Tag Archives: Empire League

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.

Are We in for Another Summer of New Indy Leagues?

Last off season, we highlighted many independent leagues that were looking to start in 2015.  First up were the Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League (MRPBL) and the East Coast Baseball League (ECBL). Then came word of one (and then two) leagues in the Ozark, Missouri area – The Heartland of America Baseball League and The Ozarks Pro Baseball League.

Sadly, none of them were able to have an entire season in their original form. During the summer, we recapped what happened to each;  The MRPBL played for a couple of weeks but ultimately folded. The ECBL never played a game, but it was resurrected by one of the team’s owners as the North Country Baseball League. They played a full season and had some players promoted although there were still many issues to overcome due to how quickly it had to be put together.  And Ozark, Missouri didn’t see any professional baseball games this summer as neither league could work through problems to field teams.

To say the least, this summer was not a good one for independent baseball from a new league standpoint.

But as the temperatures are starting to drop, the off season and rumors of new independent leagues are just heating up.

So far, we have heard of four leagues working on debuting in 2016 – The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), The Empire League, The Desert League, and the U.S. Baseball League.

Last month, we had a Q & A with the USPBL’s Executive Director of Baseball Operations which you can find HERE. The league is looking to field three teams that will all play in the same stadium (that is currently being built) in Utica, Michigan.

The Empire League is a continuation of the North Country Baseball League. Eddie Gonzalez, who was an essential part of the NCBL, will operate as the Empires League’s Director of Baseball and Business Operations. The league will be returning to Old Orchard Beach, Maine and Watertown, New York as well as bringing new teams to Albany and Rome, New York. We are working on getting an interview with Eddie soon!

The Desert League and the U.S. Baseball League have been quieter about their 2016 plans.

The Desert League will be looking to field teams in Arizona and California for a season that runs from August through October. Their website states that:

The Desert League of Professional Baseball is a fall Independent League that will begin its inaugural season in August. The season will run from August until October with each team playing about 60 games.  All of our players will be paid.  No player will pay to play in our league.  This is true professional baseball.

We are catering to the first year pro player.  Our goal is to help players get their foot in the door of professional baseball, there for we have adopted roster rules that require each team to carry 12 rookies. If you are looking for a place to start your professional career look no further.

I have been in talks with members of the Desert League staff and will release more information as well as a Q & A when the league has officially set their plans.

And finally, the U.S. Baseball League is looking to bring baseball to Ozark, Missouri the right way. In August, we reported that Price Cutter Park in Ozark had been purchased. It appears as though that will be the future home of the U.S. Baseball League. They are working hard to get the field ready for baseball in the near future. We will also have more information when it is released as well as a Q & A with the league before the season begins.

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