As the AWBL Turns…

American West Baseball League LogoThere are no real surprises here, as we have been skeptically monitoring the developing indy pro American West Baseball League and those involved for a long time, but Rodney Johnson, president of the Arizona Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), has posted a story you will likely find very interesting, particularly as it relates to financials and quotes from those no longer involved.  Read more here.


Filed under Uncategorized

53 responses to “As the AWBL Turns…

  1. Jerry Lehman

    Unfortunately I was a aprt of all of this nonsense in the early talks of the AWBL and was offered some GM jobs and actaully took the AGM position for the Fullerton Flyers which I was never paid a dime for. As i sat in the AWBL meetings it was clear to me that Cummings had no clue what he was doing. His experience was running his kids Little League team andtrying to own a pro team which failed. As I listed to hin toot his own horn on how he was the greatest salesman in the world I had to to just sit there and laugh and it made me think “what am I getting mysekf into”. after the two eeting I attended I chose to leave the AWBL because I knew it wasnt going to happen. Ive been around baseball for a long time and have ran numerous leagues and they had no clue what they were doing.

    • Jon Snyder

      What are you talking about Lehman early post you said you had nothing to do with it and now you state you took a job. And I understand you were let go from the AWBL because the Renterias came in and did not trust you so they hired somebody from Nevada. Go back to running your tiny league with poor kids paying to play.

      • Jerry Lehman

        Once again a coward with no name attached responding with nonsense who has no clue. I stepped down before the Renterias had a chance and don’t lie about them not trusting me because they weren’t trusted. Nobody trusted they’re organization. Who was the idiot that thought Venezuelan players would work in OC? Only an idiot would think so. I knew it wouldn’t work so I bailed. As for your comment on my paying leagues. Well I guess all of America from youth to adults pay to play so the comment was lame. Grow up who ever you are but I know who it is. We know who you MR Failure!!!

      • Jerry Lehman

        Another fake name on this site from another coward. Sounds like you’ll believe anything you hear instead of knowing the facts. When I found out theRenterias were running the team I left because I didnt trust them so that’s the true story believe it or not. Doesnt matter to me. I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.

      • Jerry LEHMAN

        I was never hired and never signed anything John Snyder who ever you are??? Why would any of this matter to you

  2. john nunez

    I wish I never met Mike Cummings, He sold us a dream!!!

  3. Matt

    Here is my question for the American West Baseball League…
    How do you expect to make a league work in Las Cruces and Fullerton?
    There is no fan support or sponsorship or need for baseball in either….
    Both are very close to large scale teams in El Paso, and Anaheim…

    How do you run tryout camps and charge players money without a schedule and take money from the The California Winter League that is dumping players that they have charged $3500 for a pro contract?

    Both the AWBL and the California Winter League was a front to scam players into signing up for the California Winter League…

    • Captain Awesome

      I believe that this is pretty dead on with the exception the CWL employees who represented the AWBL are unaware business people and chose to speak to what they thought would happen vs. what will. At the end of the day the winter league serves a purpose of a business as a money making machine, looking out for best interests is not part of it

    • Indy V

      Pay-to-play ball for “pros” is a scam, period. Either it’s professional or it ain’t.

  4. Ump

    Lefty media at it’s finest. Please do better research before hammering people!!!!!

  5. stating the obvious

    dan dipace and jerry lehman run a team, this league has to be terrible

    • IndyFan

      they don’t run a team anymore, some new guy Dann Trammel is the GM of the fullerton team – let Dan DiPace and Lehman go, however, both guys have more experience in baseball and ties to the SoCal market.

      • CURIOUSJ

        Shut up Nick. You are Toxic to more than baseball.

      • IndyFan

        not Nick, and you just proved to be Michael Cummings, not to mention, there has been info all over the internet about this, I have seen it on various other sites, including the Flyers fan page.

      • CURIOUSJ

        Not Michael.

      • stating the obvious

        That is good, having baseball experience in a market, and business experience in a market are very very different things. Indy ball in cali is a never ending failure, the same group of individuals who have tremendous passion try to put forth a product that has zero chance of succeeding. That market is overpriced and saturated. The indy ball model is hard enough to begin with. But whether it was the golden league, the southwestern states league, the american western baseball league, there is a common thread, too many winter league players causing a lack of talent, the same group of indy ball lifers huddled around batting turtles at tryouts with no business sense, and the fact that the proposition of indy ball in California is an illogical concept

    • backslash_roomate

      I am a simple fan, perhaps not very knowledgeable of this business, but have been reading and watching all these posts. It seems that there is only a handful of the same people commenting and throwing digs at each other. Can we just talk baseball here? Can we stick to the facts and forget about all your little teenage rumors? There seems to be people with inside information that has definitely no room here. We are all about baseball and the business of it, not about all your little gossips! Go call each other in private and sort it out on your own! We are tired of your dumb “he said- she said” bull!

      • MikeG

        100% agreed. Too many “screen name cowboys” on this site and on this topic. If you have something negative to say you should at least use your real name.


    • Jerry Lehman

      Homever the [DELETED] behind this comment is knows nothing about the baseball and is a coward for not stating who he is. No surprise there. Wev are in no way affiliated with that AWBL ghost league so take our names out of it.

  6. Indy V

    What is a successful tryout? Getting a field rental for a day, perhaps getting some kids to pony up $50 each to try out for a paper team?

  7. Just Some Internet Guy You Dont Know

    Probably Cummings hiding here like he does on oursports to try to defend his major clusterf…..

    Someone had to say it…

    • MikeG

      The only way to legitimize the comments portion on this site is to tie posting to facebook accounts just like ballpark digest has done. You don’t see this nonsense and cowardly posting on that site. While you could still post under a false facebook account it would be much more time consuming for the people who post using various screen names to bash people. As long as people are allowed to post under made up screen names the comment sections are nothing more than tabloid talk.

  8. Been Around

    Weird how a league that will never play a game generates so much discussion.

  9. AZdev

    One strange thing to me was when Ferguson and the AWBL went their seperate ways, Cummings had said that he(Cummings) retained the rights to place a team at the Yuma Complex, but then never went down that path, when that was the only actual field the AWBL had (at the time). Leaving Yuma out of the equation made no sense at all,especially to then go after Nogales,Las Cruces and Bisbee. I have heard that Smock is a good guy,but in the article it is very disturbing that they would try to keep existing owners out of the loop with the progress of the league ie….the way they dealt with Hoynes and Ferguson.

    • Yuma has not supported a team for 7 years and I am sure that was how they came up with not playing there. As for San Diego market there are few places to play at and from my understanding Hoynes screwed that up with Cal State San Marcos. I am amazed at how many people know so much about a league they don’t even work with. Unless those slamming here are past ownership groups and this is all they have to do.

    • Veronique P.

      This article, these comments, this angry banter, immediately brings to mind the old adage “Ignorance is bliss”
      It is painfully simple to take pieces of information some possibly accurate, some possibly not and a lot of filler in between and begin tapping on a keyboard with no regard to the people actually involved. Going on the ASSUMPTION that the information pertaining to Cummings is accurate and he has, in fact, done many shady business deals in and/or out of baseball then consideration must be given to the scope of people that have been affected by his game.
      It seems that sympathy is being given to some of those who had the great misfortune of entering into this endeavor with Cummings yet others are being handed blame along with him. In this particular time, I am referring to Sean Smock. I am not in a position to state definitive knowledge of Cummings. I am however able to firmly verify that Sean Smock is in fact “a good guy” as you put it. My information does not come from Google, Yahoo, Bing or the like. It comes from personal and professional knowledge. Sean Smock has done and still continues to do amazing things for the southern Arizona baseball community. Whether it be the Tucson Sidewinders, Tucson Toros or all the way down to Rincon Little League, Sean Smock has been a constant in fighting to keep the greatness of baseball in our community. After the loss of local baseball he ventured out and stumbled into AWBL. Now here is where his name and reputation is failing. Sean Smock had the grave misfortune of, in his endeavors to help southern Arizona have “small town” baseball again, becoming the face of of AWBL.
      When you have a bottle of poison, the face on the label doesn’t kill you. The man that made the mixture does….

      • Been Around

        I agree with everything Veronique just said. Sean is a good and honest man and I also know this from personal experience.
        Sometimes people get in situations or connect with people that look promising from the start then go sideways.
        He’ll either make the best of it or extract himself from the situation. Right now he is, as Veronique said, in a situation of misfortune. I’m sure he is trying to save this thing, but it may not be savable.
        He also may be establishing connections and laying groundwork for something that may morph into an organization that can succeed in future years in a different form. That’s a total guess on my part.
        On the surface, and knowing nothing about the inner workings, it doesn’t appear the AWBL is that organization.
        But to smear Sean in any way is taking a shot that’s unwarranted.


    If you think everything on this site is true then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

    • ballparkbiz


      First, we don’t talk about players and tryouts. The play on the field is not relevant to this site. We are about stadiums, business operations, branding, fun & Entertainment, food, etc. Yes, urinal games are very relevant. Tryouts are not, nor are they an indication of business success. There are plenty of other sites dedicated to the play on the field.

      Second, any speculation done here is based on known facts, years of experience, knowledge of the business, and an ability to connect the dots. If we ever say anything inaccurate, there is an open forum here to correct the record. Unlike another site we know of, we’ll admit we’re wrong when we are wrong.

      Third, we take no pleasure whatsoever in challenging start-up leagues and pointing out red flags (not simple bumps in the road) when we see them. As I have said here and elsewhere more times than I can count, I have been commenting on this business for 17 years. I am a huge fan of independent professional baseball. That said, there are a killing fields of failed leagues and teams over the past nearly two decades that have left communities, fans, investors, players, vendors, and sponsors/advertisers holding the financial bag. The “be positive, just trust us, and let’s see what happens” doesn’t fly here. Like it or not, we’ll continue to be an industry watchdog. Regarding advice, I have given plenty of it. If someone wants it, I will give it to them straight.


      • Ken Tater

        @ballparkbiz You are doing it right, Alan. Keep up the great work. You run a great, informative website for all of independent pro baseball.

        @Brant L What you said is so true. Indy ball is no more than dinner theatre for most of the fans. For them, it is less about baseball and more about food and entertainment.


    The tryout was just a suggestion. Ballpark Biz announces many of these as well as useless information regarding urinal games etc. Alan also admitted that he wasn’t sure of the Cummings’ status with Embark and/or the AWBL but made assumptions anyway. That’s bad business. The Fullerton team is the only team left from the December tryouts, true. But the players drafted by the other teams have been taken care of so don’t distress. And if you don’t know the status, which it’s clear you don’t, then don’t assume bad business practices on the part of the AWBL. There have been issues, not only with the AWBL but every other start up league as well. Instead of reporting just the bad, which is shoddy at best, how about trying to help these leagues get off the ground. A league that goes belly up either due to bad management or due to incessant negative press does no good for any of these players! Isn’t the promotion of the game and helping these players get to the next level what it’s all about? If there was as much effort put forth to focus on the positive as there is to focus on the negative then maybe something good would actually start to take shape.

    • Brant L

      In order for the players to get to the next level they have to play. Any league/team that tries to sell people on players will fail mightly. Independent baseball isn’t solely about the players, it’s about the fans. If you don’t have fans you won’t have a team I don’t care how rich your owner is. Do you think a 5 or 6 year old child cares if such and such is playing, and will that child want to sit in his seat for the entire nine innings? It’s about the fans… and as numerous people would say to players if you can’t make it at 6 six levels of affiliated baseball, go get a real job, you can’t make a living playing independent baseball.

      I dont think ballparkbiz should be the biggest worry for the AWBL, after all everything I find on this site seems to be true.


    I apologize if the term ‘hard on’ offends you and leads you to believe that I am somehow immature. My original post was merely a question as to why you are so quick to point out the bumps in the road rather than just leaving it alone. You ask that I debate the facts, so in return I would ask that you report the same. I can count on both hands the number of positive posts you’ve posted about the AWBL. It would take more appendages to count the negative. The AWBL had a successful tryout in Cerritos that you neglected to report on, instead ignoring it and focusing on the negative. You have no facts regarding the lease of the Fullerton facility or any other facility for that matter. You are not privileged to KNOW those details. The AWBL nor any other league for that matter is obligated to release ANY information to you or any other media outlet. Just because you don’t receive information at your beck and call does not mean nothing is happening. Nor does it mean bad things are happening. Instead, you will speculate and make up or assume information just to stir controversy and negativity. Its people like you that perpetuate this negative stigma of ALL leagues at this level and continue to give Indy ball a bad reputation. I would ask that you report facts and site legitimate sources rather than stir the pot for your own devices, whatever those might be.

    • Brant L

      Read the heading for this title, nothing negative just facts. Maybe you should talk to Rodney Johnson he wrote the story, just like every other article Alan post there is a story behind it. As for posting tryout info why do that, its a tryout every team and league has one its a normal thing. If the league doesn’t happen how good is the tryout? Will the players get their money back? The league doesn’t have a Schedule who would be dumb enough to pay for a tryout? Not even a team web site?

    • Brant L

      One last thing about your tryout comment because you have me going, the AWBL ran a tryout in early December of 2012 no managers, no schedule and at that time four teams selected 22 players, the teams at that time of selection were, North County, Yuma, Fullerton, and the Orange County O’s. Do any of those teams still exist? And did the players selected get their money back? Bad, bad business practices.


    Have you ever seen Ballpark Biz post anything positive about the AWBL? Kinda funny huh, it’s not like it ceases to exist. Sounds like someone’s got a bit of a hard on for them

    • ballparkbiz


      Your post makes no sense. What’s funny? There have been red flags with this operation from the beginning, as there have been with many other leagues that have come and gone. If you had a clue about the business, you would understand this. And don’t bother getting into a debate with me that you can’t win.


      • CURIOUSJ

        I think it’s funny you only choose to post negative articles and post nothing positive about the AWBL. It would seem you are biased. I also think it’s funny you go by what would seem to be only word of mouth and do no real research. You saying I know nothing about the business is another perfect example of you not researching who you are talking to or what you’re talking about.

      • ballparkbiz

        Numerous AWBL and Embark press releases providing positive-only spin have been posted on this site without a negative comment. Second, your unprofessional post was a strong indication that your are not a mature professional, leading me to believe you really no nothing about the business. Finally, if you are going to debate, debate the facts.


      • CURIOUSJ

        Will debate all day.

      • Brant L

        CURIOUSJ – please find one article that is positive about the AWBL? I have yet to read one in an entire year since this league launched. Alan basically relays the message for everybody because nobody has time to search 50 articles about the AWBL and its negative spin. From calling out the owner in Yuma and the people in the community saying baseball will never work and never has, to company name changes, to questionable ownership groups, staff hirings, now the league CEO & founder has done a disappearing act at least on the AWBL website and stepped away from his embark holdings, but is still scamming behind the scenes.

        Name one positive thing this league has done, just one? The proof is in the pudding it’s been a year.

      • Alan,

        You actually allow people who post here to say there are SEC and IRS case against Michael Cummings and that there are lawsuits that are public knowledge, when no where does this information exist. Why not take that post down and make sure these people do not post about things that may cause your firm to be part of a slander lawsuit. You say this site is about the baseball operations and does not focus on the players. Then how does one poster slandering an individual on your site have to do with baseball operations, this is clearly slander and makes this site look like Dear Abby.

      • ballparkbiz


        I am not worried about any slander lawsuit. While I don’t have the time to police every post, when I see a comment that makes an allegation that is criminal or legal in nature without proof (e.g., an article, legal filing, etc.), it is blocked. In fact, I blocked one posted by you and two others just yesterday.

        If the site looks like Dear Abby, then I guess we look like, which is loaded with all kinds of unkind and unpoliced comments.


    • IndyFan

      what is curious about this curiousj is that one every blog there is only ONE person that fights for the AWBL – Here is used to be gene63 (aka Michael Gene Cummings), – there is used as Lunkhead and my guess is you are him or with the J I would say John Nunez perhaps “owner” of the Nogales Desert Ghosts. Point is you can’t fight fact, everyone that reads and posts here happen to be pretty loyal followers to the business of minor league baseball which happens to include Indy Baseball. With that being said, the league started out with 5 teams Yuma, Long Beach, Fullerton, North County and Mesa, all of which that weren’t owned by Cummings has left, several left being owed significant money, some left with irreparable damage, while the AWBL continues to cry about people “hurting their business”. It is no shock considering St. George, Maui, XnE1, Inc., Godfather Media, Inc., Embark Holdings, Inc. etc. with all that comes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts (some of which public knowledge and still unpaid), many lawsuits exist (again public knowledge), Cummings conducted two reverse stock splits as a ploy to drain cash and now 80% of the stock has since been diluted and is now non-existant.

      There are several open cases with the SEC and IRS of which I personally know 3 shareholders of the company that have called this new “CEO” and have been called and or emailed within in minutes from non other than Michael Cummings, I then know of another situation where Michael emailed one of these shareholders (btw I have the email) from claiming to be the new point of contact for shareholders of Embark Holdings, of which a simple whosis search reveals that is registered to a Michael G. Cummings of the same virtual mailing address listed on the AWBL website and contact info being – it is all a sham and you seem to think we are all idiots, this is all public research that I know I am not the only one that has done that, and you seem to think people won’t call this group out on crap.

      Then the saga continues, Renteria is the big mystery team owner, who also didn’t pay bills in Yuma and who’s brother did time for drug charges, the other is a group of 25 or more individuals some of which no one knows exists. Then to top it all off the AWBL President has full access and rights to the AWBL and should be promoting and believing in its growth, development and place as a “professional sports league” and I have individuals with the El Paso Diablos who have informed me that his kid tried out and made the roster as a first year player ( Michael Joyce…that tells me and the people I have spoken to that it is just a ongoing joke that even it’s own employees do not believe in.

      So debate all you want, fact is, there is nothing proving otherwise, having 3 teams in markets with 6,000 to 30,000 people two of which being failed boarder towns is a very tough sell, furthermore, losing 4 franchises and expecting people to keep their mouths shut when money is owed is unthinkable and lastly, don’t tell people to check facts, because when we do this is what we find. The AWBL gives Independent Baseball a bad name, and discredits the leagues that have done it right (Frontier League, American Association and Atlantic League) I feel bad for those leagues that lose credit because of the likes of this.

      • Can you show us the facts that you refer to such as the several lawsuits that are public, SEC and IRS cases and what cities have been left with damage, lets see Long Beach no because that character Nicholas Desrosiers never did anything out there except fly to California as if he was somebody (now he is one to watch), then Yuma maybe but not because of AWBL or Cummings however because of GBL and Outcalt and Ferguson did nothing there, I know for a fact he took some sponsorship monies and left AWBL owing a lot of funds (he has never had a pot to piss in) and shame on the league for listening to his stories, San Diego no harm done there since I heard he could not sell his way out of a paper bag, its funny that he said the league could not find him a stadium but from my understanding every team is responsible for their own stadium and he failed but blames the league. And if I recall right the team in Mesa they only announced an LOI not a completed deal, we all know why Long Beach (Nick Dick) failed and you will see that with the northern league, Yuma (Ferguson) (cheats on wife) from the sounds of it did not have 2 nickles to rub together, and San Diego (Hoynes) did not know a thing about business and he just flat out failed and ran out of funds, he did not even get an office or have successful staff sell for him. The league is a business and the teams are businesses from the sound of it 3 owners could not operate or fund their business and they want to blame somebody and that is the League. Too bad everybody here thinks they know the inside of things and can make comments. Alan you state that you have been around indy ball for 17 years, do you always report on leagues that you know nothing about, have you called the league or their legal counsel, how about do some real reporting and get the truth out instead of nonsense. I noticed the who put this out also did not get the leagues side, fair and balanced(not) just some bored reporter with nothing to do and thinks slamming people is reporting.

      • ballparkbiz


        Let me respond by pulling out a few quotes from your post.

        “Alan you state that you have been around indy ball for 17 years, do you always report on leagues that you know nothing about, have you called the league or their legal counsel, how about do some real reporting and get the truth out instead of nonsense.”

        First, I am not a reporter and have absolutely no desire to be one. As a free service, we post press releases and links to existing articles and sometimes make comments if there is time, we feel inspired, or there is a compelling reason. In the AWBL’s case, we have not contacted any party from any side to get the scoop. That makes it fair and balanced.

        “And if I recall right the team in Mesa they only announced an LOI not a completed deal, we all know why Long Beach (Nick Dick) failed and you will see that with the northern league, Yuma (Ferguson) (cheats on wife) from the sounds of it did not have 2 nickles to rub together, and San Diego (Hoynes) did not know a thing about business and he just flat out failed and ran out of funds, he did not even get an office or have successful staff sell for him.”

        You make a lot of unsubstantiated allegations here, particularly about Ferguson cheating on his wife. That said, I take anything said here and anything similarly negative said against the AWBL with a huge grain of salt. It’s all “he said, she said,” without some level of actual proof. None of this plays into my opinions about the league. I raised red flags about Godfather Media long before any of this went down. Now for what really matters…

        “The league is a business and the teams are businesses from the sound of it 3 owners could not operate or fund their business and they want to blame somebody and that is the League. Too bad everybody here thinks they know the inside of things and can make comments.”

        What is the business? If a league is not providing expert industry leadership and doing it’s due diligence on potential franchise owners, markets, and facilities, what pray tell does the league bring to the table? If it’s league existence, I can create a formation document and file it with a secretary of state’s office in a matter of minutes.

        In the real world, leagues exist for the benefit of its franchise owners. There is one successful owner-owned circuit out there, and that’s the summer collegiate Northwoods League, and it’s an entirely different animal/model that is unlikely to be duplicated any time soon.


  14. Unless you have been involved with Cummings for his entire life you cannot say anything about his businesses and I would money on it that you have never own or operated a league nor a team in professional sports. Probably some wood bat experience in Orang County and you probably have stolen names from actual professional teams since you have zero cred.

    • Brant L

      haha, my count is at eight different companies Cummings has been involved with in recent years, don’t worry people keep a close eye. It’s pretty hard to run away from the truth when there is article, after article, after article. But enough about that it finally looks like everything is starting to catch up with him, and this is only the start… lmao.

    • Brant L

      baseballhasbeenverygoodtome – at least we agree on one thing, in Mr. Desrosiers is a snake in the grass forsure. When you talk about the three ownerships that have left isn’t it the leagues job to do research on these guys? The AWBL claims to have and expert staff according to you why not do your research? That’s one of the main reasons for the failure of the GBL/NAL owners who shouldn’t have been owners. Like I said previous everything Alan states in his paragraphs comes from the articles, Alan did not write the article Rodney Johnson did, as for previous articles they are written by other people, it’s not Alan. You can’t tell me the AWBL staff doesn’t bring on almost all of the heat it gets. If you have a checkerd past, people will always be in question, it’s April and the league still doesn’t know who is in the god damn league, in one of my previous posts back in December the AWBL had four teams only one (maybe) still exists pretty tough not to be skeptical when the league executives don’t know the direction. I just can’t believe the AWBL would use the excuse of Ballparkbiz for its failure really? Man up and get it done.

  15. Brant L

    First off this comes as no surprise, everything Cummings has been involved with past or present whether it be in baseball or in business is filled with controversy and there’s no denying that.

    Another thing in the article I found interesting was the wannabe owner of the Long Beach Splash (Nick Desrosiers). I am under the impression that he’s the leading man behind the newly, formed Northern League but I can’t say that because the league has no teams. Desrosiers is no different than Cummings he has had NUMEROUS company name changes over the last number of years. He claims to have working experience with other leagues/teams but who are they? Every current/past client that DC Sports and Entertainment claims to represent doesn’t exist. It’s actually quite laughable when reading some of the content on DC Sports and Entertainment website. Enough about him, sooner rather than later we all may be reading an article about him and the Northern League’s troubles.

    I cant stand people who enter the baseball business who will say anything in order to get that buck out of your pocket. As for independent baseball on the West Coast/Arizona, it needs to go away for a while. Independent baseball is a tough business, where only the strong survive… the funny thing is it’s not about the baseball, it’s about everything else that needs to come together for everything to work successfully.

    If anybody wants season tickets or to be a host family checkout the Fullerton Flyers Facebook page. How stupid can people be?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s