An appeal by a local neighborhood group in San Rafael, California to postpone the season for the new San Rafael Pacifics (North American League Northern Division) was denied by a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal. This does not mean that the appeal is denied, but simply that the season will continue while the appeal moves forward:
The reason that the judge’s decision has ramifications outside of the local area are that since the NAL had major concerns this off-season, the footprint of the league varied tremendously from the end of the 2011 season. Had the team been denied the right to play in the stadium this season then the other 3 teams in the NAL’s Northern Division likely would have had to postpone their seasons as well; and some may never come back.
Here is a recap of (most of) the changes in the NAL since the end of the 2011 championship series:
- Two new teams were added to the Southern Division: Fort Worth Cats (from the American Association) and the returning Abilene Prairie Dogs (which last played in the early 2000’s)
- Diamond Sports Entertainment and the former CEO and Commissioner of the Golden League (which assumed the roles of the 2011 North American League) are no longer involved with the NAL
- The Yuma Scorpions were sold to Godfather Media (a publicly-traded Pink Sheet company) and changed to the Yuma Panthers
- Maui, which suspended its season early after Lake County failed to show up for a series, changed ownership again
- San Rafael started and had its right to play in the stadium challenged by the local neighborhood group
- Godfather Media recently bought the majority of the holding company to the rights for the Orange County Flyers; and it looks like the Flyers will be a travel team this year
- Calgary Vipers folded
- Edmonton Capitals dropped out of the NAL and will not play in 2012
- Discussion of a team in Ft. McMurray (Alberta, Canada) has increased
- The Lake County Fielders are not playing this season after last year’s multiple challenges
- The Chico Outlaws are not returning
While this list is not inclusive, it shows you how fragile the situation has been for independent baseball on the West Coast in recent months. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the situation.
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