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Rockford RiverHawks To Join The Northern League in 2010 Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Sunday, 09 August 2009 19:59

Rockford RiverHawksThe Independent Leagues are constantly changing, always evolving, trying to discover the right formula to put the best product on the field, while making it conveniently affordable for its fans. In what looks like another exceptional move for the Northern League, it has been announced that the Rockford RiverHawks will be joining them for the 2010 season.

The Northern League was formed in 1993, with a 72-game schedule. When the Northern League consisted of between eight and twelve teams, the schedule was 96-games with two divisions, beginning in late May and ends in August around Labor Day. The Division leaders in each half qualify for the post-season, but when the league dropped to six teams in 2008, a 96-game schedule was still being played but the season was not split and did not have divisions. They did implement a new system where the top four teams qualified for the playoffs; the first place team plays the fourth, the second and third place team’s play and the winners battle it out in a best of five championship series. The Northern League is widely known as the dominant or most well known Independent League in baseball and with two new teams likely to arrive in 2010, it appears they are ahead of the curve yet again. RiverHawks Director of Baseball Operations, Dave Ciarrachi, commented on the situation, “This will broaden our marketing base as well as our media exposure, “we feel that this is a tremendous upgrade for our franchise.” Currently the Northern League consists of six teams, the Kansas City T-Bones, located in Kansas City, Kansas, the Fargo-Moorehead RedHawks and the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The league also consists of three Chicago based teams; the Schaumburg Flyers, the Joliet Jackhammers and the Gary Southshore RailCats.

An apparent merger between the Northern League and the Frontier League was in the works, it did not evolve, but apparently the move was agreed upon by all parties. "We're going to try to upgrade our on-field product," Ciarrachi said. In a recent article by the Rockford Register Star, Josh Olerud, general manager and vice president of sales for the RiverHawks, explains the thinking behind the switch, “It’s a big step for us on the field, player-wise and talent wise, and also just with the exposure the big Northern League has”. If you look at the specifics between leagues, you might see another reason. The Frontier League is more of a developmental league with an age limit of 26. The Northern League has no age restrictions and a higher team salary; $105,000 compared to $72,000. This is a very exciting opportunity for Rockford and the Northern League. On one hand, you have Rockford who has a very successful organization, winning the Frontier League Championship in 2004 and winning the West Division in 2004 and 2006 and for the Northern League, this is another chance for them to expand its marketing and ticketing opportunities. The RiverHawks Road Ranger Stadium is within 100 miles of 4 teams in the league, something Ciarrachi is thrilled about, “We have the opportunity for players to interact with our community for a longer period of time, it gives us the chance to put the best professional baseball product on the field.”

Previously discussed was the mention of a second team arriving in 2010. That team is the Lake County Fielders, based out of Lake County Illinois, owned and operated by long-time baseball enthusiast Kevin Costner. According to the teams website additional ownership is involved; Schaumburg Flyers owner and founder Rich Ehrenreich and Grand Slam Sports & Entertainment, LLC of Deerfield.


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.  
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada.

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CanAm League’s U.S. Military All-Stars To Be Run By Dan Duquette Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Friday, 05 June 2009 22:49

US Military All-StarsAccording to the Nashua Telegraph, general manager Chris Hall has been replaced by former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette under the title of president of Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC's five-team baseball conglomerate that includes two US Military All-Stars teams, a Latin All-Star team, the Pittsfield (Mass.) Defenders of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Defenders. Duquette will preside over the five-team organizational hierarchy that is one of the most unique in the world today. Duquette’s home base will be the historic Holman Stadium, which is the home of the former Nashua Pride of the CanAm League; the American Defenders of New Hampshire. Holman Stadium, is a landmark, a piece of American history that has had the honor of playing host to two legends of the game; Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. The outfield wall pays tribute to those players with their retired numbers; 36, 39, 42, the 42 for Jackie Robinson.

"Dan's your face (of the organization)," Defenders CEO Terry Allvord said on Thursday, confirming Hall's departure. "Chris did a great job, he worked very hard. We don't have any ill-will toward Chris at all. Chris put a lot of time and effort into trying to make this a success."

The US Military All-Stars, were founded in 1990 by Lieutenant Commander Terry Allvord. Since 1990, they have established over 30 military programs, becoming the fastest growing, most successful and only joint armed forces baseball program in the world at present time. In what has become an annual tradition that attracts over 25 million worldwide, the “Red, White and Blue Tour” provides exciting entertainment for the whole family while showcasing their talent on a national stage.

As former General Manager of the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, he brings an unlimited amount of experience, resources and qualifications that are second to none to an organization that is extraordinary in its setup. According to CEO Terry Allvord, “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Dan's credentials and knowledge leading our entire player development system with a dedication to cultivating young talent while our teams excel at all levels. We are creating something totally new and unique, which requires a leader with the acumen, savvy and intelligence to build an entire organization based on developing talent to deliver winning baseball”.

Duquette’s baseball career began as an assistant in scouting department for the Milwaukee Brewers. He then became the Director of Player Development for the Montreal Expos in the late 1980’s which eventually led to a GM position with them. In 1995, he joined the Boston Red Sox, where he rebuilt the scouting and player development system into what you see today.

Maury Brown contributed to this article


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Indy Ball News: Cracker-Cats to Capitals Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 01:17

Edmonton CapitalsThe Golden Baseball League is truly maintaining its position as one of the frontrunners for promoting Canadian independent baseball. With the Victoria Seals becoming the most recent team from Canada joining the league, another franchise located in Canada has gone through some changes. The team formerly known as the Edmonton Cracker-Cats is now the Edmonton Capitals.

After three years of affiliation with the Northern League, the Cats journey to the Golden Baseball League began in 2007, with a “refusal” to part with a $500,000 letter of credit, or $1,000,000 million dollar bond (depending on which report you believe) and was subsequently forced out of the league. According to Ball Park Digest, the basics of the deal are as follows; “the Northern League constitution says every team must put up letters of credit, with the commissioner having the discretion to return them after a certain amount of time (say, three years). When the two Alberta teams (the other team was the Calgary Vipers) were asked to put up the letters of credit, we're guessing they demanded that every other team do so as well per the league bylaws, but not every team has done so (and, indeed, at least one of the other teams is in no financial position to do so).” Northern League Commissioner Clark C. Griffith insisted that the team was not forced out, “We were not pushing them out of the league. We very much wanted them back."

In October of 2007, it was officially announced that the Edmonton Cracker-Cats joined the GBL. The addition of the Cats thrilled the likes of GBL CEO David Kaval, “Edmonton is a tremendous baseball market with a first class Triple-A ballpark," “With a tradition of championship ballclub’s and strong fan and business partner support, Edmonton is a very impressive addition to the GBL." 2008 turned out to be a very good year for the Cats, winning the North Division in their first season and setting a single-game attendance record of nearly 9,000 while facing their cross-province rival, the Calgary Vipers. Their season ended unceremoniously, losing to those same Vipers in the first ever North Division Championship Series three games to zero.  The 2009 season is almost underway but the Edmonton franchise is already in a league of its own.

Daryl Katz and the Rexall Sports Corporation purchased the Edmonton franchise for a reported $400,000. Dan Orlich and partner Erika Cruise, the Florida-based owners of the Cracker-Cats sold the team for an amount that is minimal to Katz, who is the owner of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Katz, who reached billionaire status through pharmaceuticals, has now turned Edmonton into a 12-month sports operator with hockey teams in the NHL, WHL, and now a minor league baseball franchise in the city. According to Oilers President Patrick LaForge, his expectation was to extend his core-operating base, “We have a really strong set of core skills, we have great relationships with national sponsors," LaForge said. "We have a very highly organized and well-tuned ticket marketing and selling organization that extended into the (WHL) Edmonton Oil Kings. "Our thought was that we can continue to extend those skills. LaForge wanted a franchise that could define a hardworking city, with hardworking fan base that would appreciate having a team of this caliber. “We finally have a pro sports team in this city that we can call the Capitals. We live in the provincial capital, the oil capital of Canada and the name symbolizes all that makes this city stand out above the rest. This franchise will be dedicated to filling a void here in our city for family focused, safe and affordable entertainment in the form of a terrific sports entertainment package.”

How did the Cats become the Capitals, a ‘Re-name the Team’ contest, of course. The contest received well over 2,000 entries, with the winning name being drawn from a pool of other contestants. What else has been adjusted before their May 21, 2009 home opener against the Victoria? Company restructuring that will reestablish their head office and procedures. Jordi Weidman transitions from a communications role with the Oil Kings, to Director of Business Operations. Craig Tkachuk combines the role of General Manager of Telus Field and Edmonton Oilers Director of Facilities & Development and Sean Price who formerly held the position of V.P. Ticket Sales for the Oilers, is now the V.P. of the Capitals and Oil Kings.

With a name change comes a new logo and new uniforms, and if you are Oilers fan, you can see the similarities. "One of the most exciting aspects of launching a new brand is to give it an identity and see that identity come to life." said LaForge. "You can tell this team belongs in the Oilers' family and the kids will have fun with a new character that will really make its mark on the Edmonton sports scene." Below you will find the details of the three different uniforms to be worn by the Capitals this season.

Home White Uniforms

  • The new Edmonton Capitals uniform features the Edmonton Capitals word mark emblazoned on the front chest.
  • The font is Interceptor capitalizing the first initial 'C' and the last initial 'S'
  • The primary color for the word mark is Edmonton Oilers blue with white and Edmonton Oilers vintage orange trim.
  • A player number appears on the front of the jersey on the torso below the word mark. Those are also blue with white and orange trim.
  • The primary logo becomes the shoulder patch of the jersey.
  • The sleeves will have a three tone trim with 1/8" blue/orange/blue.
  • The players name bars on the back of the jersey are in a slightly modified block lettering in a solid blue color.

Road Grey Uniforms

  • The road grey jerseys feature the word mark 'EDMONTON' across the front chest in the Interceptor font.
  • The initials 'E' and 'N' in Edmonton are both capitalized.
  • The EDMONTON word mark is in Edmonton Oilers blue with white and Edmonton Oilers vintage orange trim.
  • The same shoulder patch and trim from the home white jersey appears on the sleeve of the grey jerseys as well.
  • There are no name bars on the road uniforms.

Alternate Blue Uniforms

  • The Edmonton Capitals alternate third jerseys are a solid blue featuring the word mark Edmonton CAPS in vintage orange.
  • The word CAPS has blue and white trim.
  • The sleeves feature a tri-color white/ orange/white trim and the same secondary logo shoulder patch as the home and away jerseys.

Ball Caps

  • Dark navy blue with an orange, staggered EC on the front

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Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

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Interactive Broadcast Network Announces Partnership With Winnipeg Goldeyes Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Sunday, 10 May 2009 21:35

Winnipeg GoldeyesThe Winnipeg Goldeyes have announced an agreement with California based Interactive Broadcast Network (iBN) that will broadcast all of its home games via video on ibn.com. Winnipeg is not the only baseball team that has an agreement with iBN, they are now the third team to join the iBN Network along with the Kansas City T-Bones, and Gary SouthShore Rail Cats, also of the Northern League. With the announcement of the Goldeyes joining the group, iBN Baseball will cover nearly 1000 professional and college games through the 2009 season.

iBN Sports provides both LIVE and On-Demand programming. Baseball is not the only sports that sports fans can watch. Fans are able to view full screen HD video footage from amateur to professional sports that include; Surfing, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Motocross, Ultimate Fighting MMA, Boxing, Pro Cycling, Pro Baseball, High School, Ivy League College, Motor Sports, Sturgis Bike Week, Maccabi Games, AAU, and other high interest Action and Extreme Sports.

iBN was founded in 2007 and according to iBN Executive Producer Ed Hart, this is a landmark day for the company, "With the addition of Winnipeg to our repertoire of teams, we are now in international baseball. We are targeting additional international teams, and the Goldeyes are opening that door for us. This is an exciting time, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the Goldeyes, a truly remarkable organization." Hart has consulted with over 30 major league, minor league, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS franchises, as well as with dozens of sports venues around North America. He was also the General Manager of the Orange County Flyers professional baseball team.

Independent teams and independent baseball are on another level when it comes to revenue stream when you compare it to affiliated minor league baseball. With the current economic situation, each team has to outperform competitors on and off the field to stand out amongst others with superior products. It is a gross understatement when you say that independent baseball has to be economical with their spending, while continuing to be creative for the individual, organization and the consumer. Thinking outside of the box generates the most creative and long lasting ideas, and Goldeyes General Manager Andrew Collier, sees this as another way to give the fans the best product possible, “Wherever our fans are tuning in over the Internet, this partnership with iBN is just one more way for us to connect with them", "We've seen what has taken place in Kansas City and Gary and it is something we are very excited to be a part of."


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at\n \n \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

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Large Land Purchase Near Trinity River Could Include Ballpark Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Monday, 27 April 2009 23:09

ULBIn what is looking like more good news for United League Baseball, a real estate and sports group has purchased a large development site near the Trinity River in downtown Dallas.  The new owners of the 60-acre property on Industrial Boulevard are hoping to construct a $500 million dollar mulit-functional project, which is anchored by a minor league baseball stadium, early next year.

The parties involved in this purchase are ones you are familiar with, John Bryant and Byron Pierce and their company, the Reunion Sports Group LLC.  Joining them in the purchase is Oak Cliff developer Richard Seib. 

The purchase was sparked with the talk of foreclosure on the aforementioned piece of land by lenders.  According to the Dallas News, in a recent conversation with Matt Holley, a local builder who works with Sieb on a $200 million development project, the La Reunion Town Center Project in Oak Cliff, there is still plenty of work to do, "We are very excited about the opportunity to develop this property".  In addition, what is the projected timeline for the minor-league caliber stadium to be operational?  "Our intention is for the ballpark to be up and operational in 2010."

This is some very exciting news, for a league that has gone through a rollercoaster ride in the last two to three months.  From the two former owners winning the rights, in a Dallas Federal Court, to buy back the league they once owned, from their former partners who were claiming bankruptcy.  Couple that with the news that the Coastal Bend Thunder will be the sixth team in the league,  it is only getting more interesting. 

The financing has not yet been arranged for much of the development, but the project will be privately funded.  According to Pierce, the ballpark is on track for a May 2010 opening and the timing for this project could not be better, considering the rising popularity of minor league baseball today,  "We think it's one of the best markets in the U.S. for a minor league baseball park," he said. "The movement for minor league baseball now is to come into the large metropolitan areas.  "Businesses are moving back into the downtown area, bringing young professionals and families." 

While the popularity of the game will bring the fans to the stadium, this project will be more than that, the entire project is looking to include the above-mentioned stadium,  hotel, water park,  2,500 apartments, retail and restaurants. A pedestrian bridge and walkway will connect the project to the nearby Cedars DART rail station.  Here is an artists rendering of what the stadium has the potential to look like.

ULB Ballpark

Click to see in larger view

 The area that the park will be located in benefits from its close proximity to the Dallas Convention Center.  Minor League Baseball can only produce so much revenue, and with the numerous amount of teams in Texas, you have to have another revenue stream.  "Seib said in a prepared statement "that to succeed, a convention hotel has to have vibrant adjacent area containing multiple entertainment venues and options, which is, in turn, made more successful by proximity to the convention hotel. That's what we are developing."

According to the Dallas News, the complex will be a tremendous boost for the economy and the ressurection of an old industrial area into one with new housing and new projects.  This location was considered for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium before the Arlington site was chosen.

The United League may not be on a lot of people's radar, though a salvation from bankruptcy, a 60-acre, $500 million dollar project and two former owners, who have taken everyone by storm, can only mean good things for a professional baseball league once on the brink of disaster.


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at\n \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

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Arizona Summer League Announced for the Golden Baseball League Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 11:53

Golden Baseball LeagueOut of Yuma, Arizona comes the new Arizona Summer League (ASL). The showcase league is 20 games or one month in length and is specifically meant for recent collegiate graduates and pro free agents. The summers league's main purpose is as follows: To provide professional baseball players and top collegiate graduates a summer showcase instructional league to be able to compete for pro jobs. To assess and select players to join the roster of teams in the 2009 Golden Baseball League Championship season.

Administered by the Golden Baseball League, this four team instructional league will be led by professional staff members and managers with professional experience, who when the four team season is done, is going to place its top players with pro teams. According to Commissioner Kevin Outcalt, of all summer leagues in existence the Arizona Winter League has been the most successful, "the Arizona Winter League has been the most successful showcase league to land players pro jobs in the off-season and I expect that the Arizona Summer League will do the same during the season." The Winter League has, at present time, has seen more than 200 players sign pro contracts within the last three years. The purpose of the summer leagues is to supply major league, minor league and foreign league rosters with players so that they have the ability to re-stock and re-load the lineups throughout the season. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for players looking to reenergize their careers.

In total, 100 players will be selected to be showcased in this one-month long season, with 10 players guaranteed roster spots within organizations within the Golden Baseball League, including an option for the 2010 season. According to the Golden Baseball League Website, the teams will be managed by, Major League star and Japan League MVP Warren Cromartie, two-time Major League All-Star and independent manager Ozzie Virgil, Major Leaguer and Washington Nationals minor league pitching coach Rusty Meacham, and minor league all-star and Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers minor league manager Benny Castillo. In addition, other instructors will include Major League All-Star and 2-time World Series champ Mike Marshall, Boston Red Sox scout and baserunning guru Nick Belmonte, and legendary college and minor league coach Shannon Hunt.

Select Read More to see details of the new Arizona Summer League by the GBL

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Atlantic City Surf Cease Operations Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 10:34

Atlantic City SurfOf all places that could not support a baseball team, having Atlantic City on your list might be a gamble. However, that was the case Monday as the Atlantic City Surf of the CanAm League, ceased its operations.

Historically, the baseball in the city has never enjoyed much success. Beginning as the Duval Giants, they moved to Atlantic City in 1916, and were called the Bacharach Giants, named after the city's mayor, Harry Bacharach. The team was independent from 1916 until 1922. They did find a home in the Eastern Colored League and between 1923 up until that league folded as well in 1928, the Giants won the league title in 1926 and 1927, led by the likes of Oliver Marcelle, Smokey Joe Williams and John Henry "Pop" Lloyd.

Sixty years after the team folded, the Atlantic City Surf were born in the newly formed Atlantic League. The team was located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After 11 seasons of Indy baseball it looks like the Surf is once again out of luck. After playing nine years in the Atlantic League, the Surf moved to the Can-Am League in 2007 and the topic leading up to the decision rendered, has been its stadium "The Sand Castle",

Originally purchased by Frank Boulton, the Surf was bought by a group of investors in 2006, headed by Mark Schuster. On the field the team had many successful seasons including seven play-off appearances, numerous attendance records, and under current team president, Chris Carmiucci, the team continued to grow, or so it appeared. In 2008, the team increased its attendance by over 24% and also set a single-game attendance record of over 8,000 last July. This all sounds great, but according to Schuster, the team was still losing money.

"This is obviously a sad day for the ownership group and more so for the great fans of South Jersey and the Atlantic City area," said Schuster. "For more than three years now, we really gave it our best shot. While we made great strides in improving the financial performance of the company, there are much larger issues that we face when we look at whether to recapitalize the company or say enough is enough", Schuster noted. "The overriding issue that is adversely affecting our ability to drive revenue is the impending sale of Bader Field property which sits beneath Bernie Robbins Stadium. "When the City put the "For Sale" sign up on the property in October, it significantly changed things. We immediately started fielding calls about whether we were still in business and whether we were playing baseball anymore". Sponsors saw this as a sign that we would not be a long standing member of the community and that we are short-term." "If there is one thing that sponsors want it is that they want to feel like they are part of something that is growing".

As mentioned above, the stadium was the main reason with the collapse of the team. Atlantic City refused to invest in making and maintaining improvements to the stadium. In the spring on 2008, the city allocated nearly $500,000 to make repairs to the stadium, but the money was not used to make capital improvements.

To break it down, the city leases the property to Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, who then leases it out the Surf. According to Schuster, the cities inability to extend the stadiums lease for the next three years was a major contributor in the downfall of the team

"Both existing investors and new investors were weary to put more money into the business because the team could be without a home in less than three years. It was a tough argument to make to our existing partners as well as new investors. "We really tried. We are not in the business to lose money and if we are losing money there needs to be a glimmer of hope that we will have a place to call home for years to come. We did not have that in Bernie Robbins Stadium", stated Schuster.

Spending public money has to be weighed against the loss of a sports team, and that was echoed by Atlantic Surf officials.

"The fans of South Jersey and the Atlantic City area have been phenomenal—it is a great disappointment to us that they will not be able to enjoy another season of Surf baseball", said Carminucci. "We can never thank this community enough for all the support they have given us over the years and we can only hope that we’ve provided them with lasting memories of baseball and family fun for years to come."


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
United League Baseball To Return for 2009 Season Print
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Written by Devon Teeple   
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 11:43

ULBUnited League Baseball is based in the southern United States and is an independent baseball league operated in Texas and Louisiana. Being independent, it is operated in cities not affiliated with Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball. The league began in 2006 with teams based out of Alexandria, Amarillo, Edinburg, Laredo, Rio Grande and San Angelo.

United Sports Equities, the company that operates the league and is owned by a Florida investor group, which lists Brad Wendt as CEO and his brother Gary Wendt as league principal declared chapter 11 bankruptcy in Broward County (Fla.) court, on December 29, 2008. More specifically, the filing states that United Sports Equities has $264,494.55 of debts, with $22,000 owed in back rent and $60,000 to league founder Byron Pierce, some of the debt are currently disputed. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy. “The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing (generally) for reorganization, usually involving a corporation or partnership. (A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. People in business or individuals can also seek relief in chapter 11.”

Though the filing does not mean the league would have officially been shut down, it does suggest that the league was/is in serious trouble. There were only 2 teams in 2008 that drew over 100,000 fans, the Amarillo Dillas and the San Angelo Colts. With teams struggling with attendance, the league officials have been dealing with three separate injunctions. The first injunction began on August 28, 2008. “Bryant Pierce obtained a temporary restraining order on August 28 in Dallas County District Court against United Sports Equities. The restraining order forces the league to continue operations pending a further court case, barring any dissolution of assets, the sale of teams or the league, or a merger with another league. In the temporary restraining order, the court issued the injunction based on a finding that the independent Golden Baseball League was on the verge of purchasing the assets of United League Baseball.” Pierce and Bryant Co-Founded the league in 2006 but resigned after the conclusion of that season due to disputes with the league’s ownership. Then there is the second injunction, from Harlan Bruha, founder and former owner of the San Angelo Colts baseball franchise. According to Ball Park Digest, the United League is to return the franchise to Bruha because money was siphoned from the San Angelo franchise to prop up United League Baseball franchises, while failing to make scheduled payments to Bruha. When his original team moved from the Central League to the ULB he retained a large stake; 49% in the franchise. The third and final motion involves ULB chief executive officer Brad Wendt, league Principal Gary Wendt and former owner Byron Pierce. This motion consists of promised payments with respect to the buyout of the league.

When the league filed for bankruptcy in late December, it reached a tentative agreement with the Continental Baseball League, to merge with them. According to Brian Sandalor of the Monitor, when reached on Friday, CBL president and CEO Ron Baron said a bidder from Dallas had planned to put the four then-former ULB teams into the CBL for at least one year but were outbid by Reunion Sports Group. Without the UBL teams Baron says he still plans on having six teams in the CBL. "We wish them the best," Baron said of the ULB teams.

On March 13th 2009, Robert Millbank Jr. the court-appointed trustee for the bankrupt United Sports Equities, submitted two motions in Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, Texas. The first motion asked the court system to approve the sale of the league to Reunion Sports Group LLC, owners and former ULB founders Bryon Pierce and John Bryant for an estimated amount of $325,000. The second motion asked the court to approve the sale of the team at a meeting being called an “expedited hearing request” on March 25, 2009, because of the quick approaching start of the season. If the sale were approved at the hearing on the 25th, the fourth season would begin with Edinburg, Amarillo, San Angelo, and Laredo in the league.

When and if the sale does go through, Bryant and Pierce are going to have a lot of work to do which includes finding a new league President, as ULB president Craig Brasfield left to become the general manager of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains of the American Association. If that wasn’t enough the Coyotes of Edinburg need to find a new Assistant GM as Omar Ortiz left the position in August of 2008, and Manager Vince Moore left to become the bench coach of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains.


Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
 
Devon is the founder of The GM's Perspective, is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Golden Baseball League Expands into Tuscon Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 07:28

California Golden Baseballl LeagueThe Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced on Monday that an agreement has been reached with the Jay Zucker, former owner of the Triple-A Tucscn Sidewinders to bring the Tucson Toros back to professional baseball and play as a member of the GBL at Hi Corbett Field for the 2009 season. The Toros were Tucson's professional baseball team for 29 seasons between 1969 and 1997 when they played in the Pacific Coast League and brought championships to the Old Pueblo in 1991 and 1993.

"We're very excited to add Tucson as a member of the GBL," said David Kaval, CEO of the Golden Baseball League.” This is a great baseball town with a fine tradition from the Toros and back to the many other pro teams that have played at Hi Corbett since 1937. We are thrilled to have Jay Zucker and his organization as part of the league and look forward to a successfull franchise in Tucson.

For three decades the Tucson Toros were an icon of this fabulous southwestern City. In addition to winning three division titles and two league championships, the Toros were well known for the fun-filled atmosphere at Hi Corbett and for their creative promotions. One interesting aspect of their inclusion in the GBL is that they will once again be competing with Calgary whom they defeated for their first championship in 1991. Choosing to play at Hi Corbett right in the middle of town, and not at the more remote Tucson Electric Park, the Toros will return professional baseball to the 9,500 seat stadium that is also the current spring training home of the Colorado Rockies.

The Toros will be part of an at least 8-team Golden League in 2008 that will include an 88 - 96 game schedule running from late May to early September. Tucson will host at least 44 home games at Hi Corbett and the home schedule will include teams from Calgary and Edmonton in Canada, Long Beach and Orange County in southern California, Chico in northern California, St. George in Utah, and the fellow Arizona city of Yuma. Additional teams will be announced over the coming months as the GBL will be undertaking more expansion prior to the start of the 2009 season. The 2009 GBL will be comprised of a North and South Division with four teams qualifying for the playoffs.

Over 50 ex-major league players have played in the GBL in the past three seasons (including Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco), The GBL hosts managers and coaching staffs, many of which had impressive major league careers. Long Beach Armada Manager Steve Yeager is a long-time Dodger and MVP of the 1981 World Series, Orange County Flyers Manager Gary Carter is an 11-time major league All-Star and member of the professional baseball Hall of Fame, Yuma Scorpions Manager Mike Marshall is a National League All-Star and 1988 World Series Champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Reno Silver Sox Manager Jeffrey Leonard is a two-time major league All-Star and National League Championship Series MVP, Orange County Flyers coach Darrell Evans is a two-time All-Star and 1985 American League home run champion, and St. George Roadrunners Manager Cory Snyder was a star of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and slugging sensation in the American League.

Source: Golden Baseball League


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Instant Replay Is Here... In the American Association Print
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 20 June 2008 04:06

Mobile phoneGet ready. Instant replay will be used in the All-Star Game. It’s just that it will be in the independent leagues.

The first use of instant replay in professional baseball history will occur during the American Association’s All Star Game in St. Paul, Minn. on July 22.

To avoid adding substantial time to the game, video replay will be streamed to a mobile phone kept in umpire crew chief’s pocket, giving him immediate access to the play from his position on the field. The umpire will be able to control the video – functions such as rewind, fast forward and pause – from his phone using Slingbox technology, through an agreement with Best Buy Mobile and the St. Paul Saints.

The solution designed by Best Buy Mobile and Geek Squad includes the following components:

  • Sling Media Slingbox Pro
  • TiVO Series 2 Digital Video Recorder
  • HTC Touch smart phone

Source: Best Buy Mobile

 

 

 
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