Earlier I had alluded to the idea of having a summer collegiate league based in the Maritimes & Maine. The idea of getting Maine into the mix has a few advantages over a strictly Maritime based league. Let’s go over them.
- More markets: This one’s pretty straight forward. After the big six markets in the Maritimes there is a lot of question marks as to (insert city/town here) can support a summer collegiate league team. By including Maine you are adding more potential markets to such a league. There is at least four viable markets in Maine that can support such an operation. First off there’s Old Orchard Beach, which supported the NECBL’s Raging Tide from 2011 to 2014. They are part of Portland’s MSA. This past year, the OOB Surge played in the (recently defunct) North Country Baseball League. Also there is Lewiston (2nd largest city in state, former home of the MAINEiacs), Bangor (3rd largest) and Augusta (the state capital).
- Related to the above, more markets would mean it would be easier to land sponsors. As more teams means a bigger audience for them to reach out to. Such sponsors could be Maritime based, Maine based or internationally based companies.
- Access to more players. By being in the Maine market, such a league could attract more players from the New England states as they would play at least some games close to home. This would allow more family and friend to watch them in person. Of course there is competition from existing leagues but a well organized league will attract better talent no matter where it is based.
- Better mix of opponents. Assuming all cities mentioned have teams in such a league, this league would have ten member clubs as opposed to just six. This means four more opponents for each team to playing, keeping the schedule more fresh to the fans. Using some hypothetical numbers here, a six team league would play 50 games (five home, five away against each club). A ten team league would play, say 54 games which equates to three home and three away against each opponent.
- Easier to align into divisions. If the league wished (and the numbers allowed) the league could align into Canadian and American divisions. Which in turn could factor into things like scheduling and an All-Star Game. Such a league would also schedule more games regionally if it was divided into divisions.
The only real negative is dealing with the international border. Since most players would be either Americans playing in Canada or Canadians who play US college, that problem would be relatively small. Also as amateur athletes there shouldn’t be that problem of having to issue work visas to the American players (as would be the case for a professional minor league team). Also travel would be an issue but less so than in the NECBL, FCBL or any professional league.