Quebec (Can-Am League), Evansville, IN (Frontier League) and Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN (Northern League) deserve congratulations for earning the latest Independent Baseball championships, but this corner also takes its hat off to the Long Island (NY) Ducks today.
When was the last time an Independent league team was so confident of its drawing power that it scheduled a day-night doubleheader instead of the traditional single admission twin bill. Long Island the visiting Bridgeport, CT were rained out of their Atlantic League game Friday night so the Ducks did what the major leaguers are doing these days--booked separate admission games in the afternoon and at night.
All the Ducks did was fill up Citibank Park twice, drawing crowds reported at 6,191 and 6,057. Capacity is listed at 6,002.
The Atlantic League has the entire Independent Baseball spotlight to itself now that the other league playoffs have concluded. The AL season ends Sunday, then its postseason play will begin.
Quebec rebounded from a 16-27 first half, qualified for the Can-Am playoffs at the last minute, then surprised favored North Shore (Lynn, MA) in the first round and outlasted Brockton, MA in a tense, five-game struggle for its title under Manager Michel Laplante. While Quebec was 44-44 in the regular season, Greg Jelks' Evansville Otters were 46-50 in Frontier League play before stripping division champion Rockford, IL in five games and sweeping the finals, 3-0, against Chillicothe, OH. Fargo-Moorhead got some revenge for losing in the championships to Gary, IN last season, by defeating those same SouthShore Railcats this time. The triumph gave Manager Doug Simunic his fourth Northern League title, the last three with the RedHawks.
Monday, September 18, 2006
EVEN WITH MORE CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARDED, LONG ISLAND CROWDS MERIT ATTENTION
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.