'One of their finest moments': Playoff Baseball returns to Akron after closure in 2020

‘One of their finest moments’: Playoff Baseball returns to Akron after closure in 2020

Cleveland Indians Double-A-affiliated Akron RubberDucks began their playoff run on Tuesday, beating Bowie Baysox 5-1 in the first game of the Northeast Championship Series.

It was a long way back to the playoffs after last year’s season was completely wiped out due to the coronavirus.

And the Ducks managed the post-season dramatically on Sunday, with last year’s AL Cy Young award winner and Native American ace Shane Bieber on the mound, who rehabs his shoulder as he returns to the Major Leagues.

He has not pitched in a major league match since June 13 and allowed three runs on three hits over 3 1/3 innings.

Commentator Terry pluto spoke with RubberDucks owner Ken Babby about the team’s success despite the uncertainty surrounding the season.

A season full of questions
After not playing as much as a game last season, RubberDucks entered this season full of understandable questions and concerns.

“It really was one of their best moments.”

Terry pluto

On top of already tough restrictions, Pluto says that player turnover made RubberDucks season even more difficult.

“[Double-A] is like the big bus station in the center of Akron. People come in and go in all directions, he says.

Not only did Bieber and around eight other Indians rehabilitate Major League players in Akron through this season, but the team went through 62 players in total throughout the year. For reference, Double-A teams must have an active guard size of 28 players.

“Even for the bus station, there is a lot,” Pluto said.

RubberDucks was also lucky that they did not have to cancel any games due to COVID-19 concerns among players and staff.

“This is not quite like the big leagues where you have social distancing and private jets. They travel on the bus and they have roommates on the road,” said Pluto.

RubberDucks still managed to win 73 games this year and achieve the title in the Northeast division.

“It really was one of their best moments,” Pluto said.

“[This attendance] shows that the heartbeat is still quite strong for Minor League Baseball in Akron and elsewhere. “

Terry pluto

Look forward to
Many teams in smaller leagues started the season and wondered how the fans would react after a year off. Babby said there was no sale of season tickets, and there were questions about the return of sponsors.

Despite restrictions to begin the season, including a delayed start to May and capacity limited to 3,200, things began to open up as the season progressed.

Pluto said that regular season attendance averaged 3,646 per game, and is in sixth place out of 12 teams in the league. It is just below normal attendance.

As for next year and beyond, fans have a lot to look forward to. Not only will they get the chance to see their favorite players in Major League rehab, but promising prospects such as George valera and Connor Pilkington should draw a lot of excitement as well.

RubberDucks (73-46) will play Bowie Baysox (73-47) on the road again on Wednesday. After that, they come home to Canal Park on Friday for game 3 and play 4th and 5th Saturday and Sunday, if necessary.

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