Tag Archives: Empire League

Time for the Empire League to Pay Up

Here we go again…

I’m sure that’s what most readers are thinking when they see this title.
And you know what? They’re right.

I was hoping there wouldn’t have to be a post like this again after what went down last summer with those start-up leagues, but here we are.

The Empire League has been going on for over a month. Games have been played (including the All-Star game), a few players have been promoted, and everything from an outsider’s perspective seems to be going well… except for one small little detail that no one has mentioned.

As it turns out – according to the multiple players who have reached out to Indy Ball Island – none of the players or staff have been paid.

Players were promised pay once a month (or twice a month depending on whenever the sponsors decided to send the checks). When players ask about where these checks are, they keep being told that the sponsors are getting the money and sending it to the league for the players’ pay. So far, no one has seen a dime.

That’s not all. There have been stories about players having to play games with the “official league balls” used for little league practice. Players have also been forced to sleep inside a rest stop when their team van broke down while other players have been driving themselves back and forth to games on the road. One team, the Watertown Bucks, even had a Go Fund Me set up – no money has been raised.

The players are trying to make the most of it and keep pushing along. They get to play ball and have some fun doing it, but they’re also starting to run into some financial issues that just can’t be ignored anymore. Most of these guys paid for spring training out of pocket and have been trying to live and play baseball with their own money for well over a month. They have been promised a salary, yet the excuses keep coming and the pay date keeps being pushed further and further back.

It’s time for the Empire League to step up and pay these guys who have been playing hard for over a month just trying to live the dream, but who are now just trying to live.

*Update* about two hours after this post went live, the Empire League had this to say on their Facebook page.

When’s Our Opening Day?

Today is the day! MLB Opening Day will be here at 1:05 pm when the first pitch is thrown between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Although MLB Opening Day is upon us and affiliated minor league games will be starting later this week, indy ball players and fans have to wait just a little bit longer to get their seasons started.

The first independent league to get their season started will be the Atlantic League on Thursday April 21st. The day’s schedule looks like this:
York Revolution @ New Britain Bees
Lancaster Barnstormers @ Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Bridgeport Bluefish @ Sugar Land Skeeters
Long Island Ducks @ Somerset Patriots

Next up will be the Frontier League on Thursday May 12th with two games on the schedule:
Joliet @ Windy City
River City @ Lake Erie

The rest of the league will start their season the following day:
River City @ Lake Erie
Washington @ Gateway
Joliet @ Normal
Traverse City @ Southern Illinois
Schaumburg @ Evansville
Windy City @ Florence

Thursday May 19th will be Opening Day for the American Association, the Can-Am League and the Pecos League.
American Association schedule:
Winnipeg @ Joplin
Texas @ Kansas City
Fargo-Moorhead @ Laredo
Gary SouthShore @ St. Paul
Sioux Falls @ Sioux City
Lincoln @Wichita

Can-Am schedule:
New Jersey @ Ottawa
Sussex County @ Rockland
Quebec @ Trois-Rivieres

Pecos League schedule:
Trinidad @ Garden City
Salina @ Great Bend
Sante Fe @ Tucson
White Sands @ Alpine

The Pacific Association will hold their Opening Day on Tuesday May 31st with:
San Rafael @ Pittsburg
Vallejo @ Sonoma

There will also be two different independent leagues looking to have their first Opening Day this year.

The United Shore Pro Baseball League will hold their first game on Monday May 30th when the Utica Unicorns face the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers at Jimmy John’s Field (the home field for all three teams in the league.) You can find more information about the United Shore League by checking out our Q&A HERE.

And finally, Friday June 3rd will mark the first Opening Day for the Empire League. Their schedule looks like this:
Sullivan Explorers @ Old Orchard Beach Surge
Watertown Bucks @ New Hampshire Wild

With more than a month until independent league opening days, those teams are still looking to add players for the season. If interested, check out our Indy Ball Tryouts Page.