Not content to let the Can-Am League’s Brockton Rox soak up all the national publicity, the Northern League’s Schaumburg Flyers are either looking to save money on a manager’s salary, or they don’t think they can do any worse than hand over the reins to the general public. From ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell.
(that’s right my friend. You can manage a real club and you don’t need to wear trousers)
The Schaumburg Flyers, an independent baseball team located 30 miles from Chicago, have agreed to turn over to fans the managerial decisions such as the batting lineup, fielding positions and the pitching roster for the second half of the club’s season.
The project, called “Fan Club: Reality Baseball” is the result of an alliance between production company LivePlanet, which will be responsible for the behind-the-scenes storytelling, and Microsoft’s MSN, the Web site that will display everything from the team’s day-to-day statistics to video highlights with the potential to stream games live.
The idea of having fans actually vote on game decisions isn’t a new one. In 1951, promotional wizard Bill Veeck dreamed up Grandstand Managers’ Day for a game between the Philadelphia Athletics and his St. Louis Browns.
Keith Quinn, executive producer of the interactive series, said that, as things develop, fans will get to vote on more decisions such as ratifying a trade or filling the roster.
“We’re going to let the fans do as much as we can,” Quinn said. “But we won’t have players playing positions they can’t play — like a catcher playing shortstop or centerfield.”
Rich Ehrenreich, a retired attorney who has owned the Flyers since the team started playing in 1999, said he hopes the project makes his team the first national minor league team.
“If this is done well, our players are going to be as well known as some Major League players,” Ehrenreich said.
The toughest part of the deal was selling it to his manager Andy McCauley.
“I think he was initially shocked at the idea,” Ehrenreich said. “But then I asked him how he felt about being famous.”
Persons like me (ie. those with huge fucking headaches) might recall this isn’t the first time the Flyers have attempted to get all hi-tech on our assess.
Back in the real world, the Northern League’s Calgary Vipers were awarded a 9-0 forfeit win Tuesday night over the Edmonton Cracker-Cats following a beanball war and subsequent bench-clearing brawl between the two teams. There’s no truth to the rumor Ozzie Guillen is scouring the rosters of both clubs, looking for someone who knows how to hit a batter.