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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buller's new gig

Sean Buller came by the Armada office the other day to deliver his good news. The big lefty has been tapped as the new head coach at Valley Christian in Cerritos. Here's the official release:

Buller named head coach at Valley Christian
Left-hander could still be involved with LB in 2010

LONG BEACH (October 20, 2009) -- For the past three seasons, Sean Buller has cut his coaching teeth with the Golden League’s Long Beach Armada. Now the Long Beach native will take over his own program as the newly named head baseball coach at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos.

The official announcement came from Valley Christian this weekend, less than two months after the Armada’s season ended in August.

Buller served as the Armada’s only player/coach in 2009, his second straight year of double-duty. A fan favorite at Armada games, Garry Templeton kept Buller on his staff as Bullpen Coach – a position he held since the 2008 campaign – to begin this past season and promoted him to Pitching Coach at the season’s midway point.

Not only did the Armada lead the GBL with a team ERA of 3.94, almost one run better than the next best team (Tucson at 4.77), but Buller led by example from the mound. In 2009, he worked out of the bullpen for three saves and a 2.70 ERA while striking out 19 batters in 20 innings of work.

After pitching collegiately at University of San Francisco, Buller began his professional career as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Tigers in 1998. The left-hander worked his way up the Tigers farm system to become one of the organization’s top pitching prospects in 2001 for the Triple-A Toledo Mudhens before a shoulder injury kept him out of baseball until his 2007 comeback with the Armada.

While Buller’s main responsibilities lie with Valley Christian’s baseball program, he’s tenure with the Armada isn’t necessarily over as a result.

“If Garry decided to bring me back, I’m still a part of the team,” said Buller. “The school is okay with it as long as I can balance it.”

The school’s season would finish in May, around the same time as the Armada begins training camp for the 2010 campaign.

Monday, October 19, 2009

2010 Slogan Contest

The Long Beach Armada has had it with minor league baseball teams sporting regular run-of-mill slogans each season, and to this point, we haven't really been a part of it. Trotting out tired old phrases like "Greatest Show on Dirt" and so many others aren't the tagline this team needs. That's why in preparation for the 2010, the Armada is turning to it's fans here in Long Beach and across the nation to determine what should be our slogan for the team's sixth season in the International City.

Maybe we should play off the fact that this is the home of Snoop Dogg. Would something like "Play Bizzall" make for a good slogan? I'm not sure, but that's what we want the fans to decide. We're a few years to late to rip off the Blair Witch Project's title which shares with the name of our stadium. "The Blair Field Project" anyone?

So we are turning to the community of Long Beach - and to the entire country really - to determine our 2010 slogan.

A few other ideas we're kicking around include:
  • "Catch the Fever!"
  • "All Aboard!"
  • "Baseball Ahoy!"
  • "Get into the Game!"
Personally, I guess "Play Bizzall" is the most unique, but is it what the people want? Could we get Snoop Dogg himself out there to say it on Opening Day 2010 to really kick this thing off the right way? Between that and the potential for another run at Lima Time, the stadium might blow up.

Now is the time to make suggestions for what you think would be a great minor league baseball tagline for the Long Beach Armada as we enter our sixth season. We'll open up some of the best suggestions to a public vote soon, but right now we need suggestions.

Who knows what may happen. Perhaps we will fall victim to random celebrities using their popularity to hijack the voting the way Stephen Colbert did to NASA. Something tells me we might get a few too many votes for the tagline of "Tune into the Colbert Report tonight after the Daily Show" which doesn't really get our point across, but neither does something like "Come Out & Play" so what's the harm.

Please leave your preliminary suggestions in the comment field below. Let the madness begin!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Replay coming to MLB?

One problem that is about to blow up in Major League Baseball that you won't see as an issue in the Golden Baseball League: the use of instant replay. And the first dominos have already fallen. Here comes the rest...

With one round of the 2009 MLB playoffs in the books, baseball's instant replay debate is once again being, um, replayed -- this time with new evidence a la the League Division Series. With bungled calls in several series, most notably the fair ball called foul in the Yankees-Twins ALDS, look out as critics will begin the cries for more use of replay technology while purists defend the use of umpires who "get it right more often than not."

A year ago I said that implementing instant replay for home runs would lead Major League Baseball down the slippery slope of letting instant replay decide most of if not all of a very objective game. Because of the baseball's objective nature compared to particular calls in football or basketball (calling holding or block fouls is much more subjective than safe or out), it's much easier to instant replay to overtake the game, which I must say may not be the worst thing.

"I realize a home run is more important than a regular old play because it means point are either on or off the scoreboard. But where does it stop?

Home runs are okay to replay. But not a play at the plate, which might be more difficult to call despite an umpires close proximity to the play. I don't like the concept of limited instant replay. That's how things started in the NFL, and the league seems to expand replay every year to include more and more rules that were either overlooked or deemed not important enough when the NFL originally added replay.


If MLB is going to use instant replay, they shouldn't decide to do it just for HRs. Might as well implement it everywhere and get the whole thing over with.

That's what I wrote over a year ago, and now it's time for us all to get ready as baseball could very realistically be adding new elements to it's replay abilities by as soon as next season. I don't think this will get as advanced as the NFL where managers are throwing challenge flags and instead of losing timeouts, the teams have to make extra outs or something.

But what if the MLB used tennis's Hawk-Eye replay system (in use since 2006) to rule fair and foul balls in relation to where they bounce down the foul lines. It takes tennis less than 10 seconds, and it's accuracy is virtually unsurpassable. That could easily be implemented, and calls like the one from the Yankees-Twins series would not longer be in doubt.

Let's get an official in the booth who can quickly assess if the ball beats the runner to the bag on routine force outs. Or perhaps make it extremely centralized a la the NHL, and have the MLB headquarters directly review any plays in question. After all, while a home run directly reflects points on the scoreboard and thus clearly can affect a final score, what about a runner called out at first base who might have come around to score after subsequent hits later in the inning?

Don't argue about the sanctity of the game being ruined by the addition of technology. The "sanctity" of the game is in doubt so long as umpires are blowing these calls. Replay doesn't worsen the game's reputation.

The flood gates are open with home runs, so it's only a matter of time before everything else flows through.

2010 Season Tickets Available!


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by 11/2/09
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* Never A Wasted Ticket Program – Redeem unused season tickets from past games at the box office for a ticket to another Armada game for free. Now you can bring a friend with leftover tickets. Subject to availability.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Promotional Ideas for 2010

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