Triple-A National Championship Game
The Triple-A National Championship Game, previously known as the Bricktown Showdown, is a single championship game held annually between the league champions of the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), the two Triple-A leagues of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) with teams affiliated to Major League Baseball teams, to determine an overall champion of the classification. As the game is usually played at a neutral site, the host league has its team designated as the home team.
|Triple-A National Championship Game|
|Location(s)||Varies (see prose)|
|Inaugurated||September 19, 2006|
(AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States)
|Most recent||September 17, 2019|
(AutoZone Park, Memphis, Tennessee, United States)
|Previous event||September 18, 2018|
(Huntington Park, Columbus, Ohio, United States)
|Next event||September 2020|
(Las Vegas Ballpark, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States)
|Participants||The league champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League|
|Organized by||Triple-A Baseball|
The Durham Bulls and Columbus Clippers made four appearances each in the Triple-A Championship Game, the most of any team. The Sacramento River Cats have won three championships, more than any other team. Durham, Columbus, and the Omaha Storm Chasers have each won two. Five other teams have won one championship each. Nine titles have been won by PCL teams, while the IL has won five titles.
Between 1904 and 1975, the league champions of the three highest-classification Minor League Baseball leagues periodically met in the postseason to determine a classification champion. The Little World Series (1904–1931) and Junior World Series (1932–1975) usually consisted of a best-of-seven (or eight) series modeled on the World Series of Major League Baseball. Most often it was held between the champions of the International League and the American Association (AA), leaving the Pacific Coast League out of the championship. A one-time Triple-A World Series was held in 1983 as a round-robin tournament featuring the champions of all three Triple-A leagues. The IL and AA champions met in the Triple-A Classic, a best-of-seven series, from 1988 to 1991. From 1998 to 2000, the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series pitted the IL and PCL champs (as the American Association had folded in 1997) in a best-of-five championship series.
In 2006, Triple-A Baseball announced the creation of a single championship game between the league champions of the International League and the Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of the classification. The game, called the Bricktown Showdown, was to be played at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In addition to serving as the pinnacle of the Triple-A and MiLB season, the leagues sought for the championship game to develop and prosper like the Triple-A All-Star Game did since its creation in 1988.
The first Bricktown Showdown was played on September 19, 2006. The PCL's Tucson Sidewinders defeated the IL's Toledo Mud Hens, 5–2, in front of an announced paid attendance of 12,572 and a national television audience watching on ESPN2. The initial Showdown was approved only as a one-time meeting by Major League Baseball, but subsequent meetings were planned following the event's success.
The game was rebranded as the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game in 2009, and later as simply the Triple-A National Championship Game. This was done to increase the event's national appeal and to emphasize its significance as a championship game.
The championship continued to be held in Oklahoma City through 2010. Since 2011, the game has been held in a different Triple-A city each year. The first city to host under this new format was Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the PCL. Games have since been held in other Triple-A cities. No host city's team has ever participated in the championship game.
From 2006 to 2016, the league that won the Triple-A All-Star Game earned the distinction of having its team designated as the home team. This changed in 2017, when home team status began being awarded to the team from the hosting league.
The event has been televised nationally every year. It aired on ESPN2 from 2006 to 2009 and on NBC Sports Network (formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network and Versus) from 2010 to 2018. Fox Sports became the broadcaster in 2019.
The Triple-A National Championship Game consists of a single nine-inning game to determine a champion. The only championship game to ever go beyond the prescribed nine innings was the 2009 contest which went to eleven innings. The host league's team serves as the home team. (Prior to 2017, the league that won the Triple-A All-Star Game was designated as the home team.) Designated hitters bat in place of the pitchers.
Players wear their respective team's uniforms. Players on the home team wear their club's white home uniforms, while players on the away team wear their club's gray road uniforms. Usually, a patch depicting the game's logo is sewn onto their jerseys and caps.
The game is umpired by a four-man crew with one umpire behind home plate and the others covering each base. Two of the umpires work in the IL, while two work in the PCL. Assignments rotate each year such that PCL umpires are assigned to home plate and second base in even years, and IL umpires man those positions in odd years.
|Indicates home team|
|Date||City||Ballpark||Host team (league)||Ref.|
|September 22, 2020||Las Vegas, Nevada||Las Vegas Ballpark||Las Vegas Aviators (PCL)|||
Most Valuable Player AwardEdit
One player is recognized for their outstanding play in the game and is awarded the Triple-A Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.
|2006||Scott Hairston||Tucson Sidewinders||PCL||Left fielder|||
|2007||Lou Merloni||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Third baseman|||
|2008||Chris Gissell||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Relief pitcher|||
|2009||Jeremy Hellickson||Durham Bulls||IL||Starting pitcher|||
|2010||Jerad Head||Columbus Clippers||IL||Left fielder|||
|2011||Joe Martinez||Columbus Clippers||IL||Starting pitcher|||
|2012||A. J. Pollock||Reno Aces||PCL||Center fielder|||
|2013||Chris Dwyer||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||Starting pitcher|||
|2014||Brett Hayes||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||Catcher|||
|2015||Chris Devenski||Fresno Grizzlies||PCL||Starting pitcher|||
|2016||Chris Parmelee||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders||IL||First baseman|||
|2017||Kean Wong||Durham Bulls||IL||Second baseman|||
|2018||Alex Mejia||Memphis Redbirds||PCL||First baseman|||
|2019||Caleb Baragar||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||Starting pitcher|||
Appearances by teamEdit
Defunct teams appear in italics.
|Appearances||Team||League||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|3||Omaha Storm Chasers||PCL||2||1||.667||2014||2014|
|3||Sacramento River Cats||PCL||3||0||1.000||2019||2019|
|2||Pawtucket Red Sox||IL||0||2||.000||—||2014|
|1||El Paso Chihuahuas||PCL||0||1||.000||—||2016|
|1||Toledo Mud Hens||IL||0||1||.000||—||2006|
- "Triple-A Baseball Interleague Post-Season Play Results". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Bricktown Showdown To Determine Triple-A Baseball Champion" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. July 12, 2006. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Tucson Sidewinders 5, Toledo Mud Hens 2" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Triple-A Baseball Championship Game To Remain in Oklahoma City for 2007 and 2008" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. January 11, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Triple-A Championship Game Renamed". Triple-A Baseball. August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Hill, Benjamin (February 8, 2011). "Isotopes to Host Triple-A Championship". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "2017 Governors' Cup Playoffs Preview" (PDF). International League. August 11, 2017. p. 4. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
- "Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game Results". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "FOX Sports Becomes TV Home of Triple-A National Championship Game". Ballpark Digest. May 3, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
- "Durham Bulls (84-61) 5, Memphis Redbirds (77-68) 4" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Triple-A National Championship Game Personnel" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "Sacramento River Cats (85-60) 7, Richmond Braves (77-65) 1" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Sacramento River Cats (84-61) 4, Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees (88-57) 1" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Tacoma Rainiers (74-70) 6, Columbus Clippers (80-65) 12" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Columbus Clippers (89-56) 8, Omaha Storm Chasers (79-64) 3" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Pawtucket Red Sox (79-66) 3, Reno Aces (82-63) 10" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Omaha Storm Chasers (71-74) 2, Durham Bulls (87-58) 1" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Omaha Storm Chasers (77-67) 4, Pawtucket Red Sox (79-66) 2" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- "Fresno Grizzlies (85-59) 7, Columbus Clippers (83-62) 0" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- "El Paso vs. Scranton/WB - September 20, 2016". MiLB.com. September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- "Memphis vs. Durham Bulls - September 19, 2017". MiLB.com. September 19, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- "Memphis vs. Durham - September 18, 2018". MiLB.com. September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- "Clippers vs. River Cats Box Score - September 17, 2019". MiLB.com. September 17, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- "Las Vegas Ballpark to Host 2020 Triple-A National Championship Game". Ballpark Digest. August 19, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Wiseman, Steve (September 19, 2017). "Durham Bulls Win Triple-A National Championship". The Herald-Sun. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- Rosenbaum, Mike (September 19, 2018). "Memphis slugs its way to first Triple-A title". MLB.com. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- Heneghan, Kelsie (September 18, 2019). "Stingy Baragar, Cats take Triple-A crown". MiLB.com. Retrieved September 18, 2019.