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Paulie123 11-29-2017 06:42 PM

The Magpies
 
The origins of the State Capitals League

No-one can remember exactly whose idea it was to establish a new major league for baseball. What is remembered, though, is that on a cold winter evening in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2005 a group of 30 wealthy yet obscure businessmen, who all loved the game, met to put the wheels in motion.

They wanted in on the baseball action and to run a major league team. Major League Baseball, however, seemingly didn’t want their money and their enthusiasm. All had attempted in the late 1990s and early 2000s to take over ownership of an MLB franchise; all were swiftly and rudely rebuffed by the league. If this major league doesn’t want us, they decided, maybe we’ll just go and set up our own.

By 2007, the group had a plan in place. They would spread the national pastime’s new league across the nation: each franchise would be based in one of the state capital cities. The new league would bring top-level baseball to cities and parts of the country that hadn’t seen it before. The league structure would mirror MLB of old: 14 teams in 3 divisions in a Western League and 16 teams across 3 divisions in the Eastern League. The rules of the game would be the same as MLB, but they would make their product more accessible by stripping away some of the complicated rules around rosters and structures. No waivers, options, qualifying offers, 40-man rosters or non-tendering. All players not on the 25-man active roster would form their franchise’s sole minor league roster. Type A and Type B free agency rules would continue. The designated hitter rule would operate throughout the whole of the league.

The new league would take time to organise. New stadia would be built. Players would need to be found. Backroom staff recruited. Television deals negotiated. Their target was to launch the league in 2017. It would be called the State Capitals League.

Paulie123 11-29-2017 06:42 PM

The Des Moines Magpies

Eric Rueda was one of that group of businessmen who attended the meeting in Cincinnati. He grew up in the small town of Newton, Iowa, roughly 30 miles east of Des Moines on the I-80. As a young man, he absolutely couldn’t play baseball for toffee. But throughout his life he had that level of unquenchable enthusiasm and unshakable love for the game that is only held by people who are truly incompetent at actually playing the thing.

In his early 20s, Eric took out a bank loan and opened a small sports store in Des Moines. His company rapidly grew, and by 1999 he employed over 500 people in stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. It was at a trade conference that year in Chicago that he recalled first hearing rumours about a prospective new baseball league which was looking for new franchise owners.

Eric’s business had grown through hard work and an appetite for taking risks. He jumped at the chance to establish and run the Iowa-based franchise of the new league in Des Moines. Money would be no object. He would use his wealth and business acumen to make the venture a success. He asked his young son, Will, to decide the nickname for his new baseball team. Will suggested the Magpies, because he was fascinated by a large and noisy black-billed magpie that used to regularly visit the garden of their house. Eric liked it immediately.

Paulie123 11-30-2017 05:17 PM

Opening day, 2017

Most critics predicted the new league would fall flat on its face, and make fools (and bankrupts) out of the deluded fanatics who were bankrolling its teams. Most critics would be wrong.

The State Capitals League’s franchise owners threw their money at the problem. No MLB players wanted to join the upstart league for fear of career suicide. Eric and the other owners somehow found unknown, non-MLB affiliated players willing to fill their opening day rosters. To enhance the league’s allure, they chucked huge contracts at the most talented of the recruits, and promised SCL salaries would remain on a par with anything MLB could offer.

The first SCL pitch was thrown on April 1, 2017. Fans flocked in their droves to the league’s shiny new parks, perhaps more out of curiosity than anything else. But come they did, and they loved the show. The standard of play was a bit patchy in those early days, but the games were always exciting. Albany’s victory over Olympia in the first SCL Final Series that October was front page as well as back page news. The SCL was here to stay.

It soon became clear that the SCL was a partner, not a rival, of MLB. A lot of the teams served by-and-large different markets. In 2022 the leagues reached an agreement to partition the nation’s young prospects into two equally talented pots for their respective drafts, and persuaded the courts to agree to an anti-competitive rule that once a player had appeared in a regular season or postseason game in one league, he could never play in the other. This ensured parity in the standard of play between the leagues and allowed both to flourish.

Paulie123 11-30-2017 05:18 PM

A short(ish) history of the Magpies

The Des Moines Magpies were founder members of the SCL in the Western League’s North Division, along with the Bismarck Coyotes, Lansing Sharks, Madison Brown Bears and St. Paul Rockets. Success proved elusive for a while. The Sharks dominated the early seasons, winning the North Division in each of the SCL’s first five years.

The Magpies finally won their first division title at the 8th time of asking in 2024, only to crash to a division series sweep at the hands of the Denver Snow Sox. They became Western League champions for the one and only time in their history in 2026 after only sneaking into the second wildcard spot on a tense final day of the regular season. But they were outclassed by the defending champion Atlanta Hurricanes in the SCL Final Series. By the time Hurricanes won a sensational fourth consecutive SCL championship in 2028, the SCL and all its franchises had become known the world over.

In 2030, Eric Rueda handed over the Magpies to Will, now in his late 20s, who was, if anything, an even bigger baseball fanatic than his father, and an even worse player. Like most owners with any nous he wanted the club to use data and analysis extensively to guide their decisions, rather than relying on tradition, hunch and anecdote. He set to work significantly expanding the front office analytics department. One of his first hires, not that anyone thought much of it at the time, was a young man by the name of Billy DePodesta.

Billy was born in Athens, Georgia, but moved with his parents to London, England when he was just 3 years of age. He studied applied statistics at Cambridge University, but after graduation moved to New York and a lucrative job on Wall Street. Bored at his desk one day in March 2030, Billy was flicking through the SCL website when he happened upon an advert that Will Rueda had placed, seeking new analysts to work in the Magpies front office. Billy applied there and then. Less than 48 hours later he was sitting in a back room at the Iowa Ballpark being interviewed. He started work the next morning. He certainly had the ideal name for a Moneyball job.

His impact on the Magpies front office was evident right from the word go. On his recommendation, and against the recommendation of the Magpies scouts, the club drafted lefty slugger Nathaniel Clarke with their 2030 first-round pick. Clark was in the majors within a year and would later win the WL Hitter of the Year Award in 2036 after leading the SCL in home runs. Led by Clark, the Magpies won the North Division in 2032, 2033 and 2035, but found success in the postseason rather harder to come by.

The Magpies GM at that time was Reuben Ammaro. He was old school. The analytics department expanded only because Will wanted it to. Ammaro never truly believed in it or trusted it. And he didn’t appreciate Billy’s true worth to the organisation. He made no effort to stop Billy being poached by the Albany Firefoxes in 2036 to head up their analytics function. With Billy the key figure in player assessment and recruitment, the Firefoxes won the SCL championship in 2037 and 2041. The Magpies, meanwhile, slipped into a run of mediocrity.

The 2040s brought financial difficulties for the Ruedas, and the family firm’s expansion stopped abruptly. Over the years, Eric and Will had consistently put money into the club to try to find the winning formula and claim the SCL crown. Now, that well had dried up. Midway through the 2045 season, one that would end with the Magpies tied for last in the North Division at 78-84, Will decided he had to slash the budget. The days of $240m annual payrolls was over. The club would have to live within its means from now on. An absolute maximum spend of $180m per year was set, putting them among the league’s small-budget teams. The roster was average and ageing, and Ammaro had failed to keep the farm system stocked with good prospects.

A slashed budget and a roster to repair. Will knew Ammaro wasn’t the man to get them out of this predicament. But he knew someone who was. And he still had Billy DePodesta’s number on speed dial.

Paulie123 11-30-2017 05:22 PM

11 August 2016

OFFICE OF THE STATE CAPITALS LEAGUE COMMISSIONER
PRESS NOTICE


STATE CAPITALS LEAGUE ANNOUNCES DIVISIONAL LINEUPS

Roger Baddell, Commissioner of the State Capitals League, has today announced the divisional structure and lineups for the inaugural SCL season in 2017. The 14-team Western League and 16-team Eastern League will each be comprised of three divisions. Each team will play a 162-game season, split into 54 three-game series with no inter-league play, starting on Opening Day, 1 April. In each league, the three division winners will qualify automatically for the best-of-five division series. The two other teams with the best win-loss record will play off in the wildcard game, with the winner progressing to the division series. Division series victors will meet in the best-of-seven League Championship Series. The two leagues’ champion teams will play in the best-of-seven SCL Final Series to decide who becomes the SCL champions of the year and takes home the prestigious and self-effacingly named Roger Baddell Trophy.

Baddell said: “I wish all the players, coaches, staff and fans of our 30 teams the best of luck for what promises to be a memorable and historic year.”

Note to editors
1. The six SCL divisions will be comprised as follows:

Western League

North Division:
- Bismarck Coyotes
- Des Moines Magpies
- Lansing Sharks
- Madison Brown Bears
- St. Paul Rockets

West Coast Division:
- Carson City Rattlesnakes
- Olympia Wolfhounds
- Sacramento Stingrays
- Salem Ironclads

South Division:
- Austin Tycoons
- Baton Rouge Deltas
- Denver Snow Sox
- Phoenix Raccoons
- Santa Fe Outlaws

Eastern League

North East Division:
- Augusta Romans
- Boston Adventurers
- Concord Jackals
- Hartford Tarantulas
- Providence Blue Rocks

Central Division:
- Albany Firefoxes
- Annapolis Mustangs
- Columbus Heatseekers
- Indianapolis Wildcats
- Richmond Eagles
- Trenton Colts

South East Division:
- Atlanta Hurricanes
- Montgomery Cruisers
- Nashville Kings
- Raleigh Dark Knights
- Tallahassee Islanders

vrobx1 11-30-2017 08:10 PM

Intriguing!

Nice well thought out history of the team..

Sent from my K88 using Tapatalk

Paulie123 12-01-2017 05:29 PM

24 October 2045

The Des Moines Telegraph
Magpies hire DePodesta as new general manager, Ammaro fired

Magpies owner Will Rueda today announced the appointment of former front office analyst Billy DePodesta as the club’s new general manager. DePodesta has led the analytics department at the Albany Firefoxes for the last nine years, and replaces former GM Reuben Ammaro, who has left the club by “mutual consent”. Rueda was reportedly looking for a new leader who will bring postseason baseball back to Des Moines while working on a much more restricted budget than the organisation has enjoyed in recent years. In a statement, he said: “It’s wonderful to have Billy back at the Magpies where he belongs. I feel confident in his ability to turn this club around.”

Paulie123 12-01-2017 05:36 PM

24 October 2045

Bart Wardrobe
@MagpiesMad

Welcome back Billy! Great appointment by @WillRuedaDMMagpies
1:57PM - 24 Oct 2045

Waynetta Zimmerframe
@zimmerzimmerzimmerzimmerbatman

Too right @MagpiesMad, not to get too overexcited but the good times are coming back I’m sure! Go Magpies!
2:12PM - 24 Oct 2045

Zebedee Stethoscope
@glasshalfempty

@MagpiesMad well still b crap nxt season tho u mark my wrds #goodriddanceAmmaro
2:18PM - 24 Oct 2045

Paulie123 12-01-2017 05:38 PM

24 October 2045

From: Will Rueda
To: Billy DePodesta
Cc: Eric Rueda

Billy,

It’s great to have you back. I have every confidence in you!

I would be really keen to have your assessment of the current state of the roster and your initial thoughts on plans for the offseason. I’m keen that while we build towards the future, we continue to put a good quality team on the park that keeps the fans coming through the turnstiles. Please could you provide a suite of reports to me in two days.

Will

Paulie123 12-01-2017 05:43 PM

25 October 2045

From: Agamemnon Profitloss, Chief Finance Officer
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Finance Department
BUDGET SUMMARY REPORT

This report provides an overview of the budgetary position of the Magpies for this calendar year and the next two years.

Our player payroll for this year, 2045, currently stands at $183m. My projections for 2046 and 2047 are $190m and £203m respectively. This is based on agreed future-year contractual commitments, our latest arbitration estimates, and rolling forward the current salaries of those players who will be eligible for free agency over this period, including after this year. As you are aware, the owner has now placed a strict limit of $180m on payroll for each future year. I must ask you to therefore take action before the start of the new season to cut player payroll to below this maximum level.

I recommend two courses of action.

First and foremost, we have seven players who are due to file for free agency in a couple of weeks. Their combined salary this year is $45m. MR George Zimmerman and 2B Israel Berroa (combined salary $10m) have already indicated that they wish to test free agency this winter. I also recommend that you do not offer new contracts to veterans SP Ángel Rojas ($3.5m) and MR Greg Jones ($15.5m). Were all these four players to leave, you would have $26m budget headroom in 2046 with which to fill the roster spots that their departures would create. If you were to fill these spots using $13m annual salary or less, you would be on track to also have a balanced budget in 2047.

Second, of our further seven players who are eligible for arbitration for next season, I believe you may be able to agree contractual terms for 2046 at a lower annual salary than the current arbitration estimate for MR Luis Reyes and MR Don Rich. They may no longer be willing to consider a contract offer before the arbitration hearings take place, but I recommend that you sound out their agents about this possibility. This could free up a small amount of additional headroom.

I would also like to flag up my alarm that the club has paid $5.9m in salary to SP Tommaso Chigi this year purely to sit on the minor league roster. He has one year of arbitration remaining. He should either be promoted to the active roster or traded to free up payroll room.

Agamemnon Profitloss
Chief Finance Officer

Paulie123 12-02-2017 03:19 PM

1 Attachment(s)
26 October 2045

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Will Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
MEMORANDUM


My main priority for the offseason is to get the payroll budget for next year under control, by letting the expensive free agents leave. I don’t plan multiple trades to make sweeping changes to the roster, as I intend to evaluate most of the remaining players based on their performance during the regular season. In the meantime, I will try to plug the gaps, strengthen the roster and build up the club’s player assets primarily by seeking value for money free agents and drafting well in June. Aided by good defense, I feel the pitching staff out-performed their true talent level this season and is likely to regress to the mean, and pitching depth is alarmingly weak on the minor league roster.

Roster evaluation: rotation

Mal Brown (age 33, 4*, 10-9, 2.22) is the ace. The four-time all-star keeps the ball in the park through a dangerous sinker/curveball combination. His $45m contract for the next two years looks poor value and limits his trade value, but he’s still a good player. So he’ll stay and will take the mound on opening day.

Ángel Rojas (42, 1.5*, 11-9, 3.27) has been an effective #2 this season. However he is out of contract and wants 3 years, $13m to re-sign. That sounds unappealing at his age. Our other impending free agent starter is #3 Ángel Martínes (28, 2*, 9-13, 4.32), who has struggled. I want to see if I can do better than these two angels in free agency. Martínes wants a similar 3-year deal to Rojas. Bringing him back remains a possibility. I will be scouting the free agent market for replacement starters.

Battling for what is likely to be the remaining two rotation spots will be lefty P.J. Hendrickson (28, 1*, 10-10, 2.94), Alfonso Carranza (24, 0.5*, 2-3, 2,95) and Tommaso Chigi (28, 0.5*, minor league roster). Carranza and Chigi are both on expensive contracts at around $6m each, and will be traded if they don’t make the team. The most likely scenario is all three starting the year on the roster, with Carranza moving to be the long man in the bullpen.

Our only SP prospect of any note on the minor league roster is southpaw Robinson Ortíz (24, projects to 3*). He has a lethal cutter but must develop his control. It’s now or never for Ortíz, and he’ll be promoted to begin next season as one of the lefties in the pen.

Paulie123 12-02-2017 03:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
26 October 2045

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Will Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
MEMORANDUM

Roster evaluation: bullpen


Manny Gallegos (age 27, 2.5*, 3-5, 2.33, 35 SV) was reasonable as closer last year and will retain the job.

Righties Don Rich (25, 4.5*, 5-6, 3.93) and Wally Richardson (29, 4*, 6-4, 3.88) were the setup men this season, but I prefer to have a righty-lefty combo. I will seek that lefty in the free agent pool. Our one decent relief prospect, Gerald Rivera (24, 0.5*) is close to being ready but the bullpen needs much more depth and I would prefer not to promote him yet. Richardson will move to middle relief.

The current bullpen lefties, veterans Greg Jones (37, 2.5*, 2-1, 3.03) and George Zimmerman (31, 1*, 2-2, 2.30) will be leaving to free agency. Jones is willing to stay if we offer a 3-year contract at around the $24m mark, which is a large reduction on the enormous $15.5 annual salary he earned this year, but still far too expensive. Robinson Ortíz will fill the lefty middle relief role. Gil Wright (29, 4*, 2-5, 4.91) is also about to become a free agent and won’t be retained. Former SCL #50 prospect Luis Reyes (26, 1.5*, 9-10, 3.93) will keep the final bullpen spot.

Paulie123 12-03-2017 04:16 PM

26 October 2045

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Will Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
MEMORANDUM

Roster evaluation: catcher


Fernando Martínez (26, 2.5*, .687 OPS last year) should avoid qualifying for arbitration as a super-2 this autumn, and will be the starter. Jim Reid (40, 1.5*, .648) is no longer the 3-time all-star of old, but good enough to act as backup for at least another year until youngster Walton White (22, projects to 2.5*) is ready for the big time. We have no depth at this crucial position and I urgently need to acquire a cheap free agent as a third man on the depth chart.

Paulie123 12-03-2017 04:19 PM

1 Attachment(s)
26 October 2045

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Will Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
MEMORANDUM

Roster evaluation: infield


At first base, 6-time all-star Roberto Marín (36, 3*, .755 OPS) is still a quality player, but we owe him $35m over the next two seasons. That’s a lot given his worrying decline at the plate last year from outstanding to merely good: he needs to arrest that slide. Patrick Clayton (13, 1.5*) is backing him up from the minor league roster.

Orlando Gonzáles (31, 4*, .546 OPS) at 2B, Carlos Zúñiga (25, 3.5*, .646 OPS) at 3B and William Bird (35, 2.5*, .612 OPS) at SS complete the current infield. They all excel defensively but I would prefer more offensive production. Infield backups Ismael Berroa (35, 2.5*, .747) and Wilbur Towmey (31, 1*, .681 OPS) will both be leaving as free agents. Defensive specialist Matt Anderson (26, 3.5*, .643 OPS) will return from the minor league roster to take one of those spots. I will look to find a free agent infielder, ideally a left-hander, to take over at shortstop and push Bird down into the other backup role. Jacques Tanguay (24, 1.5*) will be challenging for place on the active roster in spring training.

Paulie123 12-03-2017 04:23 PM

1 Attachment(s)
26 October 2045

From: Billy DePodesta
To: Will Rueda

Des Moines Magpies General Manager’s Office
MEMORANDUM

Roster evaluation: outfield


We are strong here. All-stars LF Guillermo Díaz (25, 4.5*, .706 OPS), who’ll bat leadoff, CF Jim Dillman (31, 5*, .861 OPS) and RF Bob Miller (25, 2.5*, .723 OPS) form one of the best outfield trios in the SCL. Dave Dodd (25, 1.5*, .650 OPS) and Bryan Lang (26, 2*, .546 OPS) are outstanding defensive backups, but their hitting has been weak to date.

António Fernández (24, 1.5*, 1.006 OPS in 58 AB) will fight to win the 5th outfielder spot from Lang in the spring. High school draft pick Dave Plummer (18, projects to 2*) is a realistic prospect for the future.

Paulie123 12-04-2017 04:00 PM

26 October 2045

GM’s notebook

This winter I’m looking to acquire six or seven players via free agency to plug the glaring gaps in the roster:

- Two starting pitchers for the rotation
- LH setup relief pitcher
- Backup catcher
- SS / 2B who can hit, LHB ideally
- RH backup relief pitcher
- Possibly a second RH reliever for depth

We are tied with 3 other teams for having the equal-10th worst regular season record, so I’m unclear whether our first round draft pick next year is protected. That pick is vital to rebuilding roster strength and I definitely do not want to risk losing it. So I will not be pursuing any Type A free agents. But I am looking for the younger players in the free agent pool, who I think will retain value for at least a couple of years, and therefore be potentially tradable for prospects later on.

When the departing free agents come off the books, my projected 2046 payroll will be down to $147m. If I can sign these seven free agents for a total of $33m per year (just under $5m each) I should be within Will’s $180m limit for this season. If I sign them for $23m per year (a bit over $3m) each then I would be on track to balance the budget the following year, too.

Paulie123 12-04-2017 04:02 PM

1 November 2045

(Reproduced courtesy of SCL At-Bat, the number one app for all the latest SCL news and scores)

Ten years on, van der Vloet wins second WL outstanding hitter award
EL outstanding pitcher is Richmond closer Holliday

By Buster Oldknee, 4:06pm, 1 Nov 45

Denver Snow Sox slugger Vince van der Vloet has won the Western League outstanding hitter award for the second time, fully a decade after his first. The 7-time all-star first baseman led the SCL with a 1.001 OPS and reached base at a .408 clip. Richmond closer Tim Holliday became the first relief pitcher to win an outstanding pitcher crown, after claiming 49 saves at a 1.21 ERA from 73 appearances.

Outstanding hitter
WL: Vince van der Vloet (Denver), 1.001 OPS
EL: Bob Patterson (Raleigh), .952 OPS

Outstanding pitcher
WL: Lee Cox (Austin), 19-6, 2.53
EL: Tim Holliday (Richmond), 7-4, 1.21, 49 SV

Rookie of the year
WL: Chris Douglas (Carson City), .820 OPS
EL: Kosho Kobayashi (Columbus), .727 OPS

Paulie123 12-04-2017 04:03 PM

2 November 2045

GM’s notebook

- Luis Reyes and Don Rich’s agents have not responded to my offers of new contracts. Looks like we are going to arbitration with them alongside all the other pending cases.

Paulie123 12-04-2017 04:05 PM

8 November 2045

====================
SCLmagpiesnation.com
====================

Magpies salary arbitration panel decisions released
By Maggie Pye | 8 November | 45 comments

The SCL arbitration panel has made 2046 salary awards to seven Magpies players:

- SP Alfonso Carranza: $6.4m
- 3B Carlos Zúñiga: $1.2m
- MR Luis Reyes: $4.3m
- OF Bryan Lang: $5.8m
- MR Don Rich: $2.3m
- SS Matt Anderson: $0.9m

After over a year off the active roster, SP Tommaso Chigi has, at least for now, been moved onto a minor league contract. Sources say that all the arbitration awards were in line with the club’s internal financial projections.

Paulie123 12-06-2017 03:46 PM

15 November 2045

GM’s notebook

- Free agents filed. George Zimmerman has been designated Type A and I will gladly take the compensation pick. Greg Jones and Ángel Martínes have markedly tempered their salary demands, to $3m and $1.3m. Jones is a candidate to be brought back as my lefty setup man at that price, and Martínes for minor league depth. But I want to scrutinise the entire free agent market first.
- The top free agent on the board is ex-Baton Rouge ace Donnie Lee (rated 9/9/9, 13-8, 1.91 ERA this year). Safe to say we are not in the market for him: he wants $28m per year.
- MR Robinson Ortíz, SS Matt Anderson and SP Tommaso Chigi were all moved up to the active roster. I still have four vacant spots to fill.


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