BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Eastern League is experimenting with a new format for their season.
A little over halfway through 2019, our reporter Dylan Kuhn spoke with Rumble Ponies about their thoughts on the change.
For the first time in 2019, the Eastern League made a major shake-up, switching to a split season format.
“It’s great I’ve done it before at the lower levels. It keeps teams in it. Definitely Tripe A needs to be a full season you need to get players acclimated for the Major Leagues. But I think at the lower leagues, the rosters change a lot and you can have a tough first half but this can give you a breath of life in the second half,” Manager Kevin Boles says.
Under the new format, the teams in first place in each division after the first half is completed clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Then the records reset, and the winner of each division after the second half is completed clinches a playoff spot.
If the same team wins both halves the 2nd playoff spot from that division will go to the team with the 2nd best full season record.
Despite the big change Binghamton Rumble ponies manager Kevin Boles says it doesn’t effect much on their end.
“It doesn’t. It’s day to day you really have to look at it that way. You have to make sure you manage the at-bats, the plate appearances the innings.”
Rumble Ponies catcher Patrick Mazeika who played for Binghamton under the old format as well, says he likes how this gives teams that struggled early on new life.
“It gives us the option to make it in the second half instead of having to string together a full season. You can get hot for 20 or 30 games and make the playoffs very easily,” said Mazeika.
As Boles eluded to, minor league rosters are always in flux, so the team that plays the first half of the season will often be extremely different than the second half.
The new format helps accommodate that, but there are some kinks to work out.
“As far as when the games count I think there’s some discrepancies as far as that goes. We’re taking some of these games we lost in the first half and playing them in the second half and don’t know whether or not they mean anything.’
Despite the issue with what to do with postponed games, Boles says having two halves at the AA level is a good thing.
n Binghamton, Dylan Kuhn, NewsChannel 34.