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The Year That Was: 2011

Ballpark DigestIt was a quirky year in baseball: a season that saw limited franchise activity, reflecting the general economic malaise in the United States. Looking back, here are the most popular stories posted on Ballpark Digest in the past year, as measured by page views.

20: It’s Truck Day!
The traditional beginning to the reason happens when teams send their equipment trucks to spring training. On Feb. 8, the Boston Red Sox sent their equipment truck to Fort Myers.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos

19: Pensacola Blue Wahoos unveil look, logo
Quint and Rishy Studer unveiled the branding for the new Class AA Southern League team. It made quite a statement: bold and brassy.

Joliet Slammers

18: 2011 Logo of the Year: Joliet Slammers
Our selection of the branding of the Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) resonated with readers.

17: New for 2012: London Rippers
The choice to embrace the name of one of history’s most notorious mass murdered drew a lot of attention.

16: Tucson Padres logo unveiled
15: T-Padres go old school with uniforms
The decision to extend the old-style San Diego Padres look to the Triple-A Tucson Padres made news.

14: Giants fan severely beaten in Dodger Stadium parking lot; suspects sought
It was a terrible way for the season to begin: after being taunted by Los Angeles Dodgers fans, San Francisco Giant fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten and suffered traumatic brain injuries. Stow is still in rehab. It was the beginning of the end for Frank McCourt, the end of a year-long drama that saw him agree to sell the team and Dodger Stadium.

13: NY Yankees making moves with minor-league teams
This year saw the Yankees make several changes to its minor-league teams: finding a temporary home for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Class AAA; International League), a search that ultimately positioned the franchise as a road team for 2012; the sale of the Staten Island Yankees (short season A; NY-Penn League), and negotiations to bring a Sally League team to Ramapo.

12: Milam buys 51s; team will be part of new development
Developer Chris Milam had a huge plan for a billion-dollar-plus sports complex in Las Vegas and was set to install the Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) as an anchor tenant. But he never followed through on the purchase and turned his sights to an MLS team as an anchor tenant.

11: Yankees sued for authorship of iconic logo
File this under weird lawsuits: It was claimed by a family member that Kenneth Timur and not Lon Keller was the creator of the Yankees’ top-hat/bat logo. We differed and laid out the overwhelming evidence for Keller’s work.

10: Astros to AL West: report
At the end of the day, Jack Macgruder was right: the Houston Astros will indeed shift to the American League West for the 2013 season.

Captain San Luis

9: Touring the ballparks of Cuba
Our John Moist beautifully laid out his account of a ballpark tour of Cuba. Time did indeed stand still in Cuba after the revolution, and John was able to show the state of Cuban baseball.

8: 2012 MLB schedule released; no realignment or franchise shifts
The headline pretty much says it all — although MLB did later expand the playoffs.

7: Baby Blue Jays unveil new logo, unis
The Appy League makes big news on Ballpark Digest!

6: Flying Squirrels unveil new mascot: Zinger
Mascot news is always big in the Minor League Baseball world.

5: Measuring the 2011 financial winners and losers in MLB
We looked at how well or how poorly teams did with their payrolls this season in an attempt to translate dollars into wins — and why the Houston Astros, even with a low payroll, overpaid their players this season.

Sugar Land Skeeters cart

4: Skeeters bringing back bullpen carts
The bullpen cart, a stable of ballparks in the 1970s and 1980s, is back at the new home of the Sugar Land Skeeters (independent; Atlantic League) for the 2012 season.

3: Werner Park / Omaha Storm Chasers
We visited the new home of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and were suitably impressed.

2: Unpaid players revolt in Lake County: 9 traded, 14 released
The continuing soap opera that was the Lake County Fielders (independent; North American League) hit a high point when most of the team either left or was released after their paychecks repeatedly bounced.

Amarillo Sox mascot

1: New mascot raises hackles in Amarillo
How can you not love a new mascot clearly happy to meet and greet fans?


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