Clearing Up Some Issues with the Heartland Of America Baseball League

There have recently been some questions surrounding the Heartland Of America Baseball League (HoABL) and the Ozarks Pro Baseball League. I wanted to post this email I received today from Art Wilkinson that will hopefully clear up some of the questions.

Kayla,

Please feel free to re-post this at your election.

There has been a great hue and cry about the division of the Heartland 
of America League and Ozarks Pro Baseball, or as it has been referred 
to, “the Ozark League”.

Players should rest assured that the only goal of every person 
employed by the Heartland of America Baseball League is to promote 
great players with drive, desire and talent, into Affiliated Baseball, 
and ultimately into the Major Leagues. The Heartland of America League 
Managers and Coaches include the over two dozen individuals who have 
played, coached and managed at the Major League Level. This talented 
group of teacher/mentors have hand-picked 210 of the country’s best 
players all under 26 years of age, and are fully prepared to move 
forward in support of assisting these players in realizing their 
dream. Our players come from all four corners of the USA, Canada, 
Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Germany, 
and Australia.

From the moment that we entered the arena of Independent Minor League 
Baseball, we took the position that we would not be a local or even 
regional brand. And, while we ARE “The Heartland of America Baseball 
League,” we are a national, international and global exhibition of The 
Greatest Game that God has ever permitted any man to play.

We would like to thank the scores of Major League Scouts who have 
referred players
directly to our league, as well as those baseball executives who have 
recognized the
excellence of our product and brand…before we have even thrown a 
single pitch. Our very first inter-league trade was made, also before 
a pitch has been thrown, when we sent one of our best 
middle-infielders to the reigning American Association Champion 
Wichita Wingnuts.

I want to assure all players who have been signed by any Manager, 
Coach or Executive of the Heartland of America League that your 
contracts are secure, your participation in our league is secure, and 
with your continued hard work and perseverance, your future will also 
be secure. Likewise any player signed to an Ozarks Pro Baseball 
contract prior to May 23, 2015, can also play in the Heartland of 
America League.

We are all here for one single and undivided purpose. Every league at 
every level seeks to use its best efforts to bring the highest quality 
of baseball to as many as will come out and cheer on their favorite 
team, or player.

Our mission has not changed. The strength of our character remains as 
it always was. And, the men and women of the Heartland of America 
League will never retreat from the daunting task of finding, 
developing and promoting the next generation of Major League Baseball 
Superstars.

Play Ball! We know we will…

With Deepest Respect for All,

Art Wilkinson
Executive VP, Baseball Operations
The Heartland of America League

If you would like to find out more about the Heartland of America Baseball League you can check out their website HERE, or check out the Q&A I did with Art, HERE.

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28 thoughts on “Clearing Up Some Issues with the Heartland Of America Baseball League”

    1. From what I understand, they were ‘one’ league for a time. When contracts were extemnded for the HoABL, they all had the Ozarks heading on them as that is who started the league and its founders (they are the SAME people) with additions later when HoABL was created. So anyone who signed before the split, would be able to play in HOABL.

      I understand that the HoABl is moving forward as well

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  1. Exactly how is a single town and 1 stadium going to house 2 separate professional independent leagues that are comprised of hundreds of players and (I’m assuming) nearly 200 games over the course of 1 summer?

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  2. Also, there has been word of a heated turf war for the rights to Pricecutter Stadium. I have heard that Phil Wilson (apparently affiliated with Ozarks, not HoABL) has exclusive rights to Pricecutter Stadium, so how are players reporting to the stadium next week when they supposedly do not have permission from Mr. Wilson? Does this mean the majority of games will be played at satellite fields?

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  3. you may be reporting the exact opposite of how the leagues came about. Phil Wilson Ozarks Pro Baseball started the idea well over
    a year ago. Then Heartland decided they wanted in. But when Heartland started trying to take over and take it another direction,
    Ozark Pro Baseball decided to just continue doing it on their own.
    It is that simple.

    I know it is hard to report both sides of a story accurately when you only report the side you support.

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    1. I’m posting what I have been told by people with the Heartland staff. This is what I was told from the beginning. It always appeared as if it was one organization… then I was told a couple weeks ago that it isn’t anymore. No one from the Ozarks has reached out to me to tell their side. I don’t “support” one side or the other. I have information only from the “side” who has been in contact with me for months.

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    1. My email is on here for anyone to contact if they want their side told. That is exactly what Art did. The Heartland reached out to me. I have no idea who is running the Ozarks, but they are more than welcome to email me a message they would like me to post as well.

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      1. You seem to be reporting the facts impartially. I’m not a player, but i know a few on both leagues. Seems to be a bit of a debacle. But i heard the Heartland is a go as well, just a bit delayed. i wont re-post, but i appreciate your site and keeping people informed!

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      2. Thanks! Sorry I was on the phone with someone from the Heartland actually. Was trying to answer to your comment and to Bob’s and got confused with what I was doing!

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  4. Both the Ozarks and Heartland websites are brutally-old/outdated.

    Who can tell really what’s going on from their online presences (or lack of an online presence/communication).

    I’ll keep coming back here to find out “news” I guess.

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  5. I should’ve been less cryptic with my previous message.

    The point I was trying to get across was that someone from afar (say, the northeast U.S.) can’t tell what the heck is going on with Ozarks or Heartland of America based on their websites.

    From HoABL’s URL (http://heartlandofamericabaseballleague.com/), there’s “Tryouts This Weekend!” shown on the landing page for May 9th — that’s 3 weeks ago!

    Also, despite the claim by Art Wlkenson above that the HoABL “have hand-picked 210 of the country’s best players”, there’s just over 30 shown on the “Players and Coaches Signed” page of the website.

    Finally, Phil Wilson is showcased all over the HoABL website yet here’s a comment by the administrator of Ozarks Pro Baseball on May 27th to a questioner asking about Coach Wilson’s name at both organizations:
    “Our Lawyers are working on this now. Coach Phil Wilson is with Ozarks Pro Baseball and is not associated with the Heartland Baseball league. Coach Phil Wilson has asked that they remove him from their website and everything else. That is all we can say at this time.”

    So I have many doubts/questions about HoABL.

    Ozarks Pro Baseball’s website is equally confounding. Until recently, the website was stating that the last tryouts would be May 23/24. However, now there’s new tryouts listed in the second weekend in June. The website is only partially-finished and has no newer information past late April (except for the administrator answering “comments”).

    In my mind, there’s nothing “cleared-up” at all with these leagues.

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  6. from your previous posts it appears you have a contact phone number and a person to get information from Heartland of America..

    So please ask your contact why Heartland of America continues to
    post on their website and facebook that Phil Wilson is their Commissioner and President? Why continue to deceive and confuse everyone? Why not just remove it? And post who really is running
    Heartland of America.

    Also please post your contact person and phone number so that we can contact them as well.

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    1. I’m not posting confidential contact information when you’re hiding behind a first name “Bob.” I’m sure you already know who to contact within the Heartland league. Their website has not been their top priority. I agree that it needs to be changed however I don’t think they’ve posted NEW information saying he is the commissioner since this happened. They’re busy trying to make the league work, not just the website look good. I think we learned from the other two leagues that are done… websites don’t mean you can run a league. You can stop posting on my page now. This is getting ridiculous. Unless you’re willing to post under a real name and put out YOUR contact info… I’m done.

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  7. Thank you Indyball Island! He was getting annoying. I’m sure everyone in both leagues (HoABL and Ozark) are trying to figure this out. They both want to get the players playing.. We’ll have to wait and see

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  8. I think Bob’s comment and requests all not too out of line.

    Also, responding on here with just a first name applies to nearly everyone (right Tyrone?) and includes me as well. My personal reason is that I’m a father of a 22 year old player hoping to play indy pro ball somewhere. My son already got screwed from ECBL and has had great tryouts with Atlantic League teams, but was told that they typically only roster ex-MBL players/draft picks. He was told by these Atlantic League managers to play at other indy leagues to get some experience and to stay in touch.

    So I’d rather not get on anyone’s bad side bad-mouthing or simply “questioning” some leagues’ officials — thus, the reason for my first name only.

    To Bob’s points:
    1) There is no telephone # at HoABL that I can see. Nor does there seem to be any mention of someone in charge. His request does not seem unreasonable. Maybe he (like me) would like to talk to someone about their league. (the admin at Ozarks Pro Baseball directs people with questions to a phone number to talk to league officials to get answers)

    2) If Phil Wilson is in no way associated with HoABL, then why continue to showcase his name as “President and Commissioner”? I agree that seems kind of deceptive and how difficult is it to remove those references, unless you’re hoping to benefit from some confusion.

    My points:
    1) If we’re so willing to give a pass to outdated websites as if the leagues are working on other, more important things, then maybe we should consider that lack-of-communication from Ozarks Pro Baseball to this blog author is not a priority either. If one league has reached out to Kayla, I think it’s only smart to be skeptical about whether that’s honest communication or a ploy to get an upper hand in Ozark where the situation is fluid.

    2) From HoABL’s website and Art’s (re-)post above, there’s either 250 or 210 players signed — yet only approx. 30 are named at the website. Does that mean that players still have a chance to be signed to a contract? As parents of aspiring players or the players themselves, we want to know.

    Poor communication via an online presence was central in ECBL’s implosion and, it seems, in Mount Ranier’s problems, so players and their families wanting clear and simple answers to what’s happening in Ozark is not an unreasonable request, in my opinion.

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  9. 1. The Heartland and everyone that was associated with the league for months before this “drama” ever started were in open communications with me. I don’t believe it’s a “ploy” for them as this wasn’t a problem until this month nor were there always two separate leagues.

    2. Here is Art Wilkinson’s email – coachwilkie27@gmail.com. He has been more than helpful in providing me with information, so hopefully he can help you as well. You can direct your comments and questions to him.

    I am done with this. I have nothing to do with either league. I do not work for either league. All I have done was provide information about the Heartland that was given to me.
    In case you missed the “about the author”, I’m a baseball FAN who just wanted to create a blog to tell players’ stories and to post articles that may be helpful to others. I am not a news outlet. I passed along information that was given to me.

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  10. So today I was told that all the players were told to go home and wait for another 3 weeks but they did not get a specific day to be back. This is reminding me of an Indy Ball conference called the IBL last year in Ohio and Michigan. First players were told they would be paid and there would be 40-50 games amongst a 4 team league. 1 team folded and the players were not paid. The concept of this league was great but without a field and financial backing, will not happen.

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  11. The only error in previous posts is that players were not told it would be “three weeks”. It is very doubtful, in fact, almost impossible that the HoABL will take place this season. Although the Managers and Coaches were supposed to be paid on June 15th, and were not…the real losers in this fiasco are the players. We, as coaches and managers recruited the players believing that all the “i’s” were dotted and “t’s” crossed….well, the truth of the matter is that we were all duped by an individual who did not have his “ducks in order” as we were told.
    I am sorry to every player who is trying to “chase his dream” of reaching affiliated baseball, and thought the HoABL would begin to be his path. The sad thing is that we had 50+ players in Ozark for 2-3 weeks and their was a very good caliber of player present. It just goes to show that there is a real need for additional Independent Baseball and I can only hope that the next league formed has the money necessary to get it off the ground. This also goes to show how well run the Frontier League is run, thus its existing for over 25 years.

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