By Chandler Guadagnin
Three years after it began, it has come to an end. On Thursday morning, Great West League officials announced that the league will suspend operations, effective immediately. The GWL, a collegiate wood bat summer league, began in 2016.
In it’s short life span, the league consisted of 10 teams (6 a year); namely the Chico Heat, Lincoln Potters, Medford Rogues, Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, San Francisco Seals, Klamath Falls Gems, Lodi Crushers, Sacramento Stealth, Yuba City Bears and Portland Pickles. Only the Heat, Rogues and Gold Sox remained in the league for the entirety of it’s tenure.
In addition to a revolving door of teams, a fluid number of regular season games and an inconsistent playoff format, sources close to KPAY Sports cited a number of issues that, ultimately led to the GWL’s downfall. Reportedly sources stated that both Klamath Falls and San Francisco failed to meet any of their financial obligations for 2018. In addition, the Lincoln Potters, allegedly refused to pay for the umpires used for the 2018 season.
According to the Heat front office, the team searched for other options, to continue play in Summer of 2019. However, the several alternatives they researched were implausible for several different reasons.
It was great to have baseball back in Chico; however short it was. Thank you to the Chico Heat for bringing back baseball. Thank you to the many players who decided to call Chico home for their summer. Most of all, thank you to the loyal fans who cheered so hard from home and in the stands.