The Golden Baseball League is once again taking the necessary steps to expand its reach in the independent baseball world. The Yuma Scorpions of the GBL have come to a two-year agreement with the Colombian Professional Baseball League to develop players and umpires. The agreement begins Friday May 22, 2009, as the newly acquired Colombian players will be in action against the St. George Roadrunners.
The Colombian League will be providing the GBL with players, managers and coaches for the rosters, including former Boston Red Sox shortstop Jackie Gutierrez. The Colombian League is also sending its trainers, ground crews-men, and even umpires that will gain the experience to improve their skills . When you look at this agreement, it has the chance to be ground breaking. According to the GBL, this is the first affiliation agreement where a professional independent baseball team has entered the U.S. and can provide revenue growth to a league looking to expand; a proposal in which two professional leagues enter into a situation that will provide economic stability and certainly provide short-term financial success. Says GM Kevin Outcalt, change brings fans to the park, “In addition, it will draw even more attention to the GBL games from major league organizations which is good for all of the players in our league.”
“This is an important step for the development of the sport of baseball in Colombia,” said Colombian Professional Baseball League President Edinson Renteria. “The chance to display our best players and to bring back knowledge from the U.S. is a wonderful opportunity for us. The facilities in Yuma, Arizona are first class, at the former San Diego Padres spring training complex, and the tough and competitive Golden Baseball League will be a perfect challenge for our players.” The Golden Baseball League is becoming a proving ground for international stars looking to be noticed and make it to “the Show”. Since the summer is the off-season for Colombian players, rising and accomplished stars in their league have been pooled to make the journey and be showcased for numerous major league organizations in the heavily scouted GBL.
Columbia has produced major leaguers, stemming from the likes of Orlando Ramirez and Jackie Gutierrez, to current day stars such as Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera. The modern day opportunity is one that many people do not get. Said Yuma Scorpions owner and CEO of Diamond Sports and Entertainment David Kaval, “this should be a great brand of baseball of all-stars from one of the top baseball talent producing countries in Latin America. I’m proud that Yuma has been chosen for this exciting opportunity!”
The Golden Baseball League is currently operating in the Western United States, Canada and Mexico. Approximately 90 players have signed professional contracts through Major League Baseball or other professional leagues and there have been over 60 former MLB players that have played in the league; Rickey Henderson, Jose Lima, Jose Canseco, Felix Jose, and Scott Richmond. The GBL may not have the hype of other Indy league’s like the Northern League or the American Association but expanding into Canada (Calgary Vipers, Edmonton Capitals, Victoria Seals), Mexico, (Tijuana Potros, not scheduled to play until 2010) and providing fans with affordable family entertainment, sound likes a continued recipe for success.
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 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.