Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eri Yoshida offered contract by Chico Outlaws

A total of 55 players out of the Arizona Winter League were offered professional contracts on Thursday, including Eri Yoshida. The 18-year-old Japanese knuckleballer was drafted by the Chico Outlaws and if she signs she'll be the first woman ever to play in the Golden Baseball League. Assuming she inks a deal, she will make two trips to Victoria this season -- July 26-28 and August 14-17. Mark those dates on your calendar and (if she signs) come on out to Royal Athletic Park to watch her take to the mound.

Eight of the ten teams in the Golden Baseball League drafted players out of the Arizona Winter League. The only two teams who did not take any of these players were the Victoria Seals and the Cimarrones De Tijuana. Seals manager Darrell Evans and his right-hand man, coach Dan DiPace, have been busy with the California Winter League (CWL) over the past month or so. Evans was league commissioner and the lead instructor. Now that the CWL season has wrapped up, we'll likely see the Seals sign some players out of that league. It just may take a while longer before any announcements are forthcoming.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our interview on Planet Hardball

The three authors of this blog were recently interviewed by John Fitzgerald for a podcast on the Planet Hardball website.  In this interview, I provided some background on independent baseball and discussed my motivation for starting this blog.  We also recapped the inaugural season of the Victoria Seals.

You can listen to the interview here.

John Fitzgerald is an American TV / film producer and managing editor of Planet Hardball. In 2006, his documentary about baseball in Ireland - "The Emerald Diamond" - won the Critic's Choice Award at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. In 2008, he produced "Playing for Peanuts" - a TV series about independent minor league baseball. Planet Hardball is a blog dedicated to raising awareness of baseball being played around the world.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Seal Blubber Bits - Olympic edition

Here are a few tidbits to nibble on while you wait for the next Olympic hockey game to start:
  • The 18-year-old female knuckleballer, Eri Yoshida, has hit her stride in the Arizona Winter League with the Yuma Scorpions. After a rough first outing plagued by wildness, the 5' 1" 114 lb right-hander has reeled off five good outings in her last six appearances. She even notched her first win on February 12th after pitching four scoreless innings against "Team Canada". Yoshida has only surrendered one earned run in her last 10 innings pitched and has lowered her ERA to 4.50. She has only given up 12 hits in 12 innings pitched while walking three and striking out three. Given her potential to sell a lot of tickets and GBL merchandise, there is a decent chance that she will land a contract with a GBL team when the Arizona Winter League wraps up in about a week's time (unless of course she completely falls apart). It will be interesting to see if the Victoria Seals will sign her for the reasons outlined in a previous post on this blog.
  • Ex-Seal Isaac Hess is currently playing winter ball in Australia and he hopes to sign with a team in the Mexican League for the 2010 season. The Mexican League is roughly at the AAA level, although its teams are not affiliated with Major League Baseball -- a fact which may allow him to avoid liability concerns about his hip condition. Unless an adept lawyer can draft a bullet-proof waiver for Hess, the Mexican League may be the highest level of baseball that will sign him to a pro contract.
  • Bob Keisser of the Long Beach Press-Telegram appears to be backtracking from the rant he published a couple of weeks ago that trashed the Golden Baseball League and independent baseball in general. It sounds like he received some negative feedback from readers and he also had a chat with league CEO David Kaval. His follow-up article can be found here.
  • Only 91 more days until the Seals open their season at Royal Athletic Park!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jamar Hill signs with York Revolution for 2010

On September 20, we asked the question Are Jamar Hill and Josh Arhart Gone for Good?  Well, we now have the answer to the first part of that question: "Yes (well at least for the foreseeable future)".  Yesterday, the York Revolution announced that they have signed ex-Seals outfielder Jamar Hill for the 2010 season.

Seals fans can forget about watching Jamar launching baseballs onto Pembroke Street again this summer.  Hill was a fan favourite at Royal Athletic Park last season, hitting .289 with 19 HR and 64 RBI in 75 games.  His 19 homers were the second most in the GBL in 2009. The signing is a promotion of sorts for Hill, since the caliber of the Atlantic League is somewhere between "AA" and "AAA" baseball.

Based on Revolution manager Andy Etchebarren's comments listed in our September 20th blog post, the team would also like to sign one of the other (RAP) fan favourites, Josh Arhart (or is that Arrrrrrrhart?)
.  The Revolution currently have 10 players under contract and none of those are catchers.

The trade of Hill and Arhart to the York Revolution was supposed to be for "future considerations", but we're still waiting to hear what those considerations are.  Let's hope they take the form of a serviceable player or two for this year, but the pessimist in me thinks that cash might have been the only consideration in this deal.

Meanwhile, the Victoria Seals have not announced any player signings for the 2010 season.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Maui team's logo and uniforms unveiled

Now we know what the Na Koa Ikaika Maui (Strong Warriors of Maui) will look like when they play their first-ever game in the GBL on May 21st at Royal Athletic Park.  The team unveiled their snazzy logo and uniform designs yesterday.  

Here is the team's logo:

The jerseys will look as follows (the away uniform is the black one with the "Maui" across the chest):
Full details on the logo and uniforms are here.

Arizona and California Winter League updates

Both of the independent instructional leagues are just over one week into their four-week seasons.

Victoria Seals fans may recognize some of the names of those participating in the California Winter League.  Victoria manager Darrell Evans is coaching the Coachella Valley Snowbirds and a pair of players who played for the Seals in 2009.  First baseman Brett Flowers is fourth in the league in hitting with a .381 average in his first 21 at-bats.  Seals coach and emergency backup Takashi Miyoshi is struggling with a .211 average and is playing second base for the Snowbirds.

Meanwhile, Seals bench coach Dan DiPace is piloting the Canada A's, a team which includes four players who played for his Victoria squad last season.  Infielder Pedro Montero, outfielders Billy Krause and Gabriel Riley and pitcher Mike Reeves are all trying to earn a professional contract for 2010.  Reeves was released by the Seals on June 20th after posting a 10.66 ERA, while the other three were basically roster fill-ins during Victoria's inaugural season.  Billy Krause is off to a good start with a .368 batting average, while Pedro Montero (.056 BA) and Gabriel Riley (.238 BA) have failed to impress so far.  Reeves has yet to make an appearance for the A's.

The Arizona Winter League doesn't feature any names familiar to Seals fans, but the league does include a couple of women looking to play professional baseball in North America this summer.  Japanese knuckleballer Eri Yoshida has settled down after a rough first outing.  The 5'1" 114 lb Yoshida now sports a 9.00 ERA in six innings pitched, but she has only given up six base hits -- all of them singles.  American Tiffany Brooks of the Western Canada Miners has struggled on the mound and at the plate.  She sports a whopping 40.51 ERA in 1 1/3 innings pitched and has only one hit in seven at-bats while playing first base.  However, her lone hit was a run-scoring double.

Both leagues wrap up their seasons at the end of February.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

GBL Trashed by Long Beach Columnist

There is a scathing column on the demise of the Long Beach Armada in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.  The writer, Bob Keisser, is (ahem) somewhat less than enamored with the Golden Baseball League.  Even if you don't agree with his sentiments, it makes for an entertaining read.