June 26, 2017

A Familiar Name; Clemens, Son Koby, That Is, Catches Sugar Land Staff, Sets Home Run Record

August 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

So much has been said about the Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters in their first two seasons—gorgeous stadium and outstanding attendance, dominant pitching, national spotlight when Roger Clemens made two appearances, player sales left and right to major league organizations and this year Gary Gaetti’s club has been the best the Atlantic League has to offer. […]

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 […]

‘Cookie-Cutter’ Approach Out the Window As Mark Mason Develops Pitchers

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Mark Mason has been unusually busy in recent days as interim manager of the Atlantic League’s two-time defending champion York (PA) Revolution while Andy Etchebarren recovers from his latest back surgery, but with that stretch ending he will slide back into concentrating on being a pitching coach with a record most people can only dream […]

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 […]

As Atlantic Season Opens, Kirk and Other Owners Eye Spanning USA With Two Eight-Team Divisions

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When Sugar Land inaugurated its lavish new ballpark near Houston on Thursday, the Skeeters helped usher in the 20th season of this improbable success known as Independent Baseball. Two decades of professional play apart from the major leagues is quite an accomplishment for those who have given their sweat and their dollars, but I feel I can safely […]

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 […]

With Another 84 Contracts Sold and Some Postseason Players, Indy Game Continues to Produce for Majors

October 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While the next few months before most Independent teams throw a pitch that counts is certain to bring a ton of headlines about franchises struggling and some welcome news on emerging markets, league executives can continue to boast about what a strong source the non-affiliated operations are in providing talent for major league organizations. At […]

Something Stirring Beneath the Surface

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The younger set cannot remember one of the iconic pictures of my youth: Nikita Kruschev, Russian Premier and head of the original Axis of Evil in Moscow, angrily banging his shoe on the desk at the United Nations, screaming to the US envoy to the UN, “We Will Bury You!” It was the headline in […]

Michael Ryan Had ‘A Blast’ With Angels; Could Aldridge, Mastny Be on Deck?

June 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This has to be a frustrating day for Michael Ryan, one of the bright alumni lights for the Atlantic League, since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim designated him for assignment Thursday. Ryan, who turns 33 in a few days (July 6), had battled his way through four other major league organizations and a 65-game […]

Pitchers Not Always the Priority for Major League Clubs; Stavisky Retires While Phelps Is Out

June 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It often seems like pitchers are the top priority when major league teams go shopping in the Atlantic League or any of the seven other Independent leagues for talent.  As a prime example, only four of the 16 former Indy players currently active or on disabled lists with any of the 30 teams are position […]

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 […]

It Is Easy to Tell How Much Sparky Lyle Loves Managing and the Atlantic League

April 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It only takes a few minutes with Sparky Lyle to understand how much the Somerset manager thinks of the Atlantic League.  It is equally impressive that the 65-year-old, who was a major league star as early as the late 1960s, still has fire in his belly for his job, which has to be part of […]

Half of ’09 All-Stars Return, Some in New Uniforms; As Incentive, Former Players Setting a Hot Pace

April 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Fans anxiously awaiting Thursday night’s season openers in the Atlantic League can look forward to the return of half of last season’s 14-man All-Star team although seven of the eight managers may not be quite so happy that three of them will be wearing the uniform of the back-to-back championship Somerset Patriots. In addition to […]