Monday, August 14, 2006


I live in Connecticut where two intriguing Independent Baseball stories have drawn huge local newspaper attention over the last few days, but I am bringing these to all my IndyBaseballChatter readers because they have wider appeal than just here in the Nutmeg state.

Both the New Haven County Cutters of the Can-Am League and the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League are frontrunners for playoff berths, although these stories carry mostly front office intrigue.

In Bridgeport, the news is that General Manager Charlie Dowd, who has compiled the winningest record since the Atlantic League started in 1998, has been taken out of the Baseball Department and asked to spend fulltime helping new Owner Mary Jane Foster re-build marketing and sales business. Columnist Chris Elsberry of the hometown Connecticut Post has written: "But between you and me, the smell (of the story) reeks of someone (Ms. Foster) who seems determined to get rid of all the old Bluefish staff and bring in the new." Dave LaPoint now handles player transactions as well as his managerial duties.

Remember Jeffrey Maier, the 12-year-old who was thrust into the spotlight a decade ago during an American League Championship Series game at Yankee Stadium when Derek Jeter's fly ball to the right field fence landed in young Maier's glove and Baltimore's protest that it was fan interference was overruled resulting with Jeter being credited with a game-tying home run? If you were following baseball closely in '96, you remember.

Young Mr. Maier has now become the all-time hit leader as a third baseman-outfielder at Wesleyan University in Middleton, CT, and while he hopes to become a professional baseball player he is wrapped up in various baseball business endeavers until that happens. He just completed an evaluation of the collegiate Cape Cod League for ESPN analyst Peter Gammons, and New Haven County has hired him for its front office.

Cutters General Manager Marie Heikkinen Webb told The New Haven Register for a Page 1 (sports) story "there will be a lot of variety (in Maier's duties) for the remainder of the season. He will be involved in community relations, promotional research...and he will be traveling to other ballparks. He'll be pretty busy."

I wouldn't be shocked if there were further developments down the road with both of these stories.

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