Chad Deal 2 p.m., Nov. 22
Group Seeks to Launch Independent Minor League Baseball
Mission Viejo-based Godfather Media on Friday announced an update on its plans to launch the American West Baseball League, an independent minor league baseball franchise.
So far, the group has announced deals to launch at least four teams, in Fullerton, Long Beach, Yuma, AZ, and in San Diego. The league is seeking to add 2-4 more teams in the southwestern region including California, Arizona, and Nevada.
“We are very pleased of the progress and could not be happier with how fast things are moving along, stay focused [sic] on league updates,” says Michael Cummings, Godfather’s chairman and CEO.
Minor league baseball has been a tough sell in San Diego, with the most recent independent league team, the San Diego Surf Dawgs, folding after a six year run from 2005-2010. Most of that time, though, the team played in various Arizona venues, despite keeping the San Diego affiliation in their name.
Efforts to relocate the major league Padres’ AAA affiliate to Escondido have also been in the works for the last few years, bogged down by state elimination of redevelopment funds and controversy over the cost of building a stadium, which the city had hoped to finance through redevelopment bonds. Jeff Moorad, since denied ownership of the major league club, owns a controlling interest in the minor league team and moved it from Portland, OR to Tucson, AZ. The move was meant to be a temporary one, as the new Escondido ballpark was to open by 2013, though whether it will ever be built is now in doubt.
Godfather has not yet gone public with a team name or venue in which the San Diego team will play, nor is any information available on the firm’s website as to when such announcements will be made or when play is expected to begin.
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