A couple new faces with the Pelicans on the road this weekend. We start with the opposing team. The Carolina Mudcats aren’t new, they’ve been around for years…just as a member of the Double-A Southern League. As a matter of fact, the chairs in the clubhouse still seem to think that’s the case (see right).
The Mudcats joined the Carolina League in a fun game of dominoes this past offseason. The first push came when the owners of the Independent Pensacola (FL) Pelicans sold their franchise and watched it move to Amarillo, TX. Those owners then went out and purchased the Mudcats and moved them to a new park in Pensacola, renaming them the Blue Wahoos (and allowing all in Minor League Baseball the great pleasure of yelling Wahoo Wa! — See the University of Virginia). The owner of the Mudcats then purchased the Kinston Indians franchise and moved them to Carolina.So to recap: Pensacola goes to Amarillo. Carolina goes to Pensacola (Wahoo Wa!). Kinston goes to Carolina. The Mudcats then become the K-Tribe, thusly moving from Double-A to A-Advanced.
Carolina mascot ‘Muddy the Mudcat’ then decides it would be a good idea to dress as the Will Ferrell cheerleading character from SNL. Muddy the Mudcat is still not better than Wally the Warthog, but he no longer exists. Wally, like Kinston, was a casualty of change in the Carolina League when Winston-Salem became the Dash. Sad Day.
Carolina becomes just the third new team to join the CL since 1993 (19 years). Wilmington joined the league in ’93, replacing the Peninsula (VA) Pilots. The Pelicans entered the league in 1999, taking the spot of the Danville 9′s/Durham Bulls. Danville was in as a one year placeholder after Durham left and Myrtle Beach arrived, so we won’t really count them. The good news for Carolina is that both Myrtle Beach and Wilmington either won, or appeared in, the Mills Cup Finals in each of their first two seasons.
In a fun twist. The league could see another move in two seasons, with the Braves expected to move to Wilmington, NC form Lynchburg, VA. The Braves have agreed in principal to buy the Hillcats and begin that process contingent on things like a new stadium in Wilmington. I look forward to the inaugural Wilmington – Wilmington matchup. I really hope both teams run a ‘guaranteed win night’ promotion when they play.
Anyways, welcome to Carolina and the Mudcats’ giant Las Vegas-like scoreboard in leftfield.Onto new face number two. Pelicans manager Jason Wood isn’t on the road with the team this series. He’s gone home to California for a family affair and will be back next week. That means hitting coach Julio Garcia has taken over the managing duties and Jayce Tingler has joined the coaching staff.
Tingler is the Texas Rangers Minor League Field Coordinator. He roves throughout the organization evaluating players and making sure things are as they should be. He’s a Pelican this weekend. Tingler is a former Blue Jays and Rangers farmhand. He played for Pelicans coach Kenny Holmberg’s father in Auburn, NY several years back. Tingler is also a Missouri product, bringing the Pelicans total to three (Nicholas, Tepesch, Tingler). Say hi Jayce….Hi!
One final note today…Pelicans outfielder Teodoro Martinez is the son of former Major Leaguer Carlos Martinez. Carlos is also known as the guy who hit the ball that hit off Jose Canseco’s head for a homerun in 1993. That hat is now up for auction and expected to fetch some good money and Canseco would like it back. Let the bidding begin.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned next week for ‘Rate that Carolina League Roadtrip’ part II. We’ll also have the second episode of the Pelicans Brief coming up soon as well.