June 29, 2012

Sweden: 2012 Allsvenskan – Location-map, with 2011 attendance data & All-time Allsvenskan titles list.

Filed under: Sweden — admin @ 7:16 pm

Swedish Allsvenskan 2012 Location-map, with titles list and attendance data

Allsvenskan – fixtures, results, table‘ (
On Saturday, 30 June 2012, Sweden’s Allsvenskan resumes playing their 2012 season after a 7-week break for UEFA Euro 2012.

The Swedish first division football league is called Allsvenskan, which in English translates as The All-Swedish. It was established in 1924. For the first 34 seasons (1924-25 to 1957-58), the league played a standard early autumn to spring season, with a winter break, and was only contested among clubs from the south of Sweden up to Stockholm, with clubs from north of Stockholm not inviterd to participate due to cold temperatures there.

The Swedish top flight is one of, if not the, most-wide-open football leagues in the world. I say that because the title has gone to a different club each season for the last 8 years. 2011 title-winner was 7-time Allsvenskan champions Helsingborgs IF. In 2010, Malmö won it. In 2009, AIK won it. In 2008, Kalmar won it (for the first time). In 2007, Göteborg won it. In 2006, Elfsborg won it. In 2005, Djurgårdens won it.

Helsingborgs IF (who are commonly referred to as Helsingborg) are one of around 5 to 7 Swedish football clubs that can draw in double-figures. Helsingborg usually draws between 10 to 11 thousand (and Helsingborg drew 11,203 per game in the title-winning campaign in 2011). An aspect of Swedish top-flight football in terms of each club’s crowd size in any given season is that crowds are very contingent upon how well a club is doing that season, and crowds’ sizes can vary from year-to-year by several thousand. One of those clubs that can draw in the 10-thousand range – Hammarby IF, of Stockholm – has been stuck in the second division since 2010, and has seen their gates drop from the 11 to 13K range down to the 6 to 7 K range. Another club that is capable of drawing above 10K – Djurgardens, also of Stockholm – has seen crowds drop from the 12 to 13 K range to the 8 to 9 K range since they last won the title in 2005.

The 5 clubs who are currently [as of 2011 and 2012] able to draw above 10 thousand per game are listed below, in order of 2011 attendance rank…

AIK Fotboll, Råsunda Stadium -
Image credit above –’s Eye satellite view. Solna;

AIK Fotboll are Stockholm’s biggest club, and are the top-drawing Swedish club most seasons, and drew an Allsvenskan-best 13,865 per game in 2011. AIK’s full name is Allmànna Idrotsklubben (which in English translates as ‘The General Sports Club’, or ‘The Public Sports Club’). AIK can draw at or close to 20 thousand per game, as they did in 2009, when they last won the Allsvenskan title. Being the biggest club from the biggest city in Sweden, AIK have sort of under-achieved, having only won 5 Allsvenskan titles. AIK wear black jerseys with yellow trim, and their distinctive crest features a stylized-shield-with-sunburst–and-castle-motif in navy blue, yellow, and dull gold. AIK play at Råsunda Stadium in Solna, which is a municipality in Stockholm County bordering Stockholm City Centre (and is a 10-minute metro ride from central Stockholm). Stockholm, Sweden’s capital and largest city, has a metro population of around 2.09 million {2011 figure}. Råsunda Stadium is owned by the Swedish FA, and is one of the homes of the Swedeish men’s national football team. AIK are the Swedish club with the most seasons spent in the first division, with 83 seasons {see this chart from, ‘Allsvenskan/Clubs‘}. AIK did have a recent relegation, in 2004, but they bounced straight back in 2005.

Malmö FF, Swedbank Stadion -
Photo credits above – via

2nd-best drawing Swedish club in 2011 were Malmö FF, a club from Scania, which is the southern-most province of Sweden. Malmö drew 12,318 per game in 2011. Malmö can pull in 15K in good years, as they did in 2010, when they last won the title. Malmö FF are from Malmö, which is the third-largest city in Sweden and has a population of around 658,000 {2010 figure}. Malmö FF, who sport pale blue jerseys, are the most-successful Swedish club in the modern era, having won the Allsvenskan title 19 times. Malmö FF is where AC Milan FW Zlatan Ibrahimović got his start (in 1999-2001). Makmö have a nice new stadium, Swedbank Stadion, which has a 24,000 capacity, and opened in 2009. Malmö are the only Swedish club to have ever made it to a European Champions Cup final, in 1979, under English manager Bob Houghton, but they lost 1-0 to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in Munich.

Helsingborgs IF, Olympia -
Photo credits above – David Castor at;
Reigning champions Helsingborgs IF drew third-best last year at 11.2K. Helsingborgs wear red jerseys and blue trim. The IF in the club’s name stands for Idrottsförening, which translates to English as ‘Sports Club’. Helsingborgs IF are from Helsingborg, a small city of around 97,000 {2010 figure} on the north-west coast of the Baltic Sea (and a short ferry-ride away from Denmark, which can be seen in the far background of the aerial photo of the coast-line of the city of Helsingborg, above). After Malmö, Helsinborg is the second-largest city in the province of Scania. Perhaps the most famous player who played for Helsingborg was former Celtic and Barcelona FW Henrik Larsson, who was born in Helsingborg. Larsson, who scored 434 goals in his pro career, had two stints for Helsingborg, from 1992-93 and from 2006-09. Helsingborg plays at the attractive and compact Olympia, capacity 17,200.

IFK Göteborg, Gamla Ullevi -
Photo credits above – Simon Axelsson at

Fourth-best drawing in 2011 were IFK Göteborg, the biggest club from Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg. IFK Göteborg are the second-most successful club from Sweden in the modern era, with 13 Allsvenskan titles, their last in 2007. Göteborg wear royal blue-and-white vertically-striped jerseys. Gothenburg is in the south-west of the country on the west coast, on the Kattegat, which is a sea that is between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Gothenburg has a metro population of around 938,000 {2011 figure}. It might surprise you that, currently, Greater Gothenburg has more clubs in the top flight than Greater Stockholm – 3 in the Gothenburg metro area and just 2 currently in the Stockholm metro area. Göteborg won the UEFA Cup title twice – in 1982 and 1987. That first UEFA Cup title was won with a young Sven Göran-Erikson as manager – he turned the then-part-time-professionals at Göteborg into an efficient counter-attacking side. Göteborg have played the second-most seasons in top flight Swedish football, with 79, and have played the most Allsvenskan seasons consecutive -36 seasons consecutive (since 1977). Göteborg share their stadium (which is owned by the city of Gothenbueg) with another top-flight club, the 4-time title-winners GAIS (though GAIS’ last championship was in 1954), as well as a 3rd division club, Orgryte, who also have won titles, 2 Allsvenskan titles (though Orgryte’s last title was in 1928).

IF Elfsborg, Borås Arena -
Photo credits above – Adrian Pierre Pihl Spahiu at
The fifth-best-drawing club in Sweden in 2011 is current [June 2012] leaders IF Elfsborg, who are from Borås, a small city 56 km. (35 miles) east of Gothenburg. Borås has a population of just 66,000 or so {2010 figure}, yet support 5-time-champions Elfsborg very well – Elfsborg drew 10,029 per game in 2011. That means that last year, Elfsborg drew the equivalent of 15% of the population of the town of Borås. Similar to the colors of the coat of arms of the province of Västergötland, Elsborg wear yellow with black trim. Elfsborg are tied with AIK for the 6th-most Allsvenskan titles – with 5. Elfsborg’s last title was won in 2006. Currently [the last week of June, 2012], Elfsborg sit at the top of the 2012 Allsvenskan, after 12 of 30 matches played, leading Malmö by 8 points. Elfsborg’s stadium is the 17,800-capacity Borås Arena (which they share with a third division cub called Norrby IF). Borås Arena is a smart looking little ground, as you can see above. Not many municipalities in the world that are smaller than 70,000 population can regularly put over 10 thousand per game into a new 17,000-capacity stadium that is home to a club with close to a half dozen national titles.

Actually, there are exactly zero other clubs on the face of the planet that: 1). play in a 1st division pro association football league; 2). can regularly draw 10 thousand; 3). have won over 5 national titles; and 4). that are located in a city which has less than 100,000 inhabitants. Think about it. That is some serious fan support there; and that is without a doubt a club that has got its act together. Forza Elfsborg forever!

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘Allsvenskan‘.
Thanks to E-F-S site for attendance figures.

June 22, 2012

Minor League Baseball: the Northwest League (Class A-Short Season).

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Class A — admin @ 8:57 pm

Northwest League

The Northwest League official site,

The Northwest League is an 8-team Class A-Short Season minor league baseball league, and is part of Organized Baseball. It has teams in the states of Washington (4 teams), Oregon (2 teams), Idaho (1 team), and in the Canadian province of British Columbia (1 team). Although technically within the fourth level of the Major League/minor league ladder, these days the Class A-Short Season level of the three-tier Single A level is more universally regarded as the 6th level of Organized Baseball (with Class A-Advanced considered the 4th level, and Class-A considered the 5th level). Another way of putting it is that the two Class A-Short Season leagues – the Northwest League and the New York-Penn League – are more akin to the Rookie Leagues than to the other two higher sections of the Class A level.

The seasons really are much shorter in the two Class A-Short Season leagues. The 8-team Northwest League plays a 76-game season, as opposed to the much longer seasons in the two Class-A leagues (the 16-team league the Midwest League has a 138-game season, and the 14-team league the South Atlantic League has a 140-game season). The other league in the Northwest League’s section, the New York-Penn League, has 14 teams and a 74-game season. That means there are 22 teams in the two Short Season leagues. If you are wondering why there are just 22 teams in the Class A-Short Season section, and not the MLB-equivalent 30 teams (like the rest of the baseball ladder), again, this is an example of how much closer the Short Season leagues are to the Rookie Leagues – because those 8 Major League Baseball teams that don’t have a team in the Short Season leagues skip this level and have their short season farm team in one of the two top Rookie Leagues (in the Appalachian League or in the Pioneer League).

From ‘’Minor league baseball/Current system/Class A-Short Season‘…(excerpt)…
…’As the name implies, these leagues play a shortened season, starting in June and ending in early September with only a few off-days during the season. The late start to the season is designed to allow college players to complete the College World Series before turning professional, give major league teams time to sign their newest draftees, and immediately place them in a competitive league. Players in these leagues are a mixture of newly-signed draftees and second-year pros who weren’t ready to move on, or for whom there was not space at a higher level to move up. Second-year pros tend to be assigned to extended spring training until the short-season leagues begin. For many players, this is the first time they have ever used wooden baseball bats, as aluminum bats are most common in the amateur game. Players are permitted to use certain approved composite bats at this classification to help them make the transition from aluminum to wood bats. This is also often the first time they have played every day for a prolonged basis, as amateur competitions typically regulate the number of games played in a week…’ (end of excerpt).

In 2011, the Northwest League had a cumulative average attendance of 3,006 per game, which was an increase of +2.9% over the 2010 league average (which was 2,920 per game). [I could only find attendances for the Northwest League back to 2006, and the peak from 2006 to 2011 was been in 2008, at 3,026 per game {see NWL .]

The roots of the Northwest League are in the second incarnation of the Western International League, which existed from 1937 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1954. It was a Class B league through 1951, then upgraded to a Class A league in 1952. Three years later, in 1955, the Western International League changed its name to the Northwest League. The Western International League had a larger percentage of Canadian teams than the Northwest League has had. Presently [2012], the Northwest League has one Canadian team – the Vancouver Canadians – who are the only Canadian minor league baseball team currently in Organized Baseball, in fact. By way of comparison, in 1954, its last year before changing its name to the Northwest League, the Western International League had 10 teams, four of which were Canadian.

Here were the teams in the last season of the Western International League (1954) -Calgary (Alberta, Canada), Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), Lewiston (Idaho), Salem (Oregon), Spokane (Washington), Kennewick/Pasco/Richland (Washington) [playing as "Tri-City"], Vancouver (BC, Canada), Victoria (BC, Canada), Wenatchee (Washington), and Yakima (Washington).

The original seven teams that formed the newly-named Northwest League the following season of 1955 were the Salem Senators, the Eugene Emeralds, the Yakima Bears (I), the Spokane Indians (I), the Tri-City Braves, the Wenatchee Chiefs, and the Lewiston Broncs. In its 50th anniversary season in 2004, five of the seven original cities were still in the Northwest League, and that is still the case today. Those 5 locations are Eugene, Salem, Spokane, Tri-City, and Yakima.

The top 3 drawing teams in 2011 in the Northwest League, starting with #3…
The Eugene Emeralds. PK Park, Eugene, Oregon -
Photo credit above –
The oldest currently active team in the Northwest League is the Eugene Emeralds, who formed in 1955 as an Independently-affiliated minor league team and were a charter member of the Northwest League that same year. Eugene held on as an Independent minor league ball club for its first 4 seasons (being an Independent team within a predominantly MLB-affiliated minor league was way more common 50 or 60 years ago than it is today…today it is almost unheard of). Eugene’s first MLB-affiliation was in 1959, with the San Francisco Giants. All told, the Eugene Emeralds have been part of 10 MLB farm systems, including 2 separate stints as an independent club. In 1969, while part of the Philadelphia Phillies’ farm system, the Eugene Emeralds made the huge jump from a Class A-level team in the Northwest League to the Triple A-level Pacific Coast League. This only lasted 5 seasons, and in 1974, after the Phillies dropped them, the Eugene Emeralds, as an independent team, re-joined the Northwest League. The next year they became part of the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system (for a 9-year stint), and since then, the Emeralds have been part of the organizations of… the Kansas City Royals (for 11 years from 1984-94), the Atlanta Braves (for 4 years from 1995-98), the Chicago Cubs (for 2 years from 1999-2000), and, currently, with the San Diego Padres (for 12 years now, since 2001).

Eugene drew third best in the Northwest League in 2011, drawing 3,018 per game to their smart 4,000-capacity PK Park, which opened in 2009 and became the home of the Emeralds in 2010. PK Park features an open-air main stand protected by a bold sweeping roof – sensible for the rainy climate of coastal Oregon. In 2011, the Eugene Emeralds’ 75.4 percent-capacity was second-best in the league, and slightly higher than the Boise Hawks’ 75.3 percent-capacity. Only the second-newest Northwest League team – the Vancouver Canadians – had a higher percent-capacity last season (see below).

The Vancouver Canadians (II). Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -
Photo credit above –
In 2011, the Vancouver Canadians (est. 2000) led the Northwest League in percent-capacity (82.7%-capacity) and had the second-best attendance (4,267 per game). The Vancouver Canadians (II) were originally an Oakland A’s farm team for their first 11 seasons, and since 2011 have been affiliated with the only Major League Baseball team based in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. Having a Canadian parent-club helped Vancouver bump up attendance 199 per game from 2010. It must be pointed out that Vancouver, British Columbia is a pretty large city for this level (metro population, 2.1 million {2006 figure}). The city of Vancouver is, for lack of a better word, slumming it, by having their sole professional baseball club be in a minor league that is 5 levels below the Major Leagues. The city of Vancouver is also slumming it by having their baseball team play in a stadium that is 61 years old. On the map page, check out the six decades’ worth of moss growing on the roof of the Canadians’ Nat Bailey Stadium, which opened in 1951 (or see it here [at upper right, click the + sign to zoom in] via satellite view at And remember…this Class A-Short Season team is Organized Baseball’s only minor league team in all of Canada currently {‘List of baseball teams in Canada‘ (}.

In fact, there are 62 municipalities in Canada with a population of over 50,000, and only one of them, Vancouver, has an affiliated minor league baseball team. {See this,} London, Ontario’s London Tecumsehs were a successful 19th Century baseball club and a charter member of the first minor league, the International Association, which formed in 1877, one year after the National League was established {see this, from}. Toronto, Ontario, Canada had a top-level minor league team, The Toronto Maple Leafs (of the International League) from 1911 to 1967. In 1946, in the season before he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson played in Canada for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ top farm, the Montreal Royals (of the International League, 1928-1960). lists 70 municipalities in Canada that have had minor league baseball teams, and the lion’s share of those teams were within Organized Baseball {Minor League Encyclopedia at (Canada is listed 4/5ths of the way down the page).) 20 years ago, in the 1992 season, there were 8 Canadian teams in Organized Baseball – 3 in Triple-A (Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver); 1 in Double-A (London, ON); 3 in Short Season-A (Hamiton, ON; St. Catherines, ON,; and Welland, ON); and 1 in the Rookie Leagues (Medicine Hat, Alberta). Canada has had a significant presence throughout the history of minor league baseball. Now the presence Canada has in minor league baseball is reduced to one Short Season Single-A team and 3 Independent league teams – the London Rippers, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, and the Québec Capitales. The London team is new for 2012, and the teams from Winnipeg, Manitoba and from Quebec City, Quebec can be seen on my map of the top 122-drawing minor league baseball teams from 2011 [map of Organized Baseball teams, including Independent league teams, that drew over 3,000 per game in 2011],

[I chose 50 K as a measuring tool because, while there still are teams within Organized Baseball that come from municipalities smaller than 50,000, this figure still can be seen as a general cut-off point for the city-size necessary to support a farm team of a Major League Baseball team. Examples of affiliated minor league teams from municipalities with less than 50K-metro-area-population in Organized Baseball in 2012 (in leagues which measure attendance [17 leagues])… In the 3 Class AAA leagues (zero). In the 3 Class AA leagues (zero). In the 7 leagues in the 3 Class A levels (4 teams). And in the Rookie Leagues [the 2 Rookie Leagues which measure attendance] (2 teams)… From the Midwest League (Class A): Burlington, IA; and Clinton, IA. From the New-York Penn League (A-Short Season): Batavia, NY; and Jamestown, NY. From the Appalachian League (Rookie): Danville, VA; and Elizabethton, TN.]

In case you are wondering, the smallest municipality with a team in the Northwest League is Kennewick/Pasco/Richland, WA, home of the Tri-City Dust Devils. The Tri-Cities, in south-central Washington state, have a metro population of around 253,000 {2010 figure}. [Note: Yakima, WA and Everett, WA are the smallest cities with a Northwest League teams, but Everett is part of Greater Seattle, and Yakima has a larger metro area than the Tri-Cities.]

So there you have it – Canada, land of the Hockey Puck, to the detriment of every other pro sport with the partial exceptions of the Canadian Football League, and soccer (there are 3 Major League Soccer teams based in Canada).

For 22 seasons, from 1978 to 1999, Vancouver had a Triple A team in the Pacific Coast League (who were also called the Canadians), but that franchise moved to Sacramento, California in 2000, and the Sacramento River Cats are these days one of the highest-drawing minor league teams (usually averaging above 8,000 per game). Soon after that, the other two remaining PCL teams based in Canada – in Calgary and in Edmonton – also moved to American cities (to, respectively, Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2003; and to Greater Austin, Texas in 2005). Both these 2 teams also draw very well now that they are no longer in Canada. Then, a couple years after that, to make the Triple-A totally devoid of a Canadian presence, the Ottawa Lynx of the International League (who drew horribly for Triple-A, like in the 2,000-to-3,000-per-game-range) moved out of Canada to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2007, making the Vancouver Canadians the sole Canadian minor league team in Organized Baseball [2007-2012]. That Allentown, PA team, called the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, drew best in all of minor league baseball in 2011 {MiLB and Independent leagues’ 2011 attendance data, here (Ballpark}.

The Vancouver Canadians beat the Tri-Citiy Dust Devils in September 2011 to claim their first Northwest League title.

The Spokane Indians (IV). Avista Stadium, Spokane, Washington -
Photo credit above –
The highest-drawing team in the Northwest League is, once again, the Spokane Indians, of Spokane Valley, Greater Spokane. Spokane is in the parched and arid eastern half Washington state, near the Idaho panhandle. The Spokane Indians drew 4,827 per game at their 6,803-capacity Avista Stadium, which opened in 1958. The age of their ballpark makes Spokane’s good attendance even more significant, because the team is pulling in the highest crowds in the league with a stadium that is over half a century old. There was a Spokane team in the first two seasons of the Northwest League (1955-56) that went under. Then there was a different Spokane Indians team in the Triple-A PCL from 1958 to 1971 that was affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers revamped their farm teams and placed the Spokane team a couple rungs lower, so in 1972, Spokane had a team back in the Northwest League, but that version of the Spokane Indians lasted just that one season in ’72, because Spokane then landed a PCL franchise from Portland, Oregon, and the next year, 1973, Spokane had a Triple-A team again. This incarnation of the Spokane Indians lasted from 1973 to 1982, and was initially the top farm team of the new MLB club the Texas Rangers, then were the top farm of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1976-78, then were the top farm team of the nearby Seattle Mariners from 1979-81, then were the top farm team of the California Angels in 1982, then folded. The following year, 1983, the San Diego Padres put a farm team in Spokane, and for the city of Spokane, it was back down a few rungs again to the Northwest League, where this incarnation of the Spokane Indians, the present-day Spokane Indians (IV), have played now for 30 seasons, first as a Padres farm team (1983-94), then as a Kansas City Royals farm team (1995-2002), now back as a Texas Rangers farm team (2002-2012). The present-day Spokane Indians (1983-2012) have won the most Northwest League titles of any of the active teams in the league, with 8 titles, last in 2008.

For the record, with respect to league championships, the second-best showing by active teams, and by far the best percentage of titles-versus-seasons, is by the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (1997-2012). The Volcanoes have, very impressively, won 5 Northwest League titles in 15 seasons, with the Volcanoes’ last title in 2009. The Salem-Keizer Vocanoes have been a San Francisco Giants farm team ever since they started in 1997, and drew fourth-best in the Northwest League again in 2011, averaging 2,788 per game. The team is from Keizer, Oregon, which is 2 miles north of Salem, OR; and 37 miles south of Portland, OR. Salem, Oregon’s metro area population is around 396,000 {2009 figure}.

List of Northwest League champions‘ [1960-present] (

Photo and Image credits on map page -
Boise Hawks, idahoairships at
Spokane Indians,’s eye satellite view.
Tri-City Dust Devils,’s eye satellite view.
Yakima Bears, Larry Stone/

Eugene Emeralds,
Everett AquaSox,’s eye satellite view.
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes,’s eye satellite view.
Vancouver Canadians,’s eye satellite view

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘Northwest League‘.

Thanks to, for info on the teams and the seasons they were in the Northwest League, ‘Northwest League (Short-Season A) Encyclopedia and History‘ (

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page, for some of the logos, ‘Northwest League Logos’.

Attendance figures were culled from You won’t be able to find 2011 attendance figures for any of the minor leagues in Organized Baseball if you go to their site now, though…they get rid of all data from the previous season some time around the New Year. But I learned that the hard way last year, so I took screen shots of all 11 minor leagues’ 2011 attendance figures in December 2011, when the figures were still there. Hey MiLB – is it so hard to archive the data? Anyway, here is the’s archive for minor league attendance (2010 is missing, though), attenadnce archive (2005-2009; 2011).

Here is NumberTamer’s 2010 Minor League Baseball attendance report [pdf] (60 pages).
Here is NumberTamer’s 2011 Minor League Baseball attendance report [pdf] (66 pages)

June 13, 2012

Minor League Baseball: the South Atlantic League (a Class-A league).

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Class A — admin @ 8:50 pm

South Atlantic League

The South Atlantic League (III) is a 14-team Class A minor league baseball league within Organized Baseball. In 2011, the South Atlantic League averaged a solid 3,148 per game. The highest -drawing team in 2011 was one of the newest teams in the “Sally League”, the New Jersey-based Lakewood Blue Claws, who drew 6,558 per game – a very impressive figure for Single-A baseball. That figure was 28th highest in all of minor league baseball in 2011. Second-highest-drawing South Atlantic League team in 2011 was one of the oldest teams in the league, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, who have had a Sally League team since 1980, which was the first season of the modern-day South Atlantic League (III) (more on that further below). Greensboro drew 5,545 per game, which was 45th highest in all of minor league baseball in 2011 {map of top 122 drawing minor league teams in 2011, here}. The Greensboro Grasshoppers were also 2011 South Atlantic League champions {‘South Atlantic League/champions‘ (

There have been 3 South Atlantic Leagues throughout the history of minor league baseball in America. The first Sally League existed from 1904 to 1917; and 1919 to 1930, and was a Class C minor league up until 1920, when it became a Class B league. The second South Atlantic League, also a Class B league, existed from 1936 to 1942; then shut down because of World War II, and re-started and played from 1946 to 1962. In 1962, in the last season of the South Atlantic League (II), the league moved up a level to Class A. One year [1963] was then taken off for re-organization. In 1964, South Atlantic League (II) took the place of the disbanded-because-they-refused-to-integrate Southern Association (1901-1961).

South Atlantic League (II) circa 1936 to 1962 is actually the present-day Southern League (1963-present). [The Southern League is a Class AA league.]

After 1961, the name “South Atlantic League” went unused for 16 years. Then the name was adopted by the [Class A] Western Carolinas League (which existed from 1960 to 1979). That league was just a 5-team league in its last season before the name-change (see below). So in 1980, South Atlantic League (III) was established, also as a Class A level league within Organized Baseball.

Here are the 5 teams in the last season of the Western Carolinas League (1979) that switched from the Western Carolinas League of 1979 into the newly re-established South Atlantic League (III) of 1980…
-Asheville Tourists (1976 to present) – the Asheville Tourists are still in the South Atlantic League (and an Ashevile minor league baseball has been in nine different minor leagues throughout their 98-year history, from 1915 to 2012).
-Gastonia (NC) Cardinals (1977-82) – the Gastonia South Atlantic League franchise changed its name 3 times as their affiliation changed (Gastonia Expos: 1983-84; Gastonia Jets:1985 [Independent]; Gastonia Tigers: 1986; Gastonia Rangers: 1987-92). In 1993, the Gastonia franchise moved 40 miles north to Hickory, NC and became the Hickory Crawdads (1993 to present [2011]).
-Greensboro (NC) Hornets (1979-1993) – the Greensboro team is still in existence in the South Atlantic League…the Greensboro Hornets changed their name to the Greensboro Bats (in 1994), then changed their name to the Greensboro Grasshoppers (in 2004).
-Greenwood (SC) Braves (1968-79; 1980-93 as the Greenwood Pirates) – defunct.
-Shelby (NC) Pirates (as Shelby Reds, 1977-78; Pirates, 1979-80; Mets, 1981-82) – franchise moved to Columbia, SC (1983-2004); then moved to Greenville, SC as the present-day Sally League team the Greenville Drive.
These 5 teams went directly from the 1979 Western Carolinas League to the 1980 Sally League.

Here is an illustration of the 8 teams in the inaugural 1980 season of the South Atlantic League (III)…
1980 Final standings, South Atlantic League -
North Division
Greenboro Hornets (NYY) (champions)
Gastonia Cardinals (STL)
Asheville Tourists (TEX)
Shelby Pirates (PIT)

South Division
Charleston Royals (KCR)
Spartanburg Phillies (PHI)
Anderson Braves (ATL)
Macon Peaches (Independent)

Three of these teams have remained ever since in the same city – the Asheville Tourists, the Greenboro team (now called the Grasshoppers); and the Charleston, South Carolina team (Charleston Royals, 1980-84; Charleston Rainbows, 1985-93; Charleston RiverDogs, 1994-present).

The following year, 1981, the Macon Peaches became a Detroit affiliate and shed their precarious Independent-status (the only other Independent team in this league would be the aforementioned Gastonia Jets, in 1985). Macon later became the Macon Redbirds, then the Macon Pirates, and then, in 1988 moved 100 miles east to Augusta, GA and became the Augusta Pirates, then the Augusta GreenJackets (1994 to present/in Augusta since 1988). Also in 1981, 2 more teams were added to make the South Atlantic League a 10-team league – the Florence (SC) Blue Jays and the Greenwood Pirates. In 1987, the Sally League became a 12-team league, and spread its reach to West Virginia with the addition of the Charleston (WV) Wheelers, who were the Charleston Alley Cats from 1995-2004, and since 2005 have been known as the Charleston Power. The other new team in 1987 was the Myrtle Beach Blue Jays, which was the transferred Florence NC franchise. By 1988, other Sally League teams included the aforementioned Augusta Pirates, the Columbia (SC) Mets, the Fayetteville Generals, the Savannah Cardinals and the Sumter (SC) Braves.

In 1991, the Sally League expanded once again, with the re-introduction of a Macon, GA team – the Macon Braves; and the inclusion of a former Southern League team – the Columbus (GA) Indians. In 1993, the Sally League spread its range further north with their first Maryland-based team, the Hagerstown Suns (1993-present). Also in 1993, (as mentioned before) a team from Hickory, NC joined the league – the Hickory Crawdads. In 1994, Spartanburg said goodbye to its minor league team, and that team move east to Kannapolis, NC (a town 20 miles north of Charlotte), initially as the Piedmont Boll Weevils, then the Kannapolis Intimidators (since 2001, and named in honor of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, who had purchased a share of the team in 2000, before his death during a race in February, 2001). In 1996, a second Maryland-based team was added to the Sally League, with the new Delmarva Shorebirds of Salisbury, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. That same year, the South Atlantic League tried a new format, with 3 divisions, with a 4-team North Division (Delmarva, Hagerstown, Charleston (WV), and Fayetteville); a 6-team Central Division (Asheville, Hickory, Piedmont, Greensboro, Capitol City [Columbia, SC], and Charleston (SC)); and a 4-team South Division, all teams from Georgia, (Macon, Columbus, Augusta, Savannah). The 3-division format lasted from 1996 to 1999.

In 2001, the South Atlantic League expanded yet again, to a 16-team league, with the inclusion of the first team in the Sally League from Kentucky, the Lexington Legends; and the Wilmington (NC) Waves, who lasted one year (with an inadequate ballpark), then moved to Albany, GA as the South Georgia Waves (2002), then moved to the suddenly-vacant Columbus, GA spot (see 2 sentences below) with the same name (South Georgia Waves, 2003), then became the Columbus Catfish (2003-08), then moved again (see 2 sentences below). Also in 2001, the first Sally League team from the Northeast began play – the Lakewood Blue Claws, of Lakewood Township, NJ (located about 45 minutes south of New York City and about 1 hour north-east of Philadelphia). This team was the transplanted Fayetteville franchise. In 2003, the Macon Braves moved 130 miles NW to Rome, GA as the Rome Braves (2003-present). Also in 2003, the Columbus, GA team, the RedStixx, moved north to become the second South Atlantic League team north of the Mason-Dixon line by moving to northeast Ohio in Eastlake, Ohio (16 miles east of Cleveland), as the Lake County Captains (in the South Atlantic League from 2003 to 2009). The Lake County Captains would (logically) end up in the other Class A league , the Midwest League, in 2010. The other team that would leave the Sally League to join the Midwest League in 2010 was the Bowling Green Hot Rods, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, established in 2009 in the South Atlantic League, who were the transplanted Columbus, GA franchise (last called the Catfish, 2004-08).

So since 2010, the other Single-A league in Organized Baseball – the Midwest League – has had 16 teams, and the South Atlantic League has had 14 teams.

Photo and Image credits –
Delmarva Shorebirds,
greensboro Grasshoppers,’s eye satellite view.
Hagerstown Suns,’s eye satellite view.
Hickory Crawdads,
Kannapolis Intimidators,
Lakewood BlueClaws,’s eye satellite view.
West Virginia Power,

Asheville Tourists, photo by Baseball Bugs at
Augusta GreenJackets, Augusta GreenJackets via
Charleston RiverDogs,’s eye satellite view.
Greenville Drive,’s eye satellite view.
Lexington Legends,’s eye satellite view.
Rome Braves,
Savannah Sand Gnats,’s eye satellite view.

Base map of 1980 SAL map by Júlio Reis at at:
Thanks to
Thanks to Baseball, ‘South Atlantic League (A) Encyclopedia and History‘.

June 2, 2012

UEFA Euro 2012, hosted by Poland and Ukraine – map of qualified national teams and venues / Plus a chart of the statistics of the nations involved (major tournament records, populations, and GDP data) / Plus photos of the host cities and venues.

Filed under: Poland,UEFA Euro 2012,Ukraine — admin @ 9:02 pm
    Click on image below to see Euro 2012 map with all 16 teams

UEFA Euro 2012 map

    Click on image below to see Euro 2012 chart with all 16 teams’ data

Chart with teams’ & nations’ data

From, ‘Euro 2012 team guides – Get the lowdown on the 16 teams, all the top players and every manager ahead of Euro 2012‘.

The following link I highly recommend checking out. From, from 2 December 2011, ‘Euro 2012 venue guide: The eight stadiums in Poland and Ukraine‘.

Notes on nations’ data…
The GDP numbers and nation-rankings are from the CIA World Factbook, via this page at, ‘List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita‘. Excerpt from that page’s intro…’GDP dollar estimates here are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. Such calculations are prepared by various organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. As estimates and assumptions have to be made, the results produced by different organizations for the same country tend to differ, sometimes substantially. PPP figures are estimates rather than hard facts, and should be used with caution.’

Population numbers and nation-rankings are from this list at ‘List of countries by population‘. As paragraph 3 there says, ‘Figures used in this chart are based on the most recent estimate or projection by the national census authority where available and usually rounded off. Where national data is not available, figures are based on the 2010 estimate by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.’

    The UEFA Euro 2012 Tournament, hosted by Poland and Ukraine

Photos of the 8 host-cities in the illustrations below from [note: there a lots of other photos of the cities in the 8 nice galleries at this link].

National Stadium, Warsaw. Opened 2012. Capacity 58,145. 5 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group A matches, a Quarter-finals match, and a Semi-finals match.
Photo of Warsaw from Photo of National Stadium (Warsaw) by Vincent A. at, here; and at the following,

PGE Arena. Opened 2011. Capacity 43,615. 4 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group C matches, and a Quarter-final match.
Photo of Gdansk from Photo of PGE Arena Gdańsk by Piotr Krajewski at and at, here.

Poznań -
City Stadium (Poznań). Opened 1980, last renovated in 2010. Capacity 41,609. 3 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group C matches.
Photo of Poznań from Photo of City Stadium (Poznań) from via

Wrocław -
Stadion Miejski (Wrocław). Opened 2011. Capacity 42,771. 3 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group A matches.
Photo of Wrocław from Photo of Stadion Miejski by Łukasz Czyżykowski at Wroclaw.

Olimpiysky National Sports Complex. Opened 1923, expanded in 1966, and 1978; last renovated in 2011. Capacity 70,050. 5 matches in Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group D matches, a Quarter-finals match, and the Final (on 1 July, 2012).
Photo of Kyiv from of Olimpiysky National Sports Complex from

Donetsk -
Donbass Arena. Opened 2009. Capacity 52,598. 5 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group D matches, a Quarter-finals, and a Semi-finals match.
Photo of Donetsk from Photo of Donbass arena by Elparadiso19 at Arena.

Metalist Stadium. Opened 1926, last renovated in 2009. Capacity 38,500. 3 matches in Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group B matches.
Photo of Kharkiv from Photo of Metalist Stadium by Getty Images via

Lviv -
Arena Lviv. Opened 2011. Capacity 34,915. 3 matches in UEFA Euros 2012 will be played here: 3 Group B matches.
Photo of Lviv from Photo of Arena Lviv from via, Lviv Arena.


Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘UEFA Euro 2012‘.

Base map of Europe from .
Photos of jerseys from . Photo of Poland jersey from
Kit illustrarions from

Thanks to for the photo of the Poland home 2012-13 jersey.

Thanks to for the photo of the most of the jerseys on the map pages.

Thanks to for the flag of Ukraine, which has the correct shade of pale blue for the top band in the Ukrainian flag, unlike many other media sources, which have the top band of the Ukrainian flag royal blue instead of a very light blue.

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