Posted By: Morris Mott
There has been a few thing floating around about the makeup of the American Association for 2014.
It seems after an Winnipeg radio station mentioned somethings about this subject during one of their broadcasts, things have taken off. What was mentioned was that the AA will be losing their entire South Division, with some teams joining the United and/or Atlantic Leagues.
For the sake of arguement, let's say this is true. It seems El Paso will fold, with Laredo hooking up with the Atlantic League and jointly owned Amarillo and Grand Praire clubs have their sights set on joining the United Baseball League. All makes sense... to a point.
I have always believed that the travel costs of southern AA teams were too much for them to endure for any length of time. However, I predicted that southern AA clubs would join the UBL sooner. If they had, I'm sure both the UBL and the southern AA clubs would have been better off at this point. One look at the AA's map and you can see the distance problems of the southern teams. Add to this the fact that southern AA teams tended to also have lower attendance figures and you can see how much weaker they appeared in comparison to other distance teams such as Winnipeg and Gary.
Grand Praire seems to have the shine of it's new stadium wearing off and the crowds it draws has been declining since their first season in 2008. Their current 2,400 average is probably not high enough to sustain a budget of operating in the AA. However, a lower cost league like the UBL makes more sense because those size crowds can make the team more profitable... on paper at least. And since they also own Amarillo, which also is a former UBL site having a strong franchise arrive to compete with makes the move all the better.(
With a new stadium, Laredo may have decided to join Sugarland as Atlantic League partners. In my opinion this may have been the original point that forced the other southern teams to contemplate their own alternate futures. I say alternate because without Laredo, a 3 team southern division of the remaining clubs that plays itself half the time does not seem very appealing.
As for El Paso, it has been quite obvious that triple-A baseball is coming next year, leaving no room for Indyball, with the Tucson Padres moving in. The new owners have even been advertising the new franchise at Diablo games all year , according to a June 2nd article in the El Paso Times.
But, for now, despite the sense it all makes and the points raised, except for El Paso getting a triple-A franchise, it is all speculation. To which, we shall all have to wait to see what parts turn true and which ones do not.
Posted By: Morris Mott
There are a lot of strange things going on in Indyland these days. Some make sense, others not quite so...
The American Association of Independent baseball has lost a couple of franchises this season, Fort Worth and Shreveport. However, they have landed the Laredo Lemurs in return. Two southern teams lost and another coming on board. The unbalanced amount of teams will be offset by Inter-League play with the Can-Am League. It appears that all is well in the American Association. However, I bet the AA can't help but wonder about it's Sioux-Twins, Sioux City (attendance avg 1,306) and Sioux Falls (1,526). I myself am surprised that Sioux Falls made it back this year as the rumor mill and those with any sort of financial background would have also thought. Unless things turn around dramatically, those two cities will no longer have Indy baseball much longer.
Now we have the Atlantic League placing a team in Houston Texas. Texas? Yes, Texas. In times where high travel costs have become deal breakers (Anyone remember the Edmonton/Calgary Vs the NL happenings?) it makes me wonder if the AL doesn't already have some sort of unrevealed plans. It makes no sense as is, so there either has to be unrevealed plans, or else the whole Sugar Land experiment is one big headache in the making. And I think the Atantic League is too smart for that.
Posted By: Morris Mott
The American Association of Independent baseball has announced that four clubs from the Northern League have joined their ranks. Although rumors of mergers have been floating around for years, ever since the AA was formed via a split with the NL back in 2004, it seems to have finally occurred.
The logical and latest rumor was that the NL was going to absorb the northern half of the AA while the unstable southern clubs were going to unite with either the UBL or the GBL. Fort Worth was having it own troubles it had to work out and there was a chance it may not have played in 2010. Add to this, the attendance woes of Sioux City and the financial troubles of Wichita and Sioux Falls and one can see how the rumors of the AA needing help seemed well founded.
But, it was no secret either that the NL was also having it own problems... Joliet and Schaumburg were on shaky financial ground; Rockford was going through growing pains with the added expenses of operating in the NL as opposed to the FL; and the stadium-less Lake County Fielders. All was not rosy in the league of the North. But the one thing the NL had that the AA did not was the reputation as being a step above the AA. Larger operating budgets, better paid players, more corporate support, higher game attendance and the image as the very first Independant baseball league went a long way in marketing circles and player recruitment. So although it comes as a bit of a surprise that the 4 clubs would abandon this to join another league, it also makes sense. For apparently, the NL clubs had met in July of 2010 with plans to join the AA for 2011. This was before most of the 2010 season had unfolded. I guess they did not plan on Lake County's crowds being as large as they were, or that Rockford would also prove stable. The NL was preparing for the worst.
However, instead of all clubs joining the AA, only 4 clubs, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Kansas City T-Bones, Gary-Southshore Railcats and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks will be joining the AA. Why this is, I do not know for sure at this point. However, I do find it strange that if you consider the fate of the AA right now, four clubs (Fort Worth, Sioux City, Shreveport, and Pensacola) seem likely to have just one more season in them before they exit the AA. Four clubs in, four clubs out. How appropiately.
The newest NL franchise, the Lake County Fielders completed a few team firsts last night at Winnipeg's Canwest stadium last night. Firstly, Brandon Anderson claimed the club's first hit, a solid double. Joshua Short scored the team's first run, a few seconds ahead of Jeff Dunbar, who had just smacked the teams first homerun, over the outstretched glove of a leaping Dee Brown at the wall in left field. The pair of RBI's were the first in Fielder's history as well. This was all a part of Lake County's first official game, a 7-5 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Other notable first's were; Joshua Short, was the first to strike out(to Matt Kniginyzky); John Brownell was the first Lake County pitcher to record a strikeout (to Juan Diaz) as well as to walk someone (Jeremy Hamilton); Jake Ruckle picked up the team's first pitching victory; Kyle Higgins stole the franchise's first base as well.
There is no word on whether or not the Lake County homerun ball was retrieved by any NL officials as the area behind the outfield wall was sectioned off last night due to the area being used to stage the post-game fireworks.
Tiffany Brooks of Spokane, Washington has signed with the Big Bend Cowboys of the Continental Baseball League. She had played in the Azirona Winter League last winter and becomes the first female to play independent baseball since Ila Borders back in 1999.
However, Miss Brooks is not the only female to sign a pro contract as Eri Yoshida of the Golden Baseball League has been inked to play for Chico. However, you think of the signings thou, both still have to prove themselves against the males in each respective League.
Posted By: Drew
The Lake County Fielders, of the Northern League, have announced that the site for their new baseball park, has been moved one-half mile further down Green Bay Road in Zion, Ill.
A June 11, 2010 home game is still on the schedule. Strange?
Fargo-Moorhead have announced that ex-Redhawk Jesse Hoorelbeke has signed with the club. Hoorelbeke, who hit 23 HR's last year with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League, had began his Indy career with the Hawks back in 2006 where he lead the NL with 21 homeruns.
Fargo-Moorhead have also signed Jesse's brother Casey. Casey Hoorelbeke was 3-3 with 37 strikeouts, also with Bridgeport last year.
This is in addition to the signing of fan favorite Zach Penprase.