by Dan Krieger
October 19, 2016 - American Association (AA)
Arizona Fall League: The six-team AzFL, which is owned and operated by Major League Baseball, started its 2016 season that will run from October 11 to November 17, 2016. All teams are based in and around the Phoenix area and each team has prospects from five different MLB teams. The East Division features the Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters and Scottsdale Scorpions, while the West Division includes the Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros.
American Association: The independent AA announced that the 2016 team called the Texas AirHogs, which played home games in both Amarillo and Grand Prairie, will not play any games in Amarillo next season due to objections from league members over the condition of the stadium. The AirHogs are expected to play all home games in Grand Prairie next season. The lower-level independent Pecos League is considering placement of a team in Amarillo next season.
Pecos League: Now that the American Association has dropped the Joplin (MO) Blasters, the head of the independent Pecos League is talking with the city about possibly establishing a new team called the Joplin Miners. The Pecos League has also expressed interest in the Bakersfield (CA) market, since that city recently lost the Bakersfield Blaze of the affiliated high Class-A California League, and the Amarillo market that was recently dropped by the American Association for the 2017 season.
Northwoods League: The new summer-collegiate Northwoods League team to be located in Bismarck (ND) for the 2017 will be called the Bismarck Larks. The league's new 2017 team to be based in Fond-du-Lac (WI) announced five new potential nicknames: Barn Owls, Dock Spiders, Lake Flies, Pipsqueaks and Shantymen.
Southwest League of Professional Baseball: Royce City (TX), which is just northeast of Dallas, is moving forward with initial planning for a new ballpark that would become home to a SWL team. The league plans to start play in 2018 with six Texas-based teams. BASKETBALL
Universal Basketball Association: The Hamilton (OH) Heroes team that played in the inaugural 2016 season of the Midwest Basketball League, is switching to the UBA for its 2016-17 season.
American Basketball Association: The Libertyville (IL) Vipers announced the team will return to the ABA for the 2016-17 season as the Vipers Pro Basketball Team. The Libertyville Vipers played the 2014-15 season in the ABA, but were not part of the league last season. FOOTBALL
Arena Football League: The AFL held a dispersal draft for players from the Jacksonville Sharks, Los Angeles KISS, Portland Steel and Orlando Predators teams that are no longer part of the league. The Jacksonville Sharks plan to join another league, but the other three teams have apparently ceased operations. The other four teams from the 2016 season, the Arizona Rattlers, Tampa Bay Storm, Cleveland Gladiators, and Philadelphia Soul, plus the expansion Washington (DC) Valor, participated in the 2017 player draft.
Champions Indoor Football: The CIF announced it has added the River City Raiders (St. Charles, MO) as its 16th team for the 2017 season. The River City Raiders started out as the Missouri Monsters in the 2013 United Indoor Football League and played two seasons (2014-15) as the St. Louis Attack in X-League Indoor Football before moving to American Indoor Football as the River City Raiders for the 2016 season. The CIF will grow from 12 to 16 teams aligned into 4 four-team divisions for the 2017 season.
Can-Am Indoor Football League: The proposed new CAIFL has again updated its league alignment that features ten teams. The Eastern Division includes the Baltimore Lightning, Connecticut Chiefs, Glens Falls (NY) Gladiators, New Hampshire Brigade and Vermont Bucks. The Western Division has the Reading (PA) Raptors and four New York-based teams called the Buffalo Blitz, Lockport Lightning, Niagara Spartans and Rochester Kings. The CAIFL plans to start play in 2017.
United States Indoor Football: The proposed new semi-pro USIF plans to start its inaugural season next summer with four teams playing all games at the Savannah Civic Center. The current team listing includes the Coastal Outlaws (Savannah), Hardeeville (SC) Tiger Sharks, Myrtle Beach (SC) Masters and Hinesville (GA) Hurricanes.