Peter Baum signing with Adrenaline (an LAS advertiser), and the LXM PRO, should come as a true surprise to no one.
Baum is a West Coast product, and he is proud of where he’s from. That obviously helped his decision. But another main driver has to be that he has been involved with Adrenaline for years, playing on their club teams and in their showcases in high school, and returning to coach some of those same teams while he was in college.
To many East Coast kids, Baum can be seen as the diamond in the rough, the exception to the rule. He’s simply that Oregon kid who made it big in D1. To MLL teams, he could be just another top level attackman (after all, Pannell is getting all the love right now)… but to LXM PRO, Baum means a whole lot more.
First off, it’s great to get a recent Tewaaraton winner into your league. That never hurts, but on a deeper level, Baum allows Adrenaline and LXM PRO to sell the West Coast kids who follow them on a dream, and that dream is: You, yes YOU, could be the next Peter Baum.
Play for our club teams, play in our tournaments, and you too could make it to an NCAA Division I college team. Do well there, and we will welcome you back to our pro circuit with open arms, and maybe we’ll even give you a job with Adrnl! Baum is now THE example for Adrenaline to point to, and with his electric play on the field, we can expect that to keep going for at least the foreseeable future, especially once he returns from injury 100%. Who wouldn’t want to play pro lacrosse like that? And in their home region?
Once Billy Bitter comes over to LXM from the MLL, the league will have a new two-headed attack monster to promote, and in each game these guys will go head-to-head, trying to score more goals and wow the crowd. If you thought LXM PRO was lacking marquee attackmen before, it’s tough to say that now.
For Baum, like Adrenaline, this signing just smacks of opportunity. But is everyone going to be happy about this? NO.
Some of Baum’s almost-teammates on the Ohio Machine shared frustration about the news via social media. And I can’t tell if this is solely directed at Baum, but Brian Spallina – never one to hide his true feelings – let the world know just how he felt this morning:
Is that fair? I mean, has LXM PRO even had any music at their last few events?
All kidding aside, I do understand where Spallina is coming from to a certain degree. He’s been a Major League Lacrosse player forever, and he’s put in a lion’s share of work promoting the league, staying in shape, and growing the game (and his hair!). He wants to see the MLL succeed, and he wants talented players like Baum to buy in too. It’s almost fair.
But does he remember when guys started playing Major League Lacrosse back in 2000, and all the old school traditionalists poo-poo’d the league, saying it was a bastardization of the game? Does he remember how much crap was dished out on the MLL being nothing more than a “glorified Summer league”? Because I remember all of that, and I remember thinking it was all ridiculous.
It’s just funny to see these comments now coming from MLL guys. They were there 10 years ago. My how perception has changed…
At the end of the day, Peter Baum’s LXM move makes sense for him as a player, and it makes even more sense for him as a person. He’s got a job, a league where he will be promoted heavily, and a chance to give back to his own community. I bet his family’s proud of him! If you’re a fan of the MLL only, you hate this move, but if you’re a fan of lacrosse, you’re probably just excited to see how it all plays out.
My personal feeling on the matter is that there are way more than 250 players out there who are capable of playing professional field lacrosse. Baum not playing in the MLL only means that some other player, perhaps with a slightly less well-known name, will be given a fair shot. I don’t know that the actual talent in the league will drop off much because of one guy’s decision, though.
For LXM, this news gives the league a boost in terms of recognition… It creates buzz at the pinnacle of the collegiate lacrosse season. It helps to validate the league, and hopefully, that leads to continued success and growth. Not to mention it also improves the quality of their attackers, making this a good deal for LXM all around.
If someday the MLL and LXM eventually merge to form a 20 team professional lacrosse league (that’s way down the road, I think), then people will look back on this move as a great one – one of the first steps towards something bigger and better. Perhaps someday we will relive this moment, and look back on when a winner of the Heisman-equivalent in lacrosse chose to do something different, by bringing his talents home.
Until then we’ll just have to wait and see if this Baum can lead us all to a better day.