Tag Archives: USPBL

United Shore League Names Managers

A few months ago, I did a Q & A with the Executive Director of Baseball Operations for the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Today, the league issued a press release announces their three managers for the 2016 season.


Leadership brings Vast Major, Minor League Experience to Inaugural Teams, Season
ROCHESTER, Mich. – Feb. 8, 2016The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) today announced Managers for its three inaugural teams: The Utica Unicorns, Eastside Diamond Hoppers and Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers. The USPBL managers bring more than 80 years of combined professional baseball experience to the new league.
Manager Greg Grall
Utica Unicorns
Greg Grall has been involved with Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) since 1993, bringing more than twenty years of experience as a player and coach.  He has been an instrumental coach at every level along with consulting and coaching internationally for the MLB World Games from 2004 to 2006. Over the past ten years, Grall had worked primarily in AA & AAA for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds. Throughout his career Grall has had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in MLB, including: Cy Young Winner Jake Arrieta; All-Star Closer Mark Melancon; B.J. Ryan; Andrew Miller; Adam Dunn; and Corky Miller to name a few. Grall is a native of Chattanooga, TN.
Manager Chris Newell
Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers
Chris Newell has served in professional baseball since 1997 as a player, manager and scout.  After a successful college career at Northwest Missouri State University, Newell played professional baseball in 1997 and 1998, earning a Gold Glove as a second basemen for the Kalamazoo Kodiaks in the Frontier League.  After retiring as a player, he began his scouting career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, spanning from 1999 to 2005. In 2003, Newell made his professional managing debut with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League, making him the youngest manager in professional baseball that year.  Since 2006, he has scouted for the New York Yankees. Through his private instruction, Newell has trained 44 players who have either been drafted professionally or signed professional contracts, including: MLB All-Star DJ LeMahieu; and 2015 Tampa Bay Rays Draftee Jacob Cronenworth. Newell is a native of Waterford, MI.
Manager Paul Noce
Eastside Diamond Hoppers 
Paul Noce has been actively involved in the game of baseball for over 33 years, including two stints in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs (’87) and Cincinnati Reds (’90). In 1986, Noce was selected as a Topps All-Star shortstop for his play with the AA Pittsfield Cubs, a MiLB affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. A proven winner, he was a member of the AAA World Series-winning Indianapolis Indians (a Cleveland Indians minor affiliate) in 1988 and the 1990 World Series Cincinnati Reds. After a successful career as a player, he served as a minor league instructor and manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before moving on to the collegiate ranks. In 1994, he took the reins as Head Coach at Hillsdale College in Adrian, Mich.  Over the next 20 years, Noce would win nearly 350 games. In 2012, he was inducted into the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in San Mateo, Calif. Noce is a native of San Mateo, CA.
Also named:
Throwing / Pitching Coordinator Justin Orenduff
Jeff Orenduff is the founder of the Delivery Value System (DVS) and creator of the DVS Scoring System. DVS, which stands for Delivery Value System, is the first bio-mechanically based model that is statistically proven to predict the relative risk associated with any pitcher’s delivery. The model utilizes a proprietary scoring system based on six components of a pitcher’s delivery and establishes a validity with a Cox Proportional Hazard Statistical Analysis.
In 2004, Orenduff was a first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers and, later, a member of the 2003 USA Collegiate National Team, pitching alongside MLB stars Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander. This followed a collegiate career as an All-American pitcher at both George Washington University and Virginia Commonwealth University.
About United Shore Professional Baseball League
During the summer of 2015, General Sports and Entertainment announced the creation of the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league in Metro Detroit. The league, headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, initially will be playing in a brand new state-of-the-art $12 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field, which is located in downtown Utica, Mich. First of its kind for Metro Detroit, USPBL will provide a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season, which begins this Memorial Day 2016, will feature three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers. Additional teams and ballparks will be forthcoming each year.

Also, I know many players have been asking about tryouts. Here is the information we have so far.

The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) inaugural season tryout/showcase will be held May 16th – 19th. Players will be evaluated by all USPBL Managers and members of the USPBL baseball advisory committee. The USPBL has reserved an indoor & outdoor facility to assure all participants have an opportunity to showcase their skills and receive a thorough evaluation.

May 16th: Light workout consisting of batting practice and infield/outfield.
May 17th: Professional Player Evaluation drills.
May 18th: Players will be placed in game situations as well live games.
May 19th: Situational baseball and live games.

The cost per player to attend will be $200 dollars. Registration will open soon. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required with final payment due by May 15th, 2016 in order for players to participate.

For the 2016 inaugural season, players must be at least 18 years old and have been born on or after January 1, 1990 to be eligible to play in the USPBL. No player or player may have attained twenty six (26) years of age prior to January 2016. Please note that players with college eligibility remaining should check with their school compliance office before registering.

At the end of the showcase, players will be signed into the USPBL. A draft will be held in the following days and teams / rosters will be announced May 23rd.

Spring training will commence the week of May 23rd.

The United Shore Professional Baseball League will host its inaugural season at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, Michigan. Our season will start May 30th and concluded September 11th, 2016. Players will have access to a state of the art facility, customized strength & conditioning programs and our USPBL Hitting and Throwing Program during the course of the season. Our 2016 All-Star Game will be held September 9th followed by Championship Weekend.

For more information on the United Shore Professional Baseball League, you can visit their official website HERE.

United Shore Professional Baseball League – Q & A


The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) is an independent baseball league in Utica, Michigan that plans to begin operating next summer for the 2016 season.  I recently interviewed the league’s Executive Director of Baseball Operations, Brian Berryman.

How did the idea of creating the United Shore Professional Baseball League come about?

This idea was a 10 year process. Our chairman / CEO Andy Appleby every good idea he’d seen and done in sports management and marketing and incorporated it into the USPBL. Andy helped to pioneer sports marketing back in the 80’s and 90’s and also owned a Minor League Team in Ft. Wayne IN for 8 years. We’ve instituted best practices in all aspects from sponsorships, sales, ticketing, value engineering and player development. Our league is going to be unique, traditional and cutting edge – which we believe will keep fans and players coming to the park for years to come.

What teams are going to be in the league, do they all have the same owner and how will the league (schedule) be set up?

We just released the names of the teams last week; ( Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, East Side Diamond Hoppers, Utica Unicorns) You can find that press release HERE.

All 3 teams will be playing out of Jimmy John’s field in 2016. Our schedule is in the works now and will be release shortly. But all teams will play 50 games either Wed-Sunday or Thursday – Sunday. We’ll also have an all-star game and championship game. Since we are a single entity league we’ll own all the teams. Having said that, all teams will have their own managers & coaches and competitiveness of the league will be tremendous.

What made you chose Utica, MI as the location for the league and stadium?

Utica is a great town in Michigan that has all the best demographics that you could ask for when looking at independent professional baseball. Great highway exposure, location that’s close to a vibrant downtown and a city that understands and values what we’re bringing to the community.

You’re building a completely new stadium. How is the construction going?

We’ve been fortunate on the weather and our GC has been good to work with as well. Please see the attached Drone video HERE.

What are your expectations for fan attendance and community involvement?

We plan to try and sell out every game. We have all the dates you could want for professional baseball. We have a staff of professionals that leads the country in experience and a ball park that will be a gem in this great community. We plan to have summer reading programs and other avenues for the players to be involved.

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?

We are ready to play in 2016 and have invested and raised significant capital to assure we’ll be around for years to come. We have also pre-sold most of our suites, premium seating and sponsorships.

What age and experience are you looking for with your players? Are there roster limits on age/experience?

Ideally we will be looking for the 20-25 year old player that just missed being drafted or signed by an affiliated team. We will also be working with players that have been released and still wanted to continue their dream of playing and making it to the major leagues.

How exactly does the pay system work for players? Are they given host families?

Players are paid on a monthly basis, similar to almost all independent leagues. The host family program is being discussed. We are working on the pay scale and should have this available in early 2016.

Do you expect the players to get a fair look from scouts with a chance to move up to affiliated ball?

Yes. 100%. We are investing in the best technology to be able to provide scouts and player development personnel the most up to date information on our players. We are also planning on hosting pro days to showcase our players throughout the season. Our goal is to give every player the opportunity to move to their next level.

What are you goals for this year and beyond?

The goal for 2016 is to get our stadium up and running, provide the best fan experience in the country and put the best product on the field. In the future we hope to build on our success, expand the league with new teams and continue to grow our brand.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about the USPBL?

Just that we believe we can be successful and starting in Metro Detroit is a big in help that most of us have lived here all or most of our lives (where our business and personal relationships are). We believe it will be successful if we all work hard and service our fans and stakeholders with great baseball.

I would like to thank Brian Berryman for doing the Q & A with me.
You can find more information on the USPBL on their Official Website.