Portal Games aims to give portal players more exposure with inaugural event


Letter to the editor written by Portal Games’ Ty Smith

Interested portal player? Click Here and get $200 off showcase signup!

The inaugural Portal Games Baseball event is around the corner, and will take place on June 25th in Indianapolis. The goal for this one-day event by Portal Games Baseball is simple –  maximize the exposure on the player side and minimize the time it takes on the evaluation side for coaches. 

We chose Grand Park and the date of June 25 (immediately following the College World Series)to allow coaches to attend and put the finishing touches on their roster before the July 2 deadline. We have continued to hear players asking, “Is this real? and Are the coaches really coming?” Portal Games is being spearheaded by former college baseball head coaches Turtle Thomas and Jeff Waggoner, along with consultant and agent Ty Smith. Smith works with 35 coaches across the Division I landscape, Turtle Thomas has been to 14 College World Series and won two national title and Jeff Waggoner is a 25-year college baseball coaching veteran.

The group at Portal Games realizes there is a level for everyone, and the event is open to all levels of college baseball, and the coaching audience will reflect that.

“In 25 plus years of coaching, I had never seen the college landscape change as much as when the NCAA opened the transfer portal,” Waggoner said. “Being at a mid-major D1 program, I was challenged with resources and staff to see all the players who wanted to transfer from four-year colleges and Juco players in a live competitive environment. After talking to many coaches, we came up with the idea of matching the recruiting needs of college coaches and transfer portal players. A showcase event that is efficient and effective in meeting the goals of players receiving exposure, and coaches having a “One stop shop” for evaluations. I’m ultra-excited to partner with these guys to do this event.”

Bluntly, by playing in this game, your odds drastically increase to become recruited in an era where coaches can’t keep up. The fact as it currently stands, there is essentially one coach per staff for every 1,000 players in the portal.

We have seen a trend where many college coaches go after the same 200-300 players. It isn’t that the next group isn’t good enough; the coaches have limited time and resources to make their commitments to complete their roster. The summer window and filling your roster? Most of that work is done in June. If you haven’t heard from the schools you are anticipating by now, you most likely won’t. Until action is taken to create an environment where portal players can be seen not just bunched into a group of 4-5000 stat/video posts, around 50% of you will not have a school to play baseball at next year. We are trying to combat this with our game. Our reason for keeping the numbers low relative to the amount in the portal is to maximize the exposure for guys who sign up. The coaching industry has agreed that Portal Games can be one of many solutions to what is currently operating in a non-sustainable way.

We’re fortunate to be able to pick up the phone and call coaches coast to coast and get their pledge to attend. We are guaranteed to have a large audience of coaches in attendance at this point. In addition to a lot of programs represented from Power Five conferences, we also have pledges from more than 60 mid-major programs to attend as well.

“All of our current signups are players competing in summer baseball,” Turtle Thomas said. “You could play summer ball, which is great, but in terms of your immediate portal future, taking part in this event is highly beneficial.”

To combat some early sign-ups who have already committed to their next destination in the portal, Portal Games is offering $200 off to the next 50 players who sign up ahead of their June 25th event. They intend to make sure the coaching community has a strong group of players to evaluate numbers-wise.

Play ball!