Breaking news and it's bad!!!
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The Akron Racers we have known for so many years may no longer exist. Akron is the NPF's oldest, and has been the most stable, of its franchises—until now. The reported "changes" to the Racers, including renaming of the team, removal of longtime general manager Joey Arrietta, and reorganization as a secondary affiliate of the Beijng Shougang Eagles, sound suspiciously like a folding of the historic franchise with transfer of its six remaining player contracts to the Chinese team.
It sounds from the article like Akron is done. And that is so, so sad. Akron was there since the beginning. It was always a pretty competitive team. Akron's high water mark was reaching the NPF Championship series in 2014. To hear that it will no longer be part of the NPF, or will only be a shell of its former self, is dark news indeed for the NPF and for pro women's sports.
So within one year to the month the following have happened:
There were six teams in the league at the start of January 2017 with one new franchise pending. A year later and 1/3rd of those teams are no longer active, and if Akron goes as expected that is one-half the league gone. With the withdrawal of the new franchisee it has now been four years since a traditional new franchise has joined the league.
It would seem to me that there is a serious problem.
National Teams joining to play cannot be considered traditional franchises in any way.
Stick a fork in the NPF, it's done.
Laura Winter weighs in on the Racers and the NPF from her Facebook account: https://www.facebook...969557376407030. The last sentence she writes will require attention from the burn unit, I'm afraid.
...This is a sad time. I'm also sharing below what my dad has written about the situation.For me, the Racers were more than just a team I played for. They were a family and a second chance. They also gave us hope. Hope for a change in the world of softball, hope for a better tomorrow for little girls, and hope for the players who fought to build something greater for our next generation of professional players.The Racers were a chance to get on the field again, not just as a player but as a person. To represent the best of softball on the field but more importantly off the field. They were my second chance to love the game again and share that love with an ever-growing community of support.Finally, the Racers were my family. A softball family that cared about us as humans first. My favorite pillar recited by my Notre Dame softball family was this: "We will love and trust each other off the field so we can love and trust each other on the field". The love and trust was built by none other than Joey Arrietta. She was the foundation not only of this team but of this league. She was the driving force of change who fought not only for us but for the future. She was the Akron Racers, she was the NPF, she was the future. Joey was the true leadership of the league.Yes, this is a sad time for me but more crushing is the thought of anyone disrespecting the work Joey has put in for years and years. Joey I would like to thank you for everything you did—yes selfishly I am so thrilled that you gave me a chance to represent softball and people on a higher stage, but I am more thankful for the chance you gave everyone who came before me and for what you had planned for the future of softball and the league. There is no leadership for the NPF without you.It appears that the NPF is becoming nothing but a training ground for foreign Olympic teams. If you ask me, the league brass have failed to realize that if you can't (and really don't bother to try) to fill the seats, even if you make it onto TV the image of teams playing in a championship series to a few handfuls of fans isn't going to bring in advertising or sponsors. The players to this point, excepting a very few, are the ones who have sacrificed to play for peanuts and, sadly, in vain.God bless you, Joey Arietta, you fought to make your team a part of the community and always had more fans on hand for home games than the Commissioner could deliver for the championship. You, even beyond the athletes who fought with you, deserve better....
So Akron after some 15 years has a minor hiccup financially...not major...not big problems...but solvable problem nonetheless. Instead of any loyalty to the oldest team in the league...the league throws the team and owner under the bus.
To make room for the Chinese "B" team to join NPF.
Considering the quality of the Chinese team from last year, one has to wonder what a "B" team will look like. So the "A" team which pretty much any average 16U travel could have beat...now has a "B" team as a side kick...(I will find a 14U team to beat them).
And this is the face of two of the five National "Professional" Fastpitch league teams.
The Akron Racers name Stephen Dunn as the team’s General Manager today. In his role, Dunn will oversee all team operations and player personnel. Longtime General Manager, Joey Arrieta, remains the team’s president and minority owner and will focus on critical initiatives of Akron Racers Foundation and Akron Racers Charities.
It would seem we have learned three things:
1) The league intends on continuing to use the Akron Racers name, logo and colors going forward.
2) The Chinese "B" team will be called the Akron Racers.
3) The league has no regard for the quality of play on the field, as demonstrated by purposely allowing a team worse than the Bejing Eagles to join it.
....She [Joey Arrieta] told espnW that per her request, NPF commissioner Cheri Kempf assured her that the new franchise will not be called the Racers or use its logo...
Joey Arrieta has said in interviews that she is trying to secure the Akron Racers name, colors, and logo, so that if she can find financial backers, she could revive the franchise again in the future.
This is contrary to what Joey said in the radio/blog interview. She stated that the league said it would "keep her request in mind," or words to that effect. In the follow-up press release regarding the new GM, it was pretty clear the GM was the new GM of the Akron Racers...not the Bejing Someoneoranothers.
Me wonders if the NPF would "sell" the name Racers or Dawgs or not? If not, maybe someone should wait a couple years and buy out the defunct NPF?
It owns the names and logos. Can they sell them?...can't recall and frankly that is not the model. It retains them so they can not be recycled. You will note the Dawgs modified the logo and name on their re-launch.
If the league goes under, I would think the agreements to ownership of those names and logos dies with the league. Obviously there would be no way to pay for legal enforcement of the old agreements with a defunct organization.
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