With the regular season coming to an abrupt, premature halt for the indy pro Abilene Prairie Dogs (North American League) after a road game on Aug. 26, questions remain whether the financially-troubled franchise will return next season. As reported by the Abilene paper, “league leadership pulled the plug on the team’s inaugural campaign eight games short of its scheduled finale” in Harlingen against the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings. Read more here.
The team’s reported final attendance was 599 fans per game, for a total attendance of 17,979 over 30 home dates.
As you recall, the Prairie Dogs began play this season at Walt Driggers Field on the campus of McMurry University. No beer sales were allowed. There was talk back in February about the team building a new privately-funded stadium, but that idea appears to have gone nowhere.
11 responses to “One and Done for Prairie Dogs?”
As for Abilene having a team next season… NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
A good organization takes care of everything. As a player the only thing you should have to worry about is taking to the field and playing your game. Housing, paychecks, trainers, etc should all be taken care of by the owners and the staff. One of the reasons why the Unitled League has never worked is because of the bull that the players have to worry about, getting paychecks on time, where your going to live. I’m so sick of San Angelo getting favored over all the other teams in this league. Glad they lost in the playoffs again.
Jon, you are wrong. You don’t have enough experience to understand what makes for good or bad conditions in minor league baseball. The things you listed such as host families and a trainer are pretty basic. Abilene was the biggest offender in the league when it comes to substandard conditions and facilities. The shortstop doubled as the clubbie, I mean come on. Nice vocabulary though.
The realities of the United League are very similar to the ones described in the Baseball America article that has been referenced here. Teams operate on razor thin margins.
I was an intern in Abilene this summer and I can say unequivocally that some of the hardships described in the comments and in the article did not exist in Abilene. There were two or three players that had to live in a hotel until the organization could find a host families for them, but all other players had host families set up for them. As far as I know, every player has been paid for his time with the team. Abilene did have a locker room for its own players (though no visiting locker room) and a full-time trainer during the season. Any statements to the contrary are misinformed.
I happen to know a player who went to play in the NAL this season with the McAllen Thunder when he showed up they told him they diden’t offer housing for players and that the clubhouse would be his home for this season. He stuck it out but is now playing for a better team and is not living in the clubhouse lol. The entire league only cares about Fort Worth & San Angelo the other team are just there to give compition. It’s leagues like this that shed bad on all of independent baseball. You have the Atlantic League, American Association, and Frontier League who are first class all the way and then there is this outfit. The only problem is the Atlantic League really only wants MLB/triple-A players the American Associaion only allows four vets(4 players with six or more experience) and the Frontier only allows players who are 28 and younger I believe so if you wanna play this is the only option. If the American Association ever droped it’s roster rules it would definatley kill th NAL South or United LEague whatever it’s called.
It also looks like the NAL/United League is looking to generate money by having a winter league this summer
Brian, Your right but just don’t call it professional then. There is a scale that should be met in order to endorse a league as a professional league. Facilities, hoteles, umpires, travel ext.
Geez, Billy … this isn’t slavery. If players don’t want to play under these conditions, they are allowed to quit. But as long as players are willing to endure these conditions, these leagues will continue to operate.
Can you please post a link to that article… sounds like an interesting read.
The link is there. You have to click on the story.
Yes they are one and done. The whole entire league is a complete joke and should fold. It is a disgrace. Did anyone see the baseball America article about the conditions in the league??? Shame on all of these teams for subjecting those young men to such degrading conditions. Abeline didn’t even have locker rooms for their own players. No training staff, no food, no housing. Screw them. The whole NABL is a disgrace to what Indy ball has been. Slaries were a complete insult and a joke too.
I assume this is the Baseball America article to which you are referring: