Sunday, January 27, 2008


Have you ever attended at baseball tryout camp? To test your skills? To watch?

Tryouts normally only attract the players, but Independent Baseball fans who cannot get enough of the National Pastime might enjoy spending an hour--or several--sitting in the bleachers or on their own folding chair to get a better feel for the demands on young men hoping to catch on with a professional team and to extend their youth.

Be warned in advance, concessions stands won't be open and there won't be anyone on hand to greet you. This is a business day for both managers and players, but it can be fun to watch.

In Independent circles, many leagues schedule tryout camps, then have a draft of the top talent. A lot of teams also hold their own tryouts as the season gets closer, and there are a few businesses that run tryouts where all teams interested can check out the talent.

We can pinpoint the tryout plans of four Independent leagues as of now:

ATLANTIC LEAGUE: February 1-2-3, Detroit Tigers Complex, Lakeland, FL. Information available at

SOUTH COAST LEAGUE: February 3, Houston, TX. Information at The SCL also will hold several other camps approximately monthly and throughout the United States through June.

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION: March 27-28, LaGrave Field, Fort Worth, TX, with pre-registration required at

FRONTIER LEAGUE: May 4-5, Rent One Park, Marion, IL. Pre-registration is required, and information will be available at

The Golden League has another avenue for finding talent by hosting its second annual pay-for-play Arizona Winter League, with games scheduled in Yuma and Blythe, AZ, and Palm Springs, CA from next Friday (February 1) through March 1. The 150 players, who are said to come from 35 states and four countries, were due to report to Yuma today (January 27). More than 50 of last year's players came away with professional contracts which encouraged enough signees to fill six teams (instead of four) this winter.

And you thought the reporting of major league pitchers and catchers was the first sign of spring.

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