Tag Archives: independent baseball

Movement of Pitching Mound Already Causing Issues Within the Atlantic League

The Atlantic League has reached the halfway mark in their season…

And with that milestone, the pitching mound is set to make it’s move.

Two years ago, the MLB announced that they would experiment with rule changes in the Atlantic League, one of which being to move the pitching mound back to 62 feet 6 inches.

When Rob Manfred, the MLB commissoner, was interviewed by NBC Sports in an article from March 2019, he didn’t seem too concerned about the pitchers:

Baseball also is using the independent Atlantic League for experiments, such as increasing the distance from the mound to home plate to 62½ feet from 60 feet, 6 inches. When Kay suggested pitchers would get injured, Manfred quipped: “That’s why we’re doing it in the Atlantic League.”

NBC Sports

There was plenty of backlash and concern of injury from players and teams, and ultimately, the league did not move the mound in 2019.

Last year, the Atlantic League did not play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so any new experimental rule had to be put on hold again.

However, the Atlantic League is back in full swing this year, and it appears as though MLB and the Atlantic League will go through with the moving of the mound starting tomorrow (August 3rd).

The new distance – 61 feet 5 inches – will be put into place for the second half of the season… with dire consequences if a player refuses to play.

The goal is to give the hitters a better chance of hitting due to the increasing velocity in pitches. The moving of the mound at the halfway point will be used to have two separate sets of data, a control group at the normal distance for the first half of the season and an experimental group with the new distance for the second half of the season.

But what about the players and teams that are still concerned with injuries (not to mention the logistics for a team having to literally move a mound that has been in place since the stadium was built).

Indy Ball Report (@indyballpod on Twitter) has reported on the topic as well.

I believe that the “grace period” suggested in the above report may have ended at 11:59pm last night (August 1st).

A list of Atlantic Transactions can be found HERE although I do not know how complete they may be.

And if you’re looking for an honest opinion on what is happening, it doesn’t appear as though you will get it from any of the managers and coaches involved in the league.

If there is one bright spot in all of this, JJ Cooper did report in April 2021 that since the reports of moving the mound came out two years ago, there has been research done on pitchers and mound distance from an injury standpoint. Baseball America reported:

Since that 2019 proposal, there has been research that may allay some of the injury concerns. Dr. Glenn Fleisig and the American Sports Medicine Institute conducted a randomized study that found that pitchers’ biomechanics did not change when they threw from the traditional 60.5 feet, 62.5 feet or 63.7 feet.

In that study, 26 college pitchers were asked to throw five fastballs each from the three different distances in a randomized order. The study found their mechanics were not altered by the differences in distance.

The summary of that paper, published in ScienceDirect, stated that “No significant differences in pitching kinetics and kinematics were observed among the varying pitching distances. Ball velocity and strike percentage were also not significantly different among the pitching distances, however, the duration of ball flight and horizontal and vertical break significantly increased with pitching distance … In conclusion, it is unlikely that moving the mound backwards would significantly affect pitching biomechanics and injury risk; however, the effects on pitching and hitting performance are unknown.”

But that’s just one study of college level pitchers…. should professional pitchers really be asked to use their arms and their careers as an experimental game for the MLB? Especially when refusing will not allow them to compete in any top league in the United States or Canada thanks to the top independent leagues all becoming partner leagues over the last year.

Indy Ball Island will continue reporting on this issue as the story plays out.

Équipe Québec Gets To Go HOME!

Over the last few weeks, there have been talks about Équipe Québec, currently a travel team in the Frontier League, being able to play home in Canada this season.

With the MLB announcing the Blue Jays return to Toronto, it began to look more and more promising that Québec would be able to return home as well.

On July 15th, Le Soleil – a newspaper based out of Québec – reported that July 30th was the intended date but was still pending some final clearances.

“We are going to play on July 30, in Quebec, all that remains is to ensure that the protocol is put in place to do so and meet the requirements that will be asked of us. It would surprise me enormously if it did not work ”, confided the president of the Capitales Michel Laplante.

Last night, Le Soleil again reported that Québec and Trois-Rivières were preparing to bring baseball to their home stadiums.

Finally today, the Frontier League made the announcement official. After a season of straight road games, long bus rides, hotel stays and not being able to return home… Équipe Québec will be able to return home and play games in Canada starting on July 30th.


Opening of Canadian Border Enables Return Home for Équipe Québec

(July 21, 2021, Illinois) The Frontier League of Professional Baseball, along with member teams Québec Capitales and Trois-Rivières Aigles, has announced the start of Frontier League play in Québec Province beginning Friday, July 30th.

The two Québec teams, which for the 2021 baseball season have merged their players onto one team playing as Équipe Québec, along with their United States-based opponents, will be strictly following Canadian protocols and guidelines for travel in and out of the country and for hosting games in the cities of Québec and Trois-Rivières.  Until then, the team will continue its eleven consecutive weeks on the road in the US which began on May 27th.

“We are overjoyed to finally be playing games in Québec and to be doing so in a safe and responsible manner as required by the various Canadian governmental agencies” said Jon Danos, Frontier League CEO.  “Since the Frontier League’s merger with the Can Am League prior to the pandemic, we have envisioned this as a signature day celebrating the Frontier League’s unique footprint combining the two countries’ love of baseball and commitment to family friendly entertainment.”

The team will play 21 home games, shared between the cities of Québec and Trois-Rivières, from July 30th to September 12th.  Québec City will host three games vs. the New York Boulders at Stade Canac beginning Friday, July 30th and Trois Rivières will host the Tri-City ValleyCats at Stade Quillorama for three games beginning Tuesday, August 3rd.

Team officials with the Québec Capitales and Trois-Rivières Aigles will continue their collaboration with governmental agencies to ensure full compliance with evolving safety and sanitation protocols.