If you are anything like me, one way to get through these frigid days that have come to most of the country is to read about the daily baseball signings and the spring training invitations.
While we can rest assured he did not get a fraction of the Jason Bay or Matt Holliday money, Michel Hernandez is among the most recent Independent Baseball refugees to get a major league spring training invitation.
The 31-year-old catcher will be in camp with Baltimore where his defensive skills may give Hernandez a chance to continue his big league career. Hernandez, whose 25 games for Somerset, NJ of the Atlantic League in 2007 provided a very nice springboard to the majors, would seem to be the top choice right now to back up Matt Wieters. Hernandez hit .242 in 35 games for Tampa Bay last season after serving as the backup catcher throughout the Rays' American League championship run at the end of 2008.
Non-roster invitations are starting to cascade in, and we hope to have a complete current rundown in Thursday's Independent Baseball Insider, the first of 41 such efforts for subscribers in the new year.
JOLIET HAS TWO OPEN TRYOUTS THIS WEEKEND
It is not often when an Independent team strays far from its home base to hold tryout camps, but the Northern League's Joliet Jackhammers are doing just that this week. Manager Chad Parker will look for players at noon this Saturday at San Diego Christian College and at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Masters College in Los Angeles. Downloadable registration forms are available at www.jackhammerbaseball.com.
FARGO BUILDS IT RADIO BASE
I found two things intriguing about the new radio agreement signed by Fargo, ND, another Northern League team.
The RedHawks say The Fan (AM 740) covers more than 100,000 square miles with its daytime coverage, the fifth largest territory for a station in the United States. While day games are usually limited to Sundays and special camp or school days, those contests give Fargo quite a reach. As intelligent marketers, Fargo's agreement with The Fan allows the team to cross-promote on all other stations in the home area.