With a week to go in the MLB regular season, we can finally put a wrap on 2011 for the minor leagues.
The Columbus Clippers did the honors Tuesday night, posting an 8-3 win over the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Triple-A National Championship Game at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. It's the second straight title in the IL/PCL showdown for the Clippers -- and do I really need to remind you they're the Cleveland affiliate?
Columbus won last year's game over Tacoma, 12-6, in Oklahoma City. Oddly enough, the Clippers overcame 3-0 deficits in both contests. Columbus and Sacramento (2007-2008) are the only teams to win the game in consecutive years since it began in 2006.
I still hate the one-game idea, but it's better than nothing and it gets the season over so players can go on to an MLB call. Back when the Bisons played the Triple-A World Series (losing in 1998 to New Orleans in Las Vegas), it was a best-of-five affair. I'd love to see this go at least best-of-three but logistics are tough.
After five years in Oklahoma City, the game is now going to move around. Albuquerque hosted this year and the 2012 game is in Durham. After that, it's likely to alternate between the leagues. Would imagine the Bisons might throw their hat in the ring for it some year (the IL's next host role available is 2014).
One big plus: They got it on national television again, albeit on Versus when it used to be on ESPN/ESPN2 and probably should sneak on to MLB Network.
One negative: The name. Triple-A National Championship Game? Yawn. When it was in Oklahoma City, it was called the "Bricktown Showdown" because of the Bricktown region of town and the fact it was at Bricktown Ballpark. It was catchy but people outside that city didn't know what that meant either. Maybe they should just go with "Triple-A Showdown."