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Around The Nest - Blue Jays Minor League Podcast - Week 17

The Ballad of the Mercer Cup

The Bluefield Blue Jays celebrating after they won the Mercer Cup.
Matt Popelka

Around The Nest is a podcast about the Blue Jays prospects and the entire minor league system that airs live every Friday afternoon during the season. The show is hosted by the one-and-only Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, the radio voice of the Lansing Lugnuts, who is joined by the broadcasters from Bluefield, Vancouver, Dunedin, New Hampshire, and Buffalo.

This afternoon’s show today airs live at 4:00 pm Eastern. It will also available afterwards as archived audio at this link.

Last week’s featured photo was of the Dunedin Blue Jays’ art project. This week, we are featuring the other Blue Jays, who just won the Mercer Cup on manager Dennis Holmberg’s 66th birthday a couple days ago.

Every summer since 1992, the rookie-level Appalachian League baseball teams in Bluefield and Princeton have competed for the Mercer Cup to determine who is the best ballclub in Mercer County, West Virginia.

For the folks who live in and near the county (which sits on the boundary between West and, uh, standard Virginia) this is a serious rivalry and fans of each club might even think that winning the Cup is even more important than the official Appalachian League championship. Bluefield (an Orioles affiliate until 2010) has won 14 times, Princeton (currently a Rays affiliate, was a Reds affiliate prior to 1997) 11, with one series tie. VICE produced a documentary on the Mercer Cup (featuring Vladimir Guerrero Jr!) last year and is worth a watch, even though the Jays lost in the end.

So tune in today to hear broadcaster Matt Popelka talk about the Cup! Here is the episode description from Jesse:

The Voices of the Blue Jays' system bring you the latest goings-on from the past of MiLB ball, beginning with Matt Popelka and the Advanced-Rookie Bluefield Blue Jays, who played the biggest regular season games of the year against archrival Princeton, the Mercer Cup on the line. Meanwhile, the trade deadline causes an impact, with Teoscar Hernandez arriving in Triple-A Buffalo, Thomas Pannone coming to Double-A New Hampshire, and Samad Taylor heading to the Appalachian League. Vlad Jr. catches fire for A-Advanced Dunedin, Osman Gutierrez enjoys a major breakthrough for Single-A Lansing, and Short-Season A Vancouver is well represented in the All-Star Game against the Pioneer League. It's another week's worth of Jay-talking around the organization!

Do you have a question about Blue Jays minor leaguers? Who better to ask than the people who see them play every day? Write them in the comments below and we’ll try to answer them in the episode.