Empire Professional Baseball League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Empire League
Empire Baseball League logo.png
Sport Baseball
Founded 2015
No. of teams 6
Country United States
Official website EmpireProLeague.com

The Empire Professional Baseball League is an independent baseball league that began play in 2016.[1] The Empire League plays a 70-game regular season followed by a five-game post season. The six-team league consists of two teams from Upstate New York, two from Puerto Rico, one from Maine, and one from New Hampshire. League offices are in Tampa, Florida.

History[edit]

The Empire League is a replacement of the North Country Baseball League, which folded after one season (and was itself a last-minute replacement for the East Coast Baseball League, which disbanded before the start of the 2015 season).[2] The league fielded four teams based in the states of New York, New Hampshire and Maine for its inaugural season.

It is a low-budget league meant to give players recently graduated from college or with little professional experience an opportunity at staying in shape and providing them the chance at being signed to higher level league contracts with affiliated or independent teams. All league funding comes from advertisement sales, ticket sales and tryout revenue.

The league is operated by Eddie Gonzalez, former professional baseball player and NAIA All-American at Webber International University. Gonzalez is also a former NCBL executive.[3]

The Sullivan Explorers, despite finishing the regular season with a losing record, won the 2016 league championship over the regular season winner Watertown Bucks.[4]

Prior to the league's second season, the Watertown Bucks lost the lease to their stadium and were replaced by the Plattsburgh Redbirds. The New Hampshire Wild ceased operations and were replaced by a team from Puerto Rico; however, since a stadium deal in Puerto Rico had not yet been finalized, the team played the 2017 season as a travel team.[5]

The league expanded to six teams for the 2018 season with two new franchises selected from four of the nine interested parties visited in 2017.[6] On February 23, 2018, the league announced that one team will be a revival of the New Hampshire Wild,[7] and the sixth team would be the return of the New York Bucks, formerly known as the Watertown Bucks.[8][9]

On May 31, 2018, the league announced the Puerto Rico Islanders will play in Rincon, Puerto Rico, and the Sullivan Explorers will be known as the Aguada Explorers.[10]

Teams[edit]

Team First Season City Stadium
Aguada Explorers 2016 Aguada, Puerto Rico Parque Guillermo Guillito Hernández
New Hampshire Wild 2016 Concord, New Hampshire Memorial Field
New York Bucks 2015 Canton, New York Canton Field (SUNY Canton)
Old Orchard Beach Surge 2016 Old Orchard Beach, Maine The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach
Plattsburgh Redbirds 2017 Plattsburgh, New York Chip Cummings Field
Puerto Rico Islanders 2017 Rincón, Puerto Rico Rincon Stadium

Champions[edit]

Year Champion Runner-up Result
2016 Sullivan Explorers Watertown Bucks 2-0 (best-of 3)
2017 Plattsburgh Redbirds Old Orchard Beach Surge 3-1 (best-of 5)
2018 Puerto Rico Islanders New York Bucks 2-1 (best-of 3)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Are We in for Another Summer of New Indy Leagues?". Indy Ball Island. December 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ "North Country Baseball League folds". Indy Ball Island. November 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ "City Council to consider agreement with Watertown Bucks for 2016". Watertown Daily Times. January 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONSSSSS!!!!! – Explorers Baseball". Sullivan Explorers. August 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report". OurSports Central. November 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ Empire Media (August 25, 2017). "Empire League Set to Expand to 6 Teams Next Season". empireproleague.com. Empire Professional Baseball League. Retrieved January 6, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Wild to play its games in New Hampshire". Empire Professional Baseball League. February 23, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Empire Announces All Team Locations For 2018". Empire Professional Baseball League. April 12, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  9. ^ St. Clair, Ricky (June 13, 2018). "RedBirds prepped for second EPBL season". Press-Republican. Plattsburgh, New York. Retrieved August 1, 2018. The Bucks, who were originally slated to play their home games at the Sports at the Beach complex in Georgetown, Delaware, will call SUNY Canton home. 
  10. ^ Empire Media (May 31, 2018). "EMPIRE LEAGUE TO PLAY IN PUERTO RICO THIS SEASON". empireproleague.com. Empire Professional Baseball League. Retrieved June 2, 2018. 

External links[edit]