Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The New Leagues

There are a two new independent leagues which will be getting off the ground in '07 - the South Coast League and the Continental Baseball League. The SCL would seem to have a good base to start from as 5 of the 6 cities have hosted professional baseball and they have some quality facilities to play in. Also, they have been able to procure some recognizable managers with Wally Backman, Phil Plantier, and indy league legend Jackie Hernandez each taking the helm of a team. But how will attendance be ? They aren't in any big metropolitan areas and teams in Florida (i.e. the Florida State League) do not have a good track record for drawing fans. I think there is room for an independent league in the south, but whether the SCL has identified the right markets is an open question.

I'm a lot more skeptical about the CBL (especially since they aren't even recognized on OurSportsCentral). They only have three real teams (the fourth is a traveling team) and their facilities appear to be nothing better than high school fields. Two of the teams will be in the Dallas area, while the third will be in the Houston suburbs. Good markets no doubt, but with lousy facilities and no publicity, it's hard to imagine this league surviving too long. Perhaps they are trying to resurrect the early days of indy ball when leagues were thrown together based on where they could find fields, not whether they would be good markets.

Despite my skepticism, I'll be rooting for both leagues to succeed, as having more indy leagues is always a good thing.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A New Season Arrives

While the weather in the northeast this past weekend was more suitable for football than baseball, I was able to take in my first game of the season. After the New Hampshire Fisher Cats get snowed out on Thursday and Friday, I wasn't so sure they would be able to play on Saturday. But the snow was removed and the field was dry by game time. It's the first time I've ever seen snow in the stands at a game I've been to. As a gesture to the fans who came out and braved the elements, the team offered free tickets to another game this year.

One of my complaints in the past of Stadium has been the lack of a scoreboard that displays the linescore. Fortunately the team has finally rectified this problem by erecting a manual scoreboard in the left field fence. Sitting along the first base line, I found that this was the only scoreboard I needed to look at. No other noticeable changes at the ballpark for '07. Parking is still an outrageous $10, but fortunately there is plenty of on street parking to be had.

As for the game, it featured more offense that I would have expected in 37 degree weather. The Fisher Cats defeated the Rock Cats, 7-6 in a game that featured four home runs, all hit over the short right field porch.

Hopefully next weekend will be a bit warmer ...