Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

With only one week before the major leagues fire up the official “Play Ball” call, the attention normally falls to the tension of players awaiting final word whether they have made a major league roster or will be going back to the minors.  The American Association has had at least 28 players in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues during spring training and with only five, arguably, guaranteed big league salaries there are plenty of sweaty palms.

Along with Max Scherzer, David Peralta, John Brebbia, Brandon Kintzler and James Paxton from the playing ranks, add the name of Nick Baker to the list of 2018 major leaguers.

If his name does not seem familiar, that is only because you do not live near St. Paul and regularly attend games at CHS Field, which will start its fourth season as the site of Saints games in the American Association in May.

Baker, the head groundskeeper at the decorated stadium which hosts activities about 150 days a year, is becoming the new Fields Manager at Maryvale Ballpark, the spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix.

“Anyone who has visited CHS Field has seen with their own eyes what an amazing job he’s done with our field,” praised Saints EVP and General Manager Derek Sharrer.  Baker, 30, joined the Saints a few months prior to the stadium’s opening in 2015 after earlier jobs at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball 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, has a blog,, and a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at or


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