With playoffs under way in five of the eight Independent leagues, the only challenge in this corner is to figure out what is THE most interesting. I give up on that point, but I can tell you...
ATLANTIC SEEMS ALL BUT DECIDED: It is going to take a major, major run by someone in the final 12 days to keep Newark, NJ and Long Island, NY from winning the wild card races and joining first half winners (and probably second half repeaters) Southern Maryland (Waldorf) and Somerset, NJ in the Atlantic League playoffs. Newark's 66-61 overall record was one-half game better than Long Island going into play Wednesday, but the Ducks' margin for the last position was five and a half games over Lancaster, PA and six in front of Bridgeport, CT.
AMARILLO REPEATS: The Amarillo (TX) Dillas won their second United League championship is as many years Tuesday night when they turned back San Angelo, TX 7-3 in the fifth and deciding game. Amarillo topped Alexandria, LA last season, and the Aces have already triumphed this year, winning the title in the Continental League.
A 'LISTENING PARTY': Knowing how difficult it can be to draw crowds in the playoffs when school is back in session and fans do not have a lot of notice on games, I found it intriguing that the Pensacola (FL) Pelicans held a "listening party" while the team was in Fort Worth, TX for the first round of the American Association playoffs. The 70 fans who showed up were even given a chance to take batting practice. Pensacola lost that night, but came back to oust the Cats and move into the championship series against Lincoln, NE. Both teams are going after their initial AA title.
SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES: The Northern League is at the other end of the experience level in its championship series. Greg Tagert has Gary, IN involved for the fifth season in a row while Doug Simunic has Fargo, ND going after its fourth crown since 1998. In fact, Gary or Fargo has won four of the last six championships, with each club on top twice in that time.
GAGNE ON THE HILL: Eric Gagne was set to take the mound for Quebec in one half of the Can-Am League playoffs as they were scheduled to start Wednesday night. We will be able to follow up on that effort against Brockton, MA as well as focusing on our annual evaluation of Independent Baseball attendance when we publish our Independent Baseball Insider column on Thursday.