New Scorpions owner: Need to ‘make amends'
Baseball is a business. It's also entertainment.
Michael Cummings, the CEO of Godfather Media, said he thinks his company will find the perfect balance between the two in Yuma.
Godfather Media purchased the Scorpions on Tuesday. In an interview Wednesday, Cummings said he feels the team can be both entertaining and profitable.
“It all starts in the front office — we have to watch our pennies and where we spend our money at. It is a business. A lot of people go into it with a different idea of what holding a professional baseball team is about. It is a business so it has to be run as a business. First and foremost we have to make sure our expenses our under control.
“We definitely have a lot of plans to bring the community back to the field where it's not as costly. It's a business. We have to watch the bottom line. But we are also in the business of entertainment.”
In its seven years in Yuma, the Scorpions have gone through some rough times. From 2008-2009 were particularly rough. They featured affiliation deals with foreign leagues — first a Colombian league, then a Venezuelan one — that proved unpopular with the fanbase as attendance dwindled.
In addition, the management group brought in to run the front office in 2009 allegedly did not pay players and other commitments around town. That resulted in the team — in first place for a good chunk of the season — to be torn apart and struggle to finish the year, playing on the back fields at the Ray Kroc Complex instead of Desert Sun Stadium.
Last year, Jose Canseco was brought on to manage the team and play, but it did not result in an uptick in attendance.
“We know we need to go out there and make amends with the community to some degree just from what we know from history,” Cummings said. “We do plan on doing that. We plan on getting the Yuma community back into the stadium to enjoy what we're going to provide.”
Cummings said Godfather Media — a publicly traded company on the OTC Markets, a board for small-capital companies — has had subsidiaries focused on social and mobile media in the past. It has decided to expand into sports, which Cummings said is a logical next step.
“You don't get a televised game on the minor league side. You're not really getting ESPN, FOX Sports coverage or anything like that. You're just pretty much a local community professional sports team. Which makes it fun and unique because of that, but by adding the mobile and social media sector to it, a family member sitting in New York, our plan is for them to see what their players are doing in Yuma, via mobile and social media units we have.
“We just think it's a good way to introduce minor league sports to the rest of the country, if not the world. There's a lot of people who don't know about it.”
Cummings said Godfather Media is planning to purchase more sports franchises in the near future — describing one deal “somewhat (being) inked” — but cannot discuss the details. He also said he could not discuss the specific plans in store for Yuma, adding that he will go into details at an introductory press conference 2 p.m. Tuesday at Desert Sun Stadium.
Cummings said he was impressed with both the stadium and the community and is confident baseball can succeed in Yuma.
“We'll make sure we'll live up to our end of the bargain. That's to provide great baseball and be a great place for people to come and watch and eat and drink and have a good time and be entertained and at the end of the day make sure they leave happy with the experience.”