View Full Version : What is really going on with the GBL?

R.U. Kidding Me
02-14-2007, 10:37 AM
Just a few observations: (correct me if I am wrong and I might be on number of games)

Year 1 -- 8 teams -- 100 game season --3 teams fold
Year 2 -- 6 teams -- 90 game season -- 1 team folds
Year 3 -- 6 teams -- 76 game season -- 1 new team

The outlook can't be good for the league.

I am just wondering what the GBL is doing that is new that will lead to the season being extended, more teams being added and more fans out to the ballparks.

Again I truly enjoy the GBL experience but I am worried that the experience will be gone after this year. What is the state of the league? I am guessing others would like to know this as well.

Pietsch Fan
02-14-2007, 10:55 AM
I thought we had 90 games the first year and 80 last year? There would have been 8 teams this year if there were a decent field other than SDSU down here in San Diego.

It's well known that maintaining an independent league is very hard. Hopefully the GBL will continue to thrive.

The main thing I would change is their marketing focus. The first two years they tried to be a family alternative to going to the movies or similarly priced outing. I think going to a GBL game needs to be the inexpensive, more fun alternative to going to an Angels game or a Dodgers game. Baseball fans want to see cheap, fun baseball, not a movie.

02-14-2007, 11:36 AM
the GBL keeps trying to market against movies, the circus, or carnival type events... but people who go to these kinds of events only go a couple times a year at best. I agree with Mary, the GBL needs to market itself as a better family experience at the ball field.

The cost for a family of four to attend a MLB game with parking fees, one program, four hot dogs, two colas, two beers, a couple churros... well, the cost just gets to be pretty insane.

R.U. Kidding Me
02-14-2007, 12:36 PM
I think as far as family fun and family atmosphere the GBL has done that. There marketing is terrible, you don't see much in the newspapers and that is important.

Concessions prices arent much less in the GBL than an MLB game other than beer.

I just think it might be the overall business plan that is going to hurt them.

They want to do to much to fast. The Frontier League was a mess it's first years and now is probably second best to the Atlantic League in Indy ball.

Listen to the fans, we have seen the Indy League Graveyard page grow with west coast leagues. Although the GBL might join them let's hope they find a cure for the cancer they have right now.

02-14-2007, 12:57 PM
Where a family of four can get into an MLB game, park and have food for ~$140 or better, a family of four can get into an GBL game, park and have food for ~$65. That's a HUGE margin of savings for baseball that's pretty darn solid.

I'm not a yes-man for the GBL, not by any means (just check my older posts), and the GBL has tons of issues sure, but by in large, it's a huge bang for your buck. And I think that needs to be played up and incorporated into their marketing (how ever minimul that marketing is).

02-14-2007, 01:56 PM
Also missing in Year 3 is an All-Star game. I guess without an "aging ex-MLB druggie has-been" to make a complete mockery of the occasion it's not worth having. I think the GBL is realizing, probably too late for San Diego, that they were over-priceing theit tickets. I noticed on the Fullerton website they are lowering the ticket prices this year. Here in San Diego I believe the prices were $5,$8,& $10, and usually had very dissapointing attendance. I think if they would have made all the seats one price say $7 or $8, the attendance would have been better. The GBL accually installed some nice plastic seats in the stadium so they could charge the $8 for those seats.

Pietsch Fan
02-14-2007, 02:16 PM
No All Star game? Now that's lame. Every league has an All Star game. Although, we didn't have one the first year. They just "named" an All Star team, but didn't play a game. They need to play a game.

02-14-2007, 03:39 PM
Because the Dawgs are out of the GBL (for now?) I wasn't really keeping up on the schedule and stuff. No All Star game, eh? Well that just suxor's for the league, the fans, and the players.

We went up to Chico for the All Star game and although I'm so. not. a. fan. of Canseco, nor Chico, the game itself was fun to watch and I know the guys had a blast.

How can a kudo like that not be extended to the players? :confused: Bummer.

02-15-2007, 12:30 AM
A couple of comments, from my observations in SD two years ago.

Ounce per Ounce, the beer was more expensive than at SD Padres games. WTF?????

I thought there was too much of an empthasis placed on the between innings fun and games than on the actual games.

Some time back, I sent an (unsolicited) email to league offices, which I did not get a reply too, suggesting that they try to arrange an all star game with the Liga Norte de Sonora, which has teams at roughly the same level in Sonora and Baja California. Why the heck not do something like that? It would cost little and give the GBL bragging rights as the only league to play an international all star game. And, there is precedent, in the 90's, the '90s the Texas League and the Mexican League used to play two all star games a year, one in each country. Why not do that in the GBL???

Pietsch Fan
02-15-2007, 09:03 AM
I don't remember beer being more than $5 (and that was for the premium beer, the watery stuff was less). How much are they selling it for at Padre games?

The between inning shenanagins is what makes minor league different than the majors. And even the majors have racing hot links and the such.

The GBL was originally slated to have a team in Tijuana, the Toros, I believe. Not sure what happened, but I, for one, would not have traveled south of the border to watch baseball and I have no idea if Tijuana would have been able to support a team, unless it were an all Mexican team.

As for the All Star game idea, it wouldn't have rung my bell, but I'm surprised you didn't get a response from the office. They were normally pretty good at responding to questions. Unless you didn't ask a question and maybe they just were taking it as a suggestion that didn't require an answer.


02-15-2007, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. Here are answers to most of the questions posed:

1. We were 90 games in 2005 and 80 last year. We are going to stay around the 80 game schedule going forward -- this year we had to eliminate the first 7 days of the schedule because of additional blackout dates due to some of our university partners holding league and regional collegiate tournaments this year, so we ended at 76 by eliminating the All-Star break (see below). We like the early June to end of August schedule as it coincides with school being out for families to attend and also is after the collegiate season ends which is important for both scheduling purposes and also for signing non-drafted collegiate players that otherwise would be sitting on the sidelines all summer.

2. Although I don't recall ever receiving a message from DCNationals (whoever you may be) regarding playing the LNS in an All-Star game, you're right in step with our thinking! We met with the LNS a number of times in November and came to an agreement for an All-Star game and a post-season championship game between the two leagues - as was reported by Bob Wirz, the prolific Indy League Blogger at the Winter Meetings. It would have been great for both organizations, however, Minor League Baseball in St. Petersburg got wind of it and forbid the LNS from playing us - after delaying a response for almost two months. How do they influence Mexico and especially an unaffiliated minor league in Sonora, you may ask? So did we -- and the response was that this year the LNS will be receiving a handful of players per team in a development agreement with the Mexican Summer League (which is a member of Minor League Baseball - known as the National Association in the past). MiLB leaned on the Mexican Summer League who passed the word to the LNS that playing an independent league would not be tolerated unless they wanted to jeopardize their new player development agreement. Pretty heavy-handed, in our opinion, for such a minor activity between two leagues that are not members in their association -- wonder what they are so worried about.

3. Beer (and food) prices in San Diego were set by the university's concessionaire -- another point of contention. In all other GBL venues, except Reno, we run the concessions (and set the pricing) ourselves.

4. PietschFan -- Good memory on the Tijuana Toros. That was quite a ride as the Toros had drawn a minor-league best 13,000 fans per game in 2004 and were the sensation of Mexican baseball, were kicked out of the Mexican Summer League due to jeolousy and personality clashes by the other owners in October, jumped to the GBL in November, and then in January had their stadium seized by the military who confiscated their property (including a multi-million dollar scoreboard that had come from the New England Patriots) and broke their lease while the MSL granted a new franchise to local government officials that then started a new team (the Potros). Not kidding -- who'd like to market the movie rights on this one with me? It actually necessitated the deveopment of the Japan Samurai Bears for that season to fill the schedule slot -- of which the movie "Season of the Samurai" was made and just released at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

5. I agree with RUKidding me that the Frontier League is very well run, even better than the Atlantic League in my opinion.

6. Didn't I already answer the state of the GBL on an earlier post? In a nutshell -- not an easy business (or the Indy Graveyards Page would be pretty empty), all continuing teams did much better in Year 2 than in Year 1, and the GBL is ahead of the business plan to be a breakeven business at the end of this year and grow from there.

Also, thanks to all that came out and supported the Arizona Winter League -- it was good seeing a number of you. It was a great experience and we've discovered a number of fine players -- one has already been sold to the Orioles and two more look to be going to MLB organizations soon. We were well scouted with the Phillies, Padres, Red Sox, Devil Rays, Orioles, Royals, and Dodgers making their presence known and quite a few more who slipped in and out. We'll definitely be doing it again.

For anyone with specific questions or issues, please feel free to email me at commish@goldenbaseball.com or call at 925-226-2896.

Best Regards,
Kevin Outcalt
Golden Baseball League

02-17-2007, 09:27 PM
I made this nickname up a couple weeks ago when I joined this site, that is why the commish has never heard of me. But I did send him the LNS suggestions. They have had development agreements with the Liga Mexicana for years, and it never occurred to me that MILB would actually be such maggots as to stop them from playing you. Is there not a possible anti-trust violation here?

Ownership of the Tijuana Toros was basically the guy who controls the "GasSmart" chain of PEMEX stations in Tijuana. (Strong) rumor in Tijuana has it that A.) He is laundering drug money through his gas stations, and, B.) that said gas stations all have their pumps fixed to give less than a gallon for every gallon pumped. In other words he is probably a crook. That being said, what happened after the 2004 season was shameful. I have long felt that, as long as the Mexican League exists, MLB officials will never win the title of WORST baseball administrators on the planet, they will have to settle for second worst. Basically, the Toros embarrassed the other owners (especially Juan "Chino" Ley, who owns the Saltillo Saraperos and the Culiacan Tomateros of the winter league) by drawing something more than the thousand or two that show up in the other parks, and by actually engaging in modern marketing. Rather than change their own ways, the owners responded by banishing the source of embarassment. This was combined with the fact that Chino Ley basically runs the winter league (LMP) and the LMP considers Tijuana to be its territory. So, Ley wanted (and still wants) the LMB out of Tijuana.

It could be a soap opera.

Finally, if you promise to get rid of the stupid DH, I will promise to go out to Yuma for a game this summer...

02-20-2007, 12:40 PM
Just a reminder: MLB has a government-sanctioned (thought not necessarily etched in print) anti-trust exemption on many issues.

02-20-2007, 08:39 PM
MLB does, for how much longer who knows. But, MiLB does not.

02-21-2007, 12:00 PM
Hi DCNationals,

Ah, that's who you are -- keep the good ideas coming as I appreciate all the help we can get!

DCNationals is correct regarding MILB not being covered by the anti-trust exemption. Baseball's anti-trust exemption wording requires employment of professional baseball players. MLB is covered under this, MILB is not as they do not employ or provide contracts to players, but interestingly independent pro teams do fall under the exemption. However, indy leagues have never organized themselves to take full advantage of the possible benefits with the exception of player contracts that contain an option year exercisable at the discretion of the team in most independent leagues (Atlantic League does not use this system as they grant free agency to all players at the end of each season).

Here's some background on pro baseball's anti-trust exemption:

All businesses that participate in interstate commerce are subject to antitrust legislation. Attempts to control trade, engage in anti-competitive behavior and monopolize may be deemed illegal by federal circuit courts under the Sherman and Clayton acts.

Baseball has been exempt from these antitrust laws since 1922, when the Supreme Court ruled in its favor in Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs. The Supreme Court determined even though there was scheduling of games across state lines, those games were intrastate events since the travel from one state to another was "not the essential thing," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the decision and it gave professional baseball a blanket exemption from all aspects of the anti-trust laws.

Baltimore, a member of the Federal League that operated as a major league in 1914-15, had sued the National and American Leagues, charging the Federal League's inability to sign players was due to antitrust violations.

At the time of the 1922 ruling, the National and American Leagues were merely umbrella organizations. They arranged the schedules and set the rules, but the business was entirely local in the sense that there was no revenue sharing, no radio or television and no national sponsors or licensing deals.

The exemption was not considered again by the Supreme Court until 1953 in Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc. George Toolson, a Yankee minor leaguer, sued over the reserve clause (which binds a player to one organization), claiming it blocked his path to the major leagues. In the decision, the Supreme Court did not deny that baseball was not interstate commerce. Instead, the court ruled that when the Sherman Act was enacted in 1890, Congress didn't intend it to include baseball -- that the Sherman Act was more closely directed to the monopolies and trusts of the robber barons like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

By virtue of the exemption, coupled with decades of reluctance of various courts to overrule, baseball is the only sport, or business for that matter, that has an exemption to the extent that it does.

In essence, baseball is exempt from ALL aspects of the Sherman Anti-trust and Clayton acts as it has been ruled by courts time after time to be exempt. However, in practice and to avoid heavy-handed use of anti-competitive tactics that may cause Congress to overturn the exemption, it has been applied primarily to two main areas by MLB -- the ability for MLB to control relocation/contraction/expansion/change of ownership in teams and also to assert the power to contract players to specific teams and restrict free agency (which has been modified since early in the century, led by the Curt Flood case in 1972 - which he lost by the way, and then by Andy Messersmith's 1975 arbitration ruling that upheld the exemption but limited the Reserve Clause and resulted in the modern free agency structure that is governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the Player's Association).

A very good onlne article on baseball's anti-trust exemption can be found on Baseball Prospectus at: http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/econ352jpw/readme/Baseball%20Prospectus%20-%20Ending%20Baseball's%20Antitrust%20Exemption.htm

How this at all empowers MILB to forbid business (all-star games, championship series, etc.) between a minor league in Mexico and an independent league in the western U.S. is pretty hard to fathom...

Kevin Outcalt
Golden Baseball League

02-21-2007, 09:47 PM
"How this at all empowers MILB to forbid business (all-star games, championship series, etc.) between a minor league in Mexico and an independent league in the western U.S. is pretty hard to fathom..."

I would think it does not. And, supposing you have proof, which you probably do, such as a signed letter of intent or something along those lines from the LNS, you ought to give serious thought to a lawsuit.

LNS being out of the picture, have you talked to the Chihuahua State League?

Along seperate lines, have you thought about trying to expand the AWL a little, maybe running it from December to February and putting teams in, say, Long Beach, Palm Springs, El Centro/Yuma, San Diego (USD probably has an acceptable stadium), Tijuana and Ensenada? It might work...

02-22-2007, 10:15 AM
"How this at all empowers MILB to forbid business (all-star games, championship series, etc.) between a minor league in Mexico and an independent league in the western U.S. is pretty hard to fathom..."

I would think it does not. And, supposing you have proof, which you probably do, such as a signed letter of intent or something along those lines from the LNS, you ought to give serious thought to a lawsuit.

If such a piece of proof existed they would certainly have a legal case.

Except, as you know, the baseball world is a small, teeny tiny world and if the GBL (and AWL) intends to be around for the long haul they must pick their battles wisely. For example, would an inter-league 'playoff' series be a mountain they're willing to die on?

I'm thinking probably not.