One of the XM radio guys kept reminding me today only "13 more days until pitchers and catchers", and while that is always soothing news I had a wide-ranging baseball Hot Stove day in what I had really planned as a catchup, cleanup day after getting this week's Independent Baseball Insider column launched yesterday.
I can't give you all the specifics, but my day included listening to a caller tell me that a Russian team is rumored to be the next to join the Golden League or possibly a league in Texas, to discussing a new spring training museum that is under consideration in Florida, to reading about Saturday's debut of the full-length movie that grew out of the Golden League, to listening as an active Independent Baseball player share his intentions of launching a website service which will help other players map out everything they need to conduct their life off the diamond, to getting the impressions of a longtime baseball guy about one of his former Independent players who will be in a major league training camp this month.
Here are some of the highlights of this chilly Friday's conversations.
I have not had a chance to find out the reality of the Russian story, but why not with baseball spreading so rapidly around the world. The Golden League had the Japanese Samurai Bears two years ago so why couldn't that western-based league or the United or the proposed Continental League in Texas have such a team?
The Samurai Bears of 2005, the Golden League's initial season, prompted the movie Season of the Samurai, which debuts as part of the Santa Barbara (CA) Film Festival at the Lobero Theater Saturday night. "We are very impressed with the final product that Mod3 Productions has created from the over 300 hours of film that they shot," GBL CEO and co-founder David Kaval was quoted in a press release. I cannot help but wonder who will be recognized by more people future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson or game show host and Golden investor Pat Sajak.
If you want to dream along with a possible first-time major leaguer this spring you might not do any better than follow the progress of 27-year-old Tagg Bozied as he tries to make the 25-man roster of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Bozied isn't going to beat out Albert Pujols at first base or Scott Rolen at third, so I am calling this non-roster invitee a first baseman-third baseman-outfielder-pinch hitter, and what better team than to be with one managed by Tony LaRussa, who certainly likes players who show versatility.
I had the pleasure of chatting about Bozied with Doc Edwards, who will celebrate his 50th year in baseball this summer as the skipper at San Angelo, TX of the United League, long after he played in the majors (1962-70) and skippered the Cleveland Indians (1987-89). He was Bozied's manager when the youthful Scott Boras client debuted with Sioux Falls, SD back in 2001. "Great kid," said Edwards, and "he could get the bat out front to consistently catch up with a 95-mile per hour fastball." That year in the Northern League plus five more ranging from Class A to Triple-A just may have him ready. I know I will be following his progress to see if he can become the newest Independent Baseball original to make it all the way up the ladder.
Now, I am ready for the weekend.
Friday, February 02, 2007
A TRUE 'HOT STOVE' DAY
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.