The continued inability of the major league owners and players to reach an agreement despite so much revenue coming into the game every year could not be much more aggravating because it seems certain to severely wound baseball within the total sports world. Continued in-fighting deprives fans of the benefits they derive from watching games either live or on television in these troubling times when everyone needs an outlet from the coronavirus, police brutality and the economic woes.
LISTEN UP. Independent Baseball is stepping up to give the sport some game action, even though it may never reach nationwide TV screens or newspapers.
Let us all give a great big round of applause to the American Association and the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League.
Within the last week, Sugar Land has announced plans for a four-team league and six American Association teams (half of the regular league) have agreed to play. The window will be short, starting in early July and running into September, but the players who take part will be able to shake off the rust of idleness and fans will be able to get a dose of what is expected every season even if most of it will come from websites or localized media coverage unless they happen to live in the vicinity of four specific stadiums.
Here are some details:
The American Association will play a 60-game schedule from three of its ballparks with two teams based at each site (unless states open up more opportunities). The "regular" season will run from July 3-September 10 with playoffs to follow. The hosts will be Sioux Falls, SD, Fargo, ND and Milwaukee, WI, with St. Paul also playing out of Sioux Falls, Winnipeg out of Fargo and the Chicago Dogs out of Milwaukee.
At Sugar Land, a Houston suburb, four teams made up what is described as "an assortment of professional players", including some with major league experience, will play 28 games apiece from July 3-August 23.
Former major league pitching star Roger Clemens and his son Koby will run one of the teams with former slugging star Pate Incaviglia another. Incaviglia is the Skeeters' regular field boss.
Open tryouts for the Sugar Land event will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24, at Constellation Field. A registration form and waiver can be found at sugarlandskeeters.com/tryouts with a $100 fee. The deadline is June 23 with no walk-up registrations the day of the event.
Certain numbers of fans will be in attendance at all four locations although capacity will depend largely on what is allowed in a given state.
So place a great big star on your calendar for July 3 when Independent Baseball, which allows opportunity but limited salaries, opens its doors even though major leaguers almost certainly will not be playing. The MLB variety of baseball still may be arguing how to split up their much larger pie.