Just a couple of days after Major League Baseball ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation announced a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Association of Minor League Umpires. The new deal will be good through the 2016 season and is good news for those were worried about a strike or work stoppage by Minor League Umpires as their previous collective bargaining agreement was set to expire later in the week.
In other news, the official Minor League Baseball Website (MiLB.com) has announced the results of its year end, fan-voted poll of the Best Teams in Minor League Baseball for 2011. The winner for the Triple-A Division was the Columbus Clippers, an Indians-affiliate team in the Columbus League, who captured their second consecutive Triple-A Championship. The Double-A fan-vote went to New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate who won the Eastern League title. The Kinston Indians ran away with the Class- A Advanced vote, while the Greensboro Grasshoppers took the Class A vote shortly after the Florida Marlins affiliate captured the South Atlantic League Championship. Finally, the Vancouver Canadians were named the best Short Season team by voters, beating out several other Canada-based clubs.
The MiLB website also announced the annual “Reliever of the Year” awards for all levels of the League. The Triple-A award went to Jairo Asencio of the Atlanta Braves- affiliate Gwinnett Braves club, while the Double-A award was given to Cory Burns of the Cleveland Indian-affiliate Akron Aeros. Eliecer Cardenas of the Pittsburgh Pirates-affiliate Lynchburg Hillcats won the Class-A Advanced Reliever of the Year honors, while Drew Hayes of the Dayton Dragons, a Reds-affiliate, took home the Class A honors. Rounding out the list was Edwin Carl, who took home the Short-Season award as the closer on the Idaho Hills Chukars.