Last week, we announced the first three teams competing in the second season of our Minor League Monday Series! Automatically, we inducted the Top-3 teams from last season into this season's competition. This is a trend we will continue to follow for years to come. The Durham Bulls, Down East Wood Ducks, and the Greensboro Grasshoppers were dominant when put up against other teams in North Carolina, but how will they do when we venture the series outside of the state?
Today, we will be introducing six teams from around the United States nominated by you, the fans, to participate in our second season of Minor League Monday. After this week, we will have a total of nine teams for season two! Because of the response from social media, we will be expanding the number of teams in the series to at least twelve (Yes, we do have three more teams stacked up to announce next week) and are open to expanding to fifteen teams! So if you see a Minor League Monday post or are reading this article, comment which teams you would like to see! Without further ado, let's introduce the other six teams!
The Greenville Drive is the first out-of-state team we are introducing this year! They come from the same league as the Greensboro Grasshoppers, High A East, so there will be some competition in that division! In 1993 the team was founded as the Capital City Bombers. Since then, they have won two league titles. One in 1998 and one not too long ago in 2017. Last season, the Drive finished with a 67-53 record, placing #4 of 12 in the High A - East. Any improvement from last season may give the Drive an automatic bid into next year's series! We fully expect a strong performance coming from South Carolina.
The next team we will introduce comes from right outside Knoxville, Tennessee. Our first Chicago Cubs affiliated team, from the AAA - South, the Tennessee Smokies! Founded in 1921 as the Knoxville Pioneers, the Smokies are one of our oldest teams, but in recent history have not had much success. Since their founding, they have only won three league titles, two of which fell in the '70s ('74 & '78) and most recently in '04. Last season, the smokies did not have a strong finish as they ended up as the #7/8 team in the AA South with a 46-63 record. Our expectations are low for the Smokies, but go Cubbies am I right?
Next comes another team from Tennesse, and this team was nominated via TikTok (Follow @dawsonaro for all Ok Listen Here Sports TikToks). The Memphis Redbirds come from the AAA East, the same league as the Durham Bulls. The Saint Louis Cardinals affiliate finished in the league's bottom half (#12/20) with a 57-63 record. Though last season was not too hot, they have won four league titles since their founding in 1998 (2000, '09, '17, & '18). The Redbirds are one team that is a huge question mark for us because, though they did not have a good outing last season, they have to potential to give the defending champion a run for their money.
The next team is the third team nominated and accepted from the AAA East. Last year, they finished #9/20 in the league with a winning record of 63-56. The Milwaukee Brewers affiliated Nashville Sound is also the third team from Tennessee in this year's competition. The Sounds have three league titles to their names, falling in 1974, '78, and '04. The team was founded in 1978, making them the oldest sports franchise in Nashville. The Sound is bound to make some noise this season (pun and rhyme intended).
We promise at some point we will have another team outside of the AAA East, just not right now. Nominated via TikTok, the first team from a Northern State to be nominated and the second Red Sox affiliated team to participate this season, the Worcester Red Sox have punched their ticket into Minor League Monday. The Red Sox are entering their second season this year. Last year, they finished #10 in the AAA East with a 66-52 record. This year, the Red Sox are a sleeper team, as we don't know what to expect but could do well enough to contend by the end of the season.
As promised, we will get out of the AAA East and head to the AAA West. To our Oklahoma audience, we know this will make you happy. Coming from Bricktown, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have made their way into Season Two of Minor League Monday (That's a mouthful). One of the better teams introduced today finished last season with a 61-58 record, finishing #5/10 in the AAA West. The team was founded in 1962 as the Oklahoma '89ers (for my audience that isn't from Oklahoma, an '89er is a person who participated in the land run of April 22, 1889). Since their founding, they have won four league titles. Two in the sixties ('63 & '65) and two in the nineties ('92 & '96). The Dodgers are another tossup team since they finished just above .500 last season. There's room for improvement and potential contention.
So, there you have it! Six more teams in this year's Minor League Monday! Stay tuned next week as we announce 3-6 more teams, some of which may be making a return as requested by the audience! Be sure to nominate your favorite teams on any of our social media platforms or in the comments of this blog!