Seven summer-collegiate teams are splitting off from the New York Collegiate Baseball League and forming their own circuit in conjunction with Perfect Game USA, the respected independent scouting service.
The Amsterdam Mohawks, Albany Dutchmen, Cooperstown Hawkeyes, Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, Watertown Wizards, Glens Falls Golden Eagles and Elmira Pioneers will all be leaving the NYCBL. Newark, NY., is also adding an expansion team, the Newark Pilots, into the newly formed league and will be playing in a former NY-Penn League ballpark. In most cases, the league will move into communities once occupied by teams in the short-season A NY-Penn League. The league will aim to attract players from top college and junior-college programs around the country.
“We had a great run with the NYCBL but felt that our model and those of other teams in the East were different than some of the teams in the NYCBL West,” said Mohawks President Brian Spagnola, who is also acting as temporary president of the new league. “The idea to play in stadiums with large crowds and have players from large Division I schools is where we were hoping the NYCBL would go. After seeing only slow progress from the league as a whole in those areas, some of us felt it was time to move on.
“We don’t exepect our fans to notice a great deal of change in most areas,” Spagnola added. “While we are extremely happy with the quality of player we have been getting here in Amsterdam, the fan should now, however, see even more talent come through Shuttleworth Park each summer and will result in a large jump in the number of future major league players coming through Amsterdam.”
In addition to buying naming rights, Perfect Game will actively assist the new league in identifying and recruiting top college and junior-college prospects. It will also utilize various ball parks around the league to stage regional showcase events and tournaments, the staple of Perfect Game’s traditional business model. With more than 80 national and regional events annually, and other events it actively scouts, Perfect Game has access to upwards of 25,000 top high-school players each year.
“This relationship should enhance both the league and our organization,” said Jerry Ford, Perfect Game president. “With all the talented high-school players that we see, and establish relationships with each year, our job revolves around recruiting and the major league draft. We now have an avenue to stay involved with a lot of these players once they are in college by helping to place them into a high-quality summer-league.
“We’re very confident that with our involvement, along with some strong, established communities in upstate New York, and seasoned operators in place to run the clubs, that we’ll quickly establish the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League as one of the nation’s best within two or three years. We’re very excited about this new association.”
Added Mohawks General Manager Bill Terlecky, “The relationship is a natural one and we think one that will help this league grow into one of the elite summer leagues in America. We enjoyed our time in the NYCBL and wish the remaining members many years of success.”
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