Independent league baseball—the modern version of it anyway—began in 1993 with the creation of the Northern League (as well as the Frontier League). Independent baseball and its inception is an interesting story in itself; but not relevant for the purposes of this page.
Independent league baseball, in a nutshell, is a professional alternative to the major league system. Independent baseball teams run their organizations completely autonomous of MLB and MiLB. Independent baseball leagues are typically placed in areas of North America where current minor leagues and teams are not already in place. Although this is not always the case. In some markets, independent baseball clubs compete directly for fans against affiliated minor league teams.
From a player's perspective, the independent leagues create a great number of professional jobs. So for those players overlooked or released by MLB, independent league baseball provides an avenue to continue to chase the pro dream.
The talent in the top independent leagues is legit, so it’s not easy to secure and keep a job in the indies. But if you feel that you have the ability and the drive to play professional baseball, the independent leagues can make that happen.
Prior to each season, each established independent league conducts a nationwide tryout, sometimes lasting 2 days. These independent baseball tryouts follow the same format as an MLB tryout. But typically—after one or two rounds of cuts—competitive games are played among the players that remain. In some cases, the entire second day of an independent league tryout is spent playing a scrimmage game as evaluators observe.
At the end of these independent baseball league-wide tryouts, a draft is typically held. This allows available talent to be dispersed evenly. Teams sign the majority of their players separate of these events, but indie clubs generally pick up at least a few players out of the league-wide tryout.
Each individual independent league team will typically hold a tryout before the start of training camp at their home stadium. By this time though, very few, if any roster spots are available to fill.
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