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Minor League Baseball

December 17, 2003 | Mark Heisler, Times Staff Writer
In the beginning, no one's watching and you play because you love the game. At the end, no one's watching and you play because you love the game. It's in the middle, when the crowds swell and the money is stacked to the sky, that things can get confusing as the Bryants, father and son, could tell you. Kobe's dad, Joe, a veteran of eight NBA seasons and until last week a retiree, returned Tuesday night as coach of the Las Vegas Rattlers of the American Basketball Assn.
August 21, 2003 | Ben Bolch
The Seattle Mariners have suspended Evel Bastida for the remainder of the California League season and are considering releasing the Inland Empire 66er infielder because he struck a pitcher with a baseball bat in a game at Lancaster on Monday. "We want to send a message to him and the rest of our players that that's behavior we won't condone," said Benny Looper, vice president of player development for the Mariners, the parent organization of the Class-A affiliate.
June 27, 2003 | Mike DiGiovanna, Times Staff Writer
The Angels are expecting three sellout crowds for this weekend's series against the Dodgers, after the Dodgers sold out two of three games against the Angels last weekend. Pacific Bell Park will be packed for this weekend's San Francisco-Oakland series after the Giants and A's drew a three-game franchise record 155,375 fans in Oakland last weekend. New York's Yankee Stadium will be jammed for this weekend's Met-Yankee series, and Chicago's U.S.
June 15, 2003 | From Associated Press
The Spokane Indians have known tragedy and greatness, scoundrels and Hall of Famers. They've finished first and last, and even left town. Now, as they celebrate a century of baseball, the Indians are owned by George Brett and three of his brothers, and are perhaps the premier franchise in the Northwest League. "I enjoy going to a minor league park more than I do going to a major league stadium," Brett says in a new video "Spokane Indians, a Century of Baseball," produced for the centennial.
Rising through the ranks as a shortstop in the Boston Red Sox organization can be a tricky proposition. Just ask David Eckstein, who was put on waivers by the club in June 2000 despite hitting over .300 in each of his first three minor league seasons. Eckstein has since proven his ample worth with the Angels. Now comes Freddy Sanchez, a Hollywood native who recently put together a 27-game hitting streak and a stretch of 45 consecutive games in which he reached base safely.
Kirk Saarloos is about to complete a significant double play. Today, the former Cal State Fullerton right-hander gets married in Seattle. On Tuesday, he makes his major league debut for the Houston Astros in Milwaukee. A whirlwind couple of days to be sure. But that's par for the course for Saarloos, who has sprinted through the minor leagues after being taken in the third round of the 2001 amateur draft.
May 25, 2002
I just about choked on my Wheaties seeing an actual minor league baseball column in The Times on May 18. Kudos to writer Ben Bolch and the sports page editors for realizing that there are a few Angelenos out there who would welcome a (semi) regular column about minor league baseball in the L.A. Times. I would much rather read a column on the hottest players in the minors than read Ross Newhan's "Salaries Cap Dodgers' Offense" about the team's fiscal irresponsibility the very next day. Please save that for the Business section, not the Sports section.
May 23, 2002 | Hillary Johnson
"Who's on third?" a teenage girl in the stands pipes up. "No, Who's on first," someone else in the next section wisecracks. At tiny Sam Lynn Ballpark, home of the California League's Bakersfield Blaze, a Single A franchise of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the seats are so close to the action that you can hear everything, even the faint whoosh of the on-deck hitter's practice swing.
So it goes in baseball contraction talks: Attorneys representing millionaire players meet with attorneys representing multimillionaire owners as high-salaried front-office managers hold their collective breath. But all the talk of eliminating teams--most likely the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos--has mostly ignored the plight of hundreds of powerless lower-tiered players and employees from their minor league affiliates who might be out of jobs.
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