Diamonds and Ice

Sandberg suspended, Jr. Blue Jackets fold
May 12, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Peoria Manager Ryne Sandberg has been suspended by the Midwest League for three games for his role in a bench-clearing episode Thursday night at Clinton. Sandberg was apparently upset by a sacrifice bunt attempt made by a Clinton player in the sixth inning of a game his team trailed, 6-0. He voice his displeasure to Clinton Manager Mike Micucci as he trotted out to his third-base coaching duties an inning later, and things escalated from there, with both teams’ dugouts emptying. No punches were thrown, though Sandberg and Clinton player Tim Smith were ejected.

Sandberg has been ejected three times this season and seven times in two seasons as Peoria manager.

“It was a little disagreement on style of play,” Sandberg told the Peoria Journal-Star. “Like anything, baseball has a way of taking care of things.”

The USHL has taken care of one of its problems, as the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets have ceased operations, the league has announced. The Junior Blue Jackets were a failure on and off the ice during their two seasons in the league, finishing last in the East Division both seasons and drawing very few fans to their games – which were played primarily at the Columbus Blue Jackets’ practice facility at Nationwide Arena.

The league has voted to give rights to all Junior Blue Jackets players to the Fargo Force, an expansion franchise that will begin play in the 2008-09 season. A scheduled expansion draft May 13 has thus been cancelled. 

“Many people, from Tom Goebel and his ownership to others around the USHL worked tirelessly to find a location where this franchise could be a success,” USHL President Gino Gasparini said. “But with the timing and the lack of an adequate facility in potential new centers, it was decided that it was in everyone’s best interests that the franchise cease operations.”

If you didn’t catch it, Omaha won the Clark Cup by beating Waterloo in overtime in a deciding Game 5 over the weekend. Barry Almeida’s goal just over six minutes into the extra period won the game and Clark Cup. Omaha trailed the series, 2-1, but won the final two games, including a 2-0 shutout in Waterloo in Game 4.