Even though small independent baseball leagues notoriously try to draw fans with promotions like "vasectomy night" and "midget wrestling," these two teams had good reason 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.
And so Odom, about a month after being acquired by a Canadian team, found himself Tuesday 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.
"They just wanted some bats, good bats -- maple bats," Broncos General Manager Jose Melendez said Friday.
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, Vipers President Peter Young said.
Calgary found the Broncos were willing to take Odom, but the Vipers weren't interested in any of the Laredo players. Plus, it would have cost Calgary $1,000 to fly any new player in from Laredo. Laredo offered cash, but Young said that was "an insult."
The bat trade wasn't the first time Calgary tried some creative deal-making. The Vipers once tried to acquire a pitcher for 1,500 blue seats when they were renovating their field, Young said.
As for Odom -- who did not immediately return a call for comment -- he's scheduled to be activated Monday. And he'll get his first start Wednesday, Melendez said.
"It will be interesting to see what 10 bats gets us," he said.