05.25.05

Zephyrs Vs. Girls Gone Wild

Posted in Baseball at 6:07 pm by

When Reid Ryan purchased the Edmonton Trappers franchise and arranged to move the Astros’ PCL affiliate to Round Rock, TX, it set off a chain reaction which resulted in Houston’s previous Triple A farm club, New Orleans, signing an agreement with the Washington Nationals. The Washington Post’s Thom Loverro on the difering nightlife options compared to Edmonton.

Edmonton’s claim to fame is the West Edmonton Mall. Granted, it’s the largest mall in the world, but it’s still a mall.
New Orleans, meanwhile, boasts the French Quarter, Mardi Gras, voodoo and “Girls Gone Wild” videos. Its economy is driven by gluttony and a few more of the seven deadly sins.
How, then, can the New Orleans Zephyrs behave on Bourbon Street? How can any young, red-blooded American males — ballplayers, no less — keep out of trouble in a town built on temptation?
For the Zephyrs, it has been easy. They keep remembering why they are in New Orleans.
“We’ve had no trouble whatsoever,” Zephyrs manager Tim Foli said. “They understand what they are trying to accomplish. They are trying to get to the major leagues. That is where they want to play, and [they] have to try to do everything they can to get ready for that, so they take care of themselves. A lot of them have families, too. They understand it is a job that can create a lot of benefits for them if they can get to the next level, and that is what they are working on.”
And that’s true from the younger players so close to a shot at the majors to the older ones who want to get back.
“Maybe if it were a lower level, with younger players, it might be a problem,” veteran pitcher Dan Smith said. “But the guys here are mature enough that they are focused on what they are trying to do on the field.”
Adam Wogan, the Nationals’ director of player development, said there were no concerns when the franchise signed a two-year agreement last winter with the Zephyrs.
“Players can get into trouble any place they go,” he said. “We didn’t think it would be a problem. Once they get there and get settled, it’s just another place to live. If anything, it should be a problem for the visiting teams. [The Zephyrs] should have a great home record.”
They don’t, at least not this year. New Orleans is 9-13 in its first 22 games at the “Shrine on Airline,” the local reference to Airline Drive, the street where Zephyr Field is located about eight miles from the French Quarter.

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