What If: Maritime Summer Collegiate Baseball

Let’s say that tomorrow it was announced a group of investors started a summer collegiate league based in the Maritimes.  I will go over some scenarios on what such a league could look like.  Scenarios will range from Maritime only league to leagues that include teams from outside the region (Maine, Quebec & Newfoundland).  The non-Maritime markets would be needed as a way of expanding the league’s reach in terms of fans and recruiting players.

Potential scheduling matrixes can be found here.  Yes, I did include suggested nicknames for all teams.  Some are traditional names for said cities, others are “minor league style” names I came up with and others are just names that I felt fit the city.

Scenario 1 (Maritimes only):

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Charlottetown Monarchs
Pictou County Albions
Summerside Crystals

West Division
Dartmouth Arrows
Halifax Privateers
Moncton Monks
Yarmouth Gateways

North Division
Edmundston Eskimos
Fredericton River Bandits
Miramichi Maple Sox
Saint John Shamrocks

Getting past eight or so teams means some smaller markets will have to be included.  I tried to include all regions of the Maritimes by going with a 12 team model.  I could have easily gone with an eight team model by eliminating Yarmouth, Dartmouth, Summerside & Edmundston.  This would have put the New Brunswick teams in one division and Nova Scotia & P.E.I. teams in the other division.  As I have mentioned in the past, if you want a bigger league then non-Maritime markets would have to be considered.

Scenario 2 (including Maine):

Maine Division
Augusta Capitals
Bangor Fenians
Lewiston Twins
Old Orchard Beach Surge

Central Division
Fredericton River Bandits
Miramichi Maple Sox
Moncton Monks
Saint John Shamrocks

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Charlottetown Monarchs
Halifax Privateers
Pictou County Albions

This is the eight team Maritime only proposal mentioned above with four teams from Maine thrown in.  As of this writing neither Bangor, Augusta or Lewiston have high level baseball and Old Orchard Beach (near Portland) is being served by an upstart independent league.  If that league fails then that would open up The Ballpark to someone else (has hosted collegiate summer ball in the past).  If the Surge and the Empire League are successful then the fourth team would have to come from somewhere else (Portland area, Calais, Houlton, etc).

Scenario 3 (Newfoundland):
West Division
Charlottetown Monarchs
Fredericton River Bandits
Miramichi Maple Sox
Moncton Monks
Saint John Shamrocks

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Corner Brook Royals
Halifax Privateers
Pictou County Albions
St. John’s Cod Kissers

Again, this is the big eight Maritime teams with Newfoundland teams added in.  Due to travel concerns, two Newfoundland teams would have to be included.  The downside is there is a seven hour drive between St. John’s and Corner Brook.

Scenario 4 (Quebec):
North Division
Chicoutimi Cucumbers
Rimouski Hommes Riviere (Rivermen)
Riviere-du-Loup Loups (Wolves)
Thetford Mines Miners

West Division
Edmundston Eskimos
Fredericton River Bandits
Moncton Monks
Saint John Shamrocks

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Charlottetown Monarchs
Halifax Privateers
Pictou County Albions

Under this scenario, I added a division in eastern Quebec.  Visiting teams can stop in Edmundston on the way to/from la Belle Province.  I traded Miramichi for Edmundston in this scenario for this reason.  For the record, there are about 4,000 fewer people in Edmundston than in the Miramichi.

Scenario 5 (Maine & Newfoundland):
West Division
Augusta Capitals
Bangor Fenians
Lewiston Twins
Old Orchard Beach Surge

Central Division
Edmundston Eskimos
Fredericton River Bandits
Saint John Shamrocks
St. Croix Downeasters

North Division
Charlottetown Monarchs
Miramichi Maple Sox
Moncton Monks
Summerside Crystals

East Division
Cape Breton Stealers
Corner Brook Royals
Halifax Privateers
St. John’s Cod Kissers

This is likely the least fesiable of all scenarios as it involves both border crossings to Maine and ferry (or air) travel to Newfoundland.  But interesting to look at, nonetheless.

Scenario 6 (Maine & Quebec):
North Division
Chicoutimi Cucumbers
Rimouski Hommes de Riviere
Riviere-du-Loup Loups
Thetford Mines Miners

West Division
Augusta Capitals
Bangor Fenians
Lewiston Twins
Old Orchard Beach Surge

North Division
Fredericton River Bandits
Miramichi Maple Sox
Moncton Monks
Saint John Shamrocks

East Division
Cape Breton Stealers
Charlottetown Monarchs
Halifax Privateers
Pictou County Albions

This scenario is alright as it divides up the two non-Maritime areas in their own divisions.  Travel could be done with one Quebec trip and one Maine trip.  This may mean not playing everyone at home and away during the season (as is the case in the West Coast League).  For example, Halifax could travel to Rimouski, Chicoutimi, Bangor and Augusta and host the other Quebec and Maine teams while not hosting the teams they visited.  This would reduce travel (expenses!) and maximize regional rivalries.

Scenario 7 (Canada only):
North Division
Chicoutimi Cucumbers
Rimouski Hommes de Riviere
Riviere-du-Loup Loups
Thetford Mines Miners

West Division
Edmundston Eskimos
Fredericton River Bandits
Saint John Shamrocks
St. Croix Downeasters

South Division
Charlottetown Monarchs
Halifax Privateers
Miramichi Maple Sox
Moncton Monks

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Corner Brook Royals
Pictou County Albions
St. John’s Cod Kissers

This would eliminate the need of border crossings at the Maine border.  The downside is longer bus trips to both Quebec and Newfoundland.  The trips to/from Thetford Mines and St. John’s would be brutal (32 hours).  Obviously, there would be games on the way to and from such destinations.

Scenario 8 (everything):
North Division
Chicoutimi Cucumbers
Rimouski Hommes de Riviere
Riviere-du-Loup Loups
Thetford Mines Miners

West Division
Augusta Capitals
Bangor Fenians
Lewiston Twins
Old Orchard Beach Surge

Central Division
Charlottetown Monarchs
Fredericton River Bandits
Moncton Monks
Saint John Shamrocks

East Division
Cape Breton Steelers
Corner Brook Royals
Halifax Privateers
St. John’s Cod Kissers

This scenario (as advertised), has it all.  It contains the Maritimes, Quebec, Newfoundland and Maine, including the travel headaches that exists traveling between all the destinations.  Divisional play would likely be emphasised under such a scenario.  On the plus side, it is mostly larger markets.  Exceptions would be Riviere-du-Loup, Thetford Mines and Corner Brook.  These markets are needed (unless the Can-Am League folds then replace the smaller Quebec teams with Quebec and Trois-Rivieres).  Corner Brook is needed in order to have two Newfoundland teams.

There you have it, eight scenarios where a summer collegiate league based in & around the Maritimes could look.  These would be the target markers where I would consider placing teams under such scenarios.  These are by no means official as in the real world interest (from both fans & potential owners) could alter where franchises would be placed.  The only set in stone conclusion is that any Maritime based league would have to include the big six markets.  Summer college baseball provides high level baseball to many communities across North America, where professional baseball (both affiliated & independent) is no longer viable.  It may be the region’s best chance at high level ball.

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