Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the previous incarnations of the Atlantic League, which operated between 1896 and 1900 and in 1914, see Atlantic League (1896–1900) and Atlantic League (1914).
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
Atlantic League logo.svg
Sport Baseball
Founded 1998
No. of teams 8
Country United States
Most recent champion(s) Lancaster Barnstormers (2nd Title)
Most titles Somerset Patriots (5)
Official website atlanticleague.com

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a professional, independent baseball organization located primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of the Northeast megalopolis. It operates in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The Atlantic League requires cities to have the market for a 4,000 to 7,500-seat ballpark and for the facility to be maintained at or above AAA standards.[1] When Atlantic League professionals are signed by MLB clubs, they usually start in their Double-A or Triple-A affiliates.[2]

History[edit]

In 1998, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball played its inaugural season, with teams in Somerset, Newark, and Atlantic City, New Jersey; Nashua, New Hampshire; Newburgh, New York; and Bridgeport, Connecticut. The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets' objection to Frank Boulton's proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.

In 2010, the league announced that it would be expanding to Sugar Land, Texas and adding its first franchise not located in an Atlantic coast state.[3] The Sugar Land Skeeters began play in 2012. In 2010, amid financial struggles, the Newark Bears moved from the Atlantic League to the Can-Am League, leaving the Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset Patriots as the only teams remaining from the league's inaugural season.[4] In the summer of 2013, then-ALPB President Frank Boulton announced that he would be resigning so that he could devote more time to operating the Long Island Ducks. He was replaced by longtime high-ranking Major League Baseball executive Rick White.[5] In 2014, the league announced further expansion. The Virginia Beach Neptunes would begin play at Wheeler Field when construction on the ballpark is completed in 2016.[6] On July 8, 2015, the Atlantic League began using Rawlings baseballs with red and blue seams, virtually unused in the sport since the American League swapped the blue in their seams for red in 1934.[7]

The Atlantic League is generally regarded as the most successful and highest level of baseball among independent leagues.[8][9] Many notable former and future Major League ballplayers including Roger Clemens, Rickey Henderson, Scott Kazmir, Dontrelle Willis, Juan González, John Rocker and José Canseco have played in the league and several have coached, including Gary Carter, Tommy John, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle. The Atlantic League has consistently posted higher per game and per season attendance numbers than rival independent circuits including the American Association, Can-Am League, Frontier League and United League.[10][11][12][13] In 2015, the Atlantic League experienced a watershed moment for independent baseball when it signed a formal agreement with Major League Baseball which put into writing the rules which the ALPB would follow in selling its players' contracts to MLB clubs and their affiliates. This marked the first time that MLB, which has enjoyed a U.S. Supreme Court-granted antitrust exemption since 1922, had made any formal agreement with or acknowledgment of a independent baseball league.[14] The league also established a minor league partnership with the North Country Baseball League, allowing players from that league to be called up to Atlantic League rosters.[15]

Current franchises[edit]

League timeline[edit]

Virginia Beach Neptunes Sugar Land Skeeters Southern Maryland Blue Crabs York Revolution Lancaster Barnstormers Camden Riversharks Long Island Ducks Aberdeen Arsenal Somerset Patriots Pennsylvania Road Warriors Pennsylvania Road Warriors Newburgh Black Diamonds Newark Bears Nashua Pride Bridgeport Bluefish Atlantic City Surf

League members Moved to another league Team announced to join league

Former teams[edit]

Team City Stadium Capacity Seasons History
Aberdeen Arsenal Bel Air, Maryland Thomas Run Park 1,000 2000 Replaced by the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles Class-A affiliate).
Atlantic City Surf Atlantic City, New Jersey The Sandcastle 5,500 1998–2006 Moved to Can-Am League, folded prior to the 2009 season.
Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds Quakertown, Pennsylvania Memorial Park 800 1999–2001 Formerly the Newburgh Black Diamonds (1998). Became the first Pennsylvania Road Warriors.
Nashua Pride Nashua, New Hampshire Holman Stadium 4,375 1998–2005 Moved to Can-Am League, later relocated to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, folded at the end of the 2011 season.
Newark Bears Newark, New Jersey Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium 6,200 1998–2010 Moved to Can-Am League, folded prior to the 2014 season.
Newburgh Black Diamonds Newburgh, New York Delano-Hitch Stadium 3,100 1998 Became the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds (1999–2002), which became the first Pennsylvania Road Warriors (2002–2004).
Pennsylvania Road Warriors Pennsylvania     2002–2004 Formerly the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds (1999–2002), which had been the Newburgh Black Diamonds (1998). Dissolved by league to make way for the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Road Warriors       2006–2007, 2011 Dissolved by league to make way for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, reformed in 2011 after the loss of Newark Bears, dissolved again to make way for the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Atlantic League team map

Atlantic League Championship Series[edit]

Year Winner Division Games Loser Division Games
1998 Atlantic City Surf South 3 Bridgeport Bluefish North 1
1999 Bridgeport Bluefish North 3 Somerset Patriots North 0
2000 Nashua Pride North 3 Somerset Patriots South 0
2001 Somerset Patriots South 3 Newark Bears North 2
2002 Newark Bears South 3 Bridgeport Bluefish North 0
2003 Somerset Patriots South 3 Nashua Pride North 2
2004 Long Island Ducks North 3 Camden Riversharks South 0
2005 Somerset Patriots South 3 Nashua Pride North 0
2006 Lancaster Barnstormers South 3 Bridgeport Bluefish North 0
2007 Newark Bears North 3 Somerset Patriots South 1
2008 Somerset Patriots Freedom 3 Camden Riversharks Liberty 1
2009 Somerset Patriots Freedom 3 Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Liberty 1
2010 York Revolution Freedom 3 Bridgeport Bluefish Liberty 0
2011 York Revolution Freedom 3 Long Island Ducks Liberty 1
2012 Long Island Ducks Liberty 3 Lancaster Barnstormers Freedom 2
2013 Long Island Ducks Liberty 3 Somerset Patriots Freedom 2
2014 Lancaster Barnstormers Freedom 3 Sugar Land Skeeters Freedom 0

All-star games[edit]

Year Location Stadium Winner Score
1998 Atlantic City, New Jersey The Sandcastle Atlantic City 6–4
1999 Bridgeport, Connecticut The Ballpark at Harbor Yard South 8–3
2000 Bridgewater, New Jersey Commerce Bank Ballpark North 2–0
2001 Newark, New Jersey Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium North 10–0
2002 Central Islip, New York Citibank Park South 4–1
2003 Nashua, New Hampshire Holman Stadium South 2–1
2004 Camden, New Jersey Campbell's Field North 10–8
2005 Atlantic City, New Jersey The Sandcastle North 9–6
2006 Bridgeport, Connecticut The Ballpark at Harbor Yard North 4–1
2007 Lancaster, Pennsylvania Clipper Magazine Stadium North 8–6
2008 Bridgewater, New Jersey Commerce Bank Ballpark Freedom 8–6
2009 Newark, New Jersey Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium Liberty 7–5
2010 Central Islip, New York Suffolk County Sports Park Liberty 7–1
2011 York, Pennsylvania Sovereign Bank Stadium Freedom 7–0
2012 Camden, New Jersey Campbell's Field Freedom 9–5
2013 Waldorf, Maryland Regency Furniture Stadium Freedom 2–1
2014 Sugar Land, Texas Constellation Field Sugar Land 5–3
2015 Bridgeport, Connecticut The Ballpark at Harbor Yard Freedom 5–1

League records[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Atlantic League Market Requirements". Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved May 6, 2006. 
  2. ^ Walk, John (18 May 2012). Ian Thomas earns first affiliated contract. Published by The York Dispatch.
  3. ^ Reichard, Kevin (May 17, 2010). "Atlantic League to expand to Sugar Land". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Reichard, Kevin (October 6, 2010). "It’s official: Bears to Can-Am Association". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Merrill, Everett (February 5, 2014). "Atlantic League’s New President Wants To Innovate". Baseball America (TEN: The Enthusiast Network). Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Smith, Richard (July 22, 2014). "The Atlantic League Welcomes The Virginia Beach Neptunes". Stadium Journey. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Fagan, Ryan (June 30, 2015). "Atlantic League set to introduce red, white and blue baseballs". Sporting News. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Fehrman, Craig (May 9, 2012). "Down And Out In Baseball's Indie Leagues; Or, What Made Tommy John Want To Rake The Infield?". Deadspin (Gawker Media). Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Creation of developmental indy league announced". Ballgamers. June 28, 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Knight, Graham. "Independent Leagues 2014 Attendance". BaseballPilgrimages.com. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Recihard, Kevin (September 16, 2013). "2013 Independent Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 24, 2012). "2012 Independent Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 19, 2011). "2011 Independent Average Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  14. ^ Cooper, J.J. (May 15, 2015). "MLB, Atlantic League Sign Player Transfer Agreement". Baseball America (TEN: The Enthusiast Network). Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Bakan, Josh (July 25, 2015). Newts' three-week run in Newburgh lacked financing and foresight. Times Herald-Record. Retrieved August 2, 2015. “Baseball-wise, the league intends to develop players to hopefully make the Atlantic League, an independent organization.”

External links[edit]

Team websites[edit]