September 24, 2021

10 Championship Rings Should Help Jon Weber Get Over His Jitters in the World Champs’ Spring Camp

February 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For a player who earned 10 championship rings during the decade just ended and has a world of confidence in his ability it would not seem that reporting to spring training would be any big deal.

On the other hand, Jon Weber is not reporting to any ordinary training facility.  He will be at Camp Steinbrenner in Tampa, FL, the spring home of the New York Yankees as they begin defense of their 2009 World Series championship.

The Yankees will be the 32-year-old outfielder’s fifth major league organization in his quest to play in his very first regular season game in the bigs.

“When you play with me or against me you will remember me”, the confident side of Jon Weber was telling me via telephone from his home in Lakewood, CA this week.  Yet, he talked about standing only 5-9 with little hair on top and the trepidation of joining a famed organization where he hardly knows anyone.

“I’m more scared than nervous” were the words Weber chose.  “And, I don’t think I have a snowball’s chance of making the team.”

Still, the World Champs made the best offer the former Independent Baseball star had in the offseason.  Weber knows he could have gone back to Tampa Bay, but the Rays, for whom he was a tough out in spring training and a Triple-A (Durham, NC) producer the last two seasons, had encouraged him to look around.  That is not a good sign, nor was the fact he did not even get a September call-up after leading the International League with 46 doubles along with a solid .302 average, 14 homers, 69 RBI and a .382 on-base percentage.

The southpaw knows he “worked hard and played hard when I had the Tampa Bay or Durham uniform on my back”.  He convinced many a teammate he belonged in the majors after 11 minor league seasons, including one star who said “he would fake an injury” if it helped Weber get his first major league at-bats.  While still praising the organization from top to bottom, Weber has moved on.

The Yankees are getting a .289 career hitter for 1,083 regular season games, a couple of hundred of which came in the Independent leagues, at Canton, OH of the Frontier League in 2001 and Fargo, ND of the Northern League the next two seasons and part of 2007.

It was at Fargo in 2003 where the onetime Los Angeles Harbor College and Texas Tech athlete started his haul of championship rings, some of which now reside with the family-oriented player’s father, grandmother, brother and a best friend.  One can bet wife Christy, son Dylan, 5, who wants to be a catcher, and daughter Marin, 2 ½ can count on being included.

Titles soon came along in Colombia in ’03 (but rings were not awarded), Sacramento (2004), Jacksonville (2005), Tucson, the Triple-A championship game and the Mexican League (all in 2006), Mexico again (2008), plus Durham and another Class AAA crown (2009).

Oh yes, Weber represented the United States in last fall’s World Cup which was played in Germany and Italy when he hit .417 on a team made up mostly of young, highly-drafted prospects.  The championship game victory was over Cuba, and along came ring No. 10.

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438 Days Until Virginia Team Starts Up—Maybe

While all the hurdles have not been cleared before an Atlantic League team launches in suburban Washington, DC, the potential Loudoun (VA) County franchise is giving signs of making progress.  The team web site,, has a counter showing that only 438 days remain before it starts.  That would bring it to April, 2011, when the Atlantic traditionally opens.

The team also has selected the three finalists in the name-the-team contest, the Dulles Blue Heron, Virginia Silver Stars and Loudoun Hounds. I would wager a dollar or two than many readers did not know the American Foxhound is Virginia’s official state dog.

From the Can-Am League to Olympic Medal Winner

Okay, it is a stretch.  But Bode Miller was a Can-Am League player four years before he earned this week’s bronze medal in the Vancouver Olympic Games.

Miller, a onetime New Hampshire high school tennis champion, made one of those one-game celebrity appearances with the Nashua Pride back in 2006 to raise money for cycling champion Lance Armstrong’s crusade against cancer.  He even made what we were told at the time was a “leaping leftfield grab” ending up with a tumble and receiving a standing ovation from nearly 3,000 fans at Holman Stadium.

(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at, enjoy his blog,, or comment to  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.)

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