An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

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An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by RonCo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:05 am

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It’s Wednesday evening (now Thursday morning) and I’m tooling around in the UMEBA just to see how the other quarter is living, and to be honest, it’s a pretty cool trip. I haven’t taken the time to riffle through the pages for a couple months, and while it’s true that some things never change, I’m not sure you can say that about the UMEBA.

Here are some things I’m thinking about:


It's Fun to See Who's on UMEBA Rosters

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Gowron is Blasting Off
in the UMEBA
From the outside, looking in, the UMEBA (now in its fifth season) is now far enough along that the early cycles of player gathering have shaken out—meaning that Jerusalem’s big glut of talent intake has made its way mostly through the snake. Looking through league leaders finds a considerably more diverse collection of players from a wider selection of teams, and I’ve got to say to BBA GMs who have not yet spent much time focused on the UMEBA, you can glean considerable fun purely from seeing where some of your favorite ex-BBA players have landed. Need a taste? Robert Gowron leads the UMEBA with 16 homers. Or, I smiled all night at the idea of my little minor league shortstop Juan Carlos Ortiz leading the league in hitting. I think I remember trading him to Alan in Brooklyn, once upon a time.

No, I don’t think Ortiz will last all season on top, but I remember rooting for him all through his development, and to see him still playing like that made my little fake baseball heart go not-so-fake pitter-patter.


The Place is Hopping on a Wednesday Night

Despite having lost several great GMs to the BBA in its relatively short tenure, with only a few hiccups here and there, it’s almost always been filled with great GMs. We’ve got eight now, each one being active and engaged, and several having been around for several seasons now. I think the distribution of talent stands testament to this fact—when you have good GMs actively attempting to build strong teams, talent spreads in proportion to resources. It’s fair to say that the UMEBA’s is filled with some pretty active GMs right now.

Among the reasons I can say that is because, having just done a quick update on the PPT system (seven sims into the year), the UMEBA numbers appear to be on track for a much better than record year. We’re seeing UMEBA guys jump in on the forum and on Slack all the time, which, of course, is what we wanna see! Direct participation in creating the Media Guide has been happening the past couple seasons.

Originally envisioned as an incubator for BBA GMs to learn the ropes of our semi-complex little OOTP world (a purpose it’s serving to very good degree with the “graduations” of Bret, Joe, Vic, Doug, Mike, and Jeffrey), the league appears to be establishing its own flavor and its own camaraderie. If you think about it, the UMEBA has cycled almost an entire UMEBA of outstanding GMs into the BBA, and is still stocked with guys who are kicking butt.

This is, to me, the coolest thing of all, and leads to …


The UMEBA is Reppin' Up!

Its status has been bumped to a full major league. This has been fun to see evolve. Given the UMEBA’s place in the fictional world of the BBA, it made complete sense that this independent league would start as a rag-tag organization on shoestring budgets—a collection of teams that just struggle to keep it all together, and to live off scraps. It also made sense that as BBA players made their way into the UMEBA, the stature would also rise up. This has been happening to great effect, I think. As the Free Agent market in the BBA grows more pricey, we’re seeing some fairly solid baseball players opt to head to the Middle East.

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Just had to
link Tim Oliver
one more time
The note Gowron from before. Michael MacCrain dropped 4.5 WAR in Mumbai’s CF slot last year. A guy like Istanbul’s John Garcia—who was a fringy, almost star in Edmonton—goes to the Bosphorous and has dropped 13 homers in 40 games. Beauty.

Beirut is the new home of Maximo Quezeda. I see one of my favorite old Nine guys, Tim Oliver, trying to make it back into baseball here. At 33, one-time #1 overall pick Mike Manning is closing games.

The stories here are almost endless.

Once a league with dicey reputation and no money, baseball in the UMEBA has become a respectable place for solid BBA players to go. We’ll see how the financial discrepancies between the leagues influence things. Who knows what the future brings …


Up Up and Away?

Except, of course, as an entire league (BBA/UMEBA), we’ve had good conversations about how to progress with this cool little league for a while, a set of talks that has included the commish saying that expansion at some time in the unnamed future is not outside the realm of possibility.

Rule 6 has seen a few guys move from the UMEBA to the BBA, and with draft classes beginning to grow, we’re probably a season or three away from some of the most entertaining aspects of the Rule 6/7 interactions. Can anyone say Tuna? Or Savage? Eduardo Lopez? I knew you could.

In that light, the UMEBA has a squadron of pretty interesting talent coming up through their minors. I was going to go through a list a few, but the development beast is a harsh and cruel mistress, so we don’t want to jinx anyone here so I won’t. Regardless, my point here is that the quality of players in the Middle East looks to be on the rise, which can only be a good thing.


And let’s not miss the fact that competition is growing.

Yes, Jerusalem still has a bit of the early talent edge left, so it’s going to be a favorite child for a little bit, and Cairo has won the Burt three times in a row. But in just four seasons, five of the eight teams have won their division, and now Istanbul and Bucharest are at the top of their divisions—both would be first-time winners. Beirut, after being left dead in the dirt, is building steam. Only Baghdad, a team sidelined by an ex-GM’s family issues last season, is struggling. The competitive environment in the austere world of the UMEBA appears to be wild and wooly…and pretty much up for grabs.

This season, James Walker has been staked a lead with the Istanbul Bosphorpus in the Burt, but Dillon Lowery has the Manama Pearls on the move, and BBA vet Nigel Laverick's Cairo team can never be ignored (aside: the Chariot Archers are, like, the coolest nickname ever, am I right?). Jouve Crawford's hands are full trying to get Baghdad Kings back into the race. The Bancroft looks to be a bloody battle with Jim Cox's steady hand guiding the Bucharest Impalers to the top, upstarts in Gregg Greathouse's Beruit Cedars and Geoff Webb's Mumbai Metro Stars sandwiched between Istanbul and newly-minted GM Ben Heuring's Jerusalem Hebrew Hammers club--all within 3.5 games of each other.

Bottom line, from the outside, looking int, the UMEBA is beginning to truly rock.

It’s been a wild and crazy ride.

I literally can’t wait to see what happens next.
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by jleddy » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:44 am

Great summary and survey of the league...I admittedly don't pay attention to how the UMEBA teams themselves are doing, but I do check out the leaderboards to see how the top and/or notable players and names are doing; not for scouting reasons but for creating a narrative in my head of how these once-BBA players or plucky UMEBA draftees are performing and adjusting to life in the Middle East and beyond. Plus the entertainment of the GMs' team news is great, as are the features like Nige's Walkoff Watch.

Awesome all around!
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by crobillard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am

Nice feature. I don't watch UMEBA as much as I should. Fun to see John Garcia doing well. I always thought well of him, but I couldn't find him a spot in my outfield because of his miserable defense. Here's to hoping Istanbul continues to lead the charge.
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by Fat Nige » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:07 pm

The UMEBA is riding for a fall though over the next couple of years though. With a $35 million salary cap a lot of the teams will have to shed at least $10 million in payroll over that time to come in under the cap. The increase in reputation is good but players are coming across now wanting around $4-5 million for a BBA Triple-A player, you can see that your budget will only stretch to three or four of those. This will stunt the growth of the league as more and more “potential UMEBA stars” sit in free agency, not good enough to make the grade in the BBA and too expensive to make the switch to the UMEBA
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by RonCo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:27 pm

If UMEBA is profitable, it would actually fit the fiction to give salary cap increases. I could see $5M a year or something like that for a few years...but I'm just thinking out loud.
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by Fat Nige » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:58 pm

At the moment, I’m looking at having to cut at least two of my best players in the off season to lose the projected $10-11 million over the salary cap next year. If I don’t cut my two top earners, it could be four or five to go so I can squeeze under. And I’m not the only one, if you look at the salary cap piece I did earlier on, you’ll see that the $10-15 million over cap is common place for most teams for the next few years. So a lot of star names will be looking forward to a few years on the beaches
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by Fat Nige » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:02 pm

Oh, and I forgot to say Ron, nice piece ! Although I would have thought Cairo’s Ricardo Castrejon might have warranted a mention lol
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by CTBrewCrew » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:04 pm

I've still got a sweet spot for my J-Crew boys!!!
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by DugoutDesperado » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:51 pm

Nice article. :) Next off-season will definitely be interesting in the UMEBA. Beirut will probably go into the off season with about $27M already committed.

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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by tallywood » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:40 am

This was an awesome read. Thank you!
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Re: An Informal State of the UMEBA: A Look from the Outside In

Post by Lane » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:13 am

Thanks Ron. Enjoyed this. Happy to see my custom ammy Gowron still around.
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