PGCBL All Star Game
As the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League reaches its All-Star Game today in Newark, the 3-year-old league continues to find its way and to evolve into a larger, more competitive entity.
"One of the things I like to tell teams is that I don't want to inhibit an Amsterdam or someone else who has good contacts and skills in putting together a roster," said league president Jeff Kunion, Tuesday.
Instead, the president's message to the also-ran teams in the PGCBL from 2012 -- when the Mohawks coasted to the league championship, winning the regular-season title by eight games -- was a simple one.
"You know what: Get better," Kunion said was his edict.
For the most part, the PGCBL's members have done just that. When the regular season resumes Thursday, five teams will be at least five games better than .500 and nine of the league's 10 teams will be in contention for one of the six spots in the playoffs.
In particular, the East Division is very strong this season. Amsterdam headed into the break in first place with a 24-16 record, but three teams -- Albany, Glens Falls and Mohawks Valley -- were all bunched up right behind the Mohawks in the standings. From Amsterdam to fourth-place Albany, just 1.5 games separate the teams.
The West Division is weaker than the East Division, but the former could contribute much of that to its two first-year teams, the Adirondack Trail Blazers and the Utica Brewers. Those two teams are both below .500 in their inaugural seasons in the PGCBL.
"I think it was a surprise to them exactly how strong the competition is in the PGCBL, so I think in talking to them that they know they need to step up the level of talent on their rosters," Kunion said.
"They're in their first years, so they're going to go through some growing pains," added Mohawks president Brian Spagnola. "But, hopefully, they get some momentum and learn some of the things we do to build (themselves up)."
The PGCBL plans to add at least one more franchise in 2014. The league has arranged to place a team in Saugerties, and Kunion said the league has two ownership groups vying for control of the team. Kunion said the goal had been to be able to announce franchise's owners around the All-Star Game, but that the timeline had been delayed.
"We'll probably make a formal announcement about it later in the summer," he said.
Spagnola said another goal had been to add a second team along with Saugerties, but Kunion said the prospects of bringing the PGCBL to a dozen clubs for 2014 was slim.
"There was always a hope to get to 12 teams, but, right now, I'm only really confident in Saugerties," Kunion said.
Saugerties is expected to join the East Division.
Still in its infancy, the PGCBL plans to use its league meeting in Newark today to discuss several changes to various rules and regulations. Kunion said most of the changes simply amount to "tweaks" and implementing leaguewide policies for situations that the league had not previously encountered.
The president said one tactic that will be discussed today is the practice some teams have used to expand their rosters beyond the league-allowed 30 players. Some of the league's teams have been signing and releasing the same players, rotating certain individuals into their rosters as a way to, for all intents and purposes, carry extra players.
"It's a legal loophole," Kunion said.
It is one that Kunion perfected. Prior to taking over the PGCBL, Kunion helped to run multiple summer-league and independent baseball teams, and had used the tactic himself in some of those leagues. One of them, he said, had finally outlawed the practice, dubbing the bylaws against it the "Kunion Rules."
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Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Stories from July 27, 2013
- Hasler and Adams cruise Newark past Elmira - Newark Pilots
- Mohawks Sweep Eagles - Glens Falls Dragons
- PGCBL All Star Game - Elmira Pioneers
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