The independent North American League has apparently settled at 12 teams for the 2011 season, with two divisions of six teams each; meanwhile, league officials have talked with Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission leaders about putting a team in the Metrodome. Really.
The league lineup: in the Eastern Division — Rockford RiverHawks, Lake County Fielders, Schaumburg Flyers, San Angelo Colts, Edinburg RoadRunners, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings. In the Western Division — Chico Outlaws, Na Koa Ikaika Maui, Calgary Vipers, Edmonton Capitals, Tijuana Ambassadors, and Yuma Scorpions. We’re not entirely sure this is a final lineup — there’s talk of a contingency plan for an eight- or 10-team league should the new owners of the Schaumburg Flyers decide to bolt to another league — and one of these teams will be playing on a one-year deal in their own ballpark.
There had been talk of Palm Springs, Omaha and Las Vegas teams in the league, but those plans apparently fell through for 2011.
As did a plan to place a team in Minneapolis’s Metrodome, apparently. In this article, MSFC head Bill Lester confirmed talk of placing an independent-league team in the Dome. We’d heard scuttlebutt of such discussions, but to be blunt we were pretty incredulous someone would invest money in a franchise playing at the Dome, even temporarily. It was barely tolerable as a venue for the Minnesota Twins and is borderline for the Minnesota Golden Gophers; we can’t imagine anyone summoning enthusiasm on a beautiful June night to see a North American League team hosting the Yuma Scorpions.
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