New baseball team Dayton Docs ready to play By Dave Long, Contributing WriterUpdated 9:58 PM Thursday, April 19, 2012
FAIRBORN — The uniforms have arrived. Now the Dayton Docs are officially ready to play baseball.
“I can have all the paperwork done, but I’ve never felt comfortable about a season until I could see that uni,” team president Joe Marker said. “Once I got the bend in the bill of that new cap just right, then we were ready to go. And I think we’ve put together a pretty good organization.”
Marker is an amateur baseball lifer. The 50-year-old Greenville resident has been involved with baseball in the Miami Valley for 26 years, coaching teams at all levels.
He owned a sporting goods company for 10 years before becoming director of baseball operations for the U.S. Baseball Academy, which puts on clinics around the country.
His latest venture is the Dayton Docs of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. It is a league for collegiate baseball players to hone their skills on and off the field.
A group of physicians specializing in sports medicine are the lead sponsors for the estimated $100,000 needed to run the operation. Hence the Docs nickname.
The team has a roster of 30 players from across the country. Its home field will be Wright State’s Nischwitz Stadium. There will be 22 home games beginning with the opener June 8. The playoffs begin in early August.
Players are not paid so they maintain their NCAA eligibility. In many cases individuals have to pay a fee to play in acollege summer league. The Docs charge no fees because Marker was able to find sponsorship.
There are approximately 50 summer collegiate baseball leagues. The GLSCL is ranked among the top 10 in the country by Baseball America. The consensus No. 1 league is the Cape Cod League, which draws players expected to be first- or second-round draft choices.
The Great Lakes League was founded in 1986 with mostly Ohio-based franchises. Dayton had a team — the Dayton Aviators — in the mid-1990s. Springfield also had a team called the Electros. Xenia has had a team — the Scouts — for the past six years, sponsored by Athletes In Action.
“I’ve always thought Dayton would be a great place for a team in the Great Lakes League if it were financed and promoted correctly,” Marker said. “After I coached the Grand Lake Mariners in Celina two years ago, I was even more convinced.”
So he spent over a year developing a business plan, lining up possible sponsorship, a playing facility and coaching staff.
“I talked to owners currently in the league and past owners about what worked and what didn’t,” Marker said. “I also talked to guys from other college leagues around the country,major-league baseball people and people with financial backgrounds who had dealt with sports franchises.
“I wanted to put a complete package together before I went before the league’s board of directors last October to apply for membership.”
The Docs’ application was unanimously approved.
The Great Lakes League is one of eight summer leagues funded by Major League Baseball.
Marker is still looking for host families for some of the players.
For more information, visit www.docsbaseball.com or call Marker at (937) 423-3053.