In recent weeks there have been rumors of realignment in the independent baseball leagues in order to reduce travel costs. Having been in several league meetings over the years, it is true that cutting travel costs either with sponsorships and/or geographic alignments is a concern for the executives and owners. Some leagues have even taken the step in recent years to go to (or at least discuss) using vans instead of the team buses for shorter trips. The fixed-to-rising costs of bus travel, increased gas costs from 5+ years ago, not getting as many hotel discounts or sponsorships, and other travel-related fixed costs have translated into increased financial pressure on many independent teams.
These rumors of realignment have been swirling about for some time, but Ballpark Digest’s recent article brings these discussions to light:
There is nothing official to confirm at this time, but as reported on this site over the past few months we have started to see some of the old grudges between the leagues give way to some signs of cooperation. Inter-league exhibitions, All-Star Games, tryout camps, and other examples have started to become prevalent. Hopefully, intelligent decisions are made to cut travel costs (the owners’ and league offices’ primary short-term concern) AND also grow the game giving fans a reason to truly care about the independent leagues. For the most part, owners and commissioners probably would admit that the main focus of a given team is to entertain its local market. While this is the case currently, any realignment or other shake-ups to the industry could help the leagues and teams take advantage of their “independence”; and they could take actions to entertain fans both locally AND nationally as well as giving people a reason to care about the games other than just that night’s promotion.
Should there be any further developments to the linked story then they will be posted here once confirmed.
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