general manager Jose Melendez trotted out the Canseco Brothers earlier this year that I even knew the North American Baseball League existed.
And it wasn’t until I discovered that Jose Canseco and his team of travelling misfits were coming to my neck of the woods that I realized that there was a Northern League team in my backyard and it was owned by Kevin Costner.
Yes…THAT Kevin Costner.
Add all this up (baseball, Jose Canseco and an Academy Award winner) and you’ve got the recipe for a roadtrip.
Last Thursday, a group of us convoyed to Zion, Illinois to watch the Scorpions take on Costner’s Lake County Fielders.
There was no sign of Jose Canseco (you can read all about that HERE), no sign of Costner (not that I expected it) and, honestly, no real sign of the effort to put a quality product together for the fans.
The “stadium” is makeshift (at best), the eight-foot-high fences around the field give off more of a prison yard vibe than a “fan friendly atmosphere” and the antics of the players (texting in the bullpen, drinking beer during the game and in the case of Jose Canseco…not showing up at all) makes the soap opera that unfolded next all the more laughable.
Saturday night, prior to the Fielders-Scorpions game, Lake County’s manager Tim Johnson and eleven of his players walked out due to not being paid.
Left with the burden of putting a team on the field, now former hitting coach Pete LaCock started pitchers in positional spots and remaining players pitched. And as a show of support, Yuma’s player/manager Jose Canseco did the same…even putting himself on the mound as the team’s starting pitcher.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Melendez told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday. “And I’ve seen a lot of things I haven’t seen before with Jose and Ozzie (Jose Canseco’s twin brother and player/coach) aboard.”
Sunday was seemingly uneventful, but Monday…wow!
To start off the week, the Fielders traded nine players and released the 14 guys that they couldn’t unload. Only one player (former Chicago Cubs prospect Alan Rick) survived the bloodletting.
Oh, and the best part? According to LaCock…Costner isn’t even involved with the team.
Yeah, some guy named Rich Ehrenrich is the one who ran the team into the ground and, to top it off, not only has dude not paid any of his players…the team’s employees have been bouncing payroll checks left and right.
“Kevin Costner has nothing to do with this club. He has not put money into the club. They just told Kevin they’d give him a percentage (of profits) for using his name,” LaCock told the Lake County News-Sun.
Well…that’s not good. Feel free to insert your own "''Field of Dreams' turns into 'Waterworld'" joke here.