With two permanent teams left, the Continental Baseball League ceased operations after a shortened 2010 season.
For those unfamiliar with the CBL, it was quite possibly the most unknown of all Indy leagues.
2010 began with four teams, leaving little documented about the games, their teams and their business model.
Now, when you try to look up their website, it is non-existent.
Upon the crowing of league champion; Big Bend Cowboys, the CBL was soon dissolved with no press, and no farewells. Despite the lack of fanfare, the league did have a major league presence that many were not aware of.
The CBL trophy was named after Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, Jay Johnstone, 20-year MLB veteran, was the Teams Relations Director, and 19 former players have been signed with MLB organizations.
In midst of all the turmoil the Las Cruces Vaqueros were the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. Las Cruces finishing percentage points out of first place in their inaugural campaign and rode their good luck all the way to the championship round.
The Vaqueros good fortune does not end there.
With rumors running rampant about the league's demise, the Vaqueros owner Andy Dunn made a serious push to start a new Independent League.
More often than not, a new Indy league will emerge from the ashes very similar to the league it has just replaced.
According to an article from oaoa.com in late July, Dunn was already gathering the troops, and bringing former CBL clubs along for the ride.
The Pecos League homepage admits 12 teams have either submitted proposals to join the league or have been invited. All four CBL franchises have received the invitation.
“About five weeks ago we had a meeting with folks from the Pecos League,” Smith (Big Bend general manager) said. “It will be a more exciting league. So far, we have six teams ready to join, with a couple other teams interested. Class A minor-league baseball will be alive and well in Alpine next year.”
If you do visit the Pecos League’s site, it does a nifty job of putting the CBL to rest, giving the former "hotbed" of southern baseball it's rightful due.
This new venture is set to begin in 2011; obviously, I wish them all the best.
On the other hand, you do have to wonder, how productive can this start-up can be after the latter filled the seats the best they could, yet were unsuccessful.
Numerous questions arise when you think about this;
Is the Pecos League saturating a failing market? Can teams, that propose 220 fans will turn a profit, stay above water? Can this new league compete with United League Baseball, a league operating successfully since 2006, and within the same geographical area? Can this league compete with the Golden Baseball League, also with ties to the same regions, and one becoming high-profile, and innovative in its own right?
In a generation where information is at your fingertips, speed and power can surpass knowledge, and a game that has allegedly left the steroid era for greener pastures, the motto of this new group does make you stop and think,
“The league's high power offenses are fueled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks”
Every company needs a mission statement that should differentiate itself from the competition, yet this simple yet over-looked strategy could very well lead to a gold mine.
The Indy’s are at a disadvantage given the high failure rate, however I do like how they are thinking outside of the box.
Some sign ex-major leaguers while some literally change the playing field.
Come May 2011; expect outrageous scores, and some Playstation like statistics!
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. Devon is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is available for hire or freelance opportunities.Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is an intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.
Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
**Devon is member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada**