In a wild business-related week for the North American League’s Northern Division, the owner of Godfather Media – which owns the Yuma Panthers and controls the rights to the Orange County Flyers – will not be playing in the NAL this season. Citing that, “it would be best to not mirror ourselves after the Yuma Scorpions and be in a season and then all of a sudden find out the other team can’t make it,” CEO Michael Cummings said that the Panthers (and presumably the Flyers) will start up a fall league and a possible winter league. He also added that none of the teams will have anything to do with Diamond Sports Entertainment, which previously operated the Golden League and served as the league office for the North American League.
San Rafael Pacifics GM, Mike Shapiro, said that his team and Maui intend to go forward and play by adding two more teams: one in Hawaii and one in Sonoma County (California) before the season starts. Whether or not this will happen and, if so, if the two new teams will be travel or “neutral site” teams is still to be determined. According to all accounts, the Texas-based teams (comprising the NAL’s Southern Division) will operate as they planned months ago.
Here are the articles of interest:
Two more items of interest:
- At the time of this blog post, neither the YumaPanthers.com website nor the team’s Facebook page have indicated any withdrawl from the NAL. The quotes from Michael Cummings in the Yumasun.com article serve as the basis for this announcement
- In 2010 the CBL faced a similar issue with a 4-team league, 2 to be operated by the league and 2 from another owner. That owner dropped out roughly 45 days before the season was supposed to start; and the 2010 CBL season marched on with a reduced number of games. Two teams hosted games, with the occasional neutral site game played to showcase the talent to other cities. The CBL folded after the 2010 championship. If the NAL’s Northern Division has the same situation, then recent independent baseball history does not favor them. Hopefully the fan base is strong enough, and the travel costs reduced enough, to give new West Coast teams a chance to expand into solid markets in 2013. Otherwise independent baseball will not exist in the Western part of the U.S. next season
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