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Old 04-25-2003, 03:54 PM   #1
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The U.S. Baseball Alliance

The idea had been in his head for quite a while, even back when he was playing. When you play 21 years with a team, spend that much of life in baseball, in one city, different things matter. Those people who come out to see you every night, spend their hard earned cash because they want to see you play…those people deserve every ounce of effort that you have in you. When an 8-year-old boy in a shirt with your name on it hands you a piece of cardboard with your picture on it, you shouldn't be asking for $10...sign it and be thankful...DAMN thankful that you are so valued.
The idea that a family couldn’t come to watch him play because of high ticket prices never occurred to him. That teams in bigger cities -- not necessarily those with better, more loyal fans, but just sheer numbers --would perpetually have such an advantage that a team like his beloved Kansas City Royals would no longer stand so much as a chance at a World Series. Now that these things had come to pass, George Brett’s idea needed to become a reality.
Would the baseball establishment reject him? Perhaps. Brett had always spoken his mind, but his honesty was treasured in most circles. He had a drive in everything he had ventured into, and he knew that in order to do this, his drive and will would need to match that which earned him a Hall of Fame Plaque, 3,154 hits and the respect of virtually everyone who ever saw him play. Besides, competition was what drove Brett his whole life. Competition makes things better, makes PEOPLE better. And maybe it would make baseball better too.
They had met for a roundtable discussion on hitting, a special for ESPN. There they sat, Brett, Padres legend Tony Gwynn, and the Iron Man, Cal Ripken. Taping ended at around 4 p.m. and Ripken had asked Brett and Gwynn to join him for dinner at a local restaurant. For six hours they ate, drank, laughed, talked hitting, players, BASEBALL. Three legends, one passion. Though Gwynn had to return to the West Coast on an early morning flight, he asked Brett and Ripken to head back to the hotel with him, have a few drinks. “I love this, guys, I just can’t stay out all night,” Gwynn said. “Let’s head back and we can talk some more.” The others obliged and at about 2 a.m., after a conversation none of them would forget, Brett ensured that would be the case.
“Do you guys worry about it at all?” Brett asked.
“About what?” said Gwynn.
“Baseball.”
“The business?” Ripken responded. “Yeah. But the game? Never. Hell, this game’s history is America’s time capsule, George. It ain’t going nowhere.”
“I don’t know, Rip,” said Brett. “Do you know how much it takes for people to get to a ball game now, for a dad to take his wife and three kids to a game? It’s a couple hundred bucks.”
“I know,” Ripken said as Gwynn wearily nodded. “But that’s the business of it. We don’t have to like it, but it’s reality now.”
“But it’s not just business, Cal. Because you screw with that, you screw with the fans, you mess with the kids who carry this game on down the line…you mess with that and you have nothing. And I don't know about Baltimore, but in Kansas City, these people have no reason to pull anymore. It's sucking the baseball life right out of the area. These people want so much to care, and the game is business is getting to the point they can't.”
“We spent all night talking the good stuff, George,” Gwynn said. “Best baseball talk I’ve had in, hell, I don’t know how long. Don’t drag it down, bro.”
“That’s the point, Tony. If talking about the was it is now is dragging down a talk this pure, this incredible, born of this great passion the three of us have…if talk brings it down, what do think what really is going on does to the game?”
Gwynn and Ripken had no response, but Gwynn looked as though he was about to drop. “Let’s end this on a good note guys. There’s almost 9,500 hits in this room.”
The three smiled, hugged and Ripken and Brett prepared to leave. George turned as he headed out the door…
“I’ve got one more pitch for both of you.”
Ripken shook his head with a smile and Gwynn stepped, almost gliding, backwards to the edge of the bed. “I’m not sleeping tonight, am I?”

(more to come)
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Old 04-25-2003, 04:56 PM   #2
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(...continued)

“There are SO many reasons this will never work, George,” Ripken said, realizing he could be blunt as needed with Brett.
“Name ‘em.”
“Money,” said Gwynn right off the bat. “Like it or not, George, you need money.”
“Corporations,” Brett fired back.
“You’ve seen what corporate ownership does,” responded Ripken. “How much have the Wal-Mart guys pumped into the Royals? Barely anything. Why? Because all they care about is their bottom line.”
“Would it be easy?” Brett responded. “No. But what if you’re looking for companies in their base area? The companies pay for the stadiums, and they are smaller than most big league parks so construction is a bit less. Their investment is less right off the bat because there isn’t a purchase price for the team. They get the team, they get the stadium naming rights, and they get ownership.”
Gwynn shook his head. “How doesn’t that create the same situation in the big leagues now? You’ve got lesser quality players, in smaller cities, but you keep the big corporation ownership. I don’t see how you’re solving anything.”
Brett swung a chair around backwards and grabbed a seat, leaning on the back. “The biggest problem with corporate ownership is their concern about a profit. How do you make this financially attractive to them, right?”
Ripken sat on the floor, leaning against the wall. Gwynn propped himself up in bed, his third cup of coffee on the nightstand as he tried to keep his attention.
“Put the corporate stuff aside for a minute. How many people lament how rare the three of us are, guys who spent their whole careers in one city, for one team?”
“You’re going to lock players into one team for their career?” Ripken asked.
“Not at all. Just bear with me,” Brett responded. “I watched Seinfeld one episode, and he went on this whole thing about ‘you root for laundry.’ It’s true. And it’s not the free agency itself or anything like that, but a feeling that a team isn’t YOUR team. There isn’t continuity. There’s a fear of a small market club moving. There’s fear of not being able to afford your best players. Will the owners spend enough to compete? Will they raise my ticket prices? And if you can’t go to the game, can’t see your favorite players, how much ‘yours’ is a team going to feel?”
“So what do you do to help that, George? I’m still at a loss here.”
“OK. First you put teams in markets that don’t have one. You put them in places where there are large corporations, Fortune 500 corporations. You get them to own the teams, build the stadium, give them the naming rights. They don’t buy the teams…the teams are theirs, subject to a few things. One, they can’t move the franchise.”
“Let’s say you get the corporations to do this,” Ripken said. "You still need the players and you still need to keep that loyalty. Having a company from the area owning the team won’t get that done.”
“True. But if you get local people to serve as GM and manager of the teams, then you’ve got a basis.”
Gwynn and Ripken laughed heartily. “George, I love ya, man, you know that,” Gwynn said. “But you really think having Joe from the tavern on Main St. as manager is going to make people excited about these new franchises you would be bringing to them?”
Brett chuckled as he got up from his chair and grabbed a bat, which Gwynn always traveled with. Suddenly, Brett was like Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men,” pacing maniacally with the bat in his hand as his mind raced.
“No. I don’t mean Joe Civilian wins a raffle to manage the new team. We’re not going to Podunk here guys. We’re going to good cities, cities that have turned out major league talent, major league stars even. There are people from these cities with name recognition locally that will get support, and nationally that will get fan interest, a curiosity factor.”
“You feel like paying these guys,” asked Gwynn.
“Of course. And pay them well. More than minor leaguers make, more than the minimum, in fact. But we have a salary cap from the start. There’s no labor negotiation to be had, it’s a set league thing. We discuss it with the corporations and agree on a figure, and that’s that. But we make a floor as well to protect the players’ interests.”
“You’re playing with a lot of unknowns here, George,” Ripken said.
“I agree,” said Gwynn. “I love your enthusiasm, dude, and I support what you’re saying, but you’re playing a game of ‘what if’ all throughout this concept.”
“Here’s the thing guys. We’re not committed to ANYTHING right now. This is all concept. But if, just if, this happened as I proposed. If we got the corporate backing. If we set a salary cap. If we could get the stadiums built. If the cities approved it. If we got the local connections to be part of it. If all of those things happened…”
“Who would play?” Gwynn interjected.
“You don’t think we could find players?” Brett asked.
“You’ve got diluted major leagues, 5 or 6 levels of minors and the quality down there is a big drop-off,” said Gwynn. “You can’t have corporations building stadiums for High School kids. The talent isn’t there.”
Ripken stood up at this point and gave Brett the first positive point in his quest.
“I don’t buy that, Tony. Travel this country, see all the kids, all the men who could probably play if they ever got the opportunity. The whole scouting thing has gotten so damn computerized that we don’t just say this guy can do this or this guy can do that. Think about it. I was too big to be a shortstop. You put on too much weight to still hit. George was too old to hit at the end. All these knocks and somehow we got it done. If a pitcher is too short he doesn’t get a look. A batter hits a ball a mile but has a hitch in his swing a scout worries about? Won’t take the chance. A guy hits like a machine but is heavy? No way, he’ll never hold up. The players are the one thing I really think we COULD find,” said Cal, his youth baseball and minor league roots digging in deep, much to Brett’s pleasure.
“Exactly. Look, here’s all I want to know. If all of these things happened, would you guys be for it? I’ll do the leg work, but if I can make it happen, will you join me?”
After his comments about the players, Ripken suddenly seemed to have a fire in his belly about the idea. Sure, owning a minor league franchise was nice, but being part of this could be something more.
“You don’t need to do it on your own, George,” said Rip. “I’ll help any way I can.”
Gwynn laughed and got up out of the bed. “If it will get you out of this room, count me in.”
Brett was as excited about baseball as he’d been in years.
“This will happen guys. We can do this.”
And like a shot, the three legends believed it.
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Old 04-25-2003, 06:05 PM   #3
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The Announcement

It had been a long time since this many people cared about Frank Viola. He knew he wasn’t the attraction, but with the announcement being made on the grounds of DoubleDay Field at Cooperstown, with so many greats around him, Viola felt in his glory again. To his left on the podium sat Yankee legend Don Mattingly. To the right, the unoccupied chair of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, who was talking with old friend Tim McCarver in a manner more animated than people usually saw Gibson. “Most I’ve seen Bobby smile in a long time,” McCarver had told Brett earlier in the day. “What you’ve done here...you’re making a hell of a lot of us very proud.”
In a back corner of the risers, George Brett stood beaming, a beer in one hand, a baseball with the stamp of the United States Baseball Alliance, HIS development, in the other. He thought about that night he pitched the idea to Gwynn and Ripken, who were mingling with the crowd, declining to answer questions but signing autographs for all who wanted, free of charge. Brett had done so earlier, but now, with the grounds filling, he was content to just stand back and watch it unfold.
There had been talk that the brass at Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, in particular, were pitching a fit that the Hall of Fame, which MLB has long viewed as THEIR building, was welcoming Brett and a venture they said was no threat, but they clearly viewed as competition, even on a small scale. Brett found this typical and amusing to a degree, hoping only that the players and fans understood what he was doing. He knew the USBA would never rival Major League Baseball, and he didn’t intend it to. In fact, he hoped the opposite, that MLB would improve as a result of the way the USBA ran.
“Mr. Brett,” said Gwen, the young secretary for the Hall, who had been handling the day with aplomb, as awestruck as she was. “The media have been asked to find their seats. We’ll be ready when you are.”
Brett thanked her as Gwynn and Ripken came over to him.
“Are you ready for what you’ve created here,” Ripken asked.
“WE’VE created,” Brett responded. “I couldn’t have pulled this off alone.”
“This was your baby, George,” said Gwynn as he threw his arm around him. “That conversation was historic, just like today. And I thank you for letting me be a part of it.”
“Well, gentlemen, it’s been my pleasure. Are we ready to start the ride?”
And with that, Brett walked toward the microphone as Gwynn and Ripken took their seats. As he got about 10 feet from the microphone, Brett felt a strong grasp on his left hand. He turned to see Ernie Banks, a broad smile across his face. “Thank you, George. So much!”
“My pleasure, sir,” Brett responded. “And we WILL play two, and many more.”
Banks laughed as Brett stood in front of the microphone, flash bulbs firing away.
“First off, thank you all for coming. If I speak too long about my motives here, it may seem as though I am denigrating baseball, and Major League Baseball in particular. This is not the case. But the financial situation in baseball is a real one, and one that is leaving too many people, too many fans, on the outside. The players, the union that I was a part of, that supported me…they have a right to get whatever they can and I back that, will to the end. But the situation is what it is. Families can’t attend games. Kids can’t stay up late enough to watch World Series games. People root for the uniform, it seems, and I think many things have created that situation. My hope is that the United States Baseball Alliance will help foster change in that which needs to change. And if not, that it will provide fans who can’t commit what’s needed to Major League Baseball, whatever their reasons, with an alternative in which they can immerse themselves and their love of the game. That is what we are here to celebrate, that love of this wonderful game, celebrated here daily.
“As many of you know, I am the founder and commissioner of the USBA. Our goal is to put teams in markets currently without teams for the most part, and plant roots there by which those teams, by which baseball becomes not just a pastime but an identity for those places, those fans. We have received corporate support, with companies developing new stadiums over the past 8 months. They are the owners of these teams, with the stipulation that the initial General Manager and Manager must hail from the region in which their team is based, preferably the city itself. I am proud to say that these goals have been accomplished.
“The USBA will consist of two leagues, Eastern and Western. The Eastern League President will be Cal Ripken Jr., while the Western League President will be Tony Gwynn. I could not have asked for two better representatives of what I could want the USBA to be than these two gentlemen, and it is an honor to share this stage with them.
“I now present Cal Ripken Jr. to announce the teams and management of the Eastern League squads.”
Ripken walks to the microphone, shaking hands with Brett as he approaches and giving a polite wave to the crowd.
“The Eastern League North Division will include the Long Island Towers, GM Carl Yaztremski, manager Frank Viola. They will play at Computer Associates Field. The Louisville Thoroughbreds, GM Mike Greenwell, manager Jay Buhner, will play at Humana Park at Churchill Downs. The Norfolk Waverunners, GM Gene Alley, manager Billy Sample, will play at AOL Field. And the Indianapolis Racers, GM Don Mattingly, manager Phil Bradley, will play at Lilly Stadium.”
“For the Eastern League’s South Division will include the Charlotte Smoke, GM Mike Lavalliere, manager Dickie Noles and play at Bank Of America Stadium. The Orlando Tourists will be led by GM Davey Johnson and manager Jack Billingham and play at Darden Park. The Memphis Suns, GM Tim McCarver and manager Bill Madlock, will play at FedEx Ballpark. And, finally, the Birmingham Yellowhammers will be led by GM Lee May and manager Jerry Hairston Sr., and will play at Saks Stadium.”
“I now turn the stage over to Tony Gwynn, who will announce the Western League franchises and management.”
“Thanks, Cal. It is my pleasure to introduce the teams of the Western League’s North Division: The Portland Hikers, with GM Dale Murphy and manager Mickey Lolich will play at PGE Stadium. The Wichita Brigade, with GM Don Lock and manager Enos Cabell will play at Koch Field. The Omaha Steers will be led by the team of GM Bob Gibson and manager Wade Boggs and play at ConAgra Park. And the Sacramento Stingers will be led by General Manager Bob Forsch and manager Steve Sax, and will play at Intel Park.
“Onto the South Division, the Las Vegas Golden Bats I am pleased to announce DID find a management tandem as there had been some concern. They will be led by GM Jim Nash and manager Shawn Boskie and will play at Mirage Ballpark. The Dallas Riders will be led by a favorite of mine, GM Ernie Banks and manager Ruppert Jones and will play at Centex Field. The New Orleans Hurricanes will be led by GM Rusty Staub and manager, the tough as nails Will Clark, and will call Entergy Field home. And lastly, the Oklahoma City Boomers will be led by GM Johnny Bench, and manager Joe Carter, and will play at Fleming Field.”
Gwynn gave a wave to the crowd as Brett moved back to the podium.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for coming today. We will be available to talk with the press as we mingle about. We’ll be happy to provide details and we thank you for joining us today as we embark on what I guarantee will be an incredible journey. The draft will be held in the coming weeks and then it will be time to play ball. We hope you will join us for baseball like you, and I, have dreamed of.”

Last edited by GForce22; 04-30-2003 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:01 PM   #4
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I can tell already this is going to be very good...

Be waiting for your next chapter
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:31 PM   #5
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Impressive already...
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:34 PM   #6
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Very happy you settled on the Sacramento Bolts.

Excellent opening chapter to the saga of the USBA.
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:45 PM   #7
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looks incredibly good
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:54 PM   #8
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very cool story, nice touch adding past stars as GM's/Coaches
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Old 04-25-2003, 08:16 PM   #9
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thanks guys.
The cool thing about this (which is why Vegas was such a problem) is that the GMs/Managers are all REALLY from the places where the teams play (Brett's point earlier on about attachment to teams). Sad that Boskie was the best I could do for Vegas, but that makes them unique in their own way, which is cool (and the Virginia guys are actually from Roanoke and Richmond I think).

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Old 04-25-2003, 10:59 PM   #10
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Nice story, Gregg. This has the beginnings of a true classic in every sense of the word.


A wordsmith you are.

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Old 04-26-2003, 02:01 AM   #11
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Marty Cordova's from Vegas, he might be better than Boskie, if not by much.

This is quite cool, but line breaks between paragraphs would be really helpful.
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Old 04-26-2003, 04:56 AM   #12
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heheeh...I was not using guys in the big leagues, since that is still going on. Since Cordova is still in the bigs, I didn't use him.
I'll try to do the line breaks from here on in.

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Old 04-28-2003, 05:29 PM   #13
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This is AWESOME, man. Wow. I eagerly await future installments.

I'm just glad the Suns aren't playing at Tim McCarver Stadium.
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Old 04-28-2003, 07:52 PM   #14
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LOL...I used to get picked on about no line breaks....
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:19 PM   #15
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Good stuff
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:26 PM   #16
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Looks great. This is making me want to create my own Fictional League.

I'll be one of the already many who will be reading.
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Old 04-29-2003, 02:00 PM   #17
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A write-up I did from the Mods forum based on the Louisville ballpark Teflon Skies did for the USBA.

GH
----------------
It took a lot of legwork, a lot of negotiating, but in the end the Louisville Thoroughbreds ended up with the ballpark of their dreams for the new United States Baseball Alliance. Humana Field at Churchill Downs has everything General Manager Mike Greenwell could have wanted. It's a gorgeous park, for one. It's at a location that has a built in attraction other than the club, a peak week in May that the league has already designated will be an annual homestand, and just the name...classic.
"If you were going to pick one spot in Louisville to put a stadium, this would be it," Greenwell said as we walked the outfield. "We made some concessions, as would be expected. This is hallowed, sacred ground here. We had no intention of violating that and we basically told the Churchill Downs folks that we would do whatever was needed."
The main concession is that, unlike most of the rest of the league, night games will be common on the weekends. The Churchill Downs brass was stonefaced that the park would not take away from the racetrack.
"We needed to work with their schedules and they needed to have a say in the development of the park, how it would look, be arranged." Though it may seem Humana and the Thoroughbreds were willing to be dictated to, Greenwell noted "our ownership stuck up for us a great deal. Humana has helped Churchill Downs as well, and they have offered substantial financial backing, probably more than any team in the league." When you walk into the park, that backing shows.

The field is more or less symmetrical, with left field providing a marginally deeper reach. The left field scoreboard will carry out of town games, but will also carry race results during day games. At 418 ft., center field is a nice poke, but the ball carries well in the open park, and should play as a neutral/slight hitters park, aiding doubles and average but hurting home runs.
One factor that could affect that is the center field bleachers. Though the stands are elevated above a black backdrop, they are not so high that a high release point from the opposing pitcher could yield significant issues during day games with white shirts in the stands. Though fans will be requested to wear colors when in those bleachers, it will not be enforced as a rule. "Telling people in Louisville in the heat of summer what they can wear is a losing proposition," Greenwell said.
Another detail of the park is the impact of the scoreboards, which create walls of varying heights in RF and LF. The scoreboards do not go all the way to the pole. Meaning there is an 11 foot fence on the left field line, an 18 foot fence where the scoreboard is, then an 8 foot fence around to right field until the scoreboard, which goes back up to 18 feet, before the 8 foot section from the end of the board to the foul pole.
The stands behind home plate go higher, giving an outstanding view of the Churchill Downs grounds. Part of the extra money Humana contributed to make the park a reality includes a cleaning staff double the size of most parks in the league. "We will keep this place immaculate," Greenwell noted, another prerequisite of the Churchill Downs crew.
The seats behind home plate have 5 rows with TVs that carry simulcasts of the races, and ushers in the area can take bets. In addition, there are ticket booths and tv's throughout the concourse, for those who want to catch both events when they run concurrently.
"We have the greatest park in the league," Greenwell said. "And I promise a team to match it."

Dimensions:
LF line: 327
LF: 357
LC 381
CF: 418
RC: 375
RF: 352
RF line: 322

Park Factor:

Avg RH: 102
Avg LH: 102
2B RH: 105
2B LH: 105
HR RH: 95
HR LH: 97

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Old 04-30-2003, 01:41 PM   #18
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USBA Initial Draft Preview

This is the first in a series of installments that will preview the draft to be held this weekend for the United States Baseball Alliance. Hopefully this will get you interested in players who will be in the league, names you know from various places, and some you don't. I have created a series of "staff reporters" for the USBA, and will at times incorporate real reporters into the stories as well, just as I have with real players. I will continue to be open to suggestions, comments, things you would like to see, to make this a franchise thread that grabs and keeps your interest.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Countdown To The USBA Draft
By Austin Sisco

With the nation anxiously awaiting the initial draft of the United States Baseball Alliance this coming weekend, we wanted to take this opportunity to preview the draft based on what was seen at the pre-draft sessions throughout the country. With the stadiums in place, players from across the country gathered for a series of workouts, some traveling to multiple league stadiums, hoping to catch the eye of a GM to start or rekindle the flames of a hopeful successful baseball career.

League GMs and managers had free reign to go to other teams' stadiums to review talent. Each franchise hosted its own workouts at its fields, and it was interesting to see potential rival GMs like Bob Gibson and Carl Yastrzemski discussing the talent.

"We each obviously want to put the best team together possible," Yastrzemski said. "But we want this league to succeed more than anything. So there's a certain 'pulling the same rope' mentality here as well."

"That all goes out the window on draft day," noted Gibson, who made it clear he intends on going with pitching to start the draft.
That could be the most interesting thing, to see how each GM tries to put his team together. For example, though Gibson is likely to follow through on his commitment of going with a pitcher first, how much weight will Omaha manager Wade Boggs have in trying to get a hitter? Will GMs like Memphis' Tim McCarver or Oklahoma City's Johnny Bench have biases and go for catchers as the root of their team, getting field generals to start things off. It will take shape once the draft order is revealed later this week, a scenario that has GMs on their toes.

"There's a lot of unknown here," Bench said. "We can't just plan it like 'ok, we have the third pick here.' We have a long list of guys prioritized, but how it will shake out will depend on the draft order, and we won't know that until 48 hours before the draft."
"It certainly makes things interesting," added Las Vegas GM Jim Nash, who, with manager Shawn Boskie, make up the least known management tandem in the league.

Players from several independent leagues have come to tryouts, as have foreign players, former high school stars who endured injuries that derailed them. That being said, the feeling around the league is that the best of the lot could be very good, particularly pitching and at first base, the first two positions we look at in our draft preview.

Top 10 pitching prospects:
1) Billy Chapel - the righthander suffered a damaging freak injury in college, severing a finger while cutting wood at a family cabin. Chapel's recovery derailed twice and, after being drafted by the Detroit Tigers, he was cut loose and never signed again. One of the first players to sign up for the USBA, Chapel showed a low 90's fastball and solid command of five pitches in workouts. He'll also come inside, and is a Gibson favorite likely to be taken if available when Omaha gets to draft.

2) Ozzie Schwartz - A devastating curve/slider combination and pinpoint control make this pitcher called "The Wizard" highly touted despite his older age of 34. The age may keep some teams from drafting him highly, but his stuff is good enough right now to anchor a staff. Known for finishing games and going out to play tennis immediately afterward.

3) Gregg Henglein - A former standout high school pitcher, went to college to play and finally succumbed to shoulder trouble that had bothered him for his senior year in high school. Looking for a second chance, his velocity has hit 90 again and his ability to keep the ball down and throw 3 pitches for strikes with impeccable control would make him a good fit in a hitters park like Las Vegas, though as a Long Islander, that franchise has expressed great interest in him as well. Some apprehension as to how his arm will hold up.

4) Stud Cantrell - Another blazer, a gritty, hard-assed type player who has said he would love to join Gibson's squad. Will throw inside early and often. Last played for the independent Tampico Stogies. Control could be an issue, but his stuff is electric and his demeanor could make him a popular player/target throghout the league.

5) Alex Rosaschi - The youngest player in the draft at 17, has picture perfect form and already comes in the upper 80s. An interesting case for an upstart league. He could end up being one of the faces of the league for 20 years, given his youth. But with an upstart league nobody is sure will succeed, do you spend an early draft choice on a kid who may not even be ready for 3 years at least? The stuff is there, though immaturity creeps in as one would figure. If he gets someone to harness him, he'd be an excellent signing.

6) Sam "Mayday" Malone - Drafted by the Boston Red Sox, posessed a deadly curveball he suddenly lost one season in the minors. His control escaped him, which led to an alcohol-driven collapse. Oddly enough, the recovering alcoholic opened a bar in Boston, but came to the tryouts on a flyer and was dazzling with his breaking ball. While Rosaschi could be a long-term face of the league, the handsome former top prospect could be a near-term poster boy if he gets all of his stuff, and his head, together.

7) Willie "Take A Flying" Lep - One of many players from the former independent Bases Loaded Baseball Association, Lep is really a two pitch pitcher who keeps the ball down and lets his fielders help him. The top rated southpaw at the tryouts, Lep's ball has excellent movement and his makeup is top notch. Not the most exciting pitcher, but incredibly efficient, with a cool nickname.

8) Mike Dunne - A star in the Cape Cod baseball league, Dunne fell off the map inexplicably a couple of years ago. He walked onto the Computer Associates Stadium grounds for a tryout and came out firing bullets. Rumor had it he simply lost his drive to play. Now he says he feels great and is eager to reach the promise he once showed. If his head is really back in the game, he could be an outstanding pickup.

9) James Euler - Star pitcher of the former Hardball Baseball League, Euler is another southpaw who comes inside to righties, jamming them and keeping the ball down in the zone. Another guy with great movement on his pitches, he'll ring up Ks, not walk many and keep the ball in the park.

10) Bingo Long - Traveled the country with his own team looking for exhibitions to play, finally taking a shot at the big time. Stuff isn't outstanding, but knows how to pitch, moves the ball around, and always seems to be having a good time. He'll give a team personality and flair, as well as an ace or at least #2 starter.

Best of the rest: Ebby Calvin LaLoosh, Les Henter, Mel Clark, Unel Sims, Mike Pizzengrillo, Jim Namco, Lloyd Cook, Kenny DeNunez, Peaches Cluff, Rick Vaughn


(1B analysis to come)
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Old 04-30-2003, 04:37 PM   #19
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1B Preview

Austin Sisco Continues His USBA Draft Preview With The First Basemen
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"Some of these guys can flat out mash," said Portland Hikers GM Dale Murphy. "The majority of power in this draft sits at first base."
Indeed, one could go down to probably 15 on the 1B list and find a player who could conceivably go in the first round.
"Lots of depth, lots of meat," said Don Lock, GM of the Wichita Brigade. The thought process seems to be, if you don't get one of the big 3 prospects at first, look elsewhere in the first round because very little separates the next dozen or so, and you will end up with quality regardless.
That said, the big 3 at the position have MVP potential.

1) Clu Haywood - Again, these first three all can slam the ball and little separates them. Haywood gets a slight nod for the best defense of the big three. A masher in the trues sense of the word, Haywood is a flat out hitter. A back problem ended his minor league career with the Yankees, but in workouts he showed no ill effects. Big, burly, usually with a mouth overflowing with chew, Haywood is an intimidating presence with great power and plate coverage. He'll launch the ball out to all fields, and hit some titanic bombs. Should be a big drawing card, though his personality doesn't make for the most media friendly player.

2) Mike Paste - One of two from the big three hailing from the Bases Loaded Baseball Association, Paste hits absolutely everything hard. The BLBA fields had very hard, unforgiving walls, and Paste's most famous non-homer could be the ball he hit so hard off the center field fence that the second baseman fielded it on the edge of the infield dirt as it rolled back. A Bagwellesque crouch with his rear end hanging out of the box, Paste has a max-effort swing that yields great results. Whereas Haywood hits light-tower bombs, Paste's M.O. is line drive ropes that get into the bleachers still rising. He'll go in the top half of the first round and will administer lots of damage in the USBA.

3) John Freida - A fellow BLBA player with Paste, served as his chief batting rival for league best. Freida's type of power falls somewhere in between Haywood and Paste, not the high bombs but not liners either. Blessed with excellent plate coverage, Freida not only hits for average but has the best discipline of the three. Paste and Haywood may be more wrecking ball type players, but some consider Freida the most complete offensive force of the three.

4) Jimmy Dugan - A hitting version of Sam "Mayday" Malone, drank himself out of baseball and out of what should have been a brilliant career. Often compared to Jimmy Foxx, Dugan ended up briefly coaching in a women's professional baseball league. Dugan has power a notch below the big three, but outstanding nonetheless, and makes up for lack of range with an outstanding glove and sure hands. His past may scare some people off, but his upside is too good to ignore completely. He'll be gone by the end of round 2.

5) Gene Agua - The third top prospect from the Bases Loaded league, Agua lacks the plate discipline of the others, which is what sets him back. His average won't be as high, he'll strike out a lot, but he'll rack up homers. A switch-hitter with better power from the right side. Great hands at first.

6) Horiuchi Shihei - Decent homer now with excellent potential, a Japanese import with excellent patience at the plate as well. No range but decent hands at first, could be a sleeper.

7) Julio Morales - Doesn't walk, but doesn't strike out and can hit the ball a long way. Excellent defense and can run a bit. A well rounded player as opposed to a strict 1B masher.

8) Sal DeFazio - Solid in all aspects, punishes right handed pitching. Short for a 1B at 5"10, but covers the bag well with good footwork, has a nice, short compact power stroke that may end up being more conducive to doubles rather than homers. Laid back, personable player, great clubhouse presence who gets along with everybody, but gets a competitive fire in his gut on the field.

9) Leon Alexander - another good bat, also has excellent range at 1B though his hands are a bit suspect. Will hit for good average, above average power. May not have as high a ceiling as other first basemen, but should put up consistently solid numbers.

10) Jack Elliot - A former Tigers farmhand who went to play in Japan, Elliot comes back having fixed what was determined to be a hole in his swing. Elliot has decent patience and showed good power during workouts, with more to come if he can keep his swing consistent. A certain risk factor comes with Elliott, but the reward could be great. Blessed with movie star looks, if Elliot gets hot he could be a major drawing card for his team and the league.

Best of the rest: Toby Whitewood, Lawrence Hereford, Reggie Verdugo, Edward Hupp, Whitey Marcus, Bobby Maile, Billy Brutus, Timmy Timmons, Jeffrey Lorenzen, Lenard Flint
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Old 05-01-2003, 12:36 PM   #20
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Before I do any more of these, do you guys care to read them. I like writing them, but doing so if they don't really interest anybody doesn't make much sense. If the draft preview doesn't interest anybody, that's cool. Just let me know. I'm just messing around, trying to figure out what works.

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