Top Baseball Prospects Compete All Summer in Palm Springs

by Steve Sitter and Wes Williams

Baseball fans in the Coachella Valley do not have to drive ninety minutes to see high quality baseball. Top college prospects from the Pac 12, Big West, SEC, Big Ten, and the Big 12 converge on downtown Palm Springs each summer to play for the Palm Springs Power.

Palm Springs Stadium Flag
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim held spring training at Palm Springs Stadium until 1992.

Fans can enjoy the national pastime each summer evening under the cool misters of historic Palm Springs Stadium, former spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  

Elite college players compete each year in collegiate summer baseball leagues with teams like the Palm Springs Power. The most well known league is the Cape Cod League, with teams like the Chatham Anglers having produced Jeff Bagwell, Thurman Munson, and Evan Longoria in their 54 year history.

In only 13 years, the Palm Springs Power have had 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Cleveland Indians) and Tyler Saladino (Chicago White Sox). 

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Tyler Saladino played for the Palm Springs Power and now starts for the Chicago White Sox

The Power play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams.  The team has an overall record of 465-130 and has won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015.  Last year, the Power finished in second place in the league with a record of 28-11.

Andrew Starke is the founder and president of the Palm Springs Power.  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon as well.

While they are not the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961.

According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”

Earlier in the year, Starke named Casey Dill as manager of the Power.  Dill has an extensive background in professional baseball and hopes to add to the already successful Palm Springs baseball franchise.

Casey Starke Jersey
Casey Dill was named Power Manager in September

“This is a team whose success is determined by winning championships and promoting our players into MLB organizations” Dill said. “We aim to stay at the forefront of player development and knowledge of MLB scouting standards to continue to guide and lead our players into professional baseball.”

Dill has nine years of professional and summer collegiate managing experience, earning an overall record of 371-220 with four league championships. He is a graduate of Major League Baseball Scout School and also works as an Associate Scout with the Atlanta Braves.

“The greater Palm Springs community does a great job embracing the Palm Springs Power as the hometown team. Our mascot Rocky the Ram is one of the most recognizable characters in the community. It is an honor and pleasure to manage a team that is loved and supported as well as the Power are in Palm Springs.” said Power Manager Casey Dill.

On top of coming out to the ballpark for top level baseball from elite college players, fans can come out for an entertaining evening in Palm Springs.  Kids can enjoy the bounce house and meet Rocky the Ram down the third baseline. Adults can enjoy dollar beer night throughout the summer on Tuesdays.

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Tuesdays are Dollar Beer Nights at Palm Springs Stadium

“Power games are a blast and they’re affordable for the whole family to come. It is a wonderful social atmosphere and the kids always have fun in the bounce house and the race around the bases” said longtime Palm Springs resident Wendy Patterson.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Is the Palm Springs Power a A, AA, or AAA minor league team? The Power is not a minor league team, it is a summer collegiate team made up of players from universities around the country. Collegiate summer baseball, or, “wood bat leagues,” as they are commonly known, are amateur baseball leagues that operate between the college baseball season in the spring, and the beginning of the fall college semester.

 

About what is the equivalent minor league level? The Palm Springs Power play at a level roughly below AA ball. In other words, fans are seeing prospects 2-4 years away from the MLB.
Does the team play the Rancho Cucamunga Quakes or Inland Empire 66ers? No. They play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams  In 12 years of baseball, the Power have an overall record of 465-130 (win percentage of .782), and have won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015. Teams in the league include the San Diego Force and So Cal Bombers
Have Power players made it to the MLB? Since the team’s inception, they have had a total of 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Indians) and Tyler Saladino (White Sox).
What is the history of the Palm Springs Power? The Palm Springs Power is the brainchild of Andrew Starke, who remains owner and President.  They aren’t the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, but they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961. According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon and Palm Springs Police Chief Brian Reyes as well. Both Mayor Moon and Chief Reyes threw out the first pitch at Power games in 2016

MLB Betting Odds for So Cal Teams

Opening day is only 48 hours away for Southern California Major League Baseball teams so now is your time to get your last second futures bets for the Los Angeles Angels, Los 6153882123_06f4913fc7_bAngeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.

Odds to win World Series according to Bovada

Dodgers +900

Angels +4000

Padres + 15000

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Odds to win Pennant according to Bovada

Dodgers +500

Angels 30/1 +2200

Padres 250/1 +6600

 

Odds to win division according to Bovada 

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Dodgers -210

Angels + 750

Padres +5000

 

 

 

 

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Make Baseball Fun Again

Baseball fans were treated to an October playoff game in March as the Dominican Republic came back from five runs down in sixth inning to beat the United States seven to five in the World Baseball Classic.

Besides the classic comeback, there was something else I noticed that made the game even more special. It was the passion of the Dominican Republic fans before, during, and after the game.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports expressed this an article last night,  “(the passion) was evident Saturday night, when the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game at Marlins Park came equipped with hundreds of literal Banderas Dominicanas and drums and horns and whistles and the spirit of a tiny, poor, proud island nation ready to topple the one that created the game.”

All sorts of rules are being considered to speed up baseball games to appeal to younger fans.  Runners placed on second in extra innings, fewer pitching changes, and other rules would speed up a game, but maybe Major League Baseball should think in a different direction.

Imagine coming to Dodger Stadium with horns, drums, and whistles. cropped-dodgerstadiumbanner.jpg

Imagine celebrations of homers like Manny Machado, Nelson Cruz, and Starling Marte’s where the entire bench welcomed them at home plate.

Now imagine security taking away the horns, drums, and whistles upon entering the stadium since they would ruin the experience of other fans. Imagine MLB pitchers beaning the next batter for a home run celebration for showing them up, an unwritten rule of the game.

Baseball needs more bat flips from Jose Bautista and Yasiel Puig. Baseball needs more fans breaking into loud songs in unison.

Baseball is fun already for true fans, but it could try to be even more fun for future fans.

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Colonials Capture California Winter League Title

Two Palm Springs teams were in the final four of the California Winter League playoffs only to be beaten by the same team.

The fourth seeded New York Colonials upset both teams and won the California Winter League championship by beating the Palm Springs Chill 10-3.

This game was essentially over after two innings. The Colonials jumped out to a 9-0 lead going into the bottom of the 2nd.

Edgar Lebron Jr. started the onslaught with a triple to drive in two.  Lebron ended the day with four RBIs.
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Palm Springs got runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but could not get the key hit to create a long rally to put them back into the game.

The Chill cut the lead to 9-3 and Dakota Freese kept the Colonials off the board with a strong relief appearance fanning five in his three innings of pitching.

But Colonials pitcher Dylan Thompson was even more impressive. He went six strong innings only giving up one earned run to earn the victory.

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National Bobblehead Day Should be Moved

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When the Dodgers promotional schedule comes out in the winter, I always circle bobblehead nights as games I must attend. Bobbleheads are awesome for man caves or offices. When people walk into my office, the most common thing they do is touch the #bobbleheads on my desk and watch the head nod up and down.
 
Celebrating these awesome toys is a great idea, but the organizers screwed up by making National Bobblehead Day in January. Bobbleheads are associated with baseball and baseball season starts in spring. The celebration should occur in April in association with the start of the baseball season. Baseball Antiques Bobbleheads Figures Vintage
 
I understand that not all bobbleheads are baseball related. I have Los Angeles Kings and Lakers bobbleheads along with my dozens of Dodgers bobbleheads. But I think the general public associates bobbleheads with baseball more than any other sport or activity.
 
Every team MLB team celebrates opening day, but why couldn’t the second or third day of the season be NationalBobbleheadDay?

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Other Winners from Game 7

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After the World Series, I thought about a few things beyond the historic win for the Cubs and the heart break the Indians must be feeling.

554px-chicago_cubs_cap_insignia-svg1. From a business point of view, Fox scored a huge victory with a 25.2 rating.
2. Major League Baseball can use that 25.2 rating when they negotiate a new television deal.

3. Youth baseball scored a victory because many young fans were created last night with all of the twists and turns. How many kids now want to be Anthony Rizzo, Chris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, or one of the other players?

Highlights from Palm Springs Baseball Tryouts

As the dreams of baseball players are being realized in the World Series, 75 players flocked to Palm Springs to try and continue their dreams of a professional baseball career.

Palm Springs Power Manager Casey Dill and the Southern Illinois Miners put together the event consisting of players from 17-34 years old.

Scouts from the major, minor, and international leagues evaluated the players as they went through drills at historic Palm Springs Stadium.

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Canadian Controversy at the All Star Game

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A member of the musical group The Tenors altered the Canadian National Anthem and held up a sign that said “All Lives Matter”.

Fox decided not to air the song due to the political statement, but it did air in some parts of Canada causing controversy.

Below is a portion of the national anthem with a close up of the sign.

The Tenors released a statement later condemning band member Remigio Pereira as the culprit of the controversy.