Friday, March 31, 2006


I finally got home from nearly a month on the road last night, so one of the first things I wanted to get up to date on today was Chris Coste's status on making the Phillies' opening day roster. He is in Philadelphia for two weekend exhibitions, but the decision still seems to be pending. I did find one statement encouraging, and only wish it was the prevailing attitude throughout baseball. Even though we see older players on rosters all the time, seldom is it so that a 30-something player makes it for the first time. Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel seems to be an exception. In talking with about the fact Coste is a 33-year-old rookie, Manuel said: "Don't ever let that (age) be a mark against you. That doesn't mean he can't play in the big leagues." Hooray for Charlie. Oh, Coste's spring average has slipped...all the way to .459 after a 1-for-3 day (plus a walk) in nine innings Thursday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006



This is going to be fun. I am in my fourth year of writing my Independent Baseball Insider column, but this will give both me and you, the fans of the Independent game, an opportunity to "chat".
I have lots of thoughts about Independent Baseball...sometimes rambling tidbits...that don't fit into the more formalized weekly column.

I am lucky in that I have spent most of March roaming through Florida watching major league, minor league and college games while trying to keep an eye on what is going on in Arizona. My overnight stop this time on my drive back to Connecticut was in Burlington, NC, where Independent Baseball founder Miles Wolff has had an affiliated team for years and years.

These are some of the things that have crossed my mind in the last 24 hours:

  • Can you imagine the basketball conversations in the White Sox clubhouse with George Mason in the men's Final Four? I was listening to a White Sox game--my XM radio is wonderful for these junkets--when I was reminded that the World Champ's No. 2 catcher, Chris Widger, played his college baseball at George Mason. I trust they are tuned in to this fact in Camden, NJ where Widger honed his baseball skills as an Atlantic Leaguer in 2004 before getting back to the big leagues.

  • One of the great stories this spring for Independent fans--for all fans, for that matter--has been Chris Coste's exceptional clutch hitting for the Phillies, which has this Fargo, ND resident on the brink of finally getting a major league opportunity at the age of 33. Philadelphia General Manager Pat Gillick certainly didn't throw any cold water on the potential when Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy were interviewing him. He mentioned that Coste, who played his first professional games for Brandon in the defunct Prairie League then spent four years playing for in the Northern League, had "not missed much" on any of his swings this spring. I guess not. He was hitting .471 at the time.
  • I spent 90 exclusive minutes with Coste last week. Some of the thoughts he shared while sipping a "minor league lemonade" (ice water, lemons and sweet 'n low) are going to be featured in a future Independent Insider column. Let's hope he can afford real lemonade very soon.
  • I hope the agate line in yesterday's newspapers were wrong. It said the New York Mets had released righthander Mitch Wylie. He had a great ride from Sioux City, IA (Northern League) early last season to being signed by the Giants and then becoming a Rule 5 draft selection at the Winter Meetings. That probably means San Francisco declined to take him back. If this 29-year-old never gets to the major leagues he can at least show off his page plus in the Mets' media guide.

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