Things could get interesting if this is indeed fact......
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I haven't heard if the rights to players under contract to Joplin will be held by the new team (given Joplin's stellar 36-64 season, they may not want them).
As I understand it, most AA player contracts are year-to-year with the team holding rights of first refusal for the following season (which just means they get the first crack at signing them).
My source was a news release e-mail from the Wichita Wingnuts, which contained their 2017 schedule. (I'm the sports editor for a daily paper outside of Wichita, so I get a lot of that kind of thing). From there, I found the Cleburne web site.
The stadium there is already under construction (and apparently about $2 million over budget from a $25 million projected cost).
It's expected to be finished by the start of the season in mid May. While the article I read had nothing firm, it said the local high school may have use of the facility. It will be all turf, seat about 2,500 with another 2,500 in berm/picnic-area seating.
My concern is the town is only about 30,000 people with 150,000 in the county, making the market a little smaller than what Joplin was (50,000, 175,000). It's officially in the DFW metro statistical area. It's about a half hour (and $13 in tolls) from downtown Fort Worth. It's an hours drive to Grand Prairie, their nearest opponent.
Also, the AirHogs have moved back full time to Grand Prairie (no surprise there). Hopefully, they can market a little bit better and get their numbers up to what they were a few years ago, but they were a pathetic draw in both markets last year (a 34-65 record didn't help their cause and these days, teams that play in multiple cities rarely get a following in either).
By Levi Payton firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 24, 2016
061416 Blasters Laredo 3
Globe | Laurie Sisk
Blasters center fielder Oscar Mesa slides safely into second base as Laredos J.D. Pulfer applies the late tag during an American Association game this past season at Joe Becker Stadium.
Since the Joplin Blasters pulled up stakes and folded their tent over at Joe Becker Stadium, there has been little more than a squeak from the club's former owners save for the litigation the Suarez Group filed through attorney Steve Hays claiming the city of Joplin owes money for added expenses the team feels were unjustly incurred.
You'll recall a Sept. 6 column that the Suarezes had, according to sources, entered a preliminary agreement with the new Cleburne Railroaders franchise for Oscar Suarez to run the baseball management for the team and his son, former Blasters GM and field manager Gabe Suarez, to be the field manager for the team.
That deal was, as reported, contingent on a successful vote by the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball to award expansion to Cleburne for the 2017 season.
The American Association did just that a few weeks ago, the same day it was revealed the Blasters' franchise had folded.
While the Railroaders franchise has yet to publicly name its baseball operations staff namely a general manager recent moves seem to indicate the team already has someone in place. And, there is a connection between Cleburne and the defunct Blasters.
In making their first roster moves in team history on Oct. 13, the Railroaders added eight players for the 2017 season: right-handed pitchers Harrison Lee, Mario Morales and Roby Romero, infielders Mitch Glasser, Alex Polston, Brandon Tierney and Geraldo Valentin and outfielder Oscar Mesa.
If those names ring a bell, they should. All eight players were Joplin Blasters last season Glasser and Mesa were with the team since its inception. Suarez, who also serves as a player agent, represented several players who played for the Blasters.
Of course, this could all just be a matter of great coincidence. But it says something that Cleburne's front office hasn't responded to multiple inquiries submitted by the Globe requesting comment regarding the team's relationship with the Suarezes, which was rumored long before the 2016 season was complete.
To his credit, Oscar Suarez acknowledged interest from the Cleburne franchise and others during an interview on Aug. 28, but he never directly confirmed or denied any agreement between the parties.
Sometimes silence is wisdom's best reply.
Sure, it's possible the Railroaders could choose a candidate other than Suarez once the dust settles. And maybe Railroaders brass was simply perusing the unemployment line and cherry-picked some of the Blasters' top talent from 2016. Among other notable Blasters, rookie infielder Will Soto was claimed by Laredo, while right-handed pitchers Keith Picht (Sioux City) and Victor Ramirez (Winnipeg) landed on other teams the same day as Cleburne's claims.
Transactions from Oct. 11 has Joplin releasing pitchers Santos Arias, Alberto Castillo, Alex De La Cruz, Carlos Fuentes, Axel Johnson and Robert Orozco, catchers Ermindo Escobar and Conor Sullivan, infielders Cie Arell, Edwin Gomez and Sergio Leon, and outfielders Zack Burling, KC Huth and Mark Krueger. As of Monday, none of those players appear to have signed or been claimed by another team.
So again, perhaps it's all coincidence. Or maybe it's not. Even when the Blasters' impending demise seemed inevitable last season, Suarez spoke late into the year of keeping his core group of players intact for future seasons.
That doesn't make sense for an owner who had one foot out the door midway through the season. Unless there was already a plan in place, of course.
So did Oscar Suarez have some influence in the Railroaders' claims for their inaugural roster? Will his son, Gabe Suarez, indeed be named Cleburne's inaugural field manager?
For now, no one is talking. But, much like the anticipation that built for the Blasters' impending demise, these moves seem inevitable and, at this point, nothing would be a surprise.
Where there's smoke, there's often fire.
Levi Payton is sports reporter for The Joplin Globe. Contact him at email@example.com.
Also the city of Joplin currently has a 12 million dollar law suit against the Blasters. There is also an academy team planned for the stadium which probably has a better chance of success http://www.cleburneeaglesacademybaseball.com
The Texas Rangers MLB have no such parking lot standard and they already have a few fans.
RAILROADERS 2017 NOTICE
Vehicle Security Inspection
All vehicles parking within the Stadium's parking lot perimeter are subject to a security inspection before being allowed to park. Vehicles must meet all state inspection requirements.
Speaking of potential lawsuit from the parking this ones interesting as well.
Cleburne Eagles Academy Possible Lawsuit of RailRoaders
Posted March 23, 2017
The Cleburne Eagles academy baseball organization, has served the Railroaders with notice of intent lawsuit, the suit is specific to allegations of unfair competitive advantage, fraud and misrepresentation.
Could possibly include the mayor who may be added or dropped from the suit again spicific actions taken by those included within the suit.
The Railroaders operate from the cities chamber of commerce building free of rent or electrical use payment even though it claims to have a independent ownership group, and is a for profit business this would be an unfair advantage when a competing business would endure hardship from all the cost normally associated with operating.
The Stadium Lease Agreement Article II Term Rent 2.1 and 2.3 state the agreement commences January 1,2017 and ends December 31,2027 after the ten years, the city will not receive any more rent from the Depot unless there are additional terms discussed, this type of action known as a Fee Simple which is a Tenancy for years offer a reversion, whereas in the Depot will reverse back to the Grantor that person is named within the suit,this would be of interest to the citizens who voted for the Depot.
The Defendant in the suit Railroaders have two years free rent of the stadium, while attempting to charge other groups for use dates,this is a commercial use misappropriation secret meaning the Defendant seeks to profit from use of the secret.
And offers for the CISD school district to agree to some date use could be seen as fraud being that the tax payers would be footing the bill for such agreement,even though the same tax payer would have already paid for the stadium to began with, this would apply to other ISD offers of use as well, because of the secret known by operators of Railroaders.
Federal law U.S.Codes 45 (I) Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce,and unfair or deceptive acts in or affecting commerce, are declared unlawful.
Stadium Lease Agreement Article II Term Rent 2.4 Annual Rent
Tenant shall pay to Landlord for each lease year the sum of
1 $0 annual rent for years 1-2
year three payments $25,000
The suit is specific to terms within the contract which also gave away merchandise sales money without the city getting any return on such sales or naming rights if one were attained.
Again this would interest tax payers who voted to build the Depot.
At this time the Eagles are looking into all options,the Depot stadium can only become a real service to the community if its use and operating standards are offered to all businesses who would have a need for such a complex under the same rules.
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Those who want to bring in minor league sports in the worst way usually get it.
I can see why Amarillo and Wichita are battling for a Texas League team.
However for those of you looking for something to talk about how bout Laredo. Whats going on there?
Stable ownership? appears from that proposed lawsuit that the question can be asked that if the ownership is so stable why would the teams office be located in a city office with free rent, either the city manager or whom ever negotiated that deal was way out of their league or simply got taken by a hustler either way, it doesn't proclaim a stable group,though there might be one.
Secondly, within that complaint it also shows within the rental agreement that this stable ownership group you propose, the team is getting two free years of rent, again what city employee negotiated this deal, clearly they should be fired.
In looking at the teams facebook page they have no clue how to promote or advertise, all you see is the mascot I'll bet the tickets sales are going so well simply look at the facebook numbers and that will tell you in a community that size and a year of pub. still less than 5,000 followers yep this has success written all over it, and when was last time a 21st century kid played Duck Duck Goose Goose yes sir the stands will be full of 60 year old's luckily for them that promotion is in another market, here's the thing if you know what to look for when you visit a minor league teams site you can tell what going to happen.
Finally, you do have one thing correct that manager and those players are the only reason the team exist looks like but a group of career minor league players who couldn't and didn't win else where playing against the same teams well you get it.
I'm just saying oh yeah Laredo ........ 2016 47 home dates average attendance 893 total 41,955 with Pete Incaviglia as the manager, yes sir lots to talk about there. That big sucking sound is the life out of Laredo.