After a few tough years the independent CanAm League is on it’s way back.
During the last few years several teams folded (Newark Bears and Pittsfield Colonials ) or moved to different leagues (Brockton Rox) so the league only contained four teams. In 2011 the league announced that it would have an interlocking schedule with the independent American Association (not to be mixed up with the AAA league that folded in 1998). Both leagues played vs each other but had separate play offs that would bring their own champions.
In 2013 the Trois-Rivières Aigles were added to the league to bring the number of teams to four. The club plays it’s home games at Stade Fernand-Bédard, which is the sister stadium of Stade Municipale in Quebec City, home of the Capitales de Quebec.
In 2014 the league announced that the Ottawa Champions and the Sussex County Miners would be added to the team to bring the total number of teams to six. Still the teams of the CanAm League will play games vs teams from the American Association. But with six teams the league has more right to exist than with only four. The Ottawa Champions will play their home games at Ottawa Stadium, the facility that was once home to the Ottawa Lynx before the team moved to Allentown to become the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The Sussex County Miners will play at Skylands Park in Augusta NJ. This stadium was home to CanAm baseball before when the Sussed SkyHawks played there from 2006 through 2010.
Despite an even number of teams, The CanAm League will sport a travel team that will only play road games vs the other CanAm teams, starting on June 29 until the end of the season: the Garden State Grays. Next to this travel team, the six franchises ot the CanAm League will face an all-star team of the Japanese independent Shikoku Island League. This league will will pause its regular season to bring its best players to face the Can-Am League.
And if this is still not enough, the New Jersey Jackals and the Rockland Boulders will face each other in the first professional baseball game played at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field since 2009 in the very first CanAm Cooperstown Classic, to be played on July 17, one week before Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will be inducted to the HOF. If fans will flock to the stadium, this will be a good promotion for the CanAm League.
Through the decades many independent leagues came and went. Some of them had a serious approach, others were flat out amateurish. The good thing about independent baseball is that those leagues serve cities and towns which are left alone by affliliated ball.