The Return of the Minor League Game of the Week


Casey Kotchman homered to help Scottsdale overcome a ten-run deficit.

Today marks the return of the Minor League Game of the Week webcasts on FutureAngels.com. Each week from now through Opening Day 2008, I’ll post on the site a recording of a minor league webcast involving one of the Angels’ minor league affiliates.

Click Here to listen to this week’s game, a 2003 Arizona Fall League contest between the Peoria Javelinas and the Scottsdale Scorpions. Angels players on the Scottsdale roster included Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Dallas McPherson, and Nick Gorneault. Former Angels farmhand Tim Bittner was the starting pitcher, and current Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher was the Scottsdale pitching coach that fall.

The game was noteworthy for many reasons, one being that Scottsdale rallied from a 14-4 deficit in the bottom of the 7th to win 15-14. You’ll hear a couple current major leaguers from other organizations play in the game, including the Dodgers’ James Loney and Seattle’s Cha Seung Baek (he starts for Peoria). A tragic aspect is the presence in the lineup of Cincinnati outfielder Dernell Stenson, who was murdered a week later.

Minor league webcasts started in the late 1990s. The first I recall was the Durham Bulls, who archived their radiocasts for later playback. A few minor league teams invested in setting up their own webcasts, but it was only in the last couple years that most teams have added a webcast option. A big difference is that Minor League Baseball’s web site MiLB.com offers to webcast games for free, a big savings for the teams as they usually had to pay some Internet service provider to do it for them.

I started archiving our minor league webcasts in 2003. I use a product called Total Recorder from High Criteria which basically captures anything coming over a computer’s sound card. The professional version has a timer feature that will go to a specific URL, which allows me to program recordings overnight and during the day while I’m at work. Since all five Angels affiliates now webcast through MiLB.com, it’s a matter of setting Total Recorder to go to the URL for the last night’s webcasts and saving them to an MP3 file.

At season’s end, I send CD-ROMs with the MP3 files to the broadcasters at each affiliate so they have them for their archives. I keep an archival set myself. They now go back five seasons to 2003.

The first few games this off-season will be "classic" games from prior seasons, but by December we’ll be listening to 2007 games. Part of the idea when I started these archives was to play in future years memorable games featuring players who went on to the big leagues. So in future years, we’ll do more "classic" games, maybe in parallel with current season replays.

These recordings are a great way to keep your baseball flame burning during the off-season. Many times during the dead of winter I turn up the volume on my computer and fill the house with a "classic" game called by one of our many talented broadcasters. There’s nothing like listening to John Rodgers, Phil Elson or Steve Klauke describing a humid July pitchers’ duel when outside it’s a dreary Sunday afternoon.

So enjoy, and please feel free to post a comment about these games. I know people listen to them because I see the hits in my site’s logs. I’m just curious to know what are your experiences with these webcasts.

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