AAABA

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knowitall
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Post by knowitall » August 3rd, 2022, 9:26 am

It's AAABA week in Johnstown. Reading some old threads on the tournament, the future of the tournament was in doubt years ago. This year's tournament features fourteen franchises with only Johnstown and Brooklyn supplying two teams. The hidden heroes of this tournament are those people keeping franchises like New York, Columbus, Maryland State, Zanesville and Youngstown alive and coming each year.

I'm going out on a limb and predicting New Orleans will win the championship this year. The new big four appears to be New Orleans, Johnstown, New Brunswick and Philadelphia, although both Cleveland and Brooklyn 1 enter this third day undefeated.

Both night games have drawn solid crowds and so far the lighting at the Point Stadium has performed flawlessly. The same can't be said for the sound system. That was terrible opening night. The concessions are terrible and overpriced. Beer is available but I really didn't see too many fans purchasing it.

What I do want to comment on is the atmosphere at the Point. The fans are there but do not seem to be engaged much at all. I'm a lot older now than I used to be and I suppose many of the other fans are as well. There is no real enthusiasm at all. It's as if many of the fans are there out of a long, inbred obligation to be there. Is it the lack of familiarity with the players? For example, I have no idea who any of these Paul Carpenter players are or where they come from. Is it the overall talent level of these teams in the tournament? We did talk about that in the past. When is the last time a real major league scout attended this tournament?

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Re: AAABA

Post by Manfred » August 3rd, 2022, 10:01 am

Good observations and questions. I too am a lifelong attendee since I think 1970 was my first tournament. I believe the days of having teams like Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, even Chicago are gone, and that definitely dilutes the quality of tournament play. That has been the real success of the hometown teams, not having to get pounded by the major metro teams anymore. The PA system is absolutely pathetic. They are building a 2 story $100K + pressbox/ beer concession stand on the terrace behind home plate. There used to be 2 or 3 other small concession kiosks there that had an option to the under-grandstand concessions, which are now controlled by the Mill Rats folks. An over-cooked chicken finger basket w/ fries, and a regular cup of ice/ soda will cost you $10. If the gates are supposed to open at 5:30, why aren't they? The handicap entrance is open by then, why can't the other 2? People come to games for a little pageantry like the Ambassador's parade with the Corvettes and classic cars. Night #2 there was recognition of the local teener league champs and a T-shirt slingshot. C'mon, man. Really? Johnstown vs Altoona tonight should be a decent matchup and draw in a few more fans of the game. Paul Carpenter Associates have 2 local players on the roster, Jordan Sabol, of Richland, and Jackson Kozlovac, from Portage. The rest are area collegiate and WPIAL area players, which is what the good teams need to draw from to compete with these out of town teams. I attend as many games as I'm able, incl. the daytime games in Lilly, Cresson, and St. Michael of course. Not having games at Iron Horse is a downer. Nice facility, bad ownership & no PR except for HIS own benefit. My $.02 . Anyone else?
It ain't over until it's over.

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Re: AAABA

Post by GoldenRamsFAN » August 3rd, 2022, 10:22 am

knowitall wrote:
August 3rd, 2022, 9:26 am
It's AAABA week in Johnstown. Reading some old threads on the tournament, the future of the tournament was in doubt years ago. This year's tournament features fourteen franchises with only Johnstown and Brooklyn supplying two teams. The hidden heroes of this tournament are those people keeping franchises like New York, Columbus, Maryland State, Zanesville and Youngstown alive and coming each year.

I'm going out on a limb and predicting New Orleans will win the championship this year. The new big four appears to be New Orleans, Johnstown, New Brunswick and Philadelphia, although both Cleveland and Brooklyn 1 enter this third day undefeated.

Both night games have drawn solid crowds and so far the lighting at the Point Stadium has performed flawlessly. The same can't be said for the sound system. That was terrible opening night. The concessions are terrible and overpriced. Beer is available but I really didn't see too many fans purchasing it.

What I do want to comment on is the atmosphere at the Point. The fans are there but do not seem to be engaged much at all. I'm a lot older now than I used to be and I suppose many of the other fans are as well. There is no real enthusiasm at all. It's as if many of the fans are there out of a long, inbred obligation to be there. Is it the lack of familiarity with the players? For example, I have no idea who any of these Paul Carpenter players are or where they come from. Is it the overall talent level of these teams in the tournament? We did talk about that in the past. When is the last time a real major league scout attended this tournament?

I know 1 kid on the PC team. I believe he told me only 2 kids are from the area. Everyone else is from westmoreland county. IMO Johnstown should look into expanding in that direction and still let the local kids play on their home team.

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Post by ERAChamp » August 3rd, 2022, 10:35 am

Couldn't agree with the above posts more. There is really no local connection to these teams anymore, especially PC. Almost their entire roster is from out of our area. Seeing and rooting kids who your kids have played with and against is just not there. Not saying that the current group of PC and Martella's are not great kids, but almost nobody around here knows them.

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Re: AAABA

Post by Crimson's Ghost » August 3rd, 2022, 1:52 pm

It helps the atmosphere when the Johnstown representative features kids from Johnstown or at least the D5, D6 area I think. I had my doubts about the tournament overall, and it's a shell of its former self, but it seems to be going well. I hope it's always something that is part of summers in Johnstown. It's a great tradition, and there are a lot of people that are faithful to it.

And to answer the last question in the original post about scouts, the last time scouts came is before they changed the age bracket a couple of years ago. There are less high school kids going into their senior years now than there used to be. At this point, the players are lower level D1 and D2, D3 guys, so not really many scouts that interested in college juniors from that collection.

There are just better leagues/events on the college wooden bat circuit. I don't think AAABA did anything wrong per se, there are just more options across the country for this level of baseball than there was even 15 years ago. I don't necessarily think the Johnstown Mill Rats are anything special, but them and the teams in their league would run through this tournament.

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Re: AAABA

Post by Colonel Mustard » August 4th, 2022, 2:59 pm

I agree that the atmosphere is very blah, and I would attribute that to the 'home' team. I would bet that if Martellas's were the night game, it would be a slightly bigger, more lively crowd, as they have local players and coaches. Plus PC's coach seems like a real a-hole which is not uncommon for local coaches, but is another turn-off. And the Sabol kid on PC is not from the Richland Sabol family. Overall quality of play that I have seen is decent, but probably not scout-worthy. The generation that considered the AAABA tourney as must-see, is getting old quickly.

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Re: AAABA

Post by Manfred » August 4th, 2022, 5:33 pm

Thanks, I presumed the Sabol kid was from Richland. Where's he from, then?
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Re: AAABA

Post by knowitall » August 4th, 2022, 6:08 pm

If you want atmosphere you need to go watch Brooklyn play.

Mini complaint: the scoreboard at the Point. It needs a running score line by inning with a summary of runs, hits and errors.

The pace of some of these games is soooo slooooow.

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Re: AAABA

Post by knowitall » August 4th, 2022, 6:12 pm

Jordan Sabol attends St Vincent College. He is a Penn Trafford graduate.

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Re: AAABA

Post by Crimson's Ghost » August 5th, 2022, 8:48 am

The original scoreboard in the left field wall is still there, it would be nice to have both running at the same time, because they are missing a line score in that stadium right now.

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