Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I suppose, selfishly, we all would like to see the talent nurtured in Independent Baseball stay within the "family". It never will be possible to keep everyone, though, because the talent pool eventually becomes bigger than the job pool.

There has been plenty of evidence to prove the point recently.

I saw it first hand when Marie Heikkinen Webb, the general manager of the New Haven (CT) County Cutters, left not only the Indy game but the sport. She would have preferred to stay in baseball, I am pretty certain, and there was no shortage of offers when the Cutters dropped out of the Can-Am League. Both affiliated and non-affiliated jobs were in the offing.

But Marie, New Haven's first employee when the team started in 2004, got what easily was her best opportunity to coordinate all advertising for the Orlando Magic. Who wants to turn down the major leagues, even if it is in another sport. The Maine native had spent 11 seasons in baseball, and now she is no doubt celebrating--if she has time--the Magic's first-round win in the NBA playoffs. Baseball's loss is basketball's gain.

I just heard from another New Haven employee today when PR man Ted Leshinski, who actually moved on to a New York City job during the '07 season, let it be known he will be PR Manager at the Sports Museum of America. He said SMA opens next week in the Big Apple, and is partnering with more than 50 Halls of Fame.

Another Independent voice, literally, has seemingly moved up the sports ladder by joining the Mountain West Sports Network as a studio anchor. Bill Doleman, who handled PR and play-by-play for the Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs of the American Association, reports Mountain West's potential audience will jump from two million to more than 20 million homes by fall when the operation will be located in Denver. "I will dearly miss the Saltdogs...first class people with a first class product" as well as delivering the word picture of baseball, he said in an email, "but my new job is too good to pass up." Jason Van Arkel, who had produced games and filled in on occasion behind the microphone, has taken Doleman's place in Lincoln.

All of these stories reinforce one more time what a great proving grounds the Independent game is. And, it is not just for the Kevin Millar's and Chris Coste's of the world, whose names we read every day in major league box scores. The behind-the-scene family also learns, then moves on to greater opportunities.

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