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PCL: Manny Ramirez, All-Stars and Patriotic Aliens

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Yes, Manny Ramirez is playing in the PCL and so far everybody seems to be having fun with it, one way or another.

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Fans in Omaha having fun at Manny's expense
Fans in Omaha having fun at Manny's expense
Minda Haas

Here’s what is happening around the Pacific Coast League as the Triple-A All-Star break draws near:

Alex Castellanos of the Albuquerque Isotopes was named the PCL Player of the Week (from July 2nd to 8th), prompting this tweet from Lander University baseball coach Kermit Smith (who was the coach at Belmont Abbey College when Castellanos attended there):

Manny Ramirez was signed by Texas to a minor league contract and assigned to Round Rock. He singled in his first at-bat against Royals prospect Yordano Ventura. Omaha is running a promotion while Round Rock is in town this weekend. For every out Ramirez makes, the Storm Chasers will give fans a 5% discount on merchandise after each game. They are capping the number of outs he can make at five, so fans could conceivably receive up to a 25% discount during any of the four games. Only in minor league baseball.

Ramirez is making himself useful in Round Rock. He noticed a flaw in Mike Olt’s swing and mentioned it to him. Olt had been in a 1-for-22 slump and went out the next day and picked up two hits. He has gone 6-for-15 (.400) since making the adjustment. Apparently, he rewarded Ramirez with a disguise to hide him from the autograph seekers.

When the Tucson Padres begin play in El Paso next season, they will do so with a new name. Fans have been voting on one of the following five names: Aardvarks, Buckaroos, Chihuahuas, Desert Gators and Sun Dogs. Word is, those choices were met with shock and anger by El Pasoans. Here’s why.

Ballpark Digest ran an article recently that suggests Tucson just isn’t cut out for pro baseball.

MLB Network will broadcast the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 17 at 9:00 p.m. (EST). The game will be played in Reno. Here’s a list of the PCL All-Stars. Reno manager Brett Butler will manage them.

Matt Davidson (Reno), Johnny Monell (Fresno) and Brock Peterson (Memphis) will represent the PCL in the home run derby in Reno during the Triple-A All-Star Game festivities. Peterson leads the league with 22 home runs. Monell has 15 home runs and Davison has 14.

Check out this story about Peterson’s unlikely journey to the Triple-A All-Star game. Good stuff.

The Tennesseean ran a story recently in which they spoke to a couple of Nashville Sounds about how they felt when they got their first chance to play in the big leagues. Loved what Josh Prince had to say.

You haven’t seen an alien until you see an alien sporting the American colors. Check out the hats the Las Vegas 51s wore during the July 4 home stand.

The Tacoma Rainiers got a shout out recently from Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees after they performed "Because of You." Of course, someone captured it on video.

Albuquerque is the hottest team in the league right now. They have won four in a row. Iowa and Sacramento are the coldest – both have lost three straight.

Speaking of hot, before Colorado Springs’ Corey Dickerson was called up to the big leagues last month, he was leading the PCL in hitting with a .386 average for the Sky Sox. In his last ten games for Colorado Springs, he hit .583 (21-for-36). And he hit .466 in June (19 games).

Reno's Chris Owings is now the active batting leader (.350). in the PCL. He hit three home runs against Fresno on Tuesday night. Afterward, he told that it was the first time he has ever hit three home runs in a game, including Little League.

If you are a fan of a team in the PCL, you don’t need me to tell you that it is a hitter-friendly league. A quick look at the numbers will tell you this as well. Only two starting pitchers in the 16-team league have an ERA under 3.00 (Sonny Gray, Sacramento – who was recently called up to Oakland ; Johnny Hellweg, Nashville – who spent some time in the big leagues but is headed back to the minors). And only one team (New Orleans) has a ERA under 4.00.

Nine of the 16 teams are averaging more than 5,000 fans per game this season. Sacramento leads the league in attendance. They are drawing an average of 7,984 per game.

All four PCL divisions are close this season. No division leader has more than a 3.0 game lead over the second place team.