The Atlantic League does some great things.
But the league often fails when it attempts to promote itself or actually do the simple tasks that allow fans to learn the latest news in the league.
The latest example is what happened when Lancaster clinched the Freedom Division first-half championship Monday night. As of Wednesday at 4 p.m., the league still had not recognized one of four teams that will earn a playoff spot this season. Arguing whether the blame should be levied on the Barnstormers or the league is pointless. This news should have been posted Monday night.
The Barnstormers notified their fans on their own team website, and that’s great for Lancaster fans, but does the league understand that York Revolution fans or Somerset Patriots fans may not automatically go to Lancaster’s website to find out what’s happening in the league?
During the same time period, Somerset posted a release on the league website announcing it had signed two players. This is not bigger news than a division title, yet according to the league website it surely is.
When will the league finally hire a public relations person to take care of this mess? Does it enjoy looking like a run-by-the-seat-of-its-pants league? Does it realize it looks cheap or oblivious when these type of oversights continue to happen?
The transactions page has been a disaster for as long as I’ve covered the league, which dates back to 2007. Players have been listed as being acquired by the wrong team. Players names’ have been misspelled. Pitchers have been announced as signed, yet listed as left-handers when they are in fact right-handers. Pitchers have thrown combined no-hitters during the regular season with no public notice they were even in the league (they were not listed on Camden’s roster or on the league’s transaction page). And here’s one from just a few days ago: Radio announcers have been listed as signed players. This should not be tough stuff to figure out. When the very league can’t figure out what’s happening with its own teams, how are fans supposed to know? Or, more specifically, why should they care?
Think about an Atlantic League team that’s trying to find a player to sign in mid-June or mid-July. They don’t always know which players have been signed by the other seven teams. Imagine the phone call a team official has to make to a player, only to realize that player has already signed or is in uniform for another team in the Atlantic League.
The league has talked about expanding to 12 or 16 teams. And that’s big news, but my first question might be how the league plans to keep up with the added paperwork when it seems obvious it is overwhelmed with its current eight teams.
No one talks about other independent leagues like the Can-Am League or American Association playing at the same level as the Atlantic League. Yet those two leagues do a better job of posting news and keeping fans informed. They have the league’s roster rules and league records posted on their website. (When I requested an updated league record book this preseason, I was told one was not available because it was not yet updated.) Forget fans at this point, reporters trying to cover the league find this type of basic information difficult to attain.
The only reason I began updating a page on all the Atlantic League players signed by major league organizations is because I found it difficult to find this information myself. Some players have been signed by major league organizations or leagues outside the United States without any notice given on the league transaction page. And if it is noted, sometimes the news isn’t released until days later. Why? Money has changed hands in many instances (including every time a major league organization signs a player). The paperwork must be on file with the league. Surely the league realizes this is one of its biggest selling points to players. If they play in the league, they should be noticed. And while having players signed may not sell tickets, it’s one of the reasons why the league is considered a notch above other independent leagues. Put the information out there for people to see.
The oversights are aggravating for reporters trying to cover the league, so it must be difficult for fans trying to find news involving their team or their league. It’s almost as if the league doesn’t care how it is perceived by fans who actually care about the product on the field. After all, if the league isn’t concern with what happens between the lines, why should anyone else care?