If you don't know who he is you should. Bob Wirz used to be the spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. He also used to work for the Kansas City Royals. He said he talked about me last night in a speech about baseball. Bob sold the Spirit to Nick Lopardo so I wrote to him and asked him to buy the Spirit back and keep them in Lynn but he can't. But at least he wrote a good story.
I have a new pen pal, and I have to admit she has stolen my heart.
Don't worry, my wife will not be jealous.
All of the Independent Baseball world needs to know about Victoria Glidden. Many know about her already.
Victoria is 9, and she is crushed that the North Shore Spirit, the Can-Am League team in Lynn, MA, will not be playing again. Owner Nick Lopardo, who poured a great deal of money and energy into the Spirit for five seasons, has closed up shop. He has not said it in so many words, to my knowledge, but the Spirit apparently did not receive the support they needed from the City Hall or the business and fan base to stop the financial losses.
"The Spirit is the best part of living in Lynn and it's being taken away from us," Victoria wrote in her first email to me. "We love the Spirit. I'm just a kid but I want to help find a way to keep the team in Lynn."
But unlike so many people who might say something similar, Victoria Glidden is not stopping with a few emails. She started a petition, and the last I knew she had collected 447 signatures. She got 209 from the internet and 238 from "talking to people". "I want a million (signatures)", she wrote, and she may be well on her way by now.
Victoria's plight has been on television and in newspapers in Massachusetts although she admits Mayor Chip Clancy, the primary target in her effort, has not responded.
"One of the things I want to do when I have enough money is buy a baseball team," Ms. Glidden told me in her most recent message. "The kids could always go to games and I'd give free tickets to the poor kids too so everyone can have fun."
Victoria's grandmother, Debra, told me "she (Victoria) is a wreck over the Spirit leaving. Spirit games are the highlight of her life. She has been to almost every game for five years."
"I'm so sad thinking I won't be able to go to any Spirit games next summer," was the most heartfelt of all of her lines. "It makes me want to cry."
Victoria even asked me if I would buy the team. I am afraid I remain powerless in this situation, Victoria. Maybe your message will get through to someone who can help. And regardless, Victoria, your determination will win out in life.
He asked me to put this with his post: Bob Wirz has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and runs his own sports consulting company in Stratford, CT. He is the author of a newly-published book ‘The Independent Minor Leagues: 2006 Season in Review’ and this blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. Subscriptions to the book and this weekly Independent Baseball Insider column are available at www.WirzandAssociates.com .)