From Staff and Lone Star News Group Reports
The future of the Mineral Wells Steam and the Texas Collegiate League is uncertain after seven of the nine teams, including the Steam, submitting letters to the league indicating the 2007 season was their final season with the summer wood bat league.
The seven teams want to form a new league. Whether they can remains to be seen.
The action would leave the TCL with two teams. The two teams that did not join in the move to leave the TCL were the McKinney Marshals and the first-year Brazos Valley Bombers.
In response to the mass exodus of teams from the league, TCL Chairman and Chief Executive Gerald Haddock filed a lawsuit against the Wranglers, Denton Outlaws, Duncanville Deputies, Wichita Falls Roughnecks, Coppell Copperheads, Colleyville LoneStars and Steam.
An attempt to reach Steam general Manager Jason Lester for comment were unsuccessful. The Steam, which just completed its fourth season in Mineral Wells, is owned by Ohio-based Athletes in Action.
The specifics of the current contract between the Steam and Mineral Wells ISD for use of Pratt Stadium was not known. Attempts to reach Athletic Director Sean Harvey or MWISD Superintendent Ray Crass were not successful.
According to Jim Reeves, one of the Wranglers owners, the reason for leaving the TCL revolves around the current business model used by the league.
“We have done this for four years and we have taken substantial losses, economically, for four straight years,” Reeves said. “Each year, it has been getting a little better, but the model and the system we are trying to work under with the league the way it is — is simply just not working.
“Most of these summer collegiate baseball leagues are not owned by an individual, they are owned by the teams themselves. Things work a lot better that way, because you don’t have an individual trying to make money off of it at the same time the teams are trying to get solvent and survive.”
The lawsuit, filed in Tarrant County, is asking the courts to block efforts to form a new league by the seven departing teams using the same concepts as the Texas Collegiate League, which is currently owned by a nonprofit foundation established by Haddock in 2005.
“Obviously, Gerald Haddock is upset and I understand that,” Reeves said. “His league is in jeopardy here. He values that from a monetary standpoint, I know, very highly.
Haddock estimates the value of the league to be in excess of $3 million. Court documents state if other teams cannot be found to fill the void left by these seven teams, the league will be forced to shut down.
“We don’t think there is any merit to the lawsuit,” Reeves said. “We are just acting on what is a clause in our contract that allows us to do this.
“We are going to wait and see what happens here and play this out. If there is some way we can continue to bring summer collegiate baseball to Weatherford, we are going to continue to do that.”
Reeves said while the relationship with the TCL and the Wranglers is over, that does not mean the end of summer collegiate baseball in Weatherford.
“There has been some preliminary discussion among the other teams,” Reeves said. “Could we put our own league together? Is there some other viable way we could continue to play baseball in our communities, to have this summer collegiate baseball that would not involve being involved with the Texas Collegiate League? That is very preliminary. I don’t know if that is possible. We would love to think so.”
Teams want to form new league; TCL files lawsuit to halt their efforts
From Staff and Lone Star News Group Reports
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