Lindbergh: The worst pro baseball team of 2017 doesn’t want your pity

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer on August 22, 2017:

You’ve come to the worst series,” says JD Droddy, the 73-year-old manager of the independent league Salina Stockade, when I meet him in the last week of July at his team’s ostensible base of Salina, Kansas. From a spectator’s perspective, he’s probably right. In returning to its nominal home, his team has given up any glamour that its new level of professional baseball can boast.

Nine days earlier, the Stockade played a weekend series in St. Paul, Minnesota, at CHS Field, the recently constructed, almost big-league-looking home park of the St. Paul Saints, one of the best-attended teams in all of minor league or independent baseball. There, the crowds averaged 8,500, rivaling the largest single-game audiences that ever saw a Droddy-managed team in his three previous years as a manager.

Now, he and I are almost alone an hour before first pitch at Salina’s 26-year-old Dean Evans Stadium, which usually hosts amateur games (high school, college, and American Legion). Our only companions are the stretching Stockade and their American Association opponents, the Wichita Wingnuts, whose bus has just pulled into the parking lot after a 90-mile ride north on I-135.

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Originally published: August 23, 2017. Last Updated: August 23, 2017.