Last week we brought you the peculiar odyssey of the Lake County Fielders, a minor league baseball club in Zion, Ill., owned in part by Kevin Costner. The Fielders' manager — former Blue Jays skipper Tim Johnson — resigned over team-wide pay disputes, many of its players refused to play, and the opposing manager, Jose Canseco, penciled himself in as a starting pitcher and won.
The "restructuring" went further: Also last week, the team's play-by-play man, Qumar Zaman, resigned on air after delivering a nine-minute address on the despicable state of the Fielders ownership. It wasn't a diatribe; it was a reasonable and discerning critique of a team that seems to have done a lot of people wrong this year. Zaman said that he repeatedly witnessed the coaches give staff and players cash out of pocket for travel fees. "I don't want this job anymore," he said in closing, and even had the momentum to finish off with a "good night and luck." Murrow would be proud (and also a little confused).
The Fielders brought in Chris Arago, who was last a coach in the now-inactive Peach State League, to coach the new Fielders. Only three players who were on the roster at the start of July chose to remain with the team. Among them is Brad Payne, an infielder who played NAIA college ball at Northwestern College in Iowa.
"I'm still in my first year. It's hard as a rookie to find a spot elsewhere," Payne told the Lake County News-Sun. "Getting a chance to play and make a name for myself is the most important thing for my career right now."
He's not alone in that sentiment, as Arago already has a full roster to work with. But if he, too, is stuck paying for their baggage on team trips, then we can't imagine it'll last. It's hard to work for free. Just ask your intern.
Zaman's entire monologue can be downloaded here.
Minor League Baseball Play By Play Man Quits On Air [Awful Announcing]
Chris Arago - Our new field general [Lake County News-Sun]