Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: April 28, 2014

04/28/2014 5:13 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

  • The Rockford Aviators have signed former Chicago White Sox draft pick, Joey Wagman. Wagman was drafted in the 17th round by the White Sox in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. After spending his first two years in the bullpen at Cal Poly, he dominated during his junior and senior seasons. He picked up 23 wins in those two years, striking out 182 in 220 innings. Aviators manager, James Frisbie spoke of his success, "Joey had an outstanding ERA at Cal Poly. He spent the first two seasons coming out of the bullpen, but really proved himself as a starter in his final two seasons." During his one season within the White Sox organization, Wagman posted a 3.57 ERA in 16 games. Over 22 innings, he struck out 28.
  • The American Association has unveiled the name for the newest addition to their league. The Joplin Blasters name and logo was announced during a press conference last week. Co-Owner and general manager, Shaw Suarez, says the name "Blasters", was a way to honour the area's mining tradition. The Blasters look to begin play at Joe Becker Stadium in 2015.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

ESPN and Sugar Land Skeeters embark on historical agreement

04/27/2014 10:46 AM - Devo

sugarlandskeeters.gifThursday April, 24, 2014 will go down as a historic day for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters.

The Skeeters, one of the premier Atlantic League clubs, announced on Friday that they signed a minor league baseball agreement with ESPN who will "gain the exclusive rights to place games on its digital and television networks", according to a press release on the Skeeters website.

To put into words what this means for independent baseball is very difficult. Indy baseball has long stood in the shadows of Major League Baseball and even Minor League Baseball, but the exposure it has gained over the past couple of years has done wonders.

The Sugar Land Skeeters can be credited for bringing the game to more people than expected. Even though they have only been in existence for two years, over 840,000 fans have seen games at Constellation Field, including 465,000 in 2012.

When fans go to Skeeters games they witness the best that the indy game can offer. The players taking the field are former professionals (Jason Lane), potential Hall of Famers (Roger Clemems) and pitchers who were left for dead before getting their final shot to make an impression (Scott Kazmir).

72 games will be available on "WatchESPN.com and SugarLandSkeeters.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV."

According to senior Executive Producer Don Graham, viewers will have behind the scenes access the likes no one has ever seen.

"Under the direction of newly-appointed Executive Producer Don Graham, viewers will gain behind-the-scenes access to Skeeters game action as the club becomes the first professional minor league baseball team to showcase full-season, innovative live coverage with ESPN3. The new format will introduce fans to the individual players and coaches on the field, as well as the developing stories within the Atlantic League as Gaetti looks to repeat the team’s record-breaking success from 2013."

To say that I am excited about this is an understatement. For years, the game at the grassroots level has been knocking on the door of the mainstream. This historic agreement with ESPN gives the game instant credibility.

As Skeeters President Jon Danos said, ESPN is the Gold standard and this is monumental to the growth of their brand.

“Forging a media relationship with ESPN is a huge step in the development of our brand,” said Sugar Land Skeeters President Jon Danos. “We can now visually deliver a high quality production to our fans everywhere, which is a great opportunity given the Skeeters stories that have been told on a nation-wide stage. I think fans will love our unique approach, which will feature elements never seen before in professional baseball. ESPN is the gold standard and we're proud to be working with them.”

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

From the court to the mound, McGrady makes Skeeters starting roster

04/24/2014 4:21 AM - Devo

Tracy McGrady 4.jpgTracy McGrady did it.

The former NBA player has made the opening day roster of the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, according to ESPN.

Skeeters manager, Gary Gaetti, spoke with KRIV-TV on Wednesday.

"Tracy is on the team," Gaetti told KRIV. "He's just done what needed to be done since the idea came about. He showed enough progress. He showed enough ability and we're going to see where this goes."

The marketing team is obviously working at full steam with this.  A former NBA All-Star is now on the starting roster. It's a heck of a story, one that many may think is nonsense. I for one am all for this.

Independent baseball doesn't get the recognition it deserves. It's unaffiliated, and has no ties to Major League Baseball. However, every once in while, someone bridges that gap and makes a big league roster. In this instance, a high-quality athlete had a plan and put it into motion. The cross-promotion ideas are limitless.

Take Daniel Nava for example. Undrafted out of college, but could hit the heck out of the ball when he played. He took his talent from independent baseball to a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox. McGrady won't make and MLB rosters, but he's an accomplished athlete that obviously has the talent to play a second sport.

McGrady can bring a different perspectvie to the Skeeters, and his comments reaffirm his passion and what it means to make the team.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this club for the 2014 season,” said McGrady. “To be a part of the team means everything to me and it’s a dream come true. I look forward to coming to the ballpark not only to play the game but to be in the clubhouse building camaraderie with these guys. I am excited to start the journey we’re going to take this season.”

I will go out on a limb and say that, yes this a marketing departments dream, but you couldn't put just anyone on the mound to face professional hitters. If he throws strikes and strengthen his arm, 90-plus on the radar gun isn't out of the question. If he can stay focused through the year, it could make for a very entertaining summer.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Indy X's sign Canadian Rene Tosoni

04/21/2014 4:29 AM - Devo

Rene Tosoni.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

The Sioux City Explorers have signed Canadian and former Minnesota Twin, Rene Tosoni, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Tosoni, a native of Toronto, Ontario was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Chipola College. He is entering his seventh professional season, his first in independent baseball.

In 2011, Tosoni appeared in 60 Major League games. In limited action, he hit five homers and collected 22 RBI.

The 27-year-old outfielder has spent the majority of his career in the Twins organization until being released in 2012 to make additional roster space for Matt Carson. He spent 2013 with the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. With the Stars, Tosoni batted .238 in 131 games. He went deep 11 times and drove in 46.

The glory years of Tosoni's career were spent with the Twins. Statistically, his best minor league season came in 2009. As a member in the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins Double-A squad, he hit a career high 15 home runs to go along with 70 RBI (also a career high).

Signing with the Explorers was a direct relation to the Brewers granting Tosoni free agency last November. Explorers' field manager, Steve Montgomery, knows that the addition of Tosoni will add leadership on the field and in the clubhouse.

There is still plenty of time left for Tosoni, who batted .341 with Chipola, to make an impact and sign a deal with a Major League club. He has the tools, the experience and has proven that he can contribute at any professional level, including internationally, where he batted .400 for Canada during the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

The Explorers take the field in a few short weeks, and it will be only a matter of time before Tosoni gets back on the big stage.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

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