McALLEN, Texas -- Even though small independent baseball leagues notoriously try to draw fans with promotions like "vasectomy night" and "midget wrestling," two teams had good reasons to swap a right-handed pitcher for 10 bats.
The Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League couldn't get newly signed pitcher John Odom into Canada for immigration reasons.
And the Laredo Broncos of the United League were willing to take a cheap gamble on a pitcher.
Oh, and the Vipers really, really wanted some new bats.
So about a month after being acquired by a Canadian team, Odom found himself on the roster of a team on the Mexican border. All for the price of 10 Prairie Sticks Maple Bats, double-dipped black 34-inch C243 style.
According to the Prairie Sticks Web site, their maple bats retail for $69 a piece, discounted to $65.50 for purchases of six to 11 bats.
The Vipers had signed Odom, but it seems Odom had a "minor," but unspecified, criminal record that he did not reveal to immigration officials before they scanned his passport.
Calgary found the Broncos were willing to take Odom, but the Vipers weren't interested in any of the Laredo players.