Tag Archives: Eddie Gonzalez

Frontier League’s Road Team Will Be Owned And Operated By The Empire League

When the Southern Illinois Miners ceased operations after last season, the Frontier League was looking at an uneven number of teams to compete for the 2022 season.

As in years past, the solution was to add an additional team that would play every game on the road.

This season, the Frontier League announced that they will partner with the Empire League to provide that final team.

FRONTIER LEAGUE WELCOMES EMPIRE STATE GREYS FOR 2022 SEASON

(Official press release)

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced a partnership with the Empire League which will own and operate the Empire State Greys as a participant in the Frontier League during the 2022 season. The Greys, based out of Tupper Lake, New York, will be playing all of their games on the road, but will field a team by adhering to the same roster and salary rules as all Frontier League clubs.

The Empire League began play in 2016 and features four teams in upstate New York and northern New Hampshire. The Empire League is owned by brothers Eddie and Jerry Gonzalez along with MLB outfielder Matt Joyce. Eddie Gonzalez played in the Frontier League from 2006-08, including participating in the 2006 Championship Series. Jerry Gonzalez played as an infielder in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization in 2007 and 2008. Matt Joyce has appeared in 1,400 MLB games over a 14-year career, and saw postseason action for Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Miami.

The Empire League moved 34 players to MLB Partner Leagues during the 2021 season, including 10 to the Frontier League. Current Frontier League coaches Joe Gannon (Tri-City) and Jared Lemieux (New Jersey) plus former Frontier League and current Atlantic League managers Jamie Keefe and Mark Mason have worked with the Empire League.

“We are very interested in seeing where this partnership goes. The Empire League’s historical ties to the Frontier League plus their New York base made them an ideal partner,” stated deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler. “Eddie Gonzalez has impressive baseball experiences and we like what he brings in terms of his player development skills, network, and desire to compete.”

The Empire State Greys will hold spring training at their home base in Tupper Lake, New York, before starting regular season play at the Gateway Grizzlies on May 13. Empire State will play in the league’s Eastern Division. They will play one 3-game series against the eight Western Division clubs, three series against the three Canadian teams in the Eastern Division, and four series against the four United States teams in the Eastern Division. Their full schedule is available at www.empirestategreys.com.

“It is a great honor to be able to join forces with the Frontier League,” stated Empire League CEO Eddie Gonzalez. “For us at the Empire League, we take pride in providing our best available scouting and recruitment baseball service to help players advance their careers. Having a team in the Frontier League through this great partnership, will create huge opportunities for not only Empire League players, but also open more doors for the up and coming players pursuing a pro career. We look forward to filling a very competitive Greys roster this year in pursuit of a historic Frontier League championship” 

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is an official Partner League of Major League Baseball and the largest of its kind in professional baseball. The Frontier League has moved over 1,000 players to MLB Teams in its 29-year history. The 2022 Frontier League season opens on Thursday, May 12. Please visit www.frontierleague.com.

Brilliance Sox Win Empire Playoff Series, Look Ahead to 2021

In an effort to save the 2020 baseball season, the Empire League sent two teams to Washington, PA to play two teams fielded by the BlackSox baseball organization. The one month series ended with a two day playoff series to determine a champion.

The regular season series ended on September 25th with the Road Warrior Black Sox taking the number one seed for the two day playoffs.

The Brilliance Sox ended up as the second seed, with the Empire teams the Tupper Lake Riverpigs and Saranac Lake Surge taking third and fourth respectfully.

On Monday, the Brilliance Sox defeated the Tupper Lake Riverpigs in the first game of the series to move on to the championship game.

And in an upset, the fourth seeded Surge defeated the Black Sox in extra innings to advance to the finals.

Tuesday, the Riverpigs defeated the Black Sox in the consolation game to finish the finals in third place.

The championship game between the Brilliance Sox and Surge was a pitchers duel that went into extra innings. After a homerun by the Sox in the first, the game went scoreless until the Surge were able to answer with one run of their own in the 8th. In the end, the Brilliance Sox were able to walk it off in the bottom of the 12th inning to become the 2020 Empire League Series Champions.

Other awards given out at the conclusion of the season included:

In addition, multiple players from the series were able to sign contracts to higher independent leagues for the 2021 season.

Looking ahead to next season, the Empire League is hoping to return to their usual season in the Northeast of the country. The league, which focuses on developing rookie level talent, is looking forward to being able to have a full season again. Check out more information about the Empire League HERE.

The BlackSox will once again be moving ahead with their development of players through exposure events, spring training games and the newly established Yinzer Baseball Confederacy.

This league will consist of 4-6 teams playing 50-60 games at a Frontier League ballpark (at Wildthings Park in Washington, PA) from June-September in front of professional managers and scouts. The Black Sox Organization plans to continue being the feeder system for all of independent baseball.

This season, the league provided 72 opportunities to play among their two teams. Since 2018, the Black Sox have helped promote 188 players.

More information can be found on the Black Sox official website HERE.

On behalf of myself and the players, I would like to give a shout out and thank you to the Washington Wild Things organization for the use of their facilities, Eddie Gonzalez with the Empire League and Joe Torre with the Black Sox for giving these players a safe chance to play baseball during a summer of cancellations and concerns surrounding the pandemic. I know the players will be forever grateful for the opportunities given to them this season.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Eddie and Joe for being so welcoming to me whenever I was at the ballpark.

To the Black Sox boys… many of whom I’ve known for the majority of your careers, congratulations on finishing up this season. I am so proud of you all and love your drive, determination and dedication to the game of baseball. Thank you for always welcoming me in as part of the team. You made an otherwise boring summer a lot of fun. Best of luck in the future! You guys know you always have a home on Indy Ball Island.