In an investigative report, ABC News 8 in Dallas-Fort Worth (TX) looks into claims by employees and vendors that they have not been paid by the indy pro Fort Worth Cats (United League). When GM Craig Brasfield is confronted on camera by reporter Byron Harris, he defensively responds with “I’m an employee here, not the owner,” and repeats “Not true” and “Everybody’s paid” when asked about money owed. Read more and watch news report here.
Scapegoat turned whistleblower Rod MonDragon, who was the Cats’ director of stadium operations when he was thrown under the bus late last month over the Jose Canseco fiasco, was clearly one of the catalysts for the media investigation. In fact, he recently told us the same story he told News 8.
For most of us in the industry, this is not surprising news. Independent professional baseball league and team owners Byron Pierce and former congressman John Bryant have a history of spinning the facts, making excuses, blaming others or circumstances, and issuing denials in markets where things have not gone so well going back to the Texas-Louisiana League launched in 1994. The lack of accountability over the years by this duo is incredible. In this case, Bryant claims the $40,000 in Brett Bros. baseballs sold to the Cats by local sporting goods dealer Reuben Rice were defective, which is the reason Reuben hasn’t been paid. If true, the statement by Bryant would suggest Brett Bros. (yes, the same upstanding company owned by Hall of Famer George Brett and his brothers Bobby, John and Ken) and dealer Rice aren’t willing to stand by their product by offering replacements or a refund. We’re not buying it, particularly since this lack of payment for baseballs goes all the way back to the 2012 season, and Reuben says this is the first time the quality of the product has been challenged.
Another recent example, in early July, the Pierce and Bryant pulled the plug on the United League’s first-year Alexandria Aces before the season ended. The pair have nearly 20 years of expert experience in the minor league baseball arena, yet they knowingly and confidently chose to put a team in partially-condemned Bringhurst Field — a facility and market they are all too familiar with going back to the Texas-Louisiana League’s rendition of the Aces. Yet, Pierce blamed the team’s quick demise on the “current condition” of Bringhurst Field and, of course, couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Texas Collegiate League team playing there the previous three seasons complicating the market. Again, no accountability and no responsibility. The only logical reason we can think of for the United League’s return to Alexandria was to extract a multimillion dollar renovation of Bringhurst or a new ballpark. If that was the case, the plan failed miserably, as the league couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even foot the bill long enough to fulfill its obligation to the community and fans through the end of the season.
We’ve compiled a laundry list of stories like these going back to the 1990s, and we have to wonder when the clock will finally run out on “survivors” Bryant and Pierce. Only time will tell.