Expansion once again has been adopted by the GBL, as Palm Springs was their latest location. Before that, XnE Inc. collaborated with the GBL by expanding into Hawaii, specifically, Maui. To read more on this topic, click here and here.
Unfortunately, the addition of these franchises does not offset the disappointment of losing one of their own.
The St. George RoadRunners are the latest in a long line of independent clubs that have met an untimely demise.
Despite a successful 2009 season that saw the RoadRunners have their best season to date (48-43), in the eyes of the majority, it was not good enough.
This is not the first time an Indy league team has failed in the city of St. George.
From 1999-2001, the Western Baseball League displayed the Zion / St. George Pioneerzz. They saw immediate success, as in 2000 they won the Western Baseball League Championship. Regrettably, information on why the team folded is sparse. However, if history does repeat itself, poor attendance might have been the downfall, as this was a contributing factor as to why the current St. George franchise failed to meet expectations.
RoadRunners manager, and former Cleveland Indian Cory Snyder put the situation into perspective,
““It’s been a rough-go of it here lately, the economy’s been bad for a while. I’m just saddened by this whole thing. I really feel for Todd (Vowell) and his family. They’ve done everything possible to keep this franchise going in St. George. But you can only ask majority owners to do so much. To keep losing money year in and year out takes its toll.”
In happier news, the league has decided to adopt a new philosophy for the 2010 season, a defense friendly, National League style of play.
According to the Edmonton Capitals website, these changes took place at their annual winter meetings, in concurrence with the MiLB winter meetings held in Indianapolis Indiana.
In 2010, the designated hitter is no longer. Pitchers will now have the opportunity to hit for themselves. In my experience, I will take an educated guess and say that scoring will be reduced.
A pitchers focus is on the mound; nevertheless batting practice will be a spectacle. As a former pitcher in college and in the independent leagues, technique is out the window for pitchers during BP, and home run derbies are a plenty! (when the situation allows it, of course).
The other adjustment in the 2010 GBL season, will affect teams in the latter part of the season.
Club rosters will expand from 22 to 25 players after August 15, approximately two weeks before the playoffs begin.
Again, the GBL is attempting to change the norm, to stand out of the crowd and build a brand that has competition, not only in North America, but also throughout the globe.
While their is very little anyone can do to change a game that has been around for generations, the Golden Baseball League continues to be a leader and creative thinker in the ever-changing world of Independent League Baseball.
Devon Teeple is an author for 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 also available for hire or freelance opportunities.
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.