Just caught this on the news.
CINCINNATI -- It's been well known that greater Cincinnati has a rich baseball tradition, as a number of successful ballplayers have come out of the area over the years.
Now there is another avenue for talented local players to reach the elite levels of the game.
The new Cincinnati Steam baseball club has joined the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, an amateur wooden bat league that plays a 42-game schedule with NCAA Division I players on its rosters.
The Steam will play their day home games at Xavier University's Hayden Field and night home games at Western Hills High School.
"We're excited to bring a high quality brand of amateur baseball to the Cincinnati area in the summertime," said Steam co-owner Bill O'Conner during a press conference at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
Of the 23 players on the Steam's roster, 21 have local ties. A majority of the players are Cincinnati natives and attend college in the area as freshman, sophomores or juniors. The team will be managed by Miami University assistant coach Jeremy Ison. Former Reds pitcher Doug Bair will serve as the pitching coach.
Major League Baseball helped found the NCAA-sanctioned GLSL two decades ago and it continues to contribute financially, O'Conner said. This year, Cincinnati will be playing games against teams from Toledo, Lima, Celina , Xenia, Athens, Columbus, Delaware and Granville.
MLB team scouts will likely be among those in attendance at the amateur league's games. The GLSL says over 130 of its players have been drafted by big league clubs over the last three years.
Even though college players are playing the games, you won't hear the familiar "ping" of aluminum bats that have become synonymous with college baseball.
"What this is about is developing college players for the next level," O'Conner said. "This is not about developing college players for their teams. This is done under the auspices of Major League Baseball so they could see NCAA players with wooden bats in their hands so they could go to the next level."
The Reds are among those endorsing the Steam. Manager Jerry Narron was named an "honorary manager" and former pitcher Tom Browning was named "honorary captain." The new club and its players will also give back by working with the Reds Community Fund in several public outreach endeavors.
"We want to send these kids back to college a little bit better ballplayers than when they came to us," Steam general manager Max McLeary said. "By the same token, I want to make sure they get the total concept. It goes beyond the white lines with me. We are going to ask [the players] to get very involved in the community."