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US Pro sports story technical advisor or co-author wanted

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I've an idea for story based on US Pro sports but don't know enough about it to do it well. The bulk of the story is in the personalities and interaction off the field, but I part of it revolves around some on-field events and the contract. Story to start just before the draft while in college. While the story is sports dependent, it isn't sports restricted and should work with any of the US Pro Sports because it revolves around the contract. I suspect American Football or Baseball would be best, but it doesn't have to be.

edit to add: on-field pro game events will be a very small component with training activities a slightly larger components and the contract a bigger component.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

The sport is important. For example, baseball has a minor league to develop players taken out of high school. Football uses the colleges for that. Basketball uses the colleges, but also has a D-League for player development.

And there's a difference in the contracts as well. There's no salary cap in baseball so they can pay enormous salaries. Basketball is more restrictive, but the rich teams get around it. Football, I believe, has a real salary cap.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

The sport is important. For example, baseball has a minor league to develop players taken out of high school. Football uses the colleges for that. Basketball uses the colleges, but also has a D-League for player development.


Thanks for the information, Switch,

There you go, even that amount of information is a great advance on what I had before. I think, from what I've read, that Ice Hockey also has a minor / major league system as well. Any pro sport that has a minor / major league system like baseball would add more scope for the story I'm thinking of writing. So it now begins to look like baseball may be the sport to go with. The added pressure of relegation to a minor league would help.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Not to be sexist, but women's basketball might be worth looking at, as the sport to write about. Very little competition as an author, I know of no stories about it. Colleges are where players are developed. There are also national teams, a fairly small and underpaid US professional league, WNBA, and for stars European Leagues where remuneration is sizable. There is a Russian entrepreneur who spends enormous sums to have a winning team. So lots of complexity on the level of competition and some players play for the WNBA, their national teams when they compete, for example the Olympics, and in European Leagues where the real money is.

University of Connecticut (UConn, aka Yukon hence the nickname, Huskies) is one of the women's basketball powers. The WNBA (women's national basketball league) team I am most familiar with is the Seattle Storm. If you look either up on line you might get an idea of whether this appeals to you.

There is also (men's) soccer (football in most of the world) with a similar setup, although amateur soccer is played below the college level. You can use childhood play, high school age competition, college, US Pro league but the real competition and money is in Europe including England where the fans are real fanatics and riots are not unknown. National teams exist and play more often than in Olympic years. There is some existing soccer fiction including here on SOL. Reverend Cotton Mather has a three story sequence that is popular.

Football is overdone and there is plenty of baseball here too. As always what you write about is up to the author. What we decide to read about is up to readers. Given a choice I'd read about football last and baseball next to last.

Cold Creek has some interesting stories about hockey. Perhaps ponygirls would be an interesting subject, to bring in a little BDSM. They race in some stories.

There is badminton and handball and chess and lots of other kinds of competition. It doesn't have to be about football or baseball.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

I'm not discounting your suggestions, but what I'm thinking of and working on revolves around certain aspects of the bonus schedule payments common in most US pro sports. I've played soccer, basketball, and cricket for many years and been involved with women's teams in all three, but not at the pro level not in the USA, and not in the last two decades. Thus I've not real experience or knowledge of the way the pro teams work today. Hell, when I was heavily involved with basketball here in Australia they were only just allowing full-time pro players and the clubs were essentially semi-pro.

Thinking on this since I posted the first message, a situation where the player can be relegated to the minors would be a distinct advantage in the plot advancement. As I said, the will be little, if any, actual on-field activity. Most of what I'd like to do will revolve around the personality interactions in training facilities and the other off-field activities, with some in the locker-room. With what Switch said, and what's been in some of the stories I've read, I now suspect baseball is the best bet to go with.

Once I get this out of the way I may even write a female sports team story as well. In fact, one story that's in progress is about a teen who coaches a number of women's basketball teams at the local level.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Ernest, if you were targeting football, I might have a link. It's my ex's cousin, who's just been signed by a college team. I was planning to tap him for a story, because he's an excellent example of a top level student (academically) as well as an athlete, but my story is entirely off the field, and the college negotiations was also off-screen.

He couldn't give you any actual experiences, but he'd know the mechanics, as well as the physical aspects of the game.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

CW,

Thanks for the info, but thinking about where I want to go with this, and adding in the information given me by Switch, I don't think football is going to cut it, unless the major club franchises have a feeder football club from a lower level they use to develop players after they sign them up from the college teams, the way the baseball and ice hockey teams do. Although that link may be useful for another story later, so don't lose it.

El_Sol

Because of the setting -- make sure the way the sports' draft is done or plays out is genuine in your story.

Depending on where in a draft the player falls, there can be some SERIOUS drama like the Elway to Marino draft, which has a documentary on it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@El_Sol

Because of the setting -- make sure the way the sports' draft is done or plays out is genuine in your story.


Which is why I'm seeking help, I want it to be correct. The draft will be a minor aspect, but a core part of the plot conflict, as will be the contract negotiations. The bulk of the story comes after the draft and contracts are signed, and are mostly personality and relationship based.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

The draft will be a minor aspect, but a core part of the plot conflict, as will be the contract negotiations.


The most intense negotiations occur when an athlete is a multi-sport phenom.

If an MLB (Major League Baseball) team wants to draft a baseball star, he doesn't have much negotiating power. But if an NFL (National Football League) team also wants him, he now has a lot of negotiating power.

Replies:   jr88
jr88

@Switch Blayde

Baseball also has an interesting wrinkle because players who are drafted right out of high school can elect to go to college instead of signing with the team that drafted them. If they choose to go to college, the team that drafted them loses the rights to the player and the player can reenter the draft after college and be drafted by a new team.

This can give high school players extra leverage when negotiating bonuses with the team.

One additional thing to note, baseball has fixed contracts for young players until they enter arbitration, which doesn't occur until the player has been in the major leagues for three years. Players also don't enter free agency until six years after entering the majors. Players often spend several years working their way up through the minor leagues. This results in many players not reaching free agency until nearly ten years after they were drafted.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

OK, people, I'll revise the request a bit thanks to what's been given so far. Now, remember, I've had no real experience with how any of the US pro sports work and can only go by what damn little is said on wikipedia and in some of the relevant sports stories on SOL.

My understanding of all this is (remember some of this could be wrong and you need to tell me so):

1. In some of the sports if a player at the college level reaches a certain age by a certain date an is performing well enough he's draft eligible and can be listed regardless of his wishes on it.

2. Once drafted he can accept or refuse a contract, if he refuses he can't play for any pro club for a set period, if he accepts he can work a deal on the pay (within limits) and a start date - thus he can leave school or finish school if they negotiate it right.

3. The contracts include basic salary plus a performance bonus schedule and a bonus schedule for other events like PR activities and training activities.

............

Now, what would enhance the plot situation is a sport where the major league does the draft and can then relegate the player to a minor league for development purposes.

.............

What I intend to write will have very few on-field scenes, just enough to justify the person being drafted, and few short contract negotiation scenes, and the bulk of the story and conflict centers around personality conflicts after they're signed up.

...............

Now, can anyone help me with some advice on which sport is the best to go with, and then follow up with where I can get some good information on the sort of things in the contracts - actual figures not needed.

Thank you.

PS: I'd have never thought it was this hard until I asked.

edit to add: the forced part of point one is not a deal breaking requirement, I can vary it to make it an option entry, but enforced entry adds some drama.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


1. In some of the sports if a player at the college level reaches a certain age by a certain date an is performing well enough he's draft eligible and can be listed regardless of his wishes on it.


Basketball has a minimum age of 19. It wasn't always like that. They used to draft kids right out of high school. Some of the kids today under 19 go to Europe to play until reaching 19.

I believe the player has to put his name in the draft. That is, he has to say he's eligible for the draft. At least for basketball and football. I'm not sure about baseball.


2. Once drafted he can accept or refuse a contract, if he refuses he can't play for any pro club for a set period, if he accepts he can work a deal on the pay (within limits) and a start date - thus he can leave school or finish school if they negotiate it right.


If drafted, he can't play for another team in the same league. But he can in another. That was my example of someone good enough to play in both baseball and football. John Elway was like that.

You must be right about start date because the San Antonio Spurs basketball player David Robinson was drafted but finished his military service before joining the team. But each sport is different.


3. The contracts include basic salary plus a performance bonus schedule and a bonus schedule for other events like PR activities and training activities.


And maybe a signing bonus. And I don't know if every contract has a performance bonus.

jr88

In football, a player is automatically eligible for the draft after he finishes college. He can also choose to leave college early enter the draft after playing 3 years in college. The NFL draft has 7 rounds. Professional football has no minor leagues. NFL rookies are paid on a rookie wage scale based on where they were picked. They don't negotiate contracts or bonuses.

In basketball, a player is automatically eligible for the draft after he finishes college. He can also choose to leave college early enter the draft after playing 1 year in college. The NBA draft has 2 rounds. The NBA has a "D-League" (Development League) which serves as a minor league for the NBA. About a third of the players drafted in the first round get sent to the D-League, so it is an option for the team. NBA rookies are paid on a rookie wage scale based on where they were picked. They don't negotiate contracts or bonuses.

In baseball, a player is automatically eligible for the draft after graduating high school. If he is drafted, he can sign with the team or go to college or junior college. If he goes to college or junior college, he is again eligible for the draft after graduating. The MLB draft has 40 rounds. Players are paid a rookie wage, but their signing bonus can be negotiated. Teams get certain slot values for each pick and can divide the total among their picks however they choose. Often teams will pay above slot value for players who are drafted out of high school because they have more leverage because they can choose to go to college. Baseball has a very in depth minor league system and players often don't make it to the majors until several years after they are drafted.

I don't really know much about the NHL entry draft, but I believe that that players are drafted out of colleges and minor leagues worldwide. Rookies salaries and bonuses are capped, but good rookies can often get near the cap in salary because there are other high level hockey leagues, including the KHL. The NHL draft has 7 rounds, and the NHL has a minor league system that most players go through.

Let me know if you want more information.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@jr88

I'll be honest and mention I knew nothing of the US pro sport draft system until I came across it in the following stories:

http://storiesonline.net/s/54305/lost-and-found

http://storiesonline.net/s/73607/ripples-in-time

http://storiesonline.net/s/59488/the-defenceman

http://storiesonline.net/s/76530/oh-boy

http://storiesonline.net/s/73779/a-flawed-diamond

The tensions I saw created in the stories clicked with me, and more so in the last two. However, I saw room for a good story off the field based on what they had to say, thus my request here.

Based on the responses so far, it looks to me my best bet would be to go with pro baseball. To that end, I've been trying to find information on the signing contract negotiations and the various bonuses and bonus schedules as mentioned in the last two stories listed - but can't find a damn thing. I figure I don't know enough to know where to look properly.

I'm also looking at the main characters being in college, so the high school side of it doesn't matter.

With the above in mind, can you (or anyone else who can) provide me with some information on the MLB draft process (especially details not in the wikipedia article), the contract negotiations, and the types of bonuses and bonus schedules they use (don't need exact figures, but they'd help - even if it's just the figures for a contract or two so i can look at relative rates for the bonuses etc.).

Once I get into the story I'll probably need a hand with some on-field stuff, but not much because I'm concentrating on off field and clubhouse / locker room interactions.

It may be best to send lengthy information via my SOL contact email address of http://storiesonline.net/library/authorEmail.php?id=4332

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The tensions I saw created in the stories clicked with me, and more so in the last two. However, I saw room for a good story off the field based on what they had to say, thus my request here.

I'd suggest you try some of the Pro sports forums, and post an inquiry or five. They mostly cater to fans, but many fans are either college or ex pro players, so they could steer you in the right direction. What's even better, they could give you personal experience/tales which you could adapt to the story to give it a more 'lived in' feel.

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