Diamond Sports and Entertainment, which founded the independent Golden Baseball League and formed the North American League via merger, has walked away from the circuit as league management.
Kevin Outcalt, the league commissioner who was part of the original Golden Baseball League, left the organization on March 7, according to a press release issued by the Yuma Panthers, one of four teams remaining in the Northern Division of the circuit. With Diamond Sports unable to field a team in Chico this season and falling behind in its bills relating to league management — including bills related to the recent Arizona Winter League player showcase, a pay-for-play event matching scouts to players — the remaining team owners decided to sever all ties with Diamond Sports. A league commissioner will be hired, according to the remaining owners.
There are basically five ownership groups in the 10-team North American League: John Bryant and Byron Pierce own all six Texas teams and run it virtually as a separate entity with its own schedule, and four groups owning the four teams — Fullerton/Orange County, Maui, San Rafael and Yuma — in the Northern Division. A schedule has been released, but there doesn’t seem to be any activity associated with a Fullerton team (no website, no sales force, no announced lease at Cal State-Fullerton). Still, games in Fullerton appear on the league schedule, so we’ll see what happens. Realistically, four teams in the minimum for scheduling purposes.
From the press release:
On March 9, 2012 the North American League teams and Diamond Sports entered into a formal mutual release agreement whereby each party was relieved of all responsibilities and obligations under any former agreement between them. The franchisee ownership groups requested and have now received permission from Diamond Sports to play their 2012 season under the umbrella of the North American League.
Although these events have created additional burdens for the franchises it gives each of them the ability and clear path to control their own destiny.
Godfather Media, Inc. CEO Michael Cummings stated, “That we are very excited to participate with the other ownership groups and operate the NAL 2012 season along with the future of a new league that is focused on providing family fun entertainment as well as affordable pricing for fans.” With this asset acquisition, I have always believed that our management team could build the Yuma franchise along with the community, to be one of the best franchisees in the Independent Minor League Baseball industry. With the changes between Diamond Sports and Entertainment and the league franchisors, I know it is more possible now than ever before. See you out at the ball park and let’s win a championship for all of Yuma.”
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