Staff of former Major Leaguers scout and develop players attending
The Freedom League’s inaugural winter program was successful for the players attending as well as the Freedom League itself. Players from Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Venezuela reported February 12th for instruction at Chandler’s Snedigar Park. League President Joe Sperle commented, “I am very pleased with the amount of talent we had turn out”. The winter program provides opportunities for players to get exposure with not only the Freedom League, but Major League clubs as well.
Freedom League instructors included Arizona Centennials managers Ben Johnson, hitting coach of the Arizona Centennials Rafael Melchione, and league president Joe Sperle. Pittsburgh Pirates scout and former big league player Jamie Brewington spoke to players the first day about what scouts look for in players and his experience in professional baseball. Dr. Raymond J. Petras presented on injury and pain management using mental training. Manny Mota Jr. taught players exercises to strengthen their core and worked with players on their conditioning.
Scrimmage games were played on Saturday and Sunday mornings to give players game experience and an opportunity to expand on their training during the week. Freedom League staff constantly reminded players that they had multiple opportunities to showcase their skills to those connected to both Major League baseball and the Freedom League. With such personal instruction the Freedom League can make decisions on whether to sign these players based on a 2-week evaluation instead of a traditional 1-day tryout.
Although rain and even a rare flurry of snow disrupted baseball elsewhere in the valley, the Freedom League pushed on with the help of North Scottsdale indoor sports facility Play at Eaze. Players worked on hitting and pitchers took advantage of the dirt mound by throwing bullpen sessions to keep on track.
Scott Hanish, 2012 Freedom League pitcher and owner of Zinger Bats, opened his doors to players to provide insight on wood bats. Winter League players watched a square block of wood turn into a finished Zinger Bat before their eyes, and even assisted with the sanding and custom lettering process.
The Winter League concluded February 26th with all players invited to the front office to discuss goals and their future. A majority of these players signed a 2013 Freedom League contract or were given invitations to the league’s spring training in May.
A spring session will be held April 3-17 in Goodyear, Arizona and interested players are encouraged to contact the Freedom League for more information.
About the Freedom Pro Baseball League
The Freedom Pro Baseball League was founded in 2012 by former pro baseball player and baseball instructor, Joe Sperle. The Freedom Pro Baseball League is focused on providing high quality, affordable, family-friendly baseball entertainment in Arizona. Their goal is to make our games exciting by recruiting some of the best professional athletes for the community to watch. They plan to embed their teams into the communities where they play, and contribute to local organizations and charities through their athlete outreach program. As a business in the community they are certainly looking for opportunities for partnerships to assist us in sustainability, and providing affordable local entertainment to Individuals, families, military and the retired section of the communities. Baseball fans may very well have an opportunity to see a future Hall-of-Famer, or personally witness the excitement of Major League scouts actively pursuing one of their outstanding athletes. Probably even more important to local athletes is the opportunity to be signed by a professional baseball team right in their own community.
For more information about the Spring League click here.