The Front Office had many phone conversations this weekend and after a hectic offseason in regards to teams and the makeup of the league, we can now rest easy that we will for sure have 8 teams for Season 14. In the same weekend, we have filled both franchise expansion teams with the recent announcements of the Phillies (NL) and the Astros (AL) claiming spots in their respective divisions.
The Astros will be captained by third year player, Bryan Benware. Bryan is a former SWBL Cardinal and as a utility man, played mostly as a fielder while Nick Lape was his DH. In two years with the Cardinals though, he had 17 hits (9 HR, 14 RBI, 7 BB) in 37 AB and probably would have been a more solid player with a little more playing time. Bryan, hungry for a chance is committed to this league and finally has the option to continue his playing career as a franchise player for his own team.
When asked about the rest of his roster and the possible makeup of his team, he had this to say, "College friends (will make up the team). Some of them have played in the league before and some have not. I expect to compete though so hopefully the learning curve won't be too high for them."
Bryan, who will turn 30 right before the start of the season, will look for talent to be competitive in 2016 and beyond. He had this to say, "I'm not sure where we will place. It won't be last. I have heard of some rumblings that the league as a whole will be changing when it comes to rosters. I imagine the other expansion teams have all had the same attitude coming into a season and my hope is that we will compete as hard as we can and make an impression on the rest of the league that we are serious and here to stay."
With only a spot left in the American League, this will be the oldest team ever in the AL and will be a very interesting balance against a young division. On why he chose the Astros as the Franchise name, Bryan had this to say, "First because I am a Royals fan and they were already taken. Secondly I figured the Astros were an up and coming team in the Major Leagues and as an SWBL franchise I wanted to emulate their style of play and "new kids on the block" attitude in the AL. And finally, because they have sweet throwback jerseys which you might see in Season 14."
As a student of the game, Benware and his team could shape up to be a devleopmental project that could turn into a contender one day. "The players in this league are top notch so I hope we just add to the competition."
Good luck to Bryan and the SWBL Astros in Season 14 of the SWBL. See you all at Winter Meeting!