Out 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.
With the feel of an actual minor league season, there are some specifics designated for this league only; please find below the details;
- 25-man Rosters: First 100 players to register will play
- 4 Team League playing 20 games plus playoffs and championship
- 3 Day “Spring Training” starting June 28, 2009
- 4 Teams selected with Opening Night on July 2, 2009
- Four week season ends with Championship Game on July 25, 2009
- Players retain their contract rights and may be signed as free agents at anytime during the ASL and report to their professional team. At conclusion of the Arizona Summer League, at least 10 players guaranteed to be signed to Golden Baseball League professional contracts for the remainder of the 2009 season with an option for 2010.
- Scouts representing major league organizations, the Golden League, the American Association, the Can-Am League, the Frontier League, the Mexican Summer League, the Liga Norte Sonora, the Colombian Winter League, and the Japan Independent Leagues have all confirmed attendance.
- Scouts from the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and Philadelphia Phillies have already confirmed attendance with many more expected. The Arizona Winter League typically has 15-20 major league scouts attend and the ASL can expect similar coverage.
- Each day, games will be played at Desert Sun Stadium in the Ray Kroc Complex, former home of the San Diego Padres and Yakult Swallows spring training, in Yuma, Arizona. The complex has four fields, including the 7,500 seat Desert Sun Stadium, plus a major league clubhouse with locker rooms for all four teams, and a fully stocked training room.
- Coverage in the Yuma Sun, the local newspaper, including feature stories, daily game stories, and standings.
- Game/Player statistics will be reported to and listed by ESPN Sports Ticker and will be emailed weekly to all major league Minor League Operations Directors. All major league scouting Directors have been invited to attend.
- Many weekend games will have the complete Minor League experience at the ballpark including fans, mascots, mid-inning promotions, player autograph sessions, etc. Players are also active in the community with youth groups, visits to the children’s hospital, sponsor appearances, etc.
- Monday Night Pro Player Academy sessions that cover pro contracts, finding an agent, contact info for all independent and major league organizations, playing overseas, marketing yourself to player personnel directors, etc.
- Players must have minor league or collegiate experience.
- Player must be 18 years or older at the start of the league (June 28, 2009)
- $3,300 for Season ($1,000 minimum due with registration, balance of $2,300 on June 1st.). Receive a $400 discount for payment in full with registration.
- Includes all instructor fees
- Includes all Pro Player Academy consulting fees
- Includes all lodging and meals for 28 days.
- Uniforms, workout gear, bags, bats, catcher’s gear all provided.
- Players are responsible for their own transportation to and from Yuma, Arizona.
- Your registration is a firm commitment to participate in the Arizona Summer League. Cancellations will not result in a refund since your registration removes a roster spot.
- Players are responsible for their own medical coverage.
- All position players play every game.
Not only will the players have to be in top game shape for the quickly approaching June 28th start date, and the majority of the players already in mid-season form, the summer league will also have the look and feel of a traditional minor league schedule with a Championship game, typical fan giveaways, game day promotions and team mascots. If the success of the Winter League carries over, fans at the Ray Kroc Complex and Desert Sun Stadium will be pleasantly surprised with a fast paced, yet fulfilling experience.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network. 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 and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.