Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
April 8, 2019 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL)
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs: After the independent California-based Pacific Association announced the Martinez Clippers would not play in 2019 leaving the league with five teams, a travel-only team called the Salina (KS) Stockade, which is operated by the independent Pecos League, was signed on as a sixth team. The league was back down to only five teams when the Pittsburg Diamonds team announced this week it was suspending operations for the 2019 season. The Diamonds were hoping to reorganize and return in 2020. The Pittsburg team joined the league in 2014 as the Pittsburg Mettle before changing to the Diamonds the next season. The Salina Stockade served as a travel-only team in the 2018 season of the independent Can-Am League.
Pacific Coast League: The Triple-A PCL started its 2019 season this week and again has 16 teams aligned in American and Pacific conferences, each with four-team Northern and Southern divisions. The league's Colorado Springs Sky Sox relocated to become the San Antonio Missions for the 2019 season. With this relocation, the Missions and the Oklahoma City Dodgers were moved to the American Conference Southern Division, while the Memphis Redbirds and Nashville Sounds were moved from the American Conference Southern Division to the American Conference Northern Division. The PCL's Las Vegas 51s changed their name to the Las Vegas Aviators for the 2019 season as the team moved to a new stadium in suburban Summerlin. The PCL's Omaha Storm Chasers announced the team will play as the Omaha Potholes for a game later this month. This promotion evolved from fan reaction to an April Fool's Day prank in which the Storm Chasers announced they would play a game as the Potholes in June.
International League: The Triple-A International League started its 2019 season this week and again has 14 teams aligned in four-team South and West divisions and a six-team North division. The only change this season was the Syracuse Chiefs becoming the Syracuse Mets, as the team changed its Major League Baseball affiliation from the Washington Nationals to the New York Mets.
Texas League: The Double-A Texas League started its 2019 season this week and again has eight teams aligned in four-team North and South divisions. The league underwent one team change for 2019 with the San Antonio Missions moving to become the Amarillo Sod Poodles. Amarillo took San Antonio's spot in the South Division. The two other Double-A leagues called the Eastern League and the Southern League remained the same for the 2019 season. The Eastern League has 12 teams aligned in six-team Eastern And Western divisions, while the Southern League has ten teams in five-team North and South divisions.
Midwest Basketball League: The semi-pro men's MBL started its 2019 season this week that features 26 teams aligned in a nine-team West Division, a five-team South Division and a 12-team East Division. New teams this season are the Bay Area Titans (Green Bay, WI), Rochester (MN) Roadrunners, Fort Wayne Bubba Ballers, Iowa Elite Pro (Des Moines), Eagan (MN) Bulldogs, Texas Revelation (Dallas), Fort Worth Foxes, Dallas Kings, Questlife Warriors (Dallas) and Arlington Dream Chasers. The Central Indiana Crusaders (Anderson) return after playing in the 2017 season. The MBL season runs through June 2019.
Florida Basketball Association: A team called the Fort Lauderdale Herd announced it will be part of the FBA for the upcoming 2019 season.
Liga Mexicana de Baloncesto Profesional Femenil: Mexico's professional women's league known as the LMBPF started its 2019 season earlier this month with eight teams. The league had eight teams last season but the Reinas la Paz and Lobas Aguascaliente did not return and the league added two new teams called the Escaramuzas de Jalisco (Guadalajara) and Barreteras de Zacatecas. The 2019 regular season runs through mid-May.
Global Women's Basketball Association: The GWBA recently posted its 2019 season schedule that will run from May 18 to August 3 and will again feature five teams. Of the five teams from last season, only the Flint Monarchs will return and compete with four new GWBA teams called the Music City Icons (Nashville), St. Louis Surge, Topeka Shock and Wisconsin Glo (Oshkosh). FOOTBALL
Alliance of American Football: The eight-team AAF has suspended operations with two weeks of games left in the league's inaugural 2019 winter-spring season. The AAF is not folding as of now, but that could happen if it is unable to work out a deal with the National Football League Players' Association to share young NFL talent and make the AAF a true development league for the NFL. The AAF operated all eight teams that featured the Arizona Hotshots (Phoenix), Salt Lake Stallions (Salt Lake City), San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet in a Western Conference, and the Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express and Orlando Apollos in an Eastern Conference.
National Gridiron League: The owner of the proposed new 12-team indoor NGL announced the league will not start as planned, but new ownership will try to start the league again in 2020.
Canadian Women's Hockey League: The CWHL announced it will cease operations as of May 1, 2019, as it was unable to secure funding for next season. The CWHL had six centrally funded teams called the Calgary Inferno, Markham Thunder (Ontario), Montreal Les Canadiennes, Toronto Furies, Worcester (MA) Blades and the China-based Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays for its 2018-19 season. Teams in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal had partnerships with the men's National Hockey League teams in those markets. The CWHL started play as an elite-level women's league in the 2007-08 season and started compensating players for games in the 2017-18 season. There had been some discussion last year about a possible future merger of the CWHL with the United States-based professional National Women's Hockey League.
National Women's Hockey League: With the announcement this week that the Canadian Women's Hockey League was shutting down operations, the United States-based NWHL announced plans to add expansion teams in the former CWHL markets of Montreal and Toronto for the 2019-20 season. The NWHL started play in the 2015-16 season and operated with four teams in Buffalo, Boston, Connecticut and Brooklyn/Newark until it added a fifth Minnesota-based team for the 2018-19 season.
Major League Soccer: The new MLS expansion team called the Inter Miami CF was granted approval to demolish Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale for construction of a new training facility and a new 18,000-seat stadium, which will be home to the MLS team for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. A lower-level United Soccer League team is also expected to use the new Fort Lauderdale stadium. The Inter Miami CF is still trying to finalize details on its permanent home to be built near Miami International Airport.
United Women's Soccer: The elite-level UWS announced last month a team called the Syracuse Development Academy has been added to the 2019 Eastern Conference. The league has started to announce schedules for the 2019 season that will run from early May to early July. OTHER
Major League Lacrosse: The men's outdoor or field lacrosse MLL announced three of its teams called the Florida Launch (Boca Raton), Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine (Columbus) will cease operations for the 2019 season. As part of a recent league meeting, a decision was made to have an owner control only one team. The owner of the league's Dallas Rattlers also owned the three folded teams and decided to keep only the Dallas Rattlers team. The MLL is reduced to only six teams for the 2019 season, but still wants to expand in the future with the goal of establishing Eastern and Western conferences. The MLL stated the Charlotte Hounds will return in 2021 under new ownership after construction is completed at its home stadium.
Premier Lacrosse League: The proposed new professional outdoor lacrosse PLL, which will be a six-team touring league starting in June 2019, recently announced Los Angeles and San Jose as the seventh and eighth locations, respectively, to host one of the league's 12 weekend events.
National Pro Fastpitch: The women's NPF announced its team called the Beijing Shougang Eagles, which is operated by the Chinese Softball Association and comprised of players for the Chinese National Team, will play its 2019 home schedule at the stadium of the Daytona Tortugas baseball team in the high Class-A Florida State League. The Eagles played its first season in 2017 as a travel-only team and played many of its 2018 home games at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's softball stadium in Daytona. The NPF's Cleveland Comets team recently announced a partnership with Team Mexico that will have the NPF team represented by potential Mexican national team players. The NPF's Minnesota-based (North Mankato) Aussie Peppers team is represented by Australian players and the Southern Illinois-based (Marion) Canadian Wild team is represented by Canadian players. The two other NPF teams are the Chicago Bandits and the USSSA Pride (Viera, FL).
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames, which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is available for sale at www.amazon.com.
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from April 8, 2019
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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