Apr 262012
 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m re-running this from last year with some edits.

As longtime readers know, I have a soft spot for the independent brand of the game. That’s in part because I was a season-ticket holder to an indy team for the three years prior to my moving to Northern Virginia, but also because it’s a throwback to the way the minors were nearly a hundred years ago. In the days before radio and TV, conservative estimates had more than 400 pro and semipro teams across the U.S., each built to win but also willing to sell its best players to the major leagues to stay afloat, which of course created bidding wars. Thus, the NAPBL was formed to kill the competition and save the owners from themselves organize and professionalize the minors.

Today, the independent teams are still built to win, but the players are no longer sold — though organizations have been known to send (badly needed) equipment as a thank-you. In many ways, the indys have become a thing of chance. For the younger and/or undrafted guys (typically, collegiate ballplayers), it’s a last chance to get noticed. For the older guys, it’s a second chance to get back into the minors. And for the rest, it’s simply a chance to keep playing for the love of the game (Hagerstown folks might remember a MI named Vic Davilla who became the Albert Pujols of the Can-Am League, retiring in 2008 at the age of 35 after 12 seasons in indy ball with a line of .313/.373/.502).

Tonight, the Atlantic League starts up. It’s widely considered the best of the bunch because it has the highest payroll and operates in the larger markets on the East Coast. It’s also the only one without any rules regarding age or service time. Consequently, it attracts AA/AAA talent and sends players back and forth to the majors with the greatest frequency (which it touts) though it’s commonly as a stopgap (which it doesn’t) to keep prospects at the desired level.

Unfortunately, it requires eyeballing the rosters of each and every team to see familiar names, so this feature will be sporadic and will undoubtedly be a bit incomplete. But here’s the players I spotted today, answering for some “Hey, where’d _____ end up?”

Jason Bergmann, Camden Riversharks
Jason Botts, Sugarland Skeeters
Freddie Bynum, Somerset Patriots
Ofilio Castro, Sugarland Skeeters
Ramon Castro, York Revolution
Alex Cintron, Sugarland Skeeters
Mike Daniel, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Steve Doetsch, Camden Riversharks
Jesse English, Bridgeport Bluefish
John Halama, Lancaster Barnstormers
Pedro Lopez, Bridgeport Bluefish
Dan Lyons, Long Island Ducks
Gary Majewski, Sugarland Skeeters
Charlie Manning, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Yunior Novoa, York Revolution
Wilberto Ortiz, Long Island Ducks
Rich Rundles, Lancaster Barnstormers
Jonathan Tucker, Somerset Patriots
Jim Ed Warden, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

  12 Responses to “Ex-Nats In The Indys: Atlantic League Edition”

  1. Here’s a few more…

    Pedro Lopez Bridgeport
    Ramon Castro York
    JE Warden SOMD
    Rich Rundles Lancaster
    Freddie Bynum Somerset
    Jack Spradlin Amarillo

  2. Thanks (I think) for the walk down bullpen memory lane.

  3. Think you might have overlooked Alex Cintron?
    http://sugarlandskeeters.com/roster.cfm?rosterID=21

    • Can we go with unintentionally ignored? Got it. It’s amazing how many 30+ guys are still hanging on in this league.

  4. I recognize at least two, possibly three former Syracuse Chiefs on that list. I’m a Jason Botts fan, so seeing his name there is a little sad. Thanks for the update.

    • Why? He’s a ballplayer that’s still playing ball. There are some definite advantages to the indys. For starters, it’s produce or go home — especially in the leagues where there are roster rules. If you’re one the four Veterans (6+ yrs experience) and you’re playing worse than a rookie, they will cut you and find another Veteran (actually, pretty much the case no matter what your slot is). You won’t see someone learning how to play OF on the job like Tyler Moore is (no errors yet, but he’s not getting to the balls that aren’t hit in front of him) or a major-leaguer on rehab treating it like spring training and exerting only slightly more effort than a Sunday softball player.

  5. Ex-Nat Charlie Manning is on the Blue Crabs roster.

    • Got it. Like I wrote, because I’m eyeballing it, it’s gonna be incomplete. Next year I’ll have to figure out a better system.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.