Jose Canseco, Bill Buckner Both Now Managing Independent League Teams

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Big names always offer a special allure. That is why two of the most anticipated managerial debuts in some time in Independent Baseball have been drawing extra attention.  Add together their 4,592 major league hits and 636 home runs plus the side stories of Bill Buckner and Jose Canseco, and it is guaranteed they will produce headlines not just in Brockton, MA and Yuma, AZ, their respective managing haunts.

The very presence of Canseco and Buckner and about a dozen other sizeable major league names who lead Independent teams these days creates a buzz that is not easily captured in other ways.  That buzz, along with the credibility that one hopes comes along, helps not only their community but the entire league in which they work and, for that matter, the entire Indy world of more than 50 teams spread across the USA and Canada.

 

Buckner’s debut comes this very night (Thursday) at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium, which is something like an hour south of Boston’s fabled Fenway Park, one of his major league stops in a 22-year career that included an unfortunate dribbler getting past him that fateful night during the 1986 World Series, which some New Englanders needed years to get over.

From everything I hear, Bill Buckner is living entirely in the present as the resident of Eagle, ID undertakes his first managing job.  “It’s about now,” he told MassLive.com recently.  “That’s it.  I had some kids growing up, and I wanted to spend some time with them at home.”

Yuma Splits in Opener, But Canseco Twins Injured

“I’ve built this team to win a championship and think that we should dominate the league,” Canseco said shortly before trotting his Yuma Scorpions out to inaugurate the initial North American League season with a rare opening day twin bill Tuesday.

The doubleheader seemed like a hit, too, because Yuma Sun Sports Editor Edward Garifio reported “the crowd was the biggest I can remember (at Desert Sun Stadium) in a long time.”

The downside in the doubleheader, which was split with the Calgary Vipers, was that both of the Canseco brothers suffered injuries.  Ozzie came out in the first game after trying to hustle out a ground ball and Jose strained a bicep in Game 2.  Ozzie, a major offensive force in Independent Baseball 11 years ago when he had a 48-home run, 129-RBI season for Newark, NJ, then in the Atlantic League,  had a two-run double before departing while Jose scored a run and narrowly missed a home run.

 

 

Trio of Indy Vets Key in 23-Inning Saga

A trio of former Indy players certainly has one of those rarities to talk about for the rest of their lives.  They had key roles in a 23-inning Florida State League game.

Jose Duarte, who played briefly at Pittsfield, MA (Can-Am League) last season, drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 23rd with a single just inside the right field line to give Jupiter (Florida Marlins) a 2-1 triumph against Philadelphia’s Clearwater farmhands.  The hit came off minor league saves leader Justin Friend.  Southpaw Derrick Loop and righty Joe Esposito kept Jupiter from scoring in innings 12 through 18.

Loop, who has pitched at Chico, CA (Golden League) and Camden, NJ (Atlantic League), allowed two hits in his three innings and lowered his earned run average to 0.81.  Esposito, formerly with the Long Island (NY) Ducks (Atlantic), held Jupiter without a hit although he did walk three in his four innings, and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam with a double play to end the 15th.

 

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