Home / News / Announcer News, Alumni Excellence and a ‘Bratzilla’: Ten Things to Know in the American Association This Week

Announcer News, Alumni Excellence and a ‘Bratzilla’: Ten Things to Know in the American Association This Week

Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Jack Michaels (credit: Dylan Engel)

The American Association of Professional Baseball (@AA_Baseball) season continues with a full slate of series this weekend, all available for free live viewing at aabaseball.tv.

Here are 10 Things to Know about the AAPB this week:

  • Juneteenth celebrations are going on all over the U.S. next week, and the Kane County Cougars are ready next Wednesday. In collaboration with the visiting Kansas City Monarchs, the team will auction off game-worn specialty jerseys from that night’s game at NWM Field. The Monarchs connection and heritage is not lost on the Cougars, as they are also preparing a video marking the significance of the addition of Negro League statistics to the MLB record.
  • AA teams are, at their heart, a big part of their respective regions and communities. Sometimes that even extends to the roster, as was on display last week when Grand Forks, N.D., native Parker Stroh and East Grand Forks’s Jake Osowski went from fans to players when they both signed with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. The Grand Forks Herald chronicled their journeys to the pros in this feature.
  • Sioux City completed a three-game sweep over the weekend, and while the Sioux City Journal‘s sports section took notice of what the X’s were doing on the field, the features pages were focused on the concession stands, where the “Bratzilla” keeps fans’ hunger at bay while they cheer on their team.
  • The Winnipeg Goldeyes became a permanent part of the city landscape more than 30 years ago. Ever since then, Manitoba Baseball Hall of Famer Ron Arnst has been the man behind the voice greeting fans for more than 1,000 games. CTV News caught up with the affable Arnst for this piece.
  • The Cleburne Railroaders walked their way in to the AAPB books last Thursday, drawing 22 (!) bases on balls against the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Thomas Dillard was issued five free passes, scoring four times in the 23-4 win.
  • Former Texas Rangers pitcher A.J. Alexy joined the Kansas City Monarchs last week as the sixth player on their roster with MLB experience. Alexy, who was drafted in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers and later played for Texas from 2021-2022, making four starts during that span. He also spent time with the Chicago White Sox AAA affiliate the Charlotte Knights in 2023 and with Minnesota’s AA team in Wichita this year. So far, so good, as he’s tossed three hitless frames for his new club at press time.
  • Astute AA fans see former (and perhaps also future) Major Leaguers like Alexy dotting most of league rosters. And a familiar surname can spark nostalgia, as is the case with Lake Country DockHounds utilityman César Izturis Jr., son of the 13-year major leaguer of the same name who spent most of his time at shortstop, where he won a Gold Glove in 2004 and earned an All-Star appearance the following year for the Dodgers.
  • Fans dig the long ball, and they love their home team announcers’ home run calls almost as much. Which is why Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks play-by-play man Jack Michaels’s “Track it Down, Marge!” is unique and so beloved, with an origin story suitable for a superhero. When Jack was a college player at North Dakota State, Michaels blasted a home run of his own, and his mother Marge outlasted fans chasing for the souvenir, making his signature call a tribute to mom.
  • AAPB alumni continue to excel in the affiliated minors. Case in point: two-time batting champion Bryan Torres, who last year set the league mark with 71 stolen bases, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals last season and is tearing up the Texas League, hitting .324 with 15 steals for Springfield. His Cards teammate Matt Lloyd (Sioux City ’23) is tied for sixth in the league with 33 RBI.
  • Speaking of AAPB alums, make it an even 15 former league players to see MLB action this year when Vinny Nittoli, a standout for St. Paul in 2017 and 2018, got the call from Oakland. The righty has spent parts of four seasons with the Mariners, Phillies, Mets and now the Athletics, hurling a total of nine innings at press time. And Cam Booser, a Chicago Dog in 2021, came on to close out the Red Sox’ 6-4 win at the White Sox on June 9 with a perfect 10th inning, fanning two.

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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