Sunday, October 01, 2006


It takes only a little imagination to expand Independent Baseball into more of a world-wide sport.

This 14-year-old enterprise, which just finished its second consecutive record season of drawing 7.5 million fans as we first reported in our Independent Baseball Insider column earlier this week, is quite energizing in itself.

Now consider that the renowned St. Paul (MN) Saints of the American Association embark Tuesday on an 11-day trip to Japan where they are believed to be the first United States-based minor league team to play in that country. The George Tsamis-managed team will play five games and take part in other baseball and cultural activities.

That adds Asia to the Independent Baseball map.

And, this busy correspondent (my wife says fanatic is more appropriate) has found a way to include Europe. No actual games are included, at this point. But as we travel Italy we have had conversations with fellow vacationers about no less than four Independent teams.

In Roma (we say Rome, they say Roma) it was about the Frontier League's Michigan outposts of Traverse City and Kalamazoo. And just yesterday, in a little Trattoria in Florence, the young couple seated next to us were very conversant about Edmonton and Calgary of the Northern League. The Edmonton nickname temporarily escaped me, but the friendly owner of two Mongolian restaurants in Edmonton was only too happy to remind me it was the Cracker-Cats. They also were well aware of the Vipers.

So you see, our Independent game gets attention on a very broad basis.

I must sign off now to get back to the more mundane thoughts of touring the fantastic cathedrals--and vineyards--Italy has to offer. Grazie, for bearing with this tour guide.

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