From Minor to Major League: How to Raise Your Own Baseball Team

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to start or maintain your own baseball team? Contrary to what you might expect or have been told, it’s a tough job. Just like any management role in the world of sports, there are tough decisions to make on a regular basis, player relations to manage, and a team to coach. While a manager doesn’t put all of those jobs on their shoulders, they do have the last say and anything the manager says is final.

Where Does the Passion Come From?

Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out to be a manager. Perhaps it crossed your mind when you were younger, that after you retire as a baseball player you’d love to stay in the industry and coach or manage a team. Perhaps it’s something that’s on your mind right now due to your love for the game—there’s always something that triggers your passion.

Unless you start your own local team, you’re not going to be hitting the big leagues or taking over well-known teams. Baseball managers, like many other managers, usually get signed to a team because they’re passionate about the team itself as well as the game.

And let’s not forget the cost involved. A manager can’t be poor, and you’ll need to have a lot of funds to start with if you’re going to take your management role seriously.

What Are the Costs Involved?

So let’s say you’re ready to start a team. You’ve got a coach lined up, you have players who are interested, you’ve rented out a practice space and you even have some local sponsors that want to put their brand on your uniform. Great start! Now comes the money.

First of all, your team isn’t going to get recognized if they wear different brands of clothing. You need to design a team uniform for them and make them proud of it. You’ll most likely contact some clothing dealerships or companies that specialise in sports clothing to strike a deal for your team’s uniform. After that, you’re going to need a constant flow of cash so that you can keep renting out places to practice on a regular basis and you need to upgrade your team’s equipment.

Think safety equipment, baseball bats, shoe prices and even laundry costs. Don’t just head to the local toy store and buy a couple of baseball sets for your team to use—that’s embarrassing. Instead, head to a site like and invest in some good quality equipment so that your team can play to the best of their ability.

Next, you’ll need to print out flyers, posters, and even some merchandise so the locals can show you their support. There are a lot of costs involved, and they should never be taken lightly.

Scouting for Players

If you haven’t got a starting team ready, then you’re going to need to recruit some players. It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of backup players either. It’s a good idea to get your coach or players to scout for other members.

Perhaps they know some friends who are interested in playing for your team, maybe they attend local games in the nearby area and could speak to some of the players, or you can even speak to your local school or college and seek young and talented players. Many teenagers would do anything to get onto a team for experience, so you’ll be spoiled for choice if you have some educational institutes around you.

However, there’s just one obstacle when trying to recruit young players from schools: their parents. When speaking to those parents, you need to sell them a dream. Promise then that you’ll look after their child and make sure that you can live up to that promise. Parents want to hear you say that you’ll take responsibility for anything that happens to their child and that you’ll be transparent about everything that happens in the team regarding their child.

Managing Your Players

If your team is full of part-timers who work jobs or attend school, then you can expect that some of them will fail to turn up to practice or won’t answer your calls when you’re trying to get a hold of them. This is fairly normal for a new team because your players aren’t sure if you are serious about the team or not. In this case, you need to assure them that you know what you’re doing and produce results to convince the team. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you can’t prove to your players that you have what it takes the elevate the team to a more serious level.

Just remember that you are the one in charge. You need to consult your coach and discuss who is a strong fit for your team and who isn’t taking it seriously. If you have players that clearly don’t care about the team then take them out or give them a warning. If there are players who are losing their motivation then speak with them and discuss their options or ask about their concerns.

It’s helpful to set up a leadership hierarchy. This usually involves at least a coach and some senior members like a captain, but it can also extend to giving the management duties to someone else so that you can free up time and focus on other things such as the financial side or pitching your team’s sponsorship deals to potential clients. In Major League Baseball teams, there are dozens of people who make up a collective that lead the team together. There will always be someone in charge to make the final decision, but there is always a board that assists in decision making.

Don’t Forget It’s a Business

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re running a baseball team as a business. There’s investment involved, you can potentially make a profit and you’re the boss. Don’t neglect your duties as the boss, and remember that you play a major role in the growth of your team’s skills and also the brand name.

When dealing with sponsorship and signing of players, make sure to approach it from a business angle and don’t forget what your position is: the manager, the boss. Ask yourself why your sponsor should accept your offer, give them a deal they can’t refuse and be formal with your negotiations. Does the player you want to sign have attachments to their team? Can they be persuaded with more ways than just money? Perhaps you have a position open to them which allows them to climb the career ladder faster? Constantly ask these questions and negotiate with a firm stance.

More Money

Major League Baseball teams aren’t publicly traded companies, which means that they don’t have to disclose financial information such as revenue. What this means is that the general public, and perhaps even you, know very little about how a baseball team makes its money and can afford to pay its players a salary.

For starters, there are television deals. While you can’t expect your team to negotiate with large sports broadcasting channels, you might be able to talk with lesser known or local sports channels and offer them a deal to broadcast your games for a price. Game tickets are also a major source of income. Some premium tickets with all the luxuries you can think of can cost upwards of $500, while regular tickets go for under $20. You can’t expect to charge these types of prices for a local game, but you can use the income to purchase new equipment and keep up with rental fees for your practice area.

You can also sell merchandise like team uniforms, caps, and branded equipment to your fans. While you can’t expect to get rich off running a small team, you can expect to make enough money to cover the cost of investment and make a little extra that should be put back into the team to hire new players, move to a better practice field, and replace worn out equipment.

This Sounds Like a Lot of Work…

You’re right—it is. Not only do you have to worry about players and their needs and demands, you’ll also have to discuss deals with sponsors and advertising channels for financial reasons. Don’t forget that you might also need to worry about insurance or other fees in the future, and the jump from a Minor to Major League team is a big leap of faith. Even if you do make it to a Major League, it’s not smooth sailing from there and it becomes arguably more difficult because there’s more money at stake and the fall from grace is even higher.

If you feel like you’re not quite ready to manage a real baseball team, how about getting into a video game such as Out of the Park Baseball? You’ll get to experience the thrills and stress of running a team without any of the side effects. Use it as a training tool to decide if you’re ready to tackle the world of baseball.

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