Monthly Archives: June 2024

Fireworks, Community & Pop Culture: Ten Things to Know in the American Association This Week

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

Here are 10 (or so) Things to Know about the AAPB this week:

  • Because one fireworks show just isn’t enough — and maybe some Cleburne fans might miss the Biggest Fireworks Show of the Season on the 4th — the Railroaders will host the Second Biggest Fireworks show on the 5th.
  • July 4th doesn’t mean fireworks north of the U.S. border, but that’s not stopping the Winnipeg Goldeyes from having a celebration of their own, and the team’s Field of Dreams Foundation will benefit. Next Thursday is the first-ever Bike-In Movie Night at Blue Cross Park, where for $4 fans can ride their bike or walk onto the field for a screening of lsat year’s film Next Goal Wins.
  • The Kansas City Star wrote about A.J. Alexy (Honey Brook, Pa), a two-year Major Leaguer with the Texas Rangers, standing out for the Monarchs. Alexy has struck out 12 batters over 6.2 innings in six hitless, scoreless appearances at press time.
  • One of the great things about the AAPB is that player movement goes the other way, too. Victor Vargas (Catagena, Colombia) who was signed by the Reds and assigned to AA Dayton, was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in seven starts with the Milwaukee Milkmen and picked right up where he left off, earning a win with a two-hit, four-strikeout performance over five innings in his debut vs. Fort Wayne on Tuesday.
  • Thomas Dillard (Oxford, Miss.) is on pace to shatter the AAPB record for walks in a single season for a player. The Cleburne infielder has drawn 50 free passes in 43 games at press time, which includes as many games (11) in which he has walked in multiple plate appearances as he has games (11) in which he has failed to draw a walk. TJ Mittelstaedt set league the record at 94 back in 2014 for Kansas City (then the T-Bones). Not coincidentally, Dillard tied the Ole Miss record with 135 career walks drawn.
  • Sioux Falls Canaries skipper Mike Meyer has 299 career managerial wins at press time, seeking to becoming the second Sioux Falls manager to reach 300, behind only Steve Shirley (Mike was Steve’s pitching coach with the Canaries for many years). Meyer has the team tied for first place (24-15); the Canaries had not been nine games over .500 at any point since finishing the 2010 season at 63-33.
  • The Gary SouthShore RailCats continue to work on uniting the local community in Northwest Indiana. The team will host NWI Chamber Night on July 17 at the SteelYard, with 14 chambers of commerce scheduled to attend. The goal of the event is to help the chambers in their aim to further the interests of small businesses in the community as well as provide education and networking opportunities.
  • Kane County infielder Josh Allen (Fort Meade, Fla.) has spent the majority of the last seven seasons in the AAPB, the last four with the Cougars after three in St. Paul. He is now four shy of 100 home runs in his pro career after hitting 12 last year, second best on the squad.
  • Lake Country was the perfect way station for Austin Davis last year, as the lefty who has played for four MLB teams, last with the Twins in 2022, finished out 2023 with the Dockhounds. It was enough for the San Diego Padres to take a flier on him, and he hasn’t disappointed, moving in to the closer role for the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, notching eight saves and fanning 37 in 29 innings at press time. The El Paso Times chronicled his comeback story.
  • Pop culture hits the AAPB with these fun theme nights coming up:
    • Tonight – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Night at Fargo-Moorhead
    • Friday – Seinfeld Night at Sioux Falls
    • Friday- Pirate and Princess Night at Gary SouthShore
    • Friday through Sunday – Classic Movies Weekend at Lake Country
    • Sunday – Minions at the Park at Milwaukee

Strat-O-Matic Ices Simulation of Stanley Cup with Seven Straight Correct Outcomes on NHL Network

When Sam Reinhart’s wrister slipped past Stuart Skinner in Monday’s Game 7, proving to be the game winner in an all-time great Stanley Cup series, astute NHL Network viewers may not have been too surprised. That’s because those who prepared for each game by watching the network’s “NHL Tonight” program had seen as Strat-O-Matic (@strat-o-matic), the market leader in sports simulation games, simulated each game, correctly predicting the outcome of all seven contests, including six within one of the actual goal differential. And the Game 7 simulation even tabbed Reinhart as the scorer of the winning marker.

Strat-O-Matic provided NHL Network with the simulations based on the latest version of its popular hockey game, updated with proprietary statistical data to best simulate current player use, abilities and tendencies. Hockey fans can utilize Strat-O-Matic’s game to replay hockey seasons dating back to 1945-46, including several newly-added WHA campaigns.

Strat-O-Matic 2024 Stanley Cup Finals Simulations with Game Results 

Florida, 3-1Game 1Florida, 3-0
Florida, 5-2Game 2Florida, 4-1
Florida, 3-2Game 3Florida, 4-3
Edmonton, 3-2Game 4Edmonton, 8-1
Edmonton, 4-3Game 5Edmonton, 5-3
Edmonton, 5-2Game 6Edmonton, 5-1
Florida, 4-3Game 7Florida, 2-1

The success of the Stanley Cup simulation comes on the heels of an extremely accurate basketball championship prediction, which saw Strat-O-Matic’s model tabbing Boston as the champion in its preseason simulation and had the squad winning the title in five games over Dallas in its pre-finals work.

Cicadas, Expansion Talk and Holidays in June: Ten Things to Know in the American Assoc. This Week

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

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

  • The colorful cicadas may be an annoyance to some, but the Kane County Cougars aren’t one to brood. Instead, with the 13-year and 17-year cycles converging (we’re not entomologists, but we play them on, tonight is Kane County Cicadas Night at Northwestern Medicine Field vs. the Kansas City Monarchs. The team will wear special Cicada-themed jerseys which will be auctioned off for charity, and the first thousand fans receive a custom insect swatter.
  • Juneteenth, Father’s Day, Flag Day, Pride Month and National Cucumber Day (ok, that one might be a stretch) are all celebrated across the country in June. But two AAPB teams have a couple of other ideas… Halloween (Chicago Dogs, Saturday) and Halfway to Christmas (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Tuesday) will bring those popular holidays back a few months early.
  • On Tuesday, the AAPB announced another in a series of key corporate partnerships, this one with MOBILEMONEY, now the official cashless payment solutions provider to the league and its member clubs.
  • Sometimes a change of position can make all the difference. The Kansas City Star and Yahoo! Sports have the story of Monarchs outfielder-turned-pitcher Nate Tellier, a .342 hitter in college whose coach suspected – rightfully so – that the mound might be a better route for the righthander in the pros. So far, so good, as he’s posted a 2.11 ERA over 17 innings at press time.
  • Big things are happening around the AAPB, and the time might just be right to grow the footprint, which now currently extends to 12 team across 10 states. Commissioner Joshua Schaub recently discussed the prospects for expansion at Fargo’s Valley News Live, potentially doubling the number of franchises by 2028-29..
  • Another 10Things, Another Homecoming as Winnipeg native Ben Onyshko signed with the hometown Goldeyes last week. The 27-year-old lefty was originally selected by the Seattle Mariners out of Steston (Fla.) Univ, reaching AAA Tacoma. He started his Goldeyes career with two innings of hitless relief on Friday to help preserve a win over Sioux City.
  • The Gary SouthShore RailCats along with other businesses sponsored a luncheon for local businesses and leaders for clean air initiatives for Northern Indiana last week. The luncheon awarded three college scholarships to local students in the areas and recognized four businesses making voluntary efforts to improve clean air quality in 2023.
  • In a few alumni moves:
    • Kane County outfielder Je’Von Ward had his contract purchased by Toronto and homered in his first game with Single-A Vancouver on Saturday.
    • Now former Kansas City Monarch Blake Rutherford is heading to Mexico to play for Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican Baseball League. Rutherford, a former MLB player, originally drafted in the first round to the New York Yankees in 2016, but finally made his big league debut in 2023 with the Washington Nationals. This season with the Monarchs, he posted a .328 batting average, .911 OPS, and launched three home runs.
    • After hitting .331 in the Low-A Florida State League, infielder Payton Eeles (Chicago ’23) was promoted to Cedar Rapids, the Twins’ High-A affiliate.
  • The Record Watch department has its eyes on Fargo’s Izzy Alcantara, who has 30 stolen bases through his team’s first 33 games. The AAPB record is 71, set by the Milwaukee Milkmen’s Bryan Torres last season. Torres continues to rake with the Cardinals’ AA affiliate in Springfield, hitting in eight straight games last week to boost his average to .329 with 16 stolen bases at press time.

Strat-O-Matic Does it Again! Simulation Nabs Boston’s 18th Title over Dallas in Five Games

Boston’s five-game win over Dallas in the NBA Finals secured another supremely accurate simulation by Strat-O-Matic (@strat-o-matic), the market leader in sports simulation games, which both had Boston winning in the exact number of games in its pre-finals work through of the games, and tabbed the Celtics as the league champions in its preseason simulation back in October.

And while the Strat-O-Matic simulation team was accurately predicting the basketball finals, its hockey counterpart has been working with NHL Network on game-by-game simulations of the Stanley Cup Finals, and to date has posted four-of-four winners as Florida currently has a three games to one edge heading into tonight’s Game 5.

Strat-O-Matic’s simulation had Game 2 as the closest Boston win, as was the case in the actual Finals, and predicted 20 point Boston victories in Game 1 and the clinching Game 5, which Boston actually won by 18 points each.

The NHL Network’s coverage of the Stanley Cup has included Strat-O-Matic segments, and all four games to date have gone the way Strat-O-Matic’s simulations have finished, with wins by Florida in the first three games and Edmonton in Game 4.

The Harlem Globetrotters Partner With American Dream To Create The First Ever Sports Residency

Leaders in breaking barriers and making history, the world famous, Harlem Globetrotters™ are set to unveil the first-ever sports residency in history, with The Harlem Globetrotters Experience this August at American Dream in New Jersey. It was announced today by both Keith Dawkins, President, Harlem Globetrotters & Herschend Entertainment Studios and Bryan Gaus, Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Dream.

“The Harlem Globetrotters have a long and storied history of ‘firsts’ in its almost 100 years of existence and we continue that tradition by partnering with American Dream; making history by creating the first ever sports residency,” said Dawkins.  “This residency, and its many commercial extensions, represents another way to reimagine the experience we bring to our millions of fans. We are excited about its potential to be replicated around the world.”

The 10-day residency at American Dream, the world’s leading and innovative retail, dining and entertainment destination, will begin on Friday, August 16, and extend thru Sunday, August 25. The historical event will provide 16 LIVE games throughout the 10 days, where the Harlem Globetrotters™ will take on their legendary rivals, Washington Generals. Additional details and special events and activities tied to this first-ever residency will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Harlem Globetrotters, just like American Dream, embody community, entertainment, and fun, making us the perfect partners for this groundbreaking residency,” said Bryan Gaus, Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Dream.  “Our property continues to set the standard as a unique sports and events destination while also complementing MetLife Stadium’s extensive list of events next door. Now, one of the most iconic sports franchises will call American Dream home.”

American Dream has become a destination for major sporting events. The center hosted the USA Curling National Championships in the winter and the National Basketball Player Association’s The Throne – High School Basketball National Championship, in March. Additionally, there are several more athletic competitions and events in the pipeline that will be announced shortly. These events make up a portion of the 500 events held annually at the venue, which also boasts an extensive list of top retailers, fine dining and world-class attractions.

Additional exclusive offerings for kids and families include:

  • The Globetrotter Kids Skill Clinic – Come and train like aGlobetrotter! Join both teams for this exclusive ‘Skill Clinic’ opportunity (available to all visitors) only at American Dream’s Dream Stage (Court A)! For basketball fans of all ages! Run drills, learn new tricks, take all the shots – and get a chance to be a part of the famous Magic Circle!
  • Pre-game Magic Pass – Calling all hoop lovers! This is your chance to show that you’ve got GAME. Bring your family and join the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals on the court before the game to show your skills, shoot some hoops, and get player autographs and photos! The one-of- a-kind 30-minute pre-game, MAGIC PASS begins 90 minutes before tip- off and will create memories you’ll never forget!
  • Coach & Player Chalk Talk – Join the Globetrotter Players and Coach for an exclusive post-game meet-up! Available to all game ticket holders? Sit down and learn all about the Globetrotters game, the plays and skills, and what keeps them winning! Have a once in a lifetime chance to ask questions, be in the know, and get awesome photos!
  • 5th Quarter – All Access – Globetrotter Meet & Greet – After the game, EVERY FAN is invited down to the court for an autograph from their favorite Harlem Globetrotter stars! THAT MEANS YOU! 5th Quarter access is granted for ALL Globetrotter ticket holders for 30 minutes. This is a totally unique experience not to be missed!
  • Exclusive Harlem Globetrotters Merchandise Featuring Harlem Globetrotters branded t-shirts, basketballs, sweatshirts, programs, novelties and accessories

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased via

Harlem Globetrotters Swanson, Rivers Join Samuelsson On Home Plate: New York Premiering Tuesday

Harlem Globetrotters stars ‘Hot Shot’ Swanson and ‘Jet’ Rivers join award-winning chef, entrepreneur, author and food activist Marcus Samuelssonin thenewest episode of the YES App original series Home Plate: New York premiering Tuesday, June 18 at 11 AM.

The YES App’s Home Plate: New York series features Samuelsson teaming up with New York Yankees stars and other high-profile athletes and entertainers to visit New York City restaurants specializing in food from the guests’ respective cultures and family heritages. 

The episode debuting on June 18 features series host Samuelsson, Swanson and Rivers visiting Sylvia’s, the world-famous soul food restaurant in Harlem known as “The Queen of Soul Food.”

Samuelsson is a renowned chef and restaurateur, owning multiple restaurants across the globe. He was the youngest chef to receive a three-star review from the New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards including Best Chef: New York City.

Standing at 4’5,” Swanson is one of the team’s most celebrated athletes. Born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem, he started his basketball career playing college basketball at Monroe College in the Bronx. The 6’1” Rivers, who hails from Elizabeth, New Jersey, began his basketball career at Wagner College, where he was a two-time all-conference selection and led the team to their most victories during his four-year reign.

Among the episode’s highlights:

  • Sylvia’s chef Marcus Woods explains how his grandmother Sylvia Woods founded Sylvia’s in 1962 and built it up into a culinary and cultural institution still owned by the Woods family that is visited by global dignitaries, celebrities and locals
  • Marcus Samuelsson recalls coming to Sylvia’s to ask for advice for his restaurants, given the amount of knowledge and expertise Sylvia possessed.  Marcus Woods says that Marcus Samuelsson is like family to the Woods
  • ‘Jet’ and ‘Hot Shot’ help season and cook the restaurant’s signature fried chicken
  • Kenneth Woods, Marcus Woods’ father, says that when you come to Sylvia’s the first time, you are a guest, but the second time you come, you are family.

Previous Home Plate: New York episodes have featured New York Yankees ace pitcher Gerrit Cole and his wife Amy, The Sopranos stars Lorraine Bracco and Steve Schirripa, Olympic Soccer Gold Medalist Kelley O’Hara, former New York Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist, NBA Hall of Fame player Tracy McGrady, four-time New York Yankees World Series Champion and Latin Grammy nominee Bernie Williams and New York Giants defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux.

YES launched the YES App in March 2021 for authenticated users in its regional coverage territory, and it quickly became the #1 free sports app in the Apple App Store.   Direct-to-consumer access to the YES Network has been available through the YES App since March 2023.  In addition to providing fans with a live stream of the YES Network, the YES App features a variety of app-exclusive original sports and lifestyle programming similar to Home Plate: New York.

The app also serves up customizable push notifications, personalized content, live stats, play-along games and watch-party functions in conjunction with YES’ exclusive Yankees and Nets telecasts. It has won two New York Emmy Awards in its first two years of eligibility.  Fans in YES’ regional coverage territory can access the YES App by going to

Kitman Labs Strikes Deal With Top Club In J1 And WE League, Tokyo Verdy

Kitman Labs, the global enterprise SaaS platform providing the only single, centralized operating system for performance intelligence in Sports, today agreed to launch its advanced operating system with Tokyo Verdy. The deal will include the immediate deployment of iP: Intelligence Platform across the Academy Teams (M’s U9-U18; W’s U15, U18) and is ultimately expected to expand to include the Men’s First Team (J1 League) and Women’s First Team,Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza (WE League – Japan Women’s Empowerment Professional Football League).

The Academy will be utilizing the Performance Medicine, Performance Optimization and Coaching & Development Solutions in iP – combining medical, performance and talent development data into a centralized, interactive data and analytics system to unlock player performance outcomes and inform talent development strategy. iP will ultimately enable the Club to integrate and unify all data and analytics from the Academy to the men’s and women’s first teams in one platform.

This “whole club data solution” will serve to drive cross-departmental collaboration, eliminate data and information silos, and provide internal stakeholders with a complete, real-time view of each athlete for the purposes of unlocking performance potential and systemizing a talent development pipeline.

The analytics capabilities enabled by The Intelligence Platform will allow us to support our coaches, practitioners and athletes with the information necessary to make objective, evidence-based decisions across every aspect of the Club and more specifically, across the areas of player health, performance and development,” said Takaaki Nakamura, President of Tokyo Verdy. “From a player and pathway development perspective, we can now combine the unique approach and philosophy of the Verdy Method with the data science of the platform to create a more informed, repeatable strategy for success across all teams.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Tokyo Verdy as they look to integrate a robust data and analytics infrastructure into the Organization – informing both tactical and strategic decision-making and ultimately, leveraging that intelligence to accelerate the advancement of the clubs within their respective leagues,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and Founder of Kitman Labs.

Kitman Labs has an established track record of working with top teams and leagues across a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, rugby, and American football. The company’s technology has been used by some of the world’s most elite soccer organizations, including Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Sporting Lisbon. Kitman Labs recently announced the launch and deployment of The Football Intelligence Platform across all Premier League Academies, MLS Next and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The company represents the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (2000+), creating the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

Florida Edges Edmonton in Seven Games in Strat-O-Matic Simulation of NHL Championship

Carter Verhaeghe scored a series-high five goals, including the game winner in the seventh game as Florida topped Edmonton, four games to three as Strat-O-Matic (@strat-o-matic), the market leader in sports simulation games, simulated the NHL championship series which begins Saturday in Sunrise, Fla.

Florida got off to a fast start in the series, taking the first two at home by counts of 5-4 and 6-2. The Panthers won the opener on a tiebreaking goal by Anton Lundell midway through the third period, then used two goals in each period and sharp goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky (32 saves) for the Game 2 triumph.

When the scene switched north of the border, Edmonton rebounded with two straight wins, 3-1 and 5-2, with Connor McDavid scoring four, including a hat trick in Game 4, then won at Florida, 2-1, to get to within a game of the title.

But Florida scored four unanswered third-period goals to erase a 4-1 Oilers lead in Game 6 to send it back to the Sunshine State, where Verhaegue’s marker with 12:39 left broke a 2-2 tie before tallies by Matthew Tkachuk, his fourth of the series, and Gustav Forsling, iced Game 7 at 5-2.

Edmonton was led by McDavid’s five goals and four by Zach Hyman.

Game 1 1  2  3     F

Edmonton   3  0  1  –  4  

Florida    3  0  2  –  5  

Game 2 1  2  3     F

Edmonton   1  0  1  –  2  

Florida    2  2  2  –  6

Game 3     1  2  3     F 

Florida    0  0  1  –  1  

Edmonton   2  0  1  –  3

Game 4     1  2  3     F 

Florida    1  0  1  –  2  

Edmonton   2  1  2  –  5

Game 5     1  2  3     F 

Edmonton   1  1  0  –  2  

Florida    0  0  1  –  1

Game 6     1  2  3     F 

Florida    0  1  4  –  5  

Edmonton   3  1  0  –  4

Game 7     1  2  3     F 

Edmonton   0  2  0  –  2  

Florida    2  0  3  –  5

Boston Wins 18th Title over Dallas in Five Games in Strat-O-Matic Simulation

In a battle between the deeper, more balanced Boston squad and top-heavy Dallas, it’s the Celtics who came out ahead in a five-game NBA Finals as Strat-O-Matic (@strat-o-matic), the market leader in sports simulation games, simulated the championships series which begins Thursday in Boston. Fans may recall that the Celtics were tabbed as the champion in Strat-O-Matic’s preseason simulation as well.

Paced by the trio of Jayson Tatum (28.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 5.6 apg), Jaylen Brown (26.2/7.0/3.8) and Derrick White (19.4/6.0/5.0), with support from former Mav Kristaps Porzingis (16.4/6.6/2.4) and Jrue Holiday (12.8/5.2/7.2), Boston used that depth to its advantage in taking a 2-0 series lead at home with competitive 135-127 and 128-124 victories.

After Dallas pulled to within two games to one with a 115-108 win at home, Boston took game four, 118-103, and game five back home, 123-103, by more comfortable margins, for its 18th championship.

Dallas’s Luka Dončić led all scorers in the series at 35.6 ppg, nearly averaging a triple double with 9.6 rpg and 9.0 apg, and Kyrie Irving contributed 26.8 ppg and 5.6 apg.

Game One 1 2 3 4 TOT
DALLAS 24 46 32 25 127
BOSTON 39 38 27 31 135
Dal: Dončić 38, Irving 21; Bos: Tatum 36, Brown 25

Game Two 1 2 3 4 TOT
DALLAS 25 29 36 34 124
BOSTON 27 29 38 34 128
Dal: Dončić 35, Irving 31; Bos: Tatum 34, Holiday 24

Game Three 1 2 3 4 TOT
BOSTON 24 29 26 29 108
DALLAS 24 23 38 30 115
Bos: Brown 27, Porzingis 22; Dal: Dončić 43, Irving 24

Game Four 1 2 3 4 TOT
BOSTON 29 25 31 33 118
DALLAS 35 13 29 26 103
Bos: Brown 26, Tatum 24; Dal: Dončić 26, Irving 26

Game Five 1 2 3 4 TOT
DALLAS 30 35 19 19 103
BOSTON 32 37 33 21 123
Dal: Dončić 36, Irving 22; Bos: Brown 31, Tatum 27