Dan did indeed sponsor a team I was a part of. for maybe four years.
Now…everything I was told about how that sponsorship happened is second hand from the manager of our Pro Team Sports manager (Dennis Fransen) that died two months into the fist season Dan sponsored our team.
It was 1991 and our team was the most dominate team on the west coast and without any doubt… the most dominate team in norcal.
Dan also had an A team that tried😁😁😁 to compete with us, and he could not buy any of our top core players..we all stayed together as a group…and as our manager told me (I was the player finder and development part of the team) … Dan talked to him and said he would sponsor us as long as we volunteered to move up AA.
Put another way…as long as we left his A division program.
That first year Dan sponsored us for a very good travel budget…around $30,000… After that first season he reduced the funds by 50% and continues with lower and lower support…we self funded along with H&B about 70% of the costs from the second year on… on two occasions we (our players) put in entire rental property landscapings projects for Dan to earn funds from him. We did clean up jobs and moving projects.
Dan sponsoring us was generous and self serving at the same time.
Our relationship ended when I turned down $35,000 in cash ( Dan offered to keep that just between us) and whatever travel budget I wanted if I added his two sons to our roster as players/starters.
I told Dan it was not fair for his boys or our team to put them in that position because they were going to fail as AA players (especially as a pitcher and a first basemen..and it would ruin our team and discourage his sons from playing/ enjoying softball as a life time hobby:
It was at that point Dan said he didn’t have enough money to sponsor his son’s team and our’s so we would have to split the sheets.
I said “thank you helping us”, told him “we both know money wasn’t the issue”.( especially when at that point his sponsorship was about 15%-20% of our budget) .
I closed by saying…” Dan… for your boys to enjoy softball as a life long playing hobby… you need to keep them at a level they can compete succeed in…and again…That is not AA.”
So yes… I benefited from Dan buying us out of a program he wanted to try to win… Call that whatever you want.
to put frosting on this story… a few years later our team moved down to A ball… We ended up winning the California A state championship (a big deal at the time).
If the finals we played a team whose sponsor I was told said..said he would give every player $2,000 if the beat “Millette’s team”.
That team had 14 players on it…=$28,000
That team was… Dan Smith… so with that one win… I saved Dan $28,000.. or more or less 21/2 years of the four years worth of sponsorship he had generously given us.
My view is… Dan is a good guy and a fierce competitor… but sometime his wallet gets in the way of a desire for true competition.
I have never been a guy capable of buying whatever I want so I don’t know if it a human frailty that just happens or if it is actually self made caving/weakness.