Fishing new waters?

Updated: July 23, 2015

December 15th, 2021


It’s been a surreal couple of weeks in charge of the Gloucester Fishermen, all around me in the offices the business of off season continues unabated and in the pages of the local papers the trade & Free Agents rumours abound. Surreal in so much as when Christmas comes the trucks & vans will have come & gone and The Fishermen (or whoever they may then be) will be unpacking for a new year in a new city or perhaps even a new country.

Campbell, the Fisherman’s new Rule 5 second baseman?

The Rule 5 draft has come and gone. It’s a draft I’ve always been a great player off, I view it as a free hit, you can find a solid player tucked away in the PEBA farm systems. They probably won’t be a future star but strike lucky and you could get a solid squad player for several years usually for just the cost of a base level salary initially. The Fishermen had a good draft this year, No-one was selected from our farm while our lowly position last season enabled us to grab two of our four main targets. Neither of our two selections are typical Rule 5 selections but picked by me to fill specific needs within the ranks, one thing you normally find is that when you only win 58 games almost anyone can do a job. Don Chapman, a 27-yr-old outfielder selected from the West Virginia Alleghenies, might be a bit long in the tooth to justify his ranking as the PEBA’s 57th prospect in 2020 but he can be Gold Glove calibre anywhere in the outfield with a cannon of an arm. He has just 165 games under his belt at Triple-A level, hitting a modest .213/.276/.341 but he will compete with new free agent signing, 30-yr-old Jeffrey Thomas, for a shot at the 4th/5th outfielder role. Thomas has over 500 games experience at PEBA / LRS level but if Chapman performs his Rule 5 status could give him the edge. 33-yr-old second baseman Jason Crabtree, selected from the Crystal Lake Sandgnats, actually has 82 games of PEBA experience but spread over four years and not since 2018. Still he has over 600 games at Triple-A hitting at a .317 clip with 63 homers & 349 RBI. If he can play second base still at PEBA level that would allow me to move last year’s 2B Riley Cole to first for a defensive upgrade.


My time has also been filled with attending field visits and presentations by the two shortlisted destinations to host the former Gloucester team in 2022. I think Hal Morrissey was definitely enjoying the two groups fawning over him and cheered him up after last year’s disastrous showing.

New Bedford Council had known for many years that it was the stage for the 2024 Olympic & Paralympics sailing completion  and were desperate to add a PEBA team to their portfolio. Situated just over two hours drive along I-95 from our current home they had a tradition of fishing in Buzzards Bay and were keen to see the name continued. The population at around 100,000 was three times the size of Gloucester and would build us a brand new Arena as they don’t currently possess a major league standard venue. The uniform they showed us was a rather garish five colour number representing the Olympic Rings promoting the 2024 Boston event, I felt sick just looking at it.

The four days in Marseille was nice, the second largest city in France with a population of nearly a million people really rolled out the red carpet too. Hal of course was fascinated by the European culture but I was back in my comfort zone. They would adapt the 67,000 seater Stade Vélodrome, already a multi-sports venue, for baseball with a capacity around 40,000. Having witnessed the first PEBA European battles between the established London Underground (whom of course I knew well ha ha) and the first year  Amsterdam Lions  who had once been our neighbors in Connecticut. I was keen to lock horns we them again but fearful of what the two European giants could do to us. Marseille were keen to impress upon us the growing desire in Europe for the PEBA with both franchises drawing around four million fans. The climate would also be very favorable in the South of France with only around four days of rain a month on average in summer with a temperature in the 80’s.


It wasn’t my choice to make of course and Hal was playing his cards very close to his chest. All he would tell me was the trucks were ordered and they would be rolling as he was standing up at the Winter Meetings and announcing to his fellow owners the fait accompli that was in progress



An endangered species ?