If Montreal Gets Stadium, Indy Team Will Follow
Â Â Â Â The French counterpart to the word â€œifâ€, I am told, is â€œsiâ€.Â Well, si got considerable attention north of the United States border this week.
Â Â Â Â Â Miles Wolff, the commissioner of Â the Canadian-American League, which this corner tends to shorten to Can-Am, sat down to talk baseball in bustling Montreal this week, along with some of the cityâ€™s businessmen, one of whom is former Montreal Expos shareholder Mark Routtenberg.Â Oh, yes, the former Cy Young Award winner and Quebec Province hero Eric Gagne also was part of the meeting.
Â Â Â Â Â This little session was well reported, especially by the French-speaking media, and at least one United States-based outlet came away talking about the possible formation of a new professional baseball league in Canada.
Â Â Â Â Â A good many â€œifsâ€ are necessary, Wolff explained Thursday afternoon from Winnipeg where the other league he heads up, the 14-team American Association, would play one of its season-opening games in a few hours.
Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œWe are (still) working to get a ballpark built in Montrealâ€, the commissioner said, and if that could be accomplished one day other developments could follow.Â â€œThere seems to be a lot of baseball interest in Montreal nowâ€, Wolff said, a growing trend after the pain of losing its major league franchise at the end of â€™04.
Â Â Â Â Â If a stadium some day becomes a reality, Montreal most likely would join Quebec in the Can-Am League and perhaps down the road all of Canadaâ€™s baseball-playing cities (except Toronto, which is in the American League) could be part of a country-wide league.Â Calgary and Edmonton currently are part of the North American League, which debuts later this month.
Rene Rivera Latest to Jump to Majors in a Year
Â Â Â Â Â Â To say that making the jump from an Independent league to the majors in a single season is music to the ears of those running the non-affiliated brand of professional baseball would be a vast understatement.Â But it happens.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Catcher Rene Rivera, who had not been in the majors since the last of his 53 games with Seattle in 2006, was with the Camden (NJ) Riversharks (Atlantic League) at this time one year ago.Â While defense is the 27-year-old Puerto Ricanâ€™s best attribute, he also hit seven homers and drove in 19 runs in only 82 at-bats (.280) for Camden.
Â Â Â Â Â With all-everything Joe Mauer still sidelined with injury, Rivera is now with the parent Minnesota Twins.Â He has caught three of the last five games since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Rochester, NY.Â
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Southpaw Cochran Now 5-0, 1.66 in Triple-A
Â Â Â Â Â Tom Cochranâ€™s minor league credentials are getting better, virtually by the appearance.
Â Â Â Â Â The crafty left-hander, a onetime Pitcher of the Year in the Can-Am League (Worcester, MA) who also has spent three seasons in the Frontier League and limited time with Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League, threw 5.2 innings of no-hit baseball his previous time out.Â He came back Thursday afternoon, and ran his International League record to 5-0 with another strong outing for Cincinnatiâ€™s top farm club in Louisville.
Â Â Â Â Â Cochranâ€™s scoreless streak ended at 16 innings, but he allowed only three hits and two runs in six innings to stymie Rochester, 5-2.Â The 28-year-old has a 1.66 earned run average, and has allowed only 11 hits in 21.2 innings.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball.Â Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blogs, www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com.Â The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)