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More hurdles for NABL, nothing new from Maui

January 28, 2012 - Robert Collias
The North American Baseball League of which Na Koa Ikaika Maui is a part of was supposed to announce its schedule shortly after the baseball winter meetings in early December, NAL commissioner Kevin Outcalt told me last month in this early November story.

It appears that the league has several teams and fans waiting on that schedule, including a new franchise San Rafael, Calif., according to this story in the Marin Independent Journal on Friday.

"We are ready to begin selling tickets the moment that schedule becomes official," San Rafael team president and general manager Mike Shapiro said in the above link. "From the amount of interest we have been getting, we expect demand will be high."

One problem for the Pacifics, according to the MIJ story — and tell me if you have heard this before — a lawsuit stands in the way right now.

The two paragraphs of the story following the Shapiro quote:

The team still plans to play home games at Albert Park in downtown San Rafael, though a lawsuit has been filed by the Albert Park Neighborhood Association. It asks that a preliminary environmental impact report take place before any pro games are played. The group's lawyer, Dottie LeMieux, has filed her initial brief with the county. The two sides will trade briefs next month before it goes before a judge Feb. 28.

"It seems clear that the city (of San Rafael) didn't follow the proper procedure when it approved the team to play at Albert Park," LeMieux said. "An environmental review needs to take place."

The Pacifics manager is former major leaguer Mike Marshall, but the folks in Chico, Calif., don't seem to know that, at least in this story from the Chico Enterprise Record.

This excerpt from that story, which ran on Thursday:

Brian MacInnes, CEO of the Outlaws’ parent company, Diamond Sports and Entertainment, has submitted a proposal to lease Chico State’s Nettleton Stadium for another summer of Outlaws baseball. The proposal is being reviewed by school administrators, but some think it is already too late in the year to get the process rolling.

“As former president of the Outlaws, I can tell you they would have to be on their way to selling tickets and sponsorships [by now],” said Bob Linscheid, who stepped down as team president in 2008. “They are way past that time frame. There is no way they could logistically make this year work.”

Diamond Sports and Entertainment is the parent company of the NAL itself, BTW.

As far as the Maui franchise, we have heard nothing from them since they had to announce that Brendan Sagara's tenure as manager lasted just 26 days when he took an affiliated job in the Miami Marlins' system in late December.

The silence from Na Koa includes any news on a $100-per-plate charity fundraising dinner that was supposed to feature Sid Fernandez, Wally Backman and Howard Johnson — the former Met, not the hotel magnate — that was to have been held in December and then was postponed until early February.

Na Koa's website says tickets for the 2012 season — it is supposed to start in May — are "coming soon." The home page features lots of fun pictures, and female Japanese knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida, who pitched and won (for the first time in an American pro game) the last game Maui played in August, before the final 27 games of the season were canceled for various reasons, many outside of Maui's control.

The last Tweet on the site, from the Orange County (Calif.) Flyers, says: "Want to OWN part of a PRO Minor League Baseball team? Now is your chance! Message us & we will give you info! Planing similar to GB Packers!" It was sent 53 days ago.


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