What Is Happening In The South Florida Winter League?

Last night, I was contacted by several players who had paid to play in the South Florida Winter League (SFWL) this month. They had been informed that, unless they were chosen to play on a showcase team against affiliated teams, camp is over for them. The players were also told that they only had one day to get out of the hotel if they drove (check out was today – March 19th – by 11 am) or two days (March 20th by 11 am) if they flew. One player checked with the hotel and was told the rooms WERE still reserved until the 26th. The players believe that the league owner is kicking them out of the hotel and bringing in other players who haven’t paid to use their rooms. Below are screen shots of what owner, Scott Iselhart, posted in the Facebook group for players in the league.

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The SFWL claims that they are a showcase league and were never planning on keeping guys if they felt as if they couldn’t get them signed. They want only the best players to play on their showcase team. They fear if too many players are scouted who aren’t ready to play pro ball (by their evaluation), the SWFL will not be taken seriously by scouts.

That’s fine, as long as players are informed of this ahead of time and aren’t charged for the entirety of the league… the problem is, it appears as though they weren’t told this and won’t be getting any of their money back.

Players paid for a winter league that was supposed to be held from March 4th to March 26th. They were also under the impression that they would be playing in 18-25 games and able to get work in the entire time.

In fact, one player sent a screen shot of the registration form that he had saved and passed along to others BEFORE signing up. There was absolutely no mention of the fact that there were no guarantees of playing time or that players would be asked to leave after seven days. That clause has recently been added since the issue from last night has been brought to light. You can see the difference between the two forms below:

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Last August, I was told by an employee of the league (who is no longer with the SFWL) that they prided themselves on the fact that players got the chance to play a certain number of games for a lengthy time. No players were supposed to be released. For the league that ran in November, I was told that: “There will be 40 games for each team. There will also be no releases or trades. Once you are there, you are there for all 40 games.

Clearly their priorities for the league and how they run it has changed.

If you want to run a showcase only league, okay. But why take money from players for a certain amount of days and then refuse to give a refund when you decide that you can’t make money off of them? What kind of image is that portraying for your league and how you do business?

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19 thoughts on “What Is Happening In The South Florida Winter League?”

  1. The SWFL offered a 40 game season but reduced the schedule to 5 games per team the day before releasing players. If a player had to split time at his position and only played 3 innings of a 7 inning game that was would have been 15 innings (5 at bats) for the entire spring training season. Players were, however, released with 1 day’s notice before even 5 games. Some players paid $1800.00 for this “showcase league” but when the “Showcase” portion of the schedule began, professional independent league players were brought in for the showcase games and took the positions (and motel rooms) of the paid players.

    Here’s your reality check – If you don’t think this is a scam, you’re not thinking.

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  2. By all means Scott Iselhart, a reality check would be the LACK of respect you have for people and the young men who joined your league with hopes, some of them with their own hard earned money! This is a business you say?? What professional business man writes like that and dismisses naturally concerned players and families in an unprofessional rant basically leaving them stranded ?? Shame on you! Find some integrity….if you even know what that means! Honor what you advertise and offer and don’t change the fine print an hour before you send them home IN an email nonetheless!!
    No scout or future scouting org should ever take you or whatever you are involved with seriously!! Maybe your wife or gf has or will break up with you in an email and on FB also!!
    SHAME ON YOU, YOUR DISRESPECT AND LACK OF INTEGRITY IS DEPLORABLE! SCAMMER! SWFL IS FRAUDULENT!!! Probably taking lessons from TRUMP!!

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  3. Phillies, Marlins, and Jays MiLB low A teams. That won’t last long though. They will stay at arms length from the SFWL to protect their own reputations…

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  4. As an attorney, this is called the “bait and switch” trick, where you sign up thinking you purchased one thing and get swapped out with something else. If you are a player, send your name and what you paid to raie.esq@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with the right people to pursue legal action.

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  5. Glad you have contact with independent players, Kayla. Stuff like this needs to be brought into the light of day.

    Definitely something weird going on. This organization ran a pretty decent program in the fall, although it was far from smooth. There was a big hassle with the hosting venue at Cocoa Beach where the gym and batting cages were cut-off after about a week and the camp/league shut down a little early.

    Also, there were no/poor pitchers’ stats which obviously pissed-off players hoping to broadcast their accomplishments to indy teams/leagues during tryouts this spring. But all in all, the experience wasn’t horrible and ALL players who paid were allowed to compete/play throughout the advertised 5-6 weeks, regardless of whether or not they were deemed indy ball worthy.

    Besides the horrible grammar/spelling from the SFWL owner, a lot of what he says doesn’t make any sense. He claims to reject playing the Black Sox because one of their coaches is “banned” from indy leagues. Yet the Black Sox are playing against the Frontier, American, Can-Am, and Pacific leagues. So how can the SFWL owner’s claim be true?

    The entire premise of the league, if you read the registration form, is that only players of a certain talent can even play at SFWL. So how did these same players, who are good enough to pay $1,000+ to get into the league, all of a sudden lose their skill set after 5 games (or less) and 6 at-bats (or less) and get pegged as untalented by the SFWL owner who looks like the only baseball he’s ever played is on a video game?

    The last thing is how reputable baseball men working at SFWL, Brooks Carey and Hal Lanier, are silent on this matter. That suggests to me that they are trying to distance themselves from the SFWL owner and they don’t agree with what’s going on.

    This is ugly. Too bad.

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  6. I have reach out to several MBL contacts and told them about the SWFL and the dirt bag owner Scott. Everyone said they will check him out and I am sure they will never have anything to do with him or the league. I suggest to the players still with him to get as far away from him as soon as possible. As for the released players if you payed by credit card call the card company now and dispute the charges. The fact that Scott added the release verbage yesterday is fraud and the credit card company will give you back your money and go after Scott. Then Scott will get what he deserves and hopefully some more jail time for this loser.

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  7. We all would like to hear from the coaches their silence is an admission of guilt. As I was told from one of the players they don’t care and are here only for the money. I hope for their sake they got paid upfront, not that deserve any money. This gives baseball and the coaches a big black eye. I wish all the released players good luck you will find a place to play don’t let this stop you dream. To Scott and the coaches karma is a bitch and you will get what you deserve.

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  8. I have to add that the character and actions of Hal Lanier, Brooks Carey and their assistants throughout the two seasons of the SFWL have been above reproach. There are two instances where Scott was “lit up” (as it was stated to me), by the coaches for tampering with the rosters. The players that I know have had nothing but praise for the coaches of these teams.

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  9. Still waiting for the coaches reply. Will they ever speak or are they cashing their check and hiding. They are all garbage as far as I am concerned. No guts just like Scott FRAUD I mean Iselhart. Scott have some balls and reply.

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    1. “Riggins”. How are you? My name is Brooks Carey. I don’t communicate well on “social media”. If you would like to call me my phone number is 405-923-4933. Thank you, Brooks sorry Riggins I typed the number it is 305 area code.

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  10. I’ll be the second commenter who doesn’t agree that silence=guilt, in terms of the coaches.

    Most of the coaches that I’ve seen at SFWL, especially Brooks Carey, are class acts.

    I see this as no different than a company’s CEO being accused of fraud or misfeasance. Does that means that every employee is guilty too unless they publicly castigate the CEO?

    In my opinion, no.

    Employees (or coaches, in the case of SFWL) are sometimes the victims as well.

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  11. If i”m correct you called Hal Lanier and I garbage. I’m not really in to this type of communication but I would really like speaking with you son. Call me playa!

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    1. Ya Riggins you lil Ni call Brooksie so he can sit ya down and teach you a thing or 2, and whoever that shitbag esq is, please go hide in a hole, esq to you is esquire magazune you loser. I commend Brooks and trust me he’s not hiding behind a fake name like most in here, call him now chipmunk

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      1. Coaches Lanier and Carey did a great job at the SFWL and I’m sure had nothing to do with Mr. Iselhart’s shenanigans. Thank you coaches Lanier and Carey.

        This alleged fiasco falls totally in Mr. Iselhart’s lap. The players that left shortly after being told to do so by Mr. Iselhart did not receive the product that they paid for and that was originally advertised by Mr. Iselhart. Mr. Iselhart changed the terms right before he told players to leave. Mr. Iselhart published his new terms online. This electronic transmission via wire crossed state lines.

        The players that did not get what they paid for might want to consider filing a complaint with the local or county police department. They may have a financial/white collar crimes task force that may be interested in this possible fraud scheme and do some poking around. Local law enforcement may also have relationships with applicable federal law enforcement agencies that may be interested as well. Also, consider the Florida State Attorney General’s office. The more players complain the better.

        Perhaps Mr. Iselhart would consider a public apology and return a prorated amount to each of the victimized players.

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