Futures Collegiate Baseball League

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Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Current season, competition or edition:
2013 FCBL season
Futures-collegiate-baseball-league-logo1.jpg
Sport Baseball
Founded 2010
Commissioner Chris Hall
Motto Who will be the first?
No. of teams 10
Country  United States
Most recent champion(s) Martha's Vineyard Sharks
Official website thefuturesleague.com

The Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) is a 10-team collegiate summer baseball league. It has six franchises in Massachusetts, two in New Hampshire, and one each in Connecticut and Maine.

Format[edit]

The Futures League is a wood-bat league.[1] Its regular season consists of 54 games per team (27 home and 27 away games).

FCBL ballplayers are unpaid collegiate athletes who join the league to gain experience and exposure to Major League Baseball scouts. The FCBL mission is to prepare young men for the rigors of playing professional baseball. Five teams play in ballparks formerly occupied by professional clubs.

Roster rules[edit]

The league accepts players who were on college baseball rosters during the preceding spring season. League rules require that at least 15 of the 30 players on a roster have a local connection, either having attended high school in New England or currently attending college in New England.

History[edit]

The Futures League was co-developed by:

The Carminucci Sports Group sought to place an NECBL franchise on the island of Martha's Vineyard and the Spinners hoped to do the same in Nashua, N.H. The NECBL declined to expand, so the organizations formed a separate league.[2] The FCBL aimed to use professional baseball operators with proven histories, whereas other summer collegiate leagues were mostly run by volunteers.

The league started play in the 2011 season. Martha's Vineyard, Nashua, Seacoast, and Torrington were the charter franchises. The Championship paired the top two franchises in a best-of-three series. Nashua (27-16) won the regular season and defeated Torrington (25-17) for the Championship.[3]

Expansion in 2012[edit]

For the 2012 season, the FCBL expanded from four to nine teams. The league expanded into the Leominster/Fitchburg, Massachusetts area with the addition of the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs. In addition, the FCBL induced the North Shore and Old Orchard Beach franchises to jump from the NECBL, as well as the Pittsfield and Brockton franchises of the professional, independent Can-Am League to convert to the collegiate format.

The Pittsfield franchise was operated by majority owner Marvin Goldklang and the Goldklang Group, which owns and operates four other minor-league baseball teams. The move by the Brockton franchise was described as a one-year "hiatus" from professional baseball, but it continued in 2013.

An all-star game was played, pitting selected players from the four charter teams against the five new teams.

The post-season was also revamped to involve four of the nine teams. The winners of two best-of-three division series (#4 plays #1, #3 plays #2) competed in a best-of-three championship series.[4] Nashua repeated as FCBL Champion.

2013 season[edit]

The 2013 season was played with the same nine franchises as in 2012. The playoffs were expanded to include the top 6 teams of the 9. The teams finishing first and second got a first-round bye, with the remaining playoff teams to play a new initial round consisting of a single game.[5]

Earlier, there had been boilerplate text on a league press release[6] that "The FCBL is planning and negotiating with other locations for further expansion in the 2013 season." Speculation had centered on Worcester, Massachusetts, where the Worcester Tornadoes had lost its affiliation with the Can-Am League. A Tornadoes creditor, John Creedon Jr., was in discussions with the College of the Holy Cross to secure a lease for Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.[7]

The all-star game was structured as Massachusetts versus "New England" (the four non-Massachusetts teams).

The regular season was extended by two days (to August 9 and 10) in view of the season's many rain-outs. The games scheduled for these days sometimes were not against opponents that were due to complete a rained-out game. The one-game play-in games occurred on the afternoon of August 11 — not at the site of the higher-seeded team, but at the site of the winner's opponent in the next round, which began the same evening. This next round, a best-of-three series, was slated for alternating sites, though in neither case was the third game necessary. The final round reverted to the prior year's rule, in which the higher-seeded team (in this case, Martha's Vineyard) had the option of hosting the first game or any remaining games. Martha's Vineyard elected to open the series in Nashua, on August 14, and won the series at home the next day.

2014 season[edit]

On September 20, 2013, John Creedon Jr., who prior to the 2013 season had discussed bringing baseball back to the city of Worcester, announced that he would indeed operate the league's tenth franchise at Fitton Field starting in 2014.[8] The new Bravehearts were unveiled on December 2, 2013. Other changes for the 2014 season include splitting the league into two divisions: East and West, as well as expansion of the season to 56 games, with each team playing 28 home games and 28 road games. The 2014 FCBL playoffs will feature six teams in a three-round format. The winner of each division will have a bye in round one. The next four teams with the best overall record will be in a winner-take-all play-in game.[9]

League officers[edit]

Chris Hall, the former general manager of the independent Nashua Pride and American Defenders of New Hampshire (which became the Pittsfield Colonials of the Can-Am League), is the FCBL’s first commissioner. Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Bob Stanley is on the League's Board of Directors and is the President of the Seacoast Mavericks. Cecil Fielder and Pete Incaviglia are advisory board members for the Torrington Titans.

Current franchises[edit]

Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Division Team Founded City Stadium
West Nashua Silver Knights 2011 Nashua, New Hampshire Holman Stadium
Pittsfield Suns 2012 Pittsfield, Massachusetts Wahconah Park
Torrington Titans 2011 Torrington, Connecticut Fuessenich Park
Wachusett Dirt Dawgs 2012 Leominster, Massachusetts Doyle Field
Worcester Bravehearts 2014 Worcester, Massachusetts Fitton Field
Division Team Founded City Stadium
East Brockton Rox 2012 Brockton, Massachusetts Campanelli Stadium
Martha's Vineyard Sharks 2011 Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts Vineyard Baseball Park
North Shore Navigators 2012 Lynn, Massachusetts Fraser Field
Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide 2012 Old Orchard Beach, Maine The Ball Park
Seacoast Mavericks 2011 Portsmouth, New Hampshire Leary Field

League champions[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]