2021 Ogden Raptors are ready for a 92-game season
BY RYAN SPELTS
SPRING IS IN THE AIR, and that means baseball season is just around the corner. It is my favorite time of year. I always look forward to watching a baseball game under the lights, with a hot dog and some peanuts. America’s past-time underwent some changes this last year, and those changes had an effect on many teams nationwide, including the Ogden Raptors. The Pioneer League, which the Raptors are part of, has become an independent baseball league. The league still has a partnership with Major League Baseball, but they are now much more independent.
For most spectators, the game and the team will remain the same, with a few small differences. First, the team is not directly affiliated with a Major League team. All MLB teams can now recruit players from the team directly. Secondly, the newfound independence gives the team more control over their recruiting efforts, and they will be recruiting more local college players to move up and play professional baseball. In fact, they will start holding more local tryouts for select recruits each season.
There will also be more games. The new season will consist of 92 games, and with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc worldwide, when the season starts, the team will need our support. With the need for social distancing, the team has a goal to sell out every available seat for every game.
Raptors owner, Dave Baggott, says he believes we will see better baseball as a result of the change. Because the team is recruiting and paying their own players, they anticipate finding great players to put in a uniform. They also anticipate the average age of players will go up slightly, which will play well in the Utah market. We also have great baseball in area colleges, and those players will now have a better opportunity to get noticed by a professional baseball team. MLB is also decreasing its draft by about half, which will leave more high-level undrafted players to choose from.
The Ogden Raptors have a great history that started out as an independent baseball team in 1994. Today, as they return to that independence, they look forward to the flexibility it brings. Most importantly, they look forward to providing a great baseball experience for the Ogden area. I am excited for the upcoming season, and I hope to see you out at the ballgame at Lindquist Field!