August 20, 2017

Chris Colabello: Time Can’t Stop Rookie From Reaching Major Leagues with Minnesota Twins

September 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Dreams can be hard to achieve, but fortunately there is no expiration date on their fulfillment. Professional baseball player Chris Colabello learned that this year, as years of hard work finally paid off and landed him in the major leagues. Colabello, a big right-handed first baseman/outfielder, played his college ball for Division II Assumption in […]

While New Leagues Are Slow to Develop, Independent Roster in Majors Grows Rapidly

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball is continuing to turn out major league players in impressive numbers—two more just this week—but operators are not finding it nearly as easy to start new leagues or even to nail down new franchises. A new league has not started and lasted since the Can-Am League launched in 2005, and even that was […]

Fox’s 3 Consecutive Walk-Offs May Be a First, But Albers’ Brilliant Debut Shares Top Billing

August 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It does not happen this way often when two ultra-heroic events divide attention about deadline time.  When it does, one deals. Jake Fox made the first bid for attention when the Somerset, NJ (Atlantic League) designated hitter collected walk-off hits in three consecutive games.  We do not know if it has ever been done before, […]

In an Odd Way, This Former Manager Now More Valuable to Independent Leagues as a Scout

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The first time I met Chris Carminucci he was managing the Can-Am League’s travel team, the Grays, in 2005.  Travel teams are not expected to do well, but his energy and upbeat nature were infectious. The Grays actually won half of their games the first half of the season, and it seemed obvious Carminucci would […]

With Scherzer Leading the Way, Independent Hurlers Already Have Topped 2012 Major League Win Total With Lofty 69

July 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

One statistic regarding the pre-All-Star Game portion of the major league season may blow a few minds, including those in high powered front offices. To set the stage, I went back to last October when in this space I wrote that 17 pitchers with Independent Baseball experience combined for 67 regular-season wins, even without the […]

Reminiscent of Dramatics of Five Years Ago, Independent Baseball Has Two Major League All-Stars

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball will never have the marketing impact of the powerhouse major league franchises when it comes to pushing for All-Star votes, but it still will have some bragging rights when the game’s marquee names gather for their annual mid-season classic at Citi Field in New York next week. For one thing, the American League […]

Fort Worth Could Be Among Additions to Atlantic League, Montreal to the Can-Am

April 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It is sounding more every week, as least so it seems, that the Atlantic League may be more than an eight-time league by next season.  Peter Kirk, whose Opening Day Partners already own four teams in the league, confirmed to veteran writer Jim Seip for his Revs Inside Pitch blog that his group is in […]

At 23 and 5-Foot-6, ‘Veteran’ Independent Umpire Takes His Talent to Affiliated Baseball

April 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kevin Winn couldn’t be blamed if he popped a few pride buttons these days with three of the umpires he has supervised working major league spring training games and half of the 10-man umpire contingent in the Class A California League coming out of the American Association, but I found him this week largely singing […]

What Irony If Chris Colabello and Curt Smith End Up Competing for Same Job With Twins

March 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It was only a week ago in this space that I found myself praising the WBC performances of Chris Colabello and Curt Smith.  I hope that cruel irony does not step in for this pair. Minnesota gave Colabello, the longtime Can-Am League standout (Worcester, MA and Nashua, NH) only two at-bats after Team Italy was […]

Indy Domination? It Was in This Eastern League Game With Mates Getting Win, Save and All Six RBI

June 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball players who have had their contracts purchased by major league organizations seem to understand what a neat little fraternity they have.  They are in the minority on affiliated minor league rosters with the norm probably only a couple of hopefuls on a 25-man team. Longtime Can-Am League first baseman Chris Colabello knew all […]

Scheppers, Coello Added to Indy Roster in Majors While Stu Pomeranz’s Season Is Interrupted

June 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It was just a week ago when we projected that Tanner Scheppers, who started his professional career with the St. Paul Saints in the American Association, could well be one of the next Independent players to reach the major leagues.  It happened Thursday when the Texas Rangers added the right-hander to their roster.  Scheppers was […]

Triple-A Veteran Ed Nottle’s Willingness to Move In ’93 Was an Early Sign Independent League Baseball Would Work

May 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 20th season of modern day Independent Baseball gets going full steam tonight (Thursday) when the Frontier League, American Association and Can-Am League join the Atlantic League, which has a three-week head start. Miles Wolff and Ed Nottle, two of the prominent names in the business which currently has 50 teams and annually entertains from […]

Independent Baseball Season Fires Up Next Week With Three More Leagues Starting Play

May 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Joe Calfapietra is one of the real veterans among the 32 Independent Baseball managers preparing teams to open the season in one week (May 17) when the Can-Am League, American Association and Frontier League hear the “Play Ball” cry. The 42-year-old New Jersey Jackals skipper has had time to develop a plan for building a […]

Umpires Out of Independent Leagues Are Advancing; Adam Hamari Could Get Shot in Majors Soon

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It is only natural to focus on players in this column, but two umpires out of Independent leagues are drawing attention in the major league-affiliated ranks and at least one of them likely will be seen on the national stage very soon. Adam Hamari, who only six years ago (a very short span for an […]

Surprise, Surprise! It Is Early October And Three Indy Leagues Already Seem Set for 2012

October 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Some uncertainties over league makeup often dominate the news this time of year, but at least three of the five primary Independent leagues seem to have their plans in order.  One result is that travel teams which the Atlantic and Can-Am Leagues had to endure this season are gone. The Atlantic League is already out […]

‘Extra Outfielder’ Now a Hitting Star

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     In forging their way to the best record in the Atlantic League, the Long Island (NY) Ducks have relied on the talents of such established players at this level of play as John Rodriguez, Lew Ford, J. R. House, Ray Navarrete and Javier Colina.  It is a substantial group.         And they have Kraig […]

Rave Reviews for Newest Can-Am Stadium For the Rockland Boulders

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The consensus seemed unanimous. The Can-Am League’s new Rockland (NY) Boulders have a winner in $38 million Provident Bank Park, which opened—and appeared virtually completed—to a sold out crowd Thursday night. A 6,000-seat facility only an hour or so north of New York City it has all the amenities any new stadium should have plus […]

‘Dugout of Dreams’ Part of New Can-Am Stadium Experience

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     The Can-Am League will be the last of the Independent leagues to open, starting next Thursday (May 26), and it will be another three weeks before the new Rockland Boulders get to inaugurate their 4,300-seat ballpark in Ramapo, NY.  But it seems an understatement to say the enthusiasm is building in Rockland County, which […]

If Montreal Gets Stadium, Indy Team Will Follow

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     The French counterpart to the word “if”, I am told, is “si”.  Well, si got considerable attention north of the United States border this week.       Miles Wolff, the commissioner of  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 […]

Daubach Interesting Choice as Bryce Harper’s First Manager

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     One of the charms of spring training that builds so much momentum for a baseball season is the great writing that emerges, and the memorable stories those in the baseball-writing business dig up.        Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin brought to the surface the fact Brian Daubach, who managed in the Can-Am League at […]

One Gets Look from Cards While Other Star Waits

January 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     The stories of players who have come through the Independent Baseball ranks and show some major league promise are forever fascinating.  Will they get a break by being in the right organization at the right time and make the most of the opportunity or have to settle for a decent minor league career?       […]

Helping World Series Phenom Buster Posey

November 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

    Ken Joyce was talking mile a minute.  He had input for any of my questions, many times offering more than I knew to ask.  How he got started in baseball, his time in the Florida Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays organizations, the big names he has worked with, his years managing and coaching in  […]

Shuffle Leading to Three Dominant Indy Leagues

October 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While a last minute change of heart apparently has kept the American Association from becoming a super-sized league approaching 20 teams, it is becoming increasingly apparent when all of the dominos have stopped falling sometime in the next couple of months Independent Baseball will have three dominate circuits. The non-affiliated brand of professional baseball started […]

Major Shakeup Taking Place in Independent Baseball

October 7, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

This may be the most important period for Independent Baseball since it started in 1993.  Make it the most important ever since not all that much was really expected when the first two professional leagues of non-major league-affiliation formed 18 years ago. That’s a bold statement, to be sure, but this is what seems to […]

Can-Am May Be First League to Add Teams for ’11

September 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While October always means autumn leaves, cooler temperatures, pumpkins and major league baseball postseason excitement to many people, it also is the month when Independent Baseball leagues seriously shake the trees to see if all their franchises are ready for the next season.  Rumors begin to become fact. This certainly will be true starting as […]

Independent Baseball Crowds Back Above Eight Million

September 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Strengthened by the addition of two more teams in the Northern League and with gains reported in three other leagues, Independent Baseball attendance climbed back above eight million fans for the 2010 regular season.  It is the third time in four years the non-affiliated clubs have drawn above that level, this time finishing at 8,130,646.  […]

What Fabulous Match-Ups in Major League Games

September 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The influx of Independent Baseball players into the majors this month has been exciting, and it is much more than a pure numbers game.  Think about these feats, which should have every non-affiliated player, executive and fan jumping for joy: When Bobby Cramer made his debut in a start for Oakland his mound opponent was […]

Newest LA Dodgers’ 16 Years Pay Off

September 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It was raining in Quebec and the first Can-Am League playoff series was being delayed by 24 hours, but New Jersey Jackals Manager Joe Calfapietra did not seem at all distressed.  In fact, his mood was clearly that of a happy man. Joe’s year already was a success, and only in part because the veteran […]

Those Who Dominated the Mexican League in Offense Now Back in Indy Leagues for Late-Season Run

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It is not uncommon early in an Independent Baseball season to see a number of quality players opt to play in Mexico or an Asian league where they can make more money.  But the Mexican League ends early so some of those who have been prominent do an about face and come back to the […]

From the New York Collegiate Baseball League Championship

August 13, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

If it wasn’t in Elmira, I wouldn’t even go. But the final day before the boys head back to the dorms is staged here, in Elmira, at Dunn Field; and Dunn Field is the center of at least one known universe. This is where my father, presumably in 1956, almost missed his high school graduation to see […]

Daubach Has Pittsfield Overcoming Obstacles

July 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pittsfield Colonials faced a monumental uphill task when they joined the Can-Am League this season because they got a very late start in putting together the remnants of Owner Buddy Lewis’s ill-fated team from Nashua, NH.  The Berkshire Mountain area in Western Massachusetts is renowned for its summer culture, which does not necessarily include […]

Parity Exists, But Injuries and Player Losses Make the Challenges Tougher

May 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Parity appears extremely strong three weeks into the Atlantic League season with every team within two games of the division lead, but the challenge to managers and player personnel bosses to keep it that way is certain to build now that the expected roster-juggling has started. It seems every person this typist talks to has […]

Gibbons On Exceptional Hitting Streak, Tom Cochran Very Stingy On Mound

April 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It is difficult to imagine anyone wielding a hotter bat than veteran Jay Gibbons, who is going to make it increasingly difficult for the Los Angeles Dodgers to keep him out of the major leagues if he maintains anything close to his current pace. After starting the season 1-for-9 in three road games for Triple-A […]

More Shame For Eric Gagne And Another Indy Shortstop Gets to a Big League Camp

February 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Eric Gagne has spent a chunk of his early days back in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training camp trying to explain his admitted “shame” at the use of human growth hormone (HGH). He needs to apologize on another front, too. The onetime record-breaking closer, who now is trying to get back to the major […]

Gagne Headed Back To Dodgers; Raul Valdes and Roger LaFrancois Also In the News

February 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Can you go back home? This is not a reference to Tiger Woods, but rather to onetime unbeatable Los Angeles Dodgers relief ace Eric Gagne. Gagne’s problem seems much simpler of the two. His is more a question of how much speed and movement remain on his bread and butter pitches. The Dodgers and Gagne […]