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A Look at Independent League Baseball

Matt Iannazzo was a baseball star at Norwalk High School, pitching them to an FCIAC title in 2007. At the University of Pittsburgh, he was an All-Conference pitcher. Out of college, Iannazzo signed with the Chicago Cubs and played two seasons near the bottom of their organization. Now he pitches for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Stan Cliburn started playing professional baseball as a seventeen year old in 1974. By 1980, he was in the Major Leagues, catching for the California Angels. Now, in his 47th season in pro ball, Cliburn manages the new New Britain Bees in the independent Atlantic League.

Sean Burroughs won the Little League World Series in 1992 and 1993. In 2000, he was an Olympic Gold Medalist. In 2003 and 2004, Burroughs was the starting third baseman for the San Diego Padres. Now he plays first base for the Bluefish.

There are many, many stories like those. Of Connecticut's four professional baseball teams, two of them are literally full of stories like those. Two of them are unaffiliated with Major League franchises.

This hour, a look at pro baseball from a world outside of what you think of as pro baseball.


  • Katya Cengel - Author of Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life
  • Stan Cliburn - Manager of the New Britain Bees
  • Matt Iannazzo - Left-handed pitcher for the Bridgeport Bluefish
  • Ben Lindbergh - Staff writer at The Ringer and co-author of The Only Rule Is It Has To Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Jonathan is a producer for ‘The Colin McEnroe Show.’ His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on Connecticut Public’s talk shows and news magazines. He’s as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident.

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