Syracuse Chiefs

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The Syracuse Chiefs are a Triple-A baseball team. Their home field is Alliance Stadium and many pros have come through this program. The Chiefs play in the International North League. Their season has just begun and they look to add another title to their already decorated trophy room.


Contents

History

Sergio Santos
Sergio Santos pitching for the Chiefs. Photo Credit: PShanks.Creative Commons license.

The Syracuse Chiefs have a long and decorated history as a minor league organization. The start of the franchise can be dated as far back as 1877. During these years, the Chiefs were known as the Stars and they were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals. However in 1928, the Stars were relocated.

There was no minor league baseball in Syracuse for about six years. This absents ended when a ball club from New Jersey moved up to Syracuse. The team was now known as the Chiefs. Baseball would only have a 22 years stint in Syracuse. Once again the team was transferred to a new location. However during the years of 1936-1958, the Chiefs were able to win five championships. Baseball would make a return to Syracuse in 1961. Since this year, baseball has been played in Syracuse. The Chiefs have been affiliated with many different teams through this time. However, the franchise has not been moved from the Syracuse area. Although in 1997, the franchise name was changed from the Chiefs to the SkyChiefs. This would also lead to a change in the stadium in the same season.

The name of SkyChiefs lasted from only nine years. In 2008, the SkyChiefs affiliation changed and they were no long with the Toronto Blue Jays. The SkyChiefs began to be affiliated with the Washington Nationals and were once again called the Syracuse Chiefs. This will be the 2010 season will be the last year of the contract that was signed in 2008.

Currently, the Chiefs are named after the Chiefs on the railroad tracks. This name is paying homage to the men and women who worked on these tracks. The railroads delivered much needed resources to the upstate area. Now the team is anointed with the symbol of a train with a large C, not for cookie but for Chiefs.

In the 2009 season, the Chiefs finished with a record for 76-68. This was good enough for 2nd place in their division, International League North Divison, but was not enough to push the Chiefs into the playoffs. However, the 2010 season is a fresh start. The future looks bright with Washington’s first draft pick being Stephen Strasburg. He will make his start with their Triple A team, the Chiefs. The Chiefs season starts April 8th, 2010 and they will be looking to capturing another International League Championship.

Alliance Stadium

The Syracuse Chiefs current stadium is known as Alliance Bank Stadium and was formally known as P&C Stadium. The stadium was renovated in 1997 and the Chiefs have been playing in the same stadium from 1934 until present day. It holds roughly 11,117 people. The seats range from luxury boxes to regular bleacher seats. Baseball is not the only thing that is played at Alliance Bank Stadium.

Many other sports are have been played in the stadium as well. Soccer was played at Alliance Bank Stadium. The team was known as the Syracuse’s Salty Dogs. They enjoyed two years at the stadium. The program, however, was shut down. The Salty Dogs hope to make a comeback in later years. The Crunch are working towards having a game outside. This would turn the outside field into a rink. This idea came from the Winter Classics held in the NHL. However, for money reasons the stadium was not the place for the game to be played. Instead this game was played at the site of the New York State Fair Grounds. The stadium has also held concerts in recent years. The most recent concert being Dave Matthews Band. The stadium plans to present more concerts like this in the future.

Inside the stadium there are two decks. This means there are two sections of bleachers for fans to sit in. The park can be seen from any seat in the house. The stadium also has some dining experiences offered. Not only are there venues to buy soda and regular ball park food like hot dogs, pop corn, and all those things, but an actual restaurant. The name of the place is Hank Sauer Room Restaurant. It is located in the stadium and named after another notable name that came through the Chiefs organization. Hank Sauer played with the Chiefs and then went to the big leagues playing for such teams as the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants. The room itself holds up to 100 people in it. The food is made by a catering company named Centerplate. In 2010, the Hank Sauer Room hosted a St. Patrick's themed party. Children and Adults were allowed in with a fee of $10 and $15 respectively. The menu consisted of corn beef an cabbage and other Irish dishes.

The Chiefs schedule consists of 13 spring training games in the 2010 season. They start March 20 and end April 1,2010. The regular season starts soon after this. The regular season consists of 144 games. Of course if the Chiefs do well in regular season play, they will be able to compete in the playoffs. The tickets for home games range from $11 to $8. The $8 tickets are general admission and the $10 tickets are closer to the field. For more information about Chief's tickets, visit the Chief's website.

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Alliance Stadium on a beautiful day for baseball. Creative Commons License by Dougtone


Making it to the Big Leagues

The Chiefs have a long history of top players who have come through their franchise. Some notable names are Bobby Cox, Chris Carpenter, Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay, Aaron Hill, Fred McGriff, Thurman Munson, Deion Sanders, Alex Rios, David Wells and Vernon Wells. Some of these are current players and others are some names that any baseball fan can recognize. Bobby Cox is one of the greatest managers of all time. He currently managers for the Atlanta Braves. He has been thrown out of baseball more than any player or manager in Major League Baseball history. This is when the Chiefs were with the Yankees.

Not only a great manager came out of the Chiefs organization but also some star pitchers. The list includes Chris Carpenterwho has not only been a finialist for the Cy Young Award, but won it in the 2005 season. He was also a part of the 2006 Cardinals that won the World Series. Another star pitcher is Roy Halladay. He is one of the most dominate pitchers in baseball since the early 2000's, if not for being on a subpar team he might have many personal awards along with championships. He is currently hurling for the Phillies as of the 2010 season. However, maybe the most interesting pitcher of recent history is David Wells. From being one of the best pitchers in the league and one of the hugest hot heads, David Wells performed huge roles on the teams he pitched for. He even once pitched a perfect game, which is a dream for any pitcher who holds a baseball. Ever since 2008, David Wells can be heard on TBS broadcasting games. The Chiefs did not only have arms in their farm system but some power bats as well.

As of the 2009 season, there are 4 players that have some pop in their bats that came through the Chiefs system. They are Aaron Hill, Carlos Delgado, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. Hill had a career high in homeruns in the 2009 season belting over 35 long balls. Delgado is another one who can put on a homerun show. His career total for homers are 473. He, as of 2009, plays on the Mets, but won a championship with the Blue Jays. Up until the 2009 season, the duo of Wells and Rios were untouchable in the Blue Jays outfield, however the Jays wanted to go young and dumped Rios to the White Sox. In their prime, the two could be feared by any pitcher who had to face them.

This player is no longer playing in the big leagues but his homerun total surpasses that of Delgado. His name is Fred McGriff and his total stands at 493 only missing the 500 club by seven. This is another feat in baseball that gets your name remembered. McGriff won a championship with the Braves in 1995 and was named to numerous All-Star teams. However, even the accomplishments of McGriff are shadowed to the history of Thurman Munson.

Thurman Munson is a name many baseball fans know. His life and career was cut short when he crashed his airplane while trying to land it. During his career he won the American League MVP. He always won Rookie of the Year and a championship. Munson was named captain of the Yankees. This was a huge deal because the last captain of the Yankees was Lou Gehrig, one of the best baseball players of all time. Munson’s number is retired by the Yankees.

The Chiefs offer a real chance to get to see the future stars in baseball. Many people do not realize how close the next big star is to Syracuse University. It is a little bit further than the mall but can be reached easily. Maybe one would think instead of buying a new pair of shoes, they could go to Alliance Stadium and see the next upcoming star. Many look forward to 2010 season and Washington’s first round pick who has had a promising spring as of right now.

Eyes on Making it Pro

As stated above the Chiefs have been home to many talented players trying to make it to the big leagues. The 2010 season is no different from any other year. The two big names that could make a huge impact not only with the Chiefs, but possibly with the Nationals as well. Everyone who has followed baseball in 2009, has heard of his name. He was the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. This is no other than Stephen Strasburg. He is the most talked about pitching prospect since Mark Prior.

Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg getting ready to pitch. PHXwebguy. Creative Commons License

Early in the 2010 winter, Strasburg signed one of the biggest contracts to date for a pitcher who was coming out of college. His contract details are as such, he will receive a $7.5 million signing bonus and $15.1 million over four years. His college stats clearly impressed the Nationals. He was thought to not even need time in the minors after his performances in college and Spring Training. However, lucky for Chief fans, if the Nationals keep Strasburg in the minors for long enough, they keep him out of free agency for a bit longer. Strasburg should be playing with the Chiefs sometime this season before heading to Washington.


UPDATE Strasburg will make his Syracuse Chiefs debut, May 7th, 2010, at Alliance Stadium.



Another prospect that the Chiefs are excited about is Justin Maxwell. He, as of the 2010 season, starts in centerfield for the Chiefs. He has been with the organization since he was drafted in 2005 by the Nationals. He has made a few appearances in the Major League. He has also received some notable awards for his promise. His talent is very much hyped up and he was the winner of AFL Rising Star Award and was named to the 2007 All-Prospect Team. He is currently on the Nationals 2010, 40 man roster. In time he might play a bigger role with the big ball club, but for now he is playing with the Chiefs.

League and Active Roster

The Chiefs play in the International League. This is broken up into three different divisions. The North Division, where the Chiefs are, the South Division, and the West Division. The Chiefs have a difficult division playing the minor league clubs of the Yankees and the Red Sox. The teams in the division include the Pawtucket Red Sox, Buffalo Bisons, Scranton Yankees, Rochester Red Wings, and Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The 2010 Chiefs are in first in the early part of the season leading the Pawtucket Red Sox by one game.

Pitchers

Luis Atilano
Collin Balester
Andrew Kown
Mike MacDougal
J.D. Martin
Shairon Martis	
Scott Olsen
Joel Peralta
Atahualpa Severino
Doug Slaten
Jack Spradlin
Josh Wilkie
Zechry Zinicola

Catchers

Jamie Burke
Devin Ivany
Carlos Maldonado

Infielders

Eric Bruntlett
Seth Bynum	
Chris Duncan
Chase Lambin
Luis Ordaz
Pete Orr
Josh Whitesell	

Outfielders

Roger Bernadina
Marvin Lowrance
Justin Maxwell
Kevin Mench
Jerry Owens


The coaching staff is lead by Trent Jewett.He came from within the organization. In the 2009 season, he coached Washington's Single A team and in 2010, he will coach the Chiefs. Trent also has some playing experience. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm team for four seasons. His expectations for the Chiefs are high and he expects to be on top at the end of the 2010 season.

Location

The stadium is located at 1 Tex Simone Dr. There are many different ways to reach the stadium. One can get there by I90, both east and westbound, I-81, south and northbound, and 690 east and westbound. Easier directions are given on the Chief's website and find their way to the stadium. A public way to get there would be taking the bus. For every home game the Centro bus service has a shuttle bus to take one to the stadium. In order to catch this bus, one would go to the Fayette and Salina bus routes. After the game the same buses take the fans back to Downtown and from there they can take which ever bus they need to make it home.

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Related Sites

Syracuse Crunch

Syracuse Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse Women's Lacrosse

Syracuse Orange Football

Syracuse University Men's Basketball

Syracuse University Women's basketball