A Look Ahead into the 2012 CanAm Baseball Season:
League information gathered primarily from CanAm Website
There are some very interesting changes coming to the CanAm League this season. On the one hand, change does not speak too well regarding the overall wellness and stability of the League. On the brighter side, as a Baseball fan, I eagerly anticipate some of the changes we'll see this season on the field.
The CanAm League will operate with five teams this season. The returning champions, Quebec Capitales, will be back to defend their fourth league title. I'm glad to see the Newark Bears will be returning for their second season in the circuit. Mainstays of the league, the New Jersey Jackals and the Worcester Tornadoes, and last year's new comers, the Rockland Boulders, will round out this season's participants.
The Pittsfield Colonials if you remember ceased operations last season. The New York Federals were a filler team comprised of players from the New York State League and formed to maintain the schedule integrity of an eight team league. The unfortunate news of this upcoming season is the Broxton Rocks will not participate in this year's schedule. They have not folded and remain members of the League, and plan on rejoining play in 2013.
The CanAm League entered into an inter-league agreement with the midwest American Association that necessitated a timely decision and an odd number of confirmed member teams from the CanAm League. The Brockton Rox could not straighten out an ownership situation in time to commit. And so Brockton, and the Canadian/American League's plans to add another team in Canada will be revisited in the 2013 season.
As part of the new inter-league schedule, each CanAm team will play twenty games against American Association teams; ten at home and ten on the road. All five CanAm teams will travel to the Midwest and play ten games against AA teams. In turn, five American Association teams will each make ten game road trips to all five CanAm towns, for a total of 100 inter-league games.
The Canadian/American League will also adopt the American Association's length of schedule and play a 100 game season which is slightly up from the number of games CanAm teams traditionally play. The season begins earlier than the traditional CanAm's Memorial Day start also. Their season now starts on May 17th and runs through September 3rd. There also will be no CanAm type split-season format. They will play a regular division schedule and at the end of the season, the top two teams will play for the CanAm Championship.
At the club level, the accountants over in Ramapo N.Y. are leaving no Boulder unturned. According to this story at BallparkDigest.com, the Rockland Boulders did not meet their expected 2011 revenue figures; falling short somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000. This is just my opinion here, but perhaps if finishing touches and construction hadn't over lapped the beginning of the season, things might have been different to start. The figure doesn't seem like much, but it's not my dime now is it? I'm sure a strong showing of support this season will help make the accountants happy. The Boulders ranked second in League in attendance last season behind the Canadian Quebec Capitales team. Stateside however, they were number one.
But what of the Newark Bears? As a quick reminder, they opted to switch to the CanAm League due in large part to money woes. The cost of operating in the Atlantic League escaped them. The move into the CanAm League afforded them a smaller roster, substantially less travel, and a shorter schedule; all designed to save on operating costs as the team itself has been in dire financial straights. On the one hand, perhaps the lure of seeing new teams from the American Association is enough to stimulate a spike at the gate. I know I will definitely attend a few more games than usual this season. But it seems this inter-league agreement will now drive up Newark's operating costs considerably again. No?
In the dugout, the Newark Bears will have a new field manager. Tim Raines is out, and Ken Oberkfell is in. He previously worked for the Mets since 2008 as manager of their Buffalo-AAA affiliate, and served a stint coaching on the big club as well.