Ballpark

A second BB&T Ballpark opens in April of 2014 in Charlotte.

A second BB&T Ballpark opens in April of 2014 in Charlotte.

Once the 2014 season rolls around, BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem will not be the only such stadium in North Carolina. A new BB&T Ballpark is nearing completion in Charlotte, and it will officially open on April 11 of next year.

The similarities between the two BB&T Ballparks do not end with the name. Both the Dash and the Knights regarded these stadiums as the centerpiece of a move to downtown. Winston-Salem and Charlotte are both associated with the White Sox minor league system, too.

Scott Brown, the Knights’ General Manager of Baseball Operations, took some time to chat about the ballpark and much more. His thoughts are below.

Brian Boesch: How is BB&T Ballpark progressing?

Scott Brown: Great. It’s about 80 percent done and still on target to be significantly completed by the end of the calendar year. It might bleed into January a little bit, but we should be in our offices by February 1.

Brian: Sometimes, minor league stadiums are not ready when its debut season begins. How important was a completed stadium to you and the Knights for your Opening Day?

Scott: It’s a mammoth leap heading from Fort Mill, S.C., 15 miles north to Uptown, and we certainly didn’t want to handicap ourselves. We had the luxury of time so that the building could start while we were still occupying Knights Stadium.

It was the goal to get it done early, and I think it’s going to bode well for us and for our fans, and that’s also helped us on the marketing and sales side. People can see this structure coming out of the ground and see the grass in now and realize that this project that had been talked about for a decade-plus is coming to fruition.

Brian: The Dash’s move downtown was instrumental to the organization, and you saw how that happened when you worked in the Carolina League with Myrtle Beach. Have you been able to gauge how positively this move will affect the Knights?

Scott: It gets us to the center of the Charlotte metropolis region, so it puts us back in the middle so we can attract people from all over. Uptown Charlotte is a vibrant, growing area. A lot of people are choosing to live in the uptown area within walking distance of the ballpark. Those two things are really going to help our cause.

People are used to coming to Uptown for Panthers games, for Bobcats and soon-to-be Hornets games, for Checkers games. This completes the year-round sports cycle and makes Uptown an even bigger destination point for everybody in the region.

Brian: How much have you learned from watching other organizations build a new ballpark?

Scott: I think sometimes in this business we are “glass half full” most of the time, but I think when it comes to ballpark construction, the conversations with the people who have built ballparks recently are more about, “What went wrong?” and “What mistakes can we avoid?” So, I think we all become better as things evolve. You know there’s going to be something you missed, something that isn’t exactly the way you want it, but I think with each opening of each ballpark, they become better and better. We’ve benefitted from the knowledge and experience of others.

Brian: What are some of the neat features for fans to look for in 2014 and beyond?

Scott: It’s kind of similar to the Winston-Salem BB&T Ballpark with the skyline view. I really enjoyed that city feel to that ballpark, but also the view. In Charlotte, we’re even closer to the skyscrapers in Uptown, so it’s a tremendous view. Even when the lights are off, it’s almost like a starry sky you’re looking out to, so I think that’s one of the real benefits.

Just like BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, we’ll have the walk-around concourse, which is more of the fad with designs now where you can stroll around the ballpark and get every vantage point. I’m really excited about our video package. We’ll have the widest screen in Minor League Baseball, along with a ribbon board.

We will also have some great club areas. We will have an upper club and a lower club, and one of the more unique features are the two dugout suites. Those are all real cool things. All of the ingredients are coming together to make a great buzz, and people are really excited about the opening.

charlotte-knights-new-logo-and-wordmarkBrian: How have fans responded to the Knights’ new logo and color scheme?

Scott: It has been overwhelmingly positive. We wanted to keep the Knights because Charlotte is called the Queen City, and the Knights tie into the whole royalty, medieval times type of feel that we’re trying to get. We felt like it was a perfect time to freshen up our brand.

We liked our old logo, but we wanted, as we moved Uptown and started to get exposed to even more of our fans, to get it so that when you walk down the streets and saw one of our hats, you said immediately, “That’s the Charlotte Knights.” That will take some time to get to that point, but we’re real pleased we changed our color scheme.

There’s not another affiliated Minor League Baseball team that has that color scheme. We love to copy off each other and steal ideas, and, not by design, but by end result, we ended up with a unique look and something that we are really proud of.

Brian: The White Sox have to be giddy that their top three affiliates (Charlotte, Birmingham and Winston-Salem) have brand new ballparks, don’t they?

Scott: There’s no doubt. They’re so excited. Knights Stadium treated us well for 24 years. It was an adequate baseball facility, but as designs and construction have evolved, it really kind of fell behind the times. The White Sox had stuck with us and worked with us in an older ballpark, which we didn’t have a lot of the amenities that you’re looking for in professional baseball. Their patience has paid off. They’re going to be a part of this, and we expect a full contingent of White Sox folks to be on hand for Opening Night.

Brian: You probably can’t tell me what these things are, but do you have any other big announcements on the horizon?

Scott: Nothing earth-shattering, at least for the next week or two. Then, maybe after that, we might have another big announcement. We’re constantly working on it, wearing our media guys out. You know those media guys. We don’t feel like they work hard enough in the offseason, so we want to keep them occupied.

That final sarcastic jab aside, I always enjoy catching up with Scott, who is one of the hardest workers in baseball. I can assure you that the final product will be great come April 11 in Charlotte.

Good luck to our White Sox brethren in Charlotte as another BB&T Ballpark is only a few months away from completion.

- Brian

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