Thursday, January 18, 2007


It won't exactly be balmy, but the 54 degrees predicted for Harlingen, TX Friday when the United League inaugurates its winter league season will feel good to these Texans who live in the southern most part of the state after what they have been through the last few days.

The near-freezing chill has been the coldest in the year newly-promoted President Craig Brasfield has been in the Lone Star State. What timing, with the four-team, Harlingen Field-based league opening play Friday on the same day as the Golden League opens its winter league doors in a warmer Yuma, AZ.

Brasfield, who has had various titles in the short life of the United League (started last summer), painted a mostly positive picture of the new winter league experiment when we talked earlier this week.

"We're right where we need to be," Brasfield said, while admitting another 20-30 players still would be welcome. He reported 48 players were on hand during the chill with several others having paid their fees but not yet on the scene. About one-third of the players already are under United League contracts, said the new president, whose sudden elevation into that role I will deal with in more detail in my regular Independent Baseball Insider column when it goes out later Thursday.

"There is a certain amount of buzz (for the winter league)," Brasfield said, as well as a "good feel" toward the possibility of a new stadium in 2008, which would allow Brownsville to join the league's summer season.

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