This is a great time of year to hand out some awards, even if this batch is merely hypothetical.
I believe it is safe to say virtually every Independent Baseball team deserves some credit for its charitable undertakings. Two prime examples during the holiday season come via the Atlantic League. The Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers' mascot, Cylo, was on the go for 10 days up to Christmas delivering toys--and joy--to the needy. Money came out of the Cylo Fund accumulations of the regular season where revenue came in in exchange for video board messages, and K-B Toys lent a helping hand by discounting prices on its merchandise.
In Bridgeport, CT, the Bluefish provided storage at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard during November and December so the Evergreen Network, Inc. could assemble food and gift baskets which were eventually distributed to nearly 100 families affected by AIDS or other major diseases.
Proof that holiday joy can come in a number of forms.
On the field, we counted up 33 players deserving of added respect because they played in every one of their team's games in 2007. The American Association was tops with 12 such players, the Northern League had nine, the Frontier five and the United four.
The most interesting of the group might have been 26-year-old Adam Shorsher in that he is primarily a catcher, baseball's most challenging defensive position. Catching 75 per cent of the games is pretty good. Now some eager beaver may tell us Shorsher missed a game somewhere because he was traded June 29 from Edmonton to Fargo, both in the Northern League. But I am giving him credit since he was in 95 games, the same number played by Fargo.
The toll of being behind the plate every day appears to have been pretty significant in lowering his batting average. Shorsher hit .303 in his 39 games for Edmonton--all as a catcher--but he slumped to .165 in the last full month of August. The only relief he got from being behind the plate was through spotty duty in other roles--pinch hitting once, being DH another time, playing first base on one occasion and appearing in the outfield three times.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
SOME SPECIAL AWARDS FOR CHARITY AND DURABILITY
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.