Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball

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This article is about the modern "Can-Am League". For the original "Can-Am League", which operated between 1936 and 1951, see Canadian-American League.
Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball
Canadian-American Association.png
Can-Am League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 2005
No. of teams 5
Countries USA
Canada
Most recent champion(s) Rockland Boulders
Most titles Québec Capitales (6)
Official website canamleague.com

The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, informally referred to as the Can-Am League, is a professional, independent baseball league based in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Although the league initially featured teams throughout the Northeastern United States as well as in Quebec and Ontario in Canada, the league currently has four teams in Quebec and the New York metropolitan area with teams based in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec; Quebec City, Quebec; Little Falls, New Jersey; and Pomona, New York.

It operated in cities not served by Major or Minor League teams and is not affiliated with either. The level of play is comparable to that in Class A leagues.

The Association is usually referred to as the Can-Am League. This was also the name of the Canadian-American League, which operated between 1936 and 1951. The current Can-Am League was formed in 2005 after the Northeast League was reorganized.

Policies and practices[edit]

Policies[edit]

The Can-Am League schedule is a relatively short-season, with mid level salary caps to help keep league costs to a minimum. Several league policies serve to prevent dominance by owners who can out-spend their opposition:

A league salary cap is a maximum amount that can be spent on the entire player roster. Teams may apportion it among players as they see fit. Certain players are given coaching duties, by which to earn additional pay. The maximum salary cap for a rostered player is about $4,000 every one to two months, depending on the roster size. However most players make about $2-3,000 every month. There are some rostered players that make the max every two months. There are no players in the league that make more than $4,000 per month. Rosters are limited to 22 players once the regular season begins. An additional two players can be on the disabled list (which is referred to on some published rosters as the disabled/inactive list, and is sometimes used to ensure that a player under contract that a team does not wish to use is unavailable to opponents).

League roster rules give each player an LS (Length of Service) rating, based on the number of full years the player has played professionally: Rookie, LS-1 through LS-5, and Veteran. Teams can carry at most four veterans and must carry at least five rookies. Some published rosters state the LS rating of each player.

Source: Can-Am League Roster Rules

Scheduling[edit]

The Can-Am League has played regular seasons of between 92 and 96 games. In years when one of the teams is a league-operated traveling team, the franchises play an increased number of home games to keep the total length of the regular season constant. All games a franchise plays against the traveling team are played at the franchise's ballpark. However, half of those games are designated "home games" for the traveling team, which takes the field first and bats last as though the game were played at the traveling team's "home."

From 2007–2009, the schedule has not been perfectly balanced, either in the number of times a team will play each of its opponents, nor in the division of home and away games for a given team.

Opponents play a series of from three to five games on consecutive days. There are no doubleheaders in the original schedule, but doubleheaders are played after weather cancels or suspends a game. Occasionally, for the nearby franchises in Massachusetts and New Jersey, the original schedule does not put all the games of a series at the same ballpark. For example, the teams may travel to the visitor's ballpark for the middle game of a series.

History since 2012[edit]

On November 30, 2011, Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff, who is also the commissioner of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, announced that the two leagues would play an interlocking schedule for the 2012 season. As part of this arrangement, the Can-Am League will expand its schedule to 100 games beginning on May 17, 2012. In addition, the five franchises in the Can-Am League will travel to the American Association cities to play ten total games against various American Association teams while five teams from the AA will do the same for the Can-Am League teams.[1] The arrangement will continue for 2013 and is similar to the arrangement with the Northeast League and the former Northern League (a piece of the former components of the American Association) that was in place until 2002, but the league will continue its own playoffs.

Teams[edit]

Current teams[edit]

Team Founded City Stadium Capacity
New Jersey Jackals 1998 Little Falls, New Jersey Yogi Berra Stadium 3,784
Ottawa Champions 2015 Ottawa, Ontario Ottawa Baseball Stadium 10,332
Québec Capitales 1999 Quebec City, Quebec Stade Municipal 4,800
Rockland Boulders 2011 Ramapo, New York Provident Bank Park 4,750
Sussex Can-Am League Team 2015 Augusta, New Jersey Skylands Park 4,200
Trois-Rivières Aigles 2013 Trois-Rivières, Quebec Stade Fernand-Bédard 4,500

[2] Former Can-Am League Franchises

History[edit]

The Canadian-American Association was created when the Northeast League was renamed in 2005. The Northeast League was formed in 1995 and played four seasons as an independent league. At the end of the 1998 season, the Northeast League was merged with the Northern League and became that league's East Division. Although the East Division did not play the teams that were already in the Northern League during the regular season, the respective divisions played each other in an all-star game every summer and in a league championship series every fall from 1999 until 2002. The Northeast League became its own entity again for the 2003 season and continued play for one additional year before the renaming of the league.

New charter in 2005[edit]

The Allentown Ambassadors had folded days before the 2004 season began, forcing the Northeast League to field a traveling team called the Aces. For the 2005 season, the Northeast League accepted the Worcester Tornadoes as a new eighth team. However, three weeks before the start of the 2005 season, the Bangor Lumberjacks folded, forcing the team to create another traveling team, this time called The Grays.

The league has operated a traveling team whenever necessary to provide an even number of teams. However, doing so forces the other franchises to host more home games to provide a season of the same length. To obviate such disruptive last-minute schedule changes in the future, the Northeast League adopted a new charter, giving the league new powers to ensure that its franchises are solvent, and renamed itself the Canadian-American Association.

Subsequent changes[edit]

For 2006, the Can-Am League added two teams. The new Sussex Skyhawks replaced the Elmira Pioneers, which moved into the amateur New York Collegiate Baseball League; and the Nashua Pride joined the league from the Atlantic League. There were now eight teams without a traveling team.

For 2007, the Atlantic City Surf joined from the Atlantic League, and the league re-established The Grays, after a year of dormancy, as a tenth team. At the end of that season, both the New Haven County Cutters and the North Shore Spirit suspended operations, reducing the league to eight teams. Many New Haven player contracts were sold to Nashua, while many Spirit players were placed on waivers.

For 2008, Ottawa, which had lost its franchise in the International League, joined the Can-Am League as the Rapidz, an eighth franchise, displacing the Grays.

After the 2008 season, Rapids management declared bankruptcy. The league declared its intention to operate the Ottawa franchise in 2009. The league changed the team's name back to Rapids, a spelling used during the team's founding (Rapides in French).[3] Later, however, the Commissioner stated the need for a "fresh start" and opened a contest to select a new name for the team.[4] The winning name was "Voyageurs", as seen above.

Still later, the Atlantic City franchise was terminated, as a sale fell through. On March 30, 2009, the league announced that it would shrink to six teams rather than having two league-operated teams.[5]

The Nashua Pride franchise was sold and was known in 2009 as the American Defenders of New Hampshire because of the military tie-ins of its new ownership group. During the 2009 season the Defenders were locked out of Holman Stadium and forced to play their last home games on the road, bringing doubt to the future of baseball in Nashua. The Quebec Capitales would go on to win their second League Championship.

On December 19, 2009 league directors preliminarily gave approval to transfer the membership of the American Defenders of New Hampshire from Nashua, NH, to Pittsfield, Massachusetts for play in the 2010 season. Final approval was granted by the city for use of Wahconah Park on February 1.[6] The ownership group headed by Buddy Lewis had a lease on Wahconah Park for a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and transferred the current lease for play in the Can-Am League. Dan Duquette, current Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles, is also part of the ownership group, which is known as Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC.[7] The team was renamed the Pittsfield Colonials.

After the 2010 season the Sussex franchise was folded after its ownership group decided to focus its resources on the New Jersey Jackals, their primary team, and could not find a buyer. In its place, the league awarded the Rockland Boulders a franchise and added the New York Federals as a traveling team. Pittsfield's franchise charter was rescinded after the 2011 season and the Colonials folded after ownership could not find partners. Brockton elected to move to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League for 2012 and remains there as of 2013, although they initially had reserved the right to return. At the end of the 2012 season the Worcester charter was rescinded and the league decided to try to find new owners for the Tornadoes, but failed to do so and awarded the franchise instead to the Trois-Rivieres, Quebec group. Finally, Newark decided to cease operations after the 2013 season.

In 2014, the Can-Am League announced that a fifth team, based in Ottawa, would join the league for 2015. The league later announced it would be returning to Sussex County, New Jersey as well, and announced that a traveling team would join the Ottawa Champions and the as yet unnamed Sussex County team to create a balanced schedule, with will continue to include matchups with the American Association.

Playoffs[edit]

Before 2006, the Northeast/Can-Am League employed a two-division setup for its half-season format. The two teams that were leading their respective divisions, designated North and South, at the end of the first half of the season automatically qualified for the playoffs. Two additional playoff spots would be made available. Once again, these went to division winners if the first half champions failed to repeat. Otherwise, one or more wild card spots would be given based on the team's overall record in both halves. If absolutely necessary, a one-game playoff would be played in case of a tie.

Beginning in 2006, the league abandoned divisional play. The first half-season leader automatically qualified for the playoffs, as did the second half-season leader if there was a second. To round the field out at four, two or more wild-card spots were given to teams with the best overall season record.

With the reduction of the size of the league to five teams for 2012, the playoffs were reworked again. The half-season format was abandoned altogether and the two teams with the best full-season records in the league advanced to play in the League Championship series.

Until 1998, the playoffs were conducted as two best of three series, with the winner of both series winning the League Championship. From 1999 until 2011, the playoffs were conducted as best-of-five series throughout. With the change in 2012, the two playoff teams play a best-of-seven series to decide the league champion.

With the expansion of the league to come in 2015, the league announced it would be returning to a four team playoff with the teams with the four best records over a 97-game season qualifying.

Champions[edit]

For a listing of the Northeast League's champions, please see Northeast League.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official Website of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball". CanAmLeague.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  2. ^ "Official Website of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball". CanAmLeague.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  3. ^ Campbell, Don (November 14, 2008). "Ottawa's Can-Am 'run' not over yet". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved November 14, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Can-Am team in need of name". The Ottawa Citizen. November 14, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Can-Am to Go with Six Clubs in 2009". Can-Am League. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  6. ^ "Pro baseball back - Berkshire Eagle Online". Berkshireeagle.com. 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  7. ^ "Official Website of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball". CanAmLeague.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 

External links[edit]