Sandy DeLeon Has Made Eight Stops in Atlantic League
Â Â Â Â Â Call him the true baseball journeyman.Â Maybe even a nomad.Â Just call him.
Â Â Â Â Â Sandy DeLeon is not the best baseball player in the Atlantic League, and he recognizes it.Â But this happy man from New York City by way of the Dominican Republic is ready any time the telephone rings.Â He brings a smile, and a catcherâ€™s mitt.
Â Â Â Â Â DeLeon currently is the backup catcher at York, filling in on those infrequent days when John Pachot needs a day off from the rigors of squatting behind the plate night after hot summer night.Â For the record, he is hitting .191 for 15 appearances.
Â Â Â Â Â â€œIt (baseball) calls me all the timeâ€, the 30-year-old told me one recent day, explaining that it happens annually about the time â€œthe grass starts growingâ€.Â He may get a call in the spring, but sometimes, like this year, it does not happen until the season is half gone.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Did I tell you DeLeon has played for eight different Atlantic League teams, five of whom are still part of the eight-team circuit.Â He has been at Bridgeport in four different seasons and at Somerset three times, and also has played in four other independent leagues, but never for a major league organization.Â Â â€œIâ€™ve played everywhereâ€, he says, and that is not much of an exaggeration.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â With little urging or time to think about it, I asked DeLeon to give me one thing he remembered about his Atlantic League stops.Â I tried to take them in order with the year of his initial appearance in parenthesis:
Â Â Â Â Â Bridgeport (2001)â€”â€œThe Barnum Museum and Seaside Parkâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â Somerset (2001)â€”â€œGreat hospitalityâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â Atlantic City (2001)â€”â€œThe lights of the casinos were amazingâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â Lehigh Valley (2001, a league travel team)â€”â€œThe countryside (going) from city to cityâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â Road Warriors (2002, another travel team)â€”Your humble reporter forgot to ask.
Â Â Â Â Â Long Island (2002)â€”â€œThe packed house (stadium)â€ and â€œa little mini grocery on Carlton Avenueâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â Newark (2004)â€”â€œThe museum with its African-American historyâ€.
Â Â Â Â Â York (2010)â€”â€œI love the farm land; I live not far awayâ€.
Bridgeport Adds Key Arm With Esteban Yan
Â Â Â Â Â While he has not yet pitched for them this season, it would appear Bridgeport has picked up one more important piece for the late season and the playoffs.Â Former major league right-hander Esteban Yan is returning after a 12-3 season with the Diablos Rojos del Mexico.Â He was a standout for the Bluefish one year ago when he won 11 games and finished third in the Atlantic League with a 3.29 earned run average.
Canceso Homers for First Time Since Bears and Chisox in â€˜01
Â Â Â Â Â Jose Canseco drew considerable attention to the independent United League this week when it took only three pitches in his initial at-bat for the onetime Hall of Fame candidate to hit what was described as a â€œmonsterâ€ home run for Laredo, TX.Â It was a pinch-hit blast with a runner at second.
Â Â Â Â Â It had been nine yearsâ€”and two controversial booksâ€”since the 46-year-old had hit a home run.Â He clubbed seven while hitting .284 in 41 games and 134 at-bats for the Newark Bears in 2001, then was picked up by the Chicago White Sox for whom he hit 16 more.Â That ran Cansecoâ€™s major league career total to 462 round-trippers.
Â Â Â Â Â (Subscriptions to the Atlantic League Notebook are available on a monthly or full season basis viaÂ www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com or www.WirzandAssociates.com.Â Bob Wirz also writes a weekly subscription column, the Independent Baseball Insider, which can be found via his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball PR experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners, and lives in Stratford, CT.)