- Golden Baseball League
Infobox sports league
pixels = 150px
caption = Golden Baseball League logo
founded = 2004
Began Play = 2005
teams = 10
country = USA
Orange County Flyers
website = [http://www.goldenbaseball.com/ www.goldenbaseball.com]
The Golden Baseball League, based in
Dublin, California, is a professional independent baseball league with teams in the western United States and Canada.
The GBL is not affiliated with
Major League Baseballor the organized Minor League Baseballsystem, but has featured players with MLB experience ( Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Alex Arias, Bud Smith, Desi Wilson) as well as top young prospects. It was formed in 2004 and began play on May 26, 2005. The GBL has a drug-testing policy that has the same standards as the Olympics, becoming the first baseball league to do so in North America. [ [http://www.redsoxnation.net/forums/?showtopic=15668 The Golden Baseball League, Independent baseball back in California] ]
As an independent baseball league, the GBL exists to give professional baseball players who are not currently under contract with a Major or Minor League organization another chance at playing at the professional level. Officials in the baseball industry have stated the GBL level of play to be at the Double A level. [ [http://www.tucsontoros.com/news/index.html?article_id=1 Tucson Toros join Independent Professional Baseball League] (Tucson Toros website, AUgust 29, 2008)] Over 70 players have been sold to MLB organizations since it began play. Depending on experience and/or talent players' salaries generally range from $1000 to $3,000 and higher per month, the standard in
minor league baseball.
The GBL's presenting partner is
Safeway Inc.. Other investors in the GBL include "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, former National Football Leagueplayers Mike Sherrardand Christian Okoye, and executives from Cisco Systems, Taleo and Draper Fisher Jurvetson[ [http://goldenbaseball.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=126 Golden Baseball League Ownership Group] ] .
The league was founded in 2004 by
Stanford Universitygraduates David Kaval and Amit Patel. Kaval is the chief executive officer. Curt Jacey is the league's vice-president. Kevin Outcalt serves as the league's commissioner and chief marketing officer. Jim Peters is the chief operating officer, Stephen Bedford is the director of business operations, and Bill Weiss is the league's secretary and historian. [ [http://www.goldenbaseball.com/Files/F401/MEDIAGUIDEFINAL.pdf GBL 2008 Media Guide] ]
In its inaugural season, the league was composed of eight charter teams: the
Chico Outlaws, Fullerton Flyers, Long Beach Armadaand San Diego Surf Dawgsin California; Mesa Miners, Surprise Fightin' Falconsand Yuma Scorpionsin Arizona and the Japan Samurai Bears. All teams played their home games in city- and university-owned stadiums, with the exception of the Samurai Bears, a traveling team of Japanese players that played all of its games on the road. Three of the GBL's teams, the Outlaws, Long Beach Armada, and Scorpions, operated in cities that once hosted Western Baseball Leagueteams. The WBL folded in 2002 and those teams ceased operations shortly afterward leading to the formation of the GBL. They, along with the Flyers, are the remaining charter teams still in operation with Yuma being the lone Arizona charter franchise.
May 9, 2005, Major League Baseball's all-time stolen baseleader, Rickey Henderson, signed a contract to play the 2005 season with the Surf Dawgs, the first GBL Champions.
The 2005 season ended with a four team championship tournament on
Labor DayWeekend. The tournament ended with San Diego winning two games on the final day, knocking off Mesa in the second game to wrap up their championship season.
Before the 2006 season, the Miners and Fightin' Falcons suspended operations and a new team, the
Reno Silver Sox, was created, becoming the first GBL club in Nevada. The league chose to move to a 6-team format and did not have the travelling Samurai Bears return. José Canseco, another retired star, signed with the Surf Dawgs in 2006 as part of his attempt to return to baseball and promote his book , along with its upcoming movie adaptation. Canseco was traded to the Armada after only one game. He said that the move was to be closer to his daughter. [ [http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/20060705-0652-bbm-canseco-surfdawgs.html Canseco seeks trade from Surf Dawgs] ]
The GBL added the
St. George RoadRunnersfor the 2007 season, and the Calgary Vipersand Edmonton Cracker-Catsjoined the league for 2008. The league further expanded with the addition of the expansion Tucson Torosand Victoria Sealsfor 2009 and is looking to add additional teams in California, Arizona, Oregonand Canada.
Many former MLB coaches and players have coached or managed in the GBL, including
Les Lancaster, Mike Marshall, Ozzie Virgil, Jr. Darrell Evans, Garry Templeton, Cory Snyder, Jeffrey Leonard, Gary Carter, Mike Busch, Steve Yeager, Terry Kennedyand Warren Cromartie. [http://www.goldenbaseball.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=127]
The league is the only independent baseball association to have drug testing. The league CEO Dave Kaval explains:
"I feel that there is no place for illegal drugs in our business. We run a family friendly operation off the field and illegal drug usage by our players would undermine the trust we have established with our fans. That is exactly what has happened at the MLB level. As a steward of the great game of baseball, I am proud to say that we have the most stringent drug policy in all of professional baseball." [ [http://www.sabr.org/sabr.cfm?a=cms,c,1658,3,158 SABR Nine: Golden Baseball League CEO and Founder Dave Kaval] ]
All-League Team:Catcher: TBAFirst base: TBA Second base: TBAThird base: TBAShortstop: TBAUtility: TBAOutfielders: TBADesignated hitter: TBAStarting Pitchers: TBARelief Pitchers: TBA
2006 GBL All-Star Game
The GBL played their very first All-Star Game on
July 18, 2006at Chico's Nettleton Stadiumpitting the North All-Stars against the South All-Stars.
2008 United League vs. Golden League All-Star Game
The GBL reached a two-year agreement with the United League to face off in All-Star Games. The 2008 game was hosted by the ULB's
San Angelo Colts, while the 2009 game will see the Orange County Flyersplay host. [http://goldenbaseball.com/ArDisplay.aspx?ID=4042&SecID=138]
Arizona Winter League
November 15, 2006, the Golden Baseball League announced the Arizona Winter League, which would be a short-season instructional league for its summer league. The league began play on January 19, 2007.
The Yuma Scorpions became the first franchise in the league to broadcast select games on
AdelphiaCable. [http://www.goldenbaseball.com/ArDisplay.aspx?ID=2434&SecID=138] The Edmonton Cracker-Cats televised selected games by reaching an agreement with ShawTV. [http://shaw.flooringisite.info/shaw-cable-tv-edmonton] The Golden Baseball League announced they had reached a deal with iBN Sports to broadcast 40 games on the internet showing various teams. [http://goldenbaseball.com/ArDisplay.aspx?ID=4175&SecID=303]
Notes & References
* [http://www.goldenbaseball.com Golden Baseball League]
* [http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3548264 Edmonton and Calgary Leave Northern League]
* [http://www.sdcitybeat.com/cms/story/detail/the_dawgs_of_summer/3312/ San Diego CityBeat profile by Charles Dahan]
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