Last week they announced a two-year deal with the Northern League that will showcase the best of each league in their annual all-star games.
Now, the GBL has acquired the operating rights to to bring professional baseball to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. According to the GBL website, this will be the first professional team in Palm Springs since the Palm Spring Suns in 1997.
The Suns were a independent organization originally in the Western Baseball League, which operated from 1995 – 2002, while the Suns played from 1995-1996.
Success was not in the vocabulary of that team, as a fourth and third place finish contributed to low attendance figures that were near the bottom rung of the league.
Two unsuccessful seasons did, however, showcase a handful of ex-major leaguers as coaches, and a future first-round pick.
Bill Sudakis, who saw moderate success in the 1970’s managed the club in its first full season, while two former Los Angeles Dodgers, Steve Yeager and Lee Lacy, were there for support.
Ariel Prieto, who in his lone season with the Suns’, went 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA. That caught the attention of the Oakland Athletics who selected him with their first-round pick (fifth overall), in the 1995 amateur draft.
GBL Commissioner, Kevin Outcalt, commented on the benefits that this can produce, not only for the fans, but also the the current economic increase that is expected, as previously seen in other GBL expansion cities.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement with such an impressive and experienced ownership group,” said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. “The team could play in either 2010 or 2011 depending on what they work out with the City of Palm Springs regarding the ballpark facility, or potentially in a ballpark elsewhere in the Coachella Valley”.
“This is a big win for all parties as the league expands into a great market with outstanding professional baseball history, the City is able to receive an increased and true market value for their stadium lease, the fans will enjoy exciting professional baseball with well known players and managers as teams from all over western North America come to play, and the local economy is the benefit of $5M or more in annual economic impact as has been documented in other GBL markets.”
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.