Yes, you read the title correctly. Joseph Mellows, of Seoul, South Korea, is leaving his job this summer in order to document independent baseball in the United States. I reached out to him via twitter last week- @BaseballBrit – after I saw this pinned tweet on his profile:
After some messaging back and forth, he emailed me the scoop, here it is:
— In July 2018 I intend to fly 6,871 miles from Seoul, South Korea to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to watch a baseball game between the Lancaster Barnstormers and the York Revolution. I have never watched an independent league game before but want to learn more about baseball that is played and operated outside of the monopolistic Major and Minor Leagues.
At the age of 32 I have decided to roll the dice with my life (and career) and have informed my current employer in Seoul of my intentions to leave my steady, well-paid job so that I can watch, document and write about the current state of independent baseball within the USA.
“I have decided to roll the dice with my life”
I am also British, with little experience of baseball except for three recent summers spent following the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, the LG Twins in Korea and the Texas Rangers in the MLB. My upbringing is similar to many from the UK with soccer, cricket and rugby dominating my early sporting interactions growing up in England.
I plan to visit as many independent ballparks as possible in 2018, making contacts with fans, players, teams and front office workers along the way. In 2019 I hope to spend an entire season on the road with my experiences and interactions being written up in a book similar to Stefan Fatsis’ chronicle of the old independent Northern League, ‘Wild and Outside’ from 1996.
Recommendations on ballparks, the independent baseball life, famous fans, books, websites, and people to follow on Twitter would be gratefully received and I hope to hear from many of you before next summer – so please get in touch, even if it is just to offer a drive-way to park my van in for the night! —
He would love to hear from anyone who wishes to contribute to his research and travels. I encourage all of my minor league friends to reach out and get yourself on his map for the summer.