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The 21st #SummerOfBaseball – the Norfolk Tides – @NorfolkTides

norfolk tidesAnother #SummerOfBaseball ball arrived – the 21st one comes from the Norfolk Tides, currently the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. We Mets fans knew them well as the Tidewater Tides when the Tides were the Mets affiliate from 1969-2006.

Many of the famous Tides Alumni come to us from the ranks of the Mets, including Edgardo Alfonzo, Wally Backman, Ron Darling, Lenny Dykstra, Sid Fernandez, Ron Gardenhire, Dwight Gooden, Clint Hurdle, Billy Beane, Gregg Jefferies, Jason Isringhausen, Kevin Mitchell, Melvin Mora, Mike Scott, Darryl Strawberry, John Stearns, Mookie Wilson, and David Wright.

The Tides were awesome enough to send up an official used AAA International League Ball – thanks Tides!

Check out the Norfolk Tides website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t568 and give them a follow on twitter @NorfolkTides

The 20th #SummerOfBaseball – the Chatham Anglers! @ChathamAnglers

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The 20th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Cape Cod League – the Chatham Anglers!

The Cape Cod League is considered the top of the Collegiate Summer Leagues. We’ve heard Ron Darling talk about how he played in the league before he was drafted. The skipper of the Anglers is John Schiffner, who is in his 23rd season managing in the league and recently hit a very significant milestone by winning his 500th game – becoming the first manager to ever reach this mark in the league.

The Chatham Anglers (known as the A’s and Athletics prior to the 2009 season) has had some pretty famous players in their history including Bobby Valentine, Jeff Bagwell, Jason Bay, Eric Byrnes, Mike Lowell, Evan Longoria, Todd Frazier and Thurman Munson.

Oh – and the Mets just happen to have a pretty famous former Angler on their roster… the Dark Knight himself – Matt Harvey. Bobby Parnell was also a former Angler.

The Anglers were great enough to send in an official Cape Cod League ball autographed by the milestone manager himself – very awesome indeed!

So give the Anglers a follow on twitter @ChathamAnglers and check out their website chathamanglers.com

Our 19th #SummerOfBaseball team – the Clinton LumberKings! @LumberKings

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The 19th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Midwest League – the Clinton LumberKings!

The Clinton LumberKings are the Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The LumberKings were founded in 1954 and have been playing at Ashford University Field in Clinton, Iowa since inception. They’ve used the LumberKings moniker since 1994 and over the years, they have been affiliated with the White Sox, Pirates, Pilots/Brewers, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Reds, Expos, and Rangers prior to their current affiliation with the Mariners since 2009.

Orel Hershiser and Mike Scioscia played for Clinton on their way to the bigs. Since becoming affiliated with the Mariners, former LumberKings who have made it to the majors include Ketel Marte, Chris Taylor, Brad Miller, Carter Capps, Roenis Elias, Brandon Maurer, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, James Jones, Nick Franklin, and Kyle Seager.

Thank you LumberKings for sending in a ball and participating in the #SummerOfBaseball – check out their team website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t500 and give them a follow on twitter at @LumberKings

The 18th #SummerOfBaseball – the Lancaster Barnstormers! @gobarnstormers

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The 18th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is from the Independent Atlantic League – the Lancaster Barnstormers!

The Barnstormers are the defending 2014 Atlantic League champions and play at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster Pennsylvania. The team was founded in 2003 and played their first season in 2005 under the management of former New York Met Tom Herr and is currently managed by former Major Leaguer Butch Hobson.

The Atlantic League is widely acknowledged as the top Independent League and many major leaguers have gone through the league’s ranks. Notable major leaguers who have played for the Barnstormers indluce Pat Misch, Casey Fossum, Luke Hughes, Ben Francisco, Chris Schwinden, Cory Wade, Ryan Braun (the other one), Antonio Alfonseca, and Jose Cabrera.

If you’re in Lancaster, go catch a Barnstormers game – the Atlantic League season runs from April to September. Check out their website lancasterbarnstormers.com and give them a follow on twitter at @gobarnstormers

Thanks for sending in a ball and participating in #SummerOfBaseball

Our 17th #SummerOfBaseball team – the DuPage County Hounds! @DC_Hounds

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The 17th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series comes to us from the Midwest Collegiate League. Let’s give a big friendly Helloooooo to the DuPage County Hounds!

The Hounds play in Lemont, Illinois out of the Lemont High School Sports Complex and currently have the best record in the league heading into the final few days of play. In the 2014 Major League Draft, several former Hounds heard their names selected, including infielder Paul DeJong, who played for the 2012 squad and was selected in the 4th round by the St. Louis Cardinals and is off to a great start to his professional career, hitting .333 through his first 29 games with 10 doubles and 5 homes, already earning a promotion to Class A Peoria. The Chicago White Sox in the 9th round selected former Hound LHP Ryan Hinchley who is currently with Great Falls in the Pioneer League.

So if you’re out in Lemont in the near future, or heading out there next summer – go catch a Hounds game! You may just be seeing the next superstar in the making!

Check out the Hounds website at dupagehounds.com and give them a follow on twitter @DC_Hounds

Our 16th #SummerOfBaseball – The Savannah Sand Gnats – @gnatsbaseball

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Today’s ball is the 16th in our #SummerOfBaseball series and one that I’m really digging. Not only is it from another one of the Mets minor league affiliates, it’s a used official South Atlantic League ball and it’s coming in from the Savannah Sand Gnats.

I’ll freely admit that I have a soft spot for the Gnats. Their mascot, Gnate the Gnat is a friend of mine and I’ve openly campaigned for Gnate in Mascot Mania the last two years. This is the last year that the Sand Gnats will be in Savannah as the big club announced they will relocate to Columbia, South Carolina for the 2016 season.

The Sand Gnats started out as the Savannah Cardinals when they were affiliated with St. Louis from 1984-1995 before changing their name to the Sand Gnats in 1996 when they became the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They retained the moniker through affiliations with the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets. Current Mets Third Base Coach Tim Teufel was the team’s manager in 2007, the first year of affiliation with the Mets.

Since becoming affiliated with the Mets in 2007, notable players who were once Gnats include Juan Lagares, Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores, Eric Campbell, Josh Satin, Jeurys Familia, Chris Schwinden, Matt den Dekker, Wilfredo Tovar, Josh Edgin, Gonzalez Germen, Collin McHugh, Darrell Ceciliani, Erik Goeddel, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, Dilson Herrera, Kevin Plawecki, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Dario Alvarez, and Akeel Morris.

The team plays their games at Historic Grayson Stadium, which was built in 1926.

I’m going to miss seeing the Mets in Savannah in 2016 and I really hope that the are able to get another team into the stadium and keep the Sand Gnats tradition going.

If you’re in Savannah, go catch a game – give my buddy Gnate a follow at @gnatethegnat and give the Sand Gnats a follow at @gnatsbaseball. Check out their website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t543

The #SummerOfBaseball – No. 15 – Tampa Yankees @TampaYankees

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The 15th team in our #SummerOfBaseball series is coming to us from one of the Mets rivals. From deep in enemy territory, straight from George M. Steinbrenner field, the Tampa Yankees sent in a ball.

The Tampa Yankees are the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and play in the Northern Division of the Florida State League. The team plays their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field (formerly known as Legends Field) which is a mini replica of Yankee Stadium. The team was founded in 1994 and the Yankees are the only major league team with which the organization has been affiliated.

The team is led by Luis Sojo, who broke our hearts with the game winning RBI for the Yankees in the deciding game of 2000 Subway Series.

Notable former Tampa Yankees on their way to the big leagues include Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Mike Lowell, Nick Johnson, Dioner Navarro, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, Brett Gardner, Phil Coke, Francisco Cervelli, John Axford, Ivan Nova, and Dellin Betances.

Former New York Met Lee Mazzilli also managed the team in 1997 and 1998.

So thanks to the Tampa Yankees for sending in the ball and participating in the #SummerOfBaseball – give them a follow in twitter at @TampaYankees and check out the team website at http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t587