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AA Week in Review: Winnipeg gets cozy in Fargo, takes lead in standings

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It’s all about Winnipeg this week.

Aerial Views Of Winnipeg
Shaw Park, the usual home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

I didn’t really get a chance to review anything pertaining to the Winnipeg Goldeyes last week, simply because they weren’t really a part of any exciting games that I could find. They weren’t doing bad at all this time last week; in fact, they were only 1.5 games back from the Sioux Falls Canaries and Milwaukee Milkmen before the next week of play started. Now they’re on top, leading the Canaries by one game.

Goldeyes history

For the most part, baseball has existed in Winnipeg since the early 1900s. You have to go back to the groovy year of 1970 if you’re looking for the last time affiliated ball, as in affiliated with Major or Minor League Baseball, was in town. They were known as the Winnipeg Whips, the Class AAA team to the Montreal Expos, and that was the only year they existed. Before that, The Class A Winnipeg Goldeyes was an affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals from 1954 to 1965 as part of the old Northern League, winning three championships. Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton pitched for the 1964 Goldeyes for 12 games before shooting up the ranks. They also were an affiliate of the brand-new Kansas City Royals back in 1969, again in the Northern League, which was a Short-Season Class A league at the time.

After that, Winnipeg was not home to professional baseball until 1994 when the Rochester Aces of the independent Northern League were sold to a group from Manitoba. After only one season in existence, the new league saw its first team move, but it would prove to be a success. The Goldeyes went on to win the Northern League Championship right out of the gate and continue to appear in the postseason for ten consecutive seasons. Additionally, until they joined the American Association after the closure of the 2010 season, they had posted records above .500 all but two of their 17 seasons in existence.

The second half of the “core” of the current AA teams broke off from the Northern League after the 2010 season. Winnipeg was among the four teams (including Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Kansas City T-Bones, and Gary SouthShore Railcats) to join the AA ranks. The have won three American Association Championships (2012, 2016, and 2017) and appeared in the postseason two other years. Until the St Paul Saints moved into CHS Field, the Goldeyes would be at the top of the attendance charts for consecutive years and have continued to draw fans. Their fanbase is very solid and also travel well - trust me. Winnipeg and Fargo-Moorhead are long-time rivals, and they come to Newman Outdoor Field when given the opportunity.

I suppose you may have one other question about the team, and that might be: What the heck is a goldeye? Of course, it’s not a nickname that’s very common among any sports ranks. According to the trusty Wikipedia, it is “a fish usually served as a smoked delicacy and commonly called Winnipeg goldeye”; the fish is found in Canada and the northern United States. YUM!

Oh yeah, a couple game recaps

So how did the Goldeyes get to the top of the AA standings this past week? They’ve made Newman Outdoor Field their home this summer since they are not allowed to play in Shaw Park. Like, really made it their home as they won six out of seven games this week from the RedHawks, including a sweep of a doubleheader. Not to say that F-M didn’t try, because there were a couple of close games.

Dario Pizzano’s solo shot in the bottom of the fifth wasn’t enough in a 2-1 loss in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday. One run could have been saved if not for an error by RedHawks catcher Blake Grant-Parks. Kevin Hilton went five strong innings for the Fish, allowing only four hits, an earned run, and a walk while notching two strikeouts.

Sunday’s contest saw F-M on the visiting side and falling 2-0 to Winnipeg, but the game was a classic pitcher’s duel. Lefty Matt Tomshaw took the mound for the RedHawks and allowed six hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings to go along with seven strikeouts. Frank Duncan went opposite Tomshaw and also went seven innings, allowing six hits, five strikeouts, and no runs. The game fell on the shoulders of the bullpen, where Tyler Wilson allowed a Darnell Sweeney home run to give Winnipeg the first run of the day. Kyle Martin drew a walk, stole second, and came around to score on a Logan Hill single to add an insurance run. Hill tried to stretch it to a double, but was cut down to end the inning, but the damage was done for F-M.

Weekly Awards

It’s the second week in a row that a Saints player has won a weekly award. This time, it was a player holding a bat as first baseman John Silviano took home Player of the Week honors. The lefty, a former product of the Miami Marlins organization, slashed .348/.478/0.690 (1.087) with three homers and ten RBI. He also drew three walks during the six games he played.

Chicago Dogs reliever and owner of a major-league last name Adam Choplick won Pitcher of the Week honors. He earned three saves, all against the Milwaukee Milkmen, while pitching three innings of no-hit, no-run, no-walk baseball. On top of that, he notched seven strikeouts, helping the Dogs take five of six games this week from the Milkmen.

Coming up

Tonight through Thursday, St Paul will be visiting Fargo-Moorhead while Winnipeg will travel down to play against the Dogs at Impact Field. Milwaukee travels to Sioux Falls to take on the Canaries.

For the weekend series, St Paul will stay in Fargo and take on the Goldeyes while F-M drives down to Franklin to take on the Milkmen. Chicago will travel to the Birdcage to take on Sioux Falls.

Standings

Team Record GB
Team Record GB
Winnipeg Goldeyes 14-8 --
Sioux Falls Canaries 12-8 1.0
Milwaukee Milkmen 10-10 3.0
St Paul Saints 10-11 3.5
Chicago Dogs 9-10 3.5
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 7-15 7.0