Tuesday, July 02, 2013


It is well known that for any Independent Baseball franchise present or future to succeed it almost certainly needs good ownership, a quality stadium and the support of local government, business and the media.

I know first hand how the lack of any of factors can spell doom.

I also saw, once again in recent days, a setup every municipality could well try to emulate if it really wants a flourishing local franchise.

I had the opportunity to be on hand for an American Association game in the Nebraska capitol city of Lincoln between the Saltdogs and the El Paso (TX) Diablos.

Lincoln has it clicking on all fronts, as, I believe, is the case in such other Independent cities as Winnipeg, Canada, and the Pennsylvania communities of York and Lancaster. There certainly are others where there is a beautiful stadium, wonderful ownership and good local political and business support.

But I also know the media piece is not nearly as strong in some areas, and in many of those instances past and present the team is struggling. How can a team draw sufficient fan support if they do not see the media on board in a consistent and quality manner. A few paragraphs hidden on Page 4 or 5 of the sports section just don’t do the job. Fans need to be introduced to the players and to the personality of the team whether it is winning consistently or not.

The next morning after the Saltdogs’ game The Lincoln Journal Star, serving a market of more than 200,000 where University of Nebraska sports reigns supreme, delivered marvelous coverage for its local professional baseball fans, and I seriously doubt the fact the team won, 4-1, prompted the decision.

“Saltdogs’ bullpen closes out Diablos” was the lead story in the sports section, which did not overlook the world sports scene. And right above that headline were a few words accompanied by logos telling everyone the next game would be played that afternoon, where the radio coverage could be found for those who couldn’t get to the game and a notice that JournalStar.com had a gallery of photos from the previous night’s game, which drew more than 4,700 spectators.

If Lincoln can package all facets to make certain local–and area–fans can enjoy this sport day in and day out throughout a summer, then other communities should be able to do it as well.


It was somewhat surprising to see the Seattle Mariners remove veteran reliever Josh Kinney from their 40-man roster and outright him to Class AAA Tacoma after he had finished his 60-day time on the disabled list and worked through rehab appearances, but then the M’s do not seem to be going anywhere this season so a younger arm probably seemed more attractive. Kinney, a onetime prominent World Series reliever for St. Louis and with a great deal of major league experience, started his professional journey in O’Fallon, MO, home to the Frontier League’s River City Rascals.

It also was disappointing, though perhaps not as surprising, to see Cincinnati give an outright release to onetime Chicago Cubs star Mark Prior, who logged Independent time at Orange County (Fullerton, CA, Golden League) as he tried to get his once top shelf career back on track.

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