And the reason I mention the playoff format is that the Pelicans are currently the defending Carolina League Champions, having swept the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals) three games to none.
Here's the link to my recap of the awesome experience I had as part of my Cubs themed road trip last summer.
But now, on to the cards! The set comes in at a pretty robust 35 cards with 26 players, 3 mascots and 6 manager/coach/field staff cards. Some minor league team sets are unnumbered but I like the way this one is done. The manager got card #1. Then the players are cards 2-27 alphabetical by last name and followed by the rest of the coaches and the mascots. But I'm going to break them down into groups the way I did it last week.
Manager Mark Johnson led the Pelicans to the championship last season and therefore earned a promotion up to Double AA Tennessee. As I mentioned last week, Smokies manager Buddy Bailey takes over the Pelicans for 2016.
Mariano Duncan remains the hitting coach and is in his sixth season with the Cubs and 3rd with the Class A-Advanced Cubs affiliate (having spent a year with the Daytona Cubs prior to Myrtle Beach becoming the affiliate).
Pitching Coach David Rosario has moved to South Bend in the same position with his role in Nyrtle Beach filled this season by Anderson Tavares. Rosario is in his 13th season with the Cubs organization.
Last season Chris Gutierrez was the Assistant Coach but can't seem to find where he has moved on to this year.
Similarly, Peter Fagan was the Athletic Trainer last season but that position now belongs to Toby Williams.
Jason Morriss remains the Strength and Conditioning Coach and is in his fourth season with the Cubs organization and second with the Pelicans.
These six players, as of today are again competing for the Pelicans this season. Shawon Dunston Jr. was on the DL last season when we saw them play.
Moving On Up:
Holy Smokes! That's some good progression to see 11 guys moving up to the next level. Some of these names are familiar as they've been in major card releases such as Topps Pro Debut and Bowman Prospects.
Kinda, sorta, but not really. Andrew Ely was assigned to the Pelicans out of Spring Training in 2015 but ended up on the DL instead. When he came off, he actually split the 2015 season between the South Bend Cubs and Eugene Emeralds, never actually playing for Myrtle Beach. He began this season with South Bend.
Seen last week:
Not only did these guys get Pelicans cards, but eagle-eyed readers may remember these guys from last week's Tennesse Smokies set. Darvill began the season in Myrtle Beach but was called up to Tennessee in May last year. He elected free agency and has yet to sign on anywhere for 2016.
Like Darvill. McKinney began 2015 with the Pelicans but got a May call up. Unlike Darvill, he is still with the Cubs, and playing in Tennessee this season. He had a walk off bases loaded single on two nights ago.
Movin' On Out: No Longer on the Wroad to Wrigley
Kvein Brown, Jasvir Rakkar, Jacob Rogers, Tyler Scott and Ben Wells were all released during or right after Spring Training this year. Michael Heesch was claimed off waivers and is currently assigned to the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Deuce is a well trained English Yellow Lab and probably what every guy dreams of when he thinks of having a dog. As you can see on the card, he brings a bucket of baseballs to the umpire before the start of the game and you can find him in the Pelicans team store or around the concourse during the game. Also, after a Pelicans win, he takes a victory lap around the bases
The Rally Shark appears after Pelicans home runs and during the late innings when the crowd needs a little extra motivation.
Splash the Pelican is the main mascot and is in his 18th season with the club. He's no bear but between Clark in Chicago and Cubbie in Iowa, that's ok. He seems to really embody the Myrtle Beach lifestyle. With only a two year deal between Myrtle Beach and the Cubs, there's no sense in making any big changes.
Next week, we'll travel to South Bend and see what their team set brings.