There have been a lot of questions surrounding the start-up Desert League. Readers of Indy Ball Island have been commenting asking what is going on, but up until now we have received very few answers.
I recently asked owner Luke Powell if he would be willing to address all of the issues that our readers have brought up in previous posts.
Below is the email that I received:
Kayla,Where do I start? First of all, one of our workers has been fired because he stole money and did not do his job with the host families. We did not have host families. I had to rent 4 apartments and 3 houses for the players. I also have players living at the Howard Johnson hotel, and I have paid all of that. The houses reek of weed and have been trashed so I am sure I will lose deposits, and I may take that out of the player checks I mean, really?I also housed and fed several players during spring training that did not have money. All players have food provided before or after games. We have had 5 players get hurt and go the the hospital and our insurance covered them. We have been current on all payrolls until yesterday. We were short yesterday so everyone got paid roughly half, some got all of their money. I have a wire coming that will be here Monday or Tuesday at the latest and the players will be all paid up. I told all the guys that were dead broke or starving to come see me, and I gave them money to get by on until our wire comes thru on Monday.All the games in Imperial County were cancelled due to fire damage to one field and the city failed to get the other field ready… So I had 21 games cancelled. Those games were made up in Yuma with the 7 inning double headers. I promised the guys 48 games and that is what I intended to do. Imperial county did not return my money, and I had to pay Yuma for the extra games….so basically I had to pay double. All the sponsorships that were sold in Imperial County were returned to the sponsors since we had to cancel the games. We ended up have to play a ton of double headers to make up for that.I also paid for the players to be transported to and from the field for our Mexico games in private taxis. Food was provided in Mexico as well. During the season, several players have came to me broke, and I gave them an advance or gave them a job so they could earn money to survive. We also gave them $6 all-you-can-eat cards for Golden Corral.Umpires have been terrible. They too were paid upfront in advance ,and they have been late, showed up without a full crew, or failed to show up at all for some games. We have had to reschedule because of that too. We also paid them for 100 dozen baseballs since my Pecos League baseballs were stolen in training camp along with my pa sound equipment. Of the 100 dozen baseballs, we only received 75 but we are going to make it work. I also got a new pa system.Kira Clark, from the Empire League is doing stats. She has them and the league leaders are posted as well as rosters…finally! She is trying her best. All of the stats will be uploaded on our website as well as sports engine. We have them….think about how would we know who the leaders were if we did not have the stats? Next year things will be a lot different…It was the worker who got fired’s job to sell sponsorships and get people to the games. In the USA we have sold like 20 tickets all season….people paid for sponsorships and the money came up missing. So no fans and no sponsors means that I am losing money. But that’s okay because next year I will handle everything, and we will make a profit….no doubt.All the players for the most part are happy except for the ones playing poorly or the ones that get released. There are a few that are complaining, but that’s everywhere right? We have got jobs for guys in affiliated ball, in Venezuela, the Mexican league and with Sioux Falls. People make fun of us for selling guys to mexico, but those contracts were for 36,000 US dollars and one for 66,000 US dollars…far more than anyone else makes in indy ball….So players are housed, being paid and getting food, and I am doing this out of my own pocket because I got robbed of my attendance and sponsor money. I had to refinance some of my oilfield equipment to make this thing work. I am not mad, not sad, but I will just correct it and make it better and make a profit next year.I just can’t believe with all the bullshit in indy league baseball from MRPBL to the Empire to Cummings and the North Coast League of whatever it was to the Ozark Heartland League…that I am getting heat. Our level of play is outstanding compared to Empire and Pecos. We are not going anywhere, and we are only gonna get better. Thanks for giving me a chance to tell my side…As far as Juan working for us and being a felon, it is true. He did his time, and he finished his probation. One of coaches is Lester Douglas, ex-big leaguer and retired probation officer. John Guy is a retired sheriff. They will tell you Juan is a great baseball guy, and yeah he made a few mistakes and paid for them, but he is directly responsible for selling Hoffman to the Phillies and getting the other two guys to Mexico. He has done one hell of a job, and he is working extremely cheap. He even coached 3rd baseball in the Caribbean world series one year…So yeah, I guess you could say we have cops and cons working for us. One of our umpires is a local corrections officer and another one has a record, and they work on the same crew. We are all working together to help baseball players and the league……
The official website of the Desert League can be found HERE.