Tag Archives: Can-Am

Can-Am and Frontier All-Star Rosters Announced

This year, the Can-Am and Frontier Leagues are coming together for one All-Star game, hosted by the Rockland Boulders on July 10th.

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Both leagues have officially announced their All-Star rosters for next week’s game.

CAN-AM LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER ANNOUNCED

Release courtesy Rockland Boulders

Rockland County, N.Y. – The Can-Am League announced its selections for the 2019 All-Star Game, which will be hosted by the Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Rockland County, N.Y. All-Star Week events, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital, start on Tuesday July 9 with an 11:00 a.m. luncheon, with the Home Run Derby to follow at 7:30 that evening. On Wednesday, July 10, the Can-Am and Frontier Leagues square off for the first time ever with game time at 7:00 pm.

A total of 26 players comprise the roster for the Can-Am League, with the defending league champion Sussex County Miners placing eight, followed by Rockland and the New Jersey Jackals (5 each), the Trois-Rivieres Aigles and Ottawa Champions (3), and the Quebec Capitales (2). Sussex County Manager Bobby Jones will lead the squad on the heels of his crew’s first ever Can-Am League championship in 2018.

For the first time, one player from each of the Can-Am’s six teams was selected from a pool of nominees by fan balloting and input from managers. That group includes: Conrad Gregor (New Jersey), Jiandido Tromp (Ottawa), Ryne Birk (Rockland), Ryan Newell (Sussex County), and Garrett Mundell (Trois-Rivieres). Quebec’s Karl Gelinas was also selected but is unable to participate due to injury. The veteran hurler will be in attendance, however, as he was named Honorary Team Captain and Pitching Coach for the contest.

“The Can-Am League couldn’t be prouder that we are hosting the Frontier League in the 2019 All-Star Game,” noted Can-Am Executive Director Kevin Winn.” They bring 27 years of tradition with them as the oldest continuously operating independent league. I want to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, all the owners, executives, coaching staff and players. Two premier leagues are facing off in a premier ballpark.” 

Lee is in his 26th season as Frontier League commissioner. Lee will oversee a cross-league All-Star Game between the two circuits for the first time in history.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be playing the Can-Am League All-Stars,” Lee said. “Everyone is looking forward to coming to the New York area. This is an unprecedented game for our League. We want to thank all of the owners, teams and Kevin Winn for making this possible. Above all, we want to thank Shawn Reilly and the entire Rockland Boulders staff for their hard work.” 

Reilly, president of the Rockland Boulders, will be the host of this year’s event. “It is exciting that the best young talent in professional baseball is coming to New York City, the baseball and media capital of the world, to showcase our leagues,” Reilly said. “We are proud to host this historical matchup in our beautiful Palisades Credit Union Park and give our fans an event they will never forget.” Tickets for all All-Star Week events are available at rocklandboulders.com, or call 845-364-0009 for more information.

2019 Can-Am League All-Stars

Pitchers (11):

Catchers (2):

Infielders (7):

Outfielders (4):

Utility (1):

All- Star Week Events Schedule

Tuesday, July 9 – 11:00 am, at New York Country Club – Guest Speaker, New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling.

Tuesday, July 9 – 7:30 pm at Palisades Credit Union Park – Home Run Derby, featuring Legends Team, including Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.

Wednesday, July 10 – 7:00 pm at Palisades Credit Union Park – All-Star Game featuring Can-Am League vs. Frontier League.

OFF TO THE BIG APPLE: 2019 FRONTIER LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER

Release courtesy Frontier League

*NOTE: all statistics provided are as of June 26, 2019.

SAUGET, IL — The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce its roster for the 2019 All-Star Game, which will take place in Rockland County, New York. The game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park, home of the Rockland Boulders of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am League), on Wednesday, July 10.

In a collaborative effort, members of the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues worked together this offseason to make the event possible. Can-Am Executive Director Kevin Winn acted as a critical part in the process.

“The Can-Am League couldn’t be prouder that we are hosting the Frontier League in the 2019 All Star Game,” Winn said. “They bring 27 years of tradition with them as the oldest continuously operating independent league. I want to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, President Rich Sauget, all the Owners, Executives, Coaching Staff and Players. Two Premier Leagues facing off in a Premier Ballpark.”

Bill Lee is in his 26thseason as Frontier League Commissioner. Lee will oversee a cross-league All-Star Game for the first time in independent history.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be playing the Can-Am League All-Stars,” Lee said. “Everyone is looking forward to coming to the New York area. This is an unprecedented game for our League. We want to thank all of the owners, teams and Executive Director Kevin Winn for making this possible. Above all, we want to thank Shawn Reilly and the entire Rockland Boulders staff for their hard work.”

Shawn Reilly, President of the Rockland Boulders, will be the host of this year’s event.

“It is exciting that the best young talent in professional baseball is coming to New York City, the baseball and media capital of the world, to showcase our Leagues,” Reilly said. “We are proud to host this historical matchup in our beautiful Palisades Credit Union Park and give our fans an event they will never forget.”

Managing the Frontier League All-Star team will be Dennis Pelfrey of the Florence Freedom. Pelfrey also managed the 2017 Frontier League All-Star Game. His staff will feature Freedom hitting coach Drew Martinez and Freedom bench coach Mike Morris.

“It’s truly an honor to represent the Frontier League in the All-Star Game and even more so with our All-Stars playing against another league’s All-Star team,” Pelfrey said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to showcase our best players so we can elevate the already positive reputation of our league.”

The game will be played between representatives of the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues for the first time in history. Its unique dynamic offers a new and unique perspective across the independent professional scene.

“I believe this dynamic of an All-Star Game between two leagues can really provide opportunities and information for future players when choosing to play independent baseball,” Pelfrey said. “This All-Star game will show the competition level of both leagues and exactly what independent baseball is about. The electricity in the ballpark that night is going to be something you shouldn’t miss!”

Pelfrey will work with a number of familiar faces, as a League-leading six Freedom are recognized as Frontier League All-Stars. The Evansville Otters and Southern Illinois Miners are second with four, the River City Rascals have three, while the Schaumburg Boomers, Washington Wild Things, Joliet Slammers and Gateway Grizzlies have two. The Windy City ThunderBolts and Lake Erie Crushers have one representative, respectively.

The Freedom’s Austin Wobrock, who made this sensational playearlier in the year, earned his second All-Star nod. The shortstop is hitting .275 on the season with seven doubles and nine stolen bases.

Joining Wobrock is outfielder Ricky Ramirez Jr., as well as pitchers Tyler Gibson, Mike Castellani, Jonathan Tripp and Brian McKenna. Ramirez Jr. is hitting .282 with three home runs, seven doubles and an .844 OPS.

Gibson is an All-Star for the first time with his 2.76 ERA across seven starts and two complete games. Left-hander Castellani will attend his first All-Star Game as well following an impressive 2.25 ERA across 52 innings.

Both Tripp and McKenna are tied for a team-lead in appearances with 15. McKenna leads his team among relievers in strikeouts with 26 over 16.2 innings, while Tripp has yet to allow an earned run in 19 innings. It will be McKenna’s first All-Star appearance. It will be Tripp’s second consecutive All-Star season.

The Otters will send first baseman Carlos Castro, third baseman Ryan Long, catcher Rob Calabrese and relief pitcher Taylor Wright to New York. It will be the first All-Star game for Castro, Calabrese and Wright. Long will attend for the second consecutive season.

Long leads the League in RBI’s with 34 and is tied for the lead in home runs with seven, while also ranking in the top-10 in doubles (11), hits (41), walks (23), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.524).

Calabrese is in his first Frontier League season after spending two years in affiliated ball with the San Francisco Giants. He is hitting .292 with an .897 OPS through 29 games. Castro, meanwhile, has six home runs in his second Frontier League season. Wright, a right-handed pitcher, has struck out 30 compared to six walks in 24.1 innings and sports a 1.11 ERA to go along with his four saves.

Four Miners will make the trip from Marion to Rockland County, as third baseman Gianfranco Wawoe, shortstop Bryant Flete, catcher Andy Cosgrove and right-handed starter Chase Cunningham are All-Stars.

Cunningham earned his second All-Star nod thanks in part to his League-leading 59 innings pitched accompanied by a 2.90 ERA. Flete (.388) and Wawoe (.331) rank first and second in the Frontier League in batting average, while Cosgrove (.319) ranks first among catchers in batting average. The three aforementioned will be making their first All-Star appearances.

Trevor Achenbach, Braxton Martinez and Kameron Esthay will represent River City as All-Stars for the first time in their respective careers. Achenbach is fourth in the Frontier League in batting average at .314. Martinez has walked nearly as much as he has struck out this season (28 BB/32 K) and has powered his way to 12 doubles and six home runs. Esthay, meanwhile, is hitting .284 with 13 doubles and a .794 OPS.

Washington’s J.J. Fernandez and Hector Roa are All-Stars for the first time as well. Fernandez is among the most productive bats in the Frontier League, as the 25-year-old is slashing .291/.382/.473 with five home runs, eight doubles, two triples, 23 RBI and 22 walks. Roa ranks second with 30 RBI and owns a .285 batting average and .494 slugging percentage.

Schaumburg will send catcher Nick Oddo and closer Connor Eller to the All-Star Game. It will be Oddo’s second selection and Eller’s first. Oddo leads his Boomers with a .311 batting average and 10 doubles. Eller leads the League in saves with nine and owns a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings pitched.

The Grizzlies have two first time All-Stars, featuring outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. and reliever Dakota Smith. Dunston Jr., who is batting .271 through 35 games, is tied for second in the League in steals with 16. Smith, in his fourth season in Gateway, has 33 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched.

Joliet’s Chaz Meadows and Daren Osby also earned All-Star bids. Meadows is now a two-time All-Star, while Osby will partake in his first. The right-handed throwing Osby is averaging a strikeout per inning over 40.1 on top of his 2.67 ERA. The shortstop Meadows is tied for the team lead in hits with 40.

Left-handed starter Patrick Ledet will represent Lake Erie as their lone All-Star. Ledet ranks third in the League in ERA at 1.90 and has struck out 48 compared to nine walks in 52 innings pitched. It will be Ledet’s first All-Star appearance.

Rounding out the Frontier League All-Star roster is Windy City right-hander Tyler Thornton. Thornton boasts a 2.81 ERA through 32 innings pitched and is a first time All-Star.

FRONTIER LEAGUE ALL-STAR STARTERS

1B – J.J. Fernandez
2B – Trevor Achenbach
3B – Ryan Long
SS – Bryant Flete
C – Nick Oddo
OF – Hector Roa
OF – Kameron Esthay
OF/DH – Ricky Ramirez Jr.
OF – Shawon Dunston Jr.

ALL-STAR RESERVES

1B – Carlos Castro
2B – Gianfranco Wawoe
3B – Braxton Martinez
SS – Chaz Meadows
SS – Austin Wobrock
C – Rob Calabrese
C – Andy Cosgrove

SP – Tyler Gibson
SP – Patrick Ledet
SP – Chase Cunningham
SP – Mike Castellani
SP – Daren Osby
SP – Tyler Thornton
RP – Jonathan Tripp
RP – Taylor Wright
RP – Dakota Smith
RP – Connor Eller
RP – Brian McKenna

All-Star events begin with the All-Star Charitable Luncheon featuring New York Yankees’ broadcaster John Sterling on Tuesday, July 9. The Home Run Derby takes place that night and features former New York Yankees and Mets players Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.

The Can-Am League vs. Frontier League All-Star Game presented by WMC Health/Good Samaritan Hospital is Wednesday, July 10. For tickets and additional information, please visit http://www.rocklandboulders.com/allstarsummer2019

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Dominican Republic Team Out of the Can-Am League

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Earlier this week, the Can-Am League issued a press release stating that the Dominican Republic team would not be playing their remaining games on the schedule.  The Hollywood Stars, owned by the Pecos League, will play out the rest of the games.

This isn’t a huge loss for the league as the Dominican Republic team failed to win any of their nine games that they had played. Last year, the team went 2-15.

Below is the Can-Am’s official press release:

 

HOLLYWOOD STARS TO REPLACE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TEAM

Durham, N.C. — Due to transportation issues, the Dominican Republic team, which finished its games against the Can-Am League’s American clubs Sunday, has been replaced on the schedule by the Hollywood Stars. The Stars competed in the independent Pecos League in 2017.

The Dominican Republic team had been scheduled to play at Ottawa June 19-21, at Trois-Rivières June 22-24, and at Québec June 26-28. All dates and times will remain the same for games against Hollywood.

After the news was made official, a representative of the Dominican Republic team emailed me to tell me that the transportation issue was really just a way for the league to make an excuse not to have them play the remainder of their schedule. They stated that the bus was cancelled by the league, without warning, leaving the Dominicans stranded in New Jersey after having to check out of their hotel.

I reached out to the Can-Am commissioner, Miles Wolff, for his response on Tuesday (6/19), and he told me that:

The Dominican team was scheduled to leave NJ yesterday at 11 a.m. on a bus that the league had hired.   No players were there to meet the bus.  Canadian visas had not been acquired.  Although the DR organizers stated that the team would be ready today, the uncertainty over whether we would have a team to make the trip to Canada caused the league to cancel the Canadian portion of the series.

After Wolff’s email response to me, he went on record with the Ottawa Sun to discuss the issue further, stating:

“I cancelled it,” Champions owner Miles Wolff said. “The decision was mine, not theirs. Their bus was supposed to leave New Jersey at 11 (Monday morning). The team wasn’t ready to leave. They said, ‘Oh, we’re going to leave at 3 the next morning.’ Canadian visas hadn’t been applied for. There was huge uncertainty.

“The team wasn’t very good. They hadn’t gotten their U.S. visas, so they were using a lot of players out of New York City. Last year, they were only 2-16 in the league and they said, ‘OK, we understand the league is strong. We’re going to have a good team for you this year. We want to really do it right.’ It turned out to be worse than last year. The last straw was them cancelling the bus that was supposed to leave. We needed to make sure a team was going to be here.”

The Dominican team representative assured me that they had players in place to play and did everything the league asked of them.  The representative also told me that the bus situation and time of departure was supposed to be set by them, and not the league.  Wolff has been on the record multiple times stating that the Dominican team cancelled the bus, which caused him to cancel the series; however, I have seen an email where he has admitted to cancelling the bus himself because the representative was trying to “force things.”

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The Hollywood Stars team, which was the Canadian version of the Salina team that just finished their partial schedule, was already in place and ready to take over and play. It does appear that having two different Salina teams (one in Canada and one in the States) shows that this may have been in the works for weeks without the Dominican team’s knowledge.

Since first publishing this article, I’ve been informed by a member of the Salina team that many members were supposed to play in both Canada and the United States. Others were scheduled to return to their original team. Some members of the Canadian Salina team were on their way back to their Pecos League team or on their way to join the Salina team in New Jersey, but were then told they needed to stay. A lot of players had to figure out a way to cancel plans or make other arrangements to stay or return to Canada to form the Hollywood Stars team.

So even if the Can-Am had this planned for weeks, they did not let the Pecos League know about it either.

Understandably, the Dominican Republic team is angry and upset about how the league has handled this entire situation.

Regardless of what exactly happened, the Can-Am bringing in poorly performing teams from outside the league has given them a bad look in recent years.

So far this season, the Salina Stockade (a Pecos League team) is 3-7, the new Hollywood Stars team (basically the Canadian roster of the Stockade) lost their first game and the Dominican team went 0-9.  Last year, there were two foreign teams playing a partial schedule: the Cuban National Team which went 5-16, and that same Dominican team which went 2-15.

The Can-Am has been doing this for years – relying on travel teams or other teams outside of the league to fill their schedule – but these teams are rarely competitive which makes for some long games for both players and fans.

In a way, it almost seems like a publicity stunt that does the exact opposite of what one is supposed to do.  These teams rarely bring in droves and droves of fans (the Dominican team was an exception), but it also appears that it has alienated a lot of fans from the six “core” teams in the league who see it as a joke and are frustrated with seeing such poor play.

Did the Can-Am really believe that the Dominican Republic team couldn’t continue on to the Canadian leg of the schedule? What really happened with the bus situation? Did the poor performance of the team lead to the switch?

Remember, there are always three sides to the story. I gave you the Can-Am League’s and the Dominican Republic team’s… I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure out the third side.