Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hess pitching for Bridgeport; Pluta signs with Newark


Former Victoria Seals pitchers Isaac Hess and Anthony Pluta will be playing independent baseball once again in 2012.

Hess was recently traded from the Winnipeg Goldeyes to the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. The Bluefish just opened their season this past week and they are initially using Isaac out of the bullpen. Hess saw his first action of the season earlier today and he picked up the win in a 4-1 decision over the Camden Riversharks. Isaac pitched four scoreless innings and only gave up three hits in his first outing of the 2012 season.

Another former Seals pitcher, Anthony Pluta has re-signed with the Newark Bears of the Can Am League. Pluta has continued to improve on the mound in recent years. His ERA has gone from 7.44 in 2008 for the St. George Roadrunners, to 6.57 in 2009 with the Victoria Seals and El Paso, to 4.56 in 2010 with the Seals and then to 3.63 with Newark last season. The Bears' season is scheduled to get underway on the 17th of May. Incidentally, the Bears have 14 games scheduled this season against Jeff Duda's current team, the Quebec Capitales.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ex-Seal Duda released by Mexican League team

After going 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in three starts, former Victoria Seals pitcher Jeff Duda was released by the Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League. The unaffiliated league, which is the equivalent of AAA baseball, was a big jump from Duda's previous competition in the Can-Am League.

Duda spent the 2011 season with the Qu├ębec Capitales after playing for the Victoria Seals in 2010. Last year with the Capitales, Duda pitched in relief and had a breakout year: a 6-0 record with a sparkling 1.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and one save. He then went on to help the Capitales to their third consecutive Can-Am League championship by posting a 1.59 ERA and one save in five playoff games.

It is expected that the Capitales will attempt to sign Duda for the upcoming season that begins on May 17th. Rumour has it that Duda may be the team's closer this season.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Negotiations continue between City of Victoria and WCL baseball team

Almost two months have passed since the City of Victoria's Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture began negotiating a memorandum of understanding with a West Coast League (WCL) expansion franchise. This new WCL baseball team is owned by an unnamed Vancouver businessman and is slated to start play at Royal Athletic Park in June 2013 if an agreement can be reached.

Waiting 30 minutes for beer at RAP in May 2009
Word on the street is that negotiations are generally going well, but there is at least one significant obstacle that must be overcome. The WCL team would like to run their own concessions at Royal Athletic Park, while the City of Victoria wants to retain the responsibility for selling food and beverages. Under the latter scenario, the city would use their own (unionized) workforce and then likely pass on a share of the profits to the WCL team. However, the WCL team would rather use their own (non-unionized) workers, thinking that they can generate much greater revenue and profit than the city can.

Fans of the Victoria Seals will remember the slow service provide by the City of Victoria concessions staff at RAP in 2009 and 2010 whenever any more than 2,000 fans were in the park (although the staff themselves were not to blame). The Seals ownership complained that even though they were aware that large crowds were coming out on a particular night, the city refused to bring in additional staff to deal with the throngs of hungry and thirsty baseball fans. No matter the attendance, the city refused to employ any more than two vendors in either of the two beer stands. Not surprisingly, this resulted in absurdly long lineups at many games.

Over the last couple of years, Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin has been very supportive of putting a baseball team back in Royal Athletic Park. However, it wouldn't hurt to contact the mayor and let him know how much a WCL baseball team at RAP would mean to you. He can be reached via email at mayor@victoria.ca or you can send him a good old-fashioned letter via snail mail at the following address:
City of Victoria
c/o 1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
Let's hope that a suitable agreement can be reached in the upcoming months and elite-level baseball will be back in Victoria for 2013.

Seal Blubber Bits - Retro Edition
  • The first former Victoria Seal to make the major leagues, Dane De La Rosa, did not make the Tampa Bay Rays opening-day lineup. Instead, he was optioned to AAA and will start the season with the Durham Bulls. The Durham Herald Sun recently published an interesting story on De La Rosa's journey to the big leagues.
  • Another former Seals hurler, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, is continuing his attempt to make the big leagues. The Washington Nationals assigned him to the Syracuse Chiefs in the AAA International League and he made his first appearance of the year on Saturday, pitching three scoreless innings and picking up the save. It's unclear if the move to the bullpen is permanent or if Bibens-Dirkx will return to the starting rotation.
  • And last but certainly not least... former Victoria Seals players Wilver Perez, Matt Kavanaugh and Josh ("Arrrrrrrr") Arhart all expressed heart-warming sentiments about the city of Victoria and its baseball fans on Twitter recently. See below for the trail of complimentary tweets. On behalf of all baseball fans in the city, we dearly miss all of you guys too!