Independent Baseball Insider

Vol. 11, No. 40,  December 19, 2013

           Give credit to the Sioux City (IA) Explorers for an exhaustive search for a new manager to help end that community’s 21-year drought without a championship in Independent Baseball.  After all, Sioux City is one of three remaining franchises from the Northern League’s startup in 1993, and it trailed every other team in the American Association in attendance last season.

           After interviewing what they said were 22 candidates in an initial foray, calling five of them a second time around and bringing three finalists to town,  the Explorers have hired former pitcher and recent pitching coach Steve Montgomery as their manager.

           “There’s no question we need a winning culture in Sioux City,” General Manager Shane Tritz, the American Association’s Executive of the Year, told the hometown Sioux City Journal.  The 6-foot-7 Montgomery has been a part of winning teams the last 10 years as pitching coach at Fargo, ND in the same league where the RedHawks were in the playoffs nine times, won three championships and saw the pitching staff lead the league in earned run average on five occasions.

           While the 39-year-old Montgomery said he could not guarantee a title, he told The Journal “we’ll spend 20 hours a day on it”, following the pattern he and Manager Doug Simunic had at Fargo.  “We track players down, whether it takes calling them 10 times or staying up till two in the morning.  I’ve learned from the best (Simunic)”.

Photo: Sioux City Explorers

(Bob Wirz also writes about Independent Baseball on  Fans may subscribe to this Independent Baseball Insider column, which will be published 40 times in 2013, at or comment to  The author has 16 years of major league baseball experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners, and lives in Stratford, CT.)


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