Thoughts from all around the Independent Baseball world...
How frustrating it must be for the Can-Am League to be back to six teams after shutting down Ottawa after one year and seeing Atlantic City, NJ pull up stakes. The silver lining, of course, is the fact six healthy franchises are better than eight with some weak sisters. The tough part is these developments come on the heels of a greatly improved box office season in Atlantic City, and Can-Am boss Miles Wolff had such high hopes for Ottawa, where he had visions of one day soon having Montreal, his Quebec franchise and Ottawa providing a nice three-city Canadian branch.
TRACKING DOWN TRYOUT CAMPS
This corner frequently hears from players (or their family) about locating tryout camps. The best source I can recommend for anything close to one-stop-shopping is to visit Matt McDermott's www.IndependentMinorLeagueBaseball.com. For very few dollars, this ambitious bullpen catcher-turned entrepreneur has a list of tryout camps. An option is to search the Indy leagues one by one where a list of tryout camps or stories about them sometimes show up.
IndependentMinorLeagueBaseball.com also has a range of other information for active and retired Independent players as well as people wanting to work in the game. The possibilities range from finding playing jobs to post-playing career opportunities.
IT IS CUTDOWN WEEK
We continue tracking the fortunes of former Independent players hoping to have major league roster jobs when the season opens Sunday and Monday. We have been devoting considerable attention to specifics in our weekly subscriber-only Independent Baseball Insider, with some of the latest information telling us lefty Lindsay Gulin (his Indy stops were at St. Paul, MN and Lincoln, NE) won't be on the 25-man Milwaukee roster despite a good spring, but outfielder Jon Weber (Fargo, ND and Canton, OH) and southpaw Brian Mazone (Joliet, IL and St. George, UT) still cling to life with Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively. Their chances are enhanced for at least their first few days of major league time because of issues hanging over players likely to have the same roles for a greater part of the season. I would guess they will take whatever days they can squeeze in.
Southpaw reliever Randy Williams (Edinburg, TX) has had his current string run out with the Chicago White Sox and the same is true for right-hander Nelson Figueroa (Long Island, NY) with the New York Mets. Either one could come back later.
We've also been tracking a list of some of the former major leaguers who have signed with Independent teams, and will update it even more before Thursday's Insider. What fun lies ahead for fans in their leagues.
GOLDEN LEAGUE WINS AGAINST CANSECO
I cannot help but wonder how long it will be before any checks are written, but for now the Golden League can take some consolation from knowing it has won a $258,750 judgment from Jose Canseco for walking out on his obligations while playing for Long Beach, CA in 2006.
It seems unlikely Jose's tell-all books will get much shelf space in GBL gift shops.