Future of the Can Am League

Can Am League

This past season (2014), the Can-Am League only had four teams, in fact the league itself was division in the midwest based American Association.  But things are looking up for the league as they will play with six teams (plus two road/touring teams) this up and coming season.

The league’s current lineup:
– New Jersey Jackels (Little Falls, NJ)
– Quebec Capitales (Quebec City, QC)
– Rockland Boulders (Ramapo, NY)
– Trois-Rivieres Aigles (Trois-Rivieres, QC)

Expansion for this season (2015):
– Ottawa Champions (Ottawa, ON)
– Sussex County Miners (Augusta, NJ)
– Garden State Grays (road team playing from June 29 – September 7)
– Shikoku Island League All-Stars (road team from an indy league in Japan, playing from June 9-28)
– plus the league will continue interleague play with the American Association (there will be a total of 100 interleague games)

Also, Rockland and New Jersey will play a regular season game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown on July 17.  This will be the first professional game in Cooperstown in six years.

Before talking about possible expansion, let’s establish a footprint for the league.  The farthest west they could go before overlapping with Frontier League territory is probably the GTA/Harrisburg.  The farthest south before leaving too big of a footprint and leaving the league’s traditional areas is the Pennsylvania/Maryland state line.  Another important parameter to provide at least one travel partner for each club.  By travel partner I mean a team that is in close proximity to another one as to make an easy road trip for an opponent.

For simplicity purposes, all potential expansion sites will be grouped with others from the same region.  For travel partner purposes expansion is viable to the Maritimes only if two or more cities join and preferably, two or more cities join from New England, as to make road trips to/from New York/New Jersey easier.  There are three teams each in Central Canada and Mid-Atlantic so the travel partner problem is only an issue if franchises are granted to the western end of the footprint discussed in the previous paragraph.  All these cities currently have no professional baseball (save for Boston Area) and most have populations of over 100,000 in their metropolitan areas.  Some of these cities lack pro ball but do have collegiate summer league teams.  Also I have no idea if anybody is trying to bring the league (or any other form of minor league ball) to these cities, this is all speculation on my part.

Maritimes:
Halifax
Moncton
Saint John
St. John’s (St. Patrick’s Ballpark holds 5000, due to remoteness would likely have to pay for visiting teams way in)

New England:
Bangor (former league city)
Boston Area (Brockton is a former league city)
Lewiston
Nashua (former league city)
New Haven
Springfield

Central Canada:
Ajax (site of the 2015 Pan Am Games baseball tournament, if the Blue Jays were smart they would pull a Yankees/Mets and put their NYPL affiliate here, also may be better suited for Frontier League)
Hamilton (like Ajax, may be better suited for Frontier League)
Montreal Area (especially if MLB doesn’t return soon)
Sherbrooke

Mid-Atlantic:
Atlantic City (former league city)
Dover
Glens Falls (former league city)
Newark (former league city)
Utica

East Coast Baseball League
The league is facing a competitor in the new East Coast Baseball League which will have teams in Waterloo (ON), Welland (ON), Newburg (NY) and Watertown (NY). The league may expand eastward to include Old Orchard Beach (ME). If the league is successful (for which I wish them well), the ECBL may be the better option for a Maritime-based professional team to join.

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