News And Notes
Among other things I've picked up from the Nats' e-mail list in the last two days are two items worth noting (if you are not a subscriber, send an e-mail with "subscribe nationals" in the body to email@example.com).
First, the lawsuit by the Expos' minority owners against Jeffrey Loria and MLB has been dismissed. This lawsuit was reportedly a reason to hang up the completion of the move to Washington - i.e., the final sale of the team to an ownership group for Washington. Hopefully, the deal with Peter Angelos and the Baltimore
Second, the Potomac Cannons have changed their name to the Potomac Nationals in recognition of their new affiliation. The Potomac team plays in the Carolina league, which is a high-A league, and would be the Nats' third-highest minor league affiliate. To restate the pecking order of the Nats' minor leagues, here goes:
- New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA - Pacific Coast League) (new affiliation in 2005)
- Harrisburg Senators (nice name) (AA - Eastern League)
- Potomac Nationals (High A - Carolina League) (new affiliation in 2005)
- Savannah Sand Gnats (another fitting name!) (Low A - South Atlantic League)
- Vermont Nationals (Penn League - Short Season)
What's nice about the minor league affiliates is that the Senators and Sand Gnats already have names loosely affiliated with the Washington Club - the Sand Gnats being a rather fortuitous name. Also nice is that Harrisburg, PA is not an unthinkable drive from Washington, D.C., making it a possibility that the team will drawn fans from that area, and that Nats enthusiasts will have reasonable trips to see their teams play. Having close-in affiliates is a strategy that the Orioles have used to good effect, having all but their AAA team in the Mid-Atlantic.
The Nationals could consolidate their holdings further by picking up either the Norfolk Tides or the Richmond Braves in AAA and picking up the Hagerstown Suns (or perhaps the West Virginia Power, nee Charleston Alley Cats in the Sally League). Both Hagerstown and Norfolk are affiliated with the Mets, so there seems to be some advantage in trying to pick off both of them.