Are you ready for the latest idea for saving professional baseball in those communities where entire leagues have been in jeopardy?
The news swirl today, which we hope to sort out in time for our detailed subscription Independent Baseball Insider column on Thursday, has the remaining Northern, United and Golden League franchises joining forces into three or four divisions under the Golden's banner.
Four divisions do not make any sense to this corner. Three may work, but even then nearly half of the 12 primary teams we have heard mentioned have been battling their own major issues.
The only public information we know of with any likely credibility came out of Rockford, IL., which is an interesting locale since the RiverHawks left the Frontier League for the Northern one year ago and is one of four remaining franchises in that circuit, all of whom have applied separately to join the 12-team Frontier. Owner Dave Ciarrachi told hometown WREX-TV that Rockford is headed to the Golden League.
Everything else seems to be mostly speculation.
The possible three-division setup which makes geographic sense has the Golden League's own teams in Canada (Edmonton and Calgary) plus Chico, CA and Maui, HA in one division. Four Illinois teams coming out of the Northern League (Joliet, Schaumburg, Zion and Rockford) would be in another division and existing United League teams in four Texas communities (Edinburg, Harlingen, Laredo and San Angelo) would make up the third unit. Coastal Bend (Robstown, TX) has been omitted from the information we have seen. Seventy-five per cent of the approximate 76-game schedule--a sizeable reduction in all cases--would be played within the "home" division to greatly reduce travel costs.
The problem with this plan, as we see it, is that Joliet and Schaumburg have been facing major ownership or financial issues, Chico and Zion could have stadium problems and Laredo very likely is headed to the American Association in another year. Zion has made one hiring which indicates it expects to play with veteran field boss Tim Johnson, who has been in Tucson (it will be in Triple-A in '11), taking over managerial duties.
The safest information of all: Stay tuned.
Monday, November 15, 2010
A DOZEN TEAMS FROM TRIO OF LEAGUES COULD END UP IN THREE GOLDEN LEAGUE DIVISIONS
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.