It has been a rough day to say the least. I am not sure what was tougher, telling 23 young men that their young winter baseball season was coming to an end or laying in bed with a sobbing 6 year old boy trying to explain to him that the players will all be ok and that although his heartfelt, generous offer of all the money in his piggy bank was appreciated, it was not enough money to save the Florida Winter Baseball League. It is a shame. The only thing I agreed with in CEO Mickey Filippucci's statement was, "we displayed included a brand of baseball not seen in many years. Specifically, we had affiliated and independent players playing together with affiliated managers leading the way." The baseball was going well, quite well. Players were getting opportunities to play and be seen. Heck, I have a nice list of guys I would turn in to any affiliated organization without a problem. These players were hungry and they were great kids. They deserved better. It is all very strange how this all went down, and I am not sure what to think at this point. This past Sunday, we played a wonderful day game against Space Coast and were asked to meet with Mickey Filippucci after the game as a team. He told us that there had been a snafu with the paychecks, but not to worry. He asked us for one day for his bank wire to clear and all would be well on Tuesday. He asked us for patience as there have been some hiccups with this first year league but we are doing all we can, yada, yada, yada. He thanked us for our time, left the checks, spoke to some of the players and left to go meet with the other two teams (he had met with Space Coast before meeting with us). Kevin Davidson, the director of operations for the league was also there that day speaking with Space Coast Manager Jim Gabella (Royals) regarding player personnel. As a matter of fact, Jim asked me about a player that they might sign later in the week at the plate meeting that day. In other words, the owner and CEO of the league and the director of operations were both in attendance that day and not one inclination was given that this thing would be over in 48 hrs. We had a day off Monday and Tuesday began with an email that shocked us all. The Global Scouting Bureau had parted ways with the league. The following was their official statement on their website that day, "Due to a series of failed commitments by the Florida Winter Baseball League (FWBL) to the Global Scouting Bureau (GSB), we have chosen to announce a formal separation from the client due to non and delinquent payments dating back to November 1st, 2009." The email we were all sent was similar. I got on the horn talking to all parties, which at the time were all blaming each other, and by the end of the day, the league was done. All our checks bounced by the way, but payment was made on all of them today and the players all were sent home, on their own dime. Here is a portion of the Mickey's statement today, “Being a first year league, the organization was built from a simple idea into reality, and though we are ending the inaugural season prematurely, we now see the commitment and organization needed by our staff in order to be successful long term. We acknowledge that start-up growing pains are real and sometimes overwhelming, but that has only strengthened our resolve. We will be recapitalizing the Company to better accommodate the financial requirements to operate the league more effectively in the future. We thank our management company, the Global Scouting Bureau, for its organization, work ethic, and overall professionalism and look forward to restructuring our agreement with them for the future endeavors of the FWBL organization"
24 hours ago, GSB and the FWBL were pointing fingers at each other, now the league has been dismantled, everyone sent packing, after two whole weeks of baseball, and they have kissed and made up and are working towards next year? This whole thing smells to high heaven. I am not going to point any fingers, but obviously someone screwed up, and did so big time. I am not sure who it was or if it was a combination of people or circumstances, I really don't care at this point. You see, this game is very special to me, and today, it got trampled on by people who either don't know what they are doing, or don't care about what they just did. This thing was mismanaged and run into the ground and people were hurt. Young men's lives were damaged by today's events and no one seems to care. My 6 year old son cares more about the players in this league than the any of the people in charge, apart from the staff members of each club, which by the way, did a great job on the field, and I tip my hat to you all. That little boy cried himself to sleep tonight wanting to give all the money he had to keep the league alive, why? Because he cares about the players. He gets it, the managers and coaches of each club get it as well. The rest of them, have no idea what they just did. As a manager of a professional baseball team, it is my job to be an advocate for those young men, and it is my job to stand up for them when they have been wronged. I was hired to be their manager, and I am just doing my job the best I know how.
I am proud of my team and the job we all did to help establish the Florida Winter Baseball League. It was and is a very good idea that could work if it can be run correctly. I just hate to see the hearts broken of young ball players looking for a chance. These were great kids, not just on our team but league wide. They put up with a lot of broken promises and kept the faith that people would do right by them so that they could continue playing and be seen by someone who could give them a chance. That is all they wanted, and it lasted 15 games.