April 17, 2014

NATS/CHIEFS: Syracuse Chiefs Rename Stadium

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Syracuse Chiefs Rename Stadium Horse
Horse finds new home atop stadium gates

Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are proud to announce that as of today, the horse outside NBT Bank Stadium shall be known as Homer. The name was selected as the winner in the organization’s “Rename the Horse” contest.

The name “Homer” was submitted by Chiefs fan Jay Bauer. He will receive a Chiefs sweatshirt and baseball hat as winner of the contest. “Homer” was part of a list of over 200 names submitted by Chiefs fans who submitted their ideas on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The new name was ultimately chosen by artist Lisa Mattes who originally painted the fiberglass horse.

“There were so many good ideas,” said Mattes. “I laid awake at night thinking of what the name should be.”

“Homer”, formerly known was “Sportee”, is now perched atop the front gates of the stadium, welcoming fans to the ballpark. He was originally created in the early 2000s as part of the Syracuse’s Horses on Parade program, where he then found a home with the Syracuse Chiefs.

A few years ago, “Sportee” vanished and was not seen again until November 2013, when he reappeared atop the gates of the stadium. With a new home, new friends, and a new season, the horse deserved a new name.

“This is the year of the new Syracuse Chiefs, while we are proud of our past it is exciting to let the fans have a little fun as we continue on into our future,” said Jason Smorol, General Manager of the Syracuse Chiefs.

Make sure you stop by NBT Bank Stadium to see “Homer” in 2014. It’s a brand new ballgame!

Nats add five more with September roster expansion

The Washington Nationals added five more players to their active roster with September roster expansion, selecting SS Zach Walters from AAA-Syracuse and recalling OFs Corey Brown, Jeff Kobernus and Eury Perez and LHP Xavier Cedeno from Syracuse. All but Walters have been on the big league roster at some point in their tenure in the Nats system. Walters will make his MLB debut with his first appearance.

Walters hit .253/.286/.517  with 29 home runs and 77 RBIs in his first full season in AAA this year. The International League All-Star tied for first in the league in homers and led the league in extra-base hits.

Cedeno has been recalled by the Nats on three occasions so far this season, pitching a grand total of 1 1/3 innings with one strikeout. He’s 2-0 with four saves and a 1.31 ERA and 1.136 WHIP for Syracuse.

Brown, 27, hit .254/.326/.473  with Syracuse with 26 doubles, 19 home runs and 56 RBIs in 107 games. Kobernus, 25, hit .318/.366/.388  with one home run and 42 steals in AAA. Perez, 23, hit .300/.336/.442 with seven home runs and 23 stolen bases in 96 games for Syracuse.

Washington Nationals officially activate from DL, then demote Danny Espinosa

The Washington Nationals Wednesday officially activated 2B Danny Espinosa from the disabled list, then optioned him to AAA-Syracuse. Espinosa was in Syracuse already on a rehab assignment after he was placed on the Major League disabled list with a fracture in his right wrist. In 20 at bats so far for Syracuse, Espinosa is 2-for-20 with 13 strikeouts.

Espinosa injured his shoulder late in 2012, which he revealed in spring training this season to be a partially torn rotator cuff. In April, he was hit by a Paul Maholm fastball in the right wrist, and initially took a couple days off to allow the swelling to go down. Initial X-rays did not show a break, but after two months of utter futility at the plate (.158/.193/.272 in 167 plate appearances) the team re-examined his right and found a fracture and bone chips.

Espinosa took a week off, then began a rehab assignment in Syracuse, but thus far hasn’t been any better there than he was for the Nats this season.

Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 5/5/13

Welcome back to District Sports Page’s weekly Minor League Update. Throughout the regular season we will continue to post up-to-date stats and brief scouting reports on the hottest and coldest prospects in the Nationals’ minor league system. We also will track the progress of top-rated players in this columb, and give injury and suspension updates.

Here are some of the system’s notable performances from the first week of May:

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Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 4/28/13

Welcome back to District Sports Page’s weekly Minor League Update. Throughout the regular season we will continue to post up-to-date stats and brief scouting reports on the hottest and coldest prospects in the Nationals’ minor league system. We also will track the progress of top-rated players, and give injury and suspension updates.

With April coming to a close, the Nationals’ organization is looking pretty strong from top to bottom. The big club is off to a decent 13-12 start. But more importantly, they’re looking strong and equipped to perform at a high level for the duration of the season. Their key players are all healthy, and their crop of young stars continues to move forward at a healthy pace.

Bryce Harper not only appears to have avoided (knock on wood) a slumping sophomore season, but he looks to be putting it all together even earlier than anyone could have hoped. The same goes for their young rotation, which is firing on all cylinders. And while Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos are sitting on the DL with minor injuries, the Nats used their system to overcome their temporary absence quite effectively. Luckily though, both players are on their way back anyway.

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NATS/CHIEFS: Syracuse Chiefs Introduce New Birthday Perk for Fans

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Chiefs are one of 22 teams to form partnership with HULEDET

Syracuse, NY–The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce that they will be partnering with HULEDET in order to give local fans a free ticket and hot dog for their birthday. HULEDET (http://www.HULEDET.com), a one-year old company based in New York City, partners with local and national companies to enable them to reward their loyal customers on their birthdays, and to bring in new customers with the incentive of a birthday perk.

As fans enter Chiefs home games this season, they will be given the opportunity to register to receive the birthday gift by simply providing their name, email address, birth month and day, and zip code. When the first day of their birthday month comes, they’ll receive an email from HULEDET giving them a free ticket and free hot dog voucher to use during their birthday month.

Fans with birthdays during the off season need not worry – they’ll get their gift from the team on their half birthday.

“We are very excited to work with HULEDET on this new promotion,” Chiefs general manager John Simone said. We look forward to offering a birthday present to each of our fans.”

The Chiefs are one of 22 minor league baseball teams who will be working with HULEDET during the 2013 season. Says HULEDET founder Michael Frankel, “We have seen great success with HULEDET at local restaurants and businesses, and we are excited to work with the Chiefs as we bring HULEDET gifts to sports fans around the country this spring.”

Fans may also join the Syracuse Chiefs birthday list online at http://www.HULEDET.com/SyracuseChiefs.

Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 4/21/13

Welcome back to District Sports Page’s weekly Minor League Update. Throughout the regular season we will continue to post up-to-date stats and brief scouting reports on the hottest and coldest prospects in the Nationals’ minor league system. We also will track the progress of top-rated players, and give injury and suspension updates.

So far this season, the Nationals’ minor league system has continued to be one of the most productive and exciting in pro baseball. Flashy young stars like Brian Goodwin and Anthony Rendon are off to loud starts, while an arms race of young pitchers has torn-through opposing lineups, resulting in heaps of strikeouts.

Things got even more interesting on Saturday though. The Nationals announced that they had promoted Rendon, who is widely considered one of the premier prospects in minors, to Washington to make his highly anticipated MLB debut. While the former  Dick Howser Award winner was originally slated to spend at least the first few months of the regular season in the minors at double-A Harrisburg, Ryan Zimmerman’s recent injury and Rendon’s hot-hitting apparently forced the front office’s hand. Regardless, this is yet another exciting development in a system full of exciting developments. Rendon follows a long line of homegrown stars on the Nats big-league roster, graduating after the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, Bryce Harper and others.

Though Rendon’s promotion has grabbed the attention of the Nats faithful, the club has plenty of other thrilling minor-league storylines. Here are a few of them–hot off the presses:

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NATS/CHIEFS: Syracuse Chiefs Opening Day Roster, April 4

Today, April 4 is the opening day for the Syracuse Chiefs, Washington Nationals Triple-A Affiliate.

12 players from last year’s team to return

Syracuse, NY—The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce their preliminary roster for the 2013 season. Syracuse, led by second-year manager Tony Beasley, will begin its season on Thursday, April 4, at 7:05 at Lehigh Valley, with its home opener on Friday, April 12 at 2:05 vs. the IronPigs.

Syracuse’s active Opening Day roster features 16 former major leaguers and seven players on the Nationals’ 40-man roster. The Chiefs also return 12 players from last year’s Syracuse squad and 15 former Chiefs in total.

The Chiefs’ opening day staff will consist of 13 pitchers, five of whom spent time in Syracuse last season. Yunesky Maya (11-10, 3.88 ERA in 28 starts with the Chiefs in 2012), Tanner Roark (6-17, 4.39 ERA in 26 starts) and Ryan Perry (1-1, 4.50 ERA in 11 relief appearances) are slated to hold three of the spots in Syracuse’s rotation. Maya returns for his fourth season with Syracuse, with Roark and Perry as second-year Chiefs.

The other two spots in Syracuse’s season-opening rotation will be held by right-hander Ross Ohlendorf and left-hander Danny Rosenbaum. Ohlendorf, a veteran of 108 major league games with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres, is in his first year with the Nationals’ organization. Rosenbaum, recently returned from Colorado after being selected in the 2012 Rule V draft, will begin his fifth professional season in the Nationals’ organization. He sported a 3.94 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg in 26 starts last season.

The bullpen will feature returning right-handers Erik Davis and Jeff Mandel, with Mandel also entering fourth Syracuse season and Davis his second. Right-hander Ryan Tatusko also rejoins the team for the second time after spending the entire 2012 season in Harrisburg, where he sported a 3.50 ERA.

Two other former Chiefs join the bullpen – left-hander J.C. Romero and right-hander Jeremy Accardo. Romero, a veteran of 680 major-league games, pitched in five games for the Chiefs in 2011. Accardo, who’s pitched 262 games in the majors, tossed five games for the Chiefs in 2008, the final year of Syracuse’s affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The remaining three spots in the bullpen are filled out by two former major leaguers – left-hander Fernando Abad (Houston) and right-hander Mike Crotta (Pittsburgh) – and left-hander Patrick McCoy, who finished 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 50 games for Double-A Harrisburg last season.

Offensively, both Chiefs catchers return from last year’s squad. Jhonatan Solano rejoins Syracuse for the fourth time after a season in which he made his major league debut (.312 batting average in 12 games with Washington), while veteran Carlos Maldonado also returns to Syracuse for the fourth time. The two have combined to play in 306 career games with Syracuse.

Syracuse’s infield is split between three returning Chiefs and three newcomers. First baseman Chris Marrero, shortstop Zach Walters, and third baseman Carlos Rivero – a postseason International League All-Star last season – will rejoin the Chiefs after spending time in Washington’s major league camp this spring. Infielder Jeff Kobernus, who led stole 42 bases for Double-A Harrisburg to lead the 2012 Eastern League, will join them for his Triple-A debut. Former major leaguers Mike Costanzo (Cincinnati) and Will Rhymes (Detroit, Tampa Bay) round out the six-man group.

In the outfield, postseason International League All-Star Corey Brown will return to Syracuse for the third time. Brown led all Chiefs players in 2012 with 25 home runs and also appeared in 19 major league games for Washington. He’ll be joined by 22-year-old Eury Perez, the youngest Chief on the Opening Day roster. Converted pitcher Micah Owings, who’s appeared in 174 major league games, and former Canadian Olympic outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand will both join the Chiefs for the first time.

Tickets for all Syracuse Chiefs home games are on sale now and can be purchased online at SyracuseChiefs.com, by calling 315-474-7833, or in person at the Chiefs ticket office. Full- and partial-season ticket plans are also available through each of the same three methods.

NATS/CHIEFS: Alliance Bank Stadium renamed NBT Bank Stadium

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Syracuse, NY (March 13, 2013) – Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney today was joined by NBT Bank President and CEO Martin Dietrich, NBT Bank Executive Vice President Jack Webb and Syracuse Chiefs Board President William Dutch to announce that Alliance Bank Stadium will be renamed NBT Bank Stadium.

“Our community is grateful to NBT Bank for continuing the commitment made originally by Alliance Bank to support our stadium and professional baseball in Onondaga County,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “I am also pleased to officially welcome NBT Bank to our community, and I look forward to working with NBT as they continue the proud legacy of community support established by Alliance Bank.”

Originally opened as P&C Stadium in 1997, Onondaga County’s baseball stadium became Alliance Bank Stadium in 2005 when Alliance Bank generously purchased the naming rights for $2.8 million. NBT Bank has graciously assumed that 20-year contract after the merger of Alliance Bank into NBT Bank.

“NBT Bank is proud to lend its name to Onondaga County’s baseball stadium,” said NBT Bank President and CEO Martin Dietrich. “As a community-minded bank, we strive to provide quality service to our customers and to support activities that benefit the cities and towns we call home.”

“NBT Bank shares the commitment to community that was central to Alliance Bank’s business philosophy,“ added NBT Bank Executive Vice President Jack Webb. “Community banking and community baseball make a great match, and we’re pleased to continue that relationship under the NBT Bank brand.”

NBT Bank Stadium is part of the Onondaga County Parks System and is the home of the Syracuse Chiefs, the AAA-affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals. In addition to hosting the Syracuse Chiefs, the stadium has also entertained County residents by hosting national recording artists such as: The Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and John Mellancamp.

Syracuse Chiefs Board President Bill Dutch said, “Alliance Bank and Onondaga County in addition to our parent team, the Washington Nationals have been tremendous partners for the Syracuse Chiefs. We are delighted that NBT Bank is going to continue that relationship. We have an exciting season planned at NBT Bank Stadium as we continue to enhance the entertainment experience for our fans and their families. NBT Bank Stadium will be a fun place to be in 2013, starting April 12th.”

NATS/CHIEFS: Syracuse Chiefs Game Program Cover Contest

Any artists or creative fans out there? Here is a chance to get your art featured on the game cover for the Washington Nationals triple-A affiliate.

Show off your artistic ability on the First Pitch Express

Syracuse, NY—-The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, invite fans to show off their artistic skills on the newest Chiefs publication, the First Pitch Express. The new 32-page, full-color program will be issued in five editions in 2013 feature stories about the Chiefs and their opponents for the upcoming series.

The Chiefs invite fans to submit their cover art to be used as the cover of the program. Submit an 8.5w x 5.5h photo, drawing, or graphic for the cover of The First Pitch Express that best represents the theme: This Is Your Town. This Is Your Team.

Submission deadline is the 15th prior to each month. Send entries electronically to: brandon@syracusechiefs.com.

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