Independent Baseball Insider by Bob Wirz
St. Paul’s winning pace could have the Saints challenging a variety of American Association records before the season ends September 7, but one other achievement has an even better chance of ending up in rewriting history for all of Independent Baseball.
The average of 7, 820 fans per game at the new CHS Field seems virtually certain to go down as the best in modern day Independent play. The current record, according to avid attendance guru David Kronheim of NumberTamer.com, is 7,161 by Winnipeg in 2003 when the steady turnstile-spinning Goldeyes still were several years away from moving out of the Northern League and into the American Association. Winnipeg also topped the 7,000 level (7,027) one year later.
Kansas City holds down the No. 2 spot in the American Association this season at 5,507 per game, with Winnipeg third at 5,325.
It Is Amazing What Saints, T-Bones Are Doing
While it does not show up in the record book, St. Paul and Kansas City are on another amazing run. The Saints have won all 13 series they have played this season, and the T-Bones, who started the year in dismal fashion when they lost 10 of their first 11 games, have rebounded by winning eight consecutive series during a 20-6 stretch and are easily the league’s hottest team with nine consecutive victories. The winning streak started with twin 1-0 victories on the road against Can-Am League foe Rockland (NY) County. Kansas City has the league’s best season-long record except for the three division leaders.
Why Oberkfell Loves Managing in Independent Play
Lincoln’s Ken Oberkfell does not pull any punches when it comes to talking about the things he loves about managing in an Independent league.
“In affiliated ball, you don’t get to manage,” the 59-year-old former major league player told The Joplin Globe. “Basically, they (management) will call you and say this guy was a No. 1 pick, he’s hitting third and playing short. Leave him alone. This guy was a No. 2 pick, he’s hitting fourth, playing first, leave him alone. So you never really got to manage.
“For me, managing Triple-A was just glorified babysitting because you had a lot of egos. You had a lot of ex-major leaguers playing Triple-A baseball, and they were there to fill in and if someone gets hurt, they can get them up to the big leagues because they have the experience. But in Independent ball, you get to manage. I get to make the decision. If I want to pinch run for a guy, I’ll pinch run.”
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 blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.