Hungry for some January baseball?
The newest chapter in Independent Baseball launches Friday when the Golden League and the United League start their experiments with month-long pay-for-play winter leagues.
They start with several similarities, in addition to the same opening day. Each will have four teams playing at a single site, with their regular season managers in charge and a hope the undertakings will uncover some bright talent for the summer season or for major league teams or other Independent leagues who are openly invited to scout those who take the field.
The second year United League, which recently made one change by shifting its Friday and Saturday games from daytime to evening, will play its games at Harlingen Field in Brownsville, TX.
The Golden League, which will be in its third season this summer, has scheduled all of its games at Desert Sun Stadium in Yuma, AZ, where its Yuma Scorpions play during the regular season.
Both leagues hope to attract the northern snowbirds to their games, with the Golden taking the additional step of naming its teams Canada, Snow and Sonora in addition to Yuma. While most play in both leagues will consist of two seven-inning games, the Golden is going all out for opening night by bringing in the renowned San Diego Chicken to entertain, scheduling a post-game fireworks show and playing one nine-inning contest between Canada and Yuma.
Golden League officials, who had to turn down some hopefuls but still would accept a handful of additional pitchers, will trot out a good many former major league baseball players now on the management side, including Mike Marshall, Darrell Evans, Ozzie Virgil, Jr., Garry Templeton, Cory Snyder, Les Lancaster, Rusty Meacham and Garrett Stephenson.
Here's wishing a big success for both the leagues and the players.
Monday, January 15, 2007
INDEPENDENT BASEBALL'S TWO NEW WINTER LEAGUES BEGIN PLAY FRIDAY
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.