June 18th, 2024

WMBL investigating eligibility of Prospects pitcher

By Ryan McCracken on August 11, 2018.


When the Edmonton Prospects went to their bullpen with the season on the line, few people knew who was wearing the No. 41 jersey.

After Braeden Alleman shut down the Medicine Hat MavericksThursdaynight for 6 1/3 innings and helped force a fifth and deciding semifinal series gameFriday, there were a lot of questions for both the team and the Western Major Baseball League to answer.

Alleman, a senior from the University of British Columbia, hadn’t played a game for the Prospects all summer. That led fans and Mavericks players and staff to wonder whether he was eligible.

“It’s significant, he threw 6 1/3,” said Mavericks owner and general manager Greg Morrison. “A lot of it is trying to figure out (whether he’s eligible).

“I don’t want it to be any sort of distraction.”

According to the Prospects, it’s all above board. They added Alleman to their official roster on July 15, the league’s deadline.

“We’ve never been underhanded trying to circumvent the system to cheat; that’s just not in our nature,” said Prospects coach Ray Brown prior to Game 5Friday. “As far as we’re concerned he’s eligible to play, otherwise we wouldn’t have put him out there.”

However, as Morrison notes, the rules indicate players have to have been playing as of July 15.

“All players must be physically present,” reads the rules. “Presence is defined as being on the roster and playing; but does not exclude players who have been on the roster and playing but have been excused for a period of time.”

The league’s still investigating whether he was even in Edmonton the past month.

The Prospects freely admit he wasn’t.

“He had obligations in B.C. — the game he was going to pitch in was the one we got rained out in Edmonton against Regina,” said Brown, adding Alleman was playing with a senior men’s team in B.C. — something not against league rules. “We were going to take him to pitch in Okotoks thatSundaybut he had to get back to B.C.”

The rules also indicate the only penalty for an eligibility transgression is an undetermined fine, though the Mavs — who lost Game 4 3-2 in 10 innings — may feel that’s not a fitting punishment in this case.

All of this leaves WMBL president Kevin Kvame trying to make everyone happy — which may be impossible. He understands Edmonton’s point that Alleman was on their roster, but also Medicine Hat’s frustration at an unknown player being used out of the blue.

“The rules are a little bit ambiguous which I am not real happy about at this moment, to be honest,” said Kvame from Montreal, where he’s attending Canadian Little League meetings. “I’d like these things clarified before they happen, because it creates a real ugly situation for the league and both teams that are playing right now.”

Alleman wasn’t completely unknown. Medicine Hat’s Jordan Dray was Alleman’s teammate at UBC and Colton Wright has played with him since they were seven years old. Wright said he was surprised to see his old friend wearing a Prospects jersey.

There is precedent for ineligible players affecting the league’s playoffs. In 2009, the Melville Millionaires brought in a player after the deadline but tried to make it seem like he’d been around beforehand. Their championship series with the Okotoks Dawgs was thrown into disarray by multiple rainouts and the league abandoned the finals due to lack of available players. Months later, Melville was punished. Their general manager was kicked out of the league and Okotoks was handed the trophy.

“The difference between this one and the Melville-Okotoks situation nine years ago is that there was deliberate deceit going on,” said Kvame “I don’t sense that in this one.”

That said, Kvame may have breathed a sigh of relief seeing the Mavericks win the series Friday.

“The Mavericks may take care of it themselves, that would be rather fortuitous on their part,” said Kvame. “Edmonton, I don’t think they’re trying to hide anything. I don’t want it thrown out there that they were cheating. The spirit of the rule as written may not be aligning on this one at the moment.”

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