Recently, Indy Ball Island introduced the Thoroughbred Baseball League. The league, based out of Lexington, KY, is looking to start for the 2017 season. Due to the recent failures of many startup independent baseball leagues, many readers and players were looking for answers.
Below is our Q & A interview with the owner/commissioner of the Thoroughbred League, Dallas Murphy. Murphy was prompt and detailed with his answers which is always a promising sign for a new league.
How did the idea of the Thoroughbred League come about?
The idea of the league came about by my vast experience in the game. I have managed or coach baseball at all levels up through college. I have also coached in the team USA NTIS program as well as conducted over 2600 tournament games from 8u- College. I have constructed 6 baseball complex fields as well as 2 baseball schools and developed the complex in its entirety from ground breaking through now where the Thoroughbred League will host all games. I usually make a business move when I see a need in a market. The need I see in the professional independent baseball market is that there are 1000s of great guys and great baseball players that never get a shot. I am tired of ” he’s too short, he’s too tall, he’s too slow, he’s too little, he didn’t go to the correct school, he doesn’t have PRO EXPERIENCE” and so on and so on the list is endless. There are guys that deserve a chance and I hope and believe that the Thoroughbred League is designed to either help guys get that first chance or even second or third chance, the opportunity to be better, get seen and move up. The key to my last statement is move up not sideways not back but up.
How many teams/players will be in the league?
There will be 6 teams in the league each with a 25 man roster. Therefore 150 total players. The drafting of how many players of each position and so forth are left to the discretion of the mangers.
Are all teams going to play at the same complex, and are you confident that the complex will be adequate for professional teams all season long – field upkeep, financial situation, contract for use, etc.?
The fields and complex will withstand the abuse to be taken by professional use. This complex was designed first with the fields and their playing surface in mind. The 2 fields in particular which the pro games will be held have artificial turf ( SPRINT TURF) Infields and a wonderful grass blend for all seasons on the outfields. The staff of the park not only deals with these 2 fields but 4 additional fields in the complex where youth tournaments are held as well as a full size Bermuda field which will be used by the league for BP and practice. The situation of finances for this park are not a issue as the park is held by my family with no payments of any type due for the next 18 months including taxes, or insurance which we have paid in advance prior to beginning this venture.
We’ve seen a lot of independent leagues go dark due to finances and lack of marketing. Do you have any worries about that or about how you are going to finance the league?
I know a lot of leagues teams etc have went dark due to money issues which is why in my last answer we have taken care of major expenses before hand. Based on past experience basically the back side of or baseball softball operations more than fund any potential issues i.e I run one of the most experienced travel baseball/softball tournament venues in KY. The biggest thing we set out to do was help these guys and have made sure whatever we need to do the league was taken care of before we turned the website on.
What age and experience are you looking for with your players? Are there roster limits on age/experience?
Each team will have 25 rostered players, there is not an age limit or experience level required. However, I personally review all material gathered on each potential camp participant. I know its judgmental but if we don’t feel a potential camp participant has an opportunity to make a team their application will be denied. Thus far we have had to turn down to date 17 players and they were told that this doesn’t appear to be a good path for them. We have had applicants who have stated they have zero experience or only played high school baseball 10 years ago and no further experience. I WILL NOT intentionally accept these guys money. We are looking for guys who love the game and have a passion to experience this life. Guys who as stated before might have missed something or been overlooked. Something different about our league is that we by our bylaws must have 6 players per team with zero professional experience. I have watched many such tryouts and many different organizations only pay attention to guys with pro experience, I don’t feel this is fair, each guy should be evaluated fairly. having less than 60 pro at bats does not make you a rookie. You can be drafted by the MLB and go to rookie ball and have less than 60 pro at bats. Is that guy a rookie? I think not, a rookie is a rookie and this is one way we are different.
Your website lists tryout information and a training camp fee. Are all players who pay the fee guaranteed a spot on a team? Are all players going to be signed from the training camp, or will some be signed prior (and get to avoid the fee)?
All players no matter what are to attend training camp. All players even if they played for the NY Yankees on the main team will pay the $590 fee. There may be players on each roster who are pre camp protected by a manager, however a minimum of 18 players per team must be drafted from camp. Only 2 managers are taking advantage of this rule however, therefore 4 of the six teams will be completely drafted from camp, and each player whether a protect or not let me reiterate will pay the camp fee. This is only fair.
How exactly does the pay system work? Will there be varying pay for rookies and veterans, and what is the pay rate for each?
Payroll and insurance: The payroll is a major issue to me, these guys have told me story after story, and this is so important to all involved in this process. The payroll is to be ran differently by us than most places. Web are using ADP a nationwide payroll processing company whom we use for our regular employees. ADP will issue every coach as well as player a payroll visa card and as we do our weekly payroll players will have their money deposited automatically. I have also worked a situation with 2 local banks that the guys can use their atm’s free of charge. This way there is no hunting, begging , pleading to get paid. Additionally, and this one is big WE HAVE ALL EMPLOYEES INCLUDING PLAYERS COVERED BY WORKER’S COMPENSATION, this is the LAW of Kentucky. I know this is a major part of caring for my guys and one of the first things done. Players pay range from 400-600 per month and is based on manger recommendation, each team has a budget and all team budgets are based on parody within the league.
What does the housing situation look like? Will housing and/or host families be provided for players, or will they have to find and pay for their own?
Host families who are pre-screened are provided, some of the guys have indicated that they do not want to stay with a family they don’t know therefore I have worked deals with local hotels at a greatly discounted rate for guys to pair up. If they don’t want a host family they will be charged themselves for the discounted hotels. I am telling everyone now though these guys are not staying in crack houses, these guys are not sleeping in cars, these guys are not on their own. I have children of my own, I can’t I won’t put these men in a situation that I would not put my own child in. That comment may not carry any weight but I take this very serious. I mean if you are hungry, if you are tired, if you are stressed about your money how can you be expected to perform at your best. This point is very important for us all and this will not be a problem here.
Will players stats be posted on a reputable website (Baseball Reference, PointStreak, etc.)?
Another issue is that our guys stats will be posted via Point Streak. These guys need the stats and need them kept correctly otherwise why do this. Stats stats stats, that’s what gets you moved. Your consistent performance, is all important to coaches and owners. Using a reliable source for our stats was also a very important part of building a successful league. Next our stats will be tracked per pitch and per at bat. Live stats and game tracking will occur every game every time without exception. You can’t help guys move up if the stats are 3 weeks behind or never occur at all.
Do you expect the players to get a fair look from scouts with a chance to move up to affiliated ball?
Why come here if you won’t be seen. Well Central KY is a hot bed for baseball talent, additionally, there are 3-4 signing scouts which live locally and 14, as far as I can identify affiliate scouts. I have been assured that the way we are running the league will make it convenient for their regular attendance. Some of our Mangers and coaches currently have guys they have coached in the big leagues as well as several who are former players their contacts alone dwarf most leagues scouting potential. The men we have chosen to manage and coach have not only the experience but the contacts to not just get our players seen but seen consistently. This level of baseball is not about just playing but moving up, that’s all our goals. The managers in this league have been instructed to coach not watch games, they have been instructed to help guys train, fix problems and move up. Not all players will get a shot at a level above us but it will not be for lack of effort on everyone in this organizations part.
What are your expectations for fan attendance and community involvement?
The fun part of this league will be seeing the kids fans and families at the park watching these guys perform at the game they love. I’ve been told some indy ball games might have 25 patrons including the fans pets who tag along. This is one thing that will not be the case here. Our normal back side of the park tournaments range from 900-1500 fans per day. This year we have been able to create excitement by combining the normal tournament fees or tickets with a ticket to our pro games. The schedule basically works out to where the youth are finishing each day in time to come up front and watch our guys get after it. Also this doesn’t include the fact that based on a preliminary impact study we are expected to have an average attendance initially of 800-1000 regular fans based on market survey. I think the guys are going to become part of a wonderful community setting and all will be well received.
Is there anything else you want the readers to know about yourself and the Thoroughbred Baseball League?
I don’t know what else to say. Everyone involved in the League, believes we have cared first for the guys and their welfare., Next we are providing great instruction in a wonderful environment. The things we have witnessed improper is not the way a pro league should be ran, we believe we have fixed before the web site was turned on. I and all of us take this extremely seriously, I will not cost these men a season! Every guy who comes here has a clock ticking, time is short to make it. For some its too late. We are here to give those who choose to try with us what we believe is the best situation to excel.
I want to thank Dallas Murphy for answering all of my questions and giving readers as well as potential players an inside look at the league! For more information on the league or to sign up for training camp – check out their official website HERE.
22 thoughts on “Thoroughbred Baseball League Q & A”
What does the $590 cover? Assuming a 2 month season, best case scenario a player would net $610 after tryout fees. Hard to live on $10 a day.
This complex has a long history… has been operated under different names over the last 10-15 years. Memorial Sports Complex, Edge Sports, and now apparently Eagle Sports.
You should ask him about the “Kentucky Collegiate League” he tried to organize at this complex 2 years ago. It did not work out.
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So guys are paying $590 (why not $600) this isn’t a retail store or car
dealer. then area going to get $400 to $600 a month and some have to pay for a cheap hotel room with 4 to 6 guys in a room and have to eat
A recipe for disaster… along with the pipe dream of 800 fans per game
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Did not catch length of season, but assuming on the long end it is 3 months. A guy pays $590 to get in. Then stays bunked up in a hotel room with other guys for 90 days. Even if his hotel cost is a measly 10 bucks per day, that is another 900 bucks. So now, the player is all-in at 1500 dollars without covering his costs to travel to Lexington and without any factoring in for food or any other expenses. Even if he gets league top dollar of 600 per month, he will lose money for this “opportunity”. If his hotel room is more than 10 dollars per night he will really take a bath! This man is going to collect just shy of $100,000 from the 150 players (150 x 590 = $88,500). Bottom line… any league that charges players money to play is simply NOT a professional league. It is a “pay to play” league.
I’ve been watching this site because I’ve already registered. I wanted to leave my own comment since it seems to be people on here that either can’t read or want to just make trouble. If you read above you will see in the first sentence of the answer on (Housing) That ” HOST FAMILIES ARE PROVIDED!” Matter of fact I have been contacted already and discussed whether I wanted a host family or not. The league it says is providing those for all who want them. Read before you gripe! Im a player are you?
I spent 42 years as a professional executive at all levels of pro baseball, including the major leagues. I think I know a “pay to play” scheme when I see one. Getting host families for 150 players is a massive task. My math applies to any players choosing to stay in hotels rather than with host families. Just because you play baseball doesn’t mean you understand the business end of it.
Mr dittrich14142013 and all. I sir will not get into an online sparing match with you however just a couple of thoughts. Maybe the reason why some of us would be willing choose to pay to play is situations if this were one which it is not is the higher ( BUSINESS) guys of pro baseball have set the table where most guys never get a shot. I am one of the guys who does not want a host family, I would rather foot the bill myself. Your math can work however you want ,I am rather proficient at math myself as I have a chemical engineering degree. However I want to play. Why would a business guy try to hurt a league before so many of us get a chance to play. I can read I can do math and I still choose this option. Are you saying that other players who wish to do this are intellectually challenged? That we are not smart enough to choose for ourselves, without your input. One last note and I have been taught to respect my elders which I assume you are as I am 23. The league has put their name and telephone number online. Why don’t you do the same? Its easy to cut folks down in secret. For all who reads this no matter what this gentleman response this will be my last post. See you guys at camp.
My name is John Dittrich. My telephone number is 630-917-0814. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am on twitter @johndittrich. My profile pic s on LinkedIn. I am on Facebook. Please, don’t be offended. I am not trying to discourage you from living your dream. I am telling you that “pay to play” is taking advantage of young players who feel they haven’t had a chance. There are five very legitimate professional independent leagues operating across the continent giving players like yourself an opportunity to showcase in a truly professional environment. I am not trying to insult your intelligence. I am telling you that it is unfair to you. Your strong desire for an opportunity is being exploited plain and simple. I hope I am wrong and I wish you luck.
I think people have a right to be skeptical when outfits like this have failed time and time again. That’s not causing trouble, it’s common sense. It’s the league’s job to promote itself in a manner to create confidence in its mission. It’s up to the reader to decide whether the answers in this interview do that.
Along those same lines it’s curious that here we are just two months from the start of the season and there has been literally no mention of this league in any kind of local news media, no social media buzz… all you can find is the couple of posts on this blog and a very few posts on Facebook containing little to no information at all.
Lexington has an SAL team that does very well. They average 4000+ paid per game. That said they are 2 miles from downtown Lexington, not 30 minutes away on the south side of Nicholasville. Think about what the plan is here. It’s just not to support an additional pro team, it’s to generate enough revenue to support a whole league and the infrastructure required to run it in an organized and professional manner. That would seem to be a tall task. But I guess the 590 per player would go a long way towards that .
Like getting involved with any new startup (in any industry, not just sports) due diligence on the people involved and a thorough understanding of the business plan are paramount.
I’m sorry guys I can’t resist. Mr Dittrich has shared exactly whom he is which bodes well for his concern. Might we all ask whom ( Baseball in Ky) is ? Once again easy to hammer someone in the shadows, kinda hard to fill you in sir or madam on all those business items you are concerned about if we don’t know who you are.
David J, let me know what the schedule is when you are by yourself on the ball field pitching to yourself and trying to hit like bugs bunny did.
Pay to play is a common theme, especially in the lower college ranks who have 40+ man rosters on the team and Freshman teams. Kids go to these schools for the sole purpose of playing and don’t take the classes into account. The player would have no inclination to go to the school if it weren’t for the opportunity to get a 5000 dollar scholarship to a 20k a year school. Now the article says players who get picked will get reimbursed the fee so I don’t think they are paying to play. The fact is this, Indy ball pay is horrible no matter where you play. Pecos League is what 100 dollars a week maybe less. One concern is they said stats will be posted but they were not posted yesterday but that can be due to normal startup logistical issues. My son is in the league so I do have some concerns, but he is an adult and has to make his own choices. As a College senior he was told point blank by a team he would be drafted and if not they would sign him as a free agent. It never happened(Not sure why conflict with college coach who knows) This summer he went to the Frontier League and tried out at the open camp. Clocked at 93 and struck out 2 of 3 batters at the scrimmage. Wasn’t drafted in that league. In fact some teams didn’t even make 2 picks. 75 dollars times maybe 800 kids = 60k and they drafted like 26 kids and I am sure they were already predetermined before the camp. Tell me how a kid can throw 93 in the tryout camp face 3 batters in a scrimmage strike out 2 and not give up a hit and not get invited to camp. As long as things like that happen leagues like this are a viable option. At least this place pays you back if you make the team.
I am a parent of a player. I have visited twice 2 long weekends. I have read some of the comments here and disagree. You all need to be patient and give Dallas Murphy a chance. The guy has invested a lot of money in the new league and has paid all umps, coaches and players. I had the opportunity to speak with him after a game. He wants to get the baseball part running smoothly and then will build a fan base and sales. He put all the players (150) up in a hotel for the whole season on his dime and I for one really appreciate that! Minor league affiliated ball don’t even pay for residency. I stayed at the same hotel and it was clean and fine. They are working on the $590 tryout fee reimbursement from what I understand they may actually give checks instead of credit back to cards. Either way, be patient and wait before judging so harshly! They have had player cuts and they have had post MLB Draft tryouts and have replaced some players. That is normal procedure. There are much less cuts releases as compared to Frontier league or any of the other leagues that cut players every week. The facilities are top notch! Fields are amazing and fans will come as word gets out and when Dallas starts advertising. Hes building the baseball part right now as first priority. I believe Dallas will get through the first year and next year will build upon and improve. I also spoke with several coaches and these guys are very good coaches. Some have more experience than others but they all care about the game and the players development. These are professional baseball teams and they play to win like every pro team does. They play their best players. As far as I could see, the player talent is quite good and several have already been bought by Atlantic League teams which is a very high level of play! Last thoughts; be patient, its a new league. I am keeping an open mind and am happy that the league exists because it gives 150 more baseball players an opportunity to continue playing!
Hello Parent of a player,
I have been down here as well. I have no idea what great facilities you speak of because they fields are terrible. They do not rake, chalk or do anything for upkeep. There are holes in the field and the players hate it. The players have no locker room and are provided with nothing a professional player is provided with.
Dallas is putting them in a hotel. HOWEVER, He has to, because he stated he was providing host families, which he did not secure. So in a last minute hustle he got the hotels because he did not do what he stated for host families. Then he is using the hotel as reason to not pay the players, which is bullshit. He is holding that “I put you guys in hotels out of my own money and kindess of my heart” lie over their heads. No Dallas… you didnt secure host families for your players so you had to find a last minute resort.
Dallas keeps making empty promises. He has not paid the players and has many of them starving unable to eat, pay bills, and such because he not only has pocketed that $590 but is neglecting to pay the players their weekly pay. He has also threatened to release players if they ask about when they are to get paid. Its ridiculous! What job threatens to fire you for asking about the money you earned? I was routing for Dallas at first and hoping that this league would be much better than others, however he has proved to be a scam artist just like others. He is not a man that can NOT be trusted! He lies, he is deceitful and has taken advantage of players who truly wanted a chance at their dream. What is about to really mess him up is the fact that he has 150 angry grown men that he is treating like little league baseball players at camp.
Payroll and insurance: The payroll is a major issue to me, these guys have told me story after story, and this is so important to all involved in this process. The payroll is to be ran differently by us than most places. Web are using ADP a nationwide payroll processing company whom we use for our regular employees.**** ADP will issue every coach as well as player a payroll visa card and as we do our weekly payroll players will have their money deposited automatically ****. I have also worked a situation with 2 local banks that the guys can use their atm’s free of charge. ****This way there is no hunting, begging , pleading to get paid.**** Additionally, and this one is big WE HAVE ALL EMPLOYEES INCLUDING PLAYERS COVERED BY WORKER’S COMPENSATION, this is the LAW of Kentucky. I know this is a major part of caring for my guys and one of the first things done. Players pay range from 400-600 per month and is based on manger recommendation, each team has a budget and all team budgets are based on parody within the league.
I have marked areas with ‘****’ to highlight.
The last time the kids got paid was June 23rd from what I hear and not weekly like they were promised. Not to mention the visa card empty promises.
“… no hunting, begging, pleading to get paid” – instead the kids are being threatened if they even dare to ask for the money they were promised.
I have tried to contact Dallas and also left messages to call me, but to no avail.
This type of exploitation need to be stopped. The one way to make an end to this type of exploitation is via news channels and social media which I will strongly consider doing if the kids do not get paid by the end of this week, July 28.
It is August 1st and they have not been paid; and were told to leave the their hotels. Some were just sticking around waiting to receive their money promised. I don’t think they’re getting it and what’s worse is Dallas Murphy is planning a Fall camp which he’s charging even more money for. Every single player wants to put this horrible season behind them and never have to deal with that owner/commissioner again.
But, he will pay because there are attorneys being contacted.
If everything you are saying is true someone really does need to help these kids. Sad to hear they are being exploited like this
All of those answers given by Dallas Murphy were lies!
1- They have not been paid their weekly pay, but $100 then $50.
2- They have not been refunded their camp fee, $590. The owner received $70,000.
3- The 2-field conditions are horrible. When they slide, they bleed. When they run, they have ditches.
4- The umps have complained for non- payment.
5- The Red Roof Inn players don’t have refrigerators or anything to make themselves food and there are 4 to 5 players per room.
6- There are no fans present, just parent visitors.
7- Most importantly, there were no scouts and the season ended as is.
8- 2 of the coaches were extremely unprofessional in partying with the players.
9- The owner threatens to sue them if they speak negatively about the league.
10- There isn’t any local advertisement in order to promote the league.
11- Many players left on their own because they felt deceived and were frustrated with the poor conditions.
12- Players have contacted lawyers because of fraud.
13- Squash this league, it’s a disgrace to even Indy Ball!
Hi Lilly. Do you have any info on the lawyers the players have contacted ? My boyfriend was in this league. We would like to speak to a lawyer as well but since we dont live in Kentucky, we dont know who to speak to.
There is a complaint form you can fill out online.
apps labor ky gov/onlinecomplaint/
Has anyone contacted a lawyer?
James B. you can file a complaint with the dept of Labor with the State of KY….there is an online form you can submit. You can do this without contacting a lawyer.