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Indy Ball Friday’s: Introduction and an Imaginary Home Run

Hello everyone, I am new to the Couch Guy Sports blogging scene. For those that don’t know my current day job is that I am a radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Sioux City Explorers. An independent professional minor league baseball team in the mid-west.

Now you might be asking, “what is independent professional minor league baseball?”  Most people know about the standard affiliated minor league baseball, which consists of triple-A, double-A, class-A etc. These teams are all tied to the major league club and help develop players to hopefully someday play at the major league level.

Independent baseball operates within its own league. The league I work in, the American Association, is predominately in the midwest but stretches all the way from Winnipeg, Canada to the Dallas, Texas area. So the bus trips are sometimes pretty brutal.

American-Association-2019-map

But we do not answer to a major league organization, we answer only to ourselves which makes independent baseball kind of cool.

Affiliated ball is all about development of players, the major league front office is usually making the lineup every night. The back up second baseman might be the hotter hitter and better fielder but the first round pick will still take his lineup spot. In indy ball it is all about winning. Managers act as their own GM’s, signing players and trading them all to attempt and make their teams better.

The players that independent baseball gets are primarily guys who went undrafted, or have been released by major league clubs or sometimes you get former big leaguers who are still trying to play. For example last season I got to meet Daniel Nava who was playing for the Kansas City T-Bones. Great guy he could not have been any nicer and while his physical skills may have taken a step back he had an incredible eye and toughness in the batters box that made him impossible to strike out. Henry Owens was also with Kansas City but ehhh who cares.

But Daniel Nava got his start in independent baseball, as did David Peralta, Max Scherzer and a lesser known guy but a big leaguer none the less named Ryan Court who played for the Mariners last year played with my team the Explorers in 2015.

Which is what finally brings me to my point after this long introduction. Every Friday (until I run out of content) I will be sharing a viral video or highlight from my league, or independent baseball in general and will be sharing either a story or some background information about that said player, moment or team.

Since this is my first blog about this, I am giving myself first dibs with the clip that helped my voice go viral.

Some of you may have seen this clip before and remember it. The voice you are hearing is my own. This actually went viral a few weeks after it already happened. I remember being on the bus driving back from Fargo, ND when I got a DM on my phone from ESPN’s Assignment Desk who has to ask to use the footage, so I had an inkling of what was about to come. But even when this clip was happening, I never thought, here’s something that will go viral. Enough about me calling imaginary home runs though and let’s talk about the guy doing it.

That is Butch Hobson, a name that might not be familiar to you. But, I’m sure is certainly familiar to your fathers. Butch played parts of five seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 1975-1980 as their third baseman. In that time he hit just .252 but swatted 94 homers, including a career high 30 in 1977, which also happened to coincide with a league leading 162 strikeouts. But he managed to hit for a .265 average that season and drove in 112 RBI.

Butch Hobson Player

He also played with the Angels and Yankees for a season each to round out his playing career.

What Hobson is maybe more well known for however for his managerial experience with the Sox. In 1991 he took over for Paw Sox manager Ed Nottle. Oddly enough, Nottle became the Sioux City Explorers inaugural manager in 1993, small world. Hobson was the manager in Pawtucket for one season before getting the call up to Boston. He was the manager for the Red Sox for three seasons from 1992-94. He was 207-232 (.472) before getting the boot.

Butch Hobson Manager

In 1996 while managing the Phillies, triple-A team, he was arrested for possession of cocaine in Rhode Island. Sadly that is mostly what Hobson has been remembered for. Since then he has been primarily in independent baseball, and over 19 seasons of work has amassed over 1,200 victories.

Now he manages one of the newer teams in our league the Chicago Dogs. Who gets a name after a hot dog and not the animal? And I am 100% on board with that, we need more sports teams named after food. I firmly that if the Buffalo Bills were instead named the Buffalo Wings, that they win four Super Bowls in a row rather than losing them. Hobson Dogs

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Connor Ryan (@connoryan68)

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