Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner paid a visit to AT&T Field on Friday and saw the Tennessee Smokies beat the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-3.
Before the Lookouts’ second loss in as many games this season — they’ve allowed 32 hits so far — O’Conner addressed several topics during a short interview with the media.
Lookouts owner Frank Burke, who’s on Minor League Baseball’s board of trustees, is trying to sell the club. O’Conner said MiLB would have a mostly hands-free, “states’ rights” approach during the sale.
“By that I mean we allow the leagues to do their business and the teams to do their business,” he said. “We will be involved in the process, because ultimately my approval’s required for a transfer of ownership.
“We don’t pre-qualify; we don’t vet in advance. They will send us a proposal that they would like for us to consider, and we’ll pick it apart.”
In down economies, he said, minor league teams are among the “least affected” because of their value and affordability. He said overall Minor League Baseball revenue was down “less than 5 percent” in 2009 and “less than 1 percent” last year.
The Lookouts drew 4,791 fans to Thursday’s opener, a 12-4 drubbing, and 4,604 attended Friday’s game. Two good crowds have seen the Lookouts get outscored by a combined 18-7. The Smokies outscored the Lookouts 23-6 in the first two games of last season.
With the help of two Lookouts errors, Tennessee loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning against starter Michael Antonini. He managed to get out of the inning with only one run scored, however.
The Smokies doubled the lead in the second when Jim Adduci belted a line-drive homer over the wall in right field. Josh Vitters doubled that lead to 4-0 with a two-run double in the third.
Jaime Pedroza got the Lookouts on the scoreboard with a two-out RBI single in the third. Pedroza had two of the Lookouts’ five hits.
Antonini pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and three earned runs. Corey Smith and Kyle Russell singled in runs for the Lookouts in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Smokies’ lead to 5-3.
The Lookouts’ batting order got reshuffled in the sixth when Alfredo Silverio batted out of order. Nobody caught the error before Silverio’s at-bat was complete, so the Lookouts weren’t penalized — and the incorrect batting order became the order of record.
Steven Jackson is scheduled to start tonight’s 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Alberto Cabrera scheduled to go for the Smokies.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...