American Association, Can-Am League Join Forces for 2012 Season

PRESS RELEASE – Miles Wolff, Commissioner of the American Association and Can-Am League, announced on Wednesday that the two leagues will play an interlocking schedule for the 2012 season.

The Can-Am League will adopt the AA’s 100-game schedule, with play starting May 17 and ending September 3. Five Can-Am teams will make one 10-game road trip to AA cities, and five AA teams will play 10 games each at Can-Am ballparks, for a total of 100 interleague games.

“We are excited to be able to bring both leagues together. It will provide new competition, and fans will be able to see a variety of teams from both the U.S. and Canada,” Wolff said.

The American Association will consist of three divisions in 2012. The South Division includes the Amarillo Sox, El Paso Diablos, Grand Prairie AirHogs, and the Laredo Lemurs. The Gary SouthShore RailCats, Kansas City T-Bones, Lincoln Saltdogs, Sioux City Explorers and the Wichita Wingnuts make up the Central Division, while the North Division consists of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, St. Paul Saints, Sioux Falls Pheasants and the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

Shreveport will not operate in 2012, but its players will be assigned to the Laredo roster. The Fort Worth Cats will not play in 2012 but are expected to return in 2013.

38 Comments

Filed under League & Franchise

38 responses to “American Association, Can-Am League Join Forces for 2012 Season

  1. A-bro

    A maritime summer collegiate league in the Maritimes would be great. It would be a great way to grow the sport in eastern Canada

  2. amar

    You are correct Brian a well marketed and run team should be successful anywhere but the thing that makes certain Canadian markets conducive to being successful is A) Ottawa has a population of approximately 1 million people in the city and surrounding area. This allows them to draw from a much larger potential fan base then a place like Brockton and Worchester. And B) The North Eastern United States is pretty saturated as it is in terms of baseball content; having the NYCBL, NECBL, Futures League, Can-am teams, Atlantic League Teams, Affiliated Minor Leagues, and a number of Major League teams in the New York New Jersey Massachusetts Area. In Eastern Canada with that the Expos are gone, aside from the Blue Jays and a couple of small semi-pro leagues there are no professional or even collegiate leagues. The area is pretty untapped. If i were a prospective owner would i go to a city with a population of about 100 000 that has a number of collegiate, minor-pro an major-pro leagues within an hours distance from my city and try and carve out a slice of the pie or would i go to a place like Ottawa where i can have the whole pie and ice cream with a cherry on top as well. I’d pick Ottawa in a heartbeat. I am not trying to discredit the potential of American cities joining the Can-Am league. If the fan base is there to support it that’s perfect for the league but i am just saying that i feel as though Eastern Canada is currently an untapped baseball market hungry for professional teams and they have the ballparks and cities to support them (Ottawa stadium, Community Park, Welland Sports Complex, Stade Municipal, Kwanis Field).

  3. Brian

    But Amar, the points you make are valid in ANY city, whether it be in Canada or the US. If a team is well marketed and run correctly, they should be successful anywhere – whether it be Worcester, Newark, or Ottawa. What exactly makes Canadian markets more conducive to being successful in hosting an independent team than a US city ?

    Brian

  4. Brian

    Jerry Baseball, what do you mean that the “grounds are becoming run down” at Rockland ? I was last there in late August and everything still looked pretty pristine to me. Yes, I would have expected bigger crowds this season in Rockland, but they did get a late start with their marketing, so deserve a little more time.

    I find it laughable that people are saying the markets the Can-Am League has gone into are bad but then suggest they go into Canadian markets where there are no suitable facilities for pro ball. Ottawa was a disaster for their only season in the Can Am League and Trois Rivieres has been given several games the last couple years to prove they can draw, but have not done well. Newark, Worcester, and Brockton are all big markets and all have drawn well at one time, so obviously the issue lies more in marketing and having better owners than it does in the actual markets.

    Brian

    • amar

      It is hardly laughable to say that the Can-Am League should look at Canadian Markets. If run by the correct people baseball can thrive in places like Ottawa and Trois Rivieres. The Ottawa Stadium Group and the semi-pro Ottawa Fatcats has completely rejuvenated the city’s interest in baseball averaging about 3000 people per game and even drawing upwards of 7000 people for playoff games. The last time the Can-am league was in the Ottawa the city was at an all time low in terms of baseball interest (their triple-A team had stagnant management and they had just lost their franchise). As for Trois Rivieres there is a big difference between having a team to call their own and a weekend series being played by the Quebec Capitals which was not marketed that heavily at all. Trois Rivieres has a very strong baseball heritage and if operated by the right people could become a very strong team and great rival for the Quebec Capitales. Both ballparks are not substandard and in addition to those two ballparks Moncton has newly renovated Kwanis Field not to far away either.

  5. Jerry Baseball

    What I mean by change the business model is change the roster rules a bit. I dont think they could ever draw the talent of the Atlantic League but the roster restrictions could be tweeked. Also they have taken on some really bad markets over the years. I dont think the markets in the North East are favorable to this league. Rockland has a great stadium but no marketing. A brand new stadium sits there mostly empty for Can Am games and the grounds are becoming run down already. Quebec and New Jersey seem to run their business the right way and are able to survive. As far as the 2 remaining franchises Newark is just a bad joke at this pont and Worcester is stuggling to make it.

    • amar

      Like i said before the only way for the Can-Am to become a sustainable league is for them to strongly pursue Canadian markets. Trois Riveres, Ottawa/Gatineau, Montreal (pending someone built a ballpark) and even a franchise in Moncton New Brunswick at Kwanis Field could all be tremendously successful cities for indy ball.

    • ballparkbiz

      Jerry Baseball,

      Roster rules have very little bearing on gate receipts. More critical factors impact attendance and profit, including the economy, competence, capital, marketing, fun, entertainment, atmsophere, etc. We’ll have to give Rockland another season to see how they perform.

      Georges and amar,

      I would love to see more teams in Canada. You might as well throw Halifax into the mix. That said, it will take new or updated ballparks for all but Ottawa and Trois Rivieres, and plenty of investment capital to make any of them work.

      Alan

  6. Billy

    Ok Brian, The Rox have not folded. They are ‘dark’ for 2012. We are getting caught up in symatics here, as in my view, ‘sitting out 2012’ and folding are for all intensive purposes the same thing. While I do not know it to be fact, I really doubt the Rox are going to take this year of to recapitalize and come back in 2013 reenergized. If you would like to beleive in that possibility go right ahead, but my advice would be don’t hold your breath. It is clear from this thread of comments that you have a much more optimistic view of the state of affairs for ‘Indy Ball’ in the northeast than I do. I repect your opinion and quite frankly wish I felt the same way because I was once a player in the can-am as well as other minor leagues and I root for every team to be a successful venture. Ragarding Skylands Park, I am well aware of the success the NJ Cardinals enjoyed at the turnstyles during the first half of their tenure in Augusta. However, as the year went along, attendance decreased. Then when affiliated ball left and the Skyhawks moved in thig became economically unsustainable. I can only imagine that Fold Hall continued to operate the team only for tax purposes because he had to be losing his shirt. So, I guess your logic would be, OK, indy ball doesnt work there, then Skylands should get an affiliate club to move in. WRONG. Not happening. The facility is WAY below what an affiliate club would be looking for in a relo and it is WAY below Atlantic League standards. So Skylands is without a doubt OUT for proball unless some blind fool ties to stick a square peg in a round hole with another indy team there.

    • Jerry Baseball

      The problem is that the Can Am as a whole is no longer sustainable. In all due respects I’m sure Brian does not know the inner workings of a ball club. I went to games in Skylands there were about 200 people there The field was becoming overgrown with weeds in the warning track. The team was bleeding cash as is most Can-Am teams. Trust me when I say there are 2 more teams that I know of that are barely afloat right now It is not a good situation. My opinion is that the Can Am needs to change the business model a bit or just merge with the AA keeping 2 or 3 Can Am markets in the new league. As a whole I think The Atlantic is doing well but you can not in any way compare the 2 leagues even though they are from the same area. Nice post Billy it’s a shame it really is what is going on but you speak the truth

  7. in the know

    Very soon we will here about summer collegiate Futures League moving into Brockton. The league has 7 teams now I believe.

  8. Billy

    Johnny,

    Skylands park will not work for pro ball. Nobody shows up.

    • Billy, you are just showing your lack of knowledge. The last year the NJ Cardinals played in Skylands they averaged over 3000 fans a game (is that “nobody” ?). Yes, indy baseball was never that successful there, but how many place is it where affiliated ball was there before ? The Cardinals didn’t move because of attendance problems, they moved because their owner had procured a new ballpark in State College.

      And the Rox have not folded … read the press release.

  9. johnny regan

    i wish that the can-am league would reconsider having skylands park in the mix. plan b might have the new investors go after the atlantic or eastern league. johnny regan newton, nj

  10. Jerry Baseball

    Dear Brian I told you on the 5th that the Rox were done now it is official you dont have to check wikipedia you can see it on the league website

  11. Billy Slasher

    Amar,

    You are right. There has got to be a way to replicate the success Quebec has had in Canada.

  12. amar

    For the Can-Am to survive and become viable i think they need to seriously look at possible locations within Canada be it montreal, tois riveres, ottawa, st. cathrines and even moncton at kwanis field (semi-pro games there average 850-1000 from what i’m told). These markets should definitely be explored

    • Georges

      I agree, or better yet, make this into a league of just simply Eastern Canadian teams at best. Three or four teams in Quebec, one in Ottawa, at least one in the Maritimes, and maybe at least one more in Southern Ontario. A couple of viable U.S. teams couldn’t hurt either.

  13. Derrick

    can Am league should have put a team in Montreal… or brought back the new york federals, federals would have gotten better (hey they couldn’t have gotten any worse)

  14. Jerry Baseball

    trust me there gone you dont have to belleive me dont matter to me. Sussex was listed on their site too when they were long gone. Look for the league to maybe revive a 6th franchise but the Rox are done unless someone who wants to dump a ton of cash to pay the city of Brockton back rent steps up quick Dont count on it

  15. And if it’s in Wikipedia, then it must be true ! The Rox folding is pure speculation at this point. They are still listed on the Can Am site and no articles have been written to indicate they are out of business.

  16. Jerry Baseball

    To the poster above who mentioned a merger….The Atlantic league could not merge aith the AA or Can-Am It is totally differant rules and level of play. The expenses are much higher in the ATL as well making it even harder for a Can AM or AA team to survive

  17. Jerry Baseball

    The Rox folded. The Can Am had to do this they cant play with only 5 teams. Newark And Worcester are on the verge of going under too. Check Wikipedia under Brockton Rox and you will see they are done.

  18. Bflobaz

    I’ve not studied the attendance figures (tickets sold vs fans actually in the stands for each game) for the Indy Leagues; but they’re doing about the best they can to provide a decent quality pro ball to the fans and survive. I can’t imagine the enormous costs to operate a franchise; but let’s hope each league do the best to survive to pitch, catch and field this year, the next and as long as baseball remains a viable pro sport.

    Perhaps the various leagues ought to consider mergers. It doesn’t mean every team needs to play every other team each season. While it may be apples and oranges, but the NFL has two major divisions and I’m not sure each team in the NFC or AFC play each team each year within their division.

    And then there is the matter of “better for the fans with more teams to see”. That’s more likely so when a league only has 5-8 teams. More teams, less frequent opportunity at boredom created by seeing the same teams too often.

    I’m not saying Indy Ball needs to compete with the structure of the affiliated leagues; but having an Indy Championship might be exciting and mean more to the players and fans as the teams give more effort to their standing and play on the field in order to qualify. I don’t know how this will affect the quality in each league, but a rising tide lifts all boats.

    The bottom line, in minor league sports, does anyone really care that much who the opponent is? Fans don’t often know the names of players as much as they do at the major league level. That’s why the minors have so much more going on in the stands and the field so that attending is more than watching the game. Attending becomes an event and a great time. Also winning has something to do with the number of fans in the stands. Be competitive and have a good winning record and you’ll likely see an increase in attendance. Have a lousy team and get blown-out and have little chance to win — the fans stay home.

  19. Billy Slasher

    Let’s just wait for more information to come out. The whole situation should become clearer over the coming months.

  20. The AA may have played an unbalanced scheduled last year, but they didn’t have an odd number of teams. There is no way that they would have gone into ’12 with 13 teams – if you think they would have, you are very naive.

    I still don’t understand – how does undertaking expensive road trips help the Can-Am League ? I’m really trying to understand how this move helps the Can-Am League.

  21. Billy Slasher

    I get the impression that the can-am only has five teams now because the press release said that “Five Can-Am teams will make one 10-game road trip to AA cities…”. Maybe one team plans to not participate in the interleague scheduling but I don’t think that is the case. Additionally, Alan from ballparkbiz said in an above post that Brockton is not scheduled for interleague play.

    Why would they take on the expenses? Who knows, but have you seen some of the stuff coming out of Newark the past few years? Not to mention the amazingly ridiculous goings on since the ‘new ownership group’ officially took the reigns.
    The fact that the AA has 13 teams has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this. They already played an unblanced schedule last year and could have operated essentially the same way this year without a travel team or Fort Worth. THIS INTERGRATION MOVE IS DRIVEN EXCLUSIVELY BY THE ECONOMIC PERIL IN THE CAN-AM.

  22. Billy, where do you get the idea that the Can-Am League only has 5 teams ? There has been no official word from anyone that one of the existing teams has gone under. The AA has officially said that they only have 13 teams. So as of this moment, I have to believe it was the AA that necessitated this move. Why would the Can-Am League want to take on added expenses if their teams were “dangling by threads” ? That seems like suicide to me.

    I agree – this idea is stupid and takes away from the integrity of the schedule. The AA should have just added a traveling team or let Ft Worth back in.

  23. Rob

    This is a stupid idea, in the sense that only 5 teams in each league are participating in these crossover games. What about the other teams??The integrity of the schedule is way off with this, and in my mind makes both leagues more of a joke. This is something the NAL might do.

  24. Billy Slasher

    Brian,

    Are you kidding me? You think that the AA said to themselves “we have an uneven number of teams so the best solution to this problem is to fly half way across the country to play can-am league teams’??

    That is not what happened. What happened is that the can-am league only has five teams and Worcester and Newark are dangling by threads so the AA teams (only because they league share a commisioner and are run out of the same office) decided for whatever reason it was prudent to throw the can-am and bone.

    I dont think anyone WANTS the league to fail.

    Additionally, the Atlantic League has had NUMEROUS teams go dark or relocate (Aberdeen Arsenal, Atlantic City, Newark, Nashua, Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds).

  25. The Atlantic League has yet to make a bad move, so I expect the addition of Sugarland (and eventually other Texas teams) will succeed.

    Actually, this crossover schedule it seems was more necessitated by the uneven number of teams in the AA. The Can-Am League already had released their ’12 schedule. We’ve been hearing about the demise of the Can-Am League for years, but it keeps coming back. So for those who are wishing it to fail, don’t hold your breath.

  26. Billy Slasher

    Ed M.,

    No. The Can-Am should fold. Rockland and Quebec (if Quebec is willing to bring the facilities up to par) should go to the Atlantic League. Sugar Land is just ill-conceived. What should not happen is a super indy league, travel becomes an expensive nightmare and the schedule becomes so unbalanced it’s ridiculous. Without a clear and concise league vision (this includes a footprint), instability ensues. This ‘merger’ amount is nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. There is no point, the ship (can-am league) is going down.

  27. Ed M. waterbury, Ct. USA

    All three leagues should merge Can Am, Atlantic and Amer. Association. This would save on travel and expenses as well.

  28. Ed M. waterbury, Ct. USA

    With the Atlantic league expanding to the unlikely location of Sugarland (Houston area) Texas this makes quite a lot of sense.There should be an outright merger as was done with the old Northeast(Now Can-Am) and defunct Northern league several years ago.Sugarland should be in the Amer. Assoc.divisional structure and the two leagues on an annual basis should play an all star game and championship interlocking final like the old Northeast-Northern league did several years ago.

  29. The bigger question here is what’s going on with the Can-Am League. President Moushon is quoted as saying that both leagues have an “odd” number of teams, which is what necessitated this interleague play. Unless Moushon is bad at math, he must be hinting at the Can-Am league going with 5 or 7 teams in 2012 – instead of the 6 they currently have. In fact, the Quebec newspaper already has this speculation – with either Brockton dropping out or another team being added (Trois Rivieres, Ottawa, or Sussex).

    • ballparkbiz

      Brockton is the only team not scheduled for interleague play, so it appears that we are talking about five and not seven teams.

      Alan

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