Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

Brandon Kintzler‘s first game with the Twins made a strong impression on his Hall of Fame manager, Paul Molitor.

“He (Kintzler) came in in a tough spot there (bases loaded) and faced a couple of really good hitters,” Molitor told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He got (Jose) Abreu to expand a little bit with the sinker (and struck out). He got out of the inning with a tapper (by Todd Frazier). He did a good job of giving us an opportunity.

“He was throwing harder than we saw in the spring.  I think he was pretty juiced with adrenalin out there.”  The sinker-ball righty followed with a 1-2-3 inning, capping his first day with the team.

Now 31, Kintzler got into 172 games in relief with Milwaukee from 2010-15, but only seven of those were last season when he battled knee issues.  After an 8-3, 2.79 season mostly as a starter with St. Paul in ’09, the Las Vegas native made his major league debut one year later.

Even Cubs Outfielder Ryan Kalish Had May 19 In Mind as Date American Association Starts Second Decade

Chicago Cubs outfielder Ryan Kalish is one baseball player who knows that May 19 is the day when the Sioux City Explorers open the American Association season, a date manager Steve Montgomery has no doubt had circled on his calendar for a long time.  That is when the Explorers and the other 11 teams in the league start the challenge of a new season, which last season found Sioux City putting together the best regular season record in modern history (75-25) although that magic did not hold over to the postseason when Laredo emerged as a somewhat surprising champion.

Kalish will not be on the field when Sioux City hosts Sioux Falls now that his career has skyrocked to the seemingly unstoppable Cubs, although it seems a worthwhile note for the more than 250 American Association players, all of whom would love to find themselves in a major league clubhouse as Kalish has.

“I’m still two weeks away from what was supposed to be the start of my season, so for everything that’s gone down in a short period of time, it’s pretty special,’’ the 28-year-old outfielder told a few days ago.

Kalish’s path which had him scheduled to be in Sioux City instead of Chicago came about as he recovered from the eighth and ninth surgeries of his baseball career.

Alright, not every American Association player can be fortunate enough to be in the major leagues although every one of the players planning on taking part in Opening Day and the 99 other games to follow this season deserves to know that three more alumni of the league starting its second decade have been promoted to the major leagues in the last two weeks–pitchers Tim Adleman of El Paso and Lincoln to Cincinnati, Junior Guerra of Wichita to Milwaukee and Brandon Kintzler of St. Paul to Minnesota.  Kintzler also played in Winnipeg before the Goldeyes joined the American Association.

That brings the American Association count in the majors to six with two more disabled, even without Ryan Kalish.


Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003.  He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his own blog,


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