Fishermen find a familiar Port

By
Updated: August 4, 2017

Randy Teller, Baseball America

Marseille, France – October 27, 2025:

World Independent League franchise, Marseille, finding itself staring down a staggering $100M loss following the 2025 season was once again pondering ceasing operations. The team owed far too much money to its players, spent far too much money traveling to its away games, and sold too few tickets at home. With bankruptcy a very real possibility, an unlikely savior stepped forward, offering to purchase the ball club and assume its debts. For the purchase price of one dollar, venture capital firm, Bane Asset Management (BAM), took control of the team.

The woes of the Fishermen are well documented, and the team never really caught on in Marseille. In short order, BAM announced their intention to relocate the franchise, back to Gloucester, Massachusetts. Wendell Hart, BAM’s point man on its new Fishermen project, says that while his management team has moved fast, this relocation is not as abrupt as it might appear from the outside. As evidence of this he points to the work of the little-known Eastern Massachusetts Baseball Boosters Club (EMBBC), and the club president, self-described Fishermen super fan, George Sargent.

Sargent, a local business owner, headed a group of business men from Gloucester and nearby Boston who purchased the Fishermen’s former home, Dockside Coliseum, after the team left town. “The idea,” says Sargent, “was mostly just to keep the place from falling apart. We didn’t have the funds to renovate, but we could keep it up. The next step was to make it a working facility again.” Sargent brought in non-affiliated minor league clubs for games. He booked summer concerts on the weekends there was no baseball. In the fall there was a demolition derby, and in the winter, snowmobile racing. All the while, Sargent and his partners hoped to find a stable, long-term tenant for their baseball facility. “We just wanted to see some baseball games, to tell the truth,” says Sargent. “We had the Coliseum, and we couldn’t just let it slip away. As long as we had the field, we had hope.”

For a while, the EMBBC had tried to lure a PEBA minor league team to relocate to Gloucester, but met with little interest. Sargent even drafted a proposal for a potential WIL expansion team, but the WIL’s corporate parent, World Sports TV, was dealing with the financial challenges posed by its new league and expansion didn’t seem to be in the offing. The Gloucester group waited. And waited. The EMBBC was working like the devil to maintain a baseball stadium, but no teams seemed to take notice, or show any interest if they did.

Then came Bane. Hart was just beginning to pursue investment in the WIL in 2024. World Sports was rumored to be looking for investors in its nascent baseball venture, that was rumored to be hemorrhaging money. Says Hart, “we wanted to see where the floor in the financial situation was. We saw potential for growth there, with the league, but wanted to make sure it didn’t just get completely underwater.” The league continued operations, though remained troubled, with many teams operating at a significant loss. Hart got in touch with Sargent and floated the possibility of moving a team to Gloucester. Bane would make the EMBBC a financial partner in the franchise and EMBBC would bring in Dockside Coliseum. Only later did BAM settle on the Marseille franchise for relocation. “That was just serendipity,” says Hart. “Wicked awesome,” says Sargent.